INSPIRING AMERICANS: Christina Fialho & Freedom For Immigrants Fight To End The “New American Gulag!”👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼😇😇😇😇😇

Christina Fialho
Christina Fialho
Freedom For Immigrants
Lorena García Durán
Lorena García Durán
Director, U.S. Ashoka Support Network

From Forbes:

The United States operates the largest immigration detention system in the world. More than 50,000 immigrants are detained every day in county jails and for-profit prisons that contract with Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) — at great human cost, and at a cost to taxpayers of $3 billion per year. The current administration has drastically expanded the system, establishing over 20 new detention centers (17,000 more people per day). Christina Fialho, an Ashoka Fellow since 2016 and co-founder of Freedom for Immigrants, is working not only to stop this expansion, but to end immigration detention altogether. Ashoka’s Lorena García Durán caught up with her to learn more.

You co-founded Freedom for Immigrants eight years ago with Christina Mansfield.  What was the main goal you set out to achieve?

We want to build a country where no person is imprisoned for crossing a border. Freedom for Immigrants is working to achieve this goal through two main strategies. First, we’ve built a network of 4,500 volunteers that is a consistent watchdog inside this system. We started by building the first visitation program in California. Now volunteers in our network visit people in 69 immigrant prisons in nearly 30 states every week. Second, we launched a community-based alternative to free over 250 people by paying their immigration bonds. Once they are released, we connect them to housing, lawyers, transportation, and mental health services — and we do it all for only $17 per person per day, far less than the government pays to detain people (roughly $165 per person per day).

We are proving that our strategy works. Freedom for Immigrants drafted and co-sponsored the Dignity Not Detention Act — composed of the first statewide bills in the country to stop detention expansion and give the state attorney general oversight powers. These bills passed in California — a state that used to detain a quarter of all people in immigration detention. Since Dignity Not Detention went into effect, seven municipalities ended their ICE contracts.  We then worked in a statewide coalition of immigrant rights groups to pass another bill to phase out private prisons in California. Together, we are proving that abolition is possible in the 5th largest economy in the world.

You talk a lot about the importance of creativity and risk taking in the face of obstacles.  What are some obstacles you’ve overcome along the way?

Since 2013, we’ve faced “a litany of retaliatory acts by DHS in response to our public advocacy,” as Judge Andre Birotte Jr. explained in his recent court ruling granting us a preliminary injunction against ICE. We’ve had over a dozen of our affiliated visitation programs suspended when we’ve published articles or spoken out in favor of a new system. When we worked with Orange Is The New Black to dramatize the reality of detention, our national hotline was terminated. Private prison companies have muzzled us for reporting sexual assault in detention, and I was personally barred from visiting at certain detention facilities. However, we have successfully moved the work forward through creative persistence, community mobilization, and legal action when necessary.

Speaking of obstacles, ICE just ended all social visitation in response to COVID-19. How is Freedom for Immigrants responding?

If ICE is truly serious about ensuring the health and wellbeing of people in its custody, the agency would release immigrants, beginning with vulnerable populations. Other countries like Spain and Iran are releasing people in response to Covid-19. In fact, Spain’s Interior Ministry has begun a gradual release of people from immigration detention whose deportation cannot be effected before March 29. Freedom for Immigrants has launched an interactive map that tracks ICE response to Covid-19, and we have trained our national hotline volunteers to respond to medical negligence.

. . . .


Read the rest of Lorena García Durán‘s interview of Christina Fialho at the above link.

In my experience, there are a few cases where ICE could show on an individualized basis that temporary detention is necessary to protect the public or insure appearance. But, such cases  would be the “exception to the rule,” a very small percentage of today’s “New American Gulag” population. 

As this article points out, in most cases government grants to enable community placements and legal representation actually would be much cheaper than today’s wasteful funding of the Gulag.

Unlike the Gulag, it also would promote due process, fundamental fairness, best practices, docket efficiency, and most important, maximize the chances of fair results.

Under the Trump regime, the cruel, costly, and counterproductive Gulag has expanded as a means of punishing, coercing, dehumanizing, and deterring those asserting legal rights, particularly the right to apply for asylum and mandatory protections like withholding of removal and protection under the Convention Against Torture (“CAT”). 

It also is used by the regime to hinder the statutory and constitutional right to counsel and to promote biased results. Consequently, individuals entitled to relief and protection under our laws are instead railroaded out of the country by judges employed by the regime who have been instructed to disregard migrants’ rights and follow unethical and legally incorrect “precedents” intentionally misconstruing the law to make release from detention unnecessarily difficult and to promote unjust removals.

In other words, a systemic “Due Process Disaster” and a national disgrace.

Thanks to Christina and her team at Freedom for Immigrants for their courageous efforts to stand up to tyranny and defend due process. You certainly are brave front line fighters for the New Due Process Army!

Due Process Forever.  The New American Gulag Never!



WASHPOST: “Maliciously Incompetent” Trump + Foot-Dragging GOP Govs = Existential Threat To America’s Health & Welfare — The Mortal Dangers of a “Governing” Kakistocracy Incapable Of Acting in the Overall Public Interest in Times of Real Crisis! ⚰️☠️🆘😰👎🏻🧫🦠🤡

By Editorial Board

April 4 at 8:00 AM ET

PRESIDENT TRUMP likens the struggle against the pandemic to a war that will yield a colossal toll in human lives, but refuses to urge states uniformly to issue stay-at-home orders. The president’s equivocations have produced an uncoordinated jumble of policy subverted by foot-dragging governors who treat the coronavirus less as a national emergency and more as a political annoyance. They are guilty of an abdication of leadership whose consequences will be measured in body bags.

Messaging is critical in this crisis. By telling people in the strongest terms to stay at home, even with certain exceptions, most governors have conveyed the gravity of the spreading threat; that is likely to save many lives. By failing to do that, and treating a plague as one interest to be balanced among many, other governors treat the peril with a nod and a wink. Their message, sotto voce, is: Let’s not all get our knickers in a twist.

[[Full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic]]

The nod-and-a-wink governors — in the Dakotas, Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa, Arkansas and elsewhere — pose as powerless to order a lockdown, or note they have already closed schools, restaurants, gyms and other establishments, but won’t order blanket edicts to individuals. They point at other states’ exceptions that allow people to carry on with essential work, or get groceries and pharmaceuticals. In Missouri, Gov. Mike Parson says staying at home is a matter of “individual responsibilities”; in Arkansas, Gov. Asa Hutchinson scoffs there is nothing “magical” about stay-at-home directives; in Iowa, Gov. Kim Reynolds protests that “I can’t lock everybody in their home.”

Those governors, all Republicans, have been enabled by Mr. Trump, who points to states that don’t yet “have the problem,” and remarks that it’s “awfully tough to say, ‘Close it down.’ ” He favors flexibility and is seconded by Vice President Pence, who says the federal government “will defer to state and local health authorities on any measures that they deem appropriate.”

As the White House leads from behind, the effect is to endorse and induce complacency. Faced with a stealthy pathogen that can spread from asymptomatic individuals, or incubate for weeks before a victim falls ill with fever, states are free to delude themselves into thinking the virus has passed them by — until, having bidden its time, it erupts inside their cities and towns. Governors of those states can entertain the illusion of alternative facts, imagining their borders are impermeable. They can, like Georgia’s Republican governor, Brian Kemp, resist a stay-at-home order for weeks until discovering just this week — surprise! — that the virus is “transmitting before people see signs.”

[[The Opinions section is looking for stories of how the coronavirus has affected people of all walks of life. Write to us.]]

