MLK DAY 2018 — DR. KING’S DREAM OF AN AMERICA CELEBRATING EQUALITY & RACIAL HARMONY IS UNDER VICIOUS ATTACK BY TRUMP, PENCE, SESSIONS, AND A HOST OF OTHERS IN TODAY’S WHITE NATIONALIST ENABLING GOP — Who Is Going To Fight To Reclaim The Dream, & Who Is Going To “Go Along To Get Along” With The 21st Century Version Of Jim Crow?

Folks, as we take a few minutes today to remember Dr. King, his vision for a better America, and his inspiring “I Have A Dream Speech,” we have to face the fact that everything Dr. King stood for is under a vicious and concerted attack, the likes of which we haven’t seen in America for approximately 50 years, by individuals elected to govern by a minority of voters in our country.

So, today, I’m offering you a “potpourri”  of how and why Dr.King’s Dream has “gone south,” so to speak, and how those of us who care about social justice and due process in America can nevertheless resurrect it and move forward together for a greater and more tolerant American that celebrates the talents, contributions, and humanity of all who live here!.

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From the LA Times Editorial Board:

http://enewspaper.latimes.com/infinity/article_popover_share.aspx?guid=186bb118-702e-49a2-a52d-b8dac8aa0cc8

“50 years on, what would King think?

On Martin Luther King’s birthday, a look back at some disquieting events in race relations in 2017.

Nearly 50 years ago, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. went to the mountaintop and looked out over the promised land. In a powerful and prophetic speech on April 3, 1968, he told a crowd at the Mason Temple in Memphis that while there would certainly be difficult days ahead, he had no doubt that the struggle for racial justice would be successful.

“I may not get there with you,” he said. “But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And so I am happy tonight. I’m not worried about anything.”

The following day, he was assassinated.

The intervening years have been full of steps forward and steps backward, of extraordinary changes as well as awful reminders of what has not changed. What would King have made of our first black president? What would he have thought had he seen neo-Nazis marching through the streets of Charlottesville, Va., so many years after his death? How would he have viewed the shooting by police of unarmed black men in cities around the country — or the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement? He would surely have heard the assertions that we have become a “post-racial” society because we elected (and reelected) Barack Obama. But would he have believed it?

This past year was not terribly heartening on the civil rights front. It was appalling enough that racist white nationalists marched in Charlottesville in August. But it was even more shocking that President Trump seemed incapable of making the most basic moral judgment about that march; instead, he said that there were some “very fine people” at the rally of neo-Nazis and white supremacists.

Racial injustices that bedeviled the country in King’s day — voter suppression, segregated schools, hate crimes — have not gone away. A report released last week by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights on inequities in the funding of public schools concludes — and this should surprise no one — that students of color living in poor, segregated neighborhoods are often relegated to low-quality schools simply due to where they live. States continued in 2017 to pass laws that make it harder, rather than easier, for people of color to vote.

The Trump administration also seems determined to undo two decades of Justice Department civil rights work, cutting back on investigations into the excessive use of force and racial bias by police departments. Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions in March ordered a review of all existing federal consent decrees with local police departments with the possibility of dismantling them — a move that could set back police reform by many years.

Here in Los Angeles County, this statistic is telling: 40% of the estimated 57,000 homeless people — the most desperate and destitute residents of the county — are black. Yet black residents make up only 9% of the L.A. County population.

But despite bad news on several fronts, what have been heartening over the last year are the objections raised by so many people across the country.

Consider the statues of Confederate generals and slave owners that were brought down across the country. Schools and other institutions rebranded buildings that were formerly named after racists.

The Black Lives Matter movement has grown from a small street and cyber-protest group into a more potent civil rights organization focusing on changing institutions that have traditionally marginalized black people.

When football quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem to protest, as he said, a country that oppresses black people, he was denounced by many (including Trump) but emulated by others. Kaepernick has been effectively banished from professional football but he started a movement.

Roy Moore was defeated for a Senate seat in Alabama by a surge of black voters, particularly black women. (But no sooner did he lose than Joe Arpaio — the disgraced, vehemently anti-immigrant former Arizona sheriff — announced that he is running for Senate there.)

So on what would have been King’s 89th birthday, it is clear that the United States is not yet the promised land he envisioned in the last great speech of his life. But we agree with him that it’s still possible to get there.”

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See this short HuffPost video on “Why MLK’s Message Still Matters Today!”

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/martin-luther-king-jr-assassination-legacy_us_58e3ea89e4b03a26a366dd77

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Read about how the Arizona GOP has resurrected, and in some instances actually welcomed, “Racist Joe” Arpaio, an unapologetic anti-Hispanic bigot and convicted scofflaw. “Racist Joe” was pardoned by Trump and is now running for the GOP nomination to replace retiring Arizona GOP Senator Jeff Flake, who often has been a critic of Trump. One thing “Racist Joe’s” candidacy is doing is energizing the Latino community that successfully fought to remove him from the office of Sheriff and to have him brought to justice for his racist policies. 

Kurtis Lee reports for the LA Times:

http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-pol-arpaio-latino-voters-20180114-story.html

“Yenni Sanchez had thought her work was finished.

Spared from the threat of deportation by the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, she campaigned to oust Joe Arpaio when he unsuccessfully ran for reelection as Maricopa County sheriff in 2016. She knocked on hundreds of doors in south Phoenix’s predominantly Latino neighborhoods to register voters. She made phone calls, walked on college campuses. Her message was direct, like the name of the group she worked with, Bazta Arpaio, a take on the Spanish word basta — enough Arpaio.

But now, the 85-year-old former sheriff is back and running for Senate. Sanchez, who had planned to step away from politics to focus on her studies at Grand Canyon University, is back as well, organizing once more.

“If he thinks he can come back and terrorize the entire state like he did Maricopa County, it’s not going to happen,” Sanchez, 20, said. “I’m not going to let it happen.”

Arpaio enters a crowded Republican primary and may not emerge as the party’s nominee, but his bid has already galvanized Arizona’s Latino electorate — one of the country’s largest and fastest-growing voter blocs.

Organizers like Sanchez, who thought they might sit out the midterm elections, rushed back into offices and started making calls. Social media groups that had gone dormant have resurrected with posts reminding voters that Arpaio was criminally convicted of violating a federal court order to stop racially profiling Latinos.

“We’ve been hearing, ‘Is it true Arpaio is back? OK, what can we do to help?’” said Montserrat Arredondo, director of One Arizona, a Phoenix nonprofit group focused on increasing Latino voter turnout. “People were living in terror when Arpaio was in office. They haven’t forgotten.”

In 2008, 796,000 Latinos were eligible to vote in the state, according to One Arizona. By 2016, that potential voting pool jumped to 1.1 million. (California tops the nation with the most Latinos eligible to vote, almost 6.9 million.)

In 2016, Latinos accounted for almost 20% of all registered voters in Arizona. Latinos make up about 30% of Arizona’s population.

. . . .

Last year, President Trump pardoned Arpaio of a criminal conviction for violating a federal court order to stop racially profiling Latinos. When announcing his candidacy Tuesday, Arpaio pledged his full support to the president and his policies.

On Saturday, Arpaio made his first public appearance since announcing his candidacy, attending a gathering of Maricopa County Republicans. He was unmoved when asked about the enthusiasm his candidacy has created among Latinos.

“Many of them hate me for enforcing the law,” he said. “I can’t change that. … All I know is that I have my supporters, they’re going to support who they want. I’m in this to win it though.”

Arpaio, gripping about a dozen red cardboard signs that read “We need Sheriff Joe Arpaio in DC,” walked through the crowd where he mingled with, among others, former state Sen. Kelli Ward and U.S. Rep. Martha McSally, who also are seeking the GOP Senate nomination. Overall, Arpaio was widely met with enthusiasm from attendees.

“So glad you’re back,” said a man wearing a “Vietnam Veteran” hat.

