ADMINISTRATION PANICS AS BORDER ARRIVALS (NOT SURPRISINGLY) CONTINUE TO RISE – BUT, CLAIMS OF AN “EMERGENCY” ARE TOTALLY BOGUS! – TAL @ CNN REPORTS!

http://www.cnn.com/2018/01/10/politics/border-crossings-up-trump-effect/index.html

Tal isn’t just following DACA. She “does it all” when it comes to migration. Here’s her latest report:

“Trump admin grapples with rise in border crossing numbers it once touted

By Tal Kopan, CNN

The Trump administration is pointing to a recent uptick in illegal border crossings as evidence that it needs more authority — even as it continues to tout a longer-term decrease as proof of the effectiveness of its policies.

Illegal entries to the US have risen substantially over the past few months.

In a rare statement on its monthly report of apprehensions and rejections at the border, the Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday both praised the numbers and said work remained.

“The final border apprehension numbers of 2017, specifically at the southern border, undeniably prove the effectiveness of President Trump’s commitment to securing our borders,” said DHS spokesman Tyler Houlton, noting the numbers over the last year were 40% below the final year of President Barack Obama’s tenure.

But, Houlton said, the recent increase spelled trouble.

“The significant increase over the last month in the number of family units and unaccompanied children coming across the border illegally highlights the dire need for Congress to immediately adopt responsible pro-American immigration reforms. … The Secretary will require fixes to these loopholes as part of any immigration package negotiated (in a meeting Tuesday) at the White House.”

After a sharp drop in the number of undocumented immigrants attempting to cross the border at the beginning of the Trump administration, the President and his administration frequently cited the low numbers as evidence that Trump’s immigration policy works.

But starting in the summer, crossings began to again approach historic levels. With 40,513 apprehensions and rejections at the southern border in December, the total numbers are behind fiscal years 2016 and 2017, but surpass crossings in fiscal years 2013, 2014 and 2015.

The administration has employed aggressive rhetoric and spoken consistently about securing the border and cracking down on undocumented immigrants in the US. Arrests by Immigration and Customs Enforcement are up — but little has operationally changed at the border and deportations last year lagged behind the last year of Obama’s presidency.

Trump is pushing for aggressive policies as part of a deal to protect the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, as conservatives argue that allowing undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship will only add incentives for potential illegal crossings in the future.”

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We’re clearly dealing with “Amateur Night at the Bijou” here! Anybody with even passing familiarity with or competency in immigration policy would know better than to do the “victory dance” based on a couple of months of DHS enforcement data. It’s not like DHS is renowned for either the accuracy of its enforcement statistics or the depth and quality of analysis thereof.

First, and foremost, the increased arrivals of families and children from the Northern Triangle presents no real security issue. Most turn themselves in at the border or the nearest Border Patrol Station and seek asylum. Indeed, if anything, the unrelentingly negative rhetoric of the Trumpsters probably leads a few individuals who would otherwise turn themselves in or apply at the port of entry to try to get inland to avoid more or less mandatory detention.

Clearly, the driver here is conditions in the Northern Triangle, which continue to deteriorate, notwithstanding the absurd political determination by Secretary Neilsen that it was” A-OK” to send long term residents from El Salvador back there. The solution is definitely not more militarization of the border or more unnecessary and inhumane detention.

No, its a combination of 1) working to improve conditions that force folks to flee the Northern Triangle; 2) working with the UNHCR other stable countries in the Americas to distribute the flow more evenly among “receiving countries;” and 3) developing either a temporary refuge program or a more realistic, generous, and easily administered program to grant asylum, withholding, and/or relief under the CAT to those many who meet the legal requirements properly interpreted.

At bottom, there really isn’t much difference between these folks and waves of Cuban refugees whom we accepted, processed, and successfully integrated into our society with greatly beneficial results for both the Cubans and America.

Time to be done with the xenophobia and the racially-inspired bias against Central Americans fleeing for their lives.  No, this Administration is unlikely to do that. And, that’s why the problems caused by irregular migration are likely to continue long into the future no matter how much “tough guy” rhetoric Trump or anyone else spews out and how much we spend on unnecessary border militarization.

Yes, there are real security and law enforcement problems at the Southern Border. For sure! But more women and children fleeing conditions in the Northern Triangle aren’t among them. If anything, the Trump Administration’s fixation on those who aren’t a real security problem deflects focus from the real problems of drug and human smuggling and the possible entry of those who would actually be risks to our safety and security.

