DHS Wants To Assure Dreamers That They Should NOT Be Reassured — DACA Revocation Still Possible!

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/06/16/trump-daca-immigration-deportation-relief-program-239654?cid=apn

Ted Hesson writes in Politico:

“The future of an Obama-era deportation relief program remains undecided, the Department of Homeland Security said Friday.

The announcement was meant to clarify the department’s position on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which allows nearly 788,000 undocumented immigrants to apply for work permits and live in the U.S. without fear of deportation.

“The future of the DACA program continues to be under review with the administration,” a DHS spokesperson said in a written statement. “The president has remarked on the need to handle the issue with compassion and with heart.”

DHS felt compelled to issue a statement on the program’s fate after POLITICO and other outlets reportedThursday on guidance posted to the DHS website that suggested DACA would remain on firm footing under the Trump administration.

The guidance came as the administration terminated a separate deportation relief program for parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents that had been blocked by federal courts since early 2015.

On its website, DHS assured that DACA would not be affected by the move. “No work permits will be terminated prior to their current expiration dates,” the guidance read.

The department said today that it intended only to clarify that DACA would not be immediately canceled. The guidance, DHS said, “should not be interpreted as bearing any relevance on the long-term future of that program.”

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Even when faced with an opportunity to do something nice for folks, that would also help DHS out in practical terms, the Trumpsters just can’t resist an opportunity to sow fear and uncertainty.

PWS

06-18-17

POLITICO Covers “Under The Radar” Joint Departures Of EOIR’s Top Execs!

Subject: POLITICO’s Morning Shift: U.S. visas down for Muslim-majority countries — Immigration court chiefs leave — Democrats make minimum wage pledge

By Ian Kullgren | 05/26/2017 10:04 AM EDT

With help from Bianca Padró Ocasio, Ted Hesson and Mel Leonor

U.S. VISAS DOWN FOR MUSLIM-MAJORITY COUNTRIES: “President Donald Trump’s ‘Muslim ban’ may be tied up in court, but newly released figures show his administration is issuing fewer visas to visitors from Arab and Muslim-majority countries,” POLITICO’s Nahal Toosi and Ted Hesson report.

“Data posted online this week by the State Department showed that non-immigrant visas granted to people from nearly 50 Muslim-majority countries were down almost 20 percent in April compared to the 2016 monthly average,” they write. “When only Arab countries were considered, non-immigrant visas were down nearly 30 percent in April compared to the 2016 monthly average. Visas issued to the six countries targeted by Trump’s March 6 travel ban – Iran, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and Yemen – declined even further, down 55 percent compared to the 2016 monthly average.”

“Stephen Pattison, an immigration lawyer in Maryland who spent nearly three decades as a State Department consular officer, said he thinks Trump policies are having a ‘chilling effect’ on travel to the United States from Muslim nations…. ‘Some people may have canceled trips,’ Pattison said. ‘Some people may have traveled last year but not this year. But I think it would be naive to assume that’s what’s going on in Washington isn’t having an effect on consular adjudications.'” More here.

GOOD MORNING. It’s Friday, May 26, and this is Morning Shift, POLITICO’s daily tipsheet on employment and immigration policy. Send tips, exclusives, and suggestions to thesson@politico.com, mlevine@politico.com, mleonor@politico.com, ikullgren@politico.com and tnoah@politico.com. Follow us on Twitter at @tedhesson, @marianne_levine, @melleonor_, @IanKullgren, and @TimothyNoah1.

PROGRAMMING NOTE – Due to the Memorial Day holiday, Morning Shift will not publish on Monday, May 29. Our next Morning Shift will publish on Tuesday, May 30. Please continue to follow Pro Employment and Immigration issues here.

IMMIGRATION COURT CHIEFS LEAVE: The director and deputy director of the federal immigration courts will leave the office by the end of the month, two sources familiar with the situation told Morning Shift. The courts, known as the Executive Office for Immigration Review, fall under the purview of the Justice Department.

Director Juan Osuna and Deputy Director Ana Kocur announced their departures in a staff-wide email. The reasons for their resignations are unclear, but both assumed their positions during the Obama administration, Osuna in 2011 and Kocur in 2012. Neither EOIR nor the Justice Department responded to requests for comment.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has promised immigration enforcement will be a centerpiece of his approach to criminal justice, and the next director will be under pressure to speed up deportations and clear the immigration case backlog, currently at nearly 586,000 cases, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University.