“It’s great to be back,” Arpaio replied.

Arpaio, who handed out business cards touting his once self-proclaimed status as “America’s toughest sheriff,” said he had no regrets from his more than two decades in office.

“Not a single one,” he said. “I spoke my mind and did what needed to be done and would do it the same in a minute.”

In an interview, Arpaio, who still insists he has “evidence” that former President Obama’s birth certificate is forged, a rumor repeatedly shown to be false, did not lay out specific policy platforms, only insisting he’ll get things done in Washington.

During his tenure as sheriff, repeated court rulings against his office for civil rights violations cost local taxpayers tens of millions of dollars.”

Read the complete story at the link.

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Professor George Yancy of Emory University writing in the NY Times asks “Will America Choose King’s Dream Or Trump’s Nightmare?”

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/15/opinion/martin-luther-king-trump-racism.html

Yancy writes:

“Let’s come clean: President Trump is a white racist! Over the past few days, many have written, spoken and shouted this fact, but it needs repeating: President Trump is a white racist! Why repeat it? Because many have been under the grand illusion that America is a “post-racial” nation, a beautiful melting pot where racism is only sporadic, infrequent and expressed by those on the margins of an otherwise mainstream and “decent” America. That’s a lie; a blatant one at that. We must face a very horrible truth. And America is so cowardly when it comes to facing awful truths about itself.

So, as we celebrate the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, we must face the fact that we are at a moral crossroad. Will America courageously live out Dr. King’s dream or will it go down the road of bigotry and racist vitriol, preferring to live out Mr. Trump’s nightmare instead? In his autobiography, reflecting on the nonviolent uprising of the people of India, Dr. King wrote, “The way of acquiesce leads to moral and spiritual suicide.” Those of us who defiantly desire to live, and to live out Dr. King’s dream, to make it a reality, must not acquiesce now, precisely when his direst prophetic warning faces us head on.

On the night before he was murdered by a white man on the balcony of his room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn., Dr. King wrote: “America is going to hell if we don’t use her vast resources to end poverty and make it possible for all of God’s children to have the basic necessities of life.” Our current president, full of hatred and contempt for those children, is the terrifying embodiment of this prophecy.

We desperately need each other at this moment of moral crisis and malicious racist divisiveness. Will we raise our collective voices against Mr. Trump’s white racism and those who make excuses for it or submit and thereby self-destructively kill any chance of fully becoming our better selves? Dr. King also warned us that “there comes a time when silence is betrayal.” To honor Dr. King, we must not remain silent, we must not betray his legacy.

So many Americans suffer from the obsessive need to claim “innocence,” that is, to lie to ourselves. Yet such a lie is part of our moral undoing. While many will deny, continue to lie and claim our national “innocence,” I come bearing deeply troubling, but not surprising, news: White racism is now comfortably located within the Oval Office, right there at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, embodied in our 45th president, one who is, and I think many would agree, must agree, without any hesitation, a white racist. There are many who will resist this characterization, but Mr. Trump has desecrated the symbolic aspirations of America, exhumed forms of white supremacist discourse that so many would assume is spewed only by Ku Klux Klan.”

Read the rest of Professor Yancy’s op-ed at the link.

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From lead columnist David Leonhardt and Ian Prasad Philbrick at the NY Times we get “Donald Trump’s Racism: The Definitive List.”

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/01/15/opinion/leonhardt-trump-racist.html

Donald Trump has been obsessed with race for the entire time he has been a public figure. He had a history of making racist comments as a New York real-estate developer in the 1970s and ‘80s. More recently, his political rise was built on promulgating the lie that the nation’s first black president was born in Kenya. He then launched his campaign with a speech describing Mexicans as rapists.

The media often falls back on euphemisms when describing Trump’s comments about race: racially loaded, racially charged, racially tinged, racially sensitive. And Trump himself has claimed that he is “the least racist person.” But here’s the truth: Donald Trump is a racist. He talks about and treats people differently based on their race. He has done so for years, and he is still doing so.

Here, we have attempted to compile a definitive list of his racist comments – or at least the publicly known ones.

The New York Years

Trump’s real-estate company tried to avoid renting apartments to African-Americans in the 1970s and gave preferential treatment to whites, according to the federal government.

Trump treated black employees at his casinos differently from whites, according to multiple sources. A former hotel executive said Trump criticized a black accountant: “Black guys counting my money! I hate it. … I think that the guy is lazy. And it’s probably not his fault, because laziness is a trait in blacks.”

In 1989, Trump took out ads in New York newspapers urging the death penalty for five black and Latino teenagers accused of raping a white woman in Central Park; he argued they were guilty as late as October 2016, more than 10 years after DNA evidence had exonerated them.

In 1989, on NBC, Trump said: “I think sometimes a black may think they don’t have an advantage or this and that. I’ve said on one occasion, even about myself, if I were starting off today, I would love to be a well-educated black, because I really believe they do have an actual advantage.”

An Obsession With
Dark-Skinned Immigrants

He began his 2016 presidential campaign with a speech disparaging Mexican immigrants as criminals and “rapists.”

He uses the gang MS-13 to disparage all immigrants. Among many other statements, he has suggested that Obama’s protection of the Dreamers — otherwise law-abiding immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally as children — contributed to the spread of MS-13.

In December 2015, Trump called for a “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” including refusing to readmit Muslim-American citizens who were outside of the country at the time.

Trump said a federal judge hearing a case about Trump University was biased because of the judge’s Mexican heritage.

In June 2017, Trump said 15,000 recent immigrants from Haiti “all have AIDS” and that 40,000 Nigerians, once seeing the United States, would never “go back to their huts” in Africa.

At the White House on Jan. 11, Trump vulgarly called forless immigration from Haiti and Africa and more from Norway.”

The disgusting list goes on and on. Go to the link to get it all!

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Also at the NY Times, Charles M. Blow states what by now should have become obvious to the rest of us: “Trump Is A Racist. Period.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/14/opinion/trump-racist-shithole.html

Blow writes:

“I find nothing more useless than debating the existence of racism, particularly when you are surrounded by evidence of its existence. It feels to me like a way to keep you fighting against the water until you drown.

The debates themselves, I believe, render a simple concept impossibly complex, making the very meaning of “racism” frustratingly murky.

So, let’s strip that away here. Let’s be honest and forthright.

Racism is simply the belief that race is an inherent and determining factor in a person’s or a people’s character and capabilities, rendering some inferior and others superior. These beliefs are racial prejudices.

The history of America is one in which white people used racism and white supremacy to develop a racial caste system that advantaged them and disadvantaged others.

Understanding this, it is not a stretch to understand that Donald Trump’s words and deeds over the course of his life have demonstrated a pattern of expressing racial prejudices that demean people who are black and brown and that play to the racial hostilities of other white people.

It is not a stretch to say that Trump is racist. It’s not a stretch to say that he is a white supremacist. It’s not a stretch to say that Trump is a bigot.

Those are just facts, supported by the proof of the words that keep coming directly from him. And, when he is called out for his racism, his response is never to ameliorate his rhetoric, but to double down on it.

I know of no point during his entire life where he has apologized for, repented of, or sought absolution for any of his racist actions or comments.

Instead, he either denies, deflects or amps up the attack.

Trump is a racist. We can put that baby to bed.

“Racism” and “racist” are simply words that have definitions, and Trump comfortably and unambiguously meets those definitions.

We have unfortunately moved away from the simple definition of racism, to the point where the only people to whom the appellation can be safely applied are the vocal, violent racial archetypes.

Racism doesn’t require hatred, constant expression, or even conscious awareness. We want racism to be fringe rather than foundational. But, wishing isn’t an effective method of eradication.

We have to face this thing, stare it down and fight it back.

The simple acknowledgment that Trump is a racist is the easy part. The harder, more substantive part is this: What are we going to do about it?

