“Washington (CNN)Tuesday marks the fifth anniversary of a program that protects young undocumented immigrants from deportation — but supporters worry this one could be its last.
“Washington (CNN)Tuesday marks the fifth anniversary of a program that protects young undocumented immigrants from deportation — but supporters worry this one could be its last.
Good morning! Happy recess.
Thought you might find a couple stories of mine that we published this morning interesting.
As always, all the best,
A storm is brewing for DACA this September
By: Tal Kopan, CNN
A suite of pressures on the policy that protects young undocumented immigrants is brewing — and it could mean the program soon either becomes permanent or disappears entirely.
Next month, the Trump administration faces both an ultimatum from challengers to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, or DACA, and a potentially nasty government funding fight that could require an 11th hour deal to avert a shutdown.
Last week, the administration’s biggest defender of DACA moved much closer to the President, who has also spoken about being sympathetic to DACA recipients. Gen. John Kelly is now the White House chief of staff, and as homeland security secretary, he spoke frequently about preserving the program under this administration.
But the move also takes him out of the department that was responsible for issuing permits under the Obama administration policy — and he recently warned Democrats on the Hill that the program’s prospects are dim.
When Congress wraps up its August recess, members will return to a consequential month — one in which they may be forced to act whether they want to or not.
The earliest trigger will be September 5. That’s the deadline in an ultimatum issued by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and nine other state attorneys general to the Trump administration: Rescind DACA or we will challenge it in an unfriendly court. They have already succeeded in stopping a similar program to protect the parents of childhood arrivals to the US.
Trump said the ultimate decision on what to do will be made by him.
“It’s a decision that I make and it’s a decision that’s very, very hard to make. I really understand the situation now,” Trump said in a conversation with reporters on Air Force One last month. “I understand the situation very well. What I’d like to do is a comprehensive immigration plan. But our country and political forces are not ready yet.”
Trump has spoken recently about having compassion for recipients of the policy, which protects undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children from deportation and allows them to work and study in the US. But he also pledged to end the program “immediately” on the campaign trail, and his base strongly opposes the Obama administration policy they call an “amnesty.”
That could make punting the issue to Congress an appealing solution for the administration.
“My assumption is that the cleanest thing they can do, though they’ll take the vast majority of the blame for ending the program, is simply announce come September 5 a sunset of the program, that they’ll stop approving applications, and then invite Congress to work on legislation,” said a Democratic congressional staffer familiar with the issue who spoke on condition of anonymity to be candid.
Story continues here http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/07/politics/daca-coming-storm/index.html
At 200-day mark, Trump nominations still lag
By: Tal Kopan, CNN
On President Donald Trump’s 200th day in office, he still lags far behind his predecessors in staffing up his administration, both in terms of nominations and confirming those positions.
Any new administration has to fill roughly 4,000 positions across the government, more than 1,200 of which require Senate confirmation. While no administration can accomplish that task in 200 days, the nonprofit good-government group Partnership for Public Service recommends having the most important 300-400 confirmed by August recess.
Trump hasn’t come close.
The President got a big boost to his progress last week when the Senate confirmed en masse more than five dozen outstanding nominees — roughly doubling the number of nominees Trump has had confirmed.
But he still remains far behind.
As of August 4, when the Senate left town for its August recess, Trump has nominated 277 people for key posts, has had 124 confirmed, and has withdrawn eight of the nominations, according to CNN’s tracker.
The Partnership for Public Service has identified 577 executive branch positions as being particularly essential — and Trump has only successfully filled about a fifth of them.
Meanwhile, his predecessor fared far better at the same point in their terms. President Barack Obama had 433 nominations and 310 confirmations at the same point, President George W. Bush had nominated 414 and had 294 confirmed, and President Bill Cilnton had 345 nominations and 252 confirmed.
Trump’s rate of 45% of nominees confirmed lags behind Obama’s 72%, Bush’s 71% and Clinton’s 73%. His nominees have also taken far longer to confirm — an average of 54 days compared with 41, 35 and 30 respectively.
The White House has consistently placed blame for its slow pace on Democrats — the minority party in the Senate — arguing they’ve employed stall tactics to slow-walk Trump’s confirmations.
