U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith Halts Iraqi Removals

http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-iraqi-deportations-20170724-story.html

Melissa Etehad reports in the LA Times:

“A federal judge in Detroit has temporarily halted the deportations of more than 1,400 Iraqi immigrants, ruling that they deserve to have their cases play out in court because of the risk that they could be targeted for persecution in Iraq.

In a ruling Monday, U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith said the immigrants faced a “compelling confluence of extraordinary circumstances” and that the government’s attempt to rush their deportations was a violation of their rights.

Many of the Iraqis arrived in the U.S. as children as far back as the 1980s and have few ties to their native country. The majority are members of religious or ethnic minorities such as Chaldean Christians or Kurds, who have been subjected to torture and other forms of repression in Iraq.

They face deportation because they had overstayed visas or committed crimes, typically misdemeanors such as driving under the influence of alcohol.

They had been allowed to stay in the U.S. because for decades Iraq had refused to take them back. But in March, the Trump administration reached a deal with the Iraqi government to accept them and in June began rounding them up in immigration raids.

As of July 1, 234 had been arrested and detained around the country, including large numbers in Detroit, home to thousands of Chaldean Christians.

Returning the immigrants to Iraq would in some cases be akin to issuing a death sentence, according to civil rights and immigrant rights groups that filed a lawsuit in Detroit federal court in late June to block deportations of those immigrants who had been living in Detroit.

Many had been transferred multiple times to various detention facilities, making it harder for them to get legal representation and prepare their cases, advocates said.”

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Another defeat for the Trump Administration’s gonzo enforcement agenda.

PWS

07-25-17

HUMAN SMUGGLING TRAGEDY IN SAN ANTONIO — 9 DIE, 17 OTHERS SUFFER LIFE-THREATENING INJURIES!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2017/07/23/texas-tragedy-8-dead-including-children-found-locked-in-hot-truck-in-suspected-smuggling-case/?hpid=hp_rhp-top-table-main_pn-texas-9am-retest%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.6a18d3474065

Eva Ruth Moravec and Todd C. Frankel report in the Washington Post:

It began with a desperate request for water and a Walmart employee’s suspicions about a tractor-trailer parked outside. That led officials on Sunday to discover at least 39 people packed into a sweltering trailer, several of them on the verge of death — their skin hot to the touch, their hearts dangerously racing — and eight men already dead. Another would die later at a hospital.

Authorities think they found an immigrant smuggling operation just 2½ hours from the Mexican border that ended in what San Antonio Police Chief William McManus described as a “horrific tragedy.” The victims, as young as 15, appeared to have been loaded like cargo into a trailer without working air conditioning during the height of the Texas summer. It was unknown how long they had been in the trailer or where their journey started, but 30 of the victims were taken to area hospitals and 17 had life-threatening injuries. Federal authorities said the victims were “undocumented aliens.”

Reyna Torres, consul of Mexico, confirmed in Spanish that Mexican nationals are among those dead and in the hospitals and said the consulate is interviewing the survivors.

City Fire Chief Charles Hood said some of the victims appeared to have suffered severe heatstroke, with heart rates soaring over 130 beats per minute. In the worst cases, Hood said, “a lot of them are going to have some irreversible brain damage.”

Even more people were thought to have been inside the trailer before help arrived, police said. Survivors at six area hospitals told investigators that up to 100 individuals were originally in the tractor-trailer.

Walmart surveillance video showed cars stopping and picking up people as they exited the back of the trailer. But suspicions were not raised until an employee noticed a disoriented person, who asked for water. The employee then called police, authorities said. Then, a chaotic scene unfolded outside the Walmart on the city’s southwest side, as ambulances and police cars arrived and people were carried away, leaving behind shoes and personal belongings strewn across the asphalt and trailer floor.

The truck’s driver, identified as James M. Bradley, 60, of Clearwater, Fla., has been arrested and is expected to be charged Monday morning, said the U.S. attorney’s office for the Western District of Texas.

The grisly discovery in San Antonio comes as the Trump administration is calling on Congress to increase funding for border security and to expand the wall on the southern border with Mexico.

It also illuminates the extreme risks immigrants face as they attempt to elude border agents in the searing summer heat. Some try to slip through legal checkpoints undetected, while others sneak illegally across the border. Often, they are fleeing violence and poverty in Latin America, advocates say.

Many have died attempting to enter the United States, drowning in the Rio Grande, lost in the desolate ranch lands of south Texas, or collapsing from exhaustion in the Arizona desert.

Two weeks ago, Houston police discovered 12 immigrants, including a girl, who had been locked for hours inside a sweltering box truck in a parking lot, banging for someone to rescue them. Three people were arrested. A Harris County prosecutor said the migrants were at imminent risk of death.

In May, border agents discovered 18 immigrants locked in a refrigerated produce truck, with the temperature set at 51 degrees. Passengers were from Latin America and Kosovo.