First and foremost, although Trump is not the first president to be a racist, we must make him the last. If by some miracle he should serve out his first term, he mustn’t be allowed a second. Voters of good conscience must swarm the polls in 2020.

But before that, those voters must do so later this year, to rid the House and the Senate of as many of Trump’s defenders, apologists and accomplices as possible. Should the time come where impeachment is inevitable, there must be enough votes in the House and Senate to ensure it.

We have to stop thinking that we can somehow separate what racists believe from how they will behave. We must stop believing that any of Trump’s actions are clear of the venom coursing through his convictions. Everything he does is an articulation of who he is and what he believes. Therefore, all policies he supports, positions he takes and appointments he makes are suspect.

And finally, we have to stop giving a pass to the people — whether elected official or average voter — who support and defend his racism. If you defend racism you are part of the racism. It doesn’t matter how much you say that you’re an egalitarian, how much you say that you are race blind, how much you say that you are only interested in people’s policies and not their racist polemics.

As the brilliant James Baldwin once put it: “I can’t believe what you say, because I see what you do.” When I see that in poll after poll a portion of Trump’s base continues to support his behavior, including on race, I can only conclude that there is no real daylight between Trump and his base. They are part of his racism.

When I see the extraordinary hypocrisy of elected officials who either remain silent in the wake of Trump’s continued racist outbursts or who obliquely condemn him, only to in short order return to defending and praising him and supporting his agenda, I see that there is no real daylight between Trump and them either. They too are part of his racism.

When you see it this way, you understand the enormity and the profundity of what we are facing. There were enough Americans who were willing to accept Trump’s racism to elect him. There are enough people in Washington willing to accept Trump’s racism to defend him. Not only is Trump racist, the entire architecture of his support is suffused with that racism. Racism is a fundamental component of the Trump presidency.

 

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Back over at the Washington Post, op-ed writer E.J. Dionne, Jr., tells us the depressing news that “We could be a much better country. Trump makes it impossible.” 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/we-could-be-a-much-better-country-trump-makes-it-impossible/2018/01/14/84bff6dc-f7d4-11e7-b34a-b85626af34ef_story.html?utm_term=.c2151ab89a3c

Dionne concludes his piece with the following observations about our current “Dreamer” debate:

“Our current debate is frustrating, and not only because Trump doesn’t understand what “mutual toleration” and “forbearance” even mean. By persistently making himself, his personality, his needs, his prejudices and his stability the central topics of our political conversation, Trump is blocking the public conversation we ought to be having about how to move forward.

And while Trump’s enablers in the Republican Party will do all they can to avoid the issue, there should now be no doubt (even if this was clear long ago) that we have a blatant racist as our president. His reference to immigrants from “sh–hole countries” and his expressed preference for Norwegians over Haitians, Salvadorans and new arrivals from Africa make this abundantly clear. Racist leaders do not help us reach mutual toleration. His semi-denial 15 hours after his comment was first reported lacked credibility, especially because he called around first to see how his original words would play with his base.

But notice also what Trump’s outburst did to our capacity to govern ourselves and make progress. Democrats and Republicans sympathetic to the plight of the “dreamers” worked out an immigration compromise designed carefully to give Trump what he had said he needed.

There were many concessions by Democrats on border security, “chain migration” based on family reunification, and the diversity visa lottery that Trump had criticized. GOP senators such as Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.) and Jeff Flake (Ariz.) bargained in good faith and were given ample reason by Trump to think they had hit his sweet spot.

Trump blew them away with a torrent of bigotry. In the process, he shifted the onus for avoiding a government shutdown squarely on his own shoulders and those of Republican leaders who were shamefully slow in condemning the president’s racism.

There are so many issues both more important and more interesting than the psyche of a deeply damaged man. We are capable of being a far better nation. But we need leaders who call us to our obligations to each other as free citizens. Instead, we have a president who knows only how to foster division and hatred.”

Read the rest of the op-ed at the link.

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Our “Liar-in-Chief:” This short video from CNN, featuring the Washington Post’s “Chief Fact Checker” Glenn Kessler deals with the amazing 2000+ false or misleading claims that Trump has made even before the first anniversary of his Presidency: “Trump averages 5-6 false claims a day.”

http://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2018/01/15/president-trump-false-claims-first-year-washington-post.cnn

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Also on video, even immigration restrictionists sometimes wax eloquent about the exceptional generosity of U.S. immigration and refugee laws (even as they engage in an unending battle to undermine that claimed generosity). But, the reality, as set forth in this short HuffPost video is that on a regular basis our Government knowingly and intentionally returns individuals, mostly Hispanics, to countries where they are likely to be harmed or killed because we are unable to fit them within often hyper-technical and overly restrictive readings of various protection laws or because we are unwilling to exercise humanitarian discretion to save them..

I know first-hand because in my former position as a U.S. Immigration Judge, I sometimes had to tell individuals (and their families) in person that I had to order them returned to a country where I had concluded that they would likely be severely harmed or killed because I could not fit them into any of the categories of protection available under U.S. law. I daresay that very few of the restrictionists who glory in the idea of even harsher and more restrictive immigration laws have had this experience. 

And clearly, Donald Trump, Jeff Sessions, Steven Miller, Bob Goodlatte and others in the GOP would like to increase the number of humans we return to harm or death by stripping defenseless juveniles and other vulnerable asylum seekers of some of the limited rights they now possess in the false name of “border security.” Indeed, Sessions even invented a false narrative of a fraud-ridden, “attorney-gamed” (how do folks who often don’t even have a chance to get an attorney use attorneys to “game” the system?) asylum system in an attempt to justify his totally indefensible and morally bankrupt position.

Check out this video from HuffPost, entitled “This Is The Violent And Tragic Reality Of Deportation”  to see the shocking truth about how our removal system really works (or not)!

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/this-is-the-violent-and-tragic-reality-of-deportation_us_5a58eeade4b03c41896545f2

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Thinking of MLK’S “I have a dream,” next, I’ll take you over to The Guardian, where Washington Correspondent Sabrina Siddiqui tells us how “Immigration policy progress and setbacks have become pattern for Dreamers.”

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jan/15/dreamers-policy-progress-and-disaster-has-become-a-pattern-trump

Sabrina writes:

“Greisa Martínez Rosas has seen it before: a rare bipartisan breakthrough on immigration policy, offering a glimmer of hope to advocates like herself. Then a swift unraveling.

Martínez is a Dreamer, one of about 700,000 young undocumented migrants, brought to the US as children, who secured temporary protections through Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, or Daca.

She considers herself “one of the lucky ones”. Last year, she was able to renew her legal status until 2020, even as Donald Trump threw the Dreamers into limbo by rescinding Daca and declaring a deadline of 5 March for Congress to act to replace it.

Martínez is an activist with United We Dream, the largest youth-led immigration advocacy group in the US. She has fought on the front lines.

In 2010 and 2013, she saw efforts for immigration reform, and a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, culminate in disappointment. She rode a familiar rollercoaster this week, as a bipartisan Daca fix was undermined by Trump’s reported – if contested – reference to African and Central American nations as “shithole countries”.

“It feels like a sequel,” Martínez told the Guardian, adding that Trump’s adversarial views underscored the need to hash out a deal. “This same man is responsible for running a Department of Homeland Security that seeks to hunt and deport people of color.”

Negotiations over immigration have always been precarious. Trump has complicated the picture. After launching his candidacy for president with a speech that called Mexican migrants “rapists” and “killers”, Trump campaigned on deporting nearly 11 million undocumented migrants and building a wall on the Mexico border.

He has, however, shown a more flexible attitude towards Dreamers – despite his move to end their protective status. Last Tuesday, the president sat in the White House, flanked by members of both parties. In a 45-minute negotiating session, televised for full effect, Trump ignited fury among his hardcore supporters by signaling he was open to protection for Dreamers in exchange for modest border security measures.

