NO MERCY, NO JUDGEMENT, NO SANITY — “Deport ‘Em All — Create Universal Fear” (Paraphrased) Says Acting ICE Chief Homan!

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/jun/13/thomas-homan-ice-chief-says-illegal-immigrants-sho/

Stephen Dinan reports in the Washington Times:

“Illegal immigrants should be living in fear of being deported, the chief of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Tuesday, pushing back against a growing sentiment among Democrats on Capitol Hill and activists across the country who have complained about agents enforcing the laws on the books.
Thomas D. Homan, acting director at ICE, said anyone in the country without authorization can be arrested and those who have been ordered deported by judges must be removed if laws are to have meaning.
His comments marked a major shift for an agency that President Obama forbade from enforcing the law when it came to more than 9 million of the country’s estimated 11 million illegal immigrants. Unshackled from Mr. Obama’s strictures, agents have dramatically increased the number of arrests.
Advocacy groups are enraged and demand leniency for “traumatized” immigrants.
Mr. Homan makes no apologies.
“If you’re in this country illegally and you committed a crime by being in this country, you should be uncomfortable, you should look over your shoulder. You need to be worried,” Mr. Homan testified to the House Appropriations Committee. “No population is off the table.”

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  1. Homan’s definition of “criminal” (the “Trump definition”) is remarkable. It includes folks who have never been convicted of a crime, but might have committed one. So, by this definition, anyone who has ever driven a car while over the legal limit, left assets off of a Federal or State tax return, or tried marijuana in high school or college when it was against the law is a “criminal.” That probably would include the majority of the U.S. population, and even lots of folks who work for Homan. Fortunately for them, they aren’t subject to Homan’s arbitrary removal policies.
  2. Homan’s over-broad use of “criminal” nevertheless excludes a large portion of the undocumented population who entered the U.S. legally on visas or visa waivers and then overstayed. Recent studies estimate that the visa overstays surpassed illegal entrants as a source of undocumented arrivals in 2008 and might amount to as much as 60% of the “new” undocumented population in recent years. Overstaying is not, in and of itself, a “crime.”
  3. Some of the individuals under “final orders” of removal were ordered removed in absentia. Many of these individuals have a right to file a motion to reopen which automatically stays removal and requires immediate attention by an Immigration Judge. In my experience, because of the “haste makes waste” priorities followed by the last few Administrations, many “Notices To Appear” (NTA’s) had incorrect addresses or were otherwise were defectively served. (Keep in mind that the overwhelming majority of NTAs and Notices of Hearing Date are served by regular U.S. Mail, rather than actual personal service.) Consequently, many of these supposed “scofflaws” might not actually have had their day in court and will be entitled to a reopened individual hearing in the future.
  4. Make no mistake about it, what Homan really is advocating is arbitrary enforcement. We can’t remove millions of individuals, but by arbitrarily removing a limited number, even if they are actually benefitting the US, we can spread fear among millions. And, by sowing fear, we can make these individuals afraid to report crime or cooperate with authorities in solving crime.
  5. It’s not really Homan’s fault. His pride in his largely arbitrary use of the enforcement resources at his disposal is just the logical outcome of years of intentional neglect of needed immigration reforms by Congress and successive Administrations. Arbitrary enforcement is what the Trump Administration asked for, and Homan is giving it to them. Big time! Eventually, it’s likely to crash the entire system. And, that will finally force Congress to do what it hates most: legislate.
  6. It also would be wrong to think of Acting Director Homan as a creation of the Trump Administration. He is a career civil servant who is exceptionally good at doing what he is told to do. So good, in fact, that he received a Presidential Rank SES Award from the Obama Administration for “jacking up” removals. Don’t forget that until Trump and his bombast arrived on the scene, President Obama was known as the “Deporter-in-Chief.” Obama made mistakes, but he did temper some of his counterproductive enforcement efforts with at least some amount of mercy, common sense, and the very beginnings of a rational system of enforcement along the lines of almost every other law enforcement agency in America. With Trump, the age of “full gonzo enforcement” has returned.

PWS

06-14-17

 

TRUMP IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT POLICIES: BOON FOR DOMESTIC ABUSERS, BUST FOR VICTIMS! — Many Victims Now Fear Reporting Abuse Or Seeking Help!

http://www.self.com/story/immigration-policies-domestic-violence-survivors

Haley Goldberg reports in Self:

Over the past several months, counselors at Laura’s House domestic violence agency in Orange County, California, have seen fewer and fewer undocumented immigrants coming in to report abuse. The agency’s legal director, Adam Dodge, does not see this as a good sign. He says undocumented domestic violence victims are facing a heightened fear that if they speak out against an abuser or take legal action, they could get deported—so they’re keeping quiet.

The trend started in February, when Dodge says the agency saw a dramatic change among the roughly 80 people who come in over the course of a typical month. “We went from 40 to 45 percent of our clients being undocumented—helping them get restraining orders for themselves and their children—to nearly zero,” he tells SELF.