Their magical thinking endangers the nation. It gives people license to minimize the threat — a threat the White House says could kill up to 240,000 people even with effective social distancing. It allows state-to-state gaps in the firewall that will likely encourage a raging disease to erupt in a series of rolling blazes across the country. As many states get tough, even deploying the police to encourage people to stay indoors, their odds of impeding the pandemic’s path of destruction are undercut by their neighbors’ selfishness.


Steps for survival:
  • Tune out Trump & his political hack/toadies (the GOP Govs listed in this editorial are prime examples);
  • Listen to and follow advice from our health professionals;
  • Stay home unless you are actually performing “essential functions;” 
  • Vote Trump and the GOP out of office, on every level, in November (but you have to survive the Trump/GOP kakistocracy to get to November).

NOTE: Not all GOP Governors are in the “Trump Kakistocracy.” Larry Hogan (MD), Mike DeWine (OH), and Charlie Baker (MA) and others are among those who have heeded public health advice.

Vote Like You Life Depends On It In November! Because Four More Years Of Trump & His GOP Toadies Could Kill Us All!☠️⚰️☠️⚰️☠️⚰️☠️⚰️



“MORE TRUTH THAN FICTION” SATIRE FROM ANDY BOROWITZ @ THE NEW YORKER:  “National Incompetence Stockpiles at Full Capacity” 🤡⚰️☠️🦠🧫😰👎🏻🆘

Andy Borowotz
Andy Borowitz
Political Satirist
The New Yorker


By Andy BorowitzApril 4, 2020

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—The National Incompetence Stockpiles, the federal reserves of inanity and ineptitude to be drawn upon in times of crisis, are at “full capacity,” the Government Accountability Office announced on Saturday.

According to the G.A.O., the Incompetence Stockpiles are so well stocked at the moment that they are in danger of overflowing.

“The sheer tonnage of failure and impotence that is being dumped into the stockpiles on a daily basis is straining their ability to contain it,” the G.A.O. statement read.

Davis Logsdon, a professor at the University of Minnesota who has written the definitive book about the National Incompetence Stockpiles, said that the nation’s futility reserves stand at their highest levels ever, eclipsing the record stockpiles established during the tenure of President George W. Bush.

“The Bush Administration tapped the National Incompetence Stockpiles when it invaded Iraq and responded to Hurricane Katrina,” Logsdon said. “At the time, it seemed as though the stockpiles would never be fully replenished, and that makes the Trump Administration’s achievement all the more striking.”

According to the statutes governing the National Incompetence Stockpiles, individual states may draw on the federal reserves of idiocy in times of emergency, but so far the governors of states like Georgia, Texas, and Florida have been able to rely on vast stockpiles of their own.

Andy Borowitz is a Times best-selling author and a comedian who has written for The New Yorker since 1998. He writes The Borowitz Report, a satirical column on the news.


I can hardly wait for Jared to get the “Medal of Freedom” from “Big Daddy!”🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡



EMERGING STARS ⭐️⭐️⭐️ OF THE NDPA: Elizabeth G. “Betz” Bentley @ Jones Day (Minneapolis) Beats The BIA on Standard of Review in 8th Cir. — Kassim v. Barr

Dan Kowalski reports on LexisNexis Immigration Community:

CA8 on CAT, Somalia, Standard of Review: Kassim v. Barr

Kassim v. Barr

“The overarching question in this case is whether the Board of Immigration Appeals applied its own standard of review correctly. After an immigration judge granted a waiver of inadmissibility and deferral of removal to Ahmed Shariif Kassim, the Board reversed both decisions. Kassim claims that, in doing so, the -2- Board improperly supplanted the immigration judge’s findings with its own. We grant the petition for review in part, deny it in part, and remand. … We instruct the Board to remand to the immigration judge for a finding on whether Kassim would more likely than not suffer torture in Somalia.”

[Hats off to Elizabeth G. Bentley of Jones Day!  “Elizabeth served three clerkships, including to Justice Sonia Sotomayor of the U.S. Supreme Court, prior to joining Jones Day in 2018. She also practiced appellate litigation at a leading national firm and immediately following law school was a legal fellow for the Vera Institute of Justice in New York City, where she assisted the organization’s general counsel regarding issues of nonprofit law. During law school, Elizabeth participated in the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic and was a teaching fellow for a law and social movements course.”]

Elizabeth G. “Betz” Bentley ESQUIRE
Elizabeth G. “Betz” Bentley ESQUIRE
Jones Day
Minneapolis, MN


Congrats, Betz, and thanks to you and Jones Day for taking this important case! Looking forward to more great things from you! Brilliant, committed lawyers like you in the “America’s Future Brigade” of the New Due Process Army are certainly the face of a coming, better American Justice System. You and your colleagues in the NDPA throughout America, working at all levels, will help usher in a “New Age” where Constitutional Due Process, fundamental fairness, and equal justice for all actually become realities for all persons in our nation!

And, as always, thanks to my friend Dan over at LexisNexis Immigration Community for passing this “good news” along.

Due Process Forever.



SATURDAY SATIRE: WE COULD ALL WISH: “Fauci Urges Non-Essential Worker to Go Home” 🤡

Andy Borowotz
Andy Borowitz
Political Satirist
The New Yorker

Fauci Urges Non-Essential Worker to Go Home

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Dr. Anthony Fauci has urged a non-essential employee of the White House Coronavirus Task Force to go home immediately, Fauci confirmed on Friday.

Speaking to reporters, the esteemed virologist said that he made the decision to expel the worker for “the health and safety of others.”

“He said that he felt fine coming to work every day,” Fauci said. “I told him, ‘You may feel fine, but by coming into work you are endangering the lives of countless others.’ ”

Fauci said that his decision to send the non-essential worker home was based on the most recent scientific findings.

“What we’re learning is that breathing and talking can put lives in jeopardy, and this one worker did more breathing and talking than anyone else on the team,” he said.

The employee is expected to spend fourteen hours a day in isolation watching television, a two-hour increase from his normal routine.


Somewhere, a carnival is missing its Top Clown!🤡




MICA ROSENBERG @ REUTERS: Migrants In Trump’s New American Gulag Risk Dying Distant From Hospitals — U.S. Judges Dither As Human Rights Abuses Mount & U.S. Justice System Crumbles Under COVID 19 & Trump’s Continuing Human Rights Abuses! ☠️☠️☠️☠️☠️🆘🆘🆘🆘🆘

Mica Rosenberg
Mica Rosenberg
National Immigration Reporter, Reuters

Mica writes:

I wanted to share our latest reporting, which found about a third of the 43,000 immigrants in detention as of March 2 were housed at facilities that have only one hospital – or none – with intensive-care beds within 25 miles, according to an analysis of data from the American Hospital Directory and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The seven sites with no such hospitals nearby held a total of about 5,000 detainees, according to the analysis, which examined centers that averaged 100 or more detainees. (ICE has said there are fewer detainees being held currently – around 35,600 – but did not provide a facility-by-facility breakdown of their whereabouts)


We focused on Louisiana where the number of immigrant detainees has quadrupled under Trump to nearly 7,000 as of March 2 data. Many of the detention centers in the state are in tiny, rural towns. The Catahoula Correctional Center for example houses more than 500 detainees. It is just outside of Harrisonburg, LA, population 330.

Nurses, doctors and hospital administrators at the small hospitals closest to the detention centers – and even at larger facilities farther away – said they would be overwhelmed if there is an outbreak inside one of the facilities.

Public health experts said an outbreak in a population of 1,500 detainees could require between 150 and 175 intensive-care admissions.


We previously have reported on how lawyers are seeking parole for vulnerable immigrant detainees and how the city of Matamoros in Mexico, where thousands of migrants are stuck in limbo in tent camps, is unprepared for an outbreak.


Please read and share and contact me with additional tips for us to follow!