Then, less than 48 hours later, Trump’s reported comments about countries like Haiti and El Salvador prompted a fierce backlash.

“People are picking their jaws up from the table and they’re trying to recover from feelings of deep hurt and anger,” said Frank Sharry, founder and executive director of America’s Voice, a group which advocates for immigration reform.

“We always knew we were climbing a mountain … but it’s improbable to imagine a positive breakthrough for immigrants with the most nativist president in modern America in charge.”

As the uproar continued, it was nearly forgotten that on Thursday, hours before Trump’s remarks became public, a group of senators announced a bipartisan deal.

Under it, hundreds of thousands of Dreamers would be able to gain provisional legal status and eventually apply for green cards. They would not be able to sponsor their parents for citizenship – an effort to appease Trump’s stance against so-called “chain migration” – but parents would be able to obtain a form of renewable legal status.

There would be other concessions to earn Trump’s signature, such as $2bn for border security including physical barriers, if not by definition a wall.

The compromise would also do away with the diversity visa lottery and reallocate those visas to migrants from underrepresented countries and those who stand to lose Temporary Protected Status. That would help those affected by the Trump administration’s recent decision to terminate such status for some nationals of El Salvador, effectively forcing nearly 200,000 out of the country.

The bill would be far less comprehensive than the one put forward in 2013, when a bipartisan group of senators known as the “Gang of Eight” proposed a bill that would have given nearly 11 million undocumented migrants a path to citizenship.

The bill passed the Senate with rare bipartisan support. In the Republican-led House it never received a vote.

Proponents of reform now believe momentum has shifted in their favor, despite Trump’s ascent. The Arizona senator Jeff Flake, part of the 2013 effort and also in the reform group today, said there was a clear deadline of 5 March to help Dreamers.

“I do think there is a broader consensus to do this than we had before,” Flake told the Guardian. “We’re going have 700,000 kids subject to deportation. That’s the biggest difference.”

Read the rest of the story at the link.

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Finally, John Blake at CNN tells us “Three ways [you might not know] MLK speaks to our time.”

http://www.cnn.com/2018/01/12/us/mlk-relevance-today/index.html

“(CNN)“Every hero becomes a bore at last.”

That’s a famous line from the 19th century philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson, but it could also apply to a modern American hero: the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
As the nation celebrates King’s national holiday Monday, it’s easy to freeze-frame him as the benevolent dreamer carved in stone on the Washington Mall. Yet the platitudes that frame many King holiday events often fail to mention the most radical aspects of his legacy, says Jeanne Theoharis, a political science professor at Brooklyn College and author of several books on the civil rights movement.
“We turn him into a Thanksgiving parade float, he’s jolly, larger than life and he makes us feel good,” Theoharis says. “We’ve turned him into a mascot.”
Many people vaguely know that King opposed the Vietnam War and talked more about poverty in his later years. But King also had a lot to say about issues not normally associated with civil rights that still resonate today, historians and activists say.

If you’re concerned about inequality, health care, climate change or even the nastiness of our political disagreements, then King has plenty to say to you. To see that version of King, though, we have to dust off the cliches and look at him anew.
If you’re more familiar with your smartphone than your history, try this: Think of King not just as a civil rights hero, but also as an app — his legacy has to be updated to remain relevant.
Here are three ways we can update our MLK app to see how he spoke not only to his time, but to our time as well:
. . . .
The country is still divided by many of the same issues that consumed him.
On the last night of his life, King told a shouting congregation of black churchgoers that “we as a people” would get to “the Promised Land.” That kind of optimism, though, sounds like it belongs to another era.
What we have now is a leader in the White House who denies widespread reports that he complained about Latino and African immigrants coming to America from “shithole” countries; a white supremacist who murders worshippers in church; a social media landscape that pulsates with anger and accusations.
King’s Promised Land doesn’t sound boring when compared to today’s headlines. And maybe that’s what’s so sad about reliving his life every January for some people.
Fifty years after he died, King’s vision for America still sounds so far away.”
Read the complete article at the link.
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There you have it. A brief but representative sample of some of the many ways in which Dr. King’s dream of a “post racist America” is still relevant and why there’s still much more work still to be done than many of us might have thought several years ago.  
So, the next time you hear bandied about terms like “merit-based” (means: exclude Brown and Black migrants); “extreme vetting” (means: using bureaucracy to keep Muslims and other perceived “undesirables” out); “tax cuts” (means: handouts to the rich at the expense of the poor); “entitlement reform” (means: cutting benefits for the most vulnerable); “health care reform” (means: kicking the most needy out of the health care system); “voter fraud” (means: suppressing the Black, Hispanic, and Democratic vote); “rule of law” (means: perverting the role of Government agencies and the courts to harm Blacks, Hispanics, Gays, women, the poor, and other minorities); “job creation” (means: destroying our precious natural resources and the environment for the benefit of big corporations), “border security” (means: slashing rights for children and asylum seekers, money for building a wall and expanding prisons for non-criminal migrants, a/k/a/ “The New American Gulag”) and other deceptively harmless sounding euphemisms, know what the politicos are really up to and consider them in the terms that Dr. King might have.
What’s really behind the rhetoric and how will it help create the type of more fair, just, equal, and value-driven society that majority of us in American seek to be part of and leave to succeeding generations. If it isn’t moving us as a nation toward those goals, “Just Say NO” as Dr. King would have done! 
PWS
01-15-18

THE HILL: PROFESSOR (& FORMER USCIS CHIEF COUNSEL) STEPHEN LEGOMSKY ON WHY THE TRUMP/SESSIONS FALSE NARRATIVE ATTEMPTING TO DEMONIZE & CRIMINALIZE ALL IMMIGRANTS IS SO TOXIC FOR AMERICA!

http://thehill.com/opinion/immigration/367269-trumps-lumps-all-immigrants-together-at-americas-risk

Steve writes:

“As we approach the first anniversary of the Trump presidency, a clear pattern emerges.

A Muslim immigrant and her U.S.-born husband kill civilians. Candidate Donald Trump’s reaction was to propose a ban on all Muslim immigrants.

Some refugees commit crimes. His reaction is to bar all refugees for 120 days and drastically cut refugee admissions after that.

A diversity-visa immigrant commits a terrorist act. President Trump‘s reaction is to call for repealing the diversity immigrant program.

A man is admitted under the sibling preference. His accompanying child attempts a terrorist attack years later. President Trump’s reaction is that all “chain immigration” should be banned.

 

The absurdity of condemning an entire group because of the actions of a single member seems self-evident. If a left-handed immigrant commits a crime, no one would propose banning all left-handed immigrants. The real question is whether there is a causal link between the commission of the crime and either the substantive criteria or the processes of the particular program.

No such link exists. For one thing, everyone who seeks admission to the United States under any of these programs is rigorously vetted. I know this firsthand, from my experience as chief counsel of the federal agency that admits immigrants and refugees.

. . . .

Anti-immigrant groups are fond of pointing out that, if an individual who committed a crime had never been allowed to enter, the crime would not have occurred. And that is true. But that observation could be made about any admission program. No matter how strict the criteria or how rigorous the vetting, there is always some possibility, however remote, that a given individual will one day commit a crime. Short of banning all foreign nationals from ever setting foot on U.S. soil, there is no way to reduce the risk to zero.

As with any other policy decision, the risks have to be balanced against the benefits. And there are benefits in allowing U.S. citizens to reunite with their family members, benefits in attracting workers with needed skills, benefits in diversifying the immigrant stream, and benefits in fulfilling a moral responsibility to welcome our fair share of those who fear for their lives.

Let’s not throw out the baby with the bathwater.

Stephen Legomsky is an emeritus law professor at Washington University, the former chief counsel of the federal immigration services agency, and the principal author of “Immigration and Refugee Law and Policy,” which has been the required text for immigration courses at 185 law schools.”

