STUPIDITY & CRUELTY BECOME TRADEMARKS OF TRUMP’S ICE – ONE FEDERAL JUDGE IN NY HAD ENOUGH – BLASTS POLICIES AS UNCONSTITUTIONAL!

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/01/ice-is-out-of-control.html

From right, Rene Bermudez wipes away tears as he holds his 4-year-old daughter Danyca during a protest on behalf of his wife Liliana Cruz Mendez on May 23.
From right, Rene Bermudez wipes away tears as he holds his 4-year-old daughter Danyca during a protest on behalf of his wife Liliana Cruz Mendez on May 23.
Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

“Donald Trump hasn’t created the massive “deportation force” he promised as a candidate for president. But he has done the next best thing—boosting, bolstering, and unleashing the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, giving it broad authority to act at its own discretion. The result? An empowered and authoritarian agency that operates with impunity, whose chief attribute is unapologetic cruelty.

Under President Obama, who ramped up immigration enforcement even as he sought to protect large categories of unauthorized immigrants from deportation, ICE was a controversial agency whose practices came under heavy scrutiny from activists and some fellow Democrats. But in the year since Trump’s election, ICE has become something far more sinister: a draconian force for harassing and detaining people who pose no threat to the United States or its citizens.

And in keeping with one of President Trump’s first executive orders, which drastically expanded who the federal government considered a priority for deportation, the most striking aspect of ICE under this administration has been its refusal to distinguish between law-abiding immigrants, whose undocumented status obscures their integration into American life, and those with active criminal records—the “bad hombres” of the president’s rhetoric.

Erasing that distinction is how we get the arrest and detention of Lukasz Niec, a Polish immigrant and green card holder who was brought to the United States as a young child. Last week, ICE agents arrested Niec at his home in Michigan, citing two misdemeanor convictions for offenses that were committed when he was a teenager, according to the Washington Post. Although one of the convictions had been scrubbed from his record, it can still be used to remove him from the country. A practicing physician, Niec now sits in a county jail, awaiting possible deportation.

Niec’s standing as an affluent professional makes him an unusual case. More typical is the plight of Jorge Garcia, a 30-year resident of the United States who was recently deported to Mexico after his arrest by ICE. Married with two American-born children, Garcia was brought to the country as a child. He was working to secure legal status when, following Trump’s election, he was ordered to leave the country. In a statement to CBS News, ICE explained that anyone violating immigration laws “may be subject to immigration arrest, detention and … removal from the United States.” Despite its ability to exercise discretion, ICE has opted for an indiscriminate approach to immigration enforcement, arresting and detaining unauthorized residents regardless of whether they pose a threat to the public.

In its drive to remove as many undocumented residents as possible, ICE has begun deporting immigrants who make routine check-ins to their offices, even if those people are simply awaiting visas or green cards that would allow them to stay. Vice News recounts the story of Andre Browne, a Barbados native married to an American citizen. At a recent check-in with ICE agents, he was “arrested and forced to surrender all personal belongings.” He was jailed and now faces deportation. Similarly, in Virginia, a mother of two, Liliana Cruz Mendez, was detained following her regular check-in with immigration officials. Her offense? A traffic misdemeanor.

ICE’s tactics can have life-changing effects, even when its targets are spared deportation. The New Yorker tells of Alejandra Ruiz, brought to the United States as an infant. Last March, she was arrested by ICE agents citing a deportation order issued when she was a toddler. She was shackled and sent to an immigrant-detention facility operated by a private-prison firm. Ruiz was eventually released—she had filed a motion to reopen her childhood case for asylum—but it came at the cost of her livelihood: She lost her job as a senior care worker.

In addition to these activities, ICE is ramping up its mass raids in an effort to spread paranoia and uncertainty in cities with large undocumented populations. The agency is deliberately targeting these “sanctuary cities,” hoping to compel cooperation with their newly aggressive enforcement operations. This is all part of a larger strategy to create an atmosphere of fear and desperation for unauthorized immigrants. It’s behind President Trump’s decision to rescind Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and end deportation protections for immigrants from Haiti and El Salvador. Vox’s Dara Lind describes it as “a combination of policy and messaging to keep the threat of deportation hanging over immigrants’ heads” meant to make sure “they don’t get too comfortable here because they could be taken at any minute.”

Anti-immigration hard-liners describe these incidents in the bloodless language of “immigration enforcement,” but that obscures the violence and trauma of what’s happening on the ground: ICE is whisking people away to jails or private prisons and then exiling them from their homes and communities with little chance of recourse or recompense. And the pace is only increasing. While the overall number of “border removals”—those caught trying to cross the border—dropped last year, as a result of economic trends and Trump’s hard-line policies, the proportion of “interior removals” undertaken by ICE increased. Most deportations still involve immigrants from a handful of Latin American countries, but “[t]he number of deportees from other nations rose 24 percent in Trump’s first year,” reports NPR.

The administration is still hoping to increase those efforts. A proposal released by the White House last week asked Congress to grant additional funds to hire more ICE agents as part of an overall increase in “border security” that would be effectively traded for a path to citizenship for more than 1 million Dreamers.

It will be up to Democrats to block those additional funds and, perhaps, to build a broader case against ICE and its tactics. Some high-profile Democrats, like Sen. Kamala Harris of California, have already publicly condemned the agency. “ICE raids across the country have torn mothers apart from their children. The raids lack transparency, spread fear, and harm public safety,” she said last year in a Facebook post. More recently, following a report that ICE was planning raids in retaliation to a new California law limiting cooperation between local law enforcement and federal immigration authorities, Harris said that such raids would be “an abhorrent abuse of power.”

Given the extent to which Democrats have helped build the architecture for today’s ICE, Harris’ statements—as well as similar ones by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi—may mark the beginning of a new and needed skepticism toward the agency. And if so, then the logic of their critique doesn’t just point toward reform—it points toward a fundamental rethinking of immigration enforcement and a move away from the authoritarianism of ICE as it exists.

What the country needs, in other words, is an honest discussion about whether ICE can be effectively reformed or if it must be abolished and replaced by an agency that can carry out its mission in a more effective and humane way.”

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Meanwhile, over in the Southern District of New York, U.S. District Judge Katherine B. Forrest had enough of ICE’s “Gonzo” tactics following the mindless arrest of immigration activist Ravi Ragbir. She blasted ICE’s actions in ordering Ragbir’s release to say good-bye to his family and wind up his affairs. Judge Forrest characterized ICE’s actions in detaining Ragbir as “unnecessarily cruel.”

Here is a copy of Judge Forrest’s order in Ragbir v Sessions:

Ravi.Order

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Useless, counterproductive removals, waste of Government enforcement resources, irrationality, and unnecessary cruelty are, of course, at the heart of the Trump/Sessions/Miller immigration enforcement program. Certainly, the performance of ICE under Trump — not especially good at removing real criminals and threats or any other type of legitimate law enforcement — much better at busting minor offenders and law-abiding community members  and sowing terror in ethnic communities — provides a compelling argument that DHS does not need any additional enforcement agents.

Indeed, I have hypothesized that what Trump, Sessions, Miller, and the White Nationalists are really doing is building the DHS into an internal security police force that will be used against all of those the Administration fears or views as opponents of their “Totalitarian-Wannabe State.”

In the meantime, arbitrary use of force and calculated unnecessary cruelty are likely to remain staples of the DHS under Trump. That’s why ICE is fast becoming American’s most loathed, mistrusted, and unprofessional police force. Bouie might well be right. Assuming that America recovers from the Trump regime, unfortunately not necessarily a given, ICE might well need to be abolished and “replaced by an agency that can carry out its mission in a more effective and humane way.”

PWS

01-30-18

GONZO’S WORLD: “APOCALYPTO” REVS UP “NEW CIVIL WAR ON AMERICA” WITH RENEWED ATTACK ON LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT — 10th Amendment, Consistent Court Losses, & Common Sense Fail To Deter Scofflaw A.G. — “[T]here is irony in Sessions threatening to withhold law enforcement grants in the name of fighting crime.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/justice-department-threatens-to-subpoena-records-in-escalating-battle-with-sanctuary-jurisdictions/2018/01/24/984d0fee-0113-11e8-bb03-722769454f82_story.html

Matt Zapotosky reports for the Washington Post:

“The Justice Department on Wednesday escalated its attempt to crack down on so-called “sanctuary” jurisdictions, threatening to subpoena 23 states, cities and other localities that have policies the department suspects might be unlawfully interfering with immigration enforcement.

President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have long promised to target places with policies friendly to those in the country illegally — warning they might withhold federal money from some and trying to tie grant eligibility to cooperation with federal authorities on immigration matters. The Justice Department had previously contacted the 23 jurisdictions threatened Wednesday, raising worries they might be in violation of a federal law barring places from enacting policies that block communication with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

In a new letter, Bureau of Justice Assistance Director Jon Adler said officials remained “concerned” that the places had policies that violate the law, even after their previous responses. He asked for a new bevy of documents — including “any orders, directives, instructions, or guidance to your law enforcement employees” — and said the department would subpoena the materials if necessary.

