POLITICO: Agreement On Dreamer Relief Still Likely, But Not This Year!

https://www.politico.com/story/2017/12/19/senate-white-house-trump-lay-groundwork-for-daca-deal-30

SEUNG MIN KIM, HEATHER CAYGLE and ELANA SCHOR 12/19/2017 08:40 PM EST
Top senactors and White House officials are laying the groundwork for a major immigration deal in January to resolve the fate of young undocumented immigrants whose legal protections were put in limbo by President Donald Trump.

At a Tuesday afternoon meeting with nearly a dozen senators deeply involved in immigration policy, White House chief of staff John Kelly pledged that the administration will soon present a list of border security and other policy changes it wants as part of a broader deal on so-called Dreamers, according to people who attended the meeting. The plan could come in a matter of days, senators said.

About a half-dozen senators have been negotiating a bipartisan package prompted by Trump’s decision to kill the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, an Obama-era executive action that granted work permits to nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants who came here as minors. Yet the senators could not fully flesh out a deal before they knew what Trump was willing to sign.

“We couldn’t finish this product, this bill, until we knew where the administration was,” Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who has been negotiating a DACA compromise for weeks, said in an interview after the meeting with Kelly. “And that’s why this meeting was so important.”

Congressional Republicans and the White House have long said any DACA deal would need to be paired with security and other enforcement measures. Democrats say that’s fine as long as the provisions weren’t too onerous. But the border security question has been a sticking point for weeks, as senators swapped proposals without cutting a deal, so far.

And while liberal Democrats and grass-roots activists are pressuring Congress to enact permanent legal protections for Dreamers this year, both Democrats and Republicans at the meeting with Kelly said there was a consensus that legislation wouldn’t pass before lawmakers leave Washington. It was one of the clearest sign yet that a Dreamers agreement won’t, to the chagrin of liberals, come before 2018.

“Our belief is that if this matter is not resolved this week — and it’s not likely to be resolved — that come the omnibus and the caps, that we have another chance to finally come up with a bipartisan package of things to include” by mid-January, said Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who also attended the meeting. “The closer we get [to the March deadline], the more nervous I get, not to mention the way these young people feel. I’m sorry that it’s taken this long.”

Flake said he believes he has a commitment from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to hold a cloture vote on the floor on an immigration deal by mid-January, before the next likely deadline to fund the government, Jan. 19.

A spokesman for McConnell did not immediately return a request for comment. But the majority leader said during a Fox News interview that he has talked about the immigration issue with his counterpart, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York.

“No, we’ll not be doing DACA … this week,” McConnell said. “That’s a matter to be discussed next year. The president has given us until March to address that issue. We have plenty of time to do it.”

At the Tuesday meeting, Kelly and other administration officials went into detail about how much of the southern border is currently fenced and how much more the White House would want in exchange for a DACA deal, according to people who attended.

Senators also pressed the White House on other immigration demands, such as an overhaul of the nation’s asylum system or a change in policy toward unaccompanied minors who are apprehended at the southern border, and whether they needed to be included in the current DACA talks.

“Which of those policy items, or immigration law changes, do we need to make as part of this and what can wait for something else?” Flake said, summing up the questions from senators. “There’s a lot of nice things we need to do as part of broader comprehensive reform, but we need to have a bill in January and we need to know what has to be in it and what the administration will support.”

The bipartisan group of senators — Flake and Durbin, Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) — has discussed a legalization plan that would marry the DREAM Act, drafted by Durbin and Graham, with a more conservative proposal for Dreamers written by Tillis and Lankford, Flake said.

Those seven senators attended Tuesday’s meeting with Kelly, as did Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas), and Republican Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and David Perdue of Georgia.“I think what we’re trying to do is to get some clarity from the administration on what they require by way of border security and other enforcement measures,” Cornyn said as he left the meeting. “We got a promise to provide it to us and hopefully we’ll get that in short order. Maybe even this week.”

Republicans’ commitment to taking up a DACA deal next month won’t spare Democrats the fury of liberal groups that have demanded that any spending bill this year include a solution for Dreamers.

