HOW THE WHITE NATIONALIST RESTRICTIONSTS MIS-APPROPRIATED AND MIS-CONSTRUED THE TERM “CHAIN MIGRATION” – It’s All About Race & Culture Wars, Not The Best Interests Of The US!

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/12/29/16504272/chain-migration-family-how-trump-end

Dara Lind writes for VOX:

“Over the course of President Donald Trump’s first year in office, his administration’s top immigration priority has shifted subtly. He’s talking less about deporting “bad hombres” and talking more — a lot more — about how “chain migration” is bad for the United States.

“We have to get rid of chainlike immigration, we have to get rid of the chain,” Trump told the New York Times’s Mike Schmidt in an impromptu interview at his West Palm Beach golf club in December. He followed it up, as he does, with a tweet:

“Chain migration” — which is loosely used as a synonym for all immigration to the United States that happens based on family ties (when a US citizen or, in some cases, a green card holder petitions for a relative to join them) — has become a conservative boogeyman, and an excuse to cut down on legal immigration. It’s long been a target of immigration restrictionists whose concerns about immigration are less about people “respecting the law” than about the government exercising stricter control over who enters the country.

Under the Trump administration, those restrictionists have more political power than they’ve had in a generation — and they’re using it to prosecute an aggressive case against the family-based system as it stands.

The Trump administration’s attacks on “chain migration” have helped shift the terms of the debate over immigration policy. “Chain migration” is being invoked, among other things, to frame two totally different demands Republicans have made in the debate over legalizing immigrants temporarily covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program: preventing current DACA recipients from sponsoring their parents after becoming citizens, and cutting or eliminating some categories of family-based immigration for all immigrants in exchange for legalizing DACA enrollees.

But it’s not just during the DACA debate. The Trump administration blamed the failed New York subway bombing in December on “chain migration” because the would-be bomber came as the child of a US citizen’s sibling in 2010. Its National Security Strategy, issued Monday, called chain migration a security threat.

In other words, the Trump administration’s attack on “chain migration” isn’t just a setup for a particular policy fight. It’s about who is allowed to be a part of America — and whether changes to the country’s makeup are healthy demographic development or a sign of uncontrolled invasion.

“Chain migration” is the technical name for a commonsense idea: People are more likely to move where their relatives are

The dynamic underlying “chain migration” is so simple that it sounds like common sense: People are more likely to move to where people they know live, and each new immigrant makes people they know more likely to move there in turn.

But as obvious as the reality is on the ground, it wasn’t always incorporated into theoretical models of migration (particularly economic models). Economists tended to think about the decision to migrate as a simple calculus of how much money someone was making at home versus how much he could be making abroad, rather than understanding that the decision was more complicated — and that family and social relationships played a role.

Princeton demographer Doug Massey, one of the leading scholars on immigration to the US at the end of the 20th century (and the beginning of the 21st), was one of the scholars who tried to correct this oversimplified view. As he put it in an essay for the Inter-American Parliamentary Group on Population and Development in the early 1990s:

The first migrants who leave for a new destination have no social ties to draw upon, and for them migration is costly, particularly if it involves entering another country without documents. After the first migrants have left, however, the costs of migration are substantially lower for their friends and relatives living in the community of origin. Because of the nature of kinship and friendship structures, each new migrant creates a set of people with social ties to the destination area.

These immigrants would also end up behaving differently once they arrived in their new countries. If they were just there for economic reasons, they’d have an incentive to move back once they’d made enough money, or circulate back and forth. But immigrants who move for social reasons are moving to a new community — a new place they’ll stay. That’s an upside if you think it’s important for immigrants to become American — and a downside if you think the US should be much pickier about who gets to move here for good than it is about who gets to work here.

One upshot of chain migration: Any policies that made it easier for immigrants to bring their relatives would allow migration chains to form, thus expanding immigration into the country. “Family reunification systems,” Massey wrote, “work at crosspurposes with the limitation of immigration.”

Massey and the other demographers of “chain migration” weren’t presenting it as a negative. But their words were easily adopted by people who did. The Massey essay quoted above ended up being reprinted in an issue of The Social Contract — the journal founded by immigration restrictionist mogul John Tanton, who also founded the three most visible restrictionist organizations in American politics (the think tank the Center for Immigration Studies and the advocacy groups NumbersUSA and FAIR).

The Social Contract was a forum for concerns about the threat of mass immigration (particularly mass nonwhite immigration) to the United States. (The Southern Poverty Law Center, which considers all Tanton-affiliated institutions to be “hate groups,” has a rundown of some of the journal’s more incendiary content.) Massey, on the other hand is a longtime supporter of reforms that would make it easier for immigrants to come to America.

An article by a supporter of expansive immigration policy could be reprinted, with few apparent edits, in a journal for his intellectual opponents only because the debate over chain migration is fundamentally not about whether it happens, but whether it’s okay. Defenders of chain migration tend to argue that it’s important for immigrants to put down roots in the US, and that having a family here is part of what that means.

Opponents, on the other hand, see family-based immigration as the government ceding some control for who gets to come here, so that it’s not selecting individuals in a vacuum — which leads rapidly to fears of the US government losing control of the immigration system entirely.

The actual policy behind “chain migration”

It’s not clear whether President Trump understands how family-based immigration actually works — and when it can lead to “chains” of relatives. Trump has claimed that the man who ran over several pedestrians in New York in November brought 23 (sometimes he says 24) relatives to the US in the seven years he’d lived here — a claim that chain migration opponent Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration studies said was impossible. And the White House’s “chain migration” diagram makes it looks like each generation of adults brings in children, which brings their children — which isn’t how chain migration works.

To better understand what policies, exactly, opponents of “chain migration” are worried about, check out this chart from the restrictionist advocacy group NumbersUSA — which is a more detailed representation of the same fear of overwhelming, uncontrollable waves of migration.

It’s a little overwhelming!
NumbersUSA

Let’s walk through the scenario in that chart. It depicts an immigrant who’s come to the US on an employment-based green card (in black) and is able to bring over his spouse and children immediately. He can also petition for his parents to come to the US on green cards, and — after he becomes a citizen (something the NumbersUSA chart doesn’t clarify) — he can petition for his siblings as well (all in gray).

The siblings all bring over their spouses and children immediately, and the spouses (in orange, maroon, navy, and teal) petition to bring over their own parents and (upon naturalization) their own siblings. The original immigrant’s parents (eventually) petition for their own siblings to come to the US, and the siblings then petition to bring over their married adult children — whose spouses can then petition for their own parents and (eventually) siblings, etc., etc.

Meanwhile, the original immigrant’s spouse can petition for her parents (in pink) and, once she becomes a citizen, her siblings (in blue, purple, red, and green). Those siblings bring over their spouses, who subsequently petition for their own parents and siblings, etc., etc.

There are a ton of assumptions in this model about the way immigrants behave — why is everyone in families of four or five? Does no one really want to stay in her home country? Is there no such thing as a bachelor in any of these families? — but the visa categories under US law make it a hypothetical possibility. But the thing is, US policymakers know that it’s a hypothetical possibility. And there are safeguards built into the system that restrict family-based immigration far more than the diagram would have you believe.