. . . .

Among those jurisdictions in the crosshairs are Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles and the states of California, Illinois and Oregon. In total, the 23 jurisdictions received more than $39 million in fiscal year 2016 money from the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program — which Sessions is now threatening to put at risk.

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Local leaders criticized the move. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu (D), president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, said he would skip a planned White House meeting on infrastructure because of it. “An attack on one of our cities mayors who are following the constitution is an attack on all of us,” he said. His city was not among those targeted Wednesday.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio similarly wrote on Twitter he would skip the gathering after Trump’s Justice Department “decided to renew their racist assault on our immigrant communities. It doesn’t make us safer and it violates America’s core values.”

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) said officers in his city endeavor to build trust with residents to reduce public safety threats, and “you cannot do that if you drive a wedge between any immigrant community and the law enforcement.” He said Sessions’s threats were “amazing” in that the attorney general seemed to “disregard what the court system has already said uniformly from coast to coast.”

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said: “The White House has been very clear that we don’t support sanctuary cities. We support enforcing the law and following the law, and that is the Department of Justice’s job is to do exactly that, and if mayors have a problem with that, they should talk to Congress.”

Much of this crackdown has been stymied by the courts. A federal judge in California last year blocked Trump’s executive order to cut funding to such places, and a federal judge in Chicago ruled that Sessions had exceeded his authority in imposing new conditions, such as requiring recipients to give immigration authorities access to jails and 48 hours notice when suspected illegal immigrants are to be released. A federal judge in Philadelphia also ruled that city was in compliance with the law and blocked the Justice Department from withholding money. The Justice Department has appealed all those cases.

. . . .

Sessions has long sought to tie crime to immigration — recently releasing data, which experts said was misleading, that said 73 percent of terrorism convictions in the U.S. involved individuals from other countries. Determining a link between illegal immigration and other crime is statistically difficult to do, though some research shows that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than those who are native born. Civil liberties and immigration advocates, too, note there is irony in Sessions threatening to withhold law enforcement grants in the name of fighting crime.”

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Read the complete article at the link.

On paper, Gonzo isn’t actually in charge of the DHS. That job is nominally in the hands of Lightweight Sycophant Kirstjen Nielsen.

Remarkably, what Sessions is actually supposed to be doing is administering a fair and unbiased U.S. Immigration Court System in a manner that guarantees the legal and Constitutional Due Process rights of each individual brought before those courts by the DHS. Yeah, right! Sessions never met a migrant he didn’t despise and want railroaded out of the country as part of his White Nationalist agenda. And, he’s clearly “in bed” with DHS Enforcement. That’s why the U.S. Immigration Courts under Gonzo Apocalypto are well on their way to becoming mere “Whistle Stops on the Deportation Railway.”

There was a time when what is now ICE worked hard to gain community support and be considered part of the “legitimate law enforcement apparatus.” But, those days are long gone.

Trump, Gonzo, and Tom Homan are well on the way to making ICE the most hated, distrusted, and despised police force in America — the “New American Gestapo” if you will. The aforenamed “nasty clowns” will be gone someday. But, I’m not sure that ICE will ever be able to undo the damage they are doing to its reputation and standing in the law enforcement community.

As one or more Federal Judges has noted in enjoining Gonzo’s illegal overstepping, “once lost, community trust is not easily, if ever, regained by the police.”

PWS

01-25-18

THE GIBSON REPORT — 01-02-18

THE GIBSON REPORT, 01-02-18

HEADLINES:

TOP UPDATES

 

NY Governor pardons 18 immigrants in face of Trump immigration crackdown

ImmProf: Following the lead of California Governor Jerry Brown, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo pardoned more than a dozen immigrants who faced deportation over prior convictions who now have a chance of staying in the United States.

 

California becomes a sanctuary state and legalizes marijuana, but advocates remind noncitizens that there are still immigration consequences for marijuana use

Press-Enterprise: Undocumented immigrants can be deported for marijuana consumption in certain circumstances and may risk not being admitted back into the United States if they leave.

 

NJ immigration under Murphy: Expanding in-state financial aid

App: The governor-elect  supports expanding in-state financial aid to young unauthorized immigrants living in New Jersey.

 

USCIS Provides Updated Guidance and FAQs on Rejected DACA Requests

AILA: USCIS provided guidance and FAQs on DACA requests delivered by the filing deadline but not officially “ received” by USCIS. USCIS contacted individuals and they have 33 days from the date of the letter to resubmit the request. USCIS included information on other types of mail issues as well.

 

The ‘Double Punishment’ For Black Undocumented Immigrants

Atlantic: Although only 7 percent of non-citizens in the U.S. are black, they make up 20 percent of those facing deportation on criminal grounds.

 

Trump to Dems: No DACA deal without the border wall

Politico: Democrats seeking a deal to protect so-called Dreamers from deportation must be prepared to agree to a package that includes several White House priorities, including a border wall and reforms to the U.S. immigration system, President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter Friday morning…House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and her Senate counterpart, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), are set to meet [] Wednesday with House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) at the White House, where the congressional leaders are expected to work on a DACA deal as part of negotiations to avert a government shutdown.

 

More immigration actions planned in 2018 at job sites, high-ranking enforcement official says

The Commercial Appeal (note: this article is focused on Tennessee but generally relevant): Workplace immigration investigations will likely focus on “critical infrastructure,” such as airports, defense contractors, food distribution and other businesses that have an impact on the general safety and welfare of the community

 

Beginning on January 15, 2018, OCC-NYC will only accept joint motion to reopen (JMTR) requests electronically through eService portal. 

OCC: Effective January 15, 2018, the OCC-NYC will move to the next phase of electronic service.  Please note that on January 15, 2018, we will be disabling our JMTR email boxes in favor of service to our eService online portal.  JMTR requests sent to the following email boxes on or after that date will be deemed improperly served:  NONDETAINED.NYC_JMTR@ice.dhs.gov,DETAINED.NYC_JMTR@ice.dhs.gov.

 

RESOURCES

 

 

EVENTS

 

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PWS

01-04-18

SO-CALLED “SANCTUARY CITY” NEW YORK SEES AMAZING DROP IN CRIME! — Maybe Gonzo Should Stop Lobbing Anti-Immigrant Grenades & Study What Actually Works!

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/27/nyregion/new-york-city-crime-2017.html?_r=0

Ashley Southall reports for the NYT:

“It would have seemed unbelievable in 1990, when there were 2,245 killings in New York City, but as of Wednesday there have been just 286 in the city this year — the lowest since reliable records have been kept.

In fact, crime has fallen in New York City in each of the major felony categories — murder and manslaughter, rape, assault, robbery, burglary, grand larceny, and car thefts — to a total of 94,806 as of Sunday, well below the previous record low of 101,716 set last year.

If the trend holds just a few more days, this year’s homicide total will be under the city’s previous low of 333 in 2014, and crime will have declined for 27 straight years, to levels that police officials have said are the lowest since the 1950s. The numbers, when taken together, portray a city of 8.5 million people growing safer even as the police, under Mayor Bill de Blasio, use less deadly force, make fewer arrests and scale back controversial practices like stopping and frisking thousands of people on the streets.

“There is no denying that the arc is truly exceptional in the unbroken streak of declining crime,” said William J. Bratton, who retired from his second stint as police commissioner last year.

But officials see one area of concern: an uptick in reports of rapes toward the end of the year. The increase, which officials said included a higher-than-normal number of attacks that occurred more than one year ago, coincided with the publication of accusations against powerful men like Harvey Weinstein, which gave rise to the #MeToo movementencouraging victims to come forward. City police officials have said they believed news coverage played a role in the spike in reports, though they also credited their own efforts combating domestic violence with encouraging victims to speak up.

And while rapes were down from last year by one, to 1,417, misdemeanor sex crimes — a catchall for various types of misconduct that includes groping — ticked up 9.3 percent to 3,585 so far.

The lower homicide numbers are still preliminary — and include one announced on Wednesday night — but they jibe with large drops in killings in major cities like Chicago and Detroit, while contrasting with sizable increases in killings in smaller cities like Charlotte and Baltimore.

The city today is a far cry from what it was when Mr. Bratton arrived in 1990 to become the head of the then-separate Transit Police. Not only were there 2,245 killings that year, but there were more than 527,000 major felony crimes and more than 5,000 people shot. Shootings have plunged to 774 so far this year, well below last year’s record low of 998. And for the first time, fewer than 1,000 people have been hurt by gunfire: 917 as of Sunday.

The continued declines are a boon to Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat elected on promises of police reform — promises that prompted warnings of mayhem to come by his opponents in 2013. But the opposite has happened, putting him on stronger footing as he pivots to a second term with a Police Department transformed to exercise greater restraint as it focuses on building trust in the city’s neighborhoods.

Franklin E. Zimring, a professor at University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, said the downturn was an “astounding achievement,” but it raised another question: How long and low will crime fall?

“We don’t know when we’ve exhausted the possibilities of urban crime decline, and we won’t know unless and until New York scrapes bottom,” said Mr. Zimring, who analyzed the first 20 years of New York’s historic crime reduction and expounded on it in a book.