Mica Rosenberg

Reuters News

National Immigration Reporter


The whole idea of locating immigration prisons “in the middle of nowhere” intentionally to hamper representation, coerce, punish, and deter detainees from asserting legal rights, and limit accountability and public oversight has been a grotesque denial of due process from the “git go.” Congress and the Article III Courts should have intervened long ago to put a stop to this nonsense before it became life-threatening on an even larger scale.

Even more preposterous is that the DOJ and EOIR have located so-called “courts” (that aren’t really courts in any sense of the term, and which no longer provide any semblance of due process and fundamental fairness) within the Gulag. It’s more like the Spanish Inquisition than it is 21st Century American Justice. Except the tragedy is that this is what passes for justice in 21st Century America! What has happened to our country and our souls? Sadly, it’s actually possible that those appearing before the Spanish Inquisition were treated better than we treat asylum seekers under the Trump regime.

Even worse, the “perpetrators” of this disgraceful mockery of the law and human dignity have to date gotten away Scot-Free. Our justice system at all levels has failed migrants seeking fair and humane treatment under our laws. (Apparently, threatening the lives, rights, and safety of non-criminal so-called “civil detainees” isn’t a problem for either Congress or the Article IIIs. We already know that Trump considers our Constitution to be a joke, and that he therefore runs over it with regularity, contempt, and impunity, while Roberts and his Supremes’ majority express disinterest in holding the Trump regime accountable for even the most boldly egregious abuses. No wonder his open contempt for the Article IIIs has only grown over the past three years.)

Thanks, Mica, for your courageous reporting and continuing to tell the story of those whose lives are being endangered by a “maliciously incompetent” White Nationalist regime and feckless Federal Courts, many of whom have forgotten the meaning of their oaths of office and their obligations to their fellow human beings.

Read all of Mica’s stories in their entirety at the above links. Or, better yet, contact Mica directly@Reuters with your own “horror stories” from inside Trump’s judicially-enabled New American Gulag.

Due Process Forever! The Trump Regime & The Complicit Congress & Federal Courts That Enable Its Abuses, Never!

Vote Like Your Life Depends On It This November! Because, It Does!



AS U.S. DISTRICT JUDGES DITHER, DYSFUNCTIONAL IMMIGRATION COURTS THREATEN NATION’S HEALTH & SAFETY — “I think it’s about time the American people woke up to the fact that EOIR’s willingness to perpetuate and extend this pandemic will inevitably bring the virus to their hometown!” ☠️☠️☠️☠️☠️👎🏻👎🏻👎🏻👎🏻👎🏻😰😰😰😰😰⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🧫🧫🧫🧫🧫🆘🆘🆘🆘🆘🆘

Liz Robbins
H Liz Robbins
Legal Reporter
NY Times

Liz Robbins reports for The Appeal:

One government lawyer who appeared in a crowded Newark, New Jersey, immigration court last month is in a medically induced coma. A New York immigration lawyer and her client are both sick. Immigration judges are being denied sick leave when they use anxiety or safety as reasons. Migrant children are asking their lawyers if they will fall ill if they go to court, and whether they’ll be deported if they don’t show up.

Sickness, panic, and confusion in the midst of a pandemic: These are the acute side effects of immigration courts continuing to operate as the novel coronavirus races across the country. Despite three weeks of intense pleading to close all 69 courts—across a united front of immigration lawyers, the union representing lawyers for ICE, and the immigration judges’ union—more than two-thirds of them remain open. 

The courts that have been closed by the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), the federal agency that runs them, have often only been shuttered in reaction to a confirmed case of COVID-19 or suspected exposure. The closures are often last-minute, and not clearly communicated, except on Twitter. This week, several immigration legal associations filed two separate federal lawsuits to close the courts because they fear that the government has put their lives in danger. 

“I think it’s about time the American people woke up to the fact that EOIR’s willingness to perpetuate and extend this pandemic will inevitably bring the virus to their hometown,” Rebecca Press, the legal director at UnLocal in New York, said Thursday via email. She contracted coronavirus two weeks ago and at least one of her clients is sick. “The longer courts remain open even for filing, and the longer the courts require attorneys and immigrants to engage in the work of preparing evidence, the more likely it becomes that the virus will be brought right back to another community.”

Government lawyers are affected, too. Fanny Behar-Ostrow, the president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 511, the union representing ICE lawyers, is getting calls at all hours of the day from members who worry they have been exposed to the virus. “They are panicked, frightened, desperate, upset,” she said. 

In addition to the 36,000 adults in ICE detention facilities, there are some 3,500 migrant children in government custody who are affected by the disarray in the courts. In most courts, children must still attend in-person hearings, putting them at exposure risk. In New York City, the current epicenter of the pandemic, lawyers from Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) have not been told whether EOIR will reschedule cases for next week. They are also unclear about whether the minors even need to come to court at a time when state and city officials have issued stay-at-home orders. 

“We are receiving phone calls from children who had their safety net shaken,” said Maria Odom, vice president for legal services for KIND, which is a nonprofit organization contracted to represent unaccompanied minors. “For us serving vulnerable children, there are so many moving pieces and at a time when we should be able to look to the government, they are just contributing to the chaos.”

Lawyers, judges, and advocates wonder: What will it take for EOIR to close courts nationally?

“I hope that it won’t take a death, but I worry that it will,” said Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, an immigration lawyer and policy counsel for the American Immigration Council. His organization is one of the groups behind a lawsuit filed Monday by the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild.

. . . .


Read the rest of Liz’s article at the link.

Looks like the dead bodies will have to pile up before the Article IIIs and EOIR will take action. As the rest of us know, but to which U.S District Judges & EOIR appear willfully blind, by the time individuals show symptoms and begin dying, it’s too late to stop the spread. The larger community has already been infected.  

I wonder what it is that gives both EOIR officials and Article III Judges such great confidence that they and their families will escape the consequences of their irresponsible behavior? Maybe, it’s that both EOIR Senior Execs and Article III Judges manage to studiously avoid “direct exposure” to Immigration Courts. “Below their pay grade,” so to speak. 

But, according to folks like Dr. Fauci, who possibly knows even more about infectious diseases than EOIR Director McHenry and the Federal Judges who continue to defer to the irresponsible EOIR “guidance,” nobody will be immune. 

So far, the U.S. has done the worst job of any developed country in the world of “flattening the curve.” Inevitably, we eventually will become the “world leader” in coronavirus deaths. After observing the inept response of EOIR and the failure of the U.S. District Courts to promptly intervene on the side of medical knowledge, common sense, and preserving human lives, I can now see why we are failing as a nation to take the extreme measures necessary for self-preservation.

I would think that as lawyers, judges, and other members of the legal community start dying as a result of EOIR’s policies, that the officials responsible eventually will face legal actions brought by surviving family members and colleagues. Life tenure and the judicial doctrine of “absolute immunity” will protect the feckless Federal Judges from legal accountability. But, it won’t protect them and their reputations from moral accountability and the “judgements of history” which are likely to be harsh and as unforgiving as the Trump Immigration Kakistocracy’s treatment of the most vulnerable among us and their brave lawyers.

Due Process Forever! Trump’s Immigration Kakistocracy & Feckless Federal Courts, Never!



THE RISE OF KAKISTOCRACY, THE FALL OF A NATION: Jennifer Rubin @ WashPost: “An outbreak of incompetence” — “Courtside” Has Been “Sounding The Warning” About The Disastrous Effects Of “Kakistocracy” & “Malicious Incompetence,” Driven By White Nationalist Racism, For Years — Now It’s Putting Everyone In America At Risk!

