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.