FROM THE “CHASE ARCHIVES:” 24 Years Ago, Jeffrey Chase Stood Up For The Rights Of Asylum Seekers, Due Process, And American Values — H.R. 391 Is A Mindless Recycling Of The Same Horrible Ideas That Chase Opposed Then — Have We Learned Nothing In The Interim?

https://www.jeffreyschase.com/blog/2017/8/3/from-the-archives-my-wall-st-journal-op-ed-sept-9-1993

Jeffrey wrote;

“Last week, the House marked-up H.R. 391, the “Asylum Reform and Border Protection Act of 2017.”  The bill would create significant obstacles for asylum seekers, and increase the risk to unaccompanied children fleeing harm.  Provisions of the bill caused me to think of an op-ed I had written 24 years ago, which was published in The Wall Street Journal.  A different bill, a different President, but many of the same arguments apply.  So many years later, I still become emotional when I remember, as we stepped out of the airport terminal, the little girl excitedly crying out in Farsi: “Maman, azad shodim, azad shodim!” (“Mommy, we’re free, we’re free!)

 

 

‘Mommy, We’re Free!’ — In Defense of Asylum Rights

By Jeffrey S. Chase

 

Five years ago I met Goli (not her real name), a three-year-old Iranian girl detained by the Immigration and Naturalization Service.  Goli’s parents were political opponents of the Ayatollah Khomeini’s government.  Her father was missing in Iran, either killed or imprisoned.  Goli and her mother were forced to seek refuge in, of all places, Iraq.  They had spent the last two years in a camp there.  Goli was small for her age and sickly; she needed surgery unavailable to her in Iraq.  She had never had a real home, or even her own doll.

When Iraq’s war with Iran ended, Goli and her mother were expelled by Saddam Hussein.  They could not return to Iran, where the war’s end was celebrated with the arrests of hundreds of members of the mother’s opposition party.  With little money and nowhere else to go, the mother paid a smuggler to get her and her child to the U.S. with a false passport.  There, they would apply for asylum.  A relative of her husband’s, a physician living in Michigan, would help them settle and arrange for Goli’s much needed medical care.

Goli and her mother were detained on arrival at Kennedy Airport by the INS.  They were immediately scheduled for a hearing before an immigration judge; I was their attorney.  When we met, Goli had a high fever.  A doctor had prescribed antibiotics, but the security guards had not found time to purchase them.  A week later, when she had taken the antibiotics that I insisted be provided, she felt better, and a friendlier captor played with the girl, using her handcuffs as a makeshift toy.

Thanks to the rights afforded by our current asylum laws, Goli and her mother were released after a few weeks to live with their relatives in Michigan.  When her mother carried Goli outdoors for the first time, she cried, “Mommy, we’re free!”

Representing asylum seekers entails much work and aggravation with little or no pay.  The reward is a happy ending.  I have known nearly 100 others like Goli and her mother who have found refuge here in the U.S., away from the terror and chaos reigning in their home countries.  But recently, President Clinton announced legislation, sponsored by Sen. Edward Kennedy (D., Mass.), that would end such happy endings.  Reacting to a “crisis” that doesn’t exist, he has decided to show his political toughness by going after the world’s most vulnerable group, refugees.

Under the president’s bill, asylum seekers arriving here without proper documents will have no right to a lawyer, or a hearing, or an appeal.  The bill ignores the fact that many refugees are forced to escape their homelands without valid papers because there is no time to obtain them or because applying for and carrying the proper documents is too dangerous.

There are other troubling provisions.  According to the new bill, if refugees escaping certain death at home try fleeing to the U.S. aboard a plane that stops in Germany, for example, they would immediately be deported to Germany–even if they never stepped off the plane there.  This provision is similar to one in many Western European nations, whereby refugees are expected to apply for asylum in the first “safe” country they reach.  But sending refugees back to a country where they were “last present” is no guarantee that they will not be deported to their nation of origin.

As an immigration attorney, I’ve heard hundreds of asylum claims: in my office and in detention centers, in courts and airport terminals.  Asylum seekers are not terrorists; they are people like Goli and her mother.  Nor are they statistics; they are flesh and blood.  This phrase takes on added meaning when the flesh is marked with bullet wounds, cigarette burns and other remnants of torture.

I can still see the Afghan teenager, much of whose face was blown off by a Soviet land mine.  I still hear the Muslim man from Bosnia, who wept as he told me how Serbian troops stopped the United Nations bus he rode.  He was spared only when the would-be executioners discovered that the bus was leaving the country, thus assisting them in their “ethnic cleansing.”  After finally escaping Bosnia, he stopped briefly in another country en route to the U.S.  The Clinton legislation would deport him, and similarly the Liberian boy I met who told me how he survived a massacre by a rival clan by lying still among the corpses until the attackers left.

Even some who are sympathetic to such cases may feel that the U.S. cannot accept all of the world’s refugees.  We don’t.  There are 17 million refugees in the world.  Of the 300 million aliens the INS inspected last year at ports of entry, only 15,000 applied for asylum.  This means that 0.005% of the people who sought admission to the U.S. were asylum applicants.  Ironically, such exemplars of human rights as Iran and Pakistan accept far more.  Contrary to media reports, we have not “lost control of our borders” to “teeming hordes” of asylum seekers.  While some individuals abuse the system, their number is too small to justify all the ills assigned to them by nativist organizations.

Under the proposed legislation, if refugees somehow managed to reach the U.S. directly, they would have to present their cases on the spot at the airport to a junior level INS official.  The asylum seeker would have no right to compile evidence supporting their requests for asylum, call witnesses, or even consult a lawyer.  If this legislation becomes law, a person fighting a parking ticket would have more rights in our country than a Muslim fleeing certain death in Bosnia.

The answer to the asylum question is not to turn away genuine refugees.  Administrative improvements to preserve legal protections for refugees are urgently needed.  More asylum officers and faster and fairer processing of asylum cases would eliminate any instances of abuse.  They would also make possible more happy endings for the world’s future Golis.