Democratic leaders have signaled that they won’t risk a government shutdown this month to secure relief for the Dreamers, though some lawmakers have vowed to withhold their votes for any must-pass funding measure without an immigration fix.

Durbin, the influential second-ranking Senate Democrat, is firmly in the camp of senators who won’t vote for a spending bill without help for Dreamers. That group also includes liberal Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

Durbin was asked by reporters Tuesday if there was a divide between him and Schumer over where to draw the line on the issue, and acknowledged that there “may be.”

Schumer, for his part, put Republicans on notice Tuesday that they shouldn’t count on Democratic votes for a short-term funding package that includes just some of Democrats’ priorities — such as children’s health insurance — while leaving immigration for next year.

In the House, lawmakers, including several in the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, privately say they don’t see a path to secure a legislative fix for Dreamers before the end of the year. They acknowledge that the sides are now positioning themselves for a fight in January.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) touched on dynamics during a private leadership meeting Monday night.

“We need to stick [together] and show that they need us,” said one Democratic member with knowledge of the strategy going into January. Republicans “are not going to be able to keep going on with the CRs. … Then we’re at an inflection point in January.”

That hasn’t stopped some members from making a last-ditch effort to reach a bipartisan agreement, in hopes Democrats can use it as leverage in the House if Republicans need their votes to pass a short-term funding bill later this week.

“I believe that my leadership is gonna close the deal and I have to believe that,” said CHC Chair Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.), noting she’s canceled all Christmas travel to stay in Washington and work on a legislative fix.

Reps. Will Hurd (R-Texas) and Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.) are behind one effort that would pair a proposal similar to the DREAM Act with border security, according to several members.

And the Problem Solvers Caucus, a bipartisan group of 48 moderate Democrats and Republicans, is preparing to publicly embrace a specific proposal in the next day or two. A subset of the group has been working for weeks to hammer out an agreement and the entire caucus planned to meet again Tuesday night.

“There’s certainly scenarios where this could get done this week. I’m not an expert on how all these pieces could unfold,” said Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), a co-chairman of the group. “But everything is clearly on the table, which is why we think it’s important we move and move quickly here.”

Cristiano Lima contributed to this report

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Ironically, as I’ve pointed out before, the controversial “Border Wall” seems to be the least overtly harmful to humans and the long-term interests of the US of the various unnecessary enforcement measures the GOP has put out there in negotiations. Yeah, it is a waste of money, a boondoggle for certain contractors, and makes us look like a nation of scared nincompoops.

But, ending normal family migration (or as GOP White Nationalists pejoratively have termed it “chain migration”), funding the “New American Gulag,” and/or providing more unneeded agents for the Trump-Sessions-Bannon “American Gestapo” all will do much more long-term damage to actual human beings and to the economic future and social fabric of our country,

Perhaps, at some better time in the future, we could pay a diverse group of native and immigrant workers to tear down “The Wall” as part of our gala Fourth of July celebration on TV.  Or, it could work as part of the celebration of the birthday of President Ronald Reagan. Or, we could implode The Wall on national TV.

PWS

12-20-17

 

 

 

VICTORY DANCE! — ICE’S HOMAN SAYS CLIMATE OF FEAR HAS STEMMED BORDER CROSSINGS & PROVES UNRESTRAINED, ARBITRARY IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT WORKS! — “There’s no population that’s off the table,” he said. “If you’re in the country illegally, we’re looking for you and we’re looking to apprehend you.” — America Won’t Be Truly Safe Until The Last Cook, Gardner, Construction Worker, Nanny, Janitor, Tree Cutter, Mechanic, Handyman, Carpenter, Home Health Aide, Computer Programmer, Healthcare Worker, Lettuce Picker, Cow Milker, Landscaper, Lawnmower, Bricklayer, Roofer, Window Washer, Waiter, Sandwich Artist, Teacher, Minister, Coach, Student, Parent, Clerk, Fisherman, Farmer, Maid, Chicken Plucker, Meat Processor, Etc., Without Docs Is Removed And US Citizens Take Over All These Jobs!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/arrests-along-mexico-border-drop-sharply-under-trump-new-statistics-show/2017/12/05/743c6b54-d9c7-11e7-b859-fb0995360725_story.html

Nick Miroff reports in the Washington Post:

“The number of people caught trying to sneak over the border from Mexico has fallen to the lowest level in 46 years, according to Department of Homeland Security statistics released Tuesday that offer the first comprehensive look at how immigration enforcement is changing under the Trump administration.