PWS

01-10-18

 

RIGHT ON: PLEASE, NO MORE UNNEEDED (& LIKELY UNQUALIFIED) IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT AGENTS!

http://enewspaper.latimes.com/infinity/article_popover_share.aspx?guid=3a949d5d-7e98-4470-b733-ea9a25c5a389

From today’s LA Times Op-Ed:

“By Christine Stenglein and John Hudak
Customs and Border Protection last year awarded a $297-million contract for assistance in recruiting and hiring the 5,000 border patrol agents President Trump believes we need to combat “the recent surge of illegal immigration at the southern border with Mexico.”

Those bold numbers may please the Make America Great Again crowd, but it will be exceedingly difficult to find qualified agents, or to deploy them effectively since the border is actually quieter than ever.

Under the Clinton administration, it took 27 applicants to yield one Border Patrol officer. And the hiring ratio has gotten worse. In spring last year, when Customs and Border Protection requested bids for private contractors to help fulfill Trump’s order, it wrote that it now takes 133 applicants to hire one full-time employee.

A private contractor may improve on those figures by designing a new recruitment strategy and implementing it in labor markets that Customs and Border Protection hasn’t previously tapped. The contractor may not repeat the agency’s past mistakes, like spending millions on polygraph tests for applicants who have already admitted to disqualifying offenses like human trafficking. Still, it’s a tough task. The contractor needs to find men and women who will be willing to work in remote areas, can pass the physical fitness requirements and haven’t touched marijuana in at least two years.

But let’s imagine that Customs and Border Protection succeeds in hiring, training and equipping all 5,000 new officers and manages to hang on to the roughly 20,000 agents it already has (which hasn’t been easy up to this point). Are they as urgently needed as the executive order would have us believe? The best evidence available tells us the answer is “absolutely not.”

In 2017, the number of people apprehended at the border fell 26% compared with the previous year, and the totals haven’t been this low since the Nixon administration. The “recent surge of illegal immigration at the southern border with Mexico,” the president’s basis for his border security push, likely reflects only a temporary rise in apprehensions from 2015 to 2016. If you zoom out, that’s a blip in a long, downward trend, from more than 111,000 apprehensions in 2004 to fewer than 30,000 last year.

Besides, Customs and Border Protection itself doesn’t even seem to know where it would be optimal to deploy additional personnel or whether they’re needed at all. According to a special report from the Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General, “Neither CBP nor ICE could provide complete data to support the operational need or deployment strategies for the additional … agents and officers they were directed to hire.”

A suddenly larger law enforcement agency, with numerous new recruits and without a clear deployment strategy, isn’t just a financial liability, but a safety risk.

Another Homeland Security Inspector General report found numerous problems with DHS agencies keeping track of and securing their equipment. Customs and Border Protection, for instance, did not have an accurate firearm inventory and one agent left his gun in a backpack at a gym, where it was stolen.

Adding an enormous number of employees to an agency that faces administrative dysfunction and has no coherent plan to detail new agents will create a scenario in which costs will be high and benefits may be quite low.

There’s negligence and inefficiency, and then there’s actual malfeasance. In the spring of 2016, around the time Trump was starting to make inflammatory speeches about immigrants, the Homeland Security Advisory Council cautioned that Customs and Border Protection’s disciplinary process was “broken.” It urged the agency to hire an adequate number of internal investigators and described serious dysfunction in the handling of complaints and disciplinary cases.

For major areas of concern like domestic violence and alcohol abuse, it found that the agency lagged behind standard law enforcement practices. A host of harmful activities, from bribery to alleged sexual assault, have come to light and caused problems for Customs and Border Protection in the past.

The risk is that Trump’s hiring surge at the border will please his base, while accomplishing little and increasing the possibility of policy failure.

Christine Stenglein is a research assistant at the Brookings Institution. John Hudak is a senior fellow in governance studies at Brookings.”

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Meanwhile, Head ICEman Tom Homan would like more agents so he could violate the Constitution by arresting and prosecuting local officials who refuse to take part in ICE’s “Gonzo” Immigration Enforcement program. That’s even though to date Federal Courts have unanimously found sanctions on states and localities for refusing to act as ICE enforcement agents unconstitutional.

DHS (much like the US Immigration Courts) is an administrative mess! DHS should be required to account for both their current use of enforcement personnel (including filling all current vacancies with qualified agents) and plans for future deployment before any additional enforcement agents are authorized.

As I have suggested, under the Trump Administration, DHS is being turned into an “internal security police force.” Today, they are treading on the rights of migrants, Latinos, and their supporters. Tomorrow, it could be YOUR rights at stake.

Tell your legislators NO ADDITIONAL DHS ENFORCEMENT AGENTS!