Indeed, before the failure of the Senate to advance a plan to repeal Obamacare, Senate Democrats were forcing Republicans to go through all procedural steps for nominees, dragging out the process.
But part of the slowness has also been due to difficulty getting paperwork in for many of the nominees, and some announced nominations were not transmitted to the Senate for formal consideration for months. Trump also lags in naming officials amid reports that Cabinet officials and the White House have butted heads over potential candidates.
Trump has had his entire Cabinet confirmed, although when he selected John Kelly as his chief of staff late last month, he created a vacancy at the Department of Homeland Security. But experts say his slowness to fill deputy positions at agencies is equally important, as those officials handle much of the day-to-day management of government.
Partnership for Public Service President Max Stier, who has advised multiple presidents and presidential candidates, including Trump, on transitioning into office, said the President should be prioritizing filling positions if he wants to execute his agenda.
“While the pace of nominations for political appointees has picked up in recent weeks, critical leadership positions remain vacant at almost every agency and department,” Stier said. “The President must prioritize getting his full team in place. Doing so will strengthen his ability to run the government, achieve his priorities and deal effectively with the inevitable crises that will take place in our complicated and dangerous world.”
Thanks, Tal, for your incisive and timely reporting and for making it readily available to us.
Tal Kopan reports for CNN:
“Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump has let a controversial Obama-era immigration policy continue — and conservative states are running out of patience.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was joined by his counterparts in nine other states in a letter Thursday warning Attorney General Jeff Sessions that if the Trump administration does not move to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, they will file a court challenge to the program.
At the heart of the threat is ongoing litigation over a related program — giving the attorneys general an opening to squeeze the administration on DACA.
Despite explicitly pledging during the campaign to “immediately” rescind DACA, a program that gives undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children protection from deportation and the ability to work and study in the US, the Trump administration has continued to honor the program and issue new permits under it.
With its efforts, the administration appears to want to have it both ways, continuing the program and pledging to protect its participants while saying the situation isn’t necessarily permanent and arresting those who officials say have lost their DACA status. But that position has angered activists on both sides of the issue, who in a rare moment of agreement have expressed similar frustrations that the administration won’t clearly articulate its long-term plans for DACA.
At issue is pending litigation in Texas that has challenged an Obama administration program that’s similar to DACA but geared toward parents of childhood arrivals as well as an extension of the childhood arrivals program, both of which were never allowed to go into effect by the courts.
The Trump administration formally abandoned the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents program, known as DAPA, earlier this month to avoid having to defend it in court. But it left DACA on the books despite similar criticism of that program — namely that both programs were an overreach of executive authority.
Asked by CNN about that decision, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly at the time called it “house cleaning,” saying the program for parents was blocked by the courts while the one for those who came to the US was children wasn’t.
But Paxton wrote that if the administration doesn’t end DACA by September 5, Texas will amend its complaint in the case to include that program — which would force the administration to defend the program in litigation or abandon it.
“We respectfully request that the Secretary of Homeland Security phase out the DACA program,” Paxton wrote in the ultimatum. “Otherwise, the complaint in that case will be amended to challenge both the DACA program and the remaining Expanded DACA permits.”
The Department of Justice and DHS did not respond to a request for comment on the letter. Sessions was asked about it on “Fox and Friends” on Friday and seemingly praised the states.
“The DAPA law has already been withdrawn,” Sessions said when asked what changes could be coming. “That was a big victory, and we’ll be looking at that. But I’ve got to tell you, I like it that our states and localities are holding the federal government to account, expecting us to do what is our responsibility to the state and locals, and that’s to enforce the law.”
Trying to throw 800,000 American young people — basically America’s future — out of the country and sow fear in local ethnic communities has nothing whatsoever to do with law enforcement. But, it has lots to do with racism and white nationalism. The real target here is Hispanic Americans and other ethnic Americans from immigrant roots.
Paxton, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Kansas Secretary State Kris Kobach and their followers are the George Wallaces, Lester Maddoxes, and Orval Faubuses of our time. Yeah, white racists might be giving it one more go. But, like the Trump victory, it is the last gasp. Eventually, the screw will turn as it did for prior generations of racist politicians.
