CNN’S TAL KOPAN: The Good Guys Take The Field — File Suit To Protect Dreamers!

http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/06/politics/daca-trump-states-lawsuits/index.html

Tal reports:

“Washington (CNN)Conservative states may have boxed President Donald Trump into announcing an end for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — but Democratic state attorneys general are already fighting back.

A coalition of 16 Democratic and nonpartisan state attorneys general filed suit in New York federal court on Wednesday to stop Trump’s sunset of DACA — the Obama-era program that protected young undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children from being deported — and they say Trump’s comments about Mexicans should be used against him.
The groups laid out five different constitutional arguments against Trump’s move, saying it was motivated by discriminatory reasons, that it violated due process by being “fundamentally unfair,” and that it violated laws that dictate procedures for federal regulations.
The lawyers note that most DACA recipients are of Mexican origin and devote a whole section to inflammatory statements Trump has made about Mexicans, including his attacks on a federal judge of Mexican descent.
“As President Trump’s statements about Mexico and those with Mexican roots show, the President has demonstrated a willingness to disparage Mexicans in a misguided attempt to secure support from his constituency, even when such impulses are impermissible motives for directing governmental policy,” the attorneys general wrote.
Trump’s statements as a candidate and President have been used against him in previous lawsuits, most notably challenges against his travel ban earlier this year.
The lawsuit also devotes a section to Texas, the state that pushed Trump to end the program, using a section to describe Texas as “a state found to have discriminated against Latinos/Hispanics nine times since 2012.”

Trump on Tuesday moved to sunset the DACA program, acting in response to a threat from 10 states led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sent in late June, threatening Trump that they’d sue in an unfriendly court if the President didn’t end the program by September 5.
The President said his administration would not accept any new DACA applications from Tuesday onward and that any two-year DACA permits expiring after March 5, 2018, would not be renewed.
Now, those state officials’ Democratic counterparts are hoping they can have the opposite effect on the administration, succeeding in the courts to reinstate the program that has protected nearly 800,000 young people in its time and currently has nearly 700,000 people enrolled.
“Immigration is the lifeblood of New York State,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement. “The Trump administration’s decision to end DACA is cruel, inhumane, and devastating to the 42,000 New Yorkers who have been able to come out of the shadows and live a full life as a result of the program.”
“I filed suit against President Trump and his administration to protect DACA because Dreamers are just as American as first lady Melania Trump,” New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas said in a statement.

Justice Department spokesman Devin O’Malley said the department is ready to defend itself.
“As the attorney general said yesterday: ‘No greater good can be done for the overall health and well-being of our Republic, than preserving and strengthening the impartial rule of law,'” O’Malley said. “While the plaintiffs in today’s lawsuits may believe that an arbitrary circumvention of Congress is lawful, the Department of Justice looks forward to defending this administration’s position.”

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Read Tal’s complete article at the link.

I agree with Steve Yale-Loehr and other experts that Federal Courts (other, of course, than Judge Hanen in Texas) usually are reluctant to get into the area of prosecutorial discretion (“PD”). During my “Legacy INS” days, we successfully fended off numerous attempts to judicially review PD.

There were two areas, however, where we sometimes got “pushback” from Federal Judges. One involved claims of systematic racial, political, or nationality bias in PD decisions. The other involved claims that the Government had promised foreign nationals PD as an inducement for testimony or evidence in connection with criminal investigations.

Both of these appear to be implicated here. Indeed, Sessions’s anti-immigrant, anti-Latino rant from yesterday, replete with demonstrable misrepresentations and unfounded innuendo, should be a “treasure trove” for plaintiffs.

Additionally, as I pointed out in a blog from earlier this week, some Federal Judges are already on record as finding unfairness in the DHS practice of soliciting applications for humanitarian relief and then using the application information as proof of removability. The overwhelming majority of DACA applicants were not in enforcement proceedings. The came forward to USCIS voluntarily in response to a Government campaign urging them to apply and promising that application information would not be used against them.

In the past, the racially charged bombastic statements of Trump and his minions have been very useful to plaintiffs in making out a case of invidious motivation.

Finally, the claim that the Sessions DOJ is interested in  preserving and strengthening the rule of law might well provoke laughter in the courtroom. And, Sessions won’t be able to prosecute Federal Judges for reacting to his disingenuous claims the same way he can threaten his activist critics. Indeed, I can only hope that the Federal Judge assigned to this case is astute enough to note that such a ridiculous claim is being made in behalf of a President who consistently disrespects the Federal Judiciary and whose sole act of  clemency to date has been to pardon the notorious racist scofflaw “Sheriff Joe” who was held in  contempt of Federal Court. “Rule of law” indeed!