 

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H.R. 391 is simply appalling in its false premises and its ignorance about what really happens in the U.S. asylum system.  And, make no mistake about it — even without the “gonzo” proposals contained in H.R. 391, we are knowingly and intentionally sending plenty of innocent folks back to countries in the Northern Triangle to be preyed upon by gangs, corrupt governments, or both, too many without receiving even the trappings of real due process.  Why not fix the due process problems in the current asylum system, rather than trying to further diminish the already limited rights of asylum seekers? For a fraction of the money Trump & Co. propose to waste on unneeded additional enforcement agents and an idiotic border wall, the asylum system could be fixed to run smoothly, efficiently, and fairly!
PWS
08-03-17

WSJ: 47 Years Have Passed, But The Mariel Boatlift Is Still Generating Controversy!

https://www.wsj.com/article_email/the-great-mariel-boatlift-experiment-1497630468-lMyQjAxMTI3NTEyNzIxMDc0Wj/

Ben Leubsdorf writes in the WSJ:

“In the spring and summer of 1980, some 125,000 Cuban refugees sailed from the port town of Mariel on fishing boats and pleasure craft toward the U.S., many destined to settle in Miami.

Nearly four decades later, that exodus is at the center of an unresolved, sometimes bitter argument among economists, hinging on a basic question: When foreigners come to the U.S., does their presence drive down the wages of native workers? The long-running dispute has gained new relevance as the Trump administration tries to implement and enforce a stricter immigration policy.

Research published a decade after the Mariel boatlift, as well as more recent analyses, concluded that the influx of Cuban migrants didn’t significantly raise unemployment or lower wages for Miamians. Immigration advocates said the episode showed that the U.S. labor market could quickly absorb migrants at little cost to American workers.

But Harvard University’s George Borjas, a Cuban-born specialist in immigration economics, reached very different conclusions. Looking at data for Miami after the boatlift, he concluded that the arrival of the Marielitos led to a large decline in wages for low-skilled local workers.

 While the debate rages in the academy and online, Dr. Borjas and his views are ascendant in the political realm. Attorney General Jeff Sessions cited his research for years while a senator. President Donald Trump, with whom Dr. Borjas met during last year’s campaign, has echoed the Harvard economist’s research by regularly saying that low-wage immigrants hurt some Americans.

“This is his moment,” said David Card, the author of the early research on the boatlift that Dr. Borjas is seeking to upend. (The Justice Department declined to comment, and the White House didn’t respond to requests for comment.)

Dr. Borjas has sparred for years with Dr. Card, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley, as well as with Giovanni Peri of the University of California, Davis. In 2015, Dr. Borjas and Dr. Peri released papers three months apart that arrived at wildly different conclusions about Mariel.

The argument among the academics—all immigrants themselves—has escalated into charges of bias and bad faith. Dr. Peri and a co-author dismissed Dr. Borjas’s study as having “serious limitations.” Dr. Borjas fired back that “sloppiness” in their own paper “helps obfuscate what your eyes can clearly see and leads to a claim that nothing at all happened in post-Mariel Miami.”

Dr. Card and Dr. Peri, reviewing a textbook by Dr. Borjas several months later, said that he only “presents half the story about the economics of immigration.” Last fall, in another book, Dr. Borjas compared Dr. Peri to Marxist-Leninist teachers in his native Cuba: “They believed. All that was left was to compel everyone else to believe as well.”

The real-world stakes in the dispute are considerable. More than 43 million U.S. residents were born somewhere else, and most of the rest are descended from immigrants. Still, for more than two centuries, waves of migration have provoked backlashes from Americans worried about the nation’s economy, culture and social makeup.

Among economists today, there is little controversy about the benefits of immigration for the economy as a whole. A roughly 500-page assessment last year by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, which reviewed decades of research, concluded that immigrants are “integral to the nation’s economic growth” and have little or no effect on overall employment and earnings for workers already in the U.S.

A Cuban refugee rests on his cot in Miami’s ‘tent city,’ Aug. 18, 1980. At the time, five out of every six working-age Cuban refugees in Florida’s Dade County were without a job.
A Cuban refugee rests on his cot in Miami’s ‘tent city,’ Aug. 18, 1980. At the time, five out of every six working-age Cuban refugees in Florida’s Dade County were without a job.PHOTO: ASSOCIATED PRESS

The report said that experiences aren’t the same for everyone and noted that some studies have found “sizable negative short run wage impacts” for U.S.-born high-school dropouts, the group most likely to compete for work with low-skilled immigrants.

“There’s no free lunch. There’s going to be some effect of immigration” on wages, said Pia Orrenius, a senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and a member of the panel that wrote the 2016 report. But, she added, the flexible U.S. economy adapts and should render any hit to the wages of native workers “a short-run phenomenon.”

Those most exposed to competition from new arrivals have long been a focus for Dr. Borjas. “Immigration is not like manna from heaven,” he said. “It can be great on average, but it doesn’t mean that every single person benefits.”

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Read the entire article at the link.

First, I find it interesting that Dr. Borjas, who came here as an immigrant, seems so highly motivated to prove that those who came after him weren’t as “worthy.”  Sort of a “I’m OK, but you guys not so much” approach.

Second, none of these studies seem to go into the human element of immigration. What were to forces that drove the Marielitos to come? What have they accomplished in the long run? Did Americans in low wage jobs in Miami really sink into poverty and go on welfare, or did they just move on to other types of work that perhaps paid more?

Third, why don’t economists spend less time on analyzing the past and more time on figuring out how to minimize or avoid any adverse effects of immigration, even if those effects are only short-term and unequally distributed across the working population.

Fourth, I was at the “Legacy INS” during the boatlift and was involved in an intense effort to stop it. We used arrests, mass detention, vessel seizures, fines, criminal prosecutions, deterrents, warnings and public service announcements, and exclusion proceedings. But, frankly, nothing really worked until Castro closed the port of Mariel again. The Cuban Adjustment Act, which is still in effect, also made it difficult or impossible to return Cubans who had no prior criminal records.

Eventually, the Reagan Administration came up with controversial policy of high seas interdiction, which has been used in the Caribbean to some extent by every succeeding Administration. Although interdiction survived Supreme Court review, it has criticized by many and is inconsistent with at least the spirit, if not the letter, of the UN Convention and Protocol, to which we are a party. I doubt, however, that interdiction could have stopped the Cuban boat lift, given the large number of boats and American citizens of Cuban descent who participated in going to Mariel to transport relatives, friends, or former neighbors or co-workers who wanted to leave Cuba.