During the government’s 2017 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, U.S. border agents made 310,531 arrests, a decline of 24 percent from the previous year and the fewest overall since 1971.

The figures show a sharp drop in apprehensions immediately after President Trump’s election win, possibly reflecting the deterrent effect of his rhetoric on would-be border crossers; starting in May, the number of people taken into custody began increasing again.

Arrests of foreigners living illegally in the United States have surged under Trump. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers made 110,568 such arrests between inauguration and the end of September, according to the figures published Tuesday, a 42 percent increase over the same period during the previous year.

Tom Homan, ICE’s temporary director and Trump’s nominee to lead the agency, praised the president and gave a vigorous defense of ICE’s more aggressive approach.

“This president, like him or love him, is doing the right thing,” Homan told reporters at a news conference in Washington, accompanied by the heads of the U.S. Border Patrol and Citizenship and Immigration Services.

“A 45-year low in border crossings? That’s not a coincidence,” Homan said. “That’s based on this president and his belief and letting the men and women of ICE and the Border Patrol do their job.”

[How Trump is building a border wall no one can see]

Trump’s sweeping promises to crack down on illegal immigration fueled his presidential campaign and are at the center of his most ambitious domestic policy proposals, including construction of a wall along the border with Mexico.

Asked whether such a barrier was justifiable given its high cost and the decline in illegal immigration, DHS officials endorsed the president’s plan.

“In this society, we use walls and fences to protect things. It shouldn’t be different on the border,” said Ronald Vitiello, chief of the Border Patrol.

Apprehensions by Border Patrol agents peaked at more than 1.6 million in 2000 and began falling substantially after 2008. The previous low point was 331,333 arrests, during fiscal 2015. Experts have attributed the decline to tougher U.S. enforcement, improving job prospects in Mexico and long-term demographic changes that have driven down the country’s birthrate.

3:32
On the U.S.-Mexico border, Trump supporters wait for th
Still, the drop in border arrests is among the sharpest year-to-year changes on record, one that only casts more doubt on the wisdom of building a border wall, said Doris Meissner, senior fellow at the Migration Policy Institute, a Washington think tank.

“It’s a throwback response to yesterday’s problems,” she said, arguing that the money would be better spent addressing what accounts for a growing share of illegal migration: families with children fleeing rampant violence and dismal poverty in Central America.

Border agents took more than 75,000 “family units,” classified as at least one child and a related adult, into custody during fiscal 2017. But the number of unaccompanied minors fell 31 percent, to 41,435.”

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Read the complete article at the link.

This has to be what true greatness looks like! Imagine a world without those pesky undocumented workers to support our economy, our society, and our “American” way of life! That’s making America Great Again!

I’m sure future generations will be inspired by Homan’s humanity and wisdom as they pick produce or pound shingles in 100 degree heat, clean toilets, empty urine bags for the elderly and handicapped, clean tables, wash dishes, limb trees, shuck oysters, schlep concrete blocks, dig ditches, and, horror of horrors, take care of their own children while working full-time. Man, that’s going to be “America the Great” just as Trump, Sessions, Bannon, Miller, Homan, and others envision it!

And, the best part: we won’t have to worry about any of that burdensome, nasty “globalism” and the unfair burden of global leadership! That’s because the Chinese, Indians, Canadians, Mexicans, and Europeans will be in charge of the world economy and the Ruskies will control world politics. So we can enjoy our little White Nationalist enclave modeled on post-revolutionary Cuba — life in the 1950’s preserved forever! Save those “Classic ’57 Chevies!”

Kinda sorry I won’t be here to enjoy it! But, then again, I already lived through the real 1950’s once — Cold War, Jim Crow, segregation, anti-semitism, racial covenants, no women doctors, lawyers, or execs, African Americans only welcome on the football fields and basketball courts of a few Northern colleges! Boy, it was great! But, not sure I want  to do it again, even to experience the pure, unadulterated joy of having “my Milwaukee Braves” win the 1957 World Series (before fleeing to Atlanta)!

