Elise Foley and Willa Frej report for HuffPost:

“WASHINGTON ― President Donald Trump gave a series of conflicting statements on Thursday about how he hopes to deal with young undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, muddying the waters over whether he will support their bid to gain eventual citizenship and whether he will demand a border wall in exchange.

Trump’s comments, made both to reporters and on Twitter, came after leading Democrats in Congress said they had reached an informal deal with the president on legislation to help so-called Dreamers, or undocumented young people who entered the country as children.

Last week, Trump put the fates of hundreds of thousands of Dreamers up in the air by rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which granted two-year work permits and deportation relief.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said on Wednesday that they had reached an agreement with Trump to tie measures to grant Dreamers legal status to border security measures, but not to a wall. They said Trump had made clear he would continue to demand a wall, and that they had told him they would oppose it.

Trump denied that a deal had been made, although he initially did not dispute key details of what the Democrats had said. But later, he said Dreamers’ fates would be tied to the construction of a border wall, even if it’s not part of legislation that addresses Dreamers.

“We have to be sure the wall isn’t obstructed, because without the wall, I wouldn’t do anything. … It doesn’t have to be here but they can’t obstruct the wall if it’s in a budget or anything else,” Trump told reporters in Florida, according to a pool report.

He added that he would “only do it if we get extreme security, not only surveillance but everything that goes with surveillance,” Trump said. “If there’s not a wall, we’re doing nothing.”

The president also created more confusion by suggesting that he might not support allowing Dreamers to eventually gain citizenship. That would destroy any hope of a deal with Democrats, who want Trump to support the Dream Act, which would allow undocumented young people who came to the U.S. as children to eventually become citizens.

“We’re not looking at citizenship,” he said. “We’re not looking at amnesty. We’re looking at allowing people to stay here.”

That doesn’t necessarily preclude eventually supporting Dream Act-style measures, however. The bill would not grant citizenship immediately; it would allow Dreamers to gain legal status that would make them eligible for eventual citizenship ― so there’s potential that Trump could eventually back such measures and still claim they were not the “amnesty” he opposes.

Earlier on Thursday, Trump said in a series of tweets that any deal on Dreamers would be contingent on “massive border security,” although he didn’t specify that it had to include a wall. He added that the wall is “already under construction in the form of new renovation of old and existing fences and walls” and would proceed.”


And, the beat goes on! I knew that sanity couldn’t last long in the “Age of Trump.”





Elise Foley reports in HuffPost:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Read Foley’s complete article at the link.

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



AMERICAN GULAG: NGOs Fear Administration’s Planned Detention Empire Will Be Deadly!


Elise Foley reports in HuffPost:

“WASHINGTON ― Human rights advocates spent years fighting for even small improvements to the system that detains men, women and children waiting to be either deported or released back into the U.S. Now they fear the progress they have made could disappear under President Donald Trump, who has promised harsher treatment of undocumented immigrants.

“This administration is prepared to make conditions at immigrant detention even worse than they already are, which, given that for some people they’re already fatal, is terrifying,” said Mary Small, policy director of the advocacy group Detention Watch Network.

Trump’s Department of Homeland Security is considering looser regulations for new contracts with jails to hold immigrants in deportation proceedings, The New York Times reported earlier this month. That agreement would allow jails to treat immigrants detained for civil offenses the same way they treat people charged with crimes.

The department also plans to eliminate an office at Immigration and Customs Enforcement that focuses on improving the detention system and to ramp up detention and deportation efforts.

Trump’s boosters consider these to be good things ― earlier this month, hosts on “Fox & Friends” gleefully remarked that the “party’s over” at immigrant detention centers, grumbling about detainees being given clean sheets and outdoor recreation time.

In reality, immigrant detention centers ― some of which are inside jails facilities or former prisons ― are bleak places. Inmates report being denied medical care, held in solitary confinement, given inedible food and other mistreatment. This is all on top of the struggle of being locked up, often far from family and legal help.