Mr. de Blasio and the police commissioner, James P. O’Neill, credit recent drops in crime to the Police Department’s emphasis on going after the relatively small groups of people — mostly gangs and repeat offenders — believed to be responsible for most crime, while also building relationships in communities where trust has been strained.

Mr. Bratton applauded political support for the police from the mayor, who provided funding for investments in officer hiring, training, equipment and overdose-reversal drugs.

One of the results is that police officers are using deadly force less often. As of Dec. 20, police officers intentionally fired their service guns in 23 encounters, a record low, down from 37 in 2016. The Police Department said officers were relying more on stun guns, which were used 491 times through November, compared with 474 times during the same period in 2016. More than 15,000 officers have been trained how to use them.

But criminologists differ about the cause of the continued declines. Mr. Zimring said that while better policing accounted for much of the decline in crime since 1990, it was no longer a primary driver. New York is “tiptoeing” toward a 90 percent crime decline for reasons that remain “utterly mysterious,” he said.

More broadly, research suggests that crime trends are closely tied to economic conditions. Interest rates, inflation and unemployment are among the macro-level factors influencing crime, according to James Austin, the president of the JFA Institute, a criminal justice policy nonprofit.

“What the Fed does will have more of an impact than any sentencing or police reforms,” Mr. Austin said.

The reductions in New York are a part of what the Brennan Center for Justice expects will be a 2.7-percent decline in crime rates and 5.6-percent drop in murder rates across the country’s largest cities. After record-high bloodshed last year, killings in Chicago have declined 15 percent.

Through August, rape was down in New York City 7 percent compared with last year, but a small increase in September was followed by spikes in October and November. The New York Times first published accusations against Mr. Weinstein on Oct. 5.

Reports of rapes that had occurred in a previous year, meanwhile, were up almost 12 percent through November. In response, the Police Department is adding investigators to its Special Victims Unit and hasmodernized the techniques detectives use to investigate claims.

“We can’t answer definitively” what is driving the rise, Commissioner O’Neill told reporters at a crime briefing this month. “At least I can’t. But we’re seeing people coming forward and having faith in the N.Y.P.D. And that’s what we want to happen.”

Whatever the reason for New York’s crime reductions, the statistics do not capture the complete picture of public safety. Some crimes are not represented fully or at all: acts of domestic violence, sexual assaults, identity thefts, hate crimes, and shootings that don’t result in injuries or damage.

In some cases, the data annotates horrible crimes: an ISIS-inspired truck rampage on a Manhattan bike lane on Halloween that left eight people dead; the ambush killing of a police officer, Miosotis Familia, 48, who was shot in the head on July 4 while sitting in her R.V.-style command post in the Bronx; the death of Timothy Caughman, 66, a black man, at the hands of a sword-wielding white supremacist on March 20.

Increasingly, officers are receiving calls to help people in emotional crises. The police responded to 157,000 such calls in 2016. But only 7,000 officers have received crisis intervention training for handling those situations.

While most police encounters are resolved without officers resorting to deadly force, fatal police shootings of people in emotional distress — including Dwayne Jeune on July 31 in Brooklyn and Miguel Richards on Sept. 6 in the Bronx — have drawn scrutiny. A police sergeant, Hugh Barry, was indicted on murder charges in May for the fatal on-duty shooting of a mentally ill woman, Deborah Danner, in October 2016. His trial is scheduled to begin in January.”

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AG Jeff “Gonzo Apocalypto” Sessions’s White Nationalist inspired anti-immigrant, anti-Sanctuary Cities, “turn a blind eye to police brutality” campaign actually impedes the type of community-trust based policing that appears to work in reducing crime. As I have noted before, Gonzo’s policies show little respect for the Constitution, the rule of law, or state and local rights, but lots of anti-immigrant bias.

PWS

01-01-18

THE GIBSON REPORT FOR 12-18-17 – RECOGNIZING: The Absolutely Amazing ELIZABETH GIBSON Of The NY Legal Assistance Group and ALL She Does For Fairness, Justice, & Due Process! — MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN THE LIVES OF OUR MOST VULNERABLE!

THE GIBSON REPORT — 12-18-17

TOP UPDATES

 

Today Is International Migrants’ Day: 2017 Theme: Safe Migration in a World on the Move

o   Books: Give the Gift of Literary Empathy – Immigration Holiday Book Guide (full disclosure, I wrote this one)

o   Podcasts: Immigration and migration stories

o   Film: IOM and UNICEF Film Festival in New York today

 

White House to push merit-based immigration in new campaign

 

TPS for Nicaragua and Honduras

 

LexisNexis’s Role in ICE Surveillance and Librarian Ethics

LLB: As library organizations discuss ways library professionals can advocate for intellectual freedom, democracy, and equality, we should begin by grappling with how to react when our major database providers engage in massive surveillance projects with the government.

 

Federal Investigation Finds ‘Significant Issues’ At Immigrant Detention Centers

NPR: Immigrants detained at four large centers used by Immigration and Customs Enforcement are subject to inhumane treatment, given insufficient hygiene supplies and medical care, and provided potentially unsafe food, according to a federal report.

 

On the ground with ICE agents enforcing Trump’s immigration crackdown

ImmProf: Since President Trump took office, immigration arrests are up 42 percent. ICE estimates, nationwide, they make 400 arrests a day. ICE has arrested 37,000 undocumented immigrants without criminal records. That’s a 145 percent increase over fiscal year 2016.

 

Complaint Documents 15 Cases of Family Separation at the Border

AIC: Advocates filed a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) and Office of the Inspector General (OIG) on behalf of numerous families – most, if not all, who fled to the United States seeking humanitarian relief – who were separated at the U.S.-Mexico border.

 

DHS Overestimates Visa Overstays for 2016; Overstay Population Growth Near Zero During the Year

CMS: This paper compares US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) estimates for visa overstays in fiscal year 2016 with estimates from the Center for Migration Studies (CMS).

 

An HIV-Positive Gay Asylum Seeker Staged a 7-Day Hunger Strike in an ICE Detention Facility

The Nation: Protesting prolonged detention, substandard medical care, and parole denial, Jesus Rodriguez Mendoza may soon stop eating again.

 

Bronx man allegedly poses as Hempstead attorney, steals more than $30,000 from immigrant clients

PIX: Efrain Vargas told clients in Hempstead he would obtain immigration and residency papers for them, but never delivered on his promises, officials said. He was arrested and arraigned Wednesday for allegedly scamming immigrants.

 

OCC-NYC Filing Window Hours on 12/20 and 12/22

OCC: Please be advised that our reception area and filing window at 26 Federal Plaza and 201 Varick Street will be closed from 12:00-1:30pm on Wednesday, December 20th.  Please be further advised that our reception area and filing window will close at 3pm on Friday, December 22nd.

 

ACTIONS

 

  • #GiveMateoBack: Amnesty International USA is also working to hold ICE accountable for family separation. You can find steps for a social media/letter writing campaign here.

 

RESOURCES

 

  • USCIS Provides Training Material on the International Religious Freedom Act and Religious Persecution
  • USCIS Provides Training Material on TRIG
  • Manhattan DA – Supp Bs – raej@dany.nyc.gov: December 2017 will be my last month at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. If you have pending supplement B certification request that has  yet to be submitted to my office, please email the requests to me by Friday, December 22nd. We will make every effort to review each certification request and provide a response before the New Year. After December 22nd, please send all U-visa supplement B requests to Mayerling Rivera atRIVERAM@dany.nyc.gov. As with all past requests, please be sure to provide a waiver signed by your client (include your client’s date of birth and any aliases)… The body of the email should include the case indictment or docket number, name of the defendant, and/ or the case arrest number. Please keep in mind that we cannot locate cases in our system records using an NYPD complaint number.
  • Give the Gift of Literary Empathy – Immigration Holiday Book Guide(full disclosure, I wrote this one)

·         Podcasts: Immigration and migration stories

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I’m a huge “Elizabeth Gibson Fan.” I’ve known Beth since she was a star student at Georgetown Law (one of the “Best Ever” of my “Refugee Law & Policy” — “RLP” — students), a terrific Legal Intern at the Arlington Immigration Court, and a spectacular Judicial Lw Clerk/Attorney Advisor at the New York Immigration Court before she was selected for the Immigrant Justice Corps (“IJC”) assigned to the New York Legal Assistance Group (“NYLAG”).

For those who don’t know, only the “best and brightest” with an overriding concern for social justice get into the IJC. Beth would excel at ANY legal job in America — “Nonprofit, “Big Law,” judging, teaching, writing, reporting, managing.

I’m inspired that with all these avenues open to her, Beth has chosen to use her “complete package” of talents to make the justice system work for the most vulnerable among us — those who have legal rights that are largely the same as all of us, but who are “bullied” and “intentionally mistreated” by our legal system (and our current Administration, in particular) in an attempt to prevent them from using and realizing those rights.