One of the deadliest smuggling operations occurred in 2003, when 19 people died after being discovered in an insulated trailer abandoned at a truck stop in Victoria, Tex. The truck driver in that case, Tyrone M. Williams, was sentenced to nearly 34 years in prison.

. . . .

Later Sunday, moments after Mass ended at the historic San Fernando Cathedral, two dozen people held a gathering in Main Plaza to show their support for immigrants. A handful of people made speeches­ and said prayers in Spanish and English, using a megaphone, to a crowd of about 50 people. Children played in the splash pads nearby while adults wandered in and out of the crowd, many taking photographs and videos.

“Hold your family extra tight tonight,” said Barbie Hurtado, the statewide organizer for ­RAICES, which organized the event, “and keep the people that lost their lives in your thoughts, in your prayers.”

Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Tex.), a San Antonio native, addressed attendees at the end of the hour-long service.

“This represents a symptom of a broken immigration system that Congress, of which I am a part, has had the chance to fix but has not,” he said. “That’s a colossal failure that has a human cost.”

Another San Antonio native, Debbie Leal-Herrera, 55, said she was in town visiting from New Mexico this week and wanted to come to the plaza because “it touches­ me as a Hispanic.”

Leal-Herrera, an elementary school teacher, said she knows several people who have immigrated to the United States illegally and has taught many students whose parents are undocumented.

“It reminds me of how much we truly take for granted,” she said. “What a beautiful gift it is to be an American.”

Advocates for immigrants in Texas are still reeling from the recent passage of the tough new immigration law, set to take effect Sept. 1. The deaths marked yet another blow.

Maria Victoria De la Cruz, who is originally from Mexico, publicly urged federal officials not to deport the immigrants who were found Sunday.

“As an immigrant, I feel destroyed,” she told the group in Spanish. “It’s not fair to return them to the place they have fled.”

During the vigil, a somber group quietly approached the consul from Mexico to ask about a relative. Juan Jose Castillo, who said he is from the Mexican state of Zacatecas but lives in the United States, said he was relieved that his 44-year-old brother was among the survivors.

“He came out of necessity,” Castillo said in Spanish. “It’s very bad.”

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Read the full story at the link.

One way of saving some lives: reform the immigration system to 1) allow more individuals to immigrate legally, and 2) provide full due process adjudications of asylum and other claims for protection under U.S. law, with reasonable access to counsel and no detention unless required by individualized circumstances, to individuals who present themselves at the border. This would encourage individuals who seek to to migrate to or seek refuge in the U.S. to do so in an orderly fashion, with complete screening, through our legal system.

Militarizing the border and creating a detention empire might or might not reduce undocumented migration in the long run. But three things are certain: 1) smuggling fees will go up; 2) methods used by smugglers will become more risky; and 3) more individuals will die attempting to enter the U.S.

PWS

07-21-17

 

 

NEW PRECEDENT: BIA FINDS THAT SOLICITING AN UNDERCOVER POLICE OFFICER COUNTS AS SOLICITING A “MINOR” UNDER ADAM WALSH ACT — MATTER OF IZAGUIRRE, 27 I&N DEC. 67 (BIA 2017)

https://www.justice.gov/eoir/page/file/983601/download

BIA Headnote:

“An offense may be a “specified offense against a minor” within the meaning of section 111(7) of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, Pub. L. No. 109-248, 120 Stat. 587, 592, even if it involved an undercover police officer posing as a minor, rather than an actual minor.”

BIA PANEL: Vice Chair/Appellate Immigration Judge Adkins-Blanc; Appellate Immigration Judges Guendelsberger and Mann

OPINION BY: Judge Ana L. Mann

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PWS

07-22-17

7TH FINDS BIA MISAPPLIED SUPREME’S MONCRIEFFE DECISION — IL MARIHUANA CONVICTION NOT DRUG TRAFFICKING CRIME — MING WEI CHEN V. SESSIONS

http://media.ca7.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/rssExec.pl?Submit=Display&Path=Y2017/D07-20/C:17-1130:J:Wood:aut:T:fnOp:N:1997576:S:

“The Board erred by reading Moncrieffe as if that decision interpreted the CSA’s term “small amount.” Nothing in Moncrieffe supports the conclusion that the possession of a tad more than 30 grams of marijuana—the lowest amount punishable under 720 ILCS § 550/5(d)—can never be punished as a federal misdemeanor. The Board erred as a matter of law in this respect, when it found that Chen’s conviction under that provision qualifies as an aggravated felony.

We GRANT the petition for review and remand to give the Board the opportunity to decide whether to exercise its discretion to grant cancellation of removal.”

PANEL:

WOOD, Chief Judge, and BAUER and FLAUM, Circuit Judges.

OPINION BY: Chief Judge Wood

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Will the BIA, the DOJ, and the DHS ever get the Supreme’s message on trying to expand the reach of the aggravated felony provisions to crimes that really aren’t aggravated, and sometimes aren’t even felonies?