There’s always a tension between ‘Do we get rid of the cage or do we make a better cage?’Ruthie Epstein, formerly of Human Rights First

The facilities are supposed to be for civil detention, not criminal detention like a prison ― being in the country without authorization is not in itself a crime. Advocates are concerned that the Trump administration’s discussion of new contracts for jails to detain immigrants is more proof that officials will disregard standards meant to make immigrant detention less punitive.

Chris Daley, an attorney with Just Detention International, said his group is “very afraid” those standards aren’t going to be enforced and that “we’re just going to lose any sense that folks are not there under criminal charges.”

. . . .

“If ICE is no longer tracking the use of solitary confinement or no longer requiring that people who are in mental health crisis are checked on every 15 minutes, that can kill,” said Carl Takei, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Prison Project.

It would be difficult for ICE to dismiss the standards set forth in the Prison Rape Elimination Act because they are regulations. But weakening other standards would hurt PREA’s effectiveness, Daley said.

“You can’t have effective sexual abuse prevention programs if you have folks who don’t have access to appropriate materials in the right language; who can’t communicate concerns they have about threats or violence; who are just held in solitary confinement as a matter of course or who otherwise are just being treated in a demeaning way that compromises their dignity,” he said.

ICE hasn’t made any major changes yet, other than eliminating its Office of Detention Policy and Planning. The office’s staff and mission will be absorbed into other parts of the agency, according to ICE spokeswoman Sarah Rodriguez.

Officials are “examining a variety of detention models to determine which models would best meet anticipated detention needs” as part of one of Trump’s executive orders on immigration, Rodriguez said. “As new options are explored, ICE’s commitment to maintaining excellent facilities and providing first class medical care to those in our custody remains unchanged.”

The new contracts could be evaluated based on a checklist from the U.S. Marshals Service, The New York Times reported last week. That checklist is “ridiculous in its lack of detail,” Takei said. The contracts wouldn’t specify what policies jails holding immigrants must maintain for medical health, suicide prevention or solitary confinement, other than that they need to have some sort of policy, according to the Times.

Advocates are bracing for the worst.

“We’ve seen important but very incremental change, so to see change that’s taken so long to come about ― and that still had gaps but that was at least a step toward greater accountability and toward better conditions in these facilities ― to see that now be threatened to be reversed is troubling,” said Katharina Obser, senior program officer at the Women’s Refugee Commission.

They will be watching closely for human rights violations, from detainees being denied due process to poor conditions and even increased deaths in detention.

“These policies are a recipe for a human rights catastrophe in immigrant detention,” Takei said, “and we are prepared to sue as soon as that human rights catastrophe comes to pass.”


Of course, an unstated reason for purposely allowing immigration detention conditions to deteriorate is to discourage migrants from 1) coming to the U.S. to seek refuge, 2) making claims for refuge, and 3) continuing to pursue those claims.

By locating U.S. Immigration Courts in private prisons and local facilities in obscure locations where counsel are not available, the Department of Justice purposely erodes due process for the purpose of making the courts part of the enforcement, deterrence. deportation mechanism.

At some point, the Article III Courts will have to decide how much of this unseemly travesty of justice they are willing to allow.




HuffPost Reports ICE Arrest Of DV Victim At El Paso Courthouse


Elise Foley and Roque Planas report:

“AUSTIN, Texas ― Immigration and Customs Enforcement detained a domestic violence victim at an El Paso County Courthouse last week shortly after the undocumented immigrant obtained a protective order to shield her from the man accused of abusing her, according to a state news report.

The arrest, first reported by The El Paso Times on Wednesday, would mark a shift in ICE practice under President Donald Trump and has legal experts worried that it will dissuade women from seeking the protection of the courts when they face abuse.

Barbara Hines, who headed the immigration clinic at the University of Texas at Austin and still serves as a professor, said victims of domestic violence have options under the law to normalize their immigration status. The U Visa, for example, protects victims of violence from deportation if they agree to cooperate with law enforcement.

“That’s outrageous. That’s all I can say,” Hines told The Huffington Post, referring to the arrest. “This is very unusual. I would say it’s a terrible precedent and it will discourage survivors of abuse or people being abused from seeking the protection they’re entitled to under our laws…. This is going to make immigrant women fearful of going to the authorities, and it will result in more domestic violence because women will be too afraid to seek protection.”