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Go on over to The Hill at the link to read Steve’s complete article.

Thanks, Steve, for sending this my way and for these great and appropriate thoughts on MLK Day! It’s important for those of us who have spent a lifetime working in the field and have served the public in our Government to speak out against the various false narratives and perversions of programs that have served America well being pushed by the restrictionists who control this Administration’s immigration policies. Hate, fear, and loathing are not the answers that Dr. King was promoting!

PWS

01-15-18

GONZO’S WORLD: PROFESSOR KARI HONG EXPLAINS SIX WAYS THAT TRUMP, SESSIONS, & CO. ARE THE REAL SCOFFLAWS IN THEIR MISGUIDED CRUDSADE AGAINST SO-CALLED “SANCTUARY CITIES!”

https://thecrimereport.org/2018/01/08/sanctuary-cities-vs-trump-whos-really-breaking-the-law/

Professor Hong writes in The Crime Report:

“As we start a new year, the status of “sanctuary cities” promises to be a continuing flashpoint in the immigration debate. The Trump Administration cites the “rule of law,” and immigrants’ supposed failure to follow it, to justify its crackdown on cities that fail to refer undocumented immigrants who are arrested to federal immigration authorities.

But the president’s attempt to withhold funds from sanctuary jurisdictions doesn’t meet that rule-of-law standard.

Here’s some background. Since 2008, the federal government has sought state and local cooperation in enforcing immigration law under a program originally named Secure Communities, which allows police to check a person’s immigration status in a database maintained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), after he or she is stopped for a traffic violation or arrested for a state crime.

If there is a match, ICE asks the local entity to detain the individual until ICE determines whether an immigration hearing is required, and a judge will then decide if deportation is merited.

Those who support this program, including Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, claim states and cities must use Secure Communities to catch murderers and rapists. Trump issued an executive order deputizing state and local officers to make immigration arrests, and threatened to withhold money from any city and state that does not cooperate.

But ironically, according to four federal judges and a growing number of state courts, it’s Trump’s request that fails to follow the law.

The request flouts the rule of law on six counts.

First, the president seeks to punish “sanctuary jurisdictions.” But only Congress—not the president—can give or withhold federal funds.

The federal government’s lawyers understand the flaws in Trump’s order to withhold funding from jurisdictions. In one of the California cases, the Department of Justice argued that the federal judge should not enforce its order because Trump’s request is unenforceable and should just be ignored. (The judge didn’t buy that argument.)

Second, no one knows what the term “sanctuary jurisdictions” means. When John Kelly, currently the president’s chief of staff, headed the Department of Homeland Security and was tasked with penalizing such jurisdictions, he testified that he “do[esn’t] have a clue” on how to define a “sanctuary city.”

Generally, the term is understood to apply to cities and states that cooperate with the federal government on immigration arrests. But there are no means to define what a failure to act means. It could arise from a decision not to cooperate, but it could also be the result of a lack of opportunity.

That’s like penalizing a backup quarterback for not scoring touchdowns every time the starter plays; it’s simply not his job.

Third, the ICE database is filled with errors. In 2010, ICE detained an individual for three days who was in fact born in Puerto Rico, and therefore a U.S. citizen. This year, ICE agents erroneously detained Mohammed Ali’s son questioning his citizenship. They also detained a visiting Holocaust scholar for violating his visitor’s visa by accepting payment for a speech, not knowing that academics are exempt from that rule.

Fourth, the program is expensive. The federal government requires states and cities to pay for the detention of the non-citizen. Los Angeles stopped doing it after paying $26 million in one year. And when mistakes occur, ICE will not indemnify states or cities.

That means if a state or local police officer detains someone ICE has mistakenly determined is deportable, the state and city will be exposed to a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary compensation for that wrongful detention.

Fifth, even when predicated on correct information, a growing number of stateand federal courts are finding ICE’s requests unlawful and unconstitutional because they do not relate to any ongoing or prospective criminal activity.

Living in the country without status is not a crime. ICE’s requests thus run afoul of the Fourth Amendment’s requirement that the government detain only people who are suspected of committing crimes.

Sixth, the program is ineffectual.

In the nearly 10 years Secure Communities has existed, only a minority of the millions identified have a prior conviction for violent crime. Around 12 percent of the millions of non-citizens identified in this program had been convicted of “serious crimes”, which is a category that includes both violent crimes and non-violent crimes of forgery, fraud, and non-violent drug offenses. Another 25 percent had minor crimes or traffic infractions, such as driving their child to school without a license.

And approximately 40 percent of non-citizens who were picked up in this program had no criminal record.

Under Trump, although the number of immigration arrests increased 40 percent from last year, no more than six percent of those arrested had criminal records.

That low number should not be surprising.

If someone truly is a murderer, rapist, or posed a real danger, they would be rotting in a prison cell. They would not be in the streets, afraid that an ICE officer could somehow discover that they overstayed their visa 20 years ago.

This logic plays out in fact. A recent study concluded that residents in sanctuary cities experience lower crime rates than their counterparts. The case of Kathryn Steinle, 32, who was killed while walking in San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf area in 2015, was used by Trump and immigration opponents as an example of the dangers posed to Americans by undocumented immigrants.

But while the perpetrator was a man who had already been deported five times because of criminal convictions, he proved to be the wrong symbol. Last month, a jury concluded that her death was a tragic accident from a gun misfiring and rejected both murder and manslaughter charges.

Editor’s Note: In response to the acquittal, the Justice Department announced it would file federal charges against the man, and issued an arrest warrant.

Worse, requiring local communities to enforce immigration law is harming its citizenry.

Police chiefs and commissioners have been outspoken in their support of sanctuary policies, arguing they are critical tools to encourage crime victims and witnesses in the immigrant community to cooperate with the police.

Their concerns were well-founded. In the first three months of 2017, the Los Angeles Chief of Police reported that among all ethnicities, only Latino individuals had a 25 percent drop in reporting rapes and domestic violence.

Keep in mind that those with criminal records are not always the so-called “bad hombres,” to use the president’s notorious phrase. Minor crimes have been used to deport combat veterans. A drug crime was the reason to deport a 9/11 volunteer who helped clean up the rubble of the World Trade Center.

Misdemeanors, expunged convictions, and even pardoned state crimes are deportable offenses. And immigration law sweeps in old convictions, so that green card holders who are middle-aged become deportable, regardless of years of proven rehabilitation.

It is too bad that “sanctuary” is the term to describe the jurisdictions that opt out of this program, because it wrongly implies that cities and states are providing amnesty. It would be unimaginable for local police—while issuing speeding tickets or investigating murders—to double check if the driver, the suspects or witnesses had properly filed their respective taxes with all the appropriate deductions, and then detain them until an IRS agent could review their past tax returns.

But that is exactly what is happening with immigration, or at least it was, until four federal judges—and counting—stopped Trump for failing to follow the law.

Kari Hong

Kari Hong

The lesson is clear. Actual criminals are best apprehended and punished by state criminal justice systems. Congress should focus on fixing the broken immigration system that had last seen reform over 20 years ago, and local cities should spend their time and money on local matters.

Casting blame on cities doesn’t solve anything. Forcing cities to do the work of the federal government is truly making things worse.

Kari Hong, an Assistant Professor at Boston College Law School, teaches immigration and criminal law. She founded a clinic representing non-citizens with criminal convictions in the Ninth Circuit, and has argued over 100 Ninth Circuit cases and 50 state criminal appeals.”

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The concept that Scofflaw Gonzo is “restoring the rule of law” at Justice is a cruel joke. “Gonzo’s law” has no real room for the rights of Blacks, Hispanics, Gays, Immigrants, Women, Muslims, or others who don’t fit his “Bannon-Miller” White Nationalist restrictionist agenda.

