LEGISLATION: SENATORS GRAHAM & DURBIN TAKE ANOTHER SHOT AT A BIPARTISAN DREAM ACT! — “When they write the history of these times, I’m going to be with these kids.”

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jul/20/trump-undocumented-immigrants-dream-act-congress

Sabrina Siddiqui reports for The Guardian:

“A top Republican senator has challenged Donald Trump to make “a moral decision” on the fate of hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children, part of a revamped bipartisan push to grant permanent residency to so-called Dreamers.

“The moment of reckoning is coming,” South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham warned the president and his Republican colleagues at a press conference Thursday to unveil a new iteration of legislation known as the Dream Act.

Graham was joined by Illinois senator Dick Durbin, the Democratic cosponsor of the bill who first introduced legislation of the same name 16 years ago. Their proposal, which mirrors previous legislation that failed to pass Congress multiple times, would grant legal status and a path to citizenship to Dreamers if they were longtime residents of the US.

In a sign of tough odds facing the bill, the White House swiftly rejected the notion that the president would support such a measure.

“The administration has opposed the Dream Act and we are likely to be consistent in that,” said Marc Short, the White House legislative affairs director, in an off-camera briefing with reporters on Wednesday.

Graham acknowledged the president’s candidacy was rooted in a hardline approach to immigration but cast the debate as an existential question for the party that now controls the White House and both chambers of Congress.

“President Trump, you’re going to have to make a decision,” Graham said. “The campaign is over.”

“The question for the Republican party is, what do we tell people? How do we treat them?” he added. “Here’s my answer: we treat them fairly. We do not pull the rug out from under them.”

. . . .

An emotional Graham said he first became engaged on the issue of immigration at the request of his close friend John McCain, the Arizona senator who made public on Wednesday his diagnosis with brain cancer.

Graham said he spoke with McCain three times by phone on Thursday morning, in which his closest ally’s message amounted to: “No more ‘woe is me’.”

“He is yelling at me to buck up,” Graham said. “So I’m going to buck up.”

“I’ve stopped letting 30% of the people who are mad about immigration to determine how I behave … When they write the history of these times, I’m going to be with these kids.”

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Read the complete article at the link.
Senator Graham makes an excellent point. When the history of these times is written, long after we’re all gone, folks like Donald Trump, Mike Pence, Jeff Sessions, Steve Bannon, Steve Miller, Kris Kobach and many others, primarily from the GOP, are going to look every bit as bad as they actually are. And their supporters aren’t going to look good to future generations either.  Being on the wrong side of history is always a bad idea.
PWS
07-20-17

 

TAL KOPAN AT CNN: DACA IN PERIL –“If you’re going to count on Jeff Sessions to save DACA, then DACA is ended!”

http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/12/politics/daca-jeopardy-kelly/index.html

Tal Reports:

“Washington (CNN)The DACA program, which protects undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children, could be in serious jeopardy, President Donald Trump’s secretary of Homeland Security told lawmakers Wednesday.

Secretary John Kelly told Democrats of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus that while he personally supports the program, he could not commit to the Trump administration defending it, according to members in attendance and Kelly’s spokesman, David Lapan.
Kelly said that legal experts he’s talked to both inside and outside the administration have convinced him that it is unlikely the DACA program, the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals executive action, would sustain a court challenge.
Kelly said he has discussed DACA with Attorney General Jeff Sessions but wouldn’t describe the contents of those conversations. Sessions is an immigration hard-liner who has been outspoken against the Obama administration policy.
“He did not indicate that they would (defend it). He didn’t say that they wouldn’t, but he didn’t say that they would,” said New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez. “So between that and what he says is the legal analysis he’s heard, it’s not a pretty picture.”
The issue may be forced later this year. There is a pending lawsuit on a related program, deferred action for parents of childhood arrivals, that will come up in September, and attorneys general from 10 states are threatening to add DACA to their complaints, which could force the administration to defend or abandon it.
Kelly suggested to lawmakers they work to pass immigration reform, but lawmakers expressed frustration that Kelly seemed to ignore the difficulty of passing legislation and the Republican opposition to extending DACA. They were also unhappy he seemed unaware there were any bills to make the program permanent, including the bipartisan BRIDGE Act and other proposals including from some Republicans — “to which there was a combination of laughter and appalled shock in the room,” said California Rep. Nanette Barragán.
. . . .
“If you’re going to count on Jeff Sessions to save DACA, then DACA is ended,” Illinois Rep. Luis Gutiérrez said.”
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Read Tal’s complete article at the link.
The Trump Administration probably could garner bipartisan support for some sort of long-term legislative relief for “DACA/Dreamers.” But, so far, they haven’t shown much interest in doing so.
PWS
07-13-17

 

TEXAS AG PAXTON, OTHER GOP RACIST POLITICOS MOUNT ATTACK ON YOUNG PEOPLE OF COLOR!

http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/30/politics/trump-daca-bind/index.html

Tal Kopan reports for CNN:

“Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump has let a controversial Obama-era immigration policy continue — and conservative states are running out of patience.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was joined by his counterparts in nine other states in a letter Thursday warning Attorney General Jeff Sessions that if the Trump administration does not move to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, they will file a court challenge to the program.
At the heart of the threat is ongoing litigation over a related program — giving the attorneys general an opening to squeeze the administration on DACA.
Despite explicitly pledging during the campaign to “immediately” rescind DACA, a program that gives undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children protection from deportation and the ability to work and study in the US, the Trump administration has continued to honor the program and issue new permits under it.
With its efforts, the administration appears to want to have it both ways, continuing the program and pledging to protect its participants while saying the situation isn’t necessarily permanent and arresting those who officials say have lost their DACA status. But that position has angered activists on both sides of the issue, who in a rare moment of agreement have expressed similar frustrations that the administration won’t clearly articulate its long-term plans for DACA.
At issue is pending litigation in Texas that has challenged an Obama administration program that’s similar to DACA but geared toward parents of childhood arrivals as well as an extension of the childhood arrivals program, both of which were never allowed to go into effect by the courts.
The Trump administration formally abandoned the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents program, known as DAPA, earlier this month to avoid having to defend it in court. But it left DACA on the books despite similar criticism of that program — namely that both programs were an overreach of executive authority.
Asked by CNN about that decision, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly at the time called it “house cleaning,” saying the program for parents was blocked by the courts while the one for those who came to the US was children wasn’t.
But Paxton wrote that if the administration doesn’t end DACA by September 5, Texas will amend its complaint in the case to include that program — which would force the administration to defend the program in litigation or abandon it.
“We respectfully request that the Secretary of Homeland Security phase out the DACA program,” Paxton wrote in the ultimatum. “Otherwise, the complaint in that case will be amended to challenge both the DACA program and the remaining Expanded DACA permits.”
The Department of Justice and DHS did not respond to a request for comment on the letter. Sessions was asked about it on “Fox and Friends” on Friday and seemingly praised the states.
“The DAPA law has already been withdrawn,” Sessions said when asked what changes could be coming. “That was a big victory, and we’ll be looking at that. But I’ve got to tell you, I like it that our states and localities are holding the federal government to account, expecting us to do what is our responsibility to the state and locals, and that’s to enforce the law.”

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Trying to throw 800,000 American young people — basically America’s future — out of the country and sow fear in local ethnic communities has nothing whatsoever to do with law enforcement. But, it has lots to do with racism and white nationalism. The real target here is Hispanic Americans and other ethnic Americans from immigrant roots.

Paxton, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Kansas Secretary State Kris Kobach and their followers are the George Wallaces, Lester Maddoxes, and Orval Faubuses of our time. Yeah, white racists might be giving it one more go. But, like the Trump victory, it is the last gasp. Eventually, the screw will turn as it did for prior generations of racist politicians.

To point out the obvious, with 600,000 pending cases in U.S. Immigration Court, the Trump Administration could not actually remove another 800,000 individuals any time in the foreseeable future. So, it’s all about meanness, fear, racism, white nationalism, and trying to prevent these young people from fully participating in our society. In other words, to make them a permanent underclass. Sound familiar?

The Dream Act to protect these young people should have become law years ago. But, then Senator Jeff Sessions and other GOP right wingers blocked its passage, even though it had the support of the majority of Senators. So, although legislation would be the logical solution, I wouldn’t count on it under today’s polarized conditions.

And, today’s GOP has become the home of racists and white supremicists.  Something that anyone who runs on the GOP ticket or pulls the lever for a GOP candidate should consider.

PWS

07-01-17

The Gibson Report For June 19, 2017

The Gibson Report, June 19, 2017

Thanks, Elizabeth!

PWS

06-19-17

NYT SATIRE: Bret Stephens Says Only Mass Deportation (Of “So-Called ‘Real Americans'”) Can Make America Really Great!

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/16/opinion/only-mass-deportation-can-save-america.html

Bret Stephens writes:

“In the matter of immigration, mark this conservative columnist down as strongly pro-deportation. The United States has too many people who don’t work hard, don’t believe in God, don’t contribute much to society and don’t appreciate the greatness of the American system.

They need to return whence they came.

I speak of Americans whose families have been in this country for a few generations. Complacent, entitled and often shockingly ignorant on basic points of American law and history, they are the stagnant pool in which our national prospects risk drowning.

On point after point, America’s nonimmigrants are failing our country. Crime? A study by the Cato Institute notes that nonimmigrants are incarcerated at nearly twice the rate of illegal immigrants, and at more than three times the rate of legal ones.

Educational achievement? Just 17 percent of the finalists in the 2016 Intel Science Talent Search — often called the “Junior Nobel Prize” — were the children of United States-born parents. At the Rochester Institute of Technology, just 9.5 percent of graduate students in electrical engineering were nonimmigrants.

Religious piety — especially of the Christian variety? More illegal immigrants identify as Christian (83 percent) than do Americans (70.6 percent), a fact right-wing immigration restrictionists might ponder as they bemoan declines in church attendance.

Business creation? Nonimmigrants start businesses at half the rate of immigrants, and accounted for fewer than half the companies started in Silicon Valley between 1995 and 2005. Overall, the share of nonimmigrant entrepreneurs fell by more than 10 percentage points between 1995 and 2008, according to a Harvard Business Review study.