In  addition to being a weekly contributor to immigrationcourtside.com, Beth has acted as a “clearinghouse” for the vast amount of information and assistance available to the legal community involved in defending the rights of migrants. She has patiently taken many referrals of reporters and lawyers. She also has found time to write articles of her own, in addition to, of course, her main mission of helping her clients.

Beth, thanks for all you do for our country, our world, the cause of justice, and making “Due Process” under our Constitution a reality (at least for some) rather than an “empty promise!” You are truly what serving in the “New Due Process Army” is all about and why, in the end, the forces of darkness threatening our country and democracy will not prevail!

PWS

12-18-17

THE GIBSON REPORT — 12-11-17 

THE GIBSON REPORT 12-12-17

HERE ARE THE HEADLINES:

“TOP UPDATES

 

Concerning I-765 form and instructions, comments open until Dec. 12

Three worrisome changes caught by KIND:

  • requirement to provide a passport or US or foreign government-issued ID applies to those with asylum-pending or withholding granted (as well as SIJs, and T & U nonimmigrants); this is a major break with past practice, and huge obstacle.
  • if asylum is pending, requires arrest and conviction records. The EAD will be denied if you have been convicted of an aggravated felony, and USCIS will evaluate the arrest records to determine that. This is a procedural due process problem in that this is an ultimate question to be determined by the adjudicator of the asylum application.
  • option of using a “Safe Mailing Address” is buried deep in the instructions where it’s easy to miss, and limits it to VAWA, T and U applicants.

 

Update on Joint Motions

From the OCC duty attorney via Make the Road:

  • she generally reviews all proposed JMTRs, and makes a decision by written letter as to whether to join, decline, or request more information
  • she has a significant backlog such that she is still reviewing proposed JMTRs filed in November of 2016… (Note from EG: when I spoke with her in April of 2017, she was doing September of 2016)
  • without an “exceptional or unusual” circumstance such as urgent need to travel because of death or illness, she wouldn’t prioritize reviewing one sooner
  • if I am concerned about the wait, she encourages me to “seek prosecutorial discretion from ERO through a stay or deferred action.”

 

Sessions outlines principles to reduce immigration case backlog

DOJ: “[DOJ aims] to reduce the so-called “backlog” by realigning the agency towards completing cases, increasing both productivity and capacity, and changing policies that lead to inefficiencies and delay justice.”

 

PRUCOL for Asylum Applicants (see attached)

Effective immediately, PRUCOL status will be granted to Asylum applicants with EAD cards for the purpose of Cash Assistance eligibility, which in turn has implications for rental assistance.

 

New Federal Lawsuit on Behalf of Lawful Permanent Residents Denied the Opportunity to Become U.S. Citizens Because of Disabilities

Legal Services NYC’s Bronx program, Immigrant Justice Corps, Alaska Immigration Justice Project, and WilmerHale filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of nine LPRs from New York, Massachusetts, and Alaska, who are statutorily eligible to apply for citizenship, but who have mental health or cognitive impairments which make it impossible for them to learn English and pass the English and civics tests ordinarily required to become U.S. citizens. The lawsuit was filed against the DHS and USCIS.

 

NIJC and Immigrant Rights Advocates Demand Civil Rights Investigation into ICE Raids that Targeted Sponsors of Unaccompanied Children

Eight immigrant rights organizations filed a complaint with DHS OIG and Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties on behalf of some of the 400 people detained in raids during the summer of 2017 that used unaccompanied children to identify and target their relatives living in the United States. AILA Doc. No. 17120762

 

DOS Updates Guidance Due To New Court Orders on Presidential Proclamation

DOS provided updated guidance due to the 12/4/17 Supreme Court orders that granted the government’s motions for emergency stays of preliminary injunctions. Per the orders, restrictions will be implemented fully, in accordance with the Presidential Proclamation, around the world, beginning 12/8/17. AILA Doc. No. 17120830

 

CBP Muster: Policy Regarding Border Search of Information

CBP created a muster regarding border searches of electronic devices. Notes such searches may include searches of the information physically present on the device when presented for inspection or during its detention. Obtained by a FOIA request by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. AILA Doc. No. 17120636.

 

DHS Provides ICE and CBP End of FY2017 Statistics

DHS released a summary of its end-of-the-year immigration enforcement numbers. In FY2017, CBP reported 310,531 apprehensions nationwide, 303,916 of which were along the Southwest border. In FY2017, ICE conducted 143,470 arrests and 226,119 removals. AILA Doc. No. 17120534

 

EOIR Final Rule on Denials of Suspension of Deportation and Cancellation of Removal

EOIR final rule adopting without change the rule proposed at 81 FR 86291 on 11/30/16. The final rule allows IJs and the BIA to issue final denials of suspension of deportation and cancellation of removal applications regardless of whether the annual cap has been reached. (82 FR 57336, 12/5/17) AILA Doc. No. 17120530

 

 

ACTIONS

 

  • Sign petition to Judge DiFioreon keeping ICE out of NY courts.
  • IDP Push on State Pardons: We have reason to think that the Governor’s office may be more likely to grant pending pardon applications (and more in the future) if we package together compelling cases. If you have pardon applications currently pending (or that could be submitted soon) where someone would receive some kind of immigration benefit and would like to be included in this joint advocacy effort, please email awellek@immigrantdefenseproject.org by 12/13: 1-2 paragraphs about the applicant. It should cover who the applicant is, their equities, what their convictions are, and the current posture of their immigration case and how a pardon will help.
  • NYIC and CUNY survey of gang-related issues – deadline 12/15/17

 

RESOURCES

 

·         USCIS Provides FAQs on Rejected DACA Requests”

 

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

Thanks, Elizabeth, for keeping the members of the “New Due Process Army” informed!

You’re the greatest!

 

PWS

12-12-17

BIA SAYS CATEGORICAL APPROACH INAPPLICABLE TO VIOLATION OF A PROTECTIVE ORDER — MATTER OF OBSHATKO, 27 I&N Dec. 173 (BIA 2017)

3909

Matter of OBSHATKO, 27 I&N Dec. 173 (BIA 2017)

BIA HEADNOTE:

“Whether a violation of a protection order renders an alien removable under section 237(a)(2)(E)(ii) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)(2)(E)(ii) (2012), is not governed by the categorical approach, even if a conviction underlies the charge; instead, an Immigration Judge should consider the probative and reliable evidence regarding what a State court has determined about the alien’s violation. Matter of Strydom, 25 I&N Dec. 507 (BIA 2011), clarified.”

PANEL: BIA APPELLATE IMMIGRATION JUDGES PAULEY, MALPHRUS, GREER

OPINION BY: JUDGE PAULEY

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

COMMON THREAD: The Respondent loses, even though he prevailed before the Immigration Judge.

PWS

11-18-17

 

 

JOE PATRICE @ ABOVE THE LAW: WE NOW HAVE “SCIENTIFIC PROOF” THAT IMMIGRATION LAWYERS ARE “INCREDIBLY USEFUL” — IN FACT, THEY ARE ESSENTIAL TO DUE PROCESS — So, Why Are Sessions & His Minions Smearing Lawyers & Trying To Railroad More Migrants Through The System Without Fair Hearings?

We Have Scientific Proof That Lawyers Are Incredibly Useful

Patrice writes:

“So instead of fighting whether or not the feds can order cops to bust up the local Motel 6, cities can just hire some lawyers.

This is the lie of every talking head that praises building a wall but adds, with all faux sincerity, that they have “no problem with legal immigrants.” Almost half of the people shuttled through assembly line deportation hearings actually fit within legal immigration protections, but the complexity of the system — not to mention language barriers — make them victims of the bureaucracy.

If that projection is correct, NYIFUP cases result in immigrant victories 48 percent of the time. As Oren Root, director of the Vera Institute’s Center for Immigration and Justice, puts it, that means that of every 12 immigrants who are winning at Varick Street right now, 11 would have been deported without a lawyer.

That finding challenges a widely held assumption about immigration court: that most immigrants who go through it don’t qualify for the types of protection that Congress has laid out for particularly compelling cases. The Vera finding implies that, in fact, many immigrants do deserve relief as Congress and the executive branch have established it — but that hundreds of thousands of them have been deported without getting the chance to pursue those claims.

New York’s program has inspired 12 more cities to adopt the program. It’s put up or shut up time for the Department of Justice — if they’re really committed to proving some undocumented migrant is in violation of the law, then stand up and make that case in court.

Against a real attorney.

Unless they’re chicken.”

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

Read the complete article at the link. I have previously reported on the VOX News Article and the Vera study.

I think Patrice has hit the nail on the head. Sessions, Miller, Bannon and the White Nationalist crowd are biased bullies picking on the most vulnerable and disadvantaged. Like all bullies, they have absolutely no desire to compete fairly on a level playing field.

The Vera report confirms what many of us involved in the field have been saying for years: a significant portion of those going through Immigration Court, probably 50% or more are entitled to be in the US. Without lawyers, such individuals have little or no chance of making and succeeding on claims that would allow them to stay. Since at least one-third of individuals (and a much higher percentage of detained individuals) are unrepresented, we are unlawfully removing tens of thousands of individuals each year, in violation of due process. And nothing aggravates this unfairness more than unnecessary detention (in other words, the majority of immigration detention which involves individuals who are not criminals, security threats, or threats to abscond if they are represented and understand the system).