PWS

07-21-17

 

GONZO MIGHT BE NEXT TO GO AFTER NEW BOMBSHELL REVELATIONS CAST FURTHER DOUBT ON HIS ALREADY SHAKY CREDIBILITY!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/sessions-discussed-trump-campaign-related-matters-with-russian-ambassador-us-intelligence-intercepts-show/2017/07/21/3e704692-6e44-11e7-9c15-177740635e83_story.html?hpid=hp_rhp-top-table-high_sessions-7pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.3ade0f8bbe22

Adam Entous, Ellen Nakashima and Greg Miller report in the Washington Post:

“Russia’s ambassador to Washington told his superiors in Moscow that he discussed campaign-related matters, including policy issues important to Moscow, with Jeff Sessions during the 2016 presidential race, contrary to public assertions by the embattled attorney general, according to current and former U.S. officials.

Ambassador Sergey Kislyak’s accounts of two conversations with Sessions — then a top foreign policy adviser to Republican candidate Donald Trump — were intercepted by U.S. spy agencies, which monitor the communications of senior Russian officials both in the United States and in Russia. Sessions initially failed to disclose his contacts with Kislyak and then said that the meetings were not about the Trump campaign.

One U.S. official said that Sessions — who testified that he has no recollection of an April encounter — has provided “misleading” statements that are “contradicted by other evidence.” A former official said that the intelligence indicates that Sessions and Kislyak had “substantive” discussions on matters including Trump’s positions on Russia-related issues and prospects for U.S.-Russia relations in a Trump administration.

Sessions has said repeatedly that he never discussed campaign-related issues with Russian officials and that it was only in his capacity as a U.S. senator that he met with Kislyak.

“I never had meetings with Russian operatives or Russian intermediaries about the Trump campaign,” Sessions said in March when he announced that he would recuse himself from matters relating to the FBI probe of Russian interference in the election and any connections to the Trump campaign.

Current and former U.S. officials said that assertion is at odds with Kislyak’s accounts of conversations during two encounters over the course of the campaign, one in April ahead of Trump’s first major foreign policy speech and another in July on the sidelines of the Republican National Convention.

The apparent discrepancy could pose new problems for Sessions at a time when his position in the administration appears increasingly tenuous.”

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“Contradicted by the evidence.” Hmmm, that seems to be the definition of “not credible” if not outright perjury. If Sessions were a migrant pleading for his life in one of his Immigration Courts, he would long ago have been sent packing based on his misleading statements and highly implausible explanations. And, don’t forget that this is a dude who has been peddling the White Nationalist agenda of lies and misrepresentations about immigrants and denying their fundamental contributions to America’s greatness, not to mention their fundamental humanity and rights, for years. He’s also squandering taxpayer dollars every day by picking unnecessary fights with states and localities trying to straighten out the shambles that Sessions and his cohorts have made out of immigration enforcement policy. He’s undone years of progress on voting rights, race relations, policing, forensic science, private prisons, transgender tolerance, prosecutions of minor crimes, sentencing, and protection of property rights, in addition to accelerating the destructions of due process in the U.S. Immigration Courts.

About the only decent thing he has done since assuming office has been, under pressure, properly to recuse himself from the Russia investigation. But, that single exercise of appropriate judgement under the law has gotten him in trouble with his Boss who was counting on a complete regime of lawlessness at the DOJ.

PWS

07-21-17

“KATE’S LAW” — Steinle Family Didn’t Want Her Name Associated With Political Football!

http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/14/politics/kate-steinle-trial/index.html

CNN reports:

“San Francisco (CNN)One minute, Kate Steinle was walking with her dad on a San Francisco pier. The next, she fell to the ground, crying out for help after a bullet hit her in the back and pierced her aorta.

In a matter of hours, Steinle was dead, and police had arrested an undocumented immigrant who they accused of pulling the trigger.
On that summer day in 2015, Donald Trump had barely kicked off his campaign. But the case quickly became a rallying cry for Trump as he called for a crackdown on illegal immigration and railed against sanctuary cities.
In the two years since, candidate Trump has become President Trump, and Steinle’s name echoed in the halls of Congress this month as the House of Representatives passed Kate’s Law, a measure named for her.
But Steinle’s family has balked at her case becoming the symbol of Republicans’ immigration agenda. The attorney defending the suspect in the case says there’s more to the story than meets the eye.
And Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, the undocumented Mexican immigrant who’s accused of killing Steinle and of repeatedly entering the United States illegally, has yet to go on trial.
Lopez-Sanchez appeared in court on Friday, wearing an orange jumpsuit and a blank expression through most of the proceedings.
Here’s the latest on the case: . . . .”
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Read the complete article and get detailed information on the current status of the case at the link.
No surprise that the Trump-Sessions crew and the GOP sponsors of “Kate’s Law” are more interested in scoring political points than the feelings of the family struck by this tragedy.
And, even “enhanced” deportation laws really would’t have prevented this tragedy. The suspect had already been deported five times.
Thanks to star CNN immigration beat reporter Tal Kopan for alerting me to this article to which she contributed.
PWS
07-14-17

SESSIONS DISTORTS STUDY ON SANCTUARY CITIES!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/jeff-sessions-sanctuary-cities_us_5967b870e4b0174186260c2b?ncid=

Elise Foley reports in HuffPost:

“WASHINGTON ― When Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Wednesday that a study had found so-called sanctuary cities have more violent crime than others, it came as a surprise to the people who conducted the research.