Nor does the case against nonimmigrants end there. The rate of out-of-wedlock births for United States-born mothers exceeds the rate for foreign-born moms, 42 percent to 33 percent. The rate of delinquency and criminality among nonimmigrant teens considerably exceeds that of their immigrant peers. A recent report by the Sentencing Project also finds evidence that the fewer immigrants there are in a neighborhood, the likelier it is to be unsafe.

Photo

Immigrants cheering at the start of a naturalization ceremony in Atlanta last fall. CreditDavid Goldman/Associated Press

And then there’s the all-important issue of demographics. The race for the future is ultimately a race for people — healthy, working-age, fertile people — and our nonimmigrants fail us here, too. “The increase in the overall number of U.S. births, from 3.74 million in 1970 to 4.0 million in 2014, is due entirely to births to foreign-born mothers,” reports the Pew Research Center. Without these immigrant moms, the United States would be faced with the same demographic death spiral that now confronts Japan.

Bottom line: So-called real Americans are screwing up America. Maybe they should leave, so that we can replace them with new and better ones: newcomers who are more appreciative of what the United States has to offer, more ambitious for themselves and their children, and more willing to sacrifice for the future. In other words, just the kind of people we used to be — when “we” had just come off the boat.”

. . . .

Beyond the inhumanity of toying with people’s lives this way, there’s also the shortsightedness of it. We do not usually find happiness by driving away those who would love us. Businesses do not often prosper by firing their better employees and discouraging job applications. So how does America become great again by berating and evicting its most energetic, enterprising, law-abiding, job-creating, idea-generating, self-multiplying and God-fearing people?

Because I’m the child of immigrants and grew up abroad, I have always thought of the United States as a country that belongs first to its newcomers — the people who strain hardest to become a part of it because they realize that it’s precious; and who do the most to remake it so that our ideas, and our appeal, may stay fresh.

That used to be a cliché, but in the Age of Trump it needs to be explained all over again. We’re a country of immigrants — by and for them, too. Americans who don’t get it should get out.”

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Read the rest of Stephens’s op-ed at the link.

As I often say, only naturalized citizens had to go through a merit-based process to obtain their U.S. citizenship. For the rest of us, it was just an accident of birth that we personally did nothing to deserve or merit.

PWS

06–18-17

DHS Wants To Assure Dreamers That They Should NOT Be Reassured — DACA Revocation Still Possible!

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/06/16/trump-daca-immigration-deportation-relief-program-239654?cid=apn

Ted Hesson writes in Politico:

“The future of an Obama-era deportation relief program remains undecided, the Department of Homeland Security said Friday.

The announcement was meant to clarify the department’s position on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which allows nearly 788,000 undocumented immigrants to apply for work permits and live in the U.S. without fear of deportation.

“The future of the DACA program continues to be under review with the administration,” a DHS spokesperson said in a written statement. “The president has remarked on the need to handle the issue with compassion and with heart.”

DHS felt compelled to issue a statement on the program’s fate after POLITICO and other outlets reportedThursday on guidance posted to the DHS website that suggested DACA would remain on firm footing under the Trump administration.

The guidance came as the administration terminated a separate deportation relief program for parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents that had been blocked by federal courts since early 2015.

On its website, DHS assured that DACA would not be affected by the move. “No work permits will be terminated prior to their current expiration dates,” the guidance read.

The department said today that it intended only to clarify that DACA would not be immediately canceled. The guidance, DHS said, “should not be interpreted as bearing any relevance on the long-term future of that program.”

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

Even when faced with an opportunity to do something nice for folks, that would also help DHS out in practical terms, the Trumpsters just can’t resist an opportunity to sow fear and uncertainty.

PWS

06-18-17

Secretary Kelly Rescinds DAPA, But Retains DACA!

https://townhall.com/tipsheet/mattvespa/2017/06/15/dhs-secretary-kelly-signs-memo-rescinding-obamas-dapa-program-n2342012

Matt Vespa reports on Townhall:

“It’s official. The Department of Homeland Security has rescinded the memorandum that created the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents under the Obama administration. A statement from the department noted that Department of Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly consulted with the attorney general’s office on this subject and was able to sign off a new memorandum ending the DAPA program. The Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA) remains in place:

On June 15, Department of Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly, after consulting with the Attorney General, signed a memorandum rescinding the November 20, 2014 memorandum that created the program known as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (“DAPA”) because there is no credible path forward to litigate the currently enjoined policy.
The rescinded memo purported to provide a path for illegal aliens with a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident child to be considered for deferred action. To be considered for deferred action, an alien was required to satisfy six criteria:
(1) as of November 20, 2014, be the parent of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident;
(2) have continuously resided here since before January 1, 2010;
(3) have been physically present here on November 20, 2014, and when applying for relief;
(4) have no lawful immigration status on that date;
(5) not fall within the Secretary’s enforcement priorities; and
(6) “present no other factors that, in the exercise of discretion, make [ ] the grant of deferred action inappropriate.”
Prior to implementation of DAPA, twenty-six states challenged the policies established in the DAPA memorandum in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. The district court enjoined implementation of the DAPA memorandum, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision, and the Supreme Court allowed the district court’s injunction to remain in place.
The rescinded policy also provided expanded work authorization for recipients under the DACA program for three years versus two years. This policy was also enjoined nationwide and has now been rescinded.
The June 15, 2012 memorandum that created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program will remain in effect.”

