INTERNATIONAL RESCUE COMMITTEE: US ADMINISTRATION OF SHAME: “A year of unwelcome How the Trump administration has sabotaged America’s welcome in 2017”

https://www.rescue.org/article/how-trump-administration-has-sabotaged-americas-welcome-2017

“Since President Donald Trump took office on Jan. 20, his administration has repeatedly implemented policies that pull the welcome mat from under the feet of refugees and immigrants seeking safety in the United States. The latest directive, announced in late October, institutes new vetting measures for refugees from 11 countries, effectively extending the travel ban that recently expired.

These developments are unbefitting America’s history as a safe haven for refugees. Democratic and Republican presidents alike have ensured that the United States supports refugees who seek liberty and reject ideologies opposed to American values.
U.S. leadership is needed now more than ever, when tens of millions across the globe face life-threatening situations. Yet the Trump administration continues to issue anti-immigrant and anti-refugee policies that endanger innocent people fleeing persecution and, inherently, weaken America’s reputation both at home and abroad.
Here is a timeline of the Trump administration’s immigrant policies during its first nine months.
Travel ban
By the numbers
President Trump is pulling back America’s welcome mat at a time of unprecedented global need. This year:
65 million
people worldwide are currently uprooted by crisis

More people have been forced to flee their homes by conflict and crisis than at any time since World War II.

Learn more about refugees
During his first week in office, President Trump instituted a travel ban that suspended the U.S. refugee resettlement program for 120 days and barred Syrian refugees from entry to the U.S. indefinitely. It also indiscriminately excluded any travel from six other countries—Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen—for 90 days.
Opponents of the travel ban challenged the directive in the courts. The Administration drafted a second travel ban as replacement: It allowed travelers who hold green cards entry the U.S.; removed Iraq from the list of restricted countries; and struck down the indefinite ban on Syrian refugees.
Even with this second ban, an eventual Supreme Court ruling required the administration to rewrite its travel guidelines over the summer, stipulating that people who have a “credible claim of bona fide relationship” with a person living in the U.S. can enter the country. The new guidelines, however, raised more questions than answers. For example, “bona fide relationships” didn’t include grandparents or resettlement agencies until advocates further challenged the protocols. Meanwhile, thousands of vulnerable refugees who were not already on flights to the U.S. were left stranded.
“The human toll on families who have patiently waited their turn, done the vetting, given up jobs and prepared to travel is wrong,” said David Miliband, president of the International Rescue Committee (IRC), in a July 13 statement. “After decades of leading with its gold standard resettlement program, this defective policy shifts the goal posts and sees America turn its back on—and break its promise to—the world’s most vulnerable.”
The Supreme Court scheduled hearings on the legality of the travel ban, but the expiration date for the directive rendering the case moot.
End of protections for Central American refugee children
On Aug. 16, the Trump administration ended the automatic parole option for children in the CAM program (formally called the Central American Minors Refugee and Parole program). Since December 2014, the CAM program has helped reunite children fleeing gang violence in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador with parents already in the U.S.
Many of these children avoided a perilous journey in order to reunite with parents and relatives—who are lawfully in the U.S.—and begin their new lives with refugee status protected under U.S. and international laws, notes Jennifer Sime, senior vice president of United States Programs at the IRC. “These children are no longer separated from their parents due to conflict and unrest, and are able to attend school and have a childhood free from violence.”
Terminating this lifesaving program, as this administration has done, is brutally tearing families apart—and in many cases, endangering children.
End of the “Dreamers” program
By the numbers
President Trump is pulling back America’s welcome mat at a time of unprecedented global need. This year:
45,000
is the record-low U.S. limit on refugee admissions

That number is less than half the refugee admissions cap set by President Obama last year.

Why the U.S. should accept more refugees
On Sept. 5, Trump ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) program, which created a fair and necessary safeguard for hundreds of thousands of young people—commonly known as Dreamers—brought to the U.S. as children.
This decision puts nearly 800,000 young people at risk of deportation from the only country they have ever known. It will have a painful and lasting impact on their lives, the fortunes of their employers, and the wellbeing of their communities.
“The devastating decision to discontinue DACA … unnecessarily tears families apart,” says Hans van de Weerd, vice president of United States Programs at the IRC. “To take away the promised protection of DACA without an alternative, from those who courageously came out of the shadows to apply to the program, bolster our economy and enrich our communities, is simply inhumane.”