“When cities like Philadelphia, Boston or San Francisco advertise that they have these policies, the criminals are taking notice, too. They’ve got a good idea of where they might want to go, it seems to me,” Sessions said during a speech railing against jurisdictions that don’t fully cooperate with deportation efforts. “According to a recent study from the University of California, Riverside, cities with these policies have more violent crime on average than those that don’t.”

But that’s not what the study showed, according to one of its authors. In fact, it found that there’s no evidence of sanctuary policies having any effect on crime ― and researchers say they believe Sessions and the conservative media are twisting their study to fit their own narratives about the dangers of immigration.

Sessions, along with President Donald Trump and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, has made a mission of forcing jurisdictions to cooperate with immigration enforcement.

“This narrative that sanctuary policies increase crime rates is one that has not been backed up by a single shred of evidence,” said Benjamin Gonzalez-O’Brien, one of the authors of the study and an assistant professor of political science at Highline College.

Gonzalez-O’Brien co-authored a study on sanctuary policies with Loren Collingwood, assistant professor of political science at University of California, Riverside, and Stephen El-Khatib, a graduate student at the same university. They looked at data from 55 cities and found that a sanctuary designation had no statistical effect on crime.

If the administration is so convinced that sanctuary cities breed crime we would encourage them to actually do some research … and to actually show that this is in fact the case.
Benjamin Gonzalez-O’Brien, assistant professor of political science at Highline College.”

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Read Foley’s complete article at the link.

Sessions, of course, has a history of playing fast and loose with the truth not only on the Russia Investigation but in putting together arguments in favor of his white nationalist “Gonzo Apocalypto” agenda. But, when you get your info from Fox News and other right wing shills, that’s going to be an occupational hazard.

PWS

07-13-17

11th Cir. — BIA GETS IT WRONG AGAIN ON MODIFIED CATEGORICAL APPROACH & AGFEL — GORDON V. ATTORNEY GENERAL

http://media.ca11.uscourts.gov/opinions/pub/files/201513846.pdf

Key quote:

“Further, the Board’s conclusion that the crime was an aggravated felony because the sale or delivery was “for monetary consideration” is meritless. That the sale or delivery was “for monetary consideration” does nothing to assist us in determining “which of a statute’s alternative elements”—sale or delivery— “formed the basis of the defendant’s prior conviction.” Descamps, 133 S. Ct. at 2284. The Supreme Court has made clear time and time again that “[a]n alien’s actual conduct is irrelevant to the inquiry.” Mellouli, 135 S. Ct. at 1986. As the Board did not appropriately determine that Gordon was convicted of an aggravated felony, we grant Gordon’s petition and reject the Board’s finding of removability.”

PANEL: Circuit,Judges Tjoflat, Wilson; District Judge Robreno

INION BY: Judge Tjoflat

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So, why does an “expert tribunal” like the BIA keep getting this fairly basic stuff wrong? And, why has the DOJ eliminated EOIR training?

PWS

07-13-17

GONZO’S WORLD: Sessions Wants To Reinstitute DARE — PROBLEM: At Best It Was An Ineffective Waste Of Money, But It Might Also Have ENCOURAGED Drug Use!

Christopher Ingraham writes in the Washington Post:”Speaking at a DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) conference this week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions praised the past work of the famous anti-drug program, saying it saved lives:

I believe that DARE was instrumental to our success by educating children on the dangers of drug use. I firmly believe that you have saved lives. And I want to say thank you for that. Whenever I ask adults around age 30 about prevention, they always mention the DARE program. Your efforts work. Lives and futures are saved.

Sessions may believe that the program saved lives, but decades of evidence-based research, including some conducted by the Justice Department he now heads, has shown the program to be ineffective — and it might even make the drug problem worse.

. . . .

Eventually, the program was in place in up to 75 percent of the nations school districts, by DARE’s own count. At its height, the group boasted an eight-figure budget, with much of that money coming from government sources. Individual state affiliates raised millions more.

But with success came scrutiny. Public health researchers started looking for evidence that the program was meeting its goals of reducing teen drug use. The first wave of studies, published in the early 1990s, didn’t find any.

“The effectiveness of DARE in altering students’ drug use behavior has yet to be established,” concluded a University of Illinois at Chicago study in 1991.