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

The formal rescission of DAPA was anticipated. The Obama Administration program never went into effect.  It was immediately enjoined by a US Distict Judge in Texas.  That injunction was upheld by a split Fifth Circuit. The Obama Administration succeeded in obtaining Supreme Court review. However, following the death of Justice Scalia, the Court split 4-4, without issuing an opinion, thereby allowing the injunction to remain in effect. Following the election, the cancellation of DAPA became inevitable.

Ironically, the reasoning of the District Judge and the Fifth Circuit in the DAPA case has been cited by some in support of the so-far successful effort to enjoin Trump’s Travel Ban.

But, the good news here is that for the time being, at least, DACA remains in effect. As I have previously reported, the DHS is approving both new DACA applications and applications for renewal of DACA status.

PWS

06-16-17

Secretary Kelly Proposes Legislative Legalization For Dreamers & Central American TPSers! — Puts Ball In Congress’s Court!

http://m.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/jun/11/john-kelly-dhs-secretary-suggests-dreamer-amnesty/

The Washington Times reports:

http://m.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/jun/11/john-kelly-dhs-secretary-suggests-dreamer-amnesty/

“The Trump administration last week floated an amnesty idea for potentially 1 million illegal immigrants, looking to find permanent solutions for some of the most sympathetic cases in the long-running immigration debate.

In two days of testimony to Congress, Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly said he doubts his ability to oust some 250,000 immigrants from Central American countries who have been in the U.S. for nearly two decades on a temporary humanitarian relief program.

He also signaled that he would keep protecting 780,000 Dreamers from deportation and hoped Congress would grant them permanent status.

“You’ve got to solve this problem,” Mr. Kelly told the House Homeland Security Committee when members prodded him not to deport Dreamers.

He said he would not deport Dreamers but warned that the policy could change when someone else takes over his job, making the only solution congressional action. He said there is clear bipartisan support for some form of permanent legalization and urged lawmakers to take the opportunity that the Trump administration is giving.

“I’m not going to let the Congress off the hook. You’ve got to solve it,” he said.

If lawmakers wait, he warned, a future secretary might take a stricter line on Dreamers and fully cancel President Obama’s 2012 amnesty, known in governmentspeak as DACA.”

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

Finally, some of the common sense and nuance that many had hoped Secretary Kelly would bring to the table! And, some public recognition that it is neither desirable nor possible to restore or pursue all of these cases on already overwhelmed U.S. Immigration Court dockets. I also agree with the Secretary that Congress needs to step up to the plate and fashion some type of bipartisan legislative solution.

One thing that might favor a solution in this Congress: one of the strongest opponents of past bi-partisan efforts at common-sense immigration reform, Jeff “Gonzo-Apocalypto” Sessions, is no longer in the Senate. In fact he seems to be “otherwise occupied” these days defending himself on possible ethnics and perjury charges.

My friend, Nolan Rappaport, who has been touting bipartisan legislative solutions to immigration problems for ages should be cheered with this development! Nolan recently reported that some of his articles from The Hill were entered into the Congressional Record!

PWS

06-12-17

 

 

 

US Immigration Judge Frees Immigrant Activist — Incredulous At DHS’s Position!

http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/immigration-judge-orders-release-los-angeles-woman-47945745

The AP reports:

“A Mexican woman was released from custody Friday while the U.S. government seeks to deport her after a judge rejected arguments she should wear a monitoring device because she was arrested twice while demonstrating in support of people in the country illegally.

Claudia Rueda, 22, plans to apply for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a program started in 2012 under President Barack Obama that shields immigrants who came to the U.S. as young children from being deported. Her case has drawn attention because she has no criminal record and is an immigration activist.

The immigration judge, Annie S. Garcy, said holding Rueda without bond was “unduly severe” and allowed her to be released on her own recognizance. She noted Ruedas’ academic and other achievements and was incredulous when a government attorney asked that Rueda be required to wear a monitoring device.

“Wow, an ankle bracelet? Really?” said Garcy, who is on temporary assignment from Newark, New Jersey, under an administration effort to give higher priority to cases along the U.S. border with Mexico.

The government attorney, Matthew Hanson, responded that Rueda was arrested twice, once for trespassing and once for disorderly conduct.

Her attorney, Monika Langarica, said those arrests occurred during peaceful demonstrations to support people in the country illegally. She was charged in only one case and it was dismissed.

Rueda, a student at California State University, Los Angeles, was arrested on immigration charges May 18 outside a relative’s Los Angeles home in connection with what the U.S. Border Patrol said was a drug smuggling investigation.

Her mother, Teresa Vidal-Jaime, was arrested on immigration violations in April in connection with the same investigation and later released from custody. Neither Rueda nor her mother was arrested on drug charges.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said it would comply with the order to release Rueda and will consider any additional requests by her attorney.”

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Read the complete report at the link.

Under a rational policy, this respondent should have been released by DHS on recognizance and given time to apply for DACA. No wonder the U.S. Immigration Courts are near collapse when DHS wastes precious judicial time on cases that don’t belong in court in the first place.