Fifth, and finally, I find the Mariel Boatlift to be one of the “major events” of modern U.S. refugee history.  It has left a legacy of four enforcement strategies that are still with us today:

 * The use of long-term mass civil immigration detention as a deterrent;

* High seas interdiction;

* Overall negative vibes and case law on asylum applicants who are part of a so-callled “mass migration situation” (“Scarface Syndrome,” a reference to the Al Pacino movie about a Cuban drug kingpin who used the boatlift to get a foothold in the U.S.);

* A belief that the case-by-case adjudication procedures established by the Refugee Act of 1980 are inadequate to handle mass migrations (probably one of the origins of “expedited removal” procedures).

PWS

06-18-17

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WSJ: H-1B Visa Demand Falls — Technological Changes Responsible?

https://www.wsj.com/article_email/use-of-h1b-visas-fell-before-donald-trumps-critiques-of-program-1496682157-lMyQjAxMTE3NTA3NjQwMTYxWj/

The WSJ reports:

“WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump has suggested he might find a way to cut the number of coveted H-1B visas awarded to outsourcing firms. But the companies appear to be heading in that direction all on their own, amid technological changes.

Outsourcers’ use of H-1B visas, which are reserved for highly skilled foreign workers, fell last year, before Mr. Trump won the Republican presidential nomination, new data show. The slide occurred alongside increasing criticism of the firms’ business model.

Mr. Trump has criticized the lottery that is now used, where companies all have equal chances at the scarce visas, and signed an executive order directing a review of the program. The order called for changes that would ensure visas are awarded to “the most skilled and the highest paid” applicants, to avoid crowding out American workers.

Six of the seven prominent Indian-based outsourcing companies that do work in the U.S. received fewer H-1B visas in 2016 than they did in 2015, and as a group their numbers dropped 37%, according to a new analysis by the National Foundation for American Policy, a think tank that backs increasing the total number of H-1B visas available. Most outsourcers based in the U.S. and elsewhere also saw declines.

For instance, H-1B visas awarded to India’s biggest outsourcer by revenue, Tata Consultancy Services Ltd., plummeted by 56% to 2,040 last year from 4,674 in 2015. For Wipro Ltd, another major Indian firm, the number also dropped by more than half to 1,474 from 3,079 in 2015.

Other research from previous years shows that the use of H-1Bs by individual outsourcing companies peaked in 2012 and 2013, sliding ever since. Many expect that the number of visas given to outsourcers will decline again for 2017, but those numbers aren’t yet available.

Meanwhile, the number of visas awarded to some large U.S. technology firms, who have a different business model and compete with outsourcers for visas, increased last year. Amazon.com Inc., Microsoft Corp., Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Apple Inc. all received more visas than they did in 2015, the new data show. Such companies typically use the visas to recruit employees with rare skills that attract higher wages than staff employed by outsourcers, and have come under less criticism.

Each year, 85,000 H-1B visas are available, and for the last several years they have been awarded by lottery conducted in April because of overwhelming demand.

Following this year’s lottery, Mr. Trump criticized the process and suggested more visas should go to high-paid jobs as opposed to a lottery where each application has equal chance. Because many outsourcing jobs are paid the minimum required to comply with certain rules—around $60,000 a year—many interpreted Mr. Trump’s comments as a warning to the outsourcers and a possible boon to big tech companies that pay high salaries.”

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Read the full WSJ article at the link.

I also blogged about the need for H1-B reforms yesterday.

 

http://wp.me/p8eeJm-VJ

PWS

06-06-17

10th Amendment Scoring A Comeback At Both Ends Of The Political Spectrum

 

https://www.wsj.com/article_email/federalism-for-the-left-and-the-right-1495210904-lMyQjAxMTE3MTIyMDUyNTA0Wj/

Jeffrey Rosen writes in the WSJ:

“President Donald Trump has issued a series of controversial executive orders on immigration that are now tangled up in federal courts. Judges in Hawaii and Maryland have blocked the president’s ban on travelers from six mostly Muslim countries, and another judge in Seattle has blocked his executive order threatening to remove federal funding for “sanctuary cities” that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration agents.

If this contest between branches of government sounds familiar, it should. President Barack Obama also tried to use executive orders to push through his own very different immigration policies, and he was similarly rebuffed by the courts. They held that he lacked the unilateral authority to shield millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation.
There’s a lesson in the symmetry of these two examples, and figures from across the political and ideological spectrum are increasingly embracing it: Many of the issues that recent presidents have tried to decide at the national level through executive orders are best resolved at the state or local levels instead. In an era of fierce partisan divisions, all sides are beginning to see the virtues of our federal system in accommodating differences—and encouraging experimentation—on issues such as immigration, law enforcement and education.

Federalism has long been a cause on the right, but now it’s just as likely to be a rallying cry on the left. Rep. Zoe Lofgren, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary’s immigration and border-security subcommittee, recently said: “The Constitution, specifically the Tenth Amendment, protects states’ rights, and it prohibits federal actions that commandeer state and local officials. When it comes to immigration, these principles seem to be overlooked.”

The framers of the Constitution would be pleased with this emerging consensus. By creating a national government with limited powers, they intended to allow the states and local governments to pursue a range of different policies on matters within what used to be called their “police powers”—that is, their authority to regulate behavior, maintain order and promote the public good within their own territory. The founders considered this arrangement the best way to protect liberty and diversity of opinion, as well as to defend political minorities from nationalist tyranny and concentrated power.”

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Perhaps this is a return to constitutionalism.  But, perhaps it’s more representative of the failure of Congress to effectively address the need for comprehensive immigration reform.

PWS

05-21-17

“This Is The Trump Era” — Jeff Sessions Visits S. Border — Announces New Emphasis On Immigration Crimes — Although Majority of Feds’ Prosecutions Already Immigraton-Related, Enough Is Never Enough! — “Incarceration Nation” Coming! Sessions Also Seeks 125 New U.S. Immigration Judges Over Next 2 Years — Sessions “Disses” Forensic Science At DOJ!

https://www.wsj.com/articles/sessions-lays-out-tough-policy-on-undocumented-who-commit-crimes-1491930183

Aruna Viswanatha reports in the WSJ:

“Attorney General Jeff Sessions directed federal prosecutors to pursue harsher charges against undocumented immigrants who commit crimes, or repeatedly cross into the U.S. illegally, and promised to add 125 immigration judges in the next two years to address a backlog of immigration cases.

The moves are part of the administration’s efforts to deter illegal immigration and is meant to target gangs and smugglers, though non-violent migrants could also face more severe prosecutions.

In a memo issued Tuesday, Mr. Sessions instructed prosecutors to make a series of immigration offenses “higher priorities,” including transporting or harboring illegal immigrants, illegally entering or reentering the country, or assaulting immigration enforcement agents.