Historically low refugee cap
On Sept. 27, the Trump administration announced that it would cap at 45,000 the number of refugees granted admission to the U.S. in Fiscal Year 2018. This number is a historic low—the annual cap on average has exceeded 95,000 since 1980—and comes at a time when more people are uprooted by war and crisis than ever before.
“This administration’s decision to halve the number of refugees admitted to America is a double-blow—to victims of war ready to start a new life, and to America’s reputation as a beacon of hope in the world,” says Miliband. “When America cuts its numbers, the danger is that it sets the stage for other nations to follow suit, a tragic and contagious example of moral failure.”
New vetting procedures
By the numbers
President Trump is pulling back America’s welcome mat at a time of unprecedented global need. This year:
15,000
refugees are actually likely to be admitted to the U.S., based on IRC projections

Vulnerable refugees are being harmed by bureaucratic red tape that won’t make Americans safer.

Why the existing vetting process already works
The travel ban officially expired on Oct. 24, but the Trump administration substituted the directive with a round of new vetting procedures for refugees entering the U.S. All refugees will now need to provide addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and other details – over the past decade – for themselves and, potentially, their extended family members.
Further measures essentially allow Trump to extend the ban for 90 days for refugees from 11 countries.
“This will add months, or potentially years, to the most urgent cases, the majority of which are women and children in heinous circumstances,” says Sime. “With a world facing brutal and protracted conflicts like in Syria, or new levels of displacement and unimaginable violence against the Rohingya, this moment is a test of the world’s humanity, moral leadership, and ability to learn from the horrors of the past.”
Stand with refugees

We need your help to fight back and remind Congress that the Trump administration’s refugee policies DO NOT represent American values.”

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More for Fat Cats, corporations, and the Trump Family Enterprises. Less for the needy and vulnerable. Eventually, there will be a reckoning for selfish, “me first,” policies of greed and disregard for the rights and humanity of others. I read it in a book.

PWS

12-02-17

 

 

 

3RD CIR FINDS BIA ERRED IN CLASSIFYING BANGLADESH BNP AS “LEVEL III TERRORIST ORGANIZATION” — DECRIES BIA PANEL INCONSISTENCIES, LACK OF ACCESS TO UNPUBLISHED DECISIONS — Uddin v. Attorney General

171056p-Uddin

Uddin v. Attorney General, 3rd Cir., Sept. 6, 2017

BEFORE: GREENAWAY, JR., SHWARTZ, and RENDELL, Circuit Judges

OPINION BY: Judge Rendell

KEY QUOTE:

“While we will deny the petition for review challenging the Board’s ruling dismissing Uddin’s Convention Against Torture (“CAT”) claim, we will grant the petition in part and remand on his withholding of removal claim. The Board has pointed to terrorist acts by BNP members. But it did not find that BNP leadership authorized any of the terrorist activity committed by party members. Today, we join the reasoning of the Seventh Circuit and the Board in many of its own opinions by holding as follows: unless the agency finds that party leaders authorized terrorist activity committed by its members, an entity such as the BNP cannot be deemed a Tier III terrorist organization.

. . . .

Second, the rule we announce mirrors the Board’s own reasoning in the mine-run of its cases involving the BNP’s status as a Tier III organization. In fact, in some cases where IJs did not make a finding as to BNP leaders’ authorization of allegedly terrorist acts, the Board found error in the IJs’ omissions, and remanded to the IJs to take up that very question of authorization. In such cases, the Board bolstered

used the RAB to conduct numerous extra-judicial killings of BNP members. Thus, for purposes of the BNP’s status as a terrorist organization, the RAB’s conduct cannot be ascribed to that group during the time period relevant to Uddin’s case.