On the flip side, at Homan’s “record pace” of “law enforcement,” he and his minions will have every single undocumented American resident removed from the U.S by 2080 — that’s if no more arrive in the interim. And, the really great thing — they and those around them (including U.S. citizen kids and family members) will be living in fear every moment for the next six decades! Now, that’s something of which we can be truly proud! Of course, this all assumes that the North Koreans don’t nuke us and the rest of the world out of existence first!

PWS

12-06-17

 

THE HILL: N. RAPPAPORT ON WHAT IT WILL TAKE TO CLOSE THE DEAL ON DREAMERS

http://thehill.com/opinion/immigration/352155-if-democrats-insist-on-chain-migration-theyll-kill-the-dream-act

Nolan writes:

“According to Migration Policy Institute estimates, potentially 3,338,000 aliens would be able to qualify for conditional lawful status under H.R.3440, which leads to permanent resident status, and chain migration would make the number much larger.

Moreover, chain migration would make it possible for the DREAMers to pass on legal status and a path to citizenship to the parents who brought them to the United States in violation of our laws, which is sure to be unacceptable to many Republicans.

The chain migration issue does not just apply to a DREAM Act. If it is allowed to block passage of a DREAM Act, it is likely to become an obstacle to every legalization program from now on, and for most undocumented immigrants, there is not going to be another way to obtain lawful permanent resident status.”

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Read Nolan’s complete analysis over at The Hill at the link.

I’m far removed from the days when I had a sense of what’s happening on the Hill. So, if Nolan says that the Dems will have to give on family migration for  Dreamers to cut a deal to save them in a GOP-controlled Congress in a Trump presidency, maybe that’s true. Gotta do what you have to do to save lives and preserve America’s future.

But, I do know something about the bogus term “chain migration” It’s a pejorative term coined by restrictionists to further their racial and ethnic agenda.

Chain migration is simply legal family migration, a process that has been ongoing for at least half a century and has done nothing but good things for America. Of course, it makes sense to give preferred treatment to those with family already in the U.S. Of course, having family here helps folks adjust, prosper, and contribute. It’s a win-win. Studies by groups not associated with a restrictionist agenda confirm that.

Moreover, unlike the folks pushing the restrictionist agenda, I actually have seen first-hand the highly positive results of family-based legal immigration for years in Immigration Court. It brings really great folks into our society and allows them to contribute fully to the success of America, and particularly our local communities.

If we want more skills-based immigration, that’s also a good idea. But, that doesn’t require a corresponding cut in family immigration. Immigration is good for America. It’s not a “zero-sum game,” although restrictionists would like us to think so.

The GOP position on parents of Dreamers is absurd. Those folks are already here and contributing to our society and our communities. Many have been here for decades. They are not going anywhere notwithstanding the rhetoric of the restrictionists and the Trump Administration. Other than picking on Dreamers once they become citizens, what could we as a country possibly gain by such an absurd and punitive measure directed against productive long term residents?

I think it is worth considering what pushing for unnecessary and harmful restrictions on family migration says about the real motivations of today’s GOP and its apologists.

PWS

09-24-17

 

KERWIN & WARREN: AMERICA’S CURRENT OUTDATED & ENFORCEMENT CENTERED IMMIGRATION SYSTEM HAS FAILED, & IT’S GETTING WORSE — WHY NOT DEVELOP A NEW SYSTEM THAT REFLECTS THE VALUE OF ALL TYPES OF IMMIGRANTS & BETTER REFLECTS OUR BEST NATIONAL VALUES?

http://immigrationimpact.com/2017/06/27/immigration-system-in-line-values/

Guillermo Cantor writes in Immigration Impact:

Over the past two decades, much of the immigration policy debate has focused on issues related to immigration enforcement. In fact, many argue that “enforcement first”—the notion that we must adequately enforce the laws on the books before considering broader immigration reforms—has de facto become the nation’s singular immigration policy. This preoccupation with enforcement has come at the expense of consideration of other key components of a robust immigration system. Specifically, policymakers have failed to directly and adequately address some of the most fundamental questions, including what the legal immigration system should look like, what principles should guide admissions moving forward, and how to intentionally and strategically tie immigration policy to other domestic policies.

