Julie Pace reports for AP:
“WASHINGTON (AP) — Young immigrants brought to the U.S. as children and now here illegally can “rest easy,” President Donald Trump said Friday, telling the “dreamers” they will not be targets for deportation under his immigration policies.
Trump, in a wide-ranging interview with The Associated Press, said his administration is “not after the dreamers, we are after the criminals.”
The president, who took a hard line on immigration as a candidate, vowed anew to fulfill his promise to construct a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. But he stopped short of demanding that funding for the project be included in a spending bill Congress must pass by the end of next week in order to keep the government running.
. . . .
As a candidate, Trump strongly criticized President Barack Obama for “illegal executive amnesties,” including actions to spare from deportation young people who were brought to the country as children and now are here illegally. But after the election, Trump started speaking more favorably about these immigrants, popularly dubbed “dreamers.”
On Friday, he said that when it comes to them, “This is a case of heart.”
This week, attorneys for Juan Manuel Montes said the 23-year-old was recently deported to Mexico despite having qualified for deferred deportation. Trump said Montes’ case is “a little different than the dreamer case,” though he did not specify why.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program was launched in 2012 as a stopgap to protect some young immigrants from deportation while the administration continued to push for a broader immigration overhaul in Congress.
Obama’s administrative program offered a reprieve from deportation to those immigrants in the country illegally who could prove they arrived before they were 16, had been in the United States for several years and had not committed a crime since being here. It mimicked versions of the so-called DREAM Act, which would have provided legal status for young immigrants but was never passed by Congress.
DACA also provides work permits for the immigrants and is renewable every two years. As of December, about 770,000 young immigrants had been approved for the program.”
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, “Fear Monger in Chief” Jeff Sessions had a somewhat less reassuring message for young people and their families:
As reported by Ted Hesson in Politico:
“Attorney General Jeff Sessions could not promise that so-called Dreamers, or participants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, will not be deported, when he was interviewed Wednesday morning on Fox News.
Sessions fielded questions from host Jenna Lee about an undocumented immigrant who claims he was deported to Mexico despite his enrollment in the program, which was created through administrative action during the Obama administration.
The program allows undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. at a young age to apply for deportation relief and work permits. In a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday, Juan Manuel Montes, a 23-year-old enrollee in the program, claimed he was sent to Mexico in February despite active DACA status.
“DACA enrollees are not being targeted,” Sessions said on Fox. “I don’t know why this individual was picked up.” But when pressed, Sessions said, “The policy is that if people are here unlawfully, they’re subject to being deported.”
“We can’t promise people who are here unlawfully that they’re not going to be deported,” Sessions added.”
Neither Trump nor Sessions, or for that matter anyone else in the Trump Administration, has much credibility on anything, particularly immigration policy. In reality, however, it appears that very few, if any, “Dreamers” have actually been removed.
The facts of the “Montes case” are still rather murky. He appears to have reentered the U.S. illegally, which generally would subject even a green card holder to removal. Montes reportedly is asserting an earlier “illegal removal” to Mexico. But, even if proved, that wouldn’t necessarily justify an illegal return. We’ll have to see how this case “plays out” in Federal Court, before the same judge who had the “Trump University” case.
But, the situation seems unusual enough that I would not draw any conclusion that it represents a policy change. Indeed, most “Dreamers” of whom I am aware do not actually have “final orders of removal.”
If they had pending U.S. Immigration Court cases, such cases were “administratively closed” and removed from the docket. Removal of such a “former Dreamer” would require the DHS to submit a “motion to re-calendar” to the U.S. Immigration Judge.
Once re-calendared, the case would proceed in the “normal manner,” whatever that might mean in the zany world of today’s U.S. Immigration Court. Generally, however, if the “former Dreamer” were not detained, he or she would go to the “end” of the 542,000 pending cases.
In most Immigration Courts, that would mean an “Individual Hearing” date after 2020, the end of Trump’s first term. And, as I have pointed out before, absent some “smart reforms” of the Immigration Court by Congress or the Administration to restore sanity and an emphasis on due process, the 125 new U.S. Immigration Judges proposed by Sessions will not eliminate the docket backlog at any time in the near future.http://wp.me/p8eeJm-Jf
However, notwithstanding what sometimes is called “Docket TPS,” former Dreamers could face another major obstacle: lack of “employment authorization” which was included in the DACA program. Without such authorization, continuing employment could cause major legal problems for both former Dreamers and their U.S. employers.
One possible solution would be for the “former Dreamer” to file an application for immigration benefits that carries with it the opportunity to qualify for a new employment authorization. The most likely application is probably asylum, although some who have never previously been in Removal Proceedings might also qualify to file for “cancellation of removal” or other forms of regularization of status.
Indeed, many of the dreamers who were on my docket when DACA was granted by USCIS had asylum applications pending, either on their own or as a dependent on a parent’s or spouse’s application, at the time the case was “administratively closed” and removed from my docket. The complexity of individual situations makes the prospect of mass removal of Dreamers even more unlikely.