To point out the obvious, with 600,000 pending cases in U.S. Immigration Court, the Trump Administration could not actually remove another 800,000 individuals any time in the foreseeable future. So, it’s all about meanness, fear, racism, white nationalism, and trying to prevent these young people from fully participating in our society. In other words, to make them a permanent underclass. Sound familiar?
The Dream Act to protect these young people should have become law years ago. But, then Senator Jeff Sessions and other GOP right wingers blocked its passage, even though it had the support of the majority of Senators. So, although legislation would be the logical solution, I wouldn’t count on it under today’s polarized conditions.
And, today’s GOP has become the home of racists and white supremicists. Something that anyone who runs on the GOP ticket or pulls the lever for a GOP candidate should consider.
Steven V. Roberts writes in a WashPost op-ed:
“These are all good examples that will, hopefully, ease the “cultural anxiety” Noorani writes about. But he shies away from discussing a key dimension of Trump’s appeal: racism. “A significant portion of the American electorate felt their country had been taken away,” he writes, but he doesn’t complete the thought. Taken away by whom? Let’s be honest. Many of those voters believe that their country has been overrun by dark-skinned, foreign-language-speaking aliens.
While it is wildly unfair to call all Trump supporters racists, it is equally inaccurate to ignore that the president deliberately inflamed racist impulses to win the election.
Moreover, Noorani lacks a larger perspective. Trump is a very American figure. Anti-immigrant fears didn’t start with globalization and weren’t “triggered” by the election of Barack Obama. Throughout our history, spasms of nativist hostility have erupted against each new group arriving on our shores: Germans and Jews, Irish and Italians, Japanese and Chinese.
Hispanics and Muslims are now the objects of this animosity, and the language directed against them is the same that’s been used to demonize newcomers for more than two centuries: This group will degrade our culture and alter our identity. But today’s targets can take comfort from the clear lessons of history.
Immigrants do change our culture — for the better. They reenergize and revitalize our civic spirit. The haters are always wrong, and the haters will eventually lose. Tiwana and Noorani himself prove that truth.
Read the entire op-ed at the link.
Trump and his supporters might be on the right side of the political equation at this point in time, but they are squarely on the wrong side of history. Before joining up with the Trump Team, folks ought to think about being remembered by their grandchildren and great grandchildren in the same way that we think about such notorious racists as Alabama Governor George Wallace, Georgia Governor Lester “Pickax” Maddox, and Arkansas Governor Orvil Faubis, or those who engineered and championed such abominations as the Chinese Exclusion Act.
Even iconic American historical figures like President Woodrow Wilson and Gen. Robert E. Lee have recently had their racism and support for racist causes eventually catch up with them and tarnish their reputations. In the long run, the cause of intolerance, fear, and bias promoted by Trump, Pence, and today’s GOP will look pretty bad. Yeah, we’ll all be gone by then. But, our descendants and history will remember where we stood.
Maria Sacchetti reports in the Washington Post:
“Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Friday that the Trump administration “fully supports” Texas’s harsh new ban on sanctuary cities, and the Department of Justice will help defend it against a federal court challenge next week.
Lawyers for the tiny border city of El Cenizo, the League of United Latin American Citizens and major cities such as Dallas and Austin say the law requiring them to detain immigrants for federal deportation agents is “patently unconstitutional” for a number of reasons. On Monday, they will urge U.S. District Court Judge Orlando Garcia in San Antonio to block the law from taking effect Sept. 1.
The state of Texas argues that the government is within its rights to bar localities from interfering with immigration enforcement. Under the law, officials could lose their jobs, police chiefs could go to jail, and governments could face fines of up to $25,500 a day if they adopt or enforce policies that prevent law enforcement officers from asking about a person’s immigration status or complying with requests to detain immigrants, a job that has been chiefly the responsibility of federal agents.
“President Trump has made a commitment to keep America safe and to ensure cooperation with federal immigration laws,” Sessions said in a statement. “Texas has admirably followed his lead by mandating state-wide cooperation with federal immigration laws that require the removal of illegal aliens who have committed crimes.”