A competent and conscientious Attoyney General would work cooperatively with private bar groups, NGOs, and localities to solve the representation crisis and drastically reduce the use of expensive and inhumane immigration detention. But, Sessions is moving in exactly the opposite direction, in violation of constitutional principles of due process, practical efficiency, and basic human decency.

PWS

11-13-17

REAL DUE PROCESS MAKES A STUNNING DIFFERENCE! – NY PROJECT FINDS THAT REPRESENTED IMMIGRANTS ARE 12X MORE LIKELY TO WIN CASES!

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/11/9/16623906/immigration-court-lawyer

Dara Lind reports for VOX

“Omar Siagha has been in the US for 52 years. He’s a legal permanent resident with three children. He’d never been to prison, he says, before he was taken into Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention — faced with the loss of his green card for a misdemeanor.

His brother tried to seek out lawyers who could help Siagha, but all they offered, in his words, were “high numbers and no hope” — no guarantee, in other words, that they’d be able to get him out of detention for all the money they were charging.

Then he met lawyers from Brooklyn Defender Services — part of the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project, an effort to guarantee legal representation for detained immigrants. They demanded only one thing of him, he recalls: “Omar, you’ve got to tell us the truth.”

But Siagha’s access to a lawyer in immigration court is the exception.

There’s no right to counsel in immigration court, which is part of the executive branch rather than the judiciary. Often, an immigrant’s only shot at legal assistance before they’re marched in front of a judge is the pro bono or legal aid clinic that happens to have attorneys at that courthouse. Those clinics have such limited resources that they try to select only the cases they think have the best shot of winning — which can be extremely difficult to ascertain in a 15-minute interview.

But advocates and local governments are trying to make cases like Siagha’s the rule, not the exception. Soon, every eligible immigrant who gets detained in one of a dozen cities — including New York, Chicago, Oakland, California, and Atlanta — will have access to a lawyer to help fight their immigration court case.

The change started at Varick Street. The New York Immigrant Family Unity Project started in New York City in 2013, guaranteeing access to counsel for detained immigrants.

According to a study released Thursday by the Vera Institute for Justice (which is now helping fund the representation efforts in the other cities, under the auspices of the Safe Cities Network), the results were stunning. With guaranteed legal representation, up to 12 times as many immigrants have been able to win their cases: either able to get legal relief from deportation or at least able to persuade ICE to drop the attempt to deport them this time.

So far, cities have been trying to protect their immigrant populations through inaction — refusing to help with certain federal requests. Giving immigrants lawyers, on the other hand, seemingly makes the system work better. And if it works, it could leave the Trump administration — which is already upset with the amount of time it takes to resolve an immigration court case — very frustrated indeed. (The Department of Justice, which runs immigration courts, didn’t respond to a request for comment.)

Immigration court is supposed to give immigrants a chance for relief. In reality … it depends.

As federal immigration enforcement has ramped up over the past 15 years, nearly every component of it has gotten a sleek bureaucratic upgrade, a boatload of money, and heightened interest and oversight from Congress. But immigration court has been overlooked as everything else has been built up around it.

The reason is simple. Chronologically, most immigrants have to go through immigration court after being apprehended and before being deported. But bureaucratically, immigration courts are run by the Executive Office for Immigration Review, housed in the Justice Department instead of by the Department of Homeland Security. And when it comes to money and bureaucratic attention, that makes all the difference in the world.

From the outside, the striking thing about immigration court is how slow it is — lawyers already report that hearings for those apprehended today are scheduled in 2021. That’s also the Trump administration’s problem with it; the federal government is sweeping up more immigrants than it did in 2016 but deporting fewer of them.

But it doesn’t seem that way from the inside, to an immigrant who doesn’t have any idea what’s going on — especially one who’s being kept in detention.

This is the scene that Peter Markowitz accustomed himself to, as a young immigration lawyer at the Varick Street courtroom in New York: “People brought in, in shackles, with their feet and hands shackled to their waist, often not understanding the language of the proceedings, having no idea of the legal norms that were controlling their fate — being deported hand over fist.”

I know he’s not exaggerating; in my first morning watching immigration court proceedings in Minneapolis in 2008, I saw at least 10 detainees get issued deportation orders before lunch. Almost none had lawyers. Sometimes the judge would pause and explain to the detainee, in plain English, what was really going on — but she didn’t have to, and sometimes she wouldn’t bother.”

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

Read Dara’s full article at the link.

No lawyer = no due process. Rather than trying to hustle folks out of the country without a full and effective chance for them to be heard — in other words, true Due Process — Jeff Sessions should be changing the Immigration Court system to put less reliance on detention and detention center “kangaroo courts” and more emphasis on insuring that each individual scheduled for a hearing has fair and  reasonable access to competent counsel.

I totally agree that due process can’t be put on a “timetable,” as Sessions and his crew at the DOJ seem to want. As observed by none other than Chief Justice John Roberts — certainly no “bleeding heart liberal” —“It takes time to decide a case on appeal. Sometimes a little; sometimes a lot.” Nken v. Holder, 556 U.s. 418 (2009). That’s even more true on the trial level.

I have a somewhat different take on whether representation and providing full due process will ultimately slow down the system. In the short run, represented cases might take longer than unrepresented ones (although I personally found that not invariably true). However, as noted by Chief Judge Katzmann, lack of representation both promotes wrong, and therefore unfair, results, but also inhibits the proper development of the law. (Perhaps not incidentally, I note that Chief Judge Katzmann actually took time to attend and participate in Annual Immigration Judge Training Conferences back in the day when the “powers that be” at DOJ and EOIR deemed such training to be a necessary ingredient of a fair judicial system — something that was eliminated by Sessions’s DOJ this year. Apparently, new, untrained Immigration Judges can be expected to “crank out” more final orders of removal than trained judges.)

When I was in Arlington, the vast majority of the non-detained respondents were represented, and the majority of those got some sort of relief — in other words, won their cases to some extent. As time went on, this development required the DHS to adjust its position and to stop “fully litigating” issues that experience and the law told them they were going to lose.

That, in turn, led to more efficient and focused hearings as well as decisions to drop certain types of cases as an exercise of prosecutorial discretion. Had that process been allowed to continue, rather than being artificially arrested by the Trump regime, it could well have eventually led to more efficient use of docket time and alternate means of disposing of cases that were “likely losers” or of no particular enforcement value to the DHS or the country at large.

By contrast, “haste makes waste” attempts to force cases through the system without representation or otherwise in violation of Due Process often led to appellate reversals, “do-overs,” and re-openings, all of which were less efficient for the system than “doing it right in the first place” would have been!

In my view (echoed at least to some extent by my colleague retired Judge Jeffrey Chase), more conscientious publication of BIA precedents granting asylum could and should have taken large blocks of asylum cases off the “full merits” dockets of Immigration Judges — either by allowing them to be “short docketed” with the use of stipulations or allowing them to be favorably disposed of by the DHS Asylum Offices.

No system that I’m aware of can fully litigate every single possible law violation. Indeed, our entire criminal justice system works overwhelmingly from “plea bargaining” that often bears little if any resemblance to “what actually happened.” Plea bargaining is a practical response that reflects the reality of our justice system and  the inherent limitations on judicial time. And effective plea bargaining requires lawyers on both sides as well as appropriate law development as guidance that can only happen when parties are represented. The absurd claim of Sessions and the DHS that the law allows them no discretion as to whether or not to bring certain categories of removal cases is just that — absurd and in direct contradiction of the rest of the U.S. justice system.

The current policies of the DHS and the DOJ, which work against Due Process, rather than seeking to take advantage of and actively promote it, are ultimately doomed to failure. The only question is how much of a mess, how many wasted resources, and how much pain and unfairness they will create in the process of failing.

Andrea Saenz, mentioned in the article is a former Judicial Law clerk at the New York Immigration Court. I have always admired her clear, concise, “accessible” legal writing — much like that of Judge Jeffrey Chase — and have told her so.

I am also proud that a number of attorneys involved in the “New York Project” and the Brooklyn Defenders are alums of the Arlington Immigration Court or my Georgetown Law RLP class — in other words, charter members of the “New Due Process Army!”  They are literally changing our system, one case and one individual life at a time. And, they and their successors will still be at it long after guys like Jeff Sessions and his restrictionist cronies and their legally and morally bankrupt philosophies have faded from the scene.

Thanks to my friend the amazing Professor Alberto Benítez from the GW Law Immigration Clinic for sending me this item!

PWS

11-10-17

WASHPOST: TRUMP’S ANTI-IMMIGRANT WHITE NATIONALIST HYSTERIA & UNJUSTIFIED ATTACKS ON OTHERS DIMINISHES OUR COUNTRY AND MAKES US LESS SAFE!

Three Editorials in today’s Washington Post emphasize the extremely counterproductive nature of Trump’s response to the NY terrorist attack.