PWS

01-08-18

 

NPR: THE TOTAL IDIOCY (AND WASTE OF RESOURCES) OF THE TRUMP-SESSIONS “GONZO ENFORCEMENT PROGRAM!”

John Burnett reports for NPR Radio. Listen here:

http://www.npr.org/2017/09/20/552339976/border-patrol-arrests-parents-while-infant-awaits-serious-operation

Here’s the written version:

When 2-month-old Isaac Enrique Sanchez was diagnosed with pyloric stenosis, a condition that causes vomiting, dehydration and weight loss in infants, his parents were told that their son’s condition was curable. The problem was that no hospital in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas had a pediatric surgery team capable of performing the operation on his stomach.

To make Isaac well, Oscar and Irma Sanchez would need to take their infant son to Driscoll Children’s Hospital, in Corpus Christi, Texas. It was just a couple of hours up the highway, but for them it was a world away.

The Sanchezes, who are undocumented, would need to pass a Border Patrol checkpoint.

“The nurse told us we had to go there,” Oscar says in Spanish. “We said we couldn’t go.”

While they pondered their predicament in a Harlingen, Texas, hospital, a Border Patrol agent showed up in the waiting room — Oscar Sanchez suspects a nurse turned them in — and said he could arrange for officers to escort the parents through the checkpoint to Corpus. But the agent said when they arrived, they would be arrested and put into deportation proceedings. The couple agreed.

The events that followed at the Corpus Christi hospital are the latest developments in a national controversy over so-called sensitive locations. Under President Barack Obama, the Department of Homeland Security adopted a policy that immigration agents should avoid enforcement actions at hospitals, schools, churches and public demonstrations unless there are special circumstances.

AROUND THE NATION
ICE Agents’ Tactics Raise Concerns About Migrants’ Access To The Justice System

 

Listen· 3:51

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The Sanchezes’ 48-hour odyssey with federal agents shows the lengths to which the Trump administration will go to round up people in the country illegally, whether they have a criminal record or not.

The Border Patrol followed the ambulance, the night of May 24, as it raced to Corpus through desolate ranchland, carrying Oscar, Irma and tiny Isaac — with an IV in his arm and a tube in his stomach. Once they arrived at Driscoll Children’s Hospital, the green-uniformed agents never left the undocumented couple’s side. Officers followed the father to the bathroom and the cafeteria and asked the mother to leave the door open when she breast-fed Isaac.

“Everywhere we went in the hospital,” Oscar says, “they followed us.”

Customs and Border Protection says it is required to monitor subjects in custody “at all times” and tried to do so at the hospital “in the least restrictive manner possible.”

The next morning, agents took Oscar and Irma Sanchez, separately, from the hospital to the Corpus Christi Border Patrol station to be fingerprinted and booked. They were permitted to return. Oscar asked the surgeon if she could delay the operation until both parents could be in the waiting room. She agreed.

The parents said because Isaac is a U.S. citizen, the operation was covered by Medicaid.

“You feel vulnerable,” Oscar says. “We didn’t know if they were going to let us stay with our son or not.”

The Border Patrol, in an email to NPR, says it made sure to leave one parent with the baby at all times and that agents played no role in the decision to postpone the operation.

Driscoll Children’s Hospital, citing patient privacy, declined to discuss the case.

On a recent Tuesday 3 1/2 months after the operation, Isaac sat on his mama’s lap — all pudgy cheeks and wide eyes, wearing a top covered with little race cars. The family lives in a tidy, weathered frame house in North Brownsville, Texas.

“Thank the Lord, everything went well,” Irma says. “He still throws up a little milk, but thank God he’s fine.”

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Advocates are puzzled why the Border Patrol chose to put the Sanchezes under such intense supervision, which one would expect for higher-value targets like drug traffickers or MS-13 gang members. The couple has no criminal records. They overstayed visitors visas that were issued 12 years ago. He works construction and landscaping; she stays home with their four children, all of whom are citizens.

“I can’t pretend to understand any reasoning that would have led anyone up the chain of command to think that Irma and Oscar were flight risks or dangers to the community or in any other way people who needed to be followed into a hospital in order to be placed in deportation proceedings,” says Lisa Koop, a lawyer with the National Immigrant Justice Center. She will be asking an immigration judge in December to let the Sanchezes remain with their children in the U.S.

“That’s how you treat criminals that are harmful, and that’s understandable for our own protection,” says Ana Hinojosa, an immigrant advocate with the Mennonite Central Committee in Brownsville, who is also working on the case. “But they’re a family that’s just here trying to make a living, provide an education and a future for their children.”