Other research arrived at similar conclusions. In 1994, the Research Triangle Institute, funded in part by the Justice Department, conducted a meta-analysis of all the existing research on DARE. Its conclusion was withering: DARE had little to no impact on rates of teen drug use.

“DARE’s limited influence on adolescent drug use behavior contrasts with the program’s popularity and prevalence,” the authors wrote. “An important implication is that DARE could be taking the place of other, more beneficial drug use curricula that adolescents could be receiving.”

The Justice Department was so incensed by this unexpected finding that it refused to publish the study, according to contemporaneous news reports. “I don’t get it,” DARE’s executive director at the time said of the RTI study’s findings. “It’s like kicking Santa Claus to me. We’re as pure as the driven snow.”

But the kicking had only just begun. More studies showing similar findings trickled out in the 1990s. One study even suggested that DARE students were more likely than their peers to experiment with drugs and alcohol. The authors of that study chalked that up to a possible boomerang effect: “an attempt to persuade resulting in the adoption of an opposing position instead.” Telling a certain type of kid that he shouldn’t do drugs may simply result in him trying drugs out of spite.

By 2003, the former General Accounting Office launched its own DARE study to see if the Justice Department was getting a decent return on its DARE investment. The conclusion? “No significant differences in illicit drug use between students who received DARE” and those who didn’t.

The GAO report was the beginning of the end of DARE as most of us knew it. Funding started to dry up: In 2002, before the GAO report, DARE had an annual budget of over $10 million. By 2012, that figure had shrunk to $3.5 million.

By the late 2000s, DARE was faced with a choice: change or die. They opted for the former. The group decided to cautiously embrace evidence-based research after decades of antagonism toward it. The most significant change was the adoption of a new curriculum, titled “keepin’ it REAL.”

Cringe-worthy title aside, some of the research on this program to date suggests it actually works. It was commended in the recent Surgeon General’s Report on drug addiction for demonstrating efficacy at preventing substance use. The secret? “It’s not an anti-drug program,” a co-developer of the new curriculum told Scientific American in 2014. “It’s about things like being honest and safe and responsible.”

If it almost seems like DARE isn’t really an anti-drug group anymore, that’s because it isn’t. The group explicitly spells out this new reality in its tax filings. Prior to 2009, DARE stated on its 990 IRS filings that its missionwas “to implement and support drug abuse resistance education and crime prevention programs in the USA.”

Post-2009, its mission is to simply “teach students good decision making skills to help them lead safe and healthy lives.”

Not everyone in the public health community is convinced the new DARE is any better than the old DARE. A peer-reviewed study published last yearfound that the specific versions of the keepin’ it REAL curriculum used by DARE haven’t been tested for efficacy.

“The systematic review revealed major shortfalls in the evidence basis for the KiR D.A.R.E. programme,” that study’s authors conclude. “Without empirical evidence, we cannot conclusively confirm or deny the effectiveness of the programme. However, we can conclude that the evidence basis for the D.A.R.E. version of KiR is weak, and that there is substantial reason to believe that KiR D.A.R.E. may not be suited for nationwide implementation.”

There’s no doubt, however, that DARE is currently making an effort to adopt more of an evidence-based approach than in prior years, when the program’s practices were largely driven by the belief that they were “pure as the driven snow.” This brings us back to the central irony of Jeff Sessions’s remarks on Tuesday, when he yearned for a return to the DARE of “the 1980s and the 1990s.”

Decades of research are unequivocal: The DARE of yesteryear didn’t work, and it may have actually made the drug problem worse. Instead of embracing DARE’s new evidence-based practices, Sessions offered up a return to the bad old days of drug policy, when decisions were driven by gut feeling and political expediency.

We already know how that story ended: billions of dollars spent, millions of people imprisoned and stronger, cheaper drugs. DARE is already trying to turn the page on the harsh and ineffective drug policies of the past. At the moment, it appears the Justice Department is trying to revive them.”

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Leave it to “Gonzo-Apocalypto” to think of new ways to turn back the clock, create controversy, and waste taxpayer money, while actually making a bad situation even worse!

But, hey, if your lifetime dream is to build more prisons and fill them up with Americans, and your approach to drug abuse is basically enforcement oriented, then running an ineffective program that might actually increase drug abuse could result in more arrests, more convictions, more prisoners, and more prisons. And, maybe some of your political cronies in the private prison industry could also reap benefits. So, I suppose in “Gonzo’s World” is makes a certain amount of sense.

PWS

07-13-17

ANOTHER SETBACK FOR TRUMP ADMINISTRATION AS U.S. JUDGE IN DETROIT BLOCKS IRAQI DEPORTATIONS!

https://patch.com/michigan/detroit/u-s-iraqi-deportation-hold-until-court-review-detroit-judge

AP reports:

“DETROIT, MI — A federal judge Tuesday halted the deportation of 1,400 Iraqi nationals, including many Christians fearing persecution, while courts review the orders to remove them from the U.S. Judge Mark Goldsmith issued a 24-page opinion asserting jurisdiction in the case over the objection of the Justice Department, which argued U.S. district judges do not have jurisdiction.