Jennifer Rubin
Jennifer Rubin
Opinion Writer
Washington Post

Jennifer Rubin in the WashPost:

White House adviser Jared Kushner broke the irony meter as he — not someone qualified, such as Anthony S. Fauci — took over the daily coronavirus briefing on Thursday to inform us: “What a lot of the voters are seeing now is that when you elect somebody … think about who will be a competent manager during the time of crisis.”

Yes, President Trump’s voters, along with those who elected the similarly ignorant and slothful Republican governors in Florida and Georgia who failed to act promptly to stem the coronavirus, should remember that next time. Better to elect someone like California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) or Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) rather than someone continually pandering to Trump, resisting readily available scientific advice and attacking the media.

One has the sinking feeling that things are going from bad to worse. Trump and the feds declined to act swiftly, in particular failing to get widespread testing up and running. Now they are failing to remedy the dire medical crisis that their negligence brought on. Kushner said the federal stockpile of medical equipment is for the feds to use, not the states. His father-in-law seems allergic to implementing fully the Defense Production Act, so the bidding war among the states for critical equipment continues.

Republican governors in Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and Alabama declined to issue prompt stay-at-home orders. Now? Trump refuses to issue one nationally despite Fauci’s advice. “I don’t understand why that’s not happening,” he said in a CNN interview. “As you said, the tension between federally mandated vs. states’ rights to do what they want is something I don’t want to get into. But if you look at what is going on in this country, I do not understand why we are not doing that. We really should be.” The answer: We have a total lack of federal leadership and competence.

Full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic

Congress set up a $350 billion fund for small-business loans. Beginning Friday, many banks promptly announced that they could accept applications in the absence of clear federal guidance. The chaos, confusion and delays surrounding the Small Business Administration loans might make the unemployment insurance process seem like a fine-tuned machine. (Thousands, if not millions, of unemployment claims remain unprocessed due to overwhelming demand.)

The Defense Department is no better. Trump jettisoned a career professional serving as defense secretary (James Mattis) for a meek, subservient aerospace executive. The result is predictable. Politico reports: “Defense Secretary Mark Esper is under fire for the Pentagon’s response to the coronavirus pandemic as lawmakers, national security experts and people throughout the Defense Department’s ranks fault him for a slow and uneven approach to the outbreak.” His most notable action: Supporting the firing of the Navy commander whose letter pleading to allow his sailors to disembark from a floating petri dish, the USS Theodore Roosevelt, was leaked. The military under Trump can forgive war crimes, just not pleas to save men and women in uniform from incompetent superiors.

This is as exasperating as it is frightening. Governors, if you are lucky enough to live in a state with a competent one, can do only so much when, for example, there are no ventilators to be had. The Democratic-led House can only churn out its version of remedial legislation, but it cannot withstand Senate and White House efforts to scuttle anti-fraud, anti-cronyism measures. (“Most big companies that take advantage of the $500 billion corporate bailout in last week’s coronavirus relief bill are unlikely to face restrictions against firing workers or giving bonuses to executives, according to officials familiar with the program.”) And while the House can bird-dog the executive branch as it distributes money, the House cannot do the executive branch’s job for it.

The chaos, confusion and incompetence at the federal level magnify our daily anxiety and uncertainty. We have lost control of our lives, and those supposed to lead us through this ordeal are deepening our national trauma. Years of contempt for expertise, for competent government and for truth itself on the right now haunt us all. God help us.


Right on, Jennifer!

As if on cue, about the time I was reading Jennifer’s op-ed, the Blathering Boor was on TV demonstrating his “malicious incompetence” by telling American that we should wear face masks, but then immediately contradicting the message by emphasizing that it was voluntary, not required, and he wouldn’t be doing it. Because he has to meet with dictators, kings, queens, emperors, tyrants, princes, fairy godmothers, etc. Even life or death matters become mere sick jokes under the “Clown Kakistocracy,” where ignorance and lies reign.

This is what I’ve been saying for a long time now. I plugged the term “kakistocracy” into my search engine at Courtside and got seven (7) pages of results going all this way back to this article on April 27, 2018.

Here’s  my favorite “Theater of the Absurd” quote from Jennifer’s article: “The military under Trump can forgive war crimes, just not pleas to save men and women in uniform from incompetent superiors.”

So much for the mythical “Gang of Generals” who were supposed to save us from Trump’s “malicious incompetence.” Nope. They all “went long to get along” for awhile and then took cover in vain attempts to save what was left of their shredded reputations. Write a “tell nothing” book, give a few disingenuous interviews, hide on the board of directors of a company profiting from child abuse, whatever! Trump corrupts and destroys everything he touches, including our country!

Unlike those guys, I think there is actually gainful employment out there in the real world for someone like Captain Brett Crozier who puts human lives before a maliciously incompetent “chain of command” looking to cover up its malfeasance. 

It’s not like our military hasn’t always had a certain penchant for punishing those who “speak truth to incompetent power!” Just ask the ghost of “Milwaukee Hero” Gen. Billy Mitchell who got court-martialed for being smarter, more creative, and more courageous than his superiors. Who would ever have ever believed that air power, not horse drawn caissons, would win the next World War? Duh! Certainly none of his immediate superiors in the Army after WW I!

Due Process Forever! Vote The Kakistocracy Out In November!

Vote Like Your Life Depends On It! Because It Does!




Maanvi Singh
Maanvi Singh
Freelance Reporter

Maanvi Singh reports for The Guardian:

As the coronavirus spread through California and the economic fallout of the pandemic began to hit Patricia’s community in the rural Coachella Valley, she said a new Trump administration policy had layered worries upon her worries.

The so-called “public charge” rule, which allows the government to deny green cards and visas to immigrants who rely on public benefits, went into effect in late February, just as the first cases of Covid-19 were being reported across the US.

“Now, we are in panic,” said Patricia, a 46-year-old mother of three and daughter of two elderly parents. The Guardian is not using Patricia’s real name to protect her and her undocumented family members.

Patricia’s father, who stopped seeking treatment for his pancreatic cancer after a lawyer advised that using some public medical benefits could affect his bid to gain legal status, is among the most at-risk for complications from contracting the coronavirus. So is her mother, who is diabetic.

“I have a broken heart,” she said. “We’ve been told that if we want papers to feel secure and calm here, there’s a tradeoff.”

‘I won’t survive’: Iranian scientist in US detention says Ice will let Covid-19 kill many

Although the US Citizenship and Immigration Services last week announced under pressure from lawmakers and advocacy groups that immigrants who undergo testing or treatment for Covid-19 would not be denied visas or green cards under the new rule, fear and confusion are stopping people from seeking medical care. In the midst of a pandemic, health and legal experts say that policies designed to exclude vulnerable immigrant communities from medical care are fueling a public health disaster.

“The community doesn’t trust the government right now.” said Luz Gallegos, who directs the Todec Legal Center in southern California. As Covid-19 spreads across the state, much of the center’s efforts recently have been dedicated to reassuring immigrants that they can and should take advantage of health programs if they can.

Patricia, who went to Todec for advice, said even though she’s been told that the public charge rule doesn’t apply to those who want to get tested for the coronavirus, she can’t help but worry. “With this president, you can never know,” she said. When immigration policies can change overnight, she said, “how can we have trust?”

Even before the public charge rules went into effect, a UCLA analysis found that more than 2 million Californians enrolled in the state’s public food and medical benefits programs could be affected by the rule, which allows immigration officials to turn away those seeking green cards and visas based on who are “likely to be a public charge”.

“We can’t stop the spread of disease while denying health coverage to people,” said Ninez Ponce, director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. “It’s irresponsible public health policy.”

Although several groups of immigrants, including asylum-seekers and refugees, are exempt from the rule, the complicated, 217-page regulation has a “chilling effect”, Ponce said, driving people to withdraw from social services even if they don’t have to.

. . . .