PWS

09-06-17

 

 

 

 

TAL KOPAN & JIM ACOSTA ON CNN: Speaker Ryan Says Trump Should Delay DACA Decision While Congress Works On Extension! — Also, Top Seattle Execs Urge Trump To Keep DACA

http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/01/politics/paul-ryan-daca-trump-immigration/index.html

Tal & Jim write:

“(CNN)House Speaker Paul Ryan on Friday gave a major boost to legislative efforts to preserve protections for young undocumented immigrants — and urged President Donald Trump to not tear up the program.

Trump told reporters Friday he was still mulling the decision.
Responding to a question about Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, on his hometown radio station WCLO in Janesville, Wisconsin, Ryan said Congress was working on a legislative fix to preserve the program.
“I actually don’t think he should do that,” Ryan said of Trump’s consideration of terminating the program. “I believe that this is something that Congress has to fix.”
'Dreamers' anxious as Trump DACA decision looms
‘Dreamers’ anxious as Trump DACA decision looms
Ryan’s statement offers the most public support by anyone in the Republican congressional leadership for some sort of legislation to protect the “Dreamers” under DACA.
The popular Obama administration program — which gives protections from deportation to undocumented immigrants that were brought to the US as children to work or study — has long been targeted by Republicans as an overreach of executive authority.
Nevertheless, a number of moderate Republicans alongside Democrats support the program and have offered legislation that would make the protections permanent.

. . . .

The popular Obama administration program — which gives protections from deportation to undocumented immigrants that were brought to the US as children to work or study — has long been targeted by Republicans as an overreach of executive authority.
Nevertheless, a number of moderate Republicans alongside Democrats support the program and have offered legislation that would make the protections permanent.
Ryan, who worked on comprehensive immigration reform before he became part of House leadership, endorsed that approach in the interview.
“President (Barack) Obama does not have the authority to do what he did … we’ve made that very clear,” Ryan said in the radio interview. “Having said all of that, there are people who are in limbo. These are kids who know no other country, who were brought here by their parents and don’t know another home. And so I really do believe there that there needs to be a legislative solution.”
Trump’s decision
Asked whether he’s made a decision on DACA, Trump said: “Sometime today, maybe over the weekend.”
“We love the Dreamers,” he said.
The Trump administration has been discussing for weeks what to do about DACA, responding to the deadline on an ultimatum issued by 10 state attorneys general, led by Texas. The threat: Sunset DACA by September 5 or the states will try to end it in court.
Discussions have heated up this week as officials have met to chart a path forward. While a decision had been possible Friday, and one source familiar had believed a decision was pending Friday morning, by midday, sources familiar with the deliberations did not expect a decision before the weekend.
Parts of the Department of Homeland Security, which administers DACA, have been told to prepare for a decision but have not been given any potential details of what a decision may be.
White House discussing whether DACA deadline can be moved
White House discussing whether DACA deadline can be moved
Sources inside and outside the administration said the White House continues to explore buying itself time and is also considering allowing the attorneys general to proceed with their threat.
That course of action could potentially remove pressure from the White House, where the President has promised to act with “heart” on the matter and give Congress time to pass a legislative fix, and one source said it was under consideration.
Any action by the President to sunset DACA would put immediate pressure on Congress to act, something the White House and a senior congressional source recognize would be a challenge with many other pressing priorities at the moment, from Harvey relief to the debt ceiling to government spending. A go-slow approach on DACA is preferred, the congressional source added.
Big congressional boost
Ryan has long been sympathetic to the plight of Dreamers. At a CNN town hall at the beginning of the year, Ryan was asked by a young woman protected under DACA whether he wanted her deported. He said he was working with the Trump administration and seeking a “humane solution.”
“What we have to do is find a way to ensure that you can get right with the law,” the speaker told the young woman.
But until now, leadership has not helped the push by moderate Republicans to advance legislation to do so. Four different options have been introduced in Congress, including two bipartisan solutions led by Sens. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, and Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat. Another proposal from Florida Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo has entirely Republican support and is expected to be introduced in a similar form in the Senate by North Carolina Republican Thom Tillis.
In addition to Ryan’s endorsement, another conservative boost on Friday came from Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, a staunch conservative who has in the past supported immigration reform.
“I’ve urged the President not to rescind DACA, an action that would further complicate a system in serious need of a permanent, legislative solution,” Hatch said in a statement. “Like the President, I’ve long advocated for tougher enforcement of our existing immigration laws. But we also need a workable, permanent solution for individuals who entered our country unlawfully as children through no fault of their own and who have built their lives here. And that solution must come from Congress.”
Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman, a moderate Republican, announced on Thursday he would try to force a vote on one of the bipartisan bills when Congress returns next week through what’s known as a discharge petition, which would require a majority of House members to sign on to work. The speaker’s office had no comment on that effort.”

