THE HILL: N. Rappaport On The Diversity Program

http://thehill.com/opinion/immigration/358611-we-dont-need-a-terrorist-attack-to-know-diversity-visa-program-has-to-go

Nolan writes:

“What is the Diversity Visa Program?

Section 201(e) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provides 55,000 visas a year for a class of immigrants known as “diversity immigrants,” from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States.

The number temporarily has been reduced to 50,000, to make up to 5,000 visas a year available for use by Nicaraguans who are eligible for the NACARA program.

The eligibility requirements are stated in section 203(c). The applicant must have been born in a designated country. There are exceptions based on other connections to the designated country. Also, he must have at least a high school education or its equivalent, or two years of work experience that required at least two years of training or experience to perform.

Reasons for terminating it.

While it may be difficult to justify terminating the program on account of the recent terrorist attack, there should be some benefit to offset the fact that the program could bring terrorists to the United States. If the New York City terrorist hadn’t been here, he wouldn’t have been able to commit a terrorist act here.

The claimed benefit is diversity, but does the program really make America more diverse? The United States has a population of 326,199,506people, and that number is increasing by one international migrant (net) every 32 seconds. How does adding 50,000 aliens a year make the country more diverse?

Nevertheless, the program is bringing a lot of people in an absolute sense. Since 1995, it has made visas available to roughly one million people who have no ties to the United States. Is this fair to American citizens and legal permanent residents who get visa petitions approved to bring family members here and then have to wait years for visas to become available?

. . . .

Lastly, the visas are allocated randomly on the basis of a lottery run by the Department of State.

“A lottery is a crazy way to run an immigration system,” according to Steve Yale-Loehr, an immigration law professor at Cornell. “No other country selects immigrants based on a lottery.”

Wouldn’t the program add as much diversity if the same number of aliens, from the same group of countries, were to be selected on a merit-based point system?

My prediction is that the program will be terminated to make the visas available to family and/or employment-based immigrants.”

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Go on over to The Hill for Nolan’s full article which has other helpful statistics and information.

I don’t know that I see enough information to justify terminating the program at this time. But, Nolan’s point that the visas might better be used for other categories as part of overall immigration reform seems like something that should be part of the discussion.

PWS

11-03-17

THE BIGGEST LOSER: US Judge In MD Also Slams Travel Ban 3.0 (Again)! No Matter What Ultimately Happens, Trump & Our Country Are The Big Losers From His Determination To Be Petty & Discriminatory!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/second-judge-rules-against-latest-travel-ban-saying-trumps-own-words-show-it-was-aimed-at-muslims/2017/10/18/5ecdaa44-b3ed-11e7-9e58-e6288544af98_story.html

Matt Zapotosky reports for the Washington Post:

“A federal judge in Maryland early Wednesday issued a second halt on the latest version of President Trump’s travel ban, asserting that the president’s own comments on the campaign trail and on Twitter convinced him that the directive was akin to an unconstitutional Muslim ban.

U.S. District Judge Theodore D. Chuang issued a somewhat less complete halt on the ban than his counterpart in Hawaii did a day earlier, blocking the administration from enforcing the directive only on those who lacked a “bona fide” relationship with a person or entity in the United States, such as family members or some type of professional or other engagement in the United States.

But in some ways, Chuang’s ruling was more personally cutting to Trump, as he said the president’s own words cast his latest attempt to impose a travel blockade as the “inextricable re-animation of the twice-enjoined Muslim ban.”

Omar Jadwat, who directs of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project and represented those suing in Maryland over the ban, said: “Like the two versions before it, President Trump’s latest travel ban is still a Muslim ban at its core. And like the two before it, this one is going down to defeat in the courts.”

The third iteration of Trump’s travel ban had been set to go fully into effect early Wednesday, barring various types of travelers from Syria, Libya, Iran, Yemen, Chad, Somalia, North Korea and Venezuela. Even before Chuang’s ruling, though, a federal judge in Hawaii stopped it — at least temporarily — for all of the countries except North Korea and Venezuela.

That judge, Derrick K. Watson, blocked the administration from enforcing the measure on anyone from the six countries, not just those with a “bona fide” U.S. tie. But his ruling did not address whether Trump’s intent in imposing the directive was to discriminate against Muslims. He said the president had merely exceeded the authority Congress had given him in immigration law.