Jeremy McKinney, a liaison to the office for the American Immigration Lawyer’s Association, said Osuna oversaw the courts during a difficult period. “He was dealing with very limited resources,” McKinney said. The next director will have more, if the Trump administration gets its way. The White House budget proposal released this week called for the hiring of an additional 75 immigration judges and roughly 375 support personnel.

DEMOCRATS MAKE MINIMUM WAGE PLEDGE…: First 100 days? Old hat. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that Democrats would take up a measure to raise the minimum wage within the first 100 hours after they regain the majority, assuming they win it back in next year’s election. (That’s a pretty big if.) Pelosi made the pledge alongside a handful of other Democratic lawmakers and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) as they announced legislation to raise the hourly minimum wage to $15, up from the current $7.25, by 2024.

Democrats are making the pledge part of their campaign strategy for 2018. But even if they fulfill it, don’t hold your breath for it to be signed into law so long as Trump is in the White House. Even many Democrats, Hillary Clinton included, favored an increase only to $12 as recently as last year. Trump proposed an increase to $10 during the campaign, but only after previously suggesting no increase (and even calling into question whether the federal government should set an hourly minimum at all). Trump hasn’t touted the $10 proposal since, and he seems unlikely to. POLITICO’s Elana Schor writes that the Democrats’ embrace of $15 demonstrates the influence that Sanders and the left wing of the Democratic party now wield. More here.

… AND REPUBLICANS FIGHT BACK: Also on Thursday, Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) and half a dozen other Republicans re-introduced legislation to overhaul the National Labor Relations Act to weaken unions’ influence. The so-called Employee Rights Act would allow union members and nonmembers alike to withhold that portion of dues or fees that supports political activities by a union that bargains collectively on their behalf. The bill would also require union locals to conduct a recertification election every year; forbid union leaders from calling a strike without a vote of their members; and criminalize coercion by union leadership (though the violent threats that provision is aimed at are already covered by existing laws). “The rights of American workers were under attack during the Obama presidency,” Roe said in a written statement, “and it is time to restore those rights and work to foster a pro-growth, pro-employee environment.”

Republicans introduced similar legislation three times while President Barack Obama was in office, Sean Sullivan writes in the Washington Examiner. But it isn’t clear that Trump, who has tried to cast himself as a friend to unions, would support the bill. During the election, Trump’s campaign resisted efforts to be pinned down. More here.

DURING SCHOOL HOURS? A Louisiana charter school, International High School of New Orleans, needs to make a dozen modifications to its employee handbook to comply with federal labor laws – including axing a policy that prohibits teachers from using social media during school hours. An administrative law judge ruled Wednesday that the policy runs afoul the National Labor Relations Act. The judge also took issue with a policy that prohibits teachers from using school computers to access social media websites, and another that prohibits teachers from conducting personal business during school hours. The ruling touches on two issues of contention between charter school advocates and unions: whether unions belong in charter schools, and whether charter schools are sufficiently “private” to fall under the jurisdiction of federal labor law. Read the ruling here.

A CASE AGAINST PLAs: Ohio schools built under government-mandated project labor agreements cost 13.12 percent more than schools that were built through competitive bidding, according to a new study by Beacon Hill Institute commissioned by the Associated Builders and Contractors. The study, which looked at schools built since 2000, calculated that PLA constructions cost $23.12 more per square foot than their non-PLA counterparts. Read the study here.

HOGAN TO VETO PAID LEAVE BILL: Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan will veto a paid leave bill that would have given workers in that state five days’ annual paid sick leave. The bill covered all employers of at least 15 workers, but the Republican governor, who proposed addressing paid sick leave with incentives for employers, called it “simply very bad policy.” Hogan said he plans to issue a series of executive orders relating to paid sick leave, including the creation of task force to study the issue. He also plans to mandate paid sick leave for contract employees of the state’s executive branch. Democrat lawmakers will try to override the veto. More from the Baltimore Sun here.