I don’t blame the Assistant Chief Counsel, Mr Hanson. He’s probably just following instructions. The most knowledgeable folks in the DHS, their court lawyers, have been stripped of the authority to exercise sensible prosecutorial discretion. Instead, Gen. Kelly has turned line agents loose to do as they please.

In other words, he is presiding over a random enforcement system that wastes taxpayer money, abuses the courts, and harms individuals whose cases shouldn’t be in the enforcement system at all.

REALITY CHECK: According to TRAC, as of April 30, 2017, the Newark Immigration Court, where Judge Garcy normally sits, was setting “merits” cases for September 1, 2020, three plus years from now. Why on earth, then, was Judge Garcy sent to California to hear non-merits (i.e., bond) cases that didn’t even belong in court in the first place? Through a disastrous combination of “gonzo” enforcement policies and stunning incompetence the Trump Administration is destroying a key component of the US justice system. When and where will it end?

PWS

06-11-17

PBS: Under Trump/ Kelly Regime, DHS Agents Go For “Low Hanging Fruit” — Non-Criminals With Final Orders Deported After Routine Check-Ins With DHS — Policy Cruel, Unnecessary, Legal!

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/trump-old-deportation-orders-get-new-life/

PBS reports:

“LOS ANGELES — For years, immigrants facing deportation have been allowed to stay in the U.S. provided they show up for regular check-ins with federal deportation agents and stay out of trouble. After a brief meeting, they’re usually told to return months later to check in again.

Now, in cases spanning from Michigan to California, some of these immigrants are being told their time here is up.

Immigrants who already have deportation orders and were allowed to stay in the country under the prior administration have become a target under President Donald Trump’s new immigration policies, with some getting arrested on the spot during check-ins with officers. Such arrests have dismayed family members and sent chills through immigrant communities.

In other instances, immigrants have been fitted with ankle-monitoring bracelets. Others have been released much like they were during President Barack Obama’s administration in what immigration attorneys say appears to be a random series of decisions based more on detention space than public safety.

“Everywhere, people going in to report are just absolutely terrified,” said Stacy Tolchin, a Los Angeles immigration attorney.

Agents still consider requests to delay deportations at immigrants’ regularly scheduled check-ins if, for example, someone has a medical condition, said David Marin, who oversees enforcement and removal operations for Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Los Angeles. But decisions are made on an individual basis, and efforts are being stepped up to procure travel documents from foreign countries to send people back home.

“They still have the ability to file a stay, but again, we’re looking at it in a different light,” Marin said. “There has to be an end game here.”

RELATED RESOURCE: Millions targeted for possible deportation under Trump rules

Immigration and Customs Enforcement said it is tracking nearly 970,000 immigrants with deportation orders. The majority — 82 percent — have no criminal record, the agency said. ICE declined to say how many must regularly report to authorities or are tracked by ankle monitors, and it is unclear how many are being arrested.

Trump boosted immigration arrests by 38 percent in the early days of his administration, but deportations fell from a year ago as activity on the U.S.-Mexico border slowed.

For authorities keen on showing they’re beefing up immigration enforcement, immigrants who already have deportation orders are seen as an easy target. They can be removed from the country more quickly than newly arrested immigrants, whose cases can drag on for years in immigration court proceedings and appeals.

“I just assume they figure this is an easy removal. All we have to do is deport this person, and that adds to our numbers of people who are out of the United States,” said Heather Prendergast, chair of the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Liaison Committee.

Many immigrants with old deportation orders have lived in the United States for years and set down roots here despite having no legal status, which deportation agents were known to weigh to decide who was a priority for removal.”

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Read the complete report at the link.

Our zany immigration laws encourage arbitrary enforcement. And Trump, Kelly, & Sessions revel in the chance to undo the modest attempts at rationality and humanity that Obama injected into the system and demonstrate their fake “toughness” through arbitrary actions directed at vulnerable populations who have actually become part of our society.

History will judge harshly those who pick on the downtrodden for their own cheap political ends and the satisfaction of abusing power over others. That’s why it is important to make a clear record of the immoral behavior of those in power.

For example, President Woodrow Wilson is finally being held accountable for his grotesque racism. Some of the early Jesuits of Georgetown Univeristy are just now being exposed for violating their sacred mission by selling African Americans literally “down the river”  — splitting families in the process — to insure financial stability for Georgetown University. We are also coming to grips with the symbolic racism represented by many Confederate memorials, erected less to honor those who died in war than to symbolize continuing oppression of African Americans and glorify the systematic denial in the pre-1965 South of rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

PWS

06-10-17

 

Allissa Wickham @ Law 360 Reports That DACA Is Alive & Well — At Least For Now!

Over 120K DACA Applicants Approved So Far This Year

Law360, New York (June 9, 2017, 8:34 PM EDT) — More than 120,000 applications for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals were approved in the first three months of this year, according to government statistics released Thursday, with the development coming as the Trump administration continues to hold off on making changes to the program.

From January to March, 124,799 DACA cases were approved, according to data from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, with 17,275 initial applications and 107,524 renewals.