The Justice Department already had vowed to appeal Watson’s ruling, which the White House said “undercuts the President’s efforts to keep the American people safe and enforce minimum security standards for entry into the United States.” Both Watson’s temporary restraining order and Chuang’s preliminary injunction are also interim measures, meant to maintain the status quo as the parties continue to argue the case.

The administration had cast the new measure as one that was necessary for national security, implemented only after officials conducted an extensive review of the information they needed to vet those coming to the United States. Those countries that were either unwilling or unable to produce such information even after negotiation, officials have said, were included on the banned list.

“These restrictions are vital to ensuring that foreign nations comply with the minimum security standards required for the integrity of our immigration system and the security of our Nation,” the White House said after Watson’s ruling. “We are therefore confident that the Judiciary will ultimately uphold the President’s lawful and necessary action and swiftly restore its vital protections for the safety of the American people.”

Like Watson’s order, Chuang’s 91-page ruling also found Trump had exceeded his authority under immigration law, but only partially.

The order — which has “no specified end date and no requirement of renewal” — violated a nondiscrimination provision in the law in that it blocked immigrants to the United States based on their nationality, Chuang wrote.

But Chuang said he could not determine, as Watson did, that Trump had violated a different part of federal immigration law requiring him to find entry of certain nonimmigrant travelers would be “detrimental” to U.S. interests before blocking them.

Chuang instead based much of his ruling on his assessment that Trump intended to ban Muslims, and thus his order had run afoul of the Establishment Clause of the Constitution. When Trump was a presidential candidate in December 2015, Chuang wrote, he had promised a “complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” and all of his comments since then seemed to indicate his various travel bans were meant to fulfill that promise.

After his second ban was blocked, Chuang wrote, Trump described the measure as a “watered down version” of his initial measure, adding, “we ought go back to the first one and go all the way, which is what I wanted to do in the first place.” The president had then revoked and replaced his first travel ban, which had also been held up in court.

In August, with courts still weighing the second version, Chuang noted that Trump “endorsed what appears to be an apocryphal story involving General John J. Pershing and a purported massacre of Muslims with bullets dipped in a pig’s blood, advising people to ‘study what General Pershing . . . did to terrorists when caught.’ ”

In September, as authorities worked on a new directive, Trump wrote on Twitter “the travel ban into the United States should be far larger, tougher and more specific — but stupidly, that would not be politically correct!”

Chuang had pressed challengers at a hearing this week on what the government would have to do to make the new ban legal, and he noted in his ruling that the new directive had changed from the previous iterations. The government, for example, had undertaken a review process before inking the new measure, and had added two non-Muslim majority countries to the banned list.

But Chuang wrote that he was unmoved that government had simply relied on the results of their review, and instead believed they made “certain subjective determinations that resulted in a disproportionate impact on majority-Muslim nations.” He wrote that the government offered “no evidence, even in the form of classified information submitted to the Court, showing an intelligence-based terrorism threat justifying a ban on entire nationalities,” and asserted that even the new measure “generally resembles President Trump’s earlier description of the Muslim ban.”

“The ‘initial’ announcement of the Muslim ban, offered repeatedly and explicitly through President Trump’s own statements, forcefully and persuasively expressed his purpose in unequivocal terms,” Chuang wrote.

The suits in federal court in Maryland had been brought by 23 advocacy groups and seven people who said they would be negatively impacted by the new ban.”

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Yes, the Trump Administration might ultimately prevail on appeal on this one. But, that won’t change the fact that they are “losers.” And, a country that chooses biased, incompetent, and petty leadership like this is also a “Big Loser.”

PWS

10-18-17

TRUMP BLOCKED AGAIN: US JUDGE IN HAWAII BLOCKS MOST OF TRAVEL BAN 3.0!!

Zoe Tillman reports for BuzzFeed News.

https://www.buzzfeed.com/zoetillman/a-judge-just-blocked-the-trump-administration-from?utm_term=.bxgjqJApzp#.bxgjqJApzp

**************

Unconstitutional discrimination as well as dumb and unnecessary policy. When will they ever learn?