PWS

01-14-18

SPLIT 9TH SHRUGS OFF DUE PROCESS VIOLATIONS IN EXPEDITED REMOVAL – BUT DISSENTING OPINION GIVES DUE PROCESS HOPE FOR THE FUTURE — GOMEZ-VELAZCO V. SESSIONS

http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2018/01/10/14-71747.pdf

Gomez-Velazco v. Sessions, 9th Cir., 01-10-18, published

STAFF HEADNOTE:

“The panel denied Eladio Gomez-Velazco’s petitions for review from the Department of Homeland Security’s final administrative order of removal under 8 U.S.C. § 1228(b), concluding that Gomez-Velazco’s due process claim, based on his contention that he was denied the right to counsel, failed because he made no showing of prejudice.

Gomez-Velazco argued that DHS officers violated his right to counsel by pressuring him to concede removability without advice of counsel in his proceedings under 8 U.S.C. § 1228(b), a form of summary removal proceedings in which he did not have a hearing before an immigration judge. The panel concluded that it had jurisdiction to review Gomez- Velazco’s constitutional claim and assumed, without deciding, that the officers’ conduct violated his right to counsel.

The panel held that Gomez-Velazco was required to show prejudice in order to prevail on his claim, rejecting his contention that, in the context of a due process violation based on the denial of the right to counsel, prejudice should be conclusively presumed and automatic reversal should follow. The panel concluded that, at least in cases like that of Gomez-Velazco, where an individual is in administrative removal proceedings under 8 U.S.C. § 1228(b), does not waive the 14-day waiting period for judicial review, and is allowed to consult with counsel before the removal order is executed, a showing of prejudice is required. The panel further concluded that Gomez-Velazco failed to establish prejudice.

Dissenting, Chief District Judge Navarro wrote that she would grant the petition for review and vacate the final administrative order of removal. Judge Navarro would first make the distinct finding that Gomez-Velazco’s right to counsel was violated, and would hold that no prejudice is required to vacate the order, and that even if prejudice were required, Gomez-Velazco demonstrated sufficient prejudice.

** This summary constitutes no part of the opinion of the court. It has been prepared by court staff for the convenience of the reader.”

PANEL: Paul J. Watford and John B. Owens, Circuit Judges, and Gloria M. Navarro,* Chief District Judge.

* The Honorable Gloria M. Navarro, Chief United States District Judge for the District of Nevada, sitting by designation.

OPINION BY: Judge Watford

DISSENT BY: Chief USDC Judge Navarro

KEY QUOTE FROM MAJORITY:

“Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) can seek to remove non-citizens from the United States through several different means. The most formal process involves a hearing in immigration court before an immigration judge, at which the individual to be removed can contest the charges against him and request various forms of relief from removal. See 8 U.S.C. § 1229a. Today, however, most non-citizens are ordered removed through streamlined proceedings— expedited removal, administrative removal, and reinstatement of removal—that do not involve a hearing before an immigration judge. See Jennifer Lee Koh, Removal in the Shadows of Immigration Court, 90 S. Cal. L. Rev. 181, 183–84 (2017); Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia, The Rise of Speed Deportation and the Role of Discretion, 5 Colum. J. Race & L. 1, 2–3 (2014). The proceedings are summary in nature and conducted by front-line immigration enforcement officers employed by DHS.

This case involves administrative removal under 8 U.S.C. § 1228(b). A DHS officer ordered Eladio Gomez-Velazco, a native and citizen of Mexico, removed from the United States. Gomez-Velazco contends that his due process rights were violated because he did not have counsel present at the outset of the removal process. We will assume that a violation occurred. The question we address is whether Gomez-Velazco must show that he was prejudiced by the violation. We conclude that he must and that he has not done so. We therefore deny his petitions for review.”

TEXT OF CHIEF USDC JUDGE NAVARRO’S DISSENT:

“NAVARRO, Chief District Judge, dissenting:

I would grant the Petition for Review and vacate the Final Administrative Removal Order (“FARO”) issued on June 12, 2014.

I would first make the distinct finding—as opposed to the majority’s assumption—that Gomez-Velazco’s right to counsel was violated. “Although there is no Sixth Amendment right to counsel in an immigration hearing, Congress has recognized it among the rights stemming from the Fifth Amendment guarantee of due process that adhere to individuals that are the subject of removal proceedings.” Tawadrus v. Ashcroft, 364 F.3d 1099, 1103 (9th Cir. 2004) (citing Rios-Berrios v. I.N.S., 776 F.2d 859, 862 (9th Cir. 1985)). While “[t]he right to counsel in immigration proceedings is rooted in the Due Process Clause,” Biwot v. Gonzales, 403 F.3d 1094, 1098 (9th Cir. 2005), the right to counsel in expedited removal proceedings is also secured by statute. 8 U.S.C. § 1228(b)(4)(B) (“[T]he alien shall have the privilege of being represented (at no expense to the government) by such counsel, authorized to practice in such proceedings, as the alien shall choose.”); 8 C.F.R. § 238.1(b)(2)(i) (“[The Notice of Intent] shall advise that the alien: has the privilege of being represented, at no expense to the government, by counsel of the alien’s choosing, as long as counsel is authorized to practice in removal proceedings”);

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see also 8 C.F.R. § 238.1(b)(2)(iv) (requiring ICE to provide aliens facing expedited removal “with a list of available free legal services programs”).

Moreover, expedited removal proceedings under § 1228 require “conformity with section 1229a” and the “privilege of being represented” is further codified in that section as well. See 8 U.S.C. § 1229a(b)(4)(A). This right to be represented at no cost to the government is also listed on the “Notice of Intent to Issue a FARO” under “Your Rights and Responsibilities.” If the right to counsel under § 1228 is only for the noncitizen to be advised of the right to have counsel, with no practical effect, then it would be no right to counsel at all. See Rios-Berrios, 776 F.2d at 863 (explaining that the right to counsel must be respected in substance as well as in name).

Indeed, this Circuit has consistently emphasized the critical role of counsel in deportation proceedings. See, e.g., Reyes-Palacios v. I.N.S., 836 F.2d 1154, 1155 (9th Cir. 1988) (“The importance of counsel . . . can neither be overemphasized nor ignored.”); United States v. Cerda-Pena, 799 F.2d 1374, 1377 n.3 (9th Cir. 1986) (referring to “an outright refusal to allow an alien the opportunity to obtain representation” as “an egregious violation of due process”). We have characterized the alien’s right to counsel of choice as “fundamental” and have warned the agency not to treat it casually. Rios-Berrios, 776 F.2d at 863–64.

Here, the record clearly demonstrates that Gomez- Velazco asserted that he had counsel and wanted his counsel present. First, in Form I-213, ICE Officer Stewart explains that during the FARO proceedings, Gomez-Velazco “was unwilling to provide a sworn statement without an attorney

GOMEZ-VELAZCO V. SESSIONS 17

present.” Second, on the “Record of Sworn Statement” dated June 12, 2014, the first question states, “Are you willing to answer my questions?” to which Gomez-Velazco answered: “I prefer not to until I talk to my attorney.” DHS nevertheless proceeded with the expedited removal proceedings without first affording Gomez-Velazco the opportunity to notify and speak with his counsel as he requested. In doing so, DHS directly disregarded Gomez-Velazco’s ability to exercise this fundamental right.

Having found that Gomez-Velazco’s right to counsel was violated, I would then find that under Montes-Lopez v. Holder, 694 F.3d 1085 (9th Cir. 2012), no prejudice is required to vacate the FARO. The Montes-Lopez court held “an alien who shows that he has been denied the statutory right to be represented by counsel in an immigration proceeding need not also show that he was prejudiced by the absence of the attorney.” 694 F.3d at 1093–94. In support, the court stated that “the absence of counsel can change an alien’s strategic decisions, prevent him or her from making potentially-meritorious legal arguments, and limit the evidence the alien is able to include in the record.” Id. at 1092.