In practice, bringing over a family member takes years — which makes it very hard to build a chain

No one is automatically allowed to immigrate to the US. Anyone applying for residency in the country has to go through a standard vetting process — including a criminal and terrorism background check, and an evaluation of whether they’re likely to become a “public charge” in the US (i.e., be unable to support themselves for income and rely on social programs).

Trump’s National Security Strategy claims that “chain migration” is a problem for national security, but there’s nothing inherent to the way someone is allowed to immigrate to the US that makes it harder for the US to catch would-be terrorists — that is, if anything, a failure of the screening process.

The bigger obstacle, though, isn’t qualifying to immigrate — it’s that the number of hypothetically qualified family-based immigrants greatly exceeds the number of slots available for immigrants each year. The US doesn’t set caps on the number of spouses, minor children, or parents of US citizens who can come to the US each year — but, again, those categories in themselves don’t create chains.

The categories that do create chains are strictly capped: 23,400 married children of US citizens (plus their own spouses and minor children) are allowed to immigrate each year, and 67,500 adult siblings of US citizens (plus spouses and minor children). Furthermore, because the total number of immigrants coming from a particular country each year is capped, would-be immigrants from Mexico, China, India, and the Philippines end up facing even longer wait times.

When people talk about the “visa backlog,” this is what they mean: In January 2018, for example, the US government will start processing applications for F4 visas (the siblings of US citizens) who first petitioned to let them immigrate on June 22, 2004, or earlier. That is, unless the sibling lives in India (in which case the petition had to be filed by December 2003 to get processed in January 2018), Mexico (November 1997), or the Philippines (September 1994).

Sudarshana Sengupta, pictured here with family in Massachusetts, had been waiting for a green card for seven years when this picture was taken.
Washington Post/Getty Images

Understanding that an F4 visa is a 13- to 23-year process throws that NumbersUSA diagram into a different light. How implausible it is depends on your assumptions about how close together generations are, and how young the immigrants are when they come to the United States. But if you start by understanding that the first members of the orange, maroon, navy, teal, blue, purple, red, and green chains don’t enter the US until 18 years after the original immigrant (signified by black) does — and that the first immigrants in the yellow section of the chart don’t enter the country until 23 years later — it should give you a sense of how long it will take in to fill in the rest of the chain.

In practice, this ultimately looks like a lot of people coming to the US in late middle age. That’s backed up by the data: A study from Jessica Vaughan of the Center for Immigration Studies — which is critical of “chain migration” — found that the average age of immigrants to the US has risen over the past few decades, and that family-based immigration was a substantial cause.

But even then, the NumbersUSA scenario assumes that all the immigrants can afford to sponsor a family member to immigrate to the US. A US citizen (or green card holder seeking to bring an unmarried child or parent) has to prove to the government that they can provide financial support if their relative needs it, rather than relying on the government for aid.

In practice, this means that every immigrant needs to have someone vouching for them whose household income is 125 percent of the poverty line — and the “household” includes the relative who’s trying to come to the US. In other words, a single adult could sponsor his parent to immigrate if he made at least $20,300 — 125 percent of the federal poverty line for a two-person household — but if he had a spouse and two children, he’d have to be making 125 percent of the poverty line for a five-person household. And that includes any other immigrants who the household is sponsoring at the same time.

So an immigrant with a wife and two children who wanted to sponsor his parents and four siblings to immigrate as soon as he became a citizen would have to be making $56,875 — around the median income in the US. And if his spouse were trying to do the same thing with her parents and four siblings, as in the NumbersUSA chart, they’d have to be making $83,000 — which would place them in the 66th percentile of US household income.

That’s not impossible. But it certainly calls into question the stereotype of family-based migration as a way for “low-skilled,” low-earning immigrants to bring their low-skilled, low-earning relatives into the US.

There are ways for citizens to get other people to agree to help support a potential immigrant relative. But at the same time, the US government has discretion to reject an application, even if the citizen meets the income threshold, if they suspect that in practice the immigrant won’t be supported in the US. (Another factor in determining “public charge”is age — which is interesting, given the data about family-based immigrants being older.)

Add all of these factors together, and it becomes clear that an immigrant won’t be able to bring that many relatives to the US over the course of his or her lifetime. Vaughan’s studyfound that as of 2015, immigrants who came to the US from 1981 to 2000 had sponsored an average of 1.77 relatives to come join them. The most recent immigrants in the study — those who came to the US in the late 1990s — had sponsored the most relatives: 3.46. But both of those numbers include the minor children they brought with them at the time: In other words, they were hardly starting 3.46 new “chains.”

If anything, in fact, the family-based system is so overloaded that it ends up creating unrealistic hopes in people that they’ll be able to immigrate to the US. If your sibling moves to the US on a work visa, for example, you might start to hope that he’ll eventually be able to bring you along — but if you try to plan your life around that, you’ll end up waiting for two decades.

There are hints all this panic over “chain migration” is really about fear of cultural change

All of this is relevant to a conversation about whether to further restrict, or eliminate, the F3 and F4 visas for married children and adult siblings of US citizens. And indeed, that’s the most common policy demand being made by Republicans who are seeking to end or reduce “chain migration.”

But the most stalwart opponents of “chain migration,” the ones who use it to refer to all family-based immigration, period, are talking not just about the mechanics of the chain but about a bigger normative question: whether allowing immigrants to come as family units, or allowing people to immigrate based on family relationships, gives the US too little control over who gets to come.

The ultimate impression of both the White House and NumbersUSA “chain migration” diagrams is to make it seem that admitting a single immigrant unleashes an uncontrollable tide of infinite future family-based immigration — that each immigrant is a one-person Trojan horse for hundreds more.

A pro-Brexit billboard depicting a stream of refugees “overrunning” Britain.
This is an image from the pro-Brexit campaign, but the theme’s the same: a lack of control.
Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP via Getty

“As more and more immigrants are admitted to the United States, the population eligible to sponsor their relatives for green cards increases exponentially,” the restrictionist group FAIR says on its website. “This means that every time one immigrant is admitted, the door is opened to many more.”

This potent visual is why “chain migration” has been a longtime target of immigration restrictionists, even when the Republican Party as a whole was attempting to welcome legal immigrants. For people whose biggest fear regarding immigration is that immigrants will change the face of America — that they’ll trample the country’s “traditionally” white, Christian majority — there’s little more potent than the idea of immigrants bringing over huge families, replanting their communities whole in American soil.

This fear goes hand in hand with a fear that immigrants won’t assimilate. When immigration restrictionists cite the second quarter of the 20th century as a great time for the United States, they’re not (at least explicitly) praising the racist country quotas that governed immigration at the time. They’re (explicitly) praising the fact that, with overall immigration levels low, immigrants were forced to interact with and eventually integrate among US citizens. The more immigrants that come over — and especially the more that immigrants bring their families over — the less, in theory, that they and their descendants will have to interact with people from outside of their community. In turn, this gets into fears that parts of America could become alien to Americans — cultural, or literal, “no-go zones.”

The use of “chain migration” in the current debate over DACA, to refer to DACA recipients allowing their parents to become legal immigrants, complicates the matter even further. Because the parents of DACA recipients have, by definition, lived in the US as unauthorized immigrants, this isn’t really about bringing new people into the US — it’s about legalizing people who are already here (or bringing people back who have been deported, something US policy already makes pretty hard).