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Additionally, as reported in the Seattle Times, the CEOs of Microsoft, Amazon, and Starbucks have added their voices of support for Dreamers:

“The leaders of Amazon, Microsoft and Starbucks joined other corporate executives in asking President Donald Trump to keep in place a program that shields from deportation young people who came to the U.S. illegally as children.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which protects about 800,000 “Dreamers,” is said to be a target for repeal as Republican attorneys general threaten to sue to push the Trump administration to carry out the president’s hard-line pledges on immigration.

 

Supporters of the program, including Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, came to its defense this week, urging the White House to keep DACA intact. Those ranks swelled with hundreds of corporate executives, lawyers and other organizations who made largely economic arguments in a separate open letter.

“Dreamers are vital to the future of our companies and our economy,” the letter said. Signatories include Amazon.com chief executive Jeff Bezos, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, and Starbucks boss Kevin Johnson.”

http://www.seattletimes.com/business/microsoft-amazon-starbucks-leaders-voice-support-for-dreamers/?utm_source=referral&utm_medium=mobile-app&utm_campaign=ios

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Read Tal’s complete article at the link.

A legislative solution seems to be in everyone’s best interests here!  Let’s hope it will happen.

PWS

O9-01-17

Six Compelling Stories Of How Refugees ARE America That You Should Read!

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/trump-america-refugees-immigrants-seattle-pacific-northwest/?utm_source=The+Seattle+Times&utm_campaign=893d2c55f3-Morning_Brief_05_19_2017&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_5beb38b61e-893d2c55f3-12276787

Daniel Beekman writes in the Seattle Times:

“The United Nations defines a refugee as someone forced to flee his or her country because of persecution, war or violence.

He or she has a well-founded fear of being targeted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group.
A refugee can be an adult or a child.

Julie Wong was 10.

“It couldn’t have been longer than a football field from where we were hiding to that ship, but I remember what I saw along the way,” Wong said of the night she left the Vietnamese city Danang in 1975.

“We had to step over dead bodies. Bicycles. Suitcases. People’s lives strewn all around.”

Wong is 52 and lives with her husband in Sammamish. Their sons play football. She works for a pharmaceutical company as an oncology diagnostic consultant.

She cried when she talked about Danang being shelled and the refugee camp near San Diego where she took English classes.

She doesn’t usually talk about those things. Most people never ask, and she doesn’t feel the need to tell. She leads a busy life as a proud American.

But when Wong sees Syrian refugees on the news, running for their lives, she’s reminded of her own story.”

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Read about Wong and five other Americans from refugee backgrounds at the link’

PWS

05-19-17

 

 

U.S. Judge Stiffs DOJ, Enters Consent Decree In Baltimore Police Case — Sessions Remains Skeptical!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/e8184a66-1c21-11e7-8598-9a99da559f9e_story.html?utm_term=.4b449e499221

Juliet Linderman (AP) reports in the Washington Post:

“BALTIMORE — A federal judge has approved an agreement negotiated under the Obama administration to overhaul the troubled Baltimore police force, sweeping aside objections from the Trump Justice Department.

President Donald Trump’s attorney general, Jeff Sessions, promptly warned that the agreement may result in “a less safe city.”

U.S. District Judge James Bredar signed the so-called consent decree Friday, a day after a hearing to solicit comments from Baltimore residents, calling the plan “comprehensive, detailed and precise.”

He denied a request to delay the signing to give the Trump administration more time to review the agreement. At Thursday’s hearing, a Justice Department attorney expressed “grave concerns” about the plan, aimed at rooting out racist practices.

The consent decree was negotiated during the closing days of the Obama administration after a federal investigation found rampant abuse by Baltimore police, including unlawful stops and use of excessive force against black people.

The investigation was prompted by the 2015 death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man whose neck was broken during a lurching ride in the back of a police van, where he had been left unbuckled, his hands and legs shackled. Gray’s death touched off the worst rioting in Baltimore in decades.

In a memo made public earlier this week, the Trump Justice Department signaled that it may retreat from the consent decrees that have been put in place in recent years in such cities as Cleveland; Ferguson, Missouri; Miami; and Newark, New Jersey.