Read the rest of Maanvi’s report at the link.


By Paul Wickham Schmidt

Exclusive for Courtside

April 3, 2020

So, let’s be clear about what happened here with the so-called public charge regulations. The expert public commentary opposing this unlawful and unnecessary (i/o/w “stupid and malicious”) change in the regulations was overwhelming. 

The vast bulk of the 266,077 public comments received were in opposition!

Support for the change outside of White Nationalist nativist “fringies” was negligible and had no basis in fact.

The Administration’s rationale, sacrificing health and welfare and screwing immigrants for some small fabricated savings that failed to consider the offsetting harm to the public and individuals, was facially absurd. 

A U.S. District Judge in New York immediately and properly found the regulation change to be unlawful and enjoined it. The Second Circuit upheld that injunction.

In the meantime, however, Appellate Judges in the 9th and 4th Circuits had gone “belly up” for Trump.

Trump Solicitor General Francisco fabricated an “emergency” reason for the Supremes to intervene in a process that was ongoing before the District Court in New York. The “J.R. Five” voted to be Francisco’s toadies and stay the injunction. The other justices voted to uphold the injunction and require the Trump regime to abide by the law and normal judicial procedures.

The J.R. Five’s “toadyism for Trump” was so obvious that in a later related case Justice Sonia Sotomayor took the unusual step of filing a sharply worded dissent “outing” her colleagues for consistently “tilting” the process in favor of one party — Trump.

Then, the “real emergency” (as opposed to Francisco’s fabricated one) predicted by the health officials who had opposed the regulation change occurred. Now, immigrant families who often form the backbone of our “essential workforce” are at risk and they, in turn, will unavoidably spread the risk. Americans, citizens, residents, documented, undocumented, will unnecessarily die because the J.R. Five were derelict in their duties. 

The truth is very straightforward: “The coronavirus pandemic is ‘Exhibit A for why the public charge rule is stupid’ said Almas Sayeed, at the California Immigrant Policy Center.” Apparently, “Exhibit A” was too deep for the “J.R. Five” to grasp. 

The Constitution actually doesn’t enable the Executive to promulgate irrational policies that contradict both the best science and endanger the public health and welfare to achieve openly racist and xenophobic political goals. “Stupidity based on racism and ignorance” has no place in our Federal Government. 

As Mark Joseph Stern so clearly said in Slate:

Put simply: When some of the most despised and powerless among us ask the Supreme Court to spare their lives, the conservative justices turn a cold shoulder. When the Trump administration demands permission to implement some cruel, nativist, and potentially unlawful immigration restrictions, the conservatives bend over backward to give it everything it wants.

COMPLICITY WATCH: Justice Sonia Sotomayor Calls Out “Men In Black” For Perverting Rules To Advance Trump/Miller White Nationalist Nativist Immigration Agenda!

“Stupid” actually means “illegal” in this and most other cases. That such an an obvious concept is over the heads of the ideologically biased “J.R. Five” should give us all great pause. The next time these folks decide to elevate the “stupid” and the “racist” over “rational, legal, and humane,” it could be YOUR life and future going down their drain.

If we continue to empower a regime that elevates poorly qualified individuals who have lost any sense of human values and common decency they might have possessed to life tenure in the highest courts of our land, there will be no end to the avoidable human disasters, unnecessary suffering, and tragedies that will ensue. 

We need regime change in November! That won’t change the composition and qualifications of the Federal Judiciary overnight. But, it will be an absolutely necessary start toward a Government and a judiciary that understand and respect the Constitution, the rule of law, and the individual rights and human dignity of all persons before our laws. In other words, due process and equal justice for all.

Vote like you life depends on it. Because, it does!

Due Process Forever! Complicit Courts Never!



DARA LIND @ PRO PUBLICA: Trump & His White Nationalists Always Hated Asylum Laws — Now With CBP’s Help, They Have Simply Decided To Repeal Them By Memo — No Real Pushback From Broken Legal System & Feckless Congress!

Dara Lind
Dara Lind
Immigration Reporter
Pro Publica

Dara writes in Pro Publica:

Citing little-known power given to the CDC to ban entry of people who might spread disease and ignoring the Refugee Act of 1980, an internal memo has ordered Border Patrol agents to push the overwhelming majority of migrants back into Mexico.

For the first time since the enactment of the Refugee Act in 1980, people who come to the U.S. saying they fear persecution in their home countries are being turned away by Border Patrol agents with no chance to make a legal case for asylum.

The shift, confirmed in internal Border Patrol guidance obtained by ProPublica, is the upshot of the Trump administration’s hasty emergency action to largely shut down the U.S.-Mexico border over coronavirus fears. It’s the biggest step the administration has taken to limit humanitarian protection for people entering the U.S. without papers.

The Trump administration has created numerous obstacles over recent years for migrants to claim asylum and stay in the United States. But it had not — until now — allowed Border Patrol agents to simply expel migrants with no process whatsoever for hearing their claims.

The administration gave the Border Patrol unchallengeable authority over migrants seeking asylum by invoking a little-known power given to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. public health agency, to ban the entry of people or things that might spread “infectious disease” in the U.S. The CDC on March 20 barred entry of people without proper documentation, on the logic that they could be unexamined carriers of the disease and out of concern about the effects if the novel coronavirus swept through Customs and Border Protection holding facilities.

U.S. immigration law requires the government to allow people expressing a “well-founded” fear of persecution or torture to be allowed to pursue legal status in the United States. The law also requires the government to grant status to anyone who shows they likely face persecution if returned to their homeland.

“The Trump administration’s new rule and CDC order do not trump U.S. laws passed by Congress and U.S. legal obligations under refugee and human rights treaties,” Eleanor Acer, of the legal advocacy group Human Rights First, told ProPublica. “But the Trump administration is wielding them as the ultimate tool to shut the border to people seeking refuge.”

Two weeks ago, the Trump administration hastily put in place a policy, which the internal guidance calls Operation Capio, to push the overwhelming majority of unauthorized migrants into Mexico within hours of their apprehension in the U.S.

The Trump administration has been publicly vague on what happens under the new policy to migrants expressing a fear of persecution or torture, the grounds for asylum. But the guidance provided to Border Patrol agents makes clear that asylum-seekers are being turned away unless they can persuade both a Border Patrol agent — as well as a higher-ranking Border Patrol official — that they will be tortured if sent home. There is no exception for those who seek protection on the basis of their identities, such as race or religion.

Over 7,000 people have been expelled to Mexico under the order, according to sources briefed by Customs and Border Protection officials.

The guidance, shared with ProPublica by a source within the Border Patrol, instructs agents that any migrant caught entering without documentation must be processed for “expulsion,” citing the CDC order. When possible, migrants are to be driven to the nearest official border crossing and “expelled” into Mexico or Canada. (The Mexican government has agreed to allow the U.S. to push back not only Mexican migrants, but also those from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador; the four countries account for about 85% of all unauthorized border crossings.)

Under the Refugee Convention, which the U.S. signed onto in 1968, countries are barred from sending someone back to a country in which they could be persecuted based on their identity (specifically, their race, nationality, religion, political opinion or membership in a “particular social group”).

The Trump administration has taken several steps to restrict the ability of migrants to seek asylum, a form of legal status that allows someone to eventually become a permanent U.S. resident. Until now, however, it has acknowledged that U.S. and international law prevents the U.S. from sending people back to a place where they will be harmed. And it has still allowed people who claim a fear of persecution to seek a less permanent form of legal status in the U.S. (In the last two weeks of February, 2,915 people were screened for humanitarian protection, according to the most recent statistics provided by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.)

The Border Patrol guidance provided to ProPublica shows that the U.S. is acting as if that obligation no longer applies.