The insistence among some Republicans that “Dreamers” not be allowed to sponsor their parents, even after they become US citizens, is really about not wanting to “reward” unauthorized immigrants for living in the US without papers. They’re worried about losing “control” in a slightly different sense — worried that any “reward” for illegal behavior will incentivize a new wave of unauthorized migration to take advantage of potential rewards. This is pretty far afield from the way that “chain migration” is commonly understood — but that’s the word being used in the DACA debate anyway, not least because the president has helped turn it into a buzzword.

Because these memes, and the fears that they provoke, are all so tightly connected, “chain migration” is both an ideological concern about America selecting immigrants based on their merit, and a racist smokescreen for fears of demographic change. It can be hard to separate the two. And it’s certainly not in the interests of the opponents of “chain migration” to try.

There’s a reason that family-based immigration has lasted as long as it has

It’s a lot easier to get people to agree, in theory, that the US should be accepting immigrants on the basis of “merit” — i.e., without concern for whether they have relatives living here — than it is to get them to agree on exactly what should be done to reduce the importance of family-based immigration to the current system.

For one thing, many policymakers, including many Republicans, see allowing some family members to immigrate as an important factor in encouraging integration. Allowing immigrants to bring along their spouses and minor children, for example, makes it less likely that they’ll decide to return to their home countries — and it means their children will grow up American, in more ways than one.

There are also policymakers who see family unity as a value worth protecting for its own sake (an argument you’ll often hear among religious advocates). And there’s, of course, an ethnic component. Asian Americans, in particular, feel that they are still trying to make up ground after decades of racist exclusion from the immigration system — and family-based immigration has been the best way for them to make that ground up. Mexican Americans, too, feel that the current system has unfairly forced Mexican immigrant families to be separated while other families get to reunite with ease.

All of these objections have combined, so far, to make Democrats firmly opposed to any proposal that would restrict future family-based immigration. But as “chain migration” begins to eclipse other issues (like immigration enforcement in the interior of the US) as a top Republican priority, it’s not clear whether Democrats’ commitment to hypothetical legal immigrants of the future is going to win out over their commitment to legalizing unauthorized immigrants who are currently here.”

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The fear that the US won’t be a “White Christian country” is what’s really driving the campaign against family migration (a/k/a/ “chain migration”). But, in reality, the days of the US as a “White Christian Empire” are in our national rearview mirror, no matter what the White Nationalist restrictionists do. It’s really just a question of how much pain, suffering, and divisiveness the White Nationalists can inflict as their already tenuous control inevitably continues to slip.

As almost all “non-restrictionist” economists tell us, restrictive national immigration policies are not in our national interest. In fact, more, not less legal immigration is going to be a necessity to keep our economy from stagnating like that of Japan and some European countries. Indeed, Paul Ryan’s goofy “everyone should have more kids” was an acknowledgement of how our future success depends on a robust legal immigration system.

Also, the concept that the legal admission of Dreamers is a “negative” that has to be “offset” by cuts in legal immigration elsewhere is pure fiction. Dreamers are already here and contributing to our society and our national welfare. Giving them legal status is not only the right thing to do, but also the smart thing. And doing the “smart thing” requires no bogus “offsets.”

PWS

01-01-18

JOE PATRICE @ ABOVE THE LAW: WE NOW HAVE “SCIENTIFIC PROOF” THAT IMMIGRATION LAWYERS ARE “INCREDIBLY USEFUL” — IN FACT, THEY ARE ESSENTIAL TO DUE PROCESS — So, Why Are Sessions & His Minions Smearing Lawyers & Trying To Railroad More Migrants Through The System Without Fair Hearings?

We Have Scientific Proof That Lawyers Are Incredibly Useful

Patrice writes:

“So instead of fighting whether or not the feds can order cops to bust up the local Motel 6, cities can just hire some lawyers.

This is the lie of every talking head that praises building a wall but adds, with all faux sincerity, that they have “no problem with legal immigrants.” Almost half of the people shuttled through assembly line deportation hearings actually fit within legal immigration protections, but the complexity of the system — not to mention language barriers — make them victims of the bureaucracy.

If that projection is correct, NYIFUP cases result in immigrant victories 48 percent of the time. As Oren Root, director of the Vera Institute’s Center for Immigration and Justice, puts it, that means that of every 12 immigrants who are winning at Varick Street right now, 11 would have been deported without a lawyer.

That finding challenges a widely held assumption about immigration court: that most immigrants who go through it don’t qualify for the types of protection that Congress has laid out for particularly compelling cases. The Vera finding implies that, in fact, many immigrants do deserve relief as Congress and the executive branch have established it — but that hundreds of thousands of them have been deported without getting the chance to pursue those claims.

New York’s program has inspired 12 more cities to adopt the program. It’s put up or shut up time for the Department of Justice — if they’re really committed to proving some undocumented migrant is in violation of the law, then stand up and make that case in court.

Against a real attorney.

Unless they’re chicken.”

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Read the complete article at the link. I have previously reported on the VOX News Article and the Vera study.

I think Patrice has hit the nail on the head. Sessions, Miller, Bannon and the White Nationalist crowd are biased bullies picking on the most vulnerable and disadvantaged. Like all bullies, they have absolutely no desire to compete fairly on a level playing field.

The Vera report confirms what many of us involved in the field have been saying for years: a significant portion of those going through Immigration Court, probably 50% or more are entitled to be in the US. Without lawyers, such individuals have little or no chance of making and succeeding on claims that would allow them to stay. Since at least one-third of individuals (and a much higher percentage of detained individuals) are unrepresented, we are unlawfully removing tens of thousands of individuals each year, in violation of due process. And nothing aggravates this unfairness more than unnecessary detention (in other words, the majority of immigration detention which involves individuals who are not criminals, security threats, or threats to abscond if they are represented and understand the system).

A competent and conscientious Attoyney General would work cooperatively with private bar groups, NGOs, and localities to solve the representation crisis and drastically reduce the use of expensive and inhumane immigration detention. But, Sessions is moving in exactly the opposite direction, in violation of constitutional principles of due process, practical efficiency, and basic human decency.

PWS

11-13-17

REAL DUE PROCESS MAKES A STUNNING DIFFERENCE! – NY PROJECT FINDS THAT REPRESENTED IMMIGRANTS ARE 12X MORE LIKELY TO WIN CASES!

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/11/9/16623906/immigration-court-lawyer

Dara Lind reports for VOX

“Omar Siagha has been in the US for 52 years. He’s a legal permanent resident with three children. He’d never been to prison, he says, before he was taken into Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention — faced with the loss of his green card for a misdemeanor.

His brother tried to seek out lawyers who could help Siagha, but all they offered, in his words, were “high numbers and no hope” — no guarantee, in other words, that they’d be able to get him out of detention for all the money they were charging.

Then he met lawyers from Brooklyn Defender Services — part of the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project, an effort to guarantee legal representation for detained immigrants. They demanded only one thing of him, he recalls: “Omar, you’ve got to tell us the truth.”

But Siagha’s access to a lawyer in immigration court is the exception.