Sessions said in a statement Friday that the Baltimore agreement shows “clear departures from many proven principles of good policing that we fear will result in more crime.”

“The decree was negotiated during a rushed process by the previous administration and signed only days before they left office,” Sessions said. “While the Department of Justice continues to fully support police reform in Baltimore, I have grave concerns that some provisions of this decree will reduce the lawful powers of the police department and result in a less safe city.”

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While the consent decree process was probably accelerated by the Obama Administration’s accurate belief that the Trump Administration would be unlikely to uphold civil rights, particularly for African Americans, the decree was based on a detailed 163 page report that was accepted and incorporated by U.S. District Judge Bredar. Here’s a link to that report: https://www.justice.gov/opa/file/883366/download.

By contrast, Session’s memorandum calling for DOJ review of consent decrees, among other things, was less than two pages, phrased in conclusory stock language, and contained no factual basis whatsoever for the review. Nor has Sessions ever explained what the problem might be with the detailed report prepared as a result of an investigation by his predecessor, Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

Remarkably, Sessions obstinance comes in the same week that a court-appointed monitor found that a similar consent decree in Seattle had resulted in a dramatic reduction in incidents of police use of force against citizens while increasing neither crime nor injuries to police officers. See prior blog here: http://wp.me/p8eeJm-El.

PWS

04/09/17

 

 

Former Obama DOJ Civil Rights Officials Blast Sessions On Local Policing! — Seattle Finds Sessions Dead Wrong, Fed’s Intervention & Consent Decrees Make Dramatic Improvements, Save Citizens & Police From Unnecessary Violence!

https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/04/05/opinion/dont-let-jeff-sessions-undermine-police-reform.html?em_pos=small&emc=edit_ty_20170406&nl=opinion-today&nl_art=9&nlid=79213886&ref=headline&te=1&_r=0&referer=

Op-Ed in the NY Times:

By VANITA GUPTA and COREY STOUGHTON
APRIL 5, 2017
“Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently ordered a review of federal agreements with a number of local law enforcement agencies aimed at reforming troubled departments. As a first step, the Justice Department on Monday asked a judge to delay a consent decree that would overhaul Baltimore’s police force.

On its face, Mr. Sessions’s order simply asks whether the consent decrees promote public safety, support officers, respect local control and are warranted. But underlying the order is the Trump administration’s belief that efforts to align police practices with the Constitution have compromised public safety and thrown police officers under the bus.

This couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Countless police chiefs and mayors are vocal about wanting federal reform or have emerged from the consent decree process remarking that their departments were the better for it. Mr. Sessions claims to want to revert to local control, but he should listen to local officials like Baltimore’s police commissioner, Kevin Davis, who called the Justice Department’s request to delay the reform agreement “a punch in the gut” and noted that “a consent decree will make the Baltimore police department better both with the crime fight and our community relationships.”

No matter what review Mr. Sessions conducts, he cannot unilaterally undo these reform agreements. That’s because the district courts that oversee them will ultimately decide their fate. In addition, the reforms are negotiated with local elected officials and law enforcement leaders, with extensive input from grass-roots organizations, police unions, officers and civilians. Mr. Sessions can try to undermine them, but many of the reforms are durable.

That’s good, because communities around the country need this work to continue. In cities like Ferguson, Mo., Chicago and Baltimore, federal reform addresses unconstitutional stops, searches and arrests, and excessive and retaliatory force. These problems erode trust between police departments and the communities they serve, trust that is essential to effective policing as well as officer and public safety.
Rebuilding these ties is also necessary for preventing and solving crime. Few in law enforcement would disagree with this. When we worked on police reform at the Justice Department, we heard over and over again from officers and community members during our investigations in Baltimore and Chicago that relationships had broken down so badly, witnesses sometimes refused to share vital information and victims declined police assistance.

Mr. Sessions’s suggestion that the Justice Department’s policing agreements interfere with proactive policing is likewise baseless. There is no question that lawful stops, arrests and, at times, the use of force are all necessary tools for ensuring public safety. But Baltimore’s misguided zero-tolerance policing strategy, for example, severely damaged police-community relations, especially in black neighborhoods. Even the Baltimore Fraternal Order of Police acknowledged that officers felt “pressure to achieve numbers for perception’s sake.”

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And, Seattle’s recent experience shows that Federal intervention and consent decrees improve policing and saves lives, as shown by this report in the Seattle Times:

“Five years after the U.S. Justice Department found Seattle police officers too often resorted to excessive force, the federal monitor overseeing court-ordered reforms issued a glowing report Thursday concluding the department has carried out a dramatic turnaround.