Dodge says Laura’s House—which provides vital services like emergency shelter, counseling, and legal aid to survivors of domestic violence—first noticed a decrease in undocumented immigrant clients after Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents detained an undocumented domestic violence survivor on Feb. 9, in El Paso, Texas, when she was in court filing a protective order against her alleged abuser. “That just spread like wildfire through the undocumented community across the United States and created this chilling effect where no one’s going in to seek restraining orders,” Dodge says. “People are just so scared of having their name in any system. We can’t tell them with any certainty that they won’t get picked up by ICE if they come to court.”

In the first few months following the El Paso incident, he says only one openly undocumented survivor came to their agency. Her situation was grave. “She thought she was going to die if she stayed in the relationship,” Dodge says. “She said she was willing to risk deportation to get a restraining order.” Now, the agency has seen a slight increase to one or two undocumented clients each week—but it’s still well below the norm. “The situation is still very dire,” he says.

El Paso was an early and powerful example of how ramped up ICE activity, spurred by President Trump’s aggressive and expansive new rules on immigration, can have a devastating impact on immigrants living in the U.S. without documentation. In February, the President issued new immigration policies, calling for the deportation of illegal immigrants even if they haven’t been formally convicted of a crime and an increase in ICE resources. In March, a video surfaced showing ICE officers poised to make an arrest at a Denver courthouse, a place where victims of domestic violence also appear when their cases go to court. NPR reported that after the video came out, four women dropped domestic violence cases in Denver, fearing they’d be spotted at the courthouse and deported.

When incidents like these happen, experts say the news—and fear of deportation—spreads, affecting how many survivors come forward. At the end of March, reports of sexual assault in Los Angeles had dropped 25 percent among the Latino population and reports of domestic violence had fallen 10 percent among the community compared to the previous year. Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said similar decreases in reports weren’t seen in any other ethnic groups, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Ruth Glenn, executive director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, tells SELF the perception of how survivors are treated matters—and it can affect how undocumented immigrants proceed if they find themselves in an abusive situation. “If you have a case and you’re thinking about going forward, and then this environment that we’re in right now does not seem supportive, then you’re not going to follow through,” Glenn says. “It’s very disturbing.”

Critics of the administration’s treatment of undocumented survivors sounded an alarm in May, when it was discovered that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s new Victim Information and Notification Exchange—an online database created to track when criminals are released from or into ICE custody—publicly listed the names and detainment location of victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking who’ve applied to stay legally in the U.S. on special protective visas. DHS is prohibited from releasing identifying information about immigrants seeking these protections because of the dangers it poses to them. The Tahirih Justice Center, a nonprofit that serves immigrant women and girls, first contacted the DHS about the issue on May 12. As of the May 25, the organization said the names of abuse victims were still searchable in the database. In response to the uproar, an ICE spokesman told BuzzFeed News they were working to “correct” and “prevent” any non-releasable information disclosed on the site.”

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Read the complete story at the link.

While the Trump Administration has turned the VOICE Program for victims of crime committed by undocumented aliens into a big showpiece, they have basically declared an “open season” on undocumented victims of crime. Years of hard work by local police and social agencies to get the undocumented community its to report crimes, help in solving them, and seek appropriate victim assistance are going down the drain. And, I suspect that once lost, that trust will be difficult, if not impossible to regain.

At the same time, by discouraging individuals from reporting crime, I suppose the Administration can achieve fake “reduction in crime” stats resulting from its enforcement efforts.

PWS

06-03-17

Administration’s Enforcement Policies: More Arrests, Fewer Removals — Backlogs Grow!

https://www.theatlantic.com/news/archive/2017/05/under-trump-immigrants-arrests-are-up-but-deportation-is-down/527103/

Aria Bendix reports in The Atlantic:

“Notably, Trump’s second executive order also expands the number of undocumented immigrants who are considered “priorities for removal.” Under the new legislation, any undocumented immigrant who poses a “risk to public safety or national security” qualifies as a priority. This marks a significant departure from the Obama administration, which designated immigrants convicted of serious crimes—including gang members, convicted felons, or those convicted of multiple misdemeanors—as priorities. In January, the president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association called Trump’s plan “a blueprint for mass deportation”—a claim both the White House and the Department of Homeland Security have denounced.

In February, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly released two memos describing how Trump’s executive orders would be enforced in the U.S. According to Wednesday’s ICE report, Kelly “has made it clear that ICE will no longer exempt any class of individuals from removal proceedings if they are found to be in the country illegally.” Despite these new security measures, Homan told reporters that deportations have actually declined by 12 percent under the Trump administration. This is because more undocumented immigrants are being arrested in the interior of the country rather than along the border. As a result, they often face lengthy hearings in the nation’s immigration court system.”