UNIONS SUE TO BLOCK KENTUCKY RIGHT TO WORK LAW: “Organized labor struck back Thursday against Kentucky’s right-to-work law, filing a lawsuit that claims the ban on mandatory union fees in workplaces violates the state’s Constitution,” the Associated Press reports. “The Kentucky State AFL-CIO and Teamsters Local 89 filed the suit, which asks a judge to temporarily block the right-to-work law while the suit proceeds. The labor groups said the law should be struck down for violating numerous sections of the Kentucky Constitution.” More here.

INDY MAY HOLD OFF ON MINIMUM WAGE HIKE: “Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett is urging the City-County Council to hold off on setting a $13-an-hour minimum wage for staff while his office works to eliminate the city’s structural deficit,” James Briggs writes for the Indy Star. “Hogsett on Wednesday said he does not support immediate passage of Proposal 92, which would raise wages for 365 city and county workers who earn between $9.13 per hour and $12.98 per hour.” More here.

ICE ARRESTS NEARLY 200 IN LA: ICE is touting the arrests of 188 undocumented immigrants in the Los Angeles area during a five-day “expanded enforcement” operation that captured a “convicted rapist and a previously deported cocaine trafficker,” ICE said in a written statement Thursday. In addition to identifying where each arrest took place, the ICE statement identified the types of previous criminal convictions and each person’s country of origin.

“Since President Trump signed the Executive Orders regarding immigration enforcement priorities,” ICE said, “ICE has arrested more than 41,000 individuals nationwide who are either known or suspected of being in the country illegally, a nearly 40 percent increase over the same period in 2016.”

COFFEE BREAK:

– “Restaurant: ICE Agents Ate Breakfast Then Detained Employees,” from The Daily Beast

– “Bice: Sheriff Clarke directed staff to hassle plane passenger after brief exchange,” from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

– “Appeal says ruling that vindicated San Diego pension reform could create statewide problems,” from the San Diego Union-Tribune

– “Labor union calls on Harley-Davidson to abandon plan to build overseas plant,” from the Milwaukee Business Journal.

– “Elgin to opt out of Cook County minimum wage, sick leave requirements,” from The Chicago Tribune.

– “Editorial: Don’t tinker with teacher pensions,” from The Detroit Free Press

– “Mass. House Lawmakers Postpone Vote On Bill Aimed At Countering Trump’s Immigration Crackdown,” from WBUR

THAT’S ALL FOR MORNING SHIFT.

To view online:
http://www.politico.com/tipsheets/morning-shift/2017/05/26/us-visas-down-for-muslim-majority-countries-220535

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Thanks to the always wonderful Bianca Padró Ocasio for sending this item my way!

In my experience, it’s somewhat unusual for the top two career Senior Executives in an agency to depart simultaneously unless they are headed to the same place, which does not appear to be the case here. It’s also somewhat remarkable in light of both Osuna’s and Kocar’s fairly lengthy and very distinguished service to EOIR and the DOJ (Osuna was a Member, Vice Chair, and Chair at the BIA, and a Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Division, prior to becoming Director) that no official press release on the departures has been issued, and that both EOIR and DOJ refuse to comment. Usually, even when civil servants are effectively “forced out,” the Department gives them a “pat on the back” and “thanks for the service.”

Some have speculated that with AG Sessions’s overriding interest in immigration enforcement, EOIR will be more “directly controlled” by either the Deputy Attorney General or assistants to the Attorney General in the future. Another possibility is that Sessions will appoint a trusted member of his staff to serve as Director. My recollection is that while the Director is not a Presidentially appointed position, it can be filled by either a career or a non-career (i.e., political) SES appointment.

Stay tuned!

Have a great Memorial Day holiday.

PWS

05-26-17


POLITICO: Despite Mis-Steps & Bombast, Trump’s Immigration Enforcement Policies Are Having An Impact!

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/04/28/trump-immigration-crackdown-237719?lo=ap_c1

and  write in HuffPost:

“President Donald Trump has systematically engineered a major crackdown on immigration during his first 100 days in office — even as courts reject his executive orders and Congress nears a spending deal that will deny him funding for a wall along the southern border.

The number of arrests on the U.S.-Mexico border plummeted in March to the lowest level in 17 years — a strong suggestion that Trump’s anti-immigration rhetoric is scaring away foreigners who might otherwise try to enter the United States illegally. In addition, part of a lesser-known executive order that Trump signed in January gave federal immigration agents broad leeway to arrest virtually any undocumented immigrant they encounter.

