These articles from today’s Washington Post highlight three “gonzo” immigration proposals driven by the Trump Administration’s white nationalist agenda.
First, the proposal to require nonimmigrant students in the U.S. to apply for annual extensions of stay would roll back the “duration of status program” for students — arguably the single best and most mutually beneficial efficiency move in the history of INS/USCIS. It would also create chaos in student visa programs that not only keep many colleges and universities financially viable, but also fuel American innovation and technological advances in the STEM fields.
Second, proposals to make visa issuance a law enforcement function within the DHS would lead to chaos in the visa issuing program and probably will result in retaliation by other friendly nations. Visas are part of the foreign commerce of the U.S., not a domestic law enforcement program.
Finally, proposals to reduce legal immigration and further restrict legal opportunities for unskilled workers would deprive the U.S. of workers at a time when the growing economy needs them the most. This short-sighted policy would likely lead to the same type of economic stagnation that has plagued EU countries and Japan over the past several decades.
Read the articles here:
Restrictionist policies driven by xenophobia and racism inevitably lead to disaster.
“The day after President Donald Trump issued his first travel ban order, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted a message to aliens “fleeing persecution, terror & war.” In addition to the inappropriateness of accusing the president of the United States of religious discrimination, his tweet made a promise that Canada will not be able to keep.
His tweet was an unqualified invitation to the 65.6 million aliens worldwide who have been displaced from their countries by conflict and persecution. Canada almost certainly will have to turn away many of the aliens who accept the invitation and come to Canada relying on it.
Some will be disqualified by Canada’s Safe Third Country Agreement with the United States, which requires asylum seekers to apply for asylum in the United States if they enter that country before entering Canada, with some exceptions.
Also, his invitation includes aliens who are fleeing terror and war, and despite their very real need for refuge, they are not likely to be able to establish eligibility for refugee status or asylum on that basis. According to UNHCR figures, only 22.5 million of the 65.6 million displaced persons are refugees.
Trudeau’s tweet reminds me of President Jimmy Carter’s invitation to Cuban refugees when he was asked what the government was going to do about the Mariel Boat Lift. On April 20, 1980, Cuban President Fidel Castro announced that he would permit Cubans wishing to leave Cuba to go to the United States. Two weeks later, Carter said that the United States would “welcome the Cuban refugees with open arms and open hearts.”
But the boat lift was not limited to refugees. Castro forced the boat owners who participated in the boat lift to take approximately 8,000 criminals and hundreds of mentally-ill persons. The boat lift was a financial disaster for the ship owners. Despite Carter’s promise to welcome the Cuban refugees, his administration fined the boat owners $1,000 for each of the estimated 110,000 Mariel refugees they brought here in violation of section 273 of the Immigration and Nationality Act.”
Read Nolan’s complete op-ed, which also contains a description of Canada’s Refugee Program, over on The Hill at the above link.
Several thoughts. Most of the world’s refugees have no way of getting to Canada. Many victims of war an terror are, in fact, refugees under a proper application of Convention standards. Our “Safe Third Country Agreement” with Canada has very limited applicability. Also, regardless of the wisdom of accusing President Trump of religious discrimination, nearly all Federal Courts to consider the two Travel Bans to date have found that the President indeed had improper motives for imposing the ban, including religious discrimination.
Given Trump’s highly problematic attitude and actions towards refugees, I’d be hesitant to throw too many stones at other nations who are at least trying to show the spirit of generosity embodied in the U.N. Convention and Protocol. Wise or not, Trudeau’s heart is in the right place. That’s more than I can say for Trump.
The AP reports in the Washington Post:
“SAN DIEGO — Nearly 740,000 foreigners who were supposed to leave the United States during a recent 12-month period overstayed their visas, the Homeland Security Department said Monday, detailing a crucial but often overlooked contributor to the number of people in the country illegally.
President Donald Trump has proposed spending billions of dollars to erect a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico and hire more border agents, but those measures would not address people who arrive legally and stay after their visas expire. An estimated 40 percent of the roughly 11 million people in the country illegally stayed past their visas.
There were 739,478 overstays from October 2015 through September 2016 among visitors who arrive by plane or ship — more than the population of Alaska.
The total number of overstays is much larger but has not been quantified because the statistic doesn’t include how many people leave by land.
The cost and technological hurdles to develop a checkout system at congested land crossings are enormous because the sites are so busy. Last year, Homeland Security tested facial scans at a San Diego border crossing but has npt said if the technology works or will be expanded.
Homeland Security last year published the number of overstays for the first time in at least two decades, saying 527,127 people who came by air or ship stayed past their visas from October 2014 to September 2015.
This year’s report added student and foreign exchange visitors and many visa categories for temporary workers, while last year’s only counted business travelers and tourists. Homeland Security said it will make additional improvements in future reports, including more data on people who cross by land.
Overstays accounted for 1.5 percent of the 50.4 million visitors who arrived by plane or ship in the latest period, Homeland Security said. Canada occupied the top slot for overstays among business travelers and tourists, followed by Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela and the United Kingdom. Germany, Colombia, China, India and Italy rounded out the top 10.”