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Doesn’t seem like increasing Immigration Court backlogs is sound enforcement policy. But, other reports suggest that the FEAR strategy is prompting undocumented residents to leave the US. So, perhaps from that standpoint it is succeeding.

ICE Gets Jollies By Busting More Non-Criminals, Adding to Immigration Court Backlogs!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/immigration-arrests-up-during-trump/2017/05/17/74399a04-3b12-11e7-9e48-c4f199710b69_story.html

Maria Sacchetti reports in the Washington Post:

“Federal immigration agents are arresting more than 400 immigrants a day, a sharp leap from last year that reflects one of President Trump’s most far-reaching campaign promises.

In Trump’s first 100 days in office, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested 41,318 immigrants, up 37.6 percent over the same period last year, the agency said Wednesday. Almost 3 out of 4 of those arrested have criminal records, including gang members and fugitives wanted for murder. But the biggest increase by far is among immigrants with no criminal records.

“This administration is fully implementing its mass-deportation agenda,” said Gregory Chen, government relations director for the American Immigration Lawyers Association. “They’re going after people who have lived here for a long time.”

. . . .

Acting ICE director Thomas Homan said the statistics released Wednesday show that agents still prioritize lawbreakers: 30,473 criminals were arrested from Jan. 22 to April 29, an 18 percent increase from the same period in 2016.

Meanwhile, arrests of immigrants with no criminal records more than doubled to nearly 11,000, the fastest-growing category by far.

“Will the number of noncriminal arrests and removals increase this year? Absolutely,” Homan said. “That’s enforcing the laws that are on the books.”

What is less clear is what is happening to the immigrants who are being taken into custody.

Overall, deportations have fallen about 12 percent this year, to about 56,315 people, which Homan attributed to a severe backlog in federal immigration courts. He also said it can take longer to deport criminals than those without criminal records, because those in the former category may have additional court proceedings. The Trump administration has called for additional immigration judges and detention space to speed deportations.

Homan did not say how many of the 41,318 people whose arrests were announced Wednesday have been deported, remain in custody or have been released.

Unlike criminal arrests, records of immigration arrests — which are considered civil violations — are not publicly accessible.

The secrecy allows immigration officials to pick and choose which examples of their work to highlight. On Wednesday, they said the immigrants arrested since Trump’s executive order include Estivan Rafael Marques Velasquez, an alleged MS-13 gang member from El Salvador captured in New York in February; Juan Antonio Melchor Molina, a fugitive wanted for a 2008 murder in Mexico who was arrested last month in Dallas; and William Magana-Contreras, another reputed MS-13 member arrested in Houston last month. Magana-Contreras is wanted for aggravated homicide in El Salvador, officials said.

Some advocates questioned whether ICE is truly prioritizing the most serious criminals.

Parastoo Zahedi, an immigration lawyer in Virginia, said ICE is actively trying to deport one of her clients to Italy because of a conviction for possession of a small amount of marijuana. He has lived in the United States nearly all his life.

“It’s not criminal aliens,” Zahedi said. “It’s anyone that they can catch.”

Ava Benach, a D.C. immigration lawyer, said ICE agents are “empowered, emboldened and . . . eager to enforce the law aggressively.”

Advocates also questioned the wisdom of arresting thousands more immigrants — especially those who pose no known public safety threat — when immigration courts are severely backlogged. But Homan said that is the agency’s job.

. . . .

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Let’s put this in plain language.  We have a law that doesn’t work, and a system that is broken. There are an estimated 11 million undocumented individuals residing in the U.S. Most of them work, pay taxes (in some form), and contribute to the economy. Many have immediate relatives who are US citizens or otherwise in the country legally.

Because everyone can’t possibly be removed, the “unfocused” enforcement advocated by Homan on behalf of the Trump Administration turns out to be highly if not completely arbitrary. In most cases of those without serious criminal records, removal would be a net loss to our country.

Moreover, the Administration has reassigned U.S. Immigration Judges away from their regular dockets to work on detained cases, which, understandably, are the highest priority. By mindlessly “jacking up” the detained docket, the Administration  guarantees that backlogs will continue to build on the “non-detained” dockets.

The Immigration Courts now have a backlog approaching 600,000, and it continues to grow by leaps and bounds even though there are more Immigration Judges on duty now than in past years and productivity has remained constant over the past few years (although Immigration Judges still complete multiples of what other similarly situated Federal Judges do, and far more cases than the
“ideal”). This is because of the “Aimless Docket Reshuffling” — ADR — foisted on the Immigration Courts by the past two Administrations.

While, at the very end of the Obama Administration ICE was making some progress toward smarter, more focused use of enforcement resources, which took into account the finite limits of Immigration Court dockets, the Trump Administration has returned to a policy of random irrational enforcement. They have also limited the discretion of individual ICE Assistant Chief Counsel to exercise discretion to get what should be “low priority” cases off the docket — in other words, to exercise “prosecutorial discretion” — “PD” — as other prosecutors do.

PWS

05-17-17