First, on his inappropriate attempt to blame immigrants for the incident:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trumps-response-to-the-new-york-attack-was-downright-dispiriting/2017/11/01/00558930-bf43-11e7-8444-a0d4f04b89eb_story.html?utm_term=.133a8ef49c1b

“IN LOWER MANHATTAN on Tuesday, not far from the memorial to the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center, eight people were killed and 12 injured when a man espousing fidelity to the Islamic State drove a rented pickup down a busy bike path along the Hudson River. “It was gruesome. It was grisly. It was surreal,” one witness said of bicyclists and pedestrians being mowed down. The attack on innocent people enjoying a fine autumn day was a chilling reminder of the persistent threat posed to the United States by Islamist extremists — and their ingenuity in finding ways to commit murder.

Some small comfort can be taken in the fact that in the 16 years since the fall of the twin towers, improvements in protecting the homeland and fighting terrorism abroad have lessened the terrorists’ strength to strike and improved our ability to respond. The quick actions of police and other first responders during Tuesday’s tragedy should be applauded. So must the resilience and strength of the people of New York City, who made clear they will not be cowed by fear.

Far less inspiring — indeed, downright dispiriting — was the reaction of President Trump. In a series of tweets that apparently were informed (a word we use loosely) by his viewing of “Fox & Friends,” Mr. Trump went on a harangue about immigration and attacked Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.). On Wednesday, Mr. Trump signaled he might upend the judicial process by declaring the suspected attacker an enemy combatant to be shipped off to the Guantanamo Bay prison; federal terrorism charges filed against him later in the day likely would foreclose that from happening. Note that the White House wouldn’t discuss gun control after last month’s mass shooting in Las Vegas, on the grounds that it would politicize a tragedy, but it had no problem launching partisan attacks following a terrorist strike that ought to unify all Americans. Note also, as The Post’s Philip Bump pointed out, that Mr. Trump is quick to jump to conclusions when there are incidents involving immigrants but is far more circumspect when nonimmigrants are involved.

What’s really needed from the Trump administration is not blame-shifting but a serious attempt to investigate and learn from this latest attack. Were others involved or aware of the alleged plans dating back a year that went into the attack? Are authorities right in their initial assessment that the suspect became “radicalized domestically” while living in the United States? Were signals missed when he appeared on the radar of law enforcement in connection with the investigations of other suspects? The 29-year-old, authorities said, allegedly “followed almost exactly to a T” instructions that the Islamic State has put out on its social-media channels on how to carry out attacks. So what can be done to detect and deter other would-be followers?

Among those killed Tuesday were five Argentines who were part of a group of school friends who traveled to New York to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their high school graduation. It was their dream trip to a city known for being open and generous and diverse. Those are the traits that make America great; to undermine them in response to Tuesday’s attack only plays into the hands of terrorists.”

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

Second, the Editorial Board responds to Trump’s attempt to blame Senator Chuck Schumer of New York for the attack:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/for-trump-new-yorks-tragedy-means-a-new-attack-on-immigration/2017/11/01/8ffa0940-bf38-11e7-97d9-bdab5a0ab381_story.html?utm_term=.ead2a22ecd7d

“PRESIDENT TRUMP, ever prone to seek out scapegoats, fastened on a new target in the wake of the terrorist attack in New York: the state’s senior Democratic senator, along with a 27-year-old visa program that offers applicants from dozens of countries a shot at immigrating to the United States.

Mr. Trump singled out Sen. Charles E. Schumer, who, in 1990, sponsored the diversity visa program, through which the alleged attacker in New York, Sayfullo Saipov, is reported to have immigrated to the United States from his native Uzbekistan. In a tweet, the president derided the program as “a Chuck Schumer beauty.”

Never mind that Mr. Schumer’s legislation establishing the program attracted bipartisan support; or that it was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush, a Republican; or even that Mr. Schumer himself unsuccessfully bargained to end the program, in 2013, in return for a bill granting legal residence to millions of undocumented immigrants already in the United States. Neither the facts nor the normal political imperative to avoid partisanship in the wake of a terrorist attack appeared to move Mr. Trump.

His tweet made it appear that his overriding interest in an assault allegedly backed by the Islamic State is to use it to assail immigration — in this instance, a legal program whose beneficiaries represent a speck in the overall number of immigrants. Managed by the State Department since 1995, the program now grants up to 50,000 visas annually, via a random lottery, to citizens of dozens of countries who would otherwise be mostly overlooked in the annual influx of green-card recipients. In recent years, many of the winners have been from Africa and Eastern Europe.

Having reaped political advantage as a candidate in vilifying illegal immigrants, Mr. Trump has set his sights in office on legal migrants, including refugees, from a handful of mostly Muslim countries, whom he’d like Americans to see as an undifferentiated mass of potentially violent interlopers. Gradually, he is chipping away at what was once a national consensus that immigrants are a critical source of vitality, invention and international appeal.

Like almost any immigration program, the diversity visa lottery is imperfect and susceptible to abuse. The fortunate winners, who represent less than 1 percent of those who have applied annually in recent years, are not uniformly equipped to thrive in this country; many lack an education beyond high school. As Mr. Saipov may turn out to prove, even the extensive vetting required of all who immigrate through the program does not provide an ironclad guarantee that it is impervious to applicants who might seek to harm the United States.

The lottery program might be improved. Still, the fact that more than 11 million people applied for it in fiscal 2016 reflects the magnetic appeal the United States continues to exert around the world. Satisfying a small fraction of that demand, through the lottery or some other legal means, is a powerful tool of public diplomacy in countries whose citizens might otherwise have no hope of coming here.”

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

Third, Jennifer Rubin (“JRUBE”) comments on Trump’s “mindless,” totally inappropriate, attack on our justice system (in other words, on our Constitution):

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2017/11/02/trumps-mindless-insult-to-the-american-judicial-system/?hpid=hp_no-name_opinion-card-b%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.6be7fbcdabb0

“Asked about the suspect Wednesday, President Trump called him an “animal.” Prompted to say whether he thought Saipov should be sent to the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Trump said, sure, he’d consider it. Later, at Wednesday’s White House press briefing, Sarah Huckabee Sanders said flatly that the White House considered the suspect an “enemy combatant.”

The president also said yesterday that the American justice system (presumably including his own Justice Department) is a “joke” and a “laughingstock.” He further opined, “We also have to come up with punishment that’s far quicker and far greater than the punishment these animals are getting right now,” Trump said. (Terrorists are subject to the death penalty, so it’s unclear what he had in mind.) “They’ll go through court for years … We need quick justice, and we need strong justice,” he said.

Thankfully, the Justice Department, like the Pentagon, has learned when to ignore Trump. On Wednesday, Saipov was charged in federal court. By Thursday morning, Trump was backing off his support for sending Saipov to Guantanamo. Once again, the ignorant president shot from the hip and had to creep back to reality.

Just how harmful were Trump’s statements? It is reprehensible for the president to defame our justice system, which is not a “joke” nor a “laughingstock” but the envy of the world. Moreover, in the terrorist context, it has proved remarkably efficient in trying and convicting terrorists, and then handing out maximum punishments. The surviving Boston Marathon bombing defendant was convicted in just this way and sentenced to death.

. . . .

Based on today’s tweet, we were right to assume that neither Trump nor Sanders had any idea what he/she was talking about (always a good assumption). We will watch with pride as American justice takes its course — and with horror as Trump continues to wreck havoc from the Oval Office.”

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

Having spent a professional lifetime working on immigration and refugee issues, I can confirm that Trump and his GOP “restrictionist cronies” like Sessions, Miller, and Bannon have managed to transform what used to be “a national consensus that immigrants [and particularly refugees] are a critical source of vitality, invention and international appeal” into a highly partisan and racially-charged attack on the national origins and futures of some of our most productive citizens and residents — those who far more than Trump or his cronies are likely to help us in building a better, safer future for all Americans.

Having worked on all sides of our U.S. Justice System, served as an administrative judge on the trial and appellate levels for more than 21 years, listened to and/or read thousands of accounts of what made people leave their “home countries,” and studied in detail the reasons why some failing countries are “senders” of talented migrants and others, like the U.S., are fortunate enough to be on the “receiving” end, I can say unequivocally that the fairness of our justice system and the overall honsety and integrity of civil servants in the U.S. Government are the primary differences between the “sending” and “receiving” countries, like ours.

As I have observed before, Trump and his cronies are launching what is basically a “Third-World autocratic attack” on our Constitution and our democratic institutions. If they succeed, the immigration “problem” might eventually be “solved” because nobody will want to come here any more. How many people risked their lives trying to get into the former Soviet Union?
Donald Trump, his cronies, and his enablers are and will remain a much greater threat to our safety and Constitutional institutions than any foreign terrorist could ever be. We ignore his dangerous and fundamentally un-American rants at our own peril!
PWS
11-02-17

 

TAL KOPAN AT CNN: TRUMP SEEKS CUTS TO DOMESTIC TERRORISM PREVENTION PROGRAMS!

http://www.cnn.com/2017/11/01/politics/countering-domestic-terror-cuts/index.html

Tal reports:

“Washington (CNN)After a deadly terrorist attack in New York City, critics of President Donald Trump on Wednesday pointed to the millions in proposed cuts to counterterror programs sought by his administration, which reduced multiple such initiatives in its budget request.