There’s no right to counsel in immigration court, which is part of the executive branch rather than the judiciary. Often, an immigrant’s only shot at legal assistance before they’re marched in front of a judge is the pro bono or legal aid clinic that happens to have attorneys at that courthouse. Those clinics have such limited resources that they try to select only the cases they think have the best shot of winning — which can be extremely difficult to ascertain in a 15-minute interview.

But advocates and local governments are trying to make cases like Siagha’s the rule, not the exception. Soon, every eligible immigrant who gets detained in one of a dozen cities — including New York, Chicago, Oakland, California, and Atlanta — will have access to a lawyer to help fight their immigration court case.

The change started at Varick Street. The New York Immigrant Family Unity Project started in New York City in 2013, guaranteeing access to counsel for detained immigrants.

According to a study released Thursday by the Vera Institute for Justice (which is now helping fund the representation efforts in the other cities, under the auspices of the Safe Cities Network), the results were stunning. With guaranteed legal representation, up to 12 times as many immigrants have been able to win their cases: either able to get legal relief from deportation or at least able to persuade ICE to drop the attempt to deport them this time.

So far, cities have been trying to protect their immigrant populations through inaction — refusing to help with certain federal requests. Giving immigrants lawyers, on the other hand, seemingly makes the system work better. And if it works, it could leave the Trump administration — which is already upset with the amount of time it takes to resolve an immigration court case — very frustrated indeed. (The Department of Justice, which runs immigration courts, didn’t respond to a request for comment.)

Immigration court is supposed to give immigrants a chance for relief. In reality … it depends.

As federal immigration enforcement has ramped up over the past 15 years, nearly every component of it has gotten a sleek bureaucratic upgrade, a boatload of money, and heightened interest and oversight from Congress. But immigration court has been overlooked as everything else has been built up around it.

The reason is simple. Chronologically, most immigrants have to go through immigration court after being apprehended and before being deported. But bureaucratically, immigration courts are run by the Executive Office for Immigration Review, housed in the Justice Department instead of by the Department of Homeland Security. And when it comes to money and bureaucratic attention, that makes all the difference in the world.

From the outside, the striking thing about immigration court is how slow it is — lawyers already report that hearings for those apprehended today are scheduled in 2021. That’s also the Trump administration’s problem with it; the federal government is sweeping up more immigrants than it did in 2016 but deporting fewer of them.

But it doesn’t seem that way from the inside, to an immigrant who doesn’t have any idea what’s going on — especially one who’s being kept in detention.

This is the scene that Peter Markowitz accustomed himself to, as a young immigration lawyer at the Varick Street courtroom in New York: “People brought in, in shackles, with their feet and hands shackled to their waist, often not understanding the language of the proceedings, having no idea of the legal norms that were controlling their fate — being deported hand over fist.”

I know he’s not exaggerating; in my first morning watching immigration court proceedings in Minneapolis in 2008, I saw at least 10 detainees get issued deportation orders before lunch. Almost none had lawyers. Sometimes the judge would pause and explain to the detainee, in plain English, what was really going on — but she didn’t have to, and sometimes she wouldn’t bother.”

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Read Dara’s full article at the link.

No lawyer = no due process. Rather than trying to hustle folks out of the country without a full and effective chance for them to be heard — in other words, true Due Process — Jeff Sessions should be changing the Immigration Court system to put less reliance on detention and detention center “kangaroo courts” and more emphasis on insuring that each individual scheduled for a hearing has fair and  reasonable access to competent counsel.

I totally agree that due process can’t be put on a “timetable,” as Sessions and his crew at the DOJ seem to want. As observed by none other than Chief Justice John Roberts — certainly no “bleeding heart liberal” —“It takes time to decide a case on appeal. Sometimes a little; sometimes a lot.” Nken v. Holder, 556 U.s. 418 (2009). That’s even more true on the trial level.

I have a somewhat different take on whether representation and providing full due process will ultimately slow down the system. In the short run, represented cases might take longer than unrepresented ones (although I personally found that not invariably true). However, as noted by Chief Judge Katzmann, lack of representation both promotes wrong, and therefore unfair, results, but also inhibits the proper development of the law. (Perhaps not incidentally, I note that Chief Judge Katzmann actually took time to attend and participate in Annual Immigration Judge Training Conferences back in the day when the “powers that be” at DOJ and EOIR deemed such training to be a necessary ingredient of a fair judicial system — something that was eliminated by Sessions’s DOJ this year. Apparently, new, untrained Immigration Judges can be expected to “crank out” more final orders of removal than trained judges.)

When I was in Arlington, the vast majority of the non-detained respondents were represented, and the majority of those got some sort of relief — in other words, won their cases to some extent. As time went on, this development required the DHS to adjust its position and to stop “fully litigating” issues that experience and the law told them they were going to lose.

That, in turn, led to more efficient and focused hearings as well as decisions to drop certain types of cases as an exercise of prosecutorial discretion. Had that process been allowed to continue, rather than being artificially arrested by the Trump regime, it could well have eventually led to more efficient use of docket time and alternate means of disposing of cases that were “likely losers” or of no particular enforcement value to the DHS or the country at large.

By contrast, “haste makes waste” attempts to force cases through the system without representation or otherwise in violation of Due Process often led to appellate reversals, “do-overs,” and re-openings, all of which were less efficient for the system than “doing it right in the first place” would have been!

In my view (echoed at least to some extent by my colleague retired Judge Jeffrey Chase), more conscientious publication of BIA precedents granting asylum could and should have taken large blocks of asylum cases off the “full merits” dockets of Immigration Judges — either by allowing them to be “short docketed” with the use of stipulations or allowing them to be favorably disposed of by the DHS Asylum Offices.

No system that I’m aware of can fully litigate every single possible law violation. Indeed, our entire criminal justice system works overwhelmingly from “plea bargaining” that often bears little if any resemblance to “what actually happened.” Plea bargaining is a practical response that reflects the reality of our justice system and  the inherent limitations on judicial time. And effective plea bargaining requires lawyers on both sides as well as appropriate law development as guidance that can only happen when parties are represented. The absurd claim of Sessions and the DHS that the law allows them no discretion as to whether or not to bring certain categories of removal cases is just that — absurd and in direct contradiction of the rest of the U.S. justice system.

The current policies of the DHS and the DOJ, which work against Due Process, rather than seeking to take advantage of and actively promote it, are ultimately doomed to failure. The only question is how much of a mess, how many wasted resources, and how much pain and unfairness they will create in the process of failing.

Andrea Saenz, mentioned in the article is a former Judicial Law clerk at the New York Immigration Court. I have always admired her clear, concise, “accessible” legal writing — much like that of Judge Jeffrey Chase — and have told her so.

I am also proud that a number of attorneys involved in the “New York Project” and the Brooklyn Defenders are alums of the Arlington Immigration Court or my Georgetown Law RLP class — in other words, charter members of the “New Due Process Army!”  They are literally changing our system, one case and one individual life at a time. And, they and their successors will still be at it long after guys like Jeff Sessions and his restrictionist cronies and their legally and morally bankrupt philosophies have faded from the scene.

Thanks to my friend the amazing Professor Alberto Benítez from the GW Law Immigration Clinic for sending me this item!