The majority here distinguishes Montes-Lopez by a distinction without a difference. First, the majority regards Montes-Lopez as “an exception to the general rule requiring a showing of prejudice;” however, prior to Montes-Lopez, there was no general rule that required a showing of prejudice—a fact that Montes-Lopez, Hernandez-Gil, and Biwot, the cases the majority relies so heavily on, all specifically identify. Id. at 1090 (“We have never decided, however, whether prejudice is an element of a claim that counsel has been denied in an immigration proceeding.”);

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Hernandez-Gil v. Gonzales, 476 F.3d 803, 808 (9th Cir. 2007) (“Because we determine that Hernandez-Gil has shown that he was prejudiced by the denial of his statutory right to counsel ‘we again leave unanswered the question whether a petitioner must show prejudice when he has been denied the right to counsel in removal proceedings.’”) (citing Biwot, 403 F.3d at 1100).

Second, the right to counsel is substantively the same under both the § 1228 expedited removal proceeding before a DHS deciding officer, as used here, and the § 1229 proceeding before the immigration judge, as in Montes- Lopez.1 Compare § 1228(b)(4)(B) with § 1229(b)(1); see also United States v. Peralta-Sanchez, 847 F.3d 1124, 1130 (9th Cir. 2017) (emphasizing the similarity of §§ 1228 and 1229 in the right to counsel context). Montes-Lopez’s holding refers to “an immigration proceeding” without differentiating between a proceeding before an immigration judge and a DHS deciding officer. Montes-Lopez, 694 F.3d at 1093–94.

Notably, the Montes-Lopez court purposefully distinguished pure immigration proceedings from collateral attacks on a removal order in a § 1326 illegal reentry criminal case, the latter of which requires prejudice specifically because of “the limitations on criminal defendants’ right to collaterally attack the result of a prior proceeding.” Montes- Lopez, 694 F.3d at 1093; see also Villa-Anguiano v. Holder, 727 F.3d 873, 876 n.1 (9th Cir. 2013) (contrasting the § 1326 illegal reentry collateral attack standard under Reyes-Bonilla with the immigration proceedings petition for review standard

1 The Government decides under which process to pursue deportation by issuing either a Notice of Intent to Issue a FARO under § 1228 or Notice to Appear under § 1229.

GOMEZ-VELAZCO V. SESSIONS 19

under Montes-Lopez). The Montes-Lopez court compared the collateral attack versus petition for review in the immigration context to the difference between a criminal collateral attack and a direct appeal: “A criminal defendant who alleges ineffective assistance of counsel must generally show prejudice, Smith v. Mahoney, 611 F.3d 978, 1001 (9th Cir. 2010), but a defendant who has been denied counsel need not. Campbell v. Rice, 408 F.3d 1166, 1176 (9th Cir. 2005).” 694 F.3d at 1092.

Deprivation of counsel is per se prejudicial. See Cerda- Pena, 799 F.2d at 1377 n.3 (“[A]n outright refusal to allow an alien the opportunity to obtain representation may be such an egregious violation of due process so as not to require any further showing of prejudice”); Garcia-Guzman v. Reno, 65 F. Supp. 2d 1077, 1087 (N.D. Cal. 1999) (explaining that “Cerda-Pena therefore suggests that if the violation of the right to counsel is sufficiently egregious—i.e., a clear denial of representation or outright refusal to permit an alien to obtain representation—prejudice needn’t be shown.”).

The majority attempts to downplay the inherent prejudice of this situation by comparing it to discrete stages of a criminal proceeding, such as a preliminary hearing, a court- ordered psychiatric examination, post-indictment interactions with undercover police officers, and pre-trial line-ups. However, none of these situations are comparable to the instant case. Here, Gomez-Velazco was in custody by DHS when he asked for an attorney—a situation that, in a non- immigration case, would normally mandate an attorney as soon as a defendant requests one.

Furthermore, in drawing comparisons to these Sixth Amendment situations, the majority attempts to illustrate how

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the standard in those cases are only “subject to harmless error review rather than an automatic reversal rule,” and the majority concludes that because this is a similar discrete stage, prejudice is required rather than presumed. However, in arguing this, the majority once again completely disregards Montes-Lopez. There, the court held that “[w]hen this court concludes that an agency has not correctly applied controlling law, it must typically remand, even if we think the error was likely harmless.” Montes-Lopez, 694 F.3d at 1092 (citing INS v. Orlando Ventura, 537 U.S. 12, 16–17 (2002)). Importantly, Montes-Lopez adopts the reasoning of the Second Circuit, which “declined to add a prejudice requirement to this rule because [the court] reasoned that automatic reversal upon violation of such a regulation would encourage agency compliance with its own rules and serve the interests of judicial economy.” Id. at 1091 (citing Montilla v. INS, 926 F.2d 162, 169 (2d Cir. 1991)). We must recognize that in mandating automatic reversal, not only will we continue to protect this right to counsel, but also we will better hold these agencies accountable in their actions and conduct by enforcing their own regulations more strictly upon them. In holding that this situation is akin to a harmless error review, the majority disregards Montes-Lopez’s holding and downplays the right to counsel.

The majority attempts to distinguish Montes-Lopez by stating that it is different than the instant case because it is “based in part on the practical difficulties one would face in trying to prove that the outcome of the merits hearing would have been different had counsel been able to assist.” The majority reasons that Montes-Lopez differs because “Gomez- Velazco was not denied the assistance of counsel throughout the entirety of the administrative removal process” but that he “lacked counsel at one discrete stage of the process.”

GOMEZ-VELAZCO V. SESSIONS 21

To carve out such a nuanced distinction undermines the fundamental nature of the right to counsel. See, e.g., Hernandez-Gil, 476 F.3d at 806 (“The high stakes of a removal proceeding and the maze of immigration rules and regulations make evident the necessity of the right to counsel.”); Montes-Lopez, 694 F.3d at 1091 (“No showing of prejudice is required, however, when a rule is ‘intended primarily to confer important procedural benefits upon indiv[i]duals’’ or ‘when alleged regulatory violations implicate fundamental statutory or constitutional rights.’”) (quoting Leslie v. Attorney Gen., 611 F.3d 171 (3d Cir.2010)). Likewise, to permit an agency to continue to ignore its own regulations undermines the fundamental nature of the right to counsel. Finally, to ignore established precedent in favor of the majority’s new exception undermines the fundamental nature of the right to counsel. Accordingly, I would vacate the FARO because Gomez- Velazco established a right to counsel due process violation and therefore need not show prejudice.

Even if prejudice were required, however, it should be assessed under the “plausibility” standard set forth by United States v. Cisneros-Rodriguez, 813 F.3d 748, 760 (9th Cir. 2015): “[W]hether the defendant had identified a form of relief it was plausible he would have obtained absent the due process violation.” In Cisneros-Rodriguez, the defendant argued that “had she obtained counsel [during her predicate § 1228 proceeding], it is plausible that she would have applied for and obtained a U-visa.” Id. at 753. The court agreed that because she demonstrated prima facie U-Visa eligibility, it was plausible that she would have obtained a U- Visa had she applied for one at the time of her original § 1228 proceeding. Id. at 761. This finding was made despite the

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fact that the defendant later applied for a U-Visa and was

rejected. Id. at 762.

Here, the record demonstrates that Officer Stewart—the arresting ICE officer who provided the evidence to Deciding Officer Elizabeth C. Godfrey for the issuance of the FARO—knew that Gomez-Velazco was represented by counsel and that Gomez-Velazco had a pending U-Visa application. When Officer Stewart nevertheless chose to arrest Gomez-Velazco and continue with the § 1228 proceeding without allowing him to consult with his attorney, Gomez-Velazco was prejudiced more than the defendant in Cisneros-Rodriguez because he had a plausible and pending U-Visa application. As such, I cannot agree with the majority that Gomez-Velazco failed to demonstrate sufficient prejudice under Cisneros-Rodriguez.