The data isn’t broken down on a month-by-month basis, and a USCIS representative told Law360 that the…

To view the full article, register now.
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Alas, if you wish to read more from the fabulous “AWick,” you’ll need to be a subscriber to Law 360. But, you get the idea.
PWS
06-10-17

NYT Sunday Maggie: The “Deportation Resistance” In Trump’s America — Re-energized Or Outgunned? — The “country woke up in Arizona!”

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/23/magazine/is-it-possible-to-resist-deportation-in-trumps-america.html?em_pos=medium&emc=edit_ma_20170525&nl=magazine&nl_art=1&nlid=79213886&ref=headline&te=1&_r=0

Marcela Valdes writes:

“On Monday, Feb. 6, two days before Guadalupe García Aguilar made headlines as the first person deported under President Donald Trump’s new executive orders on immigration, she and her family drove to the modest stucco offices of Puente, an organization that represents undocumented immigrants. It was a postcard day: warm and dry, hovering around 70 degrees, the kind of winter afternoon that had long ago turned Phoenix into a magnet for American retirees and the younger, mostly Latin American immigrants who mulch their gardens and build their homes.
García Aguilar and her family — her husband and two children — squeezed together with four Puente staff members into the cramped little office that the group uses for private consultations. Carlos Garcia, Puente’s executive director, had bought a fresh pack of cigarettes right before the talk; he needed nicotine to carry him through the discomfort of telling García Aguilar that she would almost certainly be deported on Wednesday. Until that moment, she and her family had not wanted to believe that the executive orders Trump signed on Jan. 25 had made her expulsion a priority. She had been living in the United States for 22 years, since she was 14 years old; she was the mother of two American citizens; she had missed being eligible for DACA by just a few months. Suddenly, none of that counted anymore.
García Aguilar’s troubles with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) began in 2008, after police raided Golfland Sunsplash, the amusement park in Mesa, Ariz., where she worked. She spent three months in jail and three months in detention. (ICE booked her under the last name “García de Rayos.”) In 2013, an immigration court ordered her removal. Yet under pressure from Puente, which ultimately filed a class-action lawsuit contending that Maricopa County’s work-site raids were unconstitutional, ICE allowed García Aguilar (and dozens of others) to remain in Arizona under what is known as an order of supervision. ICE could stay her removal because the Obama administration’s guidelines for the agency specified terrorists and violent criminals as priorities for deportation. But Trump’s January orders effectively vacated those guidelines; one order specifically instructed that “aliens ordered removed from the United States are promptly removed.” García Aguilar, who had a felony for using a fabricated Social Security number, was unlikely to be spared.
Orders of supervision are similar to parole; undocumented immigrants who have them must appear before ICE officers periodically for “check-ins.” García Aguilar’s next check-in was scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 8. She had three options, Garcia explained. She could appear as usual and hope for the best. She could try to hide. Or she could put up a fight, either from a place of sanctuary or by appearing for her check-in amid media coverage that Puente would organize on her behalf. Whatever she decided, he said, she would be wise to spend Tuesday preparing for separation from her children.
The family was devastated. García Aguilar left the meeting red-faced with tears.
The next day a dozen activists gathered at Puente to strategize for García Aguilar’s case. After reviewing the logistics for the usual public maneuvers — Facebook post, news release, online petition, sidewalk rally, Twitter hashtag, phone campaign — they debated the pros and cons of using civil disobedience. In the final years of the Obama administration, activists in Arizona had come to rely on “C.D.,” as they called it, to make their dissatisfaction known. Puente members had blocked roads and chained themselves in front of the entrance to Phoenix’s Fourth Avenue Jail. Yet Francisca Porchas, one of Puente’s organizers, worried about setting an unrealistic precedent with its membership. “For Lupita we go cray-cray and then everyone expects that,” she said. What would they do if Puente members wanted them to risk arrest every time one of them had a check-in?
Ernesto Lopez argued that they needed to take advantage of this rare opportunity. A week earlier, thousands of people had swarmed airports around the country to protest the executive order barring citizens from seven Muslim-majority nations. “There’s been a lot of conversation about the ban, but for everything else it’s dead,” Lopez said. “Nobody is talking about people getting deported. In a couple of months, it won’t be possible to get that media attention.”
Garcia wasn’t sure a rally for García Aguilar would work. “We’re literally in survival mode,” Garcia told me that week. It was too early to tell how ICE would behave under Trump, but they were braced for the worst. Nobody had a long-term plan yet. Even as he and his staff moved to organize the news conference, his mind kept running through the possibilities: Would it help García Aguilar stay with her family? Would it snowball into an airport-style protest? Would it cause ICE to double down on her deportation? He decided it was worth trying.
Shortly before noon on Wednesday, García Aguilar and her lawyer, Ray Ybarra Maldonado, entered ICE’s field office as supporters chanted “No está sola!” (You are not alone!) behind her. Telemundo, Univision and ABC shot footage. Supporters posted their own videos on Twitter and Facebook. ICE security warily eyed the scene. An hour later, Ybarra Maldonado exited ICE alone. García Aguilar had been taken into custody. All around the tree-shaded patio adjacent to ICE’s building, Puente members teared up, imagining the same dark future for themselves. Ybarra Maldonado filed a stay of deportation, and Porchas told everyone to come back later for a candlelight vigil.
That night a handful of protesters tried to block several vans as they sped from the building’s side exit. More protesters came running from an ICE decoy bus that had initially distracted those attending the vigil out front. Manuel Saldaña, an Army veteran who did two tours in Afghanistan, planted himself on the ground next to one van’s front tire, wrapping his arms and legs around the wheel. The driver looked incredulous; if he moved the van forward now, he would break one of Saldaña’s legs. Peering through the van windows with cellphone flashlights, protesters found García Aguilar sitting in handcuffs. The crowd doubled in size. “Those shifty [expletive],” Ybarra Maldonado said as he stared at the van. ICE, he said, had never notified him that her stay of deportation had been denied.
Four hours later, García Aguilar was gone. After the Phoenix Police arrested seven people and dispersed the crowd, ICE took her to Nogales, Mexico. By then images of García Aguilar and the protest were already all over television and social media. She and her children became celebrities within the immigrant rights movement. Carlos Garcia, who was with her in Nogales, told me that Mexican officials stalked her hotel, hoping to snag a photo. “Everyone wanted to be the one to help her,” he said. “Everyone wanted a piece.” Later that month, her children — Jacqueline, 14, and Angel, 16 — sat in the audience of Trump’s first address to Congress, guests of two Democratic representatives from Arizona, Raúl Grijalva and Ruben Gallego.
During the Obama years, most immigrant rights organizations focused on big, idealistic legislation: the Dream Act and comprehensive immigration reform, neither of which ever made it through Congress. But Puente kept its focus on front-line battles against police-ICE collaboration. For Garcia, who was undocumented until a stepfather adopted him at 16, the most important thing is simply to contest all deportations, without exception. He estimates that Puente has had a hand in stopping about 300 deportations in Arizona since 2012.
Ever since Arizona passed Senate Bill 1070, one of the toughest anti-undocumented bills ever signed into law, the state has been known for pioneering the kind of draconian tactics that the Trump administration is now turning into federal policy. But if Arizona has been a testing ground for the nativist agenda, it has also been an incubator for resistance to it. Among the state’s many immigrant rights groups, Puente stands out as the most seasoned and most confrontational. In the weeks and months following Election Day 2016 — as progressive groups suddenly found themselves on defense, struggling to figure out how to handle America’s new political landscape — Garcia was inundated with calls for advice. He flew around the country for training sessions with field organizers, strategy meetings with lawyers and policy experts and an off-the-record round table with Senators Dick Durbin and Bernie Sanders in Washington. A soft-spoken man with a stoic demeanor and a long, black ponytail, Garcia was also stunned by Trump’s victory. But organizers in Phoenix had one clear advantage. “All the scary things that folks are talking about,” he told me, “we’ve seen before.” On Nov. 9, he likes to say, the country woke up in Arizona.”