In remarks to border patrol agents at the U.S.-Mexico border in Nogales, Arizona on Tuesday, Mr. Sessions spoke in stark terms about the threat he said illegal immigration poses.

“We mean criminal organizations that turn cities and suburbs into warzones, that rape and kill innocent citizens,” Mr. Sessions said, according to the text of his prepared remarks. “It is here, on this sliver of land, where we first take our stand against this filth.”

“This is a new era. This is the Trump era,” Mr. Sessions said.

Former prosecutors said they didn’t expect the memo to dramatically impact U.S. attorneys offices along the southern border, which already bring thousands of such cases each year. They said it could impact those further inland, which haven’t historically focused on immigration violations.

In the fiscal year that ended in September 2016, 52% of all federal criminal prosecutions involved immigration-related offenses, according to Justice Department data analyzed by Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University.

. . . .

Immigration advocates said they worried that the memo and tone set by the administration was describing a closer link between criminal behavior and immigration than statistics show.

“We are seeing an over-emphasis on prosecuting, at the federal level, immigration, illegal entry and reentry cases, and far less paid to criminal violations that implicate public safety,” said Gregory Chen, director of advocacy for the American Immigration Lawyers Association.”

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On April 8, 2017, Sari Horowitz reported in the Washington Post on how Sessions’s enthusiastic plans to reinstitute the largely discredited “war on drugs” is likely to “jack up” Federal Prison populations:

“Crime is near historic lows in the United States, but Sessions says that the spike in homicides in several cities, including Chicago, is a harbinger of a “dangerous new trend” in America that requires a tough response.
“Our nation needs to say clearly once again that using drugs is bad,” Sessions said to law enforcement officials in a speech in Richmond last month. “It will destroy your life.”

Advocates of criminal justice reform argue that Sessions and Cook are going in the wrong direction — back to a strategy that tore apart families and sent low-level drug offenders, disproportionately minority citizens, to prison for long sentences.

“They are throwing decades of improved techniques and technologies out the window in favor of a failed approach,” said Kevin Ring, president of Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM).”

. . . .

Cook and Sessions have also fought the winds of change on Capitol Hill, where a bipartisan group of lawmakers recently tried but failed to pass the first significant bill on criminal justice reform in decades.

The legislation, which had 37 sponsors in the Senate, including Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) and Mike Lee (R-Utah), and 79 members of the House, would have reduced some of the long mandatory minimum sentences for gun and drug crimes. It also would have given judges more flexibility in drug sentencing and made retroactive the law that reduced the large disparity between sentencing for crack cocaine and powder cocaine.

The bill, introduced in 2015, had support from outside groups as diverse as the Koch brothers and the NAACP. House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) supported it, as well.

But then people such as Sessions and Cook spoke up. The longtime Republican senator from Alabama became a leading opponent, citing the spike in crime in several cities.

“Violent crime and murders have increased across the country at almost alarming rates in some areas. Drug use and overdoses are occurring and dramatically increasing,” said Sessions, one of five members of the Senate Judiciary Committee who voted against the legislation. “It is against this backdrop that we are considering a bill . . . to cut prison sentences for drug traffickers and even other violent criminals, including those currently in federal prison.”
Cook testified that it was the “wrong time to weaken the last tools available to federal prosecutors and law enforcement agents.”

After GOP lawmakers became nervous about passing legislation that might seem soft on crime, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) declined to bring the bill to the floor for a vote.

“Sessions was the main reason that bill didn’t pass,” said Inimai M. Chettiar, the director of the Justice Program at the Brennan Center for Justice. “He came in at the last minute and really torpedoed the bipartisan effort.”

Now that he is attorney general, Sessions has signaled a new direction. As his first step, Sessions told his prosecutors in a memo last month to begin using “every tool we have” — language that evoked the strategy from the drug war of loading up charges to lengthen sentences.

And he quickly appointed Cook to be a senior official on the attorney general’s task force on crime reduction and public safety, which was created following a Trump executive order to address what the president has called “American carnage.”

“If there was a flickering candle of hope that remained for sentencing reform, Cook’s appointment was a fire hose,” said Ring, of FAMM. “There simply aren’t enough backhoes to build all the prisons it would take to realize Steve Cook’s vision for America.”

. . . .

Sessions’s aides stress that the attorney general does not want to completely upend every aspect of criminal justice policy.

“We are not just sweeping away everything that has come before us.” said Robyn Thiemann, the deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Policy, who is working with Cook and has been at the Justice Department for nearly 20 years. “The attorney general recognizes that there is good work out there.”

Still, Sessions’s remarks on the road reveal his continued fascination with an earlier era of crime fighting.

In the speech in Richmond, he said, “Psychologically, politically, morally, we need to say — as Nancy Reagan said — ‘Just say no.’ ”

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Not surprisingly, Sessions’s actions prompted a spate of critical commentary, the theme of which was the failure of the past “war on drugs” and “Just say no to Jeff Sessions.” You can search them on the internet, but here is a representative example, an excerpt from a posting by Rebecca Bergenstein Joseph in “Health Care Musings:”

“We Can’t Just Say No
Posted on April 9, 2017 by Rebecca Bergenstein Joseph
Three decades ago, Nancy Reagan launched her famous anti-drug campaign when she told American citizens, “Say yes to your life. And when it comes to alcohol and drugs, just say no.” 1 Last month, Attorney General Jeff Sessions invoked the former First Lady’s legacy in a speech to Virginia law enforcement when he said, “ I think we have too much tolerance for drug use– psychologically, politically, morally. We need to say, as Nancy Reagan said, ‘Just say no.’”2 As our nation is confronted on a daily basis with the tragic effects of the opioid epidemic, it is important that we understand just how dangerous it is to suggest that we return to the ‘just say no’ approach.

In the 1980s and 1990s, the ‘just say no’ curriculum became the dominant drug education program nationwide in the form of DARE.3 The DARE program– Drug Abuse Resistance Education– was developed in 1983 by the Los Angeles police chief in collaboration with a physician, Dr. Ruth Rich. The pair adapted a drug education curriculum that was in the development process at University of Southern California in order to create a program that would be taught by police officers and would teach students to resist the peer pressure to use alcohol and drugs. With the backdrop of the War on Drugs that had continued from the Nixon presidency into the Reagan era, DARE grew quickly. Communities understandably wanted to prevent their children from using alcohol and drugs. The program was soon being used in 75% of schools nationwide and had a multimillion dollar budget.3 In fact, I would bet that many of you reading this are DARE graduates. I certainly am.