Read the complete,article at the link.
Immigration is a much more complex and nuanced subject than this Administration will acknowledge. But, I’m not sure that these raw numbers, without more analysis, are anything we should be losing sleep over.
Nolan writes in The Hill:
“Highlights from Labrador’s summary of the Davis-Oliver Act.
It provides states with congressional authorization to enact and enforce their own immigration laws to end the executive branch’s ability to unilaterally shut down immigration enforcement.
It withholds certain federal grants from jurisdictions that refuse to honor immigration detainers or prohibit their law enforcement officers from giving immigration-related information to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Jurisdictions that refuse to honor detainer requests and release criminal aliens may be sued by the victims of crimes the aliens commit after they are released.
It makes membership in a criminal gang grounds for deportation.
It requires background checks to be completed before immigration benefits can be granted.
Criminalization of undocumented aliens.
Section 314 makes crimes out of illegal entry and unlawful presence. If an offender does not have three misdemeanor convictions or a felony conviction, a first offense can result in imprisonment for up to six months. Subsequent offenses can result in imprisonment for up to two years.
If the alien has three misdemeanor convictions or a felony conviction, however, the term of imprisonment can be up to 20 years. This is not as harsh as some of the criminal provisions which are in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) already. Smuggling an alien into the country or helping one to remain here unlawfully (harboring) may “be punished by death or imprisoned for any term of years or for life” if it results in the death of any person.
Home free magnet.
President Obama created what I call the “home free magnet”, when he focused enforcement on undocumented aliens who had been convicted of serious crimes or had been caught near the border after making an illegal entry. Aliens wanting to enter the United States illegally knew that they would be safe from deportation once they had reached the interior of the country.
This attracted undocumented aliens and became a powerful incentive for them to do whatever was necessary to enter the United States. President Trump destroyed this magnet with tough campaign rhetoric and his executive order, Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States, which greatly expands Obama’s enforcement priorities.
. . . .
Perhaps the Democrats should consider supporting a modified version of the Davis-Oliver Act in return for Republican consideration of a modified legalization program and other measures that are important to the Democrats.
A similar agreement was the basis for the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA), which made legalization available to millions of undocumented aliens in return for interior enforcement measures and border security.
The Republicans can deport most of the undocumented aliens in the country if they choose to do so, but it would take a long time and would be very expensive politically as well as financially.
They might be willing to consider a legalization program that is based on American needs, such as preventing citizen and lawful permanent resident families from being broken up and providing needed foreign workers for American employers.”
It could be limited to temporary lawful status while background investigations are being conducted. Greg Siskind and I suggested a way to do this in, “Pre-Registration: A Proposal to Kick-Start CIR.”
To be truly comprehensive, immigration reform has to include effective enforcement measures and time for putting together such a bill is running out.
Read Nolan’s complete article over on The Hill at the above link.
Having served during the Obama Administration (as well as others from both parties) I disagree with Nolan’s characterization of Obama as having a “home free” policy. At least since the summer of 2014, no characterization could be further from the truth!
Beginning in the summer of 2014, the Obama Administrations, quite unwisely in my view, “prioritized” the cases of recent arrivals at the Southern Border. By taking these cases out of sequence, and totally out of proportion to any “threat” they posed, the Obama Administration’s policy of Aimless Docket Reshuffling (“ADR”) helped create an Immigration Court backlog that now approaches 600,000 cases, notwithstanding relatively “flat” receipts and actual increases in the number of sitting judges.
While eliminating the “recent arrivals priority,” the Trump Administration’s essentially “random” enforcement policy, lacking in any type of restraint or rationality, has actually made things much worse. As backlogs mushroom, the “home free” problem is actually more significant, although with a pronounced degree of randomness and irrationally. In other words, total docket chaos in Immigration Court.
While the threat of more “expedited removals,” which evade the Immigration Courts, does hang over the system, the procedures have not actually been implemented. Moreover, contrary to Nolan’s suggestion, there is no chance that the GOP will be able to remove more than a small fraction of the approximately 11 million undocumented aliens in the U.S. Yes, arbitrary enforcement does produce some “terrorism” effect by making everyone feel unsafe. Perhaps a relatively small number of undocumented residents will give up and leave (or try to enter Canada). Nevertheless, there is no practical way that 11 million individuals actually could be removed.
The GOP would do much better to sign on to immigration reforms that would give some type of legal status (not necessarily green cards) to most of those already here, while expanding legal immigration opportunities across the board. The resulting system would actually reduce pressure on the border while making interior enfircement more of a practical possibility than it has been at any time during the last for decades. But, that would take a thoughtful, practical, non-xenophobic, approach — something that has eluded the GOP in the years since the Reagan Administration.
Look for folks like Labrador & Goodlatte to work with the Adminstration to create a complete “train wreck” in the immigration enforcement system.
Adolfo Flores reports for BuzzFeed News:
“Martha never imagined she’d be in an upstate New York church basement hiding from the US government, far from the troubled El Salvador she had left behind years ago and very different from the life she had slowly built in Virginia.