Customs and Border Protection, the agency that oversees the Border Patrol, said it would not comment on the document provided to ProPublica. Asked whether any guidance had been provided regarding people who expressed a fear of persecution of torture, an agency spokesperson said in a statement, “The order does not apply where a CBP officer determines, based on consideration of significant law enforcement, officer and public safety, humanitarian, or public health interests, that the order should not be applied to a particular person.”

That language does not appear in the guidance ProPublica received. Instead, it specifies that any exception must be approved by the chief patrol agent of a given Border Patrol sector. One former senior CBP official, who reviewed the guidance at ProPublica’s request, said that because there are so many levels of hierarchy between a chief patrol agent and a line agent, agents would be unlikely to ask for an exemption to be made.

. . . .


Read the rest of the article at the link.

Shows how fragile our legal system and our democratic institutions are. Contrary to “popular liberal myth” they have not “been holding up well” in the age of Trump.  A GOP Senate, of course, deserves much of the blame. But, it’s not like the Democrats have exactly put protecting the rule of law and Constitutional Due Process for the most vulnerable among us at the forefront.

We can also trace the disintegration of the legal system under Trump directly to the the failure of Roberts and the GOP majority on the Supremes to stand up for separation of powers, racial and religious justice, and Executive accountability. By ignoring a very clear record of invidious racial, religious, and political bias behind Trump’s Executive actions, and allowing a transparently contrived “national security” rationale to be used, in the so-called “Travel Ban Case” the Supremes’ majority basically signaled they had no intention of halting a White Nationalist assault on our Constitution and the rights of vulnerable minorities, particularly migrants. In other words, Roberts & Co. said: “It’s OK to ‘Dred Scottify’ away, we’ll never stand in your way.”  And, true to their word, the “J.R. Five” have been more than happy to ignore the law and “green light” the White Nationalist nativist immigration agenda.

So, four decades of painstakingly hard cooperative work by “good government” advocates, NGOs, the private sector, and the international community to reach an imperfect, yet basically workable, consensus that saved countless lives and helped fuel our economic success, the Refugee Act of 1980 lies in tatters. Decades of progress destroyed in a little over three years. That’s “institutional failure” on a massive scale!

Don’t look for the Refugee Act or the rule of law to be resurrected any time soon. Under Trump and his would-be authoritarian kakistocracy, the “emergencies,” real and fabricated, will never end until democracy and human decency are dead and buried. And, don’t count on Mitch McConnell or John Roberts to stand in the way.

This is exactly how democracies die. But, we do have the remaining power to remove the kakistocracy at all levels of our government and start rebuilding America. Yes, Roberts and his gang have life tenure. But, with “regime change,” we can start appointing better judges who will aggressively push back against the far-right, anti-democracy judicial agenda! Folks who believe in Due Process, fundamental fairness, the rule of law, racial equality, human decency, and equal justice for all! Vote to save our nation in November!

Due Process Forever!



SET OUR CHILDREN FREE! — AMERICA OFFICIALLY ABUSES CHILDREN IN THE TIME OF PLAGUE — Lee Sunday Evans & Waterwell With A 90-Second Video Using The Words Of The Abused!


Lee Sunday Evans
Lee Sunday Evans
Artistic Director

Dearest Flores Readers –

I hope this finds you and your loved ones as safe and comfortable as possible right now.

We created a 90-second video – its a series of excerpts about the lack of access to healthcare in immigration detention facilities as a way to highlight how dangerous it is for anyone to be in detention during COVID-19.

Can you post or share this video on social media?

It will have a great impact – it will help engage more people in the movement to get people out of detention.

All info about how to post is below.

I’ve also included a few relevant news stories in case you’re interested in more context. And, there is information about one direct action you can take if you are interested.

Feel free to be in touch if you have any questions.

(AND – if you are also working on this issue and have other ideas about how this video, or the project, can be most effective at this time, we are all ears, our digital doors are open.)

With love,



The video is posted to our social media channels:




or DOWNLOAD the video directly: / password: criterion

(*choose the 4K file)

CAPTION – use ours or write your own:

These first-hand stories from June 2019 can help us understand why it’s so urgent to get people out of detention during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

COPY These Hashtags

#FreeThemAll #FreeThemAllGov #HealthNotPunishment #floresexhibits

(This is the most direct way to connect your message and your followers to the movement among advocates and policy makers.)

ACTION – if you want to take an action today, this is from RAICES Texas:

> Call the San Antonio ICE Field Office at (210) 283-4712

> “Hi, my name is _____ and I am calling to demand the release of all immigrant detainees from the Residential Centers at Karnes and Pearsall due to the imminent threat of COVID-19. If you don’t, we are all at risk.”


Judge orders release of 10 detained immigrants from NJ jails

Judge Gee orders gov’t to “rmake continued efforts” to release migrant children

Judge declines to release families in detention in TX + NJ

Detained Immigrants File a Lawsuit

FOLLOW these incredible advocacy organizations to stay informed about the issues and amplify important actions they are instigating:

Detention Watch Network (@DetentionWatch)


Southern Border Community Coalition (@SBCCoalition)

New Sanctuary Coalition (@NewSanctuaryNYC)

ACLU – Border Rights (@ACLU_BRC)


Join the New Due Process Army and fight to end official child abuse and Article III judicial complicity! 

What kind of society allows its government to abuse children? Whatever happened to accountability? How about ethics and common sense for Article III Judges who could end the abuse, but haven’t? How would you feel if your children were treated this way by the authorities? There is a reprehensible “double standard” at work here!

Due Process Forever! Child Abuse Never!



UPDATE: While folks like McHenry and the operators of the DHS Gulag provide misleading information, or perhaps outright lies, to Federal Judges, Courtside’s sources say that at least six individuals with some connection to the Immigration Courts have died from coronavirus. While I admittedly have no way of “independently verifying” this information, I’d bet that there are many more Immigration Court or Gulag-related coronavirus deaths and serious infections out there that I do not know about!

Why,  I wonder, would any Federal Judge accept the word of someone like McHenry or officials in the DHS Gulag over affidavits from detainees, filings from experts, and the advice we hear from the Surgeon General, Dr, Fauci, and Dr. Birx every day? Stay home means “stay home!”

Nobody with any understanding of our immigration system could reasonably believe that running one more removal hearing or keeping non-criminals in prison is worth endangering lives and spreading disease! What in the recent public history of DHS Detention and EOIR would lead a Federal Judge to credit any information on “best practices” on public health provided by these inherently unreliable and incompetent organizations?





TIMING IS EVERYTHING: DURING CRISIS, BIA MAKES TIME FOR A LITTLE GRATUITOUS CRUELTY: What Could Be Better During Worldwide Pandemic & Humanitarian Disaster Than An Attempt To Narrow The Criteria For Cancellation & Deport To Guatemala A Long-Time Resident With Five U.S.C. Kids, Three With Health Issues, & An LPR Mother With Hypertension? — Matter of J-J-G, 27 I&N Dec. 808 (BIA 2020)

Matter of J-J-G-, 27 I&N Dec. 808 (BIA 2020)


1) The exceptional and extremely unusual hardship for cancellation of removal is based on a cumulative consideration of all hardship factors, but to the extent that a claim is based on the health of a qualifying relative, an applicant needs to establish that the relative has a serious medical condition and, if he or she is accompanying the applicant to the country of removal, that adequate medical care for the claimed condition is not reasonably available in that country.

(2) The Immigration Judge properly determined that the respondent did not establish eligibility for cancellation of removal because he did not demonstrate that his qualifying relatives will experience hardship, including medical, economic, and emotional hardship, that rises to the level of exceptional and extremely unusual.