. . . .

On May 3, the day Arreola was to have been deported, Arreola and Andiola gathered with friends, family and supporters for a prayer breakfast at the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Phoenix, which had offered to house Arreola if she chose sanctuary. Pastor James Pennington had been active in the fight for gay rights. The patio of First Congregational was decorated with several flags, including a rainbow flag, an Arizona state flag and an American flag. Inside the church, members of Puente and former members of ADAC formed a circle with several non-Hispanics who had only recently allied themselves with the undocumented. Standing together they recited Psalm 30 in Spanish:

Te ensalzaré, oh Señor, porque me has elevado, y no has permitido que mis enemigos se rían de mi.

I’ll praise you, Lord, because you’ve lifted me up. You haven’t let my enemies laugh at me.

Yet their enemies remained hard at work. A week later, Marco Tulio Coss Ponce, who had been living in Arizona under an order of supervision since 2013, appeared at ICE’s field office in Phoenix with his lawyer, Ravindar Arora, for a check-in. ICE officers, Arora said, knew that Coss Ponce was about to file an application for asylum — several of his relatives had been recently killed or threatened by the Sinaloa cartel in Mexico — and they had assured Arora several times that Coss Ponce would not be removed. They said he simply needed to wear an ankle monitor to make sure he didn’t disappear. The fitting was delayed several times until finally Arora had to leave to argue a case in court. After he departed, ICE officers handcuffed Coss Ponce and put him in a van, alone. Three hours later, he was in Nogales.”

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Read the entire, very lengthy but worthwhile, article at the link.

Wow, can’t help but think “what if” all the energy, emotion, and activity on both sides of the immigration issue were re-directed at working together to “make America greater,” rather than engaging in a dangerous, counterproductive “grown up” game of hide and seek aimed at intimidating and removing productive members of American society who aren’t causing anyone any particular harm!

I’ve got some bad news for “the enforcers.” The U.S. families of most of the deportees aren’t going anywhere. And, there will be a steep price to pay in future generations for intentionally alienating some of America’s “best and brightest,” and our hope for the future as a nation.

Actions have consequences. Hate and disrespect aren’t quickly forgotten. Witness that even today, more than a century after the event, we’re still struggling as a nation with the misguided and hateful cause that created the short-lived “Confederate States of America,” killed hundreds of thousands of Americans of all races, and ruined millions of lives.