PWS

11-10-17

VOX NEWS: ALT-RIGHT MEDIA’S NEXT TARGET: SUPERMAN — After All, He’s An “Alien Immigrant” Who Has Stood Up For The Rights Of All Americans (Regardless Of Race, Color, Creed, Gender, Or Documentation) Since The 1950s!

https://www.vox.com/culture/2017/9/15/16307794/superman-undocumented-workers-white-supremacist-action-comics

Superman saved undocumented workers from a racist — and conservative media is mad about it
They argue that the Man of Steel has become a tool of propaganda.
Updated by Alex Abad-Santosalex@vox.com Sep 15, 2017, 9:20am EDT
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The latest issue of Action Comics No. 987 contains a scalding scene: A white supremacist, fed up with a company that just laid him off, decides to load up his machine gun and kill the undocumented workers he believes took his job. Luckily, in the nick of time, Superman arrives to shield the would-be victims from a storm of bullets:

 

Action Comics No. 987. DC Comics
Superman then subdues the shooter, telling him that he needs to take more personal responsibility and to rethink his homicidal tendencies. He also tells the police officers who respond to the incident to see to it that the shooter’s intended victims are safe:

 

DC Comics
Given the violent events that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia, last month, including a domestic terror attack that killed Heather Heyer, as well as the recent national conversation over the Trump administration’s stance on DACA, it’s easy to see how the plot of Action Comics No. 987 could feel like a knee-jerk reaction and parallel to reality. But in reality, comic book issues and arcs — including this one, which was written by Dan Jurgens and illustrated by artists Viktor Bogdanovic, inkers Jonathan Glapion and Jay Leisten, and colorist Mike Spicer — are planned well in advance.

 

Still, the action of preventing a mass murder, which seems in line with Superman’s moral compass, hasn’t come without controversy. Fox News has a column calling the Man of Steel a “propaganda tool for the defenders of illegal aliens,” and the right-wing website Breitbart derided him as “Social Justice Supes.”

Their argument is that comic book writers and artists have inserted a pro–illegal immigrant agenda into their comics, and that it’s part of a larger trend of politicizing comic books.

But there are a couple of things to note about the issue.

The first is that the “undocumented workers” designation in Action Comics No. 987 comes from the homicidal white supremacist — an unreliable narrator. It could be interpreted that he’s shooting at the workers at his company who aren’t white because he’s stereotyping and projecting his bigotry onto them.

Another facet of this issue is that in the universe of the comic, similar violent outbursts and anger are happening worldwide. Vaccines are being stolen, animals are being poached, workplaces are being shot up, prison riots are taking place — and Superman is struggling to figure out why it’s all erupting at once. The thwarted workplace shooting is part of a bigger arc that involves the idea that the “common good” has been dissolved, and there’s a villain responsible for it (the issue has a giant reveal at the end).

Perhaps the most entertaining aspect of any conversation bemoaning Superman’s lifesaving actions is the failure to realize that Superman himself is a literal alien immigrant who grew up in America. Superman’s creators, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, are the children of Jewish immigrants.

And Superman has always stood up for the justice of all Americans, as he did in this 1950s poster:

 

“If you hear anybody talk against a schoolmate or anyone else because of his religion, race or national origin — don’t wait: tell him that kind of talk is un-American,” Superman says in the scene on the poster.

This week’s issue of Action Comics, despite the outcry against it, seems to be following that credo.

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Read the full story with illustrations at the link.

With his plans for ridding America of the “Dreamer Threat” on hold, the House resisting his unconstitutional use of forfeiture authority, many localities pushing back on his anti-migrant agenda, and even Orrin Hatch saying “hands off the people’s weed,” it seems like a perfect time for Gonzo Apocalypto to turn his attention to an effort to rid America once and for all of the “Superhero Threat.” But, it’s likely to take more than a private prison operated by one of Gonzo’s GOP cronies to hold Caped One. I also suspect that SM’s “poll numbers” are multiples of Trump & Gonzo combined.

“You don’t tug on Superman’s cape, you don’t spit into the wind, you don’t pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger,” and you don’t mess around with our Dreamer Kids!

PWS

09-15-17

 

 

 

 

VOX NEWS: Four Lies (And A Misleading Statement) About DACA From General Gonzo —

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/9/5/16255436/lies-jeff-sessions-daca

VOX reports:

 

“On Tuesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions officially announced the Trump administration will rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which shields nearly 800,000 young, unauthorized immigrants from deportation. Explaining why the Trump administration is ending the program, Sessions made several dubious claims about DACA, including how it has impacted immigration and the American economy. We fact-checked some of those claims.

DACA recipients are mostly “adult illegal aliens”
“The DACA program was implemented in 2012 and essentially provided a legal status for recipients for a renewable two-year term, worker authorization and other benefits, including participation in the Social Security program, to 800,000 mostly adult illegal aliens.”

The majority of DACA recipients are adults now, but the whole reason they were given DACA status in the first place is because they were brought to the United States as children — on average, arriving at the age of 6. The whole point of DACA and the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act (also known as the DREAM Act, which has been introduced several times in Congress but never passed) was that it was a way for immigrant children who were brought to the US by their parents to have a pathway to school and work. DACA was offered to those immigrants precisely because they were young and had the potential to pursue education, get jobs, and become productive members of American society.

When the Obama administration first implemented DACA in 2012, it set a specific age range. In order to apply, immigrants had to arrive in the US before 2007. They needed to have been 15 or younger when they arrived and younger than 31 when DACA was created in June 2012. While DREAMers are often referred to as “kids,” most of them are currently in their 20s, and some are as old as 35. Some now have kids of their own, who are American citizens.

DACA contributed to a “surge of minors” streaming across the border
“The effect of this unilateral executive amnesty, among other things contributed to a surge of minors at the southern border with humanitarian consequences.”

 

While it’s true there has been a surge of unaccompanied minors crossing the border in recent years, there’s a lot of disagreement on whether it has anything to do with DACA. The program was implemented in 2012, while the border surge started a year earlier, in 2011. One study by San Diego State University researchers in 2015 found the surge had much more to do with increasing violence and worsening economic conditions in Central American countries, which were forcing people to flee.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and San Diego State conducted separate surveys of children crossing the border around this time and found that a very small percentage knew anything about DACA or how it could benefit them. Only one out of 400 refugee children surveyed by the UN had ever heard of it. About 15 children out of the 400 surveyed by San Diego State believed they would be treated differently by US border patrol agents, but they didn’t know the specifics of the DACA program. If children were unable to tell border patrol agents that they would be in danger if they were sent back, they were still vulnerable for deportation.

DACA granted unauthorized immigrants the same benefits as Americans, including Social Security
“… and other benefits, including participation in the Social Security program …”

This statement is true, but it could easily be misinterpreted: No DACA immigrant is yet eligible to draw Social Security benefits.

By saying “other benefits,” Sessions seems to imply that immigrants with DACA protection are getting the same public benefits as ordinary American families. That’s not true. DACA workers are not eligible for Obamacare subsidies, Medicaid, food stamps, or cash assistance. The statement also makes it sound like DACA workers are depleting Social Security funds, when in fact the opposite is happening.