PANEL: MALPHRUS, Acting Chairman; CREPPY and CASSIDY, Appellate Immigration Judges

OPINION BY: Judge Garry D. Malphrus, Acting Chairman


Getting beyond the BIA’s disingenuously rosey description of life in Guatemala, here’s what really happens to families sent back to Guatemala in the “time of plague.”

Here’s an excerpt:

María looked for work as a waitress as soon as she arrived. She knocked on the doors of 15 restaurants and was rejected each time. “Right now, no one is hiring workers, they’re firing people,” María said. Under the lockdown, she has had to put her search on hold.

María’s options in Guatemala are limited, particularly since it is not safe for her to go back to her home town. She and her little girl fled Guatemala for the US in late 2018 after the same gang that murdered María’s entire family over a land dispute, including the little girl’s mother, killed María’s partner and shot at María. Last summer, a US immigration judge found María’s account credible but decided her case did not meet the narrow legal standard for asylum. María filed an appeal but could no longer endure being locked up away from her niece. Because she was not the girl’s biological mother, Ice refused to release her from detention to reunite the family. After nearly a year apart, María requested deportation with the hope she and the girl could return together.

“It was notably easier for Ice to concede the bona fides of the relationship between María and her niece when removal to Guatemala was the goal,” said Suzannah Maclay, María’s attorney.

‘It is beyond cruel’: Ice refuses to reunite girl with the only family she has left

María was craving freedom after so long in detention but still finds herself spending her days inside. She wants her niece to go to school and get the education she never got. She feels restless, unable to start building a better life for them both. “I can’t do anything,” she said.

She believes the gang that murdered her family still wants to kill her, and she is always fearful they will discover she is back. She doesn’t want her niece to grow up alone. She tries to give the girl a sense of security, but the truth is hard to hide. “Why did they send us here?” the girl asked her upon arriving in Guatemala. “It’s too dangerous.”

As María and her child focus on day-to-day survival, they are also trying to heal from the trauma of their separation. Sometimes the girl tells María about foster care in New York. The stories are hard to hear. The girl describes getting her hands slapped when she touched things or being scolded in restaurants. “They humiliated her,” María said.

“Mami, I missed you so much,” the girl tells her. “I don’t ever want to be apart again.” María responds with a promise: “This won’t happen again.”

Now, a real appellate court, with qualified judges acting independently, might have used this as an opportunity to direct that Immigration Court hearings in all “non-criminal” cancellation of removal cases be deferred until such time as we can understand what is actually happening in Guatemala and other countries after the worldwide pandemic is brought under control. 

After all, the situation is rapidly evolving. Or, I should say devolving! What’s the purpose of holding “trials” on conditions in foreign nations that are likely to change materially on a weekly or even daily basis? 

Just look at the difference between the impact of the coronavirus in the United States one month ago and what is happening today. A month ago, folks were strolling the beaches of Florida and our President was basically minimizing the potential impact. Now there are over 10 million Americans out of work, three-fourths of the country under “stay at home” orders (except for Immigration Court), with nearly 200,000 reported cases, and “best case” predictions of several hundred thousand deaths! 

So, why would any rational person think, like the BIA does, that things will be “hunky dory” for those deported to Guatemala, particularly if they choose to take their U.S.C. children? Why would a poor corrupt country with a limited economy and few resources fare better than the world’s richest nation in weathering this crisis? When hospitals are breaking down all over the U.S., why would health care be readily available to recent returnees in Guatemala? With 10 million out of work here, why would jobs to support a family of five be readily available in Guatemala?  The BIA’s decision in this case is as “counterfactual” as it is needlessly cruel!

Looking at it from a factual, legal, public health, or humanitarian viewpoint, the BIA’s timing and decision in this case were totally irresponsible.

We need an independent U.S. Immigration Court with better, more responsible, and more humane judges.

Due Process Forever! Captive Courts Never!




Hon. A. Ashlley Tabaddor
Hon. A. Ashley Tabaddor
President, National
Association of Immigration Judges (“NAIJ”)
Dan Kowalski
Dan Kowalski
Online Editor of the LexisNexis Immigration Law Community (ILC)


The video at this link kindly furnished by the always amazing Dan Kowalski over at LexisNexis Immigration Community:




How totally screwed up, unconstitutional, and unethical is this current system under the Department of Justice (“DOJ”)?

As “punishment” for consistently speaking out for Constitutional Due Process and for the rights of EOIR employees to do their jobs safely, professionally, and free from political interference and pressure, the DOJ is seeking, on patently frivolous grounds previously rejected by the Federal Labor Relations Authority, to “decertify” the NAIJ to prevent Judge Tabaddor and other NAIJ officers from “speaking truth to power” and “blowing the whistle” on the mockery of justice unfolding daily in Immigration Courts across the country. We can’t let them get away with this outrageous and unlawful behavior.

Join the New Due Process Army (“NDPA”) today, and fight to make Due Process under law a reality for all persons in the United States! 


Due Process Forever! Captive Courts, Never! We Need Article I!




THE DAILY BEAST: “Trump Administration Has Turned Immigration Court Into ‘Public Health Hazard’” — As Federal Judges Dither & Wobble, Trump Regime Endangers Public Health! ☠️☠️☠️☠️☠️

Sam Brodey
Sam Brodey
Congressional Reporter
The Daily Beast
Scott Bixby
Scott Bixby
National Reporter
The Daily Beast

Sam Brodey & Scott Bixby report in The Daily Beast:

In a country ground to a standstill by the coronavirus pandemic, there is one place normalcy reigns: immigration courts.

Overburdened judges oversee packed proceedings; attorneys shuttle clients and paperwork from room to room, often with interpreters in tow; aspiring legal citizens, or at least residents, follow closely, sitting through hearings famously described as death-penalty cases held in a traffic court.

The courts, along with visa applications, detention hearings and other immigration related bureaucracy, are seemingly the lone part of the federal government still expected to function as if a global pandemic hasn’t upended nearly every facet of American life. But those tasked with keeping the machine running say that they have received little guidance about how to keep the system running in the era of social isolation, and even less protection despite fears that immigration proceedings put some of the most vulnerable people in the country in the impossible position of choosing between their health or their home.

The Trump administration has refused to allow immigration courts and visa hearings to comply with the same social isolation standards followed by nearly every other civil aspect of government, and has not allowed for previously scheduled hearings to be postponed. The administration has also issued little in the way of guidance for judges, immigration attorneys or immigrants, whose hearings—which often take years to schedule—directly conflict with stay-at-home orders across the county.

“The immigration court’s refusal to adopt policies that protect the health of respondents, lawyers, judges and immigration court staff during the current pandemic forces immigrant families and their lawyers to make an impossible decision: endanger public health or risk being deported,” said Nadia Dahab, senior litigation attorney at Innovation Law Lab, one of half a dozen immigrants-rights groups that on Friday filed an emergency order challenging the operation of immigration courts despite the crisis.

“We are in the middle of a global pandemic, but the immigration court system is continuing to operate as if it’s business as usual,” said Melissa Crow, senior supervising attorney with the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Immigrant Justice Project. “The government has turned the court system into a public health hazard.”

. . . .


Read the rest of the article at the link. 

With very few exceptions, deportations are hardly “essential” during a worldwide pandemic. Indeed, given that even asymptomatic individuals can and have spread the disease, deportation will certainly spread the risk to other countries that likely won’t be able to control it. 

There is currently no cure, no vaccine, and no known way of controlling the coronavirus other than staying home. While this well-known information might have gone over the heads of EOIR and Article III Judges, you really wouldn’t need a law degree of even be very smart to figure out that Immigration Courts and the DHS Gulag need to be shut down. Now! No Article III Judge would actually want to trust his or her life to operating under the messed up “guidelines” issued by EOIR! So why is it OK for others?