PWS

10-17-17

THE HILL: N. Rappaport Says DHS Search Of Social Media Is Likely Legal

http://thehill.com/opinion/immigration/353479-homeland-securitys-social-media-searches-dont-actually-violate-privacy

Nolan writes:

“Homeland Security searching some social media doesn’t violate privacy

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has posted a new rule on the Federal Register which authorizes adding information from an alien’s social media sites to the files that are kept in his/her official immigration records, such as “social media handles, aliases, associated identifiable information, and search results.”

The official immigration records are known as “A-Files.”

The social media sites will be searched for information which pertains to granting aliens a visa or some other type of immigration benefit, and this almost certainly will lead to social media searches of the American citizens and lawful permanent residents who sponsor them.

For instance, if a citizen files a visa petition to accord immediate relative status to his alien spouse, and information on the spouse’s Facebook site indicates that the marriage is a sham, DHS will search the citizen petitioner’s Facebook site for additional information to assist in determining whether the marriage really is a sham.
But the most important reason is to identify terrorists, and this is the reason that prompted 26 senators to ask DHS to search social media sites after the San Bernardino terrorist attack.

. . . .

The Electronic Frontier Foundation and the ACLU have filed a lawsuit to stop DHS from searching mobile electronic devices at the border in violation of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. I expect them to challenge social media checks on the same basis.

The Fourth Amendment states that “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated.” But this only applies to situations where an individual has “a reasonable expectation of privacy,” which is not an easy concept to apply to social media information.

In any case, there is no expectation of privacy in immigration processes. Most, and perhaps all, of the persons involved in immigration processes have to authorize DHS to investigate them and the information they provide.

For instance, an American citizen or lawful permanent resident who files a visa petition for a relative has to fill out a Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative, which requires extensive information about the petitioner, his/her spouse, and his/her parents. It requires similar information about the alien who is the beneficiary of the petition.

The petitioner also has to authorize the release of information that is needed for the adjudication of the petition, or that is “necessary for the administration and enforcement of U.S. immigration laws.”

The Form DS-160 Application for a Nonimmigrant Visa requires even more information, and it should be apparent to aliens applying for a visa that they are subject to background investigations.

I am not convinced, therefore, that social media searches violate privacy rights, and the San Bernardino terrorist attack has shown that information on social media sites can help DHS to identify terrorists before they strike.

**************************************

Go over to The Hill at the link to read Nolan’s complete analysis.

I guess the message here is that if you want privacy, stay off of social media. Otherwise, user beware!

PWS

10-02-17

NBC’S PETE WILLIAMS REPORTS: “Trump to Replace Travel Ban With Revised Requirements”

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/trump-replace-travel-ban-revised-requirements-n803836

NBC’S veteran Legal Reporter Pete Williams (one of my all-time favorites) reports:

“WASHINGTON — The White House could issue new requirements this weekend for travelers entering the United States, replacing President Donald Trump’s controversial ban on visitors from six Muslim countries, administration officials tell NBC News.

The announcement, expected by Sunday, will supersede the 90-day travel ban on issuing visas to visitors from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, which expires Sunday.

The new restrictions will be based on a Homeland Security and State Department review of the kinds of information that must be provided about visitors and immigrants hoping to enter the U.S. The new guidelines are aimed at preventing terrorists and other security threats from entering the country, officials said.

Following the review, the State Department asked U.S. diplomats around the world to gather the information from foreign governments, warning that visitors will be eligible to enter the country only after the requests are fulfilled.

Once those responses came back, Homeland Security and State Departments reported to the White House on which countries agreed to provide the required information and conform to US requirements, and which did not.

Based on that report, the White House is expected to announce the new restrictions, probably in the form of a presidential proclamation, administration officials said. For many countries on the list, visas will be restricted, meaning that only specified categories of travelers can get them.

Any country that flunks the test can get itself off the list by agreeing to conform to the US requirements, which include issuing electronic passports with a photo, regularly reporting passport thefts, and notifying the US of suspected terrorists. Plus countries must also “take measures to ensure that they are not and do not have the potential to become a terrorist safe haven.”

The original White House order, imposed in January, caused chaos in some of the nation’s airports as customs officials were left to interpret the meaning of the surprise order. After it was struck down in court, a revised order was issued in March.

The executive orders have faced a litany of legal challenges. The Supreme Court ruled in June that parts of the current travel ban could be enforced until the court hears argument, on October 10, about whether the president had authority to impose it in the first place.

Lawyers tell NBC News they are unsure what this latest move could mean for the case.”