Ultimately, even without a finding of prejudice, the majority’s decision to deny Gomez-Velazco’s petition for review dilutes the fundamental right to counsel and completely ignores indistinguishable precedent. See Hernandez v. Holder, 545 Fed. Appx. 710, 713 (9th Cir. 2013) (Ikuta, J., concurring) (unpublished opinion) (stating disagreement with Montes-Lopez while still acknowledging that the Ninth Circuit is bound by its decision). Accordingly, I must respectfully dissent.”

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Sure seems to me that Chief Judge Navarro is right that the majority fails to follow the Ninth Circuit’s long-stnding precedent in Rios-Berrios v. I.N.S., 776 F.2d 859, 862 (9th Cir. 1985). Indeed, if anything the due process need for counsel in so-called “Expedited Removal” before an Immigration Officer appears even greater than that before an Immigration Judge which was found to be per se prejudicial in Rios-Berrios. Also, it’s quite ironic that a District Judge sitting by designation has a better understanding of 9th Circuit precedent than her 9th Circuit colleagues in the majority!

In any event, there is some “good stuff” in this dissent for anyone challenging the lack of counsel in Expedited Removal on due process grounds. Also, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Chief Judge Navarro’s views prevail in some other Circuits as the Trump Administration and DHS “push the envelope” on Expedited Removal.

PWS

01-13-18

NEWS FROM THE NEW DUE PROCESS ARMY (“NDPA”) – MICHELLE MENDEZ AT CLINIC REPORTS HIRING OF THREE NEW LITIGATORS!

My friend and NDPA stalwart Michelle Mendez over at CLINIC reports thei hiring of three new immigration litigators to assist in the battle to keep the Trump Administration from trampling the Due Process rights of immigrants (and others):

“We are thrilled to announce the addition of three outstanding advocates to our Defending Vulnerable Populations team within CLINIC’s Training and Legal Support Program:

 

Georges Francis, Senior Attorney

Rachel Naggar, Remote Legal Teams Project Attorney

Vickie Neilson, Senior Attorney

 

Georges Francis obtained his J.D. from Florida International University where he previously obtained a B.A. in business administration. He was compelled to attend law school after volunteering at the Krome Detention Center where he witnessed the disparate treatment of Haitians in removal proceedings and the hardships all ICE detainees and their families endured while trying to navigate the complicated immigration court process. Since graduating from law school and prior to CLINIC, Georges served as managing attorney for Catholic Charities Legal Services of the Archdiocese of Miami from 2006 to 2017. There, he gained over 11 years of experience litigating and managing detained and non-detained removal cases. Georges is fluent in Creole, proficient in French, and speaks basic Spanish. He is a member of the New Jersey bar and will be working remotely initially from Coral Gables, Florida and then from Charlotte, North Carolina where he will represent CLINIC in the Center of Excellence collaboration.  

 

Rachel Naggar holds a B.S. in Family Studies from the University of Maryland, College Park and a J.D. from Boston College Law School. During law school, Rachel was a summer clinical fellow at the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau. Rachel then worked as a staff attorney at the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project in Arizona from September 2009 to May 2011 before transitioning to the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem in the Immigration Defense Practice from June 2011 to June 2015. Thereafter, Rachel was an associate attorney Glickman Turley LLP handling immigration and criminal matters, including federal criminal appeals, and then a staff attorney at Project Citizenship. She is a member of the Maryland and Massachusetts bars. Rachel will represent CLINIC in a new pilot project in collaboration with AILA and American Immigration Council’s Immigration Justice Campaign. She works remotely from Brookline, Massachusetts.

Vickie Neilson has worked as the Legal Director of Immigrant Justice Corps, an immigration legal fellowship program that seeks to expand the quality and quantity of immigration legal services, since 2014.  Vickie has also worked in the Office of Chief Counsel of USCIS Refugee and Asylum Division, as the legal director of Immigration Equality, and as the legal director of the HIV Law Project.  She has taught as an adjunct professor at CUNY School of Law and New York University School of Law.  Vickie is the Chair of the Immigration Committee of the New York City Bar Association and is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association where she is co-chair of the AILA New York Ethics Committee and a member of the National Asylum Committee.  She is the editor and co-author of Immigration Law and the Transgender Client, and is a contributing author to AILA’s Guide to U.S. Citizenship & Naturalization Law.  She is a graduate of CUNY School of Law and Harvard University.  She is admitted to the New York Bar. Starting February 26th, she will work remotely from Pleasantville, New York.

 

And, if you know anyone who may be interested in joining our team as the E-Learning Program Developer, send that person our way! Thank you!

 

Gratefully,

 

Michelle N. Mendez

Training and Legal Support Senior Attorney

Defending Vulnerable Populations Project Manager

Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC)

Mailing Address: 8757 Georgia Avenue, Suite 850, Silver Spring, MD 20910

Physical Address: OPD, 217 E. Redwood Street, Suite 1020, Baltimore, MD 21202

Cellular Phone: 540.907.1761

Fax Number: 301.565.4824

Email: mmendez@cliniclegal.org

Website: www.cliniclegal.org

 

Embracing the Gospel value of welcoming the stranger, CLINIC promotes the dignity and protects the rights of immigrants in partnership with a dedicated network of Catholic and community legal immigration programs.”

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Congrats to all! And thanks for joining the (unfortunately) never ending battle to force the U.S. Government and this Administration to live up to the Due Process Clause of the U.S. Constitution! What if we had a Government that actually believed in and followed the Constitution for vulnerable migrants and everyone else in the United States? Now, THAT would be a “Great America!”

PWS

01-11-17

 

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

 

CHRISTIE THOMPSON @ THE MARSHALL PROJECT: SESSIONS’S APPARENT ATTACK ON “ADMINISTRATIVE CLOSING” IN U.S. IMMIGRATION COURT COULD FURTHER SCREW UP ALREADY FAILING SYSTEM — It Wasn’t A Problem, But Is Likely To Become One By The Time He’s Finished By Stripping Judges Of Last Vestiges Of Independent Authority Over Their Mushrooming Dockets! – I’m Quoted In This Article!

https://www.themarshallproject.org/2018/01/09/the-doj-decision-that-could-mean-thousands-more-deportations

Christie writes

“Sessions considers tying the hands of immigration judges.

Administrative closure sounds like one of the driest bureaucratic terms imaginable, but it has huge implications for immigrants and their families. Now, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who oversees immigration judges, is considering limiting that power.

Sessions wrote in a recent brief that he would review judges’ authority to administratively close immigration cases, the latest in a series of Department of Justice memos and policies that could reshape immigration courts and make it even harder for people to remain in the U.S.

Administrative closure has been used frequently by judges to drop cases against people who aren’t a priority for deportation or who have other pending legal issues. Judges under the Obama administration used this option far more than previous judges, administratively closing 180,000 cases in four years. Critics say it operates as a kind of backdoor amnesty, particularly for people who don’t qualify for other kinds of relief under immigration law.

Closed cases are in a sort of limbo: the immigrant isn’t legally in the U. S., but the government isn’t pursuing deportation. Authorities can change their mind at any time. Under Obama, this usually happened only if the immigrant went on to commit a crime or if there was a development in his or her legal status. But the Trump Administration has already begun re-openingthousands of administratively closed cases. Immigration judges under Trump have also stopped closing cases for people who didn’t used to be an enforcement priority — such as parents of U.S. citizen children who had been in the country for a long time and had no criminal record.

Judges, attorneys and advocates say that ending administrative closure entirely could have a significant impact on individual cases and the immigration court system overall. Sessions could decide to reopen as many as 350,000 closed cases, which could flood a backlogged system that has 650,000 pending cases.

“If he brings them all back into court at once, that’s going to cripple the courts even further,” said Paul Wickham Schmidt, a former immigration judge and former head of the Board of Immigration Appeals. “They can’t do the cases they have now