It did not take long for there to be research showing that the ‘just say no’ approach used in DARE was not working. By the early 1990s there were multiple studies showing that DARE had no effect on its graduates choices regarding alcohol and drug use.4 The decision to ignore the research about DARE culminated when the National Institute of Justice evaluated the program in 1994, concluded that it was ineffective, and proceeded to not publish this finding. In the 10 years that followed, DARE was subjected to evaluation by the Department of Education, the U.S Surgeon General’s Office, and the Government Accountability Office.4 The combined effect of these evaluations was the eventual transformation of DARE into an evidence-based curriculum, Keepin’ It REAL, which was released in 2011.5 But this only happened after billions of dollars were spent on a program that did not work and millions of students received inadequate drug education.

And yet, here we are again. The top law enforcement officer in our nation is suggesting that we go back to the days where elementary and middle school students were told that all they needed to do was ‘just say no.’”

Read the complete post here:

https://sites.tufts.edu/cmph357/author/rjosep06/

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Finally, just yesterday, on April 10, 2017, Spenser S. Hsu reported in the Washington Post that Sessions was “canning” the “National Commission on Forensic Science, a roughly 30-member advisory panel of scientists, judges, crime lab leaders, prosecutors and defense lawyers chartered by the Obama administration in 2013” as a consultant to the DOJ on proper forensic standards.

In plain terms, in Session’s haste to rack up more criminal convictions and appear “tough on crime,” the quality of the evidence or the actual guilt or innocence of those charged becomes merely “collateral damage” in the “war on crime.”

Here’s a portion of what Hsu had to say:

“Several commission members who have worked in criminal courts and supported the input of independent scientists said the department risks retreating into insularity and repeating past mistakes, saying that no matter how well-intentioned, prosecutors lack scientists’ objectivity and training.

U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff of New York, the only federal judge on the commission, said, “It is unrealistic to expect that truly objective, scientifically sound standards for the use of forensic science . . . can be arrived at by entities centered solely within the Department of Justice.”

In suspending reviews of past testimony and the development of standards for future reporting, “the department has literally decided to suspend the search for the truth,” said Peter S. Neufeld, co-founder of the Innocence Project, which has reported that nearly half of 349 DNA exonerations involved misapplications of forensic science. “As a consequence innocent people will languish in prison or, God forbid, could be executed,” he said.

However, the National District Attorneys Association, which represents prosecutors, applauded the end of the commission and called for it to be replaced by an Office of Forensic Science inside the Justice Department. Disagreements between crime lab practitioners and defense community representatives on the commission had reduced it to “a think tank,” yielding few accomplishments and wasted tax dollars, the association said.

The commission was created after critical reports by the National Academy of Sciences about a dearth of standards and funding for crime labs, examiners and researchers, problems it partly traced to law enforcement control over the system.

Although examiners had long claimed to be able to match pattern evidence — such as with firearms or bite marks — to a source with “absolute” or “scientific” certainty, only DNA analysis had been validated through statistical research, scientists reported.

In one case, the FBI lab in 2005 abandoned its four-decade-long practice of tracing bullets to a specific manufacturer’s batch through chemical analyses after its method were scientifically debunked. In 2015, the department and bureau reported that nearly every examiner in an elite hair-analysis unit gave scientifically flawed or overstated testimony in 90 percent of cases for two decades before 2000.

The cases include 32 defendants sentenced to death. Of those, 14 have been executed or died in prison.”

Here is a link to the full article by Hsu: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/sessions-orders-justice-dept-to-end-forensic-science-commission-suspend-review-policy/2017/04/10/2dada0ca-1c96-11e7-9887-1a5314b56a08_story.html?utm_term=.97b814db4eac&wpisrc=nl_buzz&wpmm=1

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I “get” that some of the advocacy groups quoted in these articles could be considered “interested parties” and/or “soft on crime” in the world of hard-core prosecutors. But, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), and the Koch brothers “soft on crime?” Come on, man!

Capitalist theory says that as long as there is a nearly insatiable “market” in the United States for illegal drugs, and a nearly inexhaustible “supply” abroad, there is going to be drug-related crime. Harsher sentences might increase risks and therefore “jack up market prices” for “consumers” of “product,” while creating “new job opportunities” for “middlemen” who will have to take (and be compensated for) more risks and invest in more expensive business practices (such as bribery, or manipulation of the legal system) to get the product “to market.”

But, you can bet that until we deal with the “end causes” in a constructive manner, neither drug trafficking nor trafficking in undocumented individuals is likely to change much in the long run.

Indeed, authorities have been cutting off heads, hands, feet, and other appendages, drawing and quartering, hanging, crucifying, shooting, gassing, injecting, racking, mutilating, imprisoning in dungeons, transporting, banishing, and working to death those who have committed crimes, both serious and not so serious, for centuries. But, strangely, such harsh practices, while certainly diminishing the humanity of those who inflict them, have had little historical effect on crime. The most obvious effects have been more dead and damaged individuals, overcrowded prisons, and angry disaffected families.

125 new U.S. Immigration Judges should be good news for the beleaguered U.S. Immigration Courts. But, even assuming that Congress goes along, at the glacial pace the DOJ and EOIR have been hiring Immigration Judges over the past two Administrations, it could take all four years of Trump’s current term to get them on board and actually deciding cases.

More bad news: Added to the approximately 375 Immigration Judges currently authorized (but, only about 319 actually on the bench), that would bring the total to 500 Immigration Judges. Working at the current 750 completions/year (50% above the “optimum” of 500 completions/year) the currently authorized 375 Immigration Judges could complete fewer than 300,000 cases/year consistent with due process — barely enough to keep up with historic receipts, let alone the “enhanced enforcement” promised by the Trump Administration. They would not have to capacity to address the current “backlog” of approximately 550,000 cases.

If receipts remained “flat,” the 125 “new” Immigration Judges contemplated by AG Sessions could go to work on on the backlog. But, it would take them about 6 years to wipe out the 550,000 case existing backlog.