“This Court concludes that to enforce the Congressional mandate that district courts lack jurisdiction — despite the compelling context of this case — would expose Petitioners to the substantiated risk of death, torture, or other grave persecution before their legal claims can be tested in a court,” Goldsmith wrote in a 24-page opinion.

Goldsmith earlier blocked the deportations while he considered whether he had jurisdiction over the case. (For more local news, click here to sign up for real-time news alerts and newsletters from Detroit Patch, click here to find your local Michigan Patch. Also, like us on Facebook, and if you have an iPhone, click here to get the free Patch iPhone app.)

Many of the Iraqis, including 114 rounded up in the Detroit area last month who are mostly Christians, fear attacks over their religion if returned to Iraq. The government says they face deportation because they committed crimes in the U.S.

Goldsmith earlier extended a ruling suspending the deportation of the 114 while he considered jurisdiction to all Iraqi nationals in the U.S.

The U.S. government said 1,400 Iraqis are under deportation orders nationwide, though most are not in custody. Some have been under orders for years because they committed crimes in the U.S. But legal action over deportations took on new urgency because Iraq has agreed to accept them.

The American Civil Liberties Union said a suspension is necessary so Iraqi nationals can go to immigration court and argue that their lives would be in jeopardy if returned to their native country. Without some intervention, the ACLU contends that people could be deported before their case is called.

Goldsmith scheduled a Wednesday hearing to discuss several matters in the case, including a request from the Iraqis for a preliminary injunction barring the deportations.”

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Seems like these folks should have their cases reviewed by a U.S. Immigration Judge based on current conditions in Iraq.

PWS

07-12-17

MS-13 MEMBER FILMS BRUTAL TORTURE-MURDER!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/ms-13-gang-member-narrated-video-of-teens-killing-fbi-agent-testifies/2017/07/10/88f90b08-65b2-11e7-8eb5-cbccc2e7bfbf_story.html?hpid=hp_local-news_damaris-1130pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.626af5bc6f07

Justin Jouvenal reports in  the Washington Post:

“The MS-13 gang member filmed the killing with a cellphone, barking out orders and narrating as fellow gang members set upon the 15-year-old girl with a knife and a large wooden stake in a suburban Virginia park, an FBI agent testified Monday.

The green-light to kill Damaris A. Reyes Rivas had come from the transnational gang’s leadership in El Salvador, payback for her alleged role in luring another MS-13 member to his death a week earlier, the FBI agent told a Fairfax County judge.

But it was 17-year-old Jose Cerrato who allegedly helped orchestrate the killing, part of a plan to send the video back to those MS-13 leaders as proof of his willingness to carry out orders, the agent testified. It’s unclear if the video was ever sent, but the FBI agent testified Cerrato soon earned a promotion within the ranks of the gang for his role in the slaying.

The testimony by FBI special agent Fernando Uribe came during a hearing in Fairfax County juvenile court in which a judge certified that Cerrato would face murder, abduction and gang participation charges as an adult.”

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Read the complete, very disturbing, story at the link.

PWS

07-11-17

NYT: CONFEDERACY OF LIARS!

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/11/opinion/donald-trump-jr-russian-lawyer.html?em_pos=small&emc=edit_ty_20170711&nl=opinion-today&nl_art=0&nlid=79213886&ref=headline&te=1&_r=0

Today’s NY Times Editorial:

“At a critical juncture in Donald Trump’s presidential campaign last year, his son Donald Trump Jr. met with Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer who promised to share political dirt on Hillary Clinton. Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump’s campaign chairman at the time, and Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and a key strategist, also attended.

The June 9, 2016, meeting is of obvious interest to Robert Mueller III, the Justice Department special counsel investigating the Trump team’s potential involvement in Russia’s effort to influence the presidential election. In two clumsy statements over the weekend, the younger Mr. Trump on Saturday said the meeting was related to Russia’s freezing of an adoption program popular with Americans. When confronted a day later with a Times story citing authoritative sources that Ms. Veselnitskaya had promised damaging material on Mrs. Clinton, he said that the information she supplied was essentially meaningless and merely a “pretext” for discussing the adoption issue.

On the face of it, this seemed a clear though perhaps unintended admission by Donald Trump Jr. that he had gone into the meeting expecting damaging information, and the episode is clearly grist for Mr. Mueller’s mill. As is a report Monday night by The Times that the president’s son had received an email saying Ms. Veselnitskaya’s information came from Moscow. But his shifty statements are also further evidence of how freely his father and the people around the president contort the truth. Only six months in, President Trump has compiled a record of dishonesty — ranging from casual misstatements to flat-out lies — without precedent in the modern presidency. Equally disheartening is his team’s willingness to share in his mendacity.