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its reasoning by referencing Seventh Circuit opinions suggesting that some finding on authorization is necessary to assign a group Tier III status. See Khan v. Holder, 766 F.3d 689, 699 (7th Cir. 2014) (“An entire organization does not automatically become a terrorist organization just because some members of the group commit terrorist acts. The question is one of authorization.”); Hussain v. Mukasey, 518 F.3d 534, 538 (7th Cir. 2008) (“An organization is not a terrorist organization just because one of its members commits an act of armed violence without direct or indirect authorization . . . .”).

. . . .

Further, today’s ruling should help provide the Board a principled method of adjudicating Tier III cases, an area of law with little guidance from the Courts of Appeals. This dearth of precedential opinions has resulted in highly inconsistent results regarding the BNP’s status as a terrorist organization: our preliminary research in preparation for oral argument turned up several Board rulings concluding that the BNP was not in fact a terrorist organization. These conclusions were in stark contrast to the Board’s finding in Uddin’s case.

Faced with these contradictory opinions, in advance of oral argument we asked the Government to submit all Board opinions from 2015-2017 addressing the terrorism bar as it applies to the BNP. (Those opinions are not all publicly available.) The Government’s submission—fifty-four opinions in total—did not bolster our confidence in the Board’s adjudication of these cases.

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In six of the opinions, the Board agreed with the IJ that the BNP qualified as a terrorist organization based on the record in that case. But in at least ten, the Board concluded that the BNP was not a terrorist organization. In at least five cases, the Government did not challenge the IJ’s determination that the BNP is not a terrorist organization. And in one case, the Board reversed its own prior determination, finding that that “the Board’s last decision incorrectly affirmed the Immigration Judge’s finding that the BNP is a Tier III terrorist organization.” Many of the cases discussed the BNP’s terrorist status during the same time periods, reaching radically different results.

We recognize that the Board’s decisions are unpublished, and thus lack precedential value. We also note the Government’s argument that the BNP’s status as an undesignated terrorist organization is a “case-specific” determination based on the facts presented. That said, something is amiss where, time and time again, the Board finds the BNP is a terrorist organization one day, and reaches the exact opposite conclusion the next.

Even more concerning, the IJ in this case stated that he was “aware of no BIA or circuit court decision to date which has considered whether the BNP constitutes a terrorist organization.” AR 68. At the time the IJ ruled, there were several such decisions, and now there are dozens. When asked at oral argument whether the IJ could access unpublished Board decisions regarding BNP’s terrorist status, the Government’s Attorney responded that he did not know. This is a troubling state of affairs.”

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Gee whiz, the Article III’s are finally starting to figure out some of the problems with having a supposedly due-process focused Appellate Court resident in an agency of the U.S. Department of Justice. And the quality and consistency of administrative justice in immigration is hardly likely to improve under the Sessions “just peddle faster and deport more folks while we mindlessly fill the system with DACA immigrants” program.

The Third Circuit arguably now knows more about what the BIA is doing in this area than then BIA itself. And, I can guarantee that they know more than Jeff Sessions or anyone at the DOJ.

Oh yeah, and hiring more Immigration Judges, giving them less training, moving them around for enforcement purposes, and giving them less time to turn out quality decisions isn’t likely to improve this “troubling state of affairs.” Moreover, by failing to provide and enforce uniform guidance, the BIA encourages the DHS to abuse the system by “rolling the dice” on cases (like this one) they clearly should lose, but could win, at the Immigration Court, rather than being required to settle cases and exercise prosecutorial discretion in the way almost all other prosecutors do, on every level of the U.S. system except the Immigration Court. What Sessions disingenuously calls “enforcing the rule of law” is actually, in the words of Jason Dzubow, a “mixture of cruelty and incompetence” (with some just plain old stupidity thrown in).

The only thing that will improve the quality of justice in the U.S. Immigration Court system is to get it out of the Executive Branch and into an independent structure forthwith. Otherwise, the Article III’s are going to find themselves between a rock an a hard place: rubber stamp the BIA’s questionable work product or take over the BIA’s function and insist that constitutional due process be satisfied.

PWS

09-07-17