PWS

04/11/17

 

 

 

Judge Neil Gorsuch Confirmed By Senate On 54-45 Vote — Will Be Sworn In As Associate Justice On Monday, Replacing The Late Justice Antonin Scalia!

https://www.wsj.com/articles/senate-expected-to-confirm-neil-gorsuch-as-supreme-court-justice-1491557404

The WSJ reports:

“WASHINGTON—The Senate on Friday confirmed Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, ending a 14-month vacancy on the high court that spanned two presidential administrations and sparked one of the most bitter political fights in Washington in recent memory.

In a vote that fell largely upon partisan lines, Judge Gorsuch was approved as the next associate justice of the Supreme Court by 54-45. Three Democrats crossed the aisle to support Judge Gorsuch’s nomination, while he drew unanimous support from Senate Republicans.

“This brilliant, honest, humble man is a judge’s judge. And he will make a superb justice,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.), who had opposed Judge Gorsuch as an out-of-the-mainstream conservative, acknowledged defeat but said he hoped the new justice wouldn’t be bound by the conservative groups that advised President Donald Trump on the choice.

“We are charging Judge Gorsuch to be the independent and fair-minded justice that America badly needs,” Mr. Schumer said. “If he is instead a justice for the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation, that will spell trouble for America.”

The only senator not voting was Johnny Isakson (R., Ga.), who is recovering from surgery.

The new justice will be sworn in Monday morning during a private ceremony at the Supreme Court, followed later in the day by a public ceremony at the White House. He will join his new colleagues on the bench on April 17, filling the seat held for three decades by the late Justice Antonin Scalia.”

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I continue to think that the Democrats made a mistake in picking the Gorsuch nomination to make a “stand.”  A stand on what? That a GOP President doesn’t have a right to appoint a well-qualified conservative jurist to the Court? How does that follow? Doesn’t a Democrat have a right to appoint a well-qualified more liberal jurist?

Yes, the GOP and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) treated an outstanding, moderately liberal jurist, Chief Judge Merrick Garland with total shabbiness and disrespect. But, hey, we’re talking about Mitch McConnell here; perhaps one of the wiliest and shrewdest legislators ever to walk the halls of the Senate, but hardly anyone’s choice for the classiest or most decent.

And none of this was Judge Gorsuch’s fault. He respects Chief Judge Garland and made it clear that he did not agree with the way he was treated.

The political problem was that the Democrats had lost control of the Senate, and notwithstanding making control of the Supremes a major campaign issue, they lost both the Presidency and the Senate in 2016. Winners have leverage, losers don’t.

The real solution here is for the Dems to get out there and win some elections, at all levels. And, if anything, the ill-advised Gorsuch battle made them look no more like the “party of adults” than the  GOP.

I think Justice Gorsuch will be engaged, scholarly, collegial, and fair within his own very conservative philosophical framework. And, all of us who are or have been judges are, to some extent, prisoners of our own backgrounds, philosophies, and life experiences.

But, being on a collegial court with those holding other views forces a judge to listen to other views, consider other possible outcomes, and to reexamine carefully the legal and intellectual justifications for one’s own positions. That’s about all you can ask of a jurist. And, I’m relatively certain that somewhere down the line, Judge Gorsuch will cast some votes, write, and join some opinions that will surprise both his supporters and detractors.  And, that will be a good thing for the U.S. justice system. It’s what judicial independence and separation of powers is all about.

PWS

04/08/17

“Extreme Vetting” Proposal Draws Fire From Sen. McCaskill!

http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2017/04/05/claire-mccaskill-denounces-un-american-extreme-vetting-proposals/

LAURA MECKLER AND DAN FROSCH report in the WSJ:

“The senior Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security Committee said Wednesday the “extreme vetting” procedures contemplated by the Trump administration would alienate U.S. allies, deter legitimate travelers and fail to keep out security threats.

“It seems to me we are signaling something that is very un-American to the rest of the world,” Sen. Claire McCaskill (D., Mo.) told Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly at a hearing of the Senate panel.

The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that the Trump administration was considering new vetting rules that would ask visa applicants to provide cell phone contacts and social media passwords as well as answer probing questions about their ideology. A senior Homeland Security official said the changes could apply to close U.S. allies as well as visitors from other countries.

“If they know we’re going to look at their phones and we know we’re going to ask them questions about their ideology, they’re going to get rid of their phones and guess what they’re going to do on ideology? They’re going to lie,” she said.

Mr. Kelly did not respond directly to her criticism or to the Journal story. Rather, he spoke about current procedures at ports of entry and said that visitors’ phones are examined only in rare cases during secondary screenings.

“This is not routine,” he said. “It is done in a very small number of cases. It won’t be done routinely for people who are coming here from anywhere.”

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You have to wonder about any Administration dumb enough to call a proposal “extreme vetting.” The campaign is over (at least for now). While intentionally inflammatory language might play well with the base, in the real world of governing it’s better to choose more “bureaucratically neutral” terms.

PWS

04-05-17

Kim Gould In The WSJ Opinion/Letters: “This Immigrant Problem Is More Imagined Than Real”

http://This Immigrant Problem Is More Imagined Than Real

“I suspect that the readers who comment negatively about today’s immigrants not assimilating into American culture don’t know any and have spent no time with them (Letters, March 28 responding to Bret Stephens’s “‘Other People’s Babies,’” Global View, March 21). Challenge yourself to do this: Go volunteer at your local school and meet some of the kids, go to community gatherings and meet the parents. You will be pleasantly surprised. Many, possibly most, espouse the best of traditional American conservative values: hard work, a focus on education, thrift, industry and a strong interest in engaging with the larger American community.

Kim Gould

Seattle”

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Couldn’t agree with your more, Kim! Not only is this the experience I have had with the overwhelming number of migrants coming before me over 13 years at the Arlington Immigration Court, but it also matches the “real life” experience our church has had through association with wonderful groups like “Casa Chirilagua” and the “Kids Club” in our Alexandria, Virginia community.

Moreover, there is no such thing as “other people’s babies.” We are morally responsible for the well-being of all children in America, regardless of status. Being fortunate enough to live in the United States is a great privilege and fortune that those of us who were born U.S. citizens received through absolutely no personal merit of our own. Interestingly, only foreign-born naturalized citizens had to go through a merit-based process to achieve U.S. citizenship. With great privilege, comes great responsibility.