On Sunday, before Donald Trump Jr. acknowledged that there was a Clinton-related aspect to the meeting, Reince Priebus, the White House chief of staff, was on Fox News suggesting that the Veselnitskaya episode was “a big nothingburger” for the Trump campaign.

If a culture of dishonesty takes root in an administration, how can Americans believe anything its officials say? Take, for instance, the matter of whether President Vladimir Putin of Russia personally directed Moscow’s hacking of the 2016 presidential election. In statements dating from his first days in office until the eve of his meeting with Mr. Putin in Germany last week, when he said “nobody really knows,” Mr. Trump has deflected and sought to discredit his own intelligence agencies’ finding that Moscow, at Mr. Putin’s direction, tried to disrupt the election to help him win. Rex Tillerson, the secretary of state, said after the American and Russian presidents met in Hamburg that they “had a very robust and lengthy exchange on the subject” and that Mr. Trump had “pressed” Mr. Putin on the issue. Later, Mr. Trump made much the same claim on Twitter. The Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, had quite a different version of the facts, suggesting that Mr. Trump had characterized the hacking controversy as a “campaign” against Russia in which “not a single fact has been produced.” So whom should Americans believe? In a more credible administration, who would ever ask?

On Monday, Donald Trump Jr. hired a lawyer, while maintaining on Twitter that he’d been forthright in answering questions about the meeting last year. Meanwhile, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, deputy press secretary, blew more smoke: The “only thing I see inappropriate” about the meeting, she said, is that it was leaked to the media.”

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Not only are they congenital liars, but they aren’t even very good at it!

PWS

07-11-17

A HATE CRIME VICTIM’S WIDOW TELLS HER STORY!

https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/07/08/us/he-became-a-hate-crime-victim-she-became-a-widow.html?emc=edit_nn_20170710&nl=morning-briefing&nlid=79213886&te=1&referer=

AUDRA D.S. BURCH reports in the NY Times:

“In some ways, what one man shouted in anger and one woman uttered in grief capture one of America’s most troubling intersections.

“Get out of my country!” the gunman would yell, before opening fire on the two Indian men he later said he believed were from Iran.

“Do we belong here?” the widow would ask in a Facebook post six days after the shooting.

The episode happened at dinnertime in a neighborhood bar, part of a spasm of hatred that seems to be uncoiling in small towns and big cities across the nation — and in rising numbers.

A month before the shooting, the Victoria Islamic Center in Texas was torched, destroying the mosque. A month after the shooting, a white supremacist traveledfrom Baltimore to New York City on a mission to randomly kill a black man. He did just that. The reason: a deep hatred of black men, according to the New York Police Department.

“We’ve read many times in newspapers of some kind of shooting happening,” Ms. Dumala said at a news conference in February at the headquarters of Garmin, where Mr. Kuchibhotla worked as a senior aviation systems engineer.

“And we always wondered, how safe?”

Ms. Dumala had wondered how the couple fit into this new narrative, if they should move to a different country, and once even asked her husband, “Are we doing the right thing of staying in the United States of America?”

Ms. Dumala shared what is now the most dreadful chapter of her life seated at the foot of the king-size bed where they once slept. Much of their story was typical, abundant with promise: They were Indian immigrants who moved to the United States from Hyderabad for postgraduate degrees and jobs, a young couple in love, planning a family, making Kansas home.

Her night stand, closest to the window, offered unintended markers on that life: a 2007 college graduation photo of Mr. Kuchibhotla taken not long after they met, and a small box of Russell Stover assorted chocolates he gave her for Valentine’s Day, eight days before he was shot.

The realization that her husband was killed because of intolerance, because he was not born in America, is what forced her to emerge from this personal, private hell. She thought that if people were to know the aftermath of a hate crime, the crater-sized void and endless questions left behind, if the victims were rendered as three-dimensional, maybe there would be less fear, less hate.

“My story needs to be spread,” she said plainly. “Srinu’s story needs to be known. We have to do something to reduce the hate crimes. Even if we can save one other person, I think that would give peace to Srinu and give me the satisfaction that his sacrifice did not go in vain.”

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Read the complete story at the link.
PWS
07-11-17

N. RAPPAPORT IN THE HILL: Trump Has An Opportunity To Make a Positive Difference on Human Trafficking!

http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/crime/341042-trump-can-leave-his-mark-by-decimating-human-trafficking

Nolan writes:

“Human trafficking presents President Donald Trump with an opportunity to show what he can accomplish when he is not hampered by political partisanship. It is one of the least partisan issues he will face as president, and it is a major problem. There were fewer than 10,000 worldwide convictions of human traffickers in 2016, and the number of victims remains in the tens of millions.

Former President Barack Obama said, “Our fight against human trafficking is one of the great human rights causes of our time.”

Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump gave a speech at the launch ceremony for the 2017 Trafficking in Persons Report, which highlights the successes and the remaining challenges. She pointed out that trafficking often is a secret crime. It can be a great challenge just to identify the victims.

“Most tragically, human trafficking preys on the most vulnerable, young children, boys and girls, separating them from their families, often to be exploited, forced into prostitution or sex slavery,” she said.

Ending human trafficking, she continued, “is a major foreign policy priority for the Trump administration.”

Palermo Protocol

The preamble to the Palermo Protocol, which supplements the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, declares that:

“[E]ffective action to prevent and combat trafficking in persons, especially women and children, requires a comprehensive international approach in the countries of origin, transit and destination that includes measures to prevent such trafficking, to punish the traffickers and to protect the victims of such trafficking…”

The obligations of this protocol are the focus of the report.”

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Read Nolan’s complete article at the link.

B/t/w, Nolan informs me that this is his 30th published article in The Hill. Most impressive!

Here’s a link to a list of all 30!

30 Hill Articles

PWs

07-09-17

JUSTICE WATCH: WashPost –Sessions Destroying Our Justice System, One Gonzo Decision At A Time!

July 2

Rush D. Holt is chief executive officer at the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Jed S. Rakoff is a U.S. district judge for the Southern District of New York who served ex officio on the National Commission on Forensic Science.

Imagine this: A cop pulls you over and arrests you because you match the description of someone wanted for a heinous crime. You are innocent, but after being charged and brought to trial, you watch as experts testify with “scientific certainty” that hair and footprints at the scene match your own, and you are led from the courtroom in shackles.

This may seem like a scene straight out of a TV melodrama, but this scenario happens in real life far too often. A number of forensic techniques — including hair- and footprint-matching, mark analysis, bloodstain-pattern analysis and others — lack scientific validity and reliability yet are used frequently in our nation’s courtrooms.

According to the National Registry of Exonerations, no fewer than 490 people have been exonerated since 1989 after being convicted on the basis of false or misleading forensic techniques. Just last month, a Michigan man was freed from jail 41 years after his conviction after prosecutors agreed that evidence against him — based on an analysis of a single hair — didn’t meet FBI standards. Another Michigan man was released in May after 25 years in prison following a faulty conviction based on bullets matched to a gun.

During the past decade, thanks largely to a 2009 report from the National Academy of Sciences, we have made important progress in ridding our nation’s courtrooms of such scenarios. But the Justice Department’s recent decision to not renew the National Commission on Forensic Science — the primary forum through which scientists, forensic lab technicians, lawyers and judges have worked together to guide the future of forensic science — threatens to stall and even reverse that progress.

The NAS report found that too few forensic disciplines, other than DNA analysis, have adequate scientific basis. The report also found that experts often overstate their claims in testimony, invoking unscientific terms like “scientific certainty” and claiming 100 percent accuracy.

The Justice Department is the responsible agency for prosecuting federal crimes and, in this role, makes frequent use of forensic techniques. It is therefore not appropriate for the Justice Department to be the evaluator of forensic practices. In the 2009 report, the NAS strongly recommended that to avoid a conflict of interest, an entity independent of the Justice Department should oversee forensic standards.

While the Justice Department did not fully embrace this recommendation, it went ahead and, in collaboration with the National Institute of Standards and Technology, helped create the National Commission on Forensic Science. From 2013 until earlier this year, the commission provided a venue for all of the relevant stakeholders to discuss issues facing forensic labs and foundational science and to advance a path forward to strengthen forensic practices and research.

By building consensus among these diverse groups who all care deeply about the integrity of our justice system, the commission promoted important reforms, such as mandatory accreditation of crime labs used by the government and the immediate disclosure to defense counsels of a government forensic expert’s entire file relating to a defendant. Many of the commission’s recommendations have been adopted not only by the Justice Department but also by state and local crime labs. They have also resulted in changes both to prosecutorial practices and to codes of professional conduct for those working in forensic laboratories. With these improvements in providing justice, it is not time to pull back from the forensic commission.

More than 250 individuals and groups, including leading legal scholars and scientific organizations such as the American Association for the Advancement of Science, recently submitted public comments to the Justice Department on how to proceed on forensic science. The overwhelming majority of comments urged the department to ensure that there be an independent and transparent oversight body for forensic science like the now-suspended commission.

For now, the Justice Department has taken the opposite view, that there is no conflict with having internal department evaluators oversee forensic science research that their prosecutors hope to use in the courtroom. We urge the attorney general and the department to take a thorough look at the many thoughtful comments from concerned citizens and quickly reconsider this approach. Forensic science requires conflict-free independent evaluation if it is to advance the truth. People’s lives and our society’s faith in the American justice system are at stake.”

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Nearly every decision that Sessions makes turns back the hands of time to programs and methods that are proven failures.

PWS

07-05-17