***************************************

I think this action by the Administration is likely to “moot out” the case currently pending before the Supreme Court.  That seems to be the result the Court was “hinting at” when it issued its partial stay earlier this summer.

PWS

09-22-17

 

BREAKING: SPLIT DECISION — SUPREMES SAY YES TO GRANDPARENTS, DEMUR ON REFUGEES (FOR NOW)!

Here’s the report from NPR News:

Merrit Kennedy, reporting:

“The Supreme Court has upheld parts of a lower court order that had widened the definition of which citizens from the six Muslim-majority countries covered by the Trump administration’s travel ban are still eligible to travel to the U.S.

The order issued Wednesday leaves in place the action of a U.S. District Court judge in Hawaii who broadened the definition of close family to include categories such as the grandparents and cousins of a person in the U.S.

However, the Supreme Court blocked another part of the lower court order that said citizens with formal assurances from a U.S. refugee resettlement agency are eligible.

Since the travel ban was introduced, defining which citizens from the six countries are exempt has been redefined multiple times.

Last month, as we reported, the Supreme Court ruled that parts of the Trump administration’s ban can take effect while the justices prepare to hear oral arguments on the case later this year.

But the court said people from the six countries — Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — can be exempted from the ban if they have a “bona fide relationship” with a person in the U.S., including close family members.

The legal question here is centered on how to define a “bona fide relationship.” As we reported, the Trump administration argued that assurances from a refugee agency are “not sufficient” to constitute this relationship.

However, the judge in Hawaii rejected this argument. “An assurance from a United States refugee resettlement agency, in fact, meets each of the Supreme Court’s touchstones: it is formal, it is a documented contract, it is binding, it triggers responsibilities and obligations,” District Court Judge Derrick Watson wrote. “Bona fide does not get any more bona fide than that.”

The Supreme Court justices, however, stayed that portion of the judge’s order without elaborating. It sent the case back to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for a ruling. The Trump administration had asked the high court to settle the dispute, leapfrogging the 9th Circuit, which the justices denied without comment.

The order said Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch would have stayed the entire lower court order, including the broadening of close family categories.

Naureen Shah, Amnesty International USA senior director of campaigns, stated that Wednesday’s order “jeopardizes the safety of thousands of people across the world including vulnerable families fleeing war and violence.”

Earlier this week, the State Department released new instructions to U.S. embassies and consulates to implement the Hawaii federal court’s order expanded definition of close family to include grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts and uncles, nephews and nieces, and cousins.”

Here is link to copy of the brief per curium order:

https://www.supremecourt.gov/orders/courtorders/071917zr_o7jp.pdf

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Six Justices of the Court appear ready to “just say no” to some parts of the “blanket ban” on the current record. However, they obviously deem “refugees” a closer case, leaving that for the Ninth Circuit to review first. So, there is still a chance that refugees ultimately will prevail. But, as I’ve said many times before, it’s one of the worst times in recent history to be a refugee.

PWS

07-19-17

 

UNDER THE RADAR: Trump Administration Implementing “Muslim Ban” Without Fanfare!

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/18/opinion/trump-muslim-ban-supreme-court.html?em_pos=small&emc=edit_ty_20170718&nl=opinion-today&nl_art=3&nlid=79213886&ref=headline&te=1&_r=0

“Lost amid the uproar over the Trump administration’s travel restrictions on citizens from Muslim-majority countries and the impending showdown at the Supreme Court are the insidious ways that the government has already begun to impose a Muslim ban.

It’s doing so through deceptively boring means: increasing administrative hurdles and cementing or even expanding the current travel restrictions that are not under review at the court. The collective impact of these changes will be that a permanent Muslim ban is enshrined into American immigration policy.

. . . .

The Twitterverse and cable news pundits are unlikely to be mobilized by policy changes that come about through these types of bureaucratic processes. Most people are not closely following the intricacies of visa vetting and screening.

That’s a shame because there is already evidence that they are working. The number of visas issued to citizens from Muslim-majority countries has decreased by double digits. Among nearly 50 Muslim-majority countries, nonimmigrant visas declined almost 20 percent in April, compared with the monthly average from 2016. Visas issued to people from Iran, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and Yemen, the six countries on the travel ban list, were down 55 percent. Those figures will continue to get worse if these other provisions are implemented.