In an effort to refocus the debate, a recent article by Donald Kerwin and Robert Warren offers a range of ideas that address some structural issues concerning the legal immigration system. Arguing that the U.S. immigration system does not reflect the values and interests that it is supposed to serve, the authors propose a series of recommendations to reform the system and deliver on its promises.

After examining nearly a century’s worth of presidential signing statements of seminal immigration legislation, the authors identify a list of basic principles that, at least in theory, guide the U.S. immigration and refugee system. These include, but are not limited to, the belief that: families should be preserved; admission policies should not be based on national origin, race, or privilege; fairness and due process are essential in admission and removal decisions; individuals fleeing persecution and violence should be provided with a safe haven; immigrants embody the U.S. value of self-sufficiency, hard work, and drive to succeed; fair, orderly, and secure migration sustains the rule of law; and criminals and security threats defy U.S. ideals and, therefore, should not be admitted or allowed to remain.

If we accept as fact the premise that these principles should guide our immigration and refugee laws and policies, it becomes evident that such laws and policies—and their implementation—often fall short of serving the aforementioned objectives. In recent years, for example, mass deportations have led to large-scale family separation; backlogs in the family-based immigration system have kept numerous families apart for years; the routine detention and expedited removal of asylum seekers have been used to deter other asylum seekers from coming to the border; highly skilled immigrants often cannot work in their fields due to credentialing barriers; and the widespread use of summary removal procedures in the deportation of noncitizens has signaled a dramatic departure from fundamental principles of fairness and due process. And these are just a few examples.”

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Read the entire very worthwhile article at the link.

OK, let’s say we have around 11 million undocumented individuals here today. At least 10 million of them are basically law abiding working folks who are contributing to our economy and our society. Most have at least some US citizen children or other relatives. Many pay taxes, and all of them would if they were in legal status and we made it easy for them to do so. It’s reasonable to assume that nearly all of them entered over the past 40 years. Folks who came prior to that are likely to have legalized, gone home, or died.

So, we could easily have admitted at least 250,000 additional individuals each year under our legal immigration system and we’d be right where we are today.  Except, we wouldn’t have spent as much money on immigration enforcement, detention, removal, and divisive legal battles in the courts.

PWS

06-29-17

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

 

DUE PROCESS: Hold Those Thoughts! Professor Lenni Benson Tells Us How Due Process Could Be Achieved In Immigration Court!

http://cmsny.org/publications/jmhs-immigration-adjudication/

Here’s an Executive Summary of Lenni’s article in the Journal on Migration and Human Security:

“The United States spends more than $19 billion each year on border and immigration enforcement.[1] The Obama administration removed more people in eight years than the last four administrations combined.[2] Yet, to the Trump administration, enforcement is not yet robust enough. Among other measures, the administration favors more expedited and summary removals. More than 80 percent[3] of all removal orders are already issued outside the court process: When the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) uses summary removal processes, both access to counsel and an immigration judge can be nearly impossible. Advocates and policy analysts are equally concerned that a backlog of over 545,000 immigration court cases creates delay that harm people seeking asylum and other humanitarian protection. Recent use of priority or “rocket” dockets in immigration court and lack of appointed counsel also interfere with the fair adjudication of claims. Thus the administrative removal system is criticized both for being inefficient and moving too slowly, on the one hand, and for moving too quickly without adequate procedural safeguards, on the other. Both critiques have merit. The challenge is to design, implement, and most critically, maintain an appropriately balanced adjudication system.

While it is clear that US removal procedures need reform, process alone will not be able to address some of the systematic flaws within the system. Ultimately, the DHS will need to refine and prioritize the cases that are placed into the system and the government needs new tools, widely used in other adjudication systems, that can reduce backlogs, incentivize cooperation, and facilitate resolution. Congress should similarly reexamine the barriers to status and avenues for regularization or preservation of status. The paucity of equitable forms or relief and the lack of statutes of limitation place stress on the immigration court system. The lack of appointed counsel has a dramatic impact on case outcomes. Without counsel, the rule of law is barely a constraint on government authority. Conversely, a system of appointed counsel could lead to efficiencies and to a culture of negotiation and settlement within the immigration court system.