PWS

04-05-17

WSJ: “The Wall” In Maps & Pictures

http://www.wsj.com/graphics/border-wall/

Stephanie Stamm, Renée Rigdon, and Dudley Althaus put together this outstanding illustrated article about the border wall, giving you a real life picture of what’s there now and where the most entries occur:

“President Donald Trump has promised to build a wall along the 2,000-mile U.S. border with Mexico, a project that would total $21 billion, according to an internal Department of Homeland Security estimate. Only about 650 miles of the border have some sort of fencing today, and adding to that is complicated by geography, politics, land-ownership issues and funding.
Here’s a breakdown of which Southwest border-patrol sectors have the most apprehensions—defined as an arrest of removable aliens—versus the most or least amount of fencing. It is important to note that border security is defined by more than fencing. According to Homeland Security, manpower, communication, lights and technology all aid physical barriers.

. . . .

This stretch of the border is where most migrants—including large numbers of Central Americans and other non-Mexicans—have been crossing. In many cases, people are turning themselves over to Border Patrol agents.”

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The last sentence of the above quote is worthy of some consideration. Contrary to popular notions that folks are trying to evade detection and “lose” themselves in the U.S. many, perhaps the majority, of the individuals fleeing the “Northern Triangle” of Central America turn themselves in to the Border Portal or at ports of entry and seek asylum.

I think that it is unlikely that increased detention, summary proceedings, and sophomoric warnings about the dangers of the journey (anyone seriously think that folks south of the border don’t understand the danger — come on man!) will in the long run deter those fleeing to save their lives.

However, it is possible that we eventually could convince refugees that we will mistreat them or not fairly hear their claims. In that case, they are likely to stop turning themselves in and simply invoke “self help refuge” by evading apprehension and losing themselves in the vastness of America — similar to what those crossing the border illegally have been doing for the most of the four decades that I have been involved with immigration enforcement, policy, and adjudication.

Human migration, border control. law enforcement, and refugee/asylum policy are extremely complex subjects. So far, the Trump Administration has chosen to address them in simplistic, one-dimensional ways that, to various degrees, have failed in the past and are likely to continue to do so.

PWS

03/30/17

WSJ: Needed: More Legal Immigration — Sorry DT, You, Sessions, Bannon, Miller, And Your Nationalistic Xenophobia Are Weighing Down The U.S. Economy And Costing Jobs!

https://www.wsj.com/articles/americas-growing-labor-shortage-1490829265

“President Trump approved the Keystone XL pipeline on Friday, and good for him, but will there be enough workers to build it? That’s a serious question. Many American employers, especially in construction and agriculture, are facing labor shortages that would be exacerbated by restrictionist immigration policies.

Demographic trends coupled with a skills mismatch have resulted in a frustrating economic paradox: Millions of workers are underemployed even as millions of jobs go unfilled. The U.S. workforce is also graying, presenting a challenge for industries that entail manual labor.

Construction is ground zero in the worker shortage. Many hard-hats who lost their jobs during the recession left the labor force. Some found high-paying work in fossil fuels during the fracking boom and then migrated to renewables when oil prices tumbled. While construction has rebounded, many employed in the industry a decade ago are no longer there.

. . . .

Some restrictionists claim that cheap foreign labor is hurting low-skilled U.S. workers, but there’s little evidence for that. One Napa grower recently told the Los Angeles Times that paying even $20 an hour wasn’t enough to keep native workers on the farm.

. . . .

President Trump would compound the problem by reducing legal immigration or deporting unauthorized immigrants whose only crime is working without legal documentation. Low-skilled immigrants (those with 12 years of education or less) are estimated to account for nearly a third of the hours worked in agriculture and 20% in construction.

If President Trump wants employers to produce and build more in America, the U.S. will need to improve education and skills in manufacturing and IT. But the economy will also need more foreign workers, and better guest worker programs to bring them in legally.”

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Gee whiz, Donald, I’ll freely admit to not knowing much more about labor economics that you and your advisors do. But when the WSJ, the organ of GOP corporate America, says you’re barking up the wrong tree, perhaps you should listen, before it’s too late. Just a thought.

PWS

03/30/17

 

MARCH MADNESS: WSJ: JASON GAY: Much Maligned Big10 Shines As ACC Tanks — Badgers, Wolverines, Boilermakers Storm Into “Sweet 16,” While Duke, UVA, FSU Stumble!🏀

https://www.wsj.com/articles/my-wisconsin-michigan-revenge-fantasy-1489962628

Fellow Badger grad Jason Gay writes:

“I just wanted to enjoy my Monday. Was it too much to ask? The Wisconsin Badgers are back in college basketball’s Sweet 16 for the fourth straight time, having stunned top-seeded Villanova on Saturday—although I wasn’t the least bit stunned, I told you last week it would happen. I predicted Wisconsin all along. Hey Warren Buffett, where’s my million bucks?

It was even better. Not only did my Badgers win, but now they’re coming here—to New York City, my home, for the remainder of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament East Regional.

I was psyched. Psyched for my alma mater Wisconsin, psyched for an NYC invasion of Badger fans (hide your beer and cheese), psyched to parade into work Monday and be an insufferable doofus to all my Journal colleagues with busted brackets and wounded school pride. I was going to march in there with my giant Starbucks and red Bucky Badger sweatshirt, humming “On Wisconsin” and ruining everyone’s day.

I was going to be unbearable. And love every minute of it.

And then…them. You-know-who.

Michigan.

They’ve made the Sweet 16, too. They stunned two-seeded Louisville on Sunday.

It’s a nightmare.”

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Yeah, it was almost, but not quite, enough to make me want to be back at the Arlington Immigration Court wearing my Bucky Badger tie (incorrectly identified as a “grinning weasel” by my dear former colleague Judge Rodger Harris) and whistling “On Wisconsin” and “Varsity” all day in my chambers and in the corridors of justice. All I can say is:

GO BUCKY!

PWS

02/20/17

WSJ OPINION: JASON L. RILEY — Steve King & Other White Nationalists Are Wrong — America Is Not Europe — That’s Why Refugee Assimilation Works Here — “Shared Ideals” Are Key (And They Are Not The “Ideals” Spouted By King & His Crowd)

https://www.wsj.com/articles/america-doesnt-have-europes-immigration-problems-1489530039

Riley writes:

“America doesn’t have that problem because it has done things differently. Here, the emphasis is on shared ideals rather than shared cultural artifacts. The U.S. model for assimilation has been more successful because of the country’s value framework, which is the real immigrant magnet. Longitudinal studies, which measure the progress of the same individuals over time, show that U.S. immigrants today continue to assimilate despite the best efforts of bilingual education advocates and anti-American Chicano Studies professors. As with previous immigrant waves, different groups progress at different rates, but over time English usage, educational attainment and incomes do rise.