The Trump administration has proposed sharp cuts to programs that seek to prevent domestic terrorism and prepare localities to respond — a point made by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York, in response to Trump criticizing him on Wednesday morning, in a tweet linking the attack to an immigration policy Trump ascribed to Schumer.
“President Trump, instead of politicizing and dividing America, which he always seems to do at times of national tragedy, should be focusing on the real solution – anti-terrorism funding – which he proposed cutting in his most recent budget,” Schumer said in a statement. “I’m calling on the President to immediately rescind his proposed cuts to this vital anti-terrorism funding.”

The Department of Homeland Security says, for its part, that it continues to improve the administration’s efforts on countering terrorism, and promises more effective measures to come.

Trump’s 2018 budget proposal included steep cuts to a number of grant programs run by the Department of Homeland Security that go toward terrorism and violent extremism preparedness and prevention. All told, more than $300 million would be cut from such programs.

New York itself would stand to lose millions in federal funds. On Tuesday, a 29-year-old Uzbek national killed eight people and injured more than a dozen more when he drove a rented truck onto a bike and pedestrian path in Manhattan, pledging his support to ISIS in a note found at the scene.

The administration has also folded two counterterror grant programs altogether, and is in the process of rebranding the Obama administration’s Countering Violent Extremism office.

A senior DHS official earlier this fall disputed the notion that the administration was retreating from fighting terrorism and domestic extremism, though, saying a new strategy is forthcoming.

“We really intend to elevate and amplify our terrorism prevention efforts in a big way, because the threat environment is serious, we’re taking it seriously and we’re doing a full end-to-end review of what we do on terrorism prevention to make sure that our efforts are effective,” the official told CNN. “We do not intend to focus our terrorism prevention efforts exclusively on one ideology. DHS is committed to combating both domestic terrorism and international terrorism and bolstering efforts for both.”

. . . .

In testimony before Congress earlier this year, acting Secretary Elaine Duke told lawmakers that administration is evaluating its approach to preventing terrorism going forward — and she and other officials have begun calling it “terrorism prevention” instead of “countering violent extremism.”
“Americans do not want us to simply stop violent plots, they want us to keep them from materializing in the first place,” Duke said in her prepared testimony. “As part of this effort, we have launched an end-to-end review of all DHS ‘countering violent extremism’ or CVE programs.”
Nevertheless, DHS officials have faced numerous questions from lawmakers about the proposed cuts to the programs and criticism from counterterror experts. The House-passed 2018 budget, which still needs to pass the Senate, largely increases or maintains the funding that Trump has proposed to cut.“

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

Read all of Tal’s article at the above link.

The DHS response sounds like “classic bureaucratic doublespeak” to me!

PWS

11-01-17

SMOKESCREEN: WHILE TRUMP & ALT-RIGHT RAIL ABOUT TRAVEL BAN & FEDERAL JUDGES, TRUTH IS THAT TRAVEL BAN HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH TERRORIST ATTACK!

http://www.newsweek.com/trump-travel-ban-new-york-attack-sayfullo-saipov-698239

Connor Gaffey reports for Newsweek:

“For many of Trump’s supporters on social media, the attack, reportedly carried out by 29-year-old Uzbek immigrant Sayfullo Saipov, is further evidence of the need for the president’s travel ban to become law.

Trump has on three occasions tried to pass restrictions blocking or limiting immigration to the United States from certain countries: The latest iteration imposes restrictions on citizens of Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Yemen and on government officials from Venezuela. But in each instance, judges have ordered last-minute freezes on the travel bans coming into effect.

Some accused “liberal judges” of putting political correctness ahead of U.S. national security.

. . . .

But to those calling for the travel ban to be implemented, many pointed out that it would not have stopped the suspected attacker: Uzbekistan has not been included on any version of Trump’s proposed travel ban.

. . . .”

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

Read the complete article at the link.

These guys seem more interested in dividing Americans and dissing immigrants and Federal Judges than they do in making America safer.

PWS

11-01-17

THE GIBSON REPORT — 10-30-17

THE GIBSON REPORT – 10-30-17

TOP HEADLINES:

ICE Arrests Five Individuals with Pending Charges in New York After Detainers Were Not Honored

ICE arrested five individuals with pending charges in the New York City area after detainers filed by ICE were not honored. ICE states that since January 2017, 70 percent of the ICE arrests have been comprised of convicted criminals. AILA Doc. No. 17101900

 

Federal Judge In Hawaii Blocks Trump’s Third Attempt At Travel Ban

ImmProf: “In his ruling, Watson wrote that the third version of the ban, like those before it, “lacks sufficient findings that the entry of more than 150 million nationals from six specified countries would be ‘detrimental to the interests of the United States,’ ” evidence that he says would be necessary for the ban to be enforceable.”

 

Trump plans massive increase in federal immigration jails

USA Today: “In recent weeks, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency has put out requests to identify privately-run jail sites in Chicago, Detroit, St. Paul, Salt Lake City and southern Texas, according to notices published on a federal contracting website. It did not publicly announce its plans to house 4,000 more detainees at the facilities.”

 

Who Is Represented in Immigration Court? Mexican Immigrants Lowest, Chinese Highest Representation Rates

ImmProf: “Representation rates for detained individuals have ranged between roughly 10 and 30 percent…. Representation rates for those who were never detained in contrast have generally ranged between 60 and 80 percent.”

 

Judge denies Arpaio’s motion to erase his criminal contempt conviction

AZ Central: “In her ruling, Bolton said while Trump’s pardon “undoubtedly spared Defendant from any punishment that might otherwise have been imposed. It did not, however, ‘revise the historical facts’ of this case.””

 

NAIJ Expresses Concerns Regarding Implementation of Quotas on IJ’s

The National Association of Immigration Judges (NAIJ) submitted a statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee Oversight Hearing on the DOJ urging Congress to exempt immigration judges from performance reviews, noting ALJs are already exempt because quotas are “antithetical to judicial independence.” AILA Doc. No. 17102062

 

ACTIONS

 

  • Survey on women and girls: Ford Foundation funded assessment of the challenges faced by immigrant women and girls in the United States
  • UNHCR feedback for materials for children: UNHCR intends to develop unbranded child-friendly materials on asylum for unaccompanied children in the United States. At this juncture, we would like to solicit input from practitioners who have represented unaccompanied children in the asylum process and also from unaccompanied children who are either currently or have been through the asylum process in the United States, whether it be before the Asylum Office or Immigration Court.” See attached.

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PWS

10-30-17

BREAKING: TAL KOPAN AT CNN: REBUTTAL — DOJ/EOIR CLAIM (WITHOUT MANY SPECIFICS) THAT “SURGE’ OF DETAILED JUDGES TO S. BORDER INCREASED OVERALL PRODUCTIVITY BY 2,700!

http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/04/politics/immigration-courts-judges/index.html

Tal reports:

“Washington (CNN)Sending immigration judges to the border has resulted in thousands of more cases being handled, the Justice Department announced Wednesday, though a substantial backlog in the immigration courts remain.

The Justice Department released new statistics on Wednesday touting the effects of reassigning more than 100 immigration judges to the southern border, saying it has resulted in 2,700 more cases being completed than would have otherwise.
The Executive Office for Immigration Review, which manages the Justice Department’s immigration court system, estimated that the judges moved to the border completed significantly more cases than if they had remained at home, and completed 21% more cases than judges historically assigned to those areas as their home courts.
Still, the 2,700-case-increase remains a drop in the bucket compared to the backlog in the immigration courts, which are separate from the broader criminal justice and civil law system and have different rules.
According to data from Syracuse University’s TRAC system, the authority for tracking the backlog, there were more than 630,000 cases pending for fiscal year 2017 through the end of August, with more than 100,000 each in Texas and California.
The backlog of pending cases is a major contributor to issues with immigration enforcement and illegal immigration. When undocumented immigrants are caught and processed to have their cases adjudicated, they can receive court dates years in the future. Unable for legal and resource reasons to detain people indefinitely, the government paroles many of those individuals until their court dates, leaving them to establish lives in the US for years before potentially being ordered to be deported.
DOJ released the statistics on the heels of an investigation by Politico Magazine that found some reassigned judges with unfilled dockets and little to do. Citing internal DOJ documents obtained by a Freedom of Information Act request as well as judge interviews, Politico Magazine reported underworked judges and 22,000 postponed cases in their home courts.
Wednesday’s announcement seemed to rebut that report, citing progress the Justice Department had seen made.
“EOIR is pleased with the results of the surge of immigration judges to detention facilities and the potential impact it has on the pending caseload nationwide,” said acting Director James McHenry in a statement. “The Justice Department will continue to identify ways in which it can further improve immigration judge productivity without compromising due process.”
President Donald Trump’s executive orders have called for dealing with the bottlenecked immigration courts, including by reassigning judges and hiring more judges and attorneys. His administration is also looking at whether technology, such as video conferencing, can help.”
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Without actually seeing the raw data, which apparently has not yet been released to the public, it’s hard to assess the accuracy of the DOJ/EOIR “victory dance.” So far, all of these “improvements” do not seem to have resulted in a decrease in overall Immigration Court backlogs. And, the “technology'” of video conferencing, cited by Director McHenry,  is hardly “new” even at EOIR. For example, the Arlington Immigration Court has been doing all detained cases by televideo since approximately 2004. So, it’s difficult to see how “televideo technology” is going to make a material dent in the administrative problems facing the Immigration Courts. But, we’ll see. If nothing else, seems that the reports on ADR and details “got the attention” of the folks at DOJ and Falls Church.
And, even assuming that these stats eventually support EOIR’s claim, it still neither explains nor justifies detailing Immigration Judges to locations where they were not fully occupied at a time when the backlog was building.
Stay tuned!
PWS
10–04-17

