Alanna Durkin Richer Reports for AP:
“Sessions, a Republican, said gangs are exploiting a program for unaccompanied minors found crossing the southern border by sending members over as ‘‘wolves in sheep clothing’’ and recruiting in communities.
Gregory Chen, director of government relations for the American Immigration Lawyers Association, called that assertion ‘‘truly baseless.’’ The program aids children fleeing violence in their home countries, he said.
‘‘He’s trying to inflame public opinion against this highly vulnerable population,’’ Chen said.
A few dozen protesters carrying signs with phrases such as #NotWelcome gathered outside the courthouse before Sessions’ speech to condemn his views on immigration and law enforcement.”
Read the full report of Sessions’s speech to law enforcement officials in Boston at the link.
Sessions is well-known for his alarmist, inflammatory rhetoric on immigration and his “fact-challenged” claims. While undoubtedly some gang members do come into the United States as so-called “unaccompanied minors,” I have seen no hard evidence on the extent of this problem.
Former U.S. Immigration Officer and refugee processor Natasha Hall writes in the Washington Post:
“This is what President Trump’s recent executive order has done. The order bans entry for citizens of seven countries for 90 days, suspends all refugee admissions for 120 days, halves the total number of refugees allowed into the United States this year and bars refugees from Syria indefinitely. It demands “a uniform screening standard and procedure,” “questions aimed at identifying fraudulent answers and malicious intent,” “a mechanism to ensure that the applicant is who the applicant claims to be” and “a mechanism to assess whether or not the applicant has the intent to commit criminal or terrorist acts.”
Whoever wrote this order is evidently not aware that these screenings, procedures and questions already exist.
During nearly four years as an immigration officer, I conducted in-person interviews with hundreds of refugees of 20 different nationalities in 10 countries. I saw countless refugees break down crying in my interview room because of the length and severity of the vetting process. From that experience and numerous security briefings, it’s clear that the authors of Trump’s order are unfamiliar with the U.S. immigration system, U.S. laws, international law and the security threats facing our nation. I can’t speak for all refugee and asylum officers, but I can say that those who have been working in immigration for years from opposite ends of the political spectrum are appalled by these new policies.”
The current ruckus over “vetting” has led to many folks failing to appreciate the outstanding job that the much-maligned DHS, the State Department, The FBI, our NGO partners, U.S. Intelligence Agencies, and the Obama Administration, working together, did in keeping our country safe from foreign terrorist attacks.