ICE did not immediately respond to a request for comment.”


The fear that police cooperation with ICE will dissuade the migrant community from reporting crime and cooperating with local police in solving crimes is one of the factors driving the so-called “Sanctuary Cities” movement.



DHS Officers Cheer President Trump’s Enforcement Initiatives!


Elise Foley reports on HuffPost:

“WASHINGTON ― When Donald Trump won the presidency in November, Shawn Moran’s border patrol colleagues high-fived and hugged each other.

“There was a real sense that we were going to be able to do our jobs again,” said Moran, vice president at National Border Patrol Council. “That turned out to be true.”

Border Patrol and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents complained for years that then-President Barack Obama constrained their ability to fulfill their mission. Trump campaigned on a promise that he would unleash them — and vowed to make large-scale deportation of undocumented immigrants a priority. This won Trump the endorsement of Moran’s group, which represents Border Patrol agents, and the National ICE Council, a union that represents ICE officers.

Now, Moran said, the president is keeping his promise. Immigrant rights advocates, who were horrified at a multi-state deportation effort that swept up more than 680 people last week, agreed.”




HuffPost: GOP Senators Seek To Halve Legal Immigration — Mount Attack On American Families, Refugees, Africans, Asian Americans, Latinos!


Elise Foley and Dana Liebelson write in HuffPost:

“WASHINGTON ― For decades, a central tenet of U.S. immigration policy has been that American citizens should be able to reunite with their siblings, parents and grown children who live abroad. The government doesn’t make this easy. But now, emboldened by President Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant stance, two Republican senators want to make it almost impossible.

Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.) introduced a bill on Tuesday that would bar immigrants from bringing almost anyone but their spouses and minor children to the U.S. Latino and Asian Americans, who are more likely to be recent immigrants with family living abroad, would be disproportionately affected by this change.

The bill would also eliminate diversity visas, which many recent African immigrants rely on to get to the U.S., and cap refugee resettlement at 50,000 people per year. The bill doesn’t affect the millions of Irish, German and Italian Americans whose families came to the U.S. in earlier waves of immigration and no longer have close relatives abroad.

The senators predict the bill would cut legal immigration per year by half. They also think it stands a chance of passing.

“Once you get here, you have a green card and you can open up immigration not just to your immediate family, but your extended family, your village, your clan, your tribe,” Cotton said of ending the diversity lottery. “I don’t think it works for American workers.”


The new GOP “family values?” Would we even be having this discussion if most recent immigrants were “white guys” from Canada, Australia, and the UK? My guess is no. It’s not about protecting American workers. The GOP doesn’t give a hoot about them. That’s why they are anti-union, anti-minimum wage, anti-universal health care, anti-safety net, anti-Medicare, anti-consumer protection, anti-financial regulation, anti-pension, anti-equal pay for equal work, anti-environment, anti-science, anti-public workers, anti-education and anti just about everything that doesn’t directly or indirectly help their fat cat friends get fatter and their business buddies get bigger — more profits, more money for upper management, more tax breaks for the rich, less money, fewer benefits, and no chance at a comfortable retirement for workers. No, something else is at work here.



HuffPost: 100,000 Visas Revoked Under Trump Order!


Elise Foley Reports on HuffPost:

“WASHINGTON ― The Trump administration provisionally revoked 100,000 visas as part of its ban on travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries, a government lawyer said in court on Friday.

The revelation caused shockwaves on Twitter, but the State Department actually confirmed earlier this week that it had provisionally revoked most visas held by people from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

State Department officials said later Friday that fewer than 60,000 individuals’ visas were provisionally revoked as a result of the order. “To put that number in context, we issued over 11 million immigrant and non-immigrant visas in fiscal year 2015,” a spokesman for the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs told The Huffington Post.

The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the discrepancy in numbers.”


As I’ve noted before, to date lawyers have been the only real beneficiaries of the Trump immigration orders.