Granted, Trump’s splashiest immigration promises — the border wall and two successive bans on immigrants from various majority-Muslim nations — have been stymied by Congress and the courts. And Tuesday, Trump received another setback when a district court judge blocked a directive denying federal funding to so-called sanctuary cities that refuse to help enforce federal immigration laws.

But the president has nonetheless reshaped the nation’s immigration policy substantially.

“Even without putting down one single brick,” said Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a group that favors lower immigration levels, “Trump has dramatically altered the flow across the southern border.”

Businesses that use foreign workers, worried they’ll get singled out by federal agents during a visa review, are starting to explore the possibility of recruiting domestic labor. Trump’s enforcement policies are affecting higher education, too, with early signs suggesting foreign students are less likely to apply to U.S. colleges and universities. Nearly 40 percent of colleges and universities surveyed by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers reported a decline in international applications, and almost 80 percent said they fielded particular concerns from students in the Middle East. International students are, among other things, an important source of revenue for colleges, since typically they pay sticker price on tuition and fees.

To longtime advocates for undocumented immigrants, the change is less about numbers than about who’s being targeted.

The interior enforcement executive order that Trump signed during his first week in office dumped the Obama administration’s practice of prioritizing the arrests of serious criminals — a policy that allowed low-level immigration offenders to fly below the radar.

“The agents that I’ve talked to over the past few months have said that they feel that they can go out and enforce the law again, whereas they had many limitations on them over the past eight years,” said John Torres, chief operating officer at the consulting firm Guidepost Solutions and acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement during the George W. Bush administration. “If they encounter someone who is out of status, even though they are not targeting that person, they can now take them into custody.”

Early numbers reflect that shift. ICE arrested 21,362 immigrants from January through mid-March, a 32 percent increase over the same period last year. That tally included 5,441 non-criminals, double the number arrested a year earlier.

Trump, Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have all argued that the administration will target serious criminals first. But a steady stream of reports have shown otherwise.

An Ohio woman with four U.S. citizen children was recently deported to Mexico, despite the fact that she had been in the U.S. for 15 years and had no criminal record. Earlier this month, an Indiana restaurant owner with three U.S. citizen children, a two-decade history in the country, and no criminal record also was removed to Mexico.

“What’s really interesting here is how much of the difference seems to be rhetorical,” said Cecilia Muñoz, who was domestic policy director to formerPresident Barack Obama. “By talking tough, they have unleashed officers who now feel like they can do whatever they want.”

The threat of deportation even hangs over Dreamers in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. That initiative, enacted by Obama in 2012, allows undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. at a young age to apply for deportation relief and work permits.

More than 770,000 people are covered under DACA, which Trump threatened to kill during the campaign. Since taking office, he’s backed off on that pledge — yet infuriated immigration advocates say the administration’s enforcement tactics show Dreamers are in no way safe from deportation.

Earlier this month, Juan Manuel Montes, a DACA recipient who had lived in California, filed a lawsuit that claimed he was deported to Mexico despite his DACA status, the first known removal of its kind under the new administration. The facts of the case remain in dispute — DHS maintains that it has no record of the deportation in question and insists Montes left the U.S. without permission, which would invalidate his DACA protections.

Democrats say Trump’s reluctance to rescind the Obama-era initiative has been a rare silver lining to the new administration’s immigration policy. Still, they are by no means assured, pointing to the ramped-up enforcement by immigration agents across the nation.

“It fails to dispel the fear,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, noting the Montes deportation. “There’s just a variety of ways where the fear can be paralyzing and so insidious. So to have some clear, unambiguous system is so important, and it has been so lacking.”

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Read the full report over on Politico. This analysis, along with others I have posted, suggests that trump is “winning” the immigration war notwithstanding a string of “defeats” in the lower Federal Courts on “signature” immigration issues like the “travel ban” and “sanctions on sanctuary cities.”

 

PWS

04-29-17

 

Trump “Channels A.R.” — Tells “Dreamers” To R-E-L-A-X, Nothing Bad Is Going To Happen — But, Should They Believe Him? — Sessions Has A Different Message: Nobody Is Protected!

https://apnews.com/85c427bf25c747ce85d837caccd90648

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.”

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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.”

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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.
Stay tuned!
PWS
04-22-17