Advocates are concerned that immigration enforcers are chipping away at places formerly considered safe zones. Three examples: Immigration agents detained six men after they left a church homeless shelter in Virginia; they removed a woman with a brain tumor from a Texas hospital and put her back in detention; and they arrested a father after he dropped off his daughter at school in Los Angeles.

As with the Corpus hospital, the agency maintains none of the arrests were actually made inside a sensitive location. But several members of Congress, all Democrats, are troubled just the same. They have proposed the “Protecting Sensitive Locations Act,” which would codify protected places in federal law. And it would expand them to include courthouses and bus stops.

“They’re pushing the envelope to the point where they’re trying to find out how far they can go,” says Bronx Rep. Jose Serrano, one of the bill’s authors. He is outraged by what happened to the Sanchez family in South Texas. “It violates human decency,” he says. “You don’t interrupt medical procedures.”

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Obviously, Congress should not give DHS any additional enforcement resources, given that they have so little to do and such little internal discipline that they waste time and manpower needlessly on cases like this.

Under any sane Administration, these folks would have been granted “PD” or “prosecutorial discretion.” Even assyuming that the agency wished to go forward they could merely have mailed a Notice To Appear (“NTA”) to the couple at their home address or served them at home at a later date. The case isn’t going to be heard for months (or more) anyway.

This total lack of discipline and common sense started under and was enabled by Gen. John Kelly, at the urging of “Gonzo Apocalypto” Sessions, during the time when he was Secretary of DHS.

PWS

09-21-17

CNN: Border Busts Fall Again — Is Trump’s “Get Tough” Stance On Immigration Working? Many Think So!

http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/04/politics/border-crossings-drop-continue/index.html

Tal Kopan and David Shortell report:

“Washington (CNN)–Apprehensions at the southern border continue to fall dramatically, according to new numbers from Customs and Border Protection — a drop that experts attribute to President Donald Trump’s aggressive immigration enforcement policies.

There were roughly 12,000 total apprehensions at the southwest border in March, according to numbers obtained by CNN that are expected to be released this week. That represents a 35% drop from February and a 63% drop from March 2016.
In 17 years of CBP data, apprehensions had never dropped from February to March, typically rising slightly.
Former Acting Customs and Border Patrol Commissioner David Aguilar said Tuesday at a hearing in front of the Senate’s Homeland Security Committee that through the end of March, immigration officials have seen a 67% drop in illegal crossings from Mexico as compared to the same period last year.
Aguilar attributed the drop to Trump’s hardline position on immigration — a focal point of his campaign and the first few weeks of his presidency.

“This has happened before when — as it relates especially to immigration — when the US stands strong and takes certain actions,” Aguilar said. “This administration said we’re going to address illegal immigration. ICE has started working in the interior unlike other times. So that message resonates.”

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I haven’t seen anything that would rebut the case that the “get tough on enforcement” approach is reducing pressure on the border. If this approach is already working so well, why do we need to spend billions on a wall?

PWS

04/05/17

CNN: Is Trump’s Order To Hire 5,000 More Border Agents a “10-Year Plan?”

http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/07/politics/border-agents-cbp-hiring-slow/index.html

Tal Kopan reports

“Washington (CNN) — Optimistic internal estimates say that it could still take five to 10 years for Customs and Border Protection to hire all the additional agents President Donald Trump has ordered, even if the agency gets a wish list of requests to make hiring easier, according to documents obtained by CNN.

CBP has long struggled to even keep up with attrition in its ranks, and was staffed below currently targeted levels even before the President’s January executive orders called for 5,000 more agents.
CBP’s acting commissioner spelled out a series of steps the agency would need, either from other agencies, its parent DHS or Congress, in order to hire more agents in a memo for the deputy secretary last month, according to a copy obtained by CNN.
But even those measures would only help so much, the memo makes clear.
The hurdles are just the latest practical difficulty faced by Trump’s attempts to substantially increase immigration enforcement in the US. His moves to vastly increase the number of undocumented immigrants detained and deported have rankled Democrats and spread fear in immigrant communities. In addition to his long-promised border wall, Trump has ordered a substantial increase in personnel, including the CBP surge.”

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Read the full article at the link. Let’s see, if hiring 5,000 additional Border Patrol Agents takes DHS as long as 10 years, how long will it take to hire 10,000 additional ICE Agents? 20 years? 25 years?

As Nolan Rappaport has mentioned to me, it’s critical that high standards be maintained. Not only does lowering standards and training to meet goals increase the chances of due process and human rights violations, but it could be an opportunity for corruption and for international criminal cartels and gangs to penetrate the U.S. law enforcement system.

PWS

03/08/17