Something to think about on Memorial Day.

PWS

05-29-17

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

DC Superintendent Of Education Understands Students’ Immigration Fears — She Was Undocumented Herself!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2017/05/08/i-know-the-fear-of-immigrant-families-because-i-was-once-undocumented-myself/?hpid=hp_no-name_opinion-card-d%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.b49dee569961

D.C. Superintendent Hanseul Kang writes in the Washington Post:

“The mother was serious as she approached the principal of her daughter’s D.C. school. Would the principal consider becoming her child’s legal guardian in the event she was deported, so her daughter, a U.S. citizen, could stay in the country?

It was a surreal question but one rooted in real fear.

The political rhetoric about immigration, along with high-profile enforcement actions by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, has instilled palpable anxiety in immigrant families across the country, elevating a background level of uncertainty to an urgent concern. In the days after an ICE raid in Las Cruces, N.M., in February, more than 2,000 students were kept home from school. A Los Angeles community is reeling after ICE agents arrested a father moments after he dropped off his 12-year-old daughter at school.

Confusion is exacerbating fear, especially in young children, who may not fully understand the concepts of countries, borders and citizenship. During a class discussion at that same D.C. school, a student worried aloud that he’d be forced to move back to where he came from. When asked where he was from, he said Florida.

We haven’t seen any spikes in absences in the District, where Mayor Muriel Bowser has affirmed her commitment to being a sanctuary city and protecting the rights of immigrant residents. But ICE arrested 82 people in the region in a five-day sweep last month. Our schools have hosted “know your rights” workshops and fielded questions from panicked parents. At one meeting I attended, teachers pledged to parents that they would be arrested themselves before allowing ICE officials into the building. Still, it’s hard for families to know whom to trust.

I have some sense of what that’s like.

I was born in South Korea and came to the United States when I was 7 months old, on Christmas Eve, 1982. When I was 16 — excited to get a driver’s license and apply to college — I learned that I was undocumented.

In one afternoon, my world turned upside down. With all the trappings of a high school overachiever, I had assumed I could attend pretty much any college or university. But without access to federal financial aid, I might not be able to go at all. I couldn’t work, couldn’t drive, couldn’t travel outside the country. Even worse was the terrifying possibility that my family might be discovered and deported.

. . . .
That is my concern about the impact of this latest shift in rhetoric and policy on immigrants: that as a country we will convey, especially to our students, that we question their value and their abilities. Not only is that message dehumanizing, but it discourages the talent and leadership we need to continue to thrive as a nation. Even as many have spoken out in support of preserving Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, I worry that in advocating for a small exception to U.S. immigration policy — albeit for young people in a uniquely vulnerable position, those who came to the United States without legal documentation, or who fell out of legal status, as children — we miss the broader value of immigrants to our country.

Educators can be an important source of support for students and their families. They were for me. But it should not fall on an individual principal or teacher to protect a child or a family from immigration enforcement, and no parent should have to ask them to. We have to do better for our students and for our nation.”

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Superintendent Kang is a wonderful example of why Jeff Sessions and his white nationalist cohorts are wrong in failing to value the contributions of all types of migrants to the prosperity and success of the US. What kind of nation, with what kind of national values, intentionally creates a climate of fear among its youth who are the hope for the future?

PWS

05-13-17

DACA Status Revoked — Woman Faces Removal!

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/10/us/immigrant-daca-deportation.html?_r=0

Miriam Jordan reports in the NYT:

“Jessica Colotl embodied the debate over illegal immigration when she was locked up for 37 days and nearly sent back to Mexico after an Atlanta-area police officer caught her driving without a license in 2010.

To supporters, including her sorority sisters, the president of her college and the immigrant advocates who publicized her case, hers was an example of police overreach and the need to safeguard ambitious young students from deportation. To others, she was an illegal immigrant, plain and simple, who also was abusing the system by attending a public college at discounted tuition.

She returned to college — paying full price, because of a new Georgia law inspired by her case — completed her degree and qualified for a program started by President Barack Obama in 2012, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, which protects some undocumented youth from deportation.

“Since then, I have been working and doing well for myself,” Ms. Colotl, now 28, said in an interview this week. “I thought that all the legal battles were behind me.”

That was until Ms. Colotl, who was brought to the United States by her parents as a child, learned Monday that her DACA status had been revoked, thrusting her into the national immigration debate anew.

With a new president in the White House, she is once again facing deportation.

Dustin Baxter, Ms. Colotl’s lawyer, on Tuesday requested that a federal judge in Atlanta intervene and reinstate her DACA protection.

“We are taking an innocent girl who has done nothing but contribute to the society she has been a part of since she was 11 and making her a villain and poster child for Trump’s deportation policies,” Mr. Baxter said in an interview.

About 750,000 immigrants have benefited from DACA, and even as he has promised to crack down on illegal immigration, President Trump has said repeatedly that he will not target DACA recipients, also known as Dreamers.”

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Read the full story at the link.

The question is whether this is just a random action by DHS or does it represent a systematic program to essentially “re-adjudicate” all DACA approvals of individuals who had any arrests or other involvement with the criminal justice system?

PWS

05-13-17