Mr. King may fear immigrant babies, but he should be more careful not to confuse his personal problems with America’s. Given the coming flood of baby-boomer retirees over the next two decades, those high birthrates are just what the pediatrician ordered.”

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Generally, Riley is on the right track. His observations match my experience in Immigration Court where most of the individuals coming before me shared the same values I had:  stability, safety, a future for their kids, opportunity for political and economic participation, community and often religious involvement. In other words, being part of a society that is generally functional, rather than dysfunctional as in many of the countries migrants flee.

But, I didn’t appreciate Riley’s snide remark about bilingual education. That’s perhaps because my daughter Anna has taught English Language Learners and still works with migrant populations in the Beloit, WI Public School System.

Bilingualism helps families to learn English and communicate, particularly to the older generation and friends and family abroad. Individuals who are bilingual and at home in different linguistic situations have more satisfying lives and better economic opportunities.

Indeed, America is far behind many other developed countries in bi- and tri-lingualism. It was not uncommon in the Arlington Immigration Court to encounter respondents who were fluent in a number of languages, although for obvious reasons most preferred to have their “merits” court hearings in their “best” language.

That’s just one of the reasons why many “Dreamers” with biglingual skills are well-positioned to be our leaders and innovators of the future. And, we’re fortunate to have them contribute their talents to our society. We’re going to need the talent and energy of all of our young people as well as births to continue to prosper in the future.

PWS

03/15/17

ECONOMICS: Mary Anastasia O’Grady In The WSJ Says Mexico Can Fight Back Against US Threats!

https://www.wsj.com/articles/mexicos-trade-reply-to-trump-1488144051

“Many conservatives who opposed Hillary Clinton are still skeptical of the Trump presidency as well. It may have something to do with recurring whoppers from the administration like White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s claim last week that “the relationship with Mexico is phenomenal right now.”

Bilateral relations with Mexico are on the rocks “big league,” and if Mr. Spicer doesn’t know that, he should get out more. Declaring otherwise undermines presidential credibility and leaves Trump fence-sitters to wonder what else the press secretary is making up.

Millions of American workers, investors and entrepreneurs who depend on trade with Mexico and Canada under the North American Free Trade Agreement are right to be worried. Unless President Trump finds a way to climb down from his position that Mexico cheats the U.S. under Nafta, their livelihoods are at risk.

Courteousness and formality are signs of good breeding in Mexican society and this often produces, in foreigners, illusions of approval. But when the extranjeros are out of earshot, locals can be colorful. It is now fashionable to hold protest marches, beat Trump piñatas, burn effigies with orange hair and even post vulgarities about the U.S. president on public buses. Angry does not begin to describe the popular mood.”

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Read the entire article at the link. My main question is why would the Trump Administration pick this unnecessary fight with a neighbor whose goodwill, economic partnership, and cooperation we depend on?

PWS

02/27/17

WSJ: Trump, Kelly, Tillerson Continue On Different Pages Re Immigration Enforcement Program — Mexico Remains Skeptical!

https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-officials-on-tough-trip-in-mexico-trump-says-1487871849

FELICIA SCHWARTZ, JOSÉ DE CÓRDOBA and ROBBIE WHELAN write in the WSJ:

“MEXICO CITY—Top Trump administration officials tried Thursday to soften the message on expanded U.S. immigration-enforcement efforts during talks here, but Mexican officials signaled little progress had been made in bridging differences that threaten to further fray ties between the two countries.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly faced a skeptical Mexican government as they sought to explain Washington’s decision to step up the enforcement of immigration laws, outlining policies to enlist local authorities in the U.S. to jail and deport more people and to send detainees back to Mexico—even if they aren’t Mexican.
Meanwhile in Washington, President Donald Trump made comments that seemed to sharpen the tone.

“All of a sudden for the first time we’re getting gang members out, we’re getting drug lords out, we’re getting really bad dudes out of this country at a rate that nobody’s ever seen before,” the president said during a White House event with manufacturing executives. “And it’s a military operation because they’re allowed to come into our country.”
“We’re going to have a good relationship with Mexico I hope,” Mr. Trump said. “And if we don’t, we don’t.”

In midday meetings in Mexico City, the U.S. cabinet members delivered two key assurances to their Mexican counterparts: that they wouldn’t institute “mass deportations,” and that the U.S. military wouldn’t take part in rounding up and ejecting illegal migrants.

Gabriela Cuevas, the head of the Mexican Senate’s foreign relations committee, said she was deeply troubled by the apparent discrepancy between what the U.S. envoys said in Mexico City and Mr. Trump’s actions and words.

“I see a different message coming from the White House and from the secretaries visiting here,” she said. “One doesn’t know if Secretary Tillerson and Secretary Kelly are telling the truth or not. It’s a problem of credibility. Did they come to tell lies? Or are they just not coordinating with their boss? Who do you believe?”

Later Thursday, the White House sought to walk back Mr. Trump’s use of the word “military” in reference to the immigration enforcement.

“The president was using that as an adjective. It’s happening with precision and in a manner in which it’s being done very, very clearly,” said Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, at a news briefing. “The president was clearly describing the manner in which this was being done.”

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Lots of mixed messages here. I don’t see much chance at present that Mexico is going to agree to allow non-Mexican-citizens to wait for their U.S. immigration hearings in Mexico.

PWS

02/23/17

 

WSJ: Flynn On The Ropes!

https://www.wsj.com/articles/democrats-press-for-probe-of-security-advisers-talks-with-russians-1486922486?

The WSJ reports:

“WASHINGTON—The White House is reviewing whether to retain National Security Adviser Mike Flynn amid a furor over his contacts with Russian officials before President Donald Trump took office, an administration official said Sunday.

Mr. Flynn has apologized to White House colleagues over the episode, which has created a rift with Vice President Mike Pence and diverted attention from the administration’s message to his own dealings, the official said.

“He’s apologized to everyone,” the official said of Mr. Flynn.

Mr. Trump’s views toward the matter aren’t clear. In recent days, he has privately told people the controversy surrounding Mr. Flynn is unwelcome, after he told reporters on Friday he would “look into” the disclosures.”

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Lying to the American people — that’s just a way of life at the Trump White House (ask Stephen Miller). But, lying to Vice President Mike Pence — now, you’re talking some serious bad stuff.

PWS

02/12/17