The ascension of Donald Trump to the White House after threatening to deport high numbers of undocumented immigrants — combined with the prospect of being separated from their US-born daughters and the fact that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was on her husband’s heels — drove them into hiding to wait for an asylum interview in Canada.
“A lot of people like us are desperate, looking for where to run because they can’t be here, because of this man,” Martha, who has lived in the US for 16 years, told BuzzFeed News in a recent interview.
The family declined to use their real names out of fear of retaliation from US immigration authorities.
“When you come to this country, you come with nothing, zero, and little by little you build a life,” Martha said. “Then, suddenly you have to make a decision you never thought you’d have to make: leave and start over again.”
Her family is part of a small but growing number of immigrants who lived in the US for years and are being ferried to the Canadian border via an underground network of churches and immigration rights groups. Rev. Justo Gonzalez II of Pilgrim St. Luke’s in Buffalo, New York, said that so far they’ve helped 20 people, including six children, get to Canada to petition for asylum.
During a recent visit by BuzzFeed News, there were nine people, including Martha’s family, waiting at the church to make the same journey.
Vive, a Buffalo-based organization that helps refugees, reached out to Gonzalez and other sites when they started seeing large numbers of immigrants asking for their help getting to Canada. As a precaution, Gonzalez set up additional security cameras around the church, and everyone has to be buzzed in during non-mass hours. Volunteers patrol the building during mass to make sure no one is there to harass their guests.”
Read the full article at the above link.
Outwardly, this appears to be a nice, self-sufficient family which is contributing to our society. Their reasons for fleeing from El Salvador and coming here also appear to be compelling, at least from their standpoint.
The article glosses over the question of why Moises’s TPS protection was rescinded in 2007. Most often, this happens when someone commits two or more misdemeanors (or one felony) in the U.S. So, at least to some extent, the family’s problems might be self-inflicted.
Still, is it a good use of our law enforcement resources to create a climate which drives folks like this out of the US?
Or would it be better to use limited resources to integrate these folks into our society in some way or another?
“The immigrants and refugees you see in this country today are the next generations of every single American who is not a Native American. It’s only a temporal difference. Irish, Roman-Catholics, Russians, Poles, Jews, all of the ethnicities of my heritage, have all been discriminated against, turned away, and have made this country a better place. We were all immigrants, refugees, strangers of this land once, until this country said, you are welcome here.
If we truly care about keeping our country safe while protecting the ideals it was founded on, we need to look at what works. Canada has opened its doors to immigrants, and not just on a governmental level. And Canada is seeing more and more people pouring into its borders, including those who have lived in the U.S. for years and are afraid of the new policies. Homeland Security has been told to round up people without papers, and people are panicked and bracing for potential assaults on DACA and Sanctuary Cities as well. Is this our country? People have come together from all walks of life in Canada to sponsor immigrants and refugees. Take a look at how successful that has been, how they speak about people coming to find a safe home in their country, and follow their example. And then read about how we can focus on truly fighting and defeating terrorism in all of its insidious and evil forms.
Then read a story about a Jewish and a Muslim family, who met by happenstance at an airport protest in support of immigrants and refugees. Read about what happened after their children looked at each other as they held signs in support of their neighbors, and then what happened when they shared a meal together.
Once I arrived back home, I walked along the Brooklyn eights Promenade, where the sun was setting behind the Statue of Liberty. I looked out across the water and thought about the millions who passed through Ellis Island to get here, including the very first three, who were children. I thought about those who were accepted, and those who were turned away, and the fact that each one of them has a story and a voice that deserves to be heard.”
Coleman “is an international human rights attorney, an author, a public speaker, a social entrepreneur and innovator, an educator, and a founder and CEO.” Read her full op-ed at the above link.
Nolan Rappaport writes:
“President Trump was asked at his recent press conference with Prime Minister Trudeau if he is confident that America’s northern border is secure. He replied, “Can never be totally confident.”
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the length of the International Boundary line on the U.S.-Canadian border, excluding Alaska, is approximately 3,987 miles (land and water). The length of the Alaska-Canada border adds 1,538 miles, making the total length of the U.S. border with Canada 5,525 miles. This is almost three times the length of the U.S.-Mexican border, which is only 1,933 miles (land and water).
Yet, according to Dean Mandel, a Border Patrol Agent who testified at a Senate Hearing, in February of 2016, of the 21,000 Agents in the Border Patrol, only 2,100 were assigned to the Northern border.
On the Southern border, we had one Agent for every linear mile, and they were made more effective by the entire infrastructure of fencing, cameras, air support, and sensors. On the Northern border, we only had one agent for every 13.5 miles and they had much less of this infrastructure.
Moreover, it will not be long before many of the 40,081 Syrian refugees are eligible for Canadian citizenship, and Canadian citizens do not have to have visas to enter the United States.
The United States government has paid much less attention to securing the Canadian border than it has to securing the border with Mexico. Canada’s acceptance of more than 40,000 Syrian refugees could be a catalyst to changing that policy.”
Read the full article at the link.