Finally, consider an embarrassing incident. An Afghan girls’ robotics team was initially denied entry into the United States to participate in a science competition. It was only after public outcry and an intervention by President Trump that they were granted passage. Situations like that are also likely to have a chilling effect on people from Muslim-majority countries, resulting in further decreases.

A Muslim ban, even when implemented through seemingly mundane bureaucratic processes, simply has no place in our country.

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION’S WAR ON AMERICA — Proposals To Restrict Student Visas & Reduce Legal Immigration Will Hurt Economy, National Standing

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:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-latest-nativist-trump-proposals-would-actually-hurt-american-institutions/2017/07/17/c85765fc-67eb-11e7-8eb5-cbccc2e7bfbf_story.html?utm_term=.570c8e41fee6

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/07/17/cutting-legal-immigration-50-percent-might-be-trumps-worst-economic-policy-yet/?utm_term=.ac7808d8383d

Restrictionist policies driven by xenophobia and racism inevitably lead to disaster.

PWS

07-18-17

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION ASKS SUPREMES TO INTERVENE (AGAIN) IN TRAVEL BAN CASE!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/trump-supreme-court-travel-appeal_us_596980fde4b017418627ad08

HuffPost reports:

“The U.S. Justice Department on Friday asked the Supreme Court to block a judge’s ruling that prevented President Donald Trump’s travel ban from being applied to grandparents of U.S. citizens and refugees already being processed by resettlement agencies.

In a court filing, the administration asked the justices to overturn Thursday’s decision by a U.S. district judge in Hawaii, which limited the scope of the administration’s temporary ban on refugees and travelers from six Muslim-majority countries.

The latest round in the fight over Trump’s March 6 executive order, which he says is needed for national security reasons, came after the Supreme Court intervened last month to partially revive the two bans, which were blocked by lower courts.

The Supreme Court said then that the ban could take effect, but that people with a “bona fide relationship” to a U.S. person or entity could not be barred.

The administration had narrowly interpreted that language, saying the ban would apply to grandparents and other family members, prompting the state of Hawaii to ask Hawaii-based U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson to expand the definition of who could be admitted. He ruled for the state late on Thursday.

In the court filing, the Justice Department said the judge’s ruling “empties the (Supreme) Court’s decision of meaning, as it encompasses not just “close” family members but virtually all family members.

The conservative-leaning Supreme Court is not currently in session but the justices can handle emergency requests. The administration’s application could be directed either to Justice Anthony Kennedy, who has responsibility for emergency requests from western states, or to the nine justices as a whole. If the court as a whole is asked to weigh in, five votes are needed to grant such a request.

“The truth here is that the government’s interpretation of the Supreme Court’s stay order defies common sense,” said Omar Jadwat, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union involved in challenging the ban. “That’s what the district court correctly found and the attorney general’s misleading attacks on its decision can’t change that fact.”

In his decision, Watson harshly criticized the government’s definition of close family relations as “the antithesis of common sense.”

Watson also ruled that the assurance by a resettlement agency to provide basic services to a newly arrived refugee constitutes an adequate connection to the United States because it is a sufficiently formal and documented agreement that triggers responsibilities and compensation.”

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Read the complete article at the link.

Wow, for a group that despises and disses Federal Judges on a regular basis, the Trumpsters seem to be always calling on them for help!

Hard to see what the “emergency” would be that can’t wait till October.

PWS

07-14-17

 

BREAKING: GRANDPARENTS, REFUGEES WIN, TRUMP LOSES (AGAIN) — JUDGE WATSON EXPANDS TRAVEL BAN EXCEPTIONS!

Here’s U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson’s full opinion:

https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/3894503/Hawaii-v-Trump-Motify-Injunction-Order.pdf

KEY EXCERPTS

“PREDETERMINED AND UNDULY RESTRICTIVE:”

“First, the Government’s utilization of the specific, family-based visa provisions of the INA identified above constitutes cherry-picking and resulted in a

predetermined and unduly restrictive reading of “close familial relationship.” Other, equally relevant federal immigration statutes define a close family in a much broader manner.”

“ANTHESIS OF COMMON SENSE:”

“In sum, the Government’s definition of “close familial relationship” is not only not compelled by the Supreme Court’s June 26 decision, but contradicts it.