Luis Roberto Vera, Jr. the national general counsel for the League of United Latin American Citizens, which is a plaintiff in the case, said the Texas law is discriminatory because it primarily targets Hispanics, one of the state’s largest groups.
El Cenizo Mayor Raul Reyes. El Cenizo is the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit that will seek to temporarily halt Texas’ sanctuary cities ban before it takes effect Sept. 1. (Matthew Busch/Matthew Busch For The Washington Post)
“It’s a continuation of Donald Trump’s war on Mexicanos,” Vera said. “That’s the sad part about this.”
The faceoff comes amid rising tensions nationwide over the Trump administration’s crackdown on immigration and its relentless march forward despite a string of losses in federal courts.
On Friday, congressional aides said House Republicans are advancing a bill that would withhold some federal grant money from so-called sanctuary cities; give greater legal weight to immigration detainers, which are requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement to local jails to hold immigrants who are being targeted for deportation; and shield local governments from lawsuits related to detainers. A second bill would increase penalties against deported immigrants who return illegally.”
Yup, full employment for lawyers, on all sides.
Bad time to be an immigrant, refugee, or minority in America. Great time to be a lawyer!
AILA Doc. No. 17060700 | Dated June 7, 2017
WASHINGTON, DC – The Board of Governors of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) has voted to move the Association’s 2018 annual conference from Grapevine, Texas, to another state. The AILA Annual Conference takes place over the course of three and a half days and is the largest yearly gathering of immigration lawyers and legal professionals in the United States.
AILA President William Stock explained, “It is no small matter to cancel the venue for a professional conference with more than 3,000 attendees. In the end, our Board decided it could not ask AILA members, and in many cases their families, to attend a conference in the state which has passed SB-4 into law. SB-4 serves no legitimate purpose and undermines our country’s principles of fairness, due process, and equal treatment under the law. By championing this bill and signing it into law, Governor Abbott has continued the scapegoating of immigrants and the communities that welcome them, rather than acknowledging the immense benefits that immigrants bring to our nation and the shared prosperity which follows.”
AILA Executive Director Ben Johnson added, “I am very proud to serve an organization and a community that is willing to stand up for its values and mission. For more than 70 years, AILA’s mission has been to promote justice and to advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy. That’s not something to which we simply pay lip service, it’s what we and our 15,000 members do, day in and day out. SB-4 is unjust, unfair, and unreasonable and under these extraordinary circumstances, AILA has made the decision that it cannot bring its premier event to the state of Texas.”
The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.
Cite as AILA Doc. No. 17060700.
At some point, Texas voters are going to have to ask themselves what price they are willing to pay to promote the “Gonzo-Apocalypto Restrictionist White Nationalist” Agenda being pushed by Abbott and the GOP. Sounds like something Democrats could “work with” at all levels. Economic issues often are a way to get traction. And, the lost business revenues doen’t even to begin to figure in all the money taxpayers are going to have to lay out to defend the inevitable lawsuits.
Gus Bova writes in the Texas Observer:
“Governor Greg Abbott published an editorial in the San Antonio Express-News Friday defending Senate Bill 4 — the anti-“sanctuary cities” law that critics say will encourage racial profiling, undermine local policing efforts and tear immigrant families apart.
In the piece, titled “SB 4 will make Texas communities safer,” Abbott spreads at least two major lies: One, that only criminals need to worry about being asked for their papers under SB 4, and two, that the bill only requires jails to honor immigration detainers when a person is charged with a violent crime.
Abbott, who made “sanctuary cities” a legislative emergency this session, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The governor writes: “Regardless of your immigration status, if you have not committed a crime and you are not subject to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement [ICE] detainer, you have nothing to fear about the change in Texas law.”
That isn’t true. Thanks to a hotly contested amendment, the bill specifically permits police to request proof of citizenship from someone who’s merely been detained, not arrested. Put simply, being stopped by a cop does not mean you’ve committed a crime. Abbott seems to have forgotten about “innocent until proven guilty.”
Second, Abbott writes: “SB 4 requires law enforcement agencies to honor ICE detainers issued for violent criminals.”
In fact, the law requires jails to honor all ICE detainers. Detainers are voluntary requests from ICE to local jails to keep someone locked up beyond when they would normally be released, so that federal agents may arrive and potentially deport them.”