Crediting Mayor Ed Murray, Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole and, most of all, the Seattle Police Department’s men and women, the monitor, Merrick Bobb, found overall use of force is down and, when officers do use it, it is largely handled in a reasonable way consistent with department policies.
As a result, Bobb found the department to be in substantial compliance — formally known as initial compliance — with core provisions of a 2012 consent decree that required the city to adopt new policies and training to address excessive force.
“The significance and importance of this finding cannot be understated, as this report makes clear,” Bobb wrote in the 102-page assessment. “It represents a singular and foundational milestone on SPD’s road to full and effective compliance — and represents Seattle crystallizing into a model of policing for the 21st century.”

Moreover, use of force has dropped even as officer injuries have not gone up and crime, by most measures, has not increased, Bobb and his monitoring team write in the report.

O’Toole shared the results in a departmentwide email Monday afternoon, saying, “In short, the Monitor’s assessment confirms the data that SPD reported on earlier this year: of the hundreds of thousands of unique incidents to which SPD officers respond every year, only a small fraction of one percent result in any use of force.”

The report, which has been in the works for some time, comes days after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered Justice Department officials to conduct a review of reform agreements with more than a dozen police agencies nationwide to determine whether they, among other things, undermine officer safety and crime fighting.

While the order could undercut newer agreements reached under the civil-rights emphasis during the Obama administration, officials have said it is unlikely to affect Seattle’s pact because it is under the firm control of a federal judge.

The judge, James Robart, has shown an unwavering commitment to Seattle’s consent decree, even declaring “black lives matter” during a court hearing, and earlier this year halted the Trump administration’s first travel ban.
In a statement Tuesday, Murray said, “Our progress under the Consent Decree cannot be undone by empty bureaucratic threats. Our police department is well into the process of reform and will continue this work. We are too far along for President Trump to pull us away from justice.”

Read the complete article here: http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/crime/in-major-step-federal-monitor-finds-seattle-police-use-of-force-reforms-are-working/?utm_source=The+Seattle+Times&utm_campaign=fe0fd2fdf6-Alert_Dramatic_turnaround_in_Seattle_PD’s_use_of_f&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_5beb38b61e-fe0fd2fdf6-122767877

 

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Must be hard for current and former DOJ Civil Rights Division attorneys, who have spent years painstakingly investigating, drafting, and negotiating agreements to promote effective, constitutional policing to see their work being trashed by a guy who has spent most of his career trying to limit civil and human rights. Been there myself, in a somewhat different context, and it’s very disheartening and maddening.

While I don’t have much optimism that career attorneys in the DOJ will be able to stand up to Sessions and keep their jobs, it is encouraging that many of the jurisdictions, police departments, and Federal Judges involved in the consent decree process intend to keep the ball rolling despite Session’s attempts to undermine their efforts.

And, certainly advocates, like Gupta and Stoughton in their new “private sector” positions, intend to keep the pressure on even if it means doing battle with the Trumped-up Sessions version of the DOJ. Forget civil rights, gotta keep a close eye on what those H-1B workers and their employers are up to.

PWS

04-06-17

 

 

Seattle Sues Over DOJ’s “Sanctuary City” Threat — Preemptive Action Claims Harm From Uncertainty!

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/seattle-sues-trump-administration-over-sanctuary-cities/?utm_source=The+Seattle+Times&utm_campaign=c846202ede-Morning_Brief_03_30_2017&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_5beb38b61e-c846202ede-122767877

Daniel Beekman writes in the Seattle Times:

“Seattle is suing President Donald Trump over his executive order cracking down on so-called “sanctuary cities” for how they handle people living in the United States illegally.

The city is doing nothing wrong by limiting its own involvement in immigration enforcement, while Trump is overreaching by trying to make cities do the work of the federal government, Mayor Ed Murray and City Attorney Pete Holmes said Wednesday.
The goal of the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle, is to have the executive order declared unconstitutional, Murray said at a news conference, accusing the Trump administration of waging “a war on cities.”

“Our lawsuit is staying true to our values,” the mayor said. “We value civil rights, we value the courts and we value the Constitution.”

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I suspect that this is just the first of many suits we will see about this issue. I doubt that anything Trump has done so far will create jobs for working class Americans (sadly). But, he has been, and is likely to continue to be, a boon for lawyers and reporters.

He’s even keeping me pretty busy in retirement. I can’t even “blog” all of the interesting articles and cases I read in one day. Have to be “selective.”

PWS

03/30/17