Equally problematic, the Government’s definition represents the antithesis of common sense. Common sense, for instance, dictates that close family members be defined to include grandparents. Indeed, grandparents are the epitome of close family members. The Government’s definition excludes them. That simply cannot be. See generally Klayman v. Obama, 142 F. Supp. 3d 172, 188 (D.D.C. 2015) (noting that courts should not “abandon all common sense” when considering injunctive relief).”

“BONA FIDE DOES NOT GET ANY MORE BONA FIDE THAN THAT:”

“Nothing in the Supreme Court’s decision requires a refugee to enter into a contract with a United States entity in order to demonstrate the type of formal relationship necessary to avoid the effects of EO-2. An assurance from a United States refugee resettlement agency, in fact, meets each of the Supreme Court’s touchstones: it is formal, it is a documented contract, it is binding, it triggers responsibilities and obligations, including compensation, it is issued specific to an individual refugee only when that refugee has been approved for entry by the Department of Homeland Security, and it is issued in the ordinary course, and historically has been for decades. See Slip Op. at 12. Bona fide does not get any more bona fide than that.11 Accordingly, Plaintiffs’ Motion is granted with respect to this specific request for injunctive relief.”

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PWS

07-14-17

WHITE NATIONALISTS IN WHITE HOUSE AIM TO STRIP VISA AND REFUGEE FUNCTIONS FROM STATE DEPT!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/battle-emerging-inside-trump-administration-over-who-controls-immigration-and-refugees/2017/07/09/006c6e9a-6357-11e7-8adc-fea80e32bf47_story.html?hpid=hp_no-name_opinion-card-c%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.afef8f7696dd

Josh Rogin writes in a WashPost op-ed:

“When President Trump spoke of the need to defend Western civilization in Poland last week, many saw an effort by him and some of his top White House advisers to redefine the mission of American foreign policy away from building relationships and spreading democratic principles, to a more protective stance drawing sharp lines between the United States and those perceived as threats.

One emerging flash point in that struggle is the internal administration debate over which part of the government should be in charge of deciding who gets into the United States.

Ever since the passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act in 1952, that mission has been charged to the State Department. Thousands of diplomats not only stamp passports and issue visas, but also craft policy and make recommendations about who gets to visit, work and seek refuge in the United States. That tradition has now come into question.

A document crafted by senior White House advisers, first reported by CNN, includes proposals to move the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs and Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration over to the Department of Homeland Security. White House policy adviser Stephen Miller, who helped craft the document, has reportedly been pushing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to get “tougher” on immigration, vetting and refugee policy at the State Department.

. . . .

That nativist strain in the White House is represented by Miller, who was the principal author of Trump’s travel ban, which targeted six Muslim-majority countries, as well as of Trump’s speech last week in Poland, which cast the mission of U.S. foreign policy as one based on threats, not relationships.

“The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive,” Trump said. “Do we have enough respect for our citizens to protect our borders? Do we have the desire and the courage to preserve our civilization in the face of those who would subvert and destroy it?”

Viewing immigration and refugee programs through that lens alone is the opposite of courage. Only through a humane, non-discriminatory approach, led by diplomats and integrated with the rest of American foreign policy, can the United States achieve long-term stability abroad and security at home.”

********************************************************

Sometimes, all you need to know about a “bureaucratic reorganization” is who is sponsoring it. On its face, combining all immigration related functions in one agency could make sense and has been discussed in various forums for years. But, once we know that racist white nationalist Stephen Miller, a disciple of Steve Bannon and Jeff Sessions, is sponsoring the proposal, it’s obvious that it has nothing to do with efficiency or security and everything to do with advancing a racist, xenophobic, white nationalist agenda. That an out of touch, anti-social, extremist like Miller, who has no known positive accomplishments in his life, should be in the White House and shaping national and international policy should be of concern to every American who believes in the tenants of Western liberal democracy.

PWS

07-09-17

 

 

9th Stuffs Hawaii On Travel Ban 2.0 — No Jurisdiction!

http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/341072-hawaii-loses-final-appeal-to-narrow-scope-of-travel-ban

Alicia Cohn reports in The Hill:

“Hawaii must wait on the Supreme Court to rule on President Trump’s so-called travel ban after losing a Friday appeal on an emergency motion to narrow the scope of the ban.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled it does not have jurisdiction to clarify the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision regarding the ban, Reuters reported.