Since the program went into effect in 2012, DACA workers and their employers have contributed billions of dollars to the Social Security system through payroll taxes. That means that ending DACA could cost the federal government $19.9 billion in Social Security revenue over ten years, according to the Immigrant Legal Resource Center. Meanwhile, DACA recipients can’t currently collect Social Security benefits. For one, they have to work (legally) at least 10 years to be eligible for them, and DACA has only been around for five years. Second, all DACA recipients are under 36, so they are nowhere near retirement age. For now, then, DACA workers are giving a needed boost to the Social Security system and helping fund the retirements of millions of Americans.

DREAMers took jobs from “hundreds of thousands of Americans”
“It denied jobs to hundreds of thousands of Americans by allowing those same illegal aliens to take those jobs.”

This is almost certainly false. The economic evidence is very clear that immigration is a huge boon for Americans as a whole. In part that’s because of complementarity: Immigrants don’t take jobs from Americans; they let Americans take higher-skill jobs (ones requiring English language fluency, for instance) and complement their labor. America’s past experience confirms this. When the US ended a guest worker program that let Mexican laborers work on US farms in the early 1960s, wages for US farm workers didn’t rise at all, nor did more Americans get jobs. Companies simply bought more machines to make up for the lost workers.

Ending DACA will be good for immigrants
Ending DACA “will enable our country to more effectively teach new immigrants about our system of government and to assimilate them.”

This assertion has the virtue of being impossible to officially prove wrong. It’s rooted in the theory that anything the government does to regularize unauthorized immigrants, ever, will send a message to all would-be future immigrants (now and forever) that they don’t need to follow the law — so the only way to protect the rule of law is to send the message that the rule of law is respected.

Sessions and other immigration hardliners use the idea of “sending a message” to link the government’s policy at the border to its policies toward unauthorized immigrants who are currently in the US. It’s a clever move politically: the majority of Americans want DACA recipients to stay in the US, but they also want the border secure. If they think that doing the former puts the latter in jeopardy, they’re less likely to push for it.

But this theory isn’t just wrong in the particulars (see Sessions’s earlier claims about the link between DACA and the Central American border crisis of 2014). It’s a total misunderstanding of who, exactly, is in the US and would need to be “assimilated.”

The 11 million unauthorized immigrants currently in the US are, for the most part, a settled population. The average unauthorized immigrant has been in the US for over 10 years; the average DACA recipient has been in the US for 20 (having come at an average age of 6, and being on average 26 years old now).

Ironically, those immigrants settled in the US in large part because the US/Mexico border became more tightly patrolled over the 1990s and 2000s. And because they aren’t able to leave the country and return safely, they are less likely to have gone back to their home countries than legal immigrants are.

The result is that unauthorized immigrants are actually much more settled and rooted in the US than their legal-immigrant counterparts.

Ending DACA doesn’t necessarily change that. Immigrants haven’t yet “self-deported” in any large numbers. But ending DACA does make it harder for the immigrants who are settled here — and their US-born children — to fully integrate. Sessions is using the assimilation of hypothetical future immigrants to deny “assimilation” to the immigrants who are here now.

ress but never passed) was that it was a way for immigrant children who were brought to the US by their parents to have a pathway to school and work. DACA was offered to those immigrants precisely because they were young and had the potential to pursue education, get jobs, and become productive members of American society.

When the Obama administration first implemented DACA in 2012, it set a specific age range. In order to apply, immigrants had to arrive in the US before 2007. They needed to have been 15 or younger when they arrived and younger than 31 when DACA was created in June 2012. While DREAMers are often referred to as “kids,” most of them are currently in their 20s, and some are as old as 35. Some now have kids of their own, who are American citizens.

DACA contributed to a “surge of minors” streaming across the border
“The effect of this unilateral executive amnesty, among other things contributed to a surge of minors at the southern border with humanitarian consequences.”

 

While it’s true there has been a surge of unaccompanied minors crossing the border in recent years, there’s a lot of disagreement on whether it has anything to do with DACA. The program was implemented in 2012, while the border surge started a year earlier, in 2011. One study by San Diego State University researchers in 2015 found the surge had much more to do with increasing violence and worsening economic conditions in Central American countries, which were forcing people to flee.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and San Diego State conducted separate surveys of children crossing the border around this time and found that a very small percentage knew anything about DACA or how it could benefit them. Only one out of 400 refugee children surveyed by the UN had ever heard of it. About 15 children out of the 400 surveyed by San Diego State believed they would be treated differently by US border patrol agents, but they didn’t know the specifics of the DACA program. If children were unable to tell border patrol agents that they would be in danger if they were sent back, they were still vulnerable for deportation.

DACA granted unauthorized immigrants the same benefits as Americans, including Social Security
“… and other benefits, including participation in the Social Security program …”

This statement is true, but it could easily be misinterpreted: No DACA immigrant is yet eligible to draw Social Security benefits.

By saying “other benefits,” Sessions seems to imply that immigrants with DACA protection are getting the same public benefits as ordinary American families. That’s not true. DACA workers are not eligible for Obamacare subsidies, Medicaid, food stamps, or cash assistance. The statement also makes it sound like DACA workers are depleting Social Security funds, when in fact the opposite is happening.

Since the program went into effect in 2012, DACA workers and their employers have contributed billions of dollars to the Social Security system through payroll taxes. That means that ending DACA could cost the federal government $19.9 billion in Social Security revenue over ten years, according to the Immigrant Legal Resource Center. Meanwhile, DACA recipients can’t currently collect Social Security benefits. For one, they have to work (legally) at least 10 years to be eligible for them, and DACA has only been around for five years. Second, all DACA recipients are under 36, so they are nowhere near retirement age. For now, then, DACA workers are giving a needed boost to the Social Security system and helping fund the retirements of millions of Americans.

DREAMers took jobs from “hundreds of thousands of Americans”
“It denied jobs to hundreds of thousands of Americans by allowing those same illegal aliens to take those jobs.”

This is almost certainly false. The economic evidence is very clear that immigration is a huge boon for Americans as a whole. In part that’s because of complementarity: Immigrants don’t take jobs from Americans; they let Americans take higher-skill jobs (ones requiring English language fluency, for instance) and complement their labor. America’s past experience confirms this. When the US ended a guest worker program that let Mexican laborers work on US farms in the early 1960s, wages for US farm workers didn’t rise at all, nor did more Americans get jobs. Companies simply bought more machines to make up for the lost workers.

Ending DACA will be good for immigrants
Ending DACA “will enable our country to more effectively teach new immigrants about our system of government and to assimilate them.”

This assertion has the virtue of being impossible to officially prove wrong. It’s rooted in the theory that anything the government does to regularize unauthorized immigrants, ever, will send a message to all would-be future immigrants (now and forever) that they don’t need to follow the law — so the only way to protect the rule of law is to send the message that the rule of law is respected.

Sessions and other immigration hardliners use the idea of “sending a message” to link the government’s policy at the border to its policies toward unauthorized immigrants who are currently in the US. It’s a clever move politically: the majority of Americans want DACA recipients to stay in the US, but they also want the border secure. If they think that doing the former puts the latter in jeopardy, they’re less likely to push for it.

But this theory isn’t just wrong in the particulars (see Sessions’s earlier claims about the link between DACA and the Central American border crisis of 2014). It’s a total misunderstanding of who, exactly, is in the US and would need to be “assimilated.”

The 11 million unauthorized immigrants currently in the US are, for the most part, a settled population. The average unauthorized immigrant has been in the US for over 10 years; the average DACA recipient has been in the US for 20 (having come at an average age of 6, and being on average 26 years old now).