Thanks to Dan Kowalski over at LexisNexis for forwarding this item!
“State action was needed to deal with noncriminal illegal immigration in the interior of the country when Barack Obama was the president. He focused his immigration enforcement efforts on aliens who had been convicted of serious crimes or who had been caught near the border after making an illegal entry.
In addition to leaving interior immigration problems up to the States, this created what I call a “home free magnet.” Aliens wanting to enter the United States illegally knew that they would be safe from deportation once they had reached the interior of the country, unless they were convicted of a serious crime.
President Donald Trump destroyed this magnet with his Executive Order, Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States, which greatly expanded enforcement priorities and the scope of expedited removal proceedings.
The expanded expedited removal proceedings will make it possible to deport millions of undocumented aliens without a hearing before an immigration judge. And no deportable alien is safe under his enforcement policies.
His next step might be to prosecute officials under the harboring provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act who go too far with sanctuary policies. These provisions make it a capital offense to conceal, harbor, or shield undocumented aliens from detection if the violation results in the death of any person.
It does not specify what actions constitute “harboring,” and the courts have not settled on one uniform definition. But the most frequent characteristic the courts have used is that “harboring” makes it easier for aliens to live in the United States without lawful status, which is one of the main objectives of sanctuary cities.
Ironically, although a sanctuary city is supposed to make undocumented aliens safer, it makes them more vulnerable because so many of them live in the sanctuary cities. When the Trump administration launches its expedited removal proceedings round-up, it almost certainly will start with the sanctuary cities.”
Read Nolan’s complete article over on The Hill at the link.
The point of so-called “sanctuary cities” (an amorphous, undefined term to be sure) is to resist the “climate of fear” being promoted by the Trump Administration and to continue to encourage cooperation between local law enforcement authorities and ethnic communities that has been successful in reducing crime. In fact, by all reports, immigrant communities are some of the most “low crime” around.
I haven’t seen specific stats, but anecdotally it seems that many law enforcement officials in cities were perfectly content with the “pre-Trump” level of cooperation with the DHS and believe that the Trump/ Sessions plan will actually make their jurisdictions less safe. Additionally, I have yet to see a statement by any state or local official saying that they would refuse to turn a serious criminal over to DHS if a legally sufficient detainer were filed.
In my view, the concept that Trump, Sessions, Kelly, and company have any genuine concern about reducing crime is almost preposterous. They have no interest whatsoever in working with responsible state and local officials on programs that actually could succeed in further reducing crime (already at historically low levels in most parts of the country).
Nope! It’s all about whipping up xenophobia and appealing to white nationalism. In other words, satisfying the “Trump base.” Certainly this is a political strategy that has proven fairly effective, at least in the short run, but which has very little, if anything, to do with actually combating crime.
The Washington Post reports:
“Texas Gov. Greg Abbott made an unannounced appearance on Facebook live Sunday evening to sign a tough bill banning “sanctuary cities” in the state, thereby avoiding demonstrations opponents planned for later in the week when they thought he was going to put his signature on the legislation.
While Abbott’s spokesman said he was just trying to reach a wide audience, critics called Abbott “cowardly” for springing the signing without notice.
Though the bill, which cleared the Republican-controlled legislature last week, was opposed by most major police chiefs in Texas, Abbott said in a statement that the law was a blow against “those that seek to promote lawlessness in Texas.”
Abbott also blasted the one law enforcement officer in Texas who appears to have adopted any sort of policy resembling the amorphous concept of a sanctuary city, Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez, who said she would not cooperate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement requests to hold immigrants while federal authorities investigate their status.
“This law cracks down on policies like the Travis County sheriff who declared she would not detain known criminals accused of violent crimes,” Abbott said.
In fact, Hernandez does honor detainer requests from federal immigration authorities for inmates accused of serious offenses.”
The lies just keep on flowing from folks like Abbott who are working tirelessly to make our cities and our nation less safe!
But my question is: Where is Jeff Sessions, that staunch defender of the right of local police to do anything they want, when we need him? Surely, he will come to the aid of local police who are trying to resist overreach by the Feds (in this case, the DHS)!