The Supreme Court last month granted the Trump administration’s request to implement part of the travel ban meant to temporarily block people from six predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States.

The ban as currently implemented prevents travelers from six predominately Muslim countries entering the country if they lack a “bona fide relationship with any person or entity in the United States.”

Trump called the Supreme Court order a “clear victory for our national security.”

Hawaii challenged the ban in its current form this week, asking the U.S. District Court of the District of Hawaii to narrow its scope to define “bona fide relationship.” The state called it “preposterous” that the phrase does not appear to include fiances or grandparents.

However, a federal court judge said the state will have to turn to the Supreme Court for clarity.

“Because plaintiffs seek clarification of the June 26, 2017 injunction modifications authored by the Supreme Court, clarification should be sought there, not here,” District Court Judge Derrick K. Watson of the District Court of the District of Hawaii wrote.

Hawaii then filed an appeal Friday that was also denied.

The Supreme Court will hear the travel ban case when it returns for the fall term, which begins in October.”

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Looks like the DHS definitions will remain in effect at least until the Fall.

 

PWS

07-09-17

 

 

TRAVEL BAN UPDATE: Hawaii Federal Judge Rebuffs Plaintiffs’ Attempt To Broaden Travel Ban Exception — Only The Supremes Can Clarify — Grandparents Of Americans Stiffed!

 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/religion/us-judge-in-hawaii-leaves-trumps-travel-ban-rules-in-place/2017/07/06/dedcf73a-62b7-11e7-80a2-8c226031ac3f_story.html?utm_term=.4b44cb00533

Audrey McEvoy of AP reports in the Washington Post:

“HONOLULU — A federal judge in Hawaii on Thursday left Trump administration rules in place for a travel ban on citizens from six majority-Muslim countries.

U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson denied an emergency motion filed by Hawaii asking him to clarify what the U.S. Supreme Court meant by a “bona fide” relationship in its ruling last month.

The Supreme Court ruled the administration could mostly enforce its travel ban, but said those “with a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States” could enter.

Watson says the relationship question would be better posed to the Supreme Court, not him.

“This court will not upset the Supreme Court’s careful balancing and ‘equitable judgment,’” Watson said in his order.

Hawaii attorney general Doug Chin objected to the administration’s omission of grandparents, aunts and uncles from its list of people meeting the definition of a close relationship.

The Trump administration has said the exemption to the ban would apply to citizens of the six countries with a parent, spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law or sibling already in the U.S.

The U.S. Department of Justice said in an emailed statement that it was pleased with the decision.

“If the plaintiffs elect to proceed, we are confident that the U.S. Supreme Court will again vindicate the President and his constitutional duty to protect the national security of the United States,” the department said.

The Hawaii Attorney General’s Office noted after the ruling that the district court did not address the substance of either party’s arguments and instead focused on the procedural question about which court is the appropriate forum to decide the issue.

“The scope of the travel and refugee bans badly needs to be resolved and not just according to the Trump administration’s interpretation,” Chin said.

Hakim Ouansafi, president of the Muslim Association of Hawaii, said he respects Watson’s ruling but thinks there will be more opportunities to ensure the ban does not exclude grandparents and others close family members.

“We will have people directly affected by this, for sure,” Ouansafi said. “When you exclude that many people, the circle is much wider.”

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Read the complete story at the link.

One problem when an appellate court emasculates the trial judge at a preliminary stage of the case is that the higher court then “owns” the case. But, in this particular situation, the Supremes are out to recess until Fall. So, the Trump Administration appears to have won this round because right now the plaintiffs realistically have no forum for their complaint. We can all sleep better knowing that we are protected from a few grandparents of U.S. citizens!

PWS

07-07-17

N. RAPPAPORT IN HUFFPOST: ESTABLISHMENT CLAUSE SHOULDN’T BE AN ISSUE IF SUPREMES EVER REACH MERITS OF TRAVEL BAN CASE!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/5956805de4b0f078efd9894c

Nolan writes:

“May not need to state a reason at all.

In Kleindienst v. Mandel, the Court observed that, without exception, it has sustained Congress’ “plenary power to make rules for the admission of aliens.” And, “The power of Congress …. to have its declared policy in that regard enforced exclusively through executive officers, without judicial intervention, is settled by our previous adjudications.” (Page 408 U. S. 766).