DHS has increasingly used every tool in its arsenal to expeditiously remove people from the United States and most of these tools bypass judicial hearings. In these “ministerial” or expedited forms of removal, there is no courtroom, there is no administrative judge, and there are rarely any opportunities for legal counsel to participate. Moreover, there is rarely an opportunity for federal judicial review. In these settings, the rule of law is entirely within the hands of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers who serve as both prosecutor and judge. There is little record keeping and almost no avenue for administrative or judicial review. This paper will argue that the rule of law is missing in the US removal adjudication system, and will propose ways in which it can be restored.

DOWNLOAD


[1] In fiscal year (FY) 2016, the budget for CBP and ICE was $19.3 billion. See analysis by the American Immigration Council (2017a) about the costs of immigration enforcement. The budget for the immigration court has grown only 30 percent in comparison with a 70 percent increase in the budget of the DHS enforcement.

[2] Taken from Obama removal data and comparison to past administrations (Arthur 2017).

[3] The DHS does not routinely publish full statistical data that allows a comparison of the forms of removal. In a recent report by the Congressional Research Service, the analyst concluded that 44 percent were expedited removals as described below, and an additional 39 percent were reinstatement of removals — 83 percent of all orders of removal were outside the full immigration court system (Congressional Research Service 2015).”

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And, here’s Lenni’s conclusion:

“Conclusion — A Dark Territory

Immigration law operates in the darkness beyond the reach of due process protections, accuracy, fairness, and transparency. Record numbers of immigrants live in the United States, but far too often they reside in a legal territory which the light does not reach. This essay has highlighted some of the characteristics of the US removal system. It outlines this system’s lack of substantive protections and its overreliance on hidden and expedited processes. It argues that this system needs to be redesigned to reflect the rule of law. The system needs to be exposed to the light of day.”

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Here is a link to Lenni’s complete article: Benson on Rule of Law.

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Before Jeff Sessions became the Attorney General, I wrote, with totally unjustified optimism and charity, that he could be the one person in Washington who could fix the due process problems in the U.S. Immigration Courts during the Trump Administration. http://wp.me/P8eeJm-ai.

But, sadly, it is now clear that Sessions, as his critics had predicted, is in fact “Gonzo-Apocalypto” — a relic of the past, wedded to a white nationalist, restrictionist, effectively racist (regardless of “actual intent”), anti-immigrant agenda.

So, there is no practical chance of the necessary due process reforms being made during the Trump Administration. Consequently, the “Gonzo-Apocalypto Agenda” will almost certainly drive the U.S. Immigration Court system into the ground. This will likely be followed by  a “de facto receivership” of the Immigration Courts by the Article III Courts.

But, at some point in the future, the U.S. Immigration Court will “re-emerge from bankruptcy” in some form. Hopefully, those charged with running the reorganized system will remember the thoughtful ideas of Professor Benson and others who care about due process in America.

PWS

04-30-17

LA TIMES: Immigration Courts Not Only “Broken Piece” Of Trump’s Removal Regime — DHS Can’t Keep Up With Removals Even Now! — “Haste Makes Waste” Rush To Hire More Agents Likely To Dilute Standards, Threaten National Security!” — New IG Report Blasts Current Practices!

http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-ice-oig-20170420-story.html

Joseph Tanfani reports:

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, hampered by poor organization and an overworked staff, will have trouble keeping up with the Trump administration’s plans to ramp up deportations of people in the country illegally, government inspectors have concluded.

ICE has “overwhelming caseloads,” its records are “likely inaccurate” and its deportation policies and procedures “are outdated and unclear,” said a report released Thursday by the inspector general of the Homeland Security Department.

“ICE is almost certainly not deporting all the aliens who could be deported and will likely not be able to keep up with the growing number of deportable aliens,” the 19-page report concludes.

The harsh assessment is the latest dash of cold reality for Trump, who was swept into Washington promising vastly tougher enforcement of immigration laws, including more removals, thousands more Border Patrol agents and deportation officers, and construction of a formidable wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.