Ironically, those immigrants settled in the US in large part because the US/Mexico border became more tightly patrolled over the 1990s and 2000s. And because they aren’t able to leave the country and return safely, they are less likely to have gone back to their home countries than legal immigrants are.

The result is that unauthorized immigrants are actually much more settled and rooted in the US than their legal-immigrant counterparts.

Ending DACA doesn’t necessarily change that. Immigrants haven’t yet “self-deported” in any large numbers. But ending DACA does make it harder for the immigrants who are settled here — and their US-born children — to fully integrate. Sessions is using the assimilation of hypothetical future immigrants to deny “assimilation” to the immigrants who are here now.”

***********************************

America’s leading xenophobe racist continues to roll out the false White Nationalist narrative.

PWS

09-05-17

VOX: THINK TRUMP IS GOING TO KEEP HIS PROMISE TO CRACK DOWN ON WHITE SUPREMACISTS? — NOT LIKELY, THEY ARE A KEY PART OF HIS “BASE!”

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/8/14/16144598/trump-white-terrorism

Dara Lind writes:

“The president of the United States finally condemned white supremacist violence in Charlottesville on Monday, two days after an initial statement that blamed “both sides” for violence largely instigated by far-right activists (including a car attack on counterprotesters that killed one person and injured 19).

But the only part of his remarks that appeared to promise that he was devoting not just words, but action, to the problem of right-wing extremism in America — “We will spare no resource in fighting so that every American child can grow up free from violence and fear” — was actually the most hollow.

On Saturday, too, Trump promised to get to the root of the problem: “We want to get the situation straightened out in Charlottesville, and we want to study it. And we want to see what we’re doing wrong as a country where things like this can happen.” The problem is that his administration has already indicated that it thinks it knows the answers to these problems. It’s cut funding for outreach to counter white supremacism, while pushing punitive “law and order” responses to civil unrest.

Trump’s willingness to explicitly say that white supremacism is bad (even if it’s only offered in response to criticism) is worth at least something — it’s a nod in the direction that white supremacism is an ideology that ought to be ostracized. But his administration’s actions threaten to undermine any value in countering white supremacism that Trump’s rhetoric might have had.

The Trump administration has systematically rejected efforts to counter right-wing violence

Barely a week after President Trump was inaugurated, rumors began to swirl that he was going to change the name of the federal “Countering Violent Extremism” task force, located in the Department of Homeland Security, to “Countering Islamic Extremism” — and that the task force would accordingly “no longer target groups such as white supremacists who have also carried out bombings and shootings in the United States.”

The task force’s name hasn’t changed. But its function has. After a review of grants provided by the task force, the Trump administration preserved most of the grants (which involved Islamic communities) — but killed a $400,000 grant to Life After Hate, a group that attempts to “deradicalize” young men drawn to white supremacism.

It’s not that the Trump administration didn’t have evidence that right-wing extremism was a potential problem for public safety. According to Foreign Policy, the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI issued a report on May 10 called “White Supremacist Extremism Poses Persistent Threat of Lethal Violence,” which noted that white supremacists “were responsible for 49 homicides in 26 attacks from 2000 to 2016 … more than any other domestic extremist movement.”

But among conservatives skeptical of “identity politics,” there’s been a longstanding resistance to any government warnings about far-right extremist groups. When the Department of Homeland Security published a report in 2009 warning of increased racist extremism after the election of President Obama, the backlash was so intense that the department had to formally retract the report.

. . . .

There’s been a similar turn away from community engagement and toward punitiveness on other fronts. Under Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly (who’s now White House chief of staff), Trump administration officials were indifferent or hostile to concerns that aggressive immigration enforcement might be discouraging victims of crime from reporting to police. Under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Department of Justice has stopped supporting legal “consent decrees” between police departments and local governments to rebuild public trust, while Sessions himself has advocated for a return to maximal punitiveness in criminal punishment and explained that African-American communities need to do a better job of trusting police to protect them.

In both his initial statement Saturday and his remarks Monday, President Trump presented the violence in Charlottesville as primarily a problem of social disorder — something that more and better policing, and more public trust in policing, could solve. It’s an old theme for Trump; “law and order” has been the theme of some of his biggest public moments on the campaign trail and as president. According to the Daily Beast’s Asawin Suebsaeng, Trump was particularly insistent that his Saturday statement on Charlottesville adhere to a “law and order” theme, because he remembered it fondly from the campaign.

Trump may see “law and order” as the solution to everything because it reminds him of his electoral success. Other members of his administration see it as the solution to everything because they believe the fundamental problem is “social disorder,” not racism or white supremacism.

Trump’s willingness to criticize white supremacists by name is welcome and important. But if his administration has already decided what caused the problems in Charlottesville over the weekend, it’s hard to imagine that their attempts to “spare no expense” will get to the root of the problem — and won’t end up targeting the same nonwhite Americans and immigrants that the white nationalists themselves wish to intimidate.”

***************************************************

Read Lind’s entire article at the above link.

I also think the Lind’s observations about Jeff Sessions are “spot on.” I have read other commentators suggest that because Sessions is such a “law and order guy” he can be trusted to prosecute the Charlottesville gang to the fullest extent of the law. That might well be true in this particular case. Clearly, Sessions is someone who historically has and continues to get his jollies from throwing folks in jails of all sorts (unless he can seek the death penalty which excites him even more).

But, Sessions has spent a career on the wrong side of racial history and hung around with immigration restrictionists and White Nationalists like Bannon and Steven Miller (who actually worked for him). He has wasted no time in essentially dismantling the Civil Rights enforcement mechanisms at the DOJ and turning the resources to looking for ways that whites can use civil rights laws for their advantage and to keep blacks and other minorities in their respective places. Further, he shows neither respect for nor acknowledgement of the tremendous achievements of American migrants, both legal and undocumented. In plain terms, he has faithfully carried out key elements of Trump’s White Nationalist agenda, to the delight of white supremacists and racists. And, it’s certainly not like Sessions isn’t aware of how his actions “play” in both the white and non-white communities.

Sessions is far too compromised ever to be an “honest broker” in combating white supremacists and racial hatred in the United States. Even if he throws the Charlottesville perpetrators in jail and throws away the key, he’ll never be credible as a defender of decency, tolerance, and civil rights in the face of White Nationalism or its first cousin white supremacism.

PWS

08-14-17

HISTORY: Matthew Yglesias In VOX Shows How Immigration Made America Great, Right From Our Beginning — It Wasn’t Always About Generosity To Others; It Was Mostly About What Made Us More Successful & Prosperous!

http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/4/3/14624918/the-case-for-immigration

“George Washington set in motion a strategy so radical that it made this country the wealthiest and strongest on Earth — it made America great.

Immigration.

He embraced a vision for an open America that could almost be read today as a form of deep idealism or altruism. “America is open to receive not only the opulent and respectable stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all nations and religions,” he told newly arrived Irishmen in 1783. He assured them they’d be “welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges, if by decency and propriety of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment.”

But Washington’s vision wasn’t primarily about charity or helping others. It was about building the kind of country that he wanted the United States to become. Greatness would require great people. America would need more than it had.