Mandel held that when Congress has made a conditional delegation of its plenary power over the exclusion of aliens to the Executive Branch, and the Executive Branch exercises this power “on the basis of a facially legitimate and bona fide reason,” the courts will not look behind the exercise of that discretion.

The next sentence in Mandel indicates that it may not be necessary to state the reason. “What First Amendment or other grounds may be available for attacking [an] exercise of discretion for which no justification whatsoever is advanced is a question we neither address nor decide in this case.” (Page 408 U. S. 769-70).

No basis for finding religious discrimination in the language of the order.

But the travel ban order does state a reason, and the District Court for the District of Hawaii found no basis in the stated reason or elsewhere in the language of the order for suspecting that the real purpose of the ban was religious discrimination:

It is undisputed that the Executive Order does not facially discriminate for or against any particular religion, or for or against religion versus non-religion. There is no express reference, for instance, to any religion nor does the Executive Order — unlike its predecessor — contain any term or phrase that can be reasonably characterized as having a religious origin or connotation (page 30).
Does it matter if other explanations for the travel ban are possible?

The district court nevertheless went on to find that religious discrimination was the real reason for the ban. In other words, the court finds two reasons, the stated one, which does not reflect religious discrimination, and the real reason, which was found in Trump’s calls for a Muslim ban when he was still campaigning.

Other areas of immigration law do require a weighing of conflicting reasons. An alien is not eligible for an immigration benefit on the basis of a sham marriage, which is defined as a marriage that was entered into for the primary purpose of circumventing the immigration laws. But if the primary reason was that the couple was in love and wanted to spend their lives together, the fact that they got married so the alien spouse could stay in America does not make the marriage a sham.

In the present case, however, the Court will not be weighing reasons to determine which one is primary. It will be interpreting an unambiguous statutory provision that does not require the stated reason to be the primary one. It doesn’t even require the president to say why he made the finding. Section 212(f) has no requirements at all. The president just has to proclaim that he has found that that “the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States.”

If opponents of the travel ban find this unacceptable, their only recourse is to lobby Congress to revise section 212(f).

Nolan Rappaport was detailed to the House Judiciary Committee as an executive branch immigration law expert for three years; he subsequently served as an immigration counsel for the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims for four years. Prior to working on the Judiciary Committee, he wrote decisions for the Board of Immigration Appeals for 20 years.”

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Man, Nolan is prolific, appearing not only in The Hill on an almost weekly basis, but in HuffPost and other publications as well! And, it’s all “original stuff.”  I have a hard time just keeping up with posting his articles!

Nolan might be right, if Trump can keep from shooting off his mouth and undermining his own case, as he has done in the past. But, that’s a big “if!” And to date, I’ve seen nothing to indicate that 1) Trump possesses the quality of self control, or 2) that anyone else can impose it on him. So, I wouldn’t underestimate Trump’s ability to screw this up. Perhaps, Nolan is just hoping that Trump will show some restraint.

PWS

07-01-17

WHAT’S TRUMP’S TRAVEL BAN PROTECTING US FROM? — DUH, NOTHING, OF COURSE — But, It IS Distracting Attention From The REAL Threat To Our National Security!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2017/06/26/supreme-court-partially-restores-trump-travel-ban-which-wouldnt-have-kept-out-anyone-behind-deadly-terrorist-attacks/?utm_term=.b3e979184075

Mark Berman writes in the Washington Post:

“The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to let a limited version of President Trump’s travel ban take effect, so we are republishing an updated version of this story.

President Trump’s executive order temporarily banning travelers from six Muslim-majority nations due to “heightened concerns about terrorism” was quickly frozen by the courts, much like an earlier version of the ban, until the Supreme Court acted on Monday.

The justices said they would let the ban partially take effect and, in the ruling, announced plans to consider the case later this year. The Supreme Court made a key exception, saying the ban could not be “enforced against foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.” But otherwise, the Trump administration is now free to impose a 90-day ban on travelers from six countries that it had said posed certain “national security risks.”

The second travel ban had something big in common with the first version: It would not have kept out of the United States anyone responsible for a deadly terrorist attack since 2001.”

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Read the complete article (with charts and map) at the above link.

Question of the Day:

In any “normal” Administration, how many of the characters holding positions in the Trump White House would be granted high level security clearances (including, of course, the “Tweeter-in-Chief” himself)?

PWS

06-30-17