Statistics show that the longer we wait to keep everyone home, the more individuals who will die! Why is that such a hard concept for EOIR officials and Article III Judges to grasp? 

This is a time for “radical prudence” not “criminal recklessness.” The Government should have to demonstrate “clear and convincing” reasons and “best health practices” to go forward with any individual removal case during the pandemic.

Because so many Federal Judges have little understanding of what it means to appear in the Immigration “Courts” (which are not “courts” in any sense of the word) and because they use exceptionally  poor judgement in believing regime bureaucrats who have no credibility on issues of public health or anything else, over experts in the field, individuals will unnecessarily suffer and die.

At some point in the future, there will have to be an accounting for the whole mess that has been allowed to unfold as a result of Trump’s biased and irrational immigration policies. Examination of the unconscionably poor response by the Article III Judiciary must be part of that process. They are a key part of unnecessarily “endangering public health” as described in this article.

The Article III Judges we have now are what we have — they have life tenure. But, going forward we can do better — much better. And, our lives and the future of humanity will depend on it.

Due Process Forever! Better Judges For A Better Future! Constantly Confront Complicit Courts 4 Change!




LEFT OUT IN THE COLD: Analysis By Nicole Narea @ VOX Shows How Millions Of Tax Paying Migrants, Many Performing Essential Services & With U.S. Citizen Kids, Have Been Excluded From Pandemic Relief — Fed Official Says Everyone Should Be Included in Stimulus! 

Nicole Narea
Nicole Narea
Immigration Reporter

Nicole writes:

President Donald Trump signed a $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill last week that promises to mitigate the impact of the crisis on workers — but it leaves out many immigrants.

The bill, known as the CARES Act, delivers direct payments to most taxpayers, vastly expands unemployment benefits, and makes testing for the virus free, among other provisions. But although unauthorized immigrants are no more immune from the effects of the current crisis, the stimulus bill conspicuously leaves them out in the cold — potentially putting them at greater economic and health risk, and impeding public health efforts to stop the spread of coronavirus.

The unauthorized worker population is particularly vulnerable to the virus due to inadequate access to health care. Noncitizens are significantly more likely to be uninsured compared to US citizens, which may dissuade them from seeking medical care if they contract the virus. Compounding matters are the Trump administration’s hardline immigration policies — including wide-scale immigration raids and a rule that can penalize green card applicants for using Medicaid — which have made noncitizens afraid to access care. These factors pose a problem for America’s efforts to slow the spread of the virus, which has killed more than 3,400 in the US as of March 31.

“We’re operating in an environment where we’re constantly having to reassure patients that they can access services,” Jim Mangia, CEO and president of St. John’s Well Child and Family Center — a network of community health centers in the Los Angeles area that serve about 32,000 undocumented immigrants annually — said in a press call. “It’s a constant struggle and in the midst of a pandemic, it’s even more difficult and more dangerous.”

While many immigrants are continuing to work in essential fields, ranging from medical care to cleaning to grocery stores, they may take an economic hit like many other workers who are facing layoffs, furloughs, and pay cuts. And absent financial relief for the population of unauthorized immigrants workers in particular, many may try to continue going to work despite public health warnings to stay home, which could further spread the virus and pose a risk to public health.

“Those who cannot obtain relief are likely to continue going out and trying to earn a living, at the risk of themselves and spreading the virus to others,” Theresa Cardinal Brown, director of immigration and cross-border policy at the Bipartisan Policy Institute, told Vox. “The cost of providing this benefit to them has to be weighed against the need to keep up the restrictions to stop the virus spread.”

Immigrants are eligible for some free testing

Here’s one thing the bill does offer to unauthorized immigrants: free coronavirus testing at government-funded community health centers through a $1 billion federal program. But some community health centers have already reported shortages of tests; Mangia said St. John’s only had 39 tests last week when almost 900 patients presented with symptoms of Covid-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus.

. . . .

Many immigrants won’t receive cash-based benefits

But the centerpiece provisions of the bill — the expanded unemployment benefits and up to $1,200 in cash payments to taxpayers — won’t be accessible to millions of immigrants.

“Immigrant workers and families who are paying taxes have been cut out from receiving a single dollar,” Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, said in a statement.

The bill increases unemployment benefits by $600 for all workers for up to four months, on top of what they would get from unemployment insurance. As my colleague Dylan Matthews writes, this is a huge increase from January, when the average UI check was $385 per week.

But only immigrants who can show that they’re authorized to work in the US can file for unemployment, including green card and temporary visa holders. For visa holders who have been laid off during the crisis, they will only be eligible for unemployment for as long as their visa stays valid. That’s a period of 60 days for those on H-1B skilled worker visas, unless they find another job in that time — an unlikely prospect given that many businesses have already instituted hiring freezes.

Only some states, including California and Texas, allow beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which offers work permits to some 700,000 unauthorized immigrants who came to the US as children, to file for unemployment. Unauthorized immigrant workers more broadly — who number some 7.6 million, according to the Pew Research Center — are also typically ineligible for unemployment, but policies differ by state.

Under the stimulus bill, the government will also start sending out checks to most taxpayers starting in April. The amounts range based on income, but they’re phased out for individuals making more than $99,000 and couples making $198,000.

Only immigrants who have Social Security numbers can receive those checks, including green card holders and “resident aliens” who have lived in the US long enough (usually five years) to file taxes as residents. Temporary visa holders, DACA recipients, and beneficiaries of Temporary Protected Status — which the US has historically offered to citizens of countries suffering from catastrophes such as natural disasters or armed conflict — could therefore qualify.

But there is a big exclusion for those in households with people of mixed immigration status, where some tax filers or their children may use what’s called an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).

The IRS issues ITINs to unauthorized immigrants so they can pay taxes, even though they don’t have a Social Security number. If anyone in the household uses an ITIN — either a spouse or a dependent child — that means no one in the household will qualify for the stimulus checks, unless one spouse served in the military in 2019.

The stipulation could impact an estimated 16.7 million people who live in mixed-status households nationwide, including 8.2 million US-born or naturalized citizens.

This also includes those with deportation protections under the Obama-era DACA program, children and young adults whose parents often don’t have legal status. They’re left wondering how they can help support their families so that their parents don’t have to go to work, where they risk getting sick, and how they can help cover the costs of their parents’ medical care should they need it, Sanaa Abrar, advocacy director at the immigrant advocacy group United We Dream, told Vox.

“With the national health crisis and what’s becoming a national unemployment crisis, folks are concerned about how they’re not only going to stay healthy and safe but also how they’re going to keep their jobs and how they’re going to find means of financial support,” she said.


Read Nicole’s complete analysis at the link.

Meanwhile, Eric Rosengren, the President of the Boston Fed, writing in the Wall Street Journal, also says that it is a mistake from an economic standpoint to leave anybody behind in the stimulus.

Eric Rosengren
Eric Rosengren
Boston Federal Reserve

. . . .

Mr. Rosengren spoke separately Wednesday in a speech delivered by video in which he underscored the importance of focusing federal resources on the most vulnerable households.

“We are all being challenged right now, but our legacy can be that we rose to the challenge and kept a focus on the vulnerable, those with low and moderate income, and those whose livelihoods operate on the thinnest of margins,” Mr. Rosengren said in the text of a speech to be given by video in Boston.

. . . .


Read the complete article at the link.

Thanks, Nicole, for your outstanding analysis of a critical, largely “below the radar screen” issue that potentially threatens everyone’s health and welfare.

So, policies that exclude American families and workers based on status both endanger our public health and threaten our economic recovery.  The cruel, xenophobic, irrational White Nationalist polices of the Trump regime actually threaten both our present and our future. Can’t do much worse than that!