 

NBC4 NY: FRAUD, WASTE, & ABUSE AT USDOJ — “ADR” EXPOSED! — TRUMP ADMINISTRATION KNOWINGLY RAN UP U.S. IMMIGRATION COURT BACKLOGS WITH UNNEEDED REASSIGNMENT OF IMMIGRATION JUDGES TO S. BORDER — DOJ Politicos Caused 276% Jump In NY Court Adjournments! — Then, DOJ Tried To Cast False Blame On Immigration Attorneys, Judges, & Obama Administration For Wasteful Adjournments That Sessions’s Politicos Had ORDERED — More Of My Interview With NBC Investigative Reporter Jodie Fleischer As Nationwide Expose Widens! — Stop The Abuse Of Due Process & Public Purse For Political Ends! — America Needs An Independent U.S. Immigration Court NOW!

Here’s the TV clip:

http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/Immigration-Court-New-York-Judge-Investigation-448498463.html

Here’s the story:

As part of a joint six-month investigation, NBC-owned television stations across the country interviewed retired and current immigration judges, some of whom said the backlog is threatening to overwhelm the court

By Chris Glorioso, Dave Manney, Erica Jorgensen and Evan Stulberger

Documents from the Trump administration show the president’s plan to ship more immigration judges for temporary assignments in border states is encountering a fundamental problem: there isn’t enough work for all the new judges to do.
According to an assessment of “Surge Hearing Locations,” dated April 4, 2017, the Department of Justice found six of the 17 immigration courts receiving transferred judges could not give those judges enough work to support a full docket.
INVESTIGATIVE’Phantom’ Judges Cause Confusion in NYC Immigration Court
In the assessment and supporting documents, DOJ staffers wrote about an immigration court in Karnes, Texas, where there was “concern regarding the lack of filings to sustain details from other courts”

Immigration: Crisis in the Courts
An overview on how immigration judges are struggling with a punishing backlog that in many cities is pushing cases far into the future, slowing deportations and leaving families in limbo.

The same assessment says another court in Texas’s Prairieland Detention Center “is not receiving enough cases to truly fill a docket or even come close to it.”
At the court inside Texas’s Dilly Family Residential Center, DOJ staffers wrote “the one judge detailed there is not occupied.”

At New Mexico’s Cibola County Detention Center, DOJ staffers found the caseload “has not been sufficient to keep the two immigration judges assigned to this docket occupied.”

Staffers also noted two empty courtrooms at New Mexico’s Otero immigration facility — and concluded there were “insufficient caseloads for further deployments.”

Scheduling records show the Justice Department repeatedly assigned five transferred judges to the immigration court in Louisiana’s LaSalle Detention Facility, even though an assessment of the court found “at this time there is not enough work for five judges. There is enough work for a reasonable docket and three judges.”

The report went on to conclude that inefficient transferring of detainees often means “there is very little work for a detailed judge to complete.”

In most cases, the transferred judges spend two weeks to a month hearing cases in out-of-state court.

The Department of Justice declined to comment for this story, but in response to a previous inquiry by Politico, an agency spokesman said “After the initial deployment, an assessment was done to determine appropriate locations to increase the adjudication of immigration court cases without compromising due process.”

While transferred judges may have had light workloads when they arrived in some of the border state courts, there is evidence the dockets they left behind suffered in their home courts.

A joint analysis by the News 4 I-Team and Telemundo 47 Investiga found case adjournments in New York City’s immigration court went up 276 percent — from an average of 139 adjournments in the three months before the judge transfers began, to 522 in the three months after judge transfers began.

Despite that, the Trump administration has increased its target from 50 judge reassignments, to at least 137 nationwide. Nineteen New York City immigration judges — more than half of the city’s 32-judge staff – participated in the temporary transfer program.

Olga Byrne, an advocate for refugees at Human Rights First, a nonprofit that represents asylum-seekers in court, said immigration attorneys at her organization have noticed the spike in adjournments and questioned whether judicial assignments border state assignments are worth the trouble.

“We’ve been in touch with a couple of judges who have expressed a lot of frustration about being sent to a detention center where they could take a long lunch break,” said Byrne. “They had only a few cases to consider for a whole week and yet they had to defer hundreds of cases from their docket in their home court.”


But it is clear the Trump Administration knew its decision to deploy more judges to border states would likely have negative impacts on dockets those judges leave behind in their home states.
In response to questions from U.S. Senate staffers, a DOJ memo concedes that “it is likely that the case backlog will increase for the locations from which an Immigration Judge is assigned.”

In New York City alone, there are more than 82,000 immigrants waiting for a court hearing. The average wait time is north of two and a half years. Nationwide, the immigration case backlog stands at more than 617,000.
Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D – Upper Manhattan), who came to America as an undocumented immigrant, said he fears the Trump administration is over-staffing border state courts to rapidly deport current border-crossers, while ignoring the population of non-detained immigrants who’ve been living and working in America’s big cities, hoping for a shot at citizenship for years.
“By shifting judges to the border, they are in fact maybe predicting that there will be lots of cases before them in those jurisdictions,” Espaillat said. “I am concerned this is part of a greater effort to put together a deportation machine – and proceed to arrest and deport thousands of people who are undocumented.”

This isn’t the first time a presidential initiative has been criticized for mucking up immigration court schedules and exacerbating the nationwide case backlog.
During the Obama Administration, the Justice Department launched an effort to prioritize court hearings for unaccompanied minors who enter the country illegally.

Byrne says that too was a political decision which negatively impacted the court’s ability to handle thousands of older cases languishing in the backlog.
“It’s not a new thing that they are basically fulfilling political objectives with the way that the immigration court dockets are managed,” Byrne said. “I think we should be equally critical of both [the Trump and Obama administrations] for using the immigration court to fulfill political objectives rather than focusing on making that court system work well and efficiently.”

 

Source: I-Team: Immigration Judges Sent to Courts With ‘Very Little Work’ – NBC New York http://www.nbcnewyork.com/investigations/Immigration-Court-New-York-Judge-Investigation-448498463.html#ixzz4uXiMR2xJ
Follow us: @nbcnewyork on Twitter | NBCNewYork on Facebook“

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To put this in context, during this massive abuse of the US Immigration Courts at the direction of Sessions and his incompetent politicos at the DOJ, the Chief Immigration Judge issued the notorious “Continuance Policy.”  That document not not very subtilely implied that unjustified continuance requests by private attorneys (all of them overburdened by the effects of ADR, and many working on a pro bono or “low bono” basis) and laxity in granting continuances by overwhelmed and demoralized U.S. Immigration Judges were major contributing factors in increasing backlogs. Nothing could be further from the truth!

In fact, conscientious Immigration Judges and dedicated private attorneys are the only ones trying to make this broken system work and to maintain at least a semblance of due process. Their main obstacles: improper politically-motivated interference from the DOJ and poor administration and failure to stand up to the politicos by out of touch bureaucrats at EOIR Headquarters in Falls Church who are afraid to “blow the whistle”because they value their jobs over due process. 

What kind of incompetents would draw the bulk of unneeded judicial details from what are known to be the most seriously backlogged Immigration Courts in the US, such as New York and Arlington? What type of incompetents would “study” the impact and need for the details after the fact, rather than carefully planning in advance? Assuming they were necessary (which they weren’t) why weren’t judicial details drawn from among the Assistant Chief Immigration Judges in Falls Church Headquarters who are never assigned actual cases? They, actually have time on their hands. And why does a system in crisis with inept management have highly-paid bureaucratic administrators like the ACIJs who never do any real judging? What makes a person a “judge”if he or she never “judges” anything?

Yes, as I’ve stated before, the Obama Administration enforcement policies and political interference from the Obama DOJ helped drive the backlogs to new heights. But, after taking over an obviously broken system, rather than doing the right thing and fixing the Immigration Courts with bipartisan legislation to create an independent Immigration Court System, with adequate resources, professional court administration, and freedom from political interference in its due process functions, the Trump Administration intentionally made things much, much worse! More judges have resulted in more backlogs because of politicized, incompetent judicial administration and poorly designed enforcement policies at DHS. If that doesn’t tell you something is seriously wrong, what will?

PWS

10-04-17