The contemporary debate around immigration is often framed around an axis of selfishness versus generosity, with Donald Trump talking about the need to put “America first” while opponents tell heartbreaking stories of deportations and communities torn apart. A debate about how to enforce the existing law tends to supersede discussion of what the law ought to say.

All of this misses the core point. Immigration to the United States has not, historically, been an act of kindness toward strangers. It’s been a strategy for national growth and national greatness.

. . . .

Last but by no means least, while it’s certainly true that Americans care about the average well-being of American citizens, we also care about something else — greatness, for lack of a better word.

In per capita income terms, the United States has, by most measures, been overtaken by Switzerland. The Netherlands is relatively close behind, and when you consider inequality and quality of public services, the typical Dutch person may well enjoy a higher standard of living than the typical American. This kind of thing matters. But at the same time, there is a reason that when Americans feel anxiety about national decline, they tend to think of China and not Switzerland. The Netherlands is a great place to live, but it hasn’t been a great nation since the early 17th century.

Aggregates matter, in other words.

If Americans had listened to the counsel of the Know-Nothing movement in the 1850s and drastically curtailed immigration from outside of Protestant Europe, it would probably still be a rich country today. But it would be a very different kind of rich country from the one we know — one with fewer, smaller cities mainly focused on exporting agricultural goods and other natural resources to the wider world. A place more like Canada or a supersize version of New Zealand, rather than an industrial and technological powerhouse that intervened decisively in two world wars and anchored a coalition of liberal states to defeat communism.

Going forward, demographers forecast that immigration — both the people it provides directly and the children that immigrants bear and raise — is the only reason America’s working-age population isn’t declining. This is doubly true when you consider that immigrants’ work in the household and child care sectors likely serves to increase native-born Americans’ childbearing as well.
A declining working-age population, seen already in Japan and some southern European countries, poses some serious challenges to a national economy. It tends to push interest rates down to an incredibly low level, making it difficult for central banks to respond to a recession. It also makes it more difficult to sustain public sector retirement programs and elder care more generally.

There are some offsetting upsides (less strain on transportation infrastructure, for example), and, like anything else, the problems are solvable. Fundamentally, however, an America that is shrinking is a country that is going to be a lesser force in the world than an America that is growing. It’s true, of course, that an America that continues to be open to immigrants will be a progressively less white and less Christian country over time. That’s a threatening prospect to many white Christian Americans, who implicitly identify the country in ethnic and sectarian terms. But America’s formal self-definition has never been in those terms.

And for those who believe in the principles of the Declaration of Independence and the value of America’s ideals, accepting a future of decline and retreat in the name of ethnic purity should be unacceptable. That the more homogeneous America will be not just smaller and weaker but also poorer on a per capita basis only underscores what folly it would be to embrace the narrow vision. That hundreds of millions of people around the world would like to move to our shores — and that America has a long tradition of assimilating foreigners and a political mythos and civil culture that is conducive to doing so — is an enormous source of national strength.

It’s time we started to see it that way.”

*********************************

I had these same feelings about many of the “happy cases” that came through my courtroom in Arlington over the years. I was constantly impressed with the courage, dedication, determination, and under-appreciated skills of the folks who came before me. And, I felt inspired and optimistic that they had chosen, notwithstanding hardship and obstacles, to join our national community and help make America even greater. Building America, one case at a time.

PWS

04//03/17

Trump Administration Quietly Drops 9th Circuit Fight In Washington v. Trump — Will Rescind 1st Travel Ban EO And Issue Another!

http://www.vox.com/2017/2/16/14640676/trump-muslim-ban-new-replace

Dara Lind reports on VOX:

“The first thing President Donald Trump repeals and replaces is going to be his own executive order on immigration.

Both Trump, in a press conference, and the Department of Justice, in a court filing, said Thursday that the president is abandoning the order he signed January 27, banning all visa holders from seven majority-Muslim countries and nearly all refugees from entering the United States.

The ban was only in effect for a week before being put on hold by a federal court — and judges around the country have been less than sympathetic to the administration’s arguments for its constitutionality. President Trump continues to believe the judges’ ruling was “a bad decision.” But he’s buckling to it anyway.”

*****************************

The Department of Justice asked the full 9th Circuit to hold the case (Washington v. Trump) in abeyance until a new Executive Order is issued. Presumably, the Department will then argue that the new EO “moots” the case and that the full court therefore should vacate the decision of the 9th Circuit panel temporarily restraining the first Executive Order. In other words, there would no longer be a “case or controversy” once the first EO is rescinded.

There may well be challenges to the new Executive Order.  We will just have to wait and see what it looks like. Most observers expect that the new order will be limited to individuals who have never entered the United States. It might therefore be more difficult to formulate a successful constitutional challenge.

However a separate suite before Judge Brinkema in the EDVA, Aziz v. Trump, analyzed in earlier blogs, had a “religious discrimination” finding that might have a better chance of applying to those whose relatives or businesses are affected by a new EO.

The full article at the link contains a further link to the relevant section of the Department’s latest filing in the 9th Circuit.

Late Breaking Update:

Reuters reports that the 9th Circuit has agreed to hold action on Washington v. Trump pending “further developments.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/appeals-court-suspends-travel-ban-proceedings_us_58a655e0e4b07602ad532f2a?68v1jx9ghrb43g14i&

PWS

02/16/17

Vox Reports More Harsh Executive Actions On Migration May Be In The Offing!

http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/1/25/14390106/leaked-drafts-trump-immigrants-executive-order

“On Tuesday, Vox was given six documents that purported to be draft executive orders under consideration by the Trump administration. The source noted that “all of these documents are still going through formal review” in the Executive Office of the President and “have not yet been cleared by [the Department of Justice or the Office of Legal Counsel].”

We were not, at the time, able to verify the authenticity of the documents and did not feel it would be reasonable to publish or report on them.

But on Wednesday afternoon, Trump signed two executive orders on immigration that word-for-word matched the drafts we’d received. Given that our source had early access to two documents that were proven accurate, and that all the orders closely align with Trump’s stated policies on the campaign trail, we are reporting on the remaining four.

The source cautioned that “there are substantive comments on several of these drafts from multiple elements of NSC staff” and “if previous processes remain the norm, there [are] likely to be some substantive revisions.” It is possible these orders will emerge with substantial changes, or even be scrapped altogether.

We sent the White House PDFs of the documents and left voicemails with aides, but did not receive a response.

The two orders released today by the Trump administration, and delivered yesterday by our source, start the process of building President Trump’s famous “wall,” and make it easier for immigration agents to arrest, detain, and deport unauthorized immigrants at the border and in the US. Those policies are explained in detail here.

The four remaining draft orders obtained by Vox focus on immigration, terrorism, and refugee policy. They wouldn’t ban all Muslim immigration to the US, breaking a Trump promise from early in his campaign, but they would temporarily ban entries from seven majority-Muslim countries and bar all refugees from coming to the US for several months. They would make it harder for immigrants to come to the US to work, make it easier to deport them if they use public services, and put an end to the Obama administration program that protected young “DREAMer” immigrants from deportation.

In all, the combined documents would represent one of the harshest crackdowns on immigrants — both those here and those who want to come here — in memory.”

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See the full Vox story at the link for details on each of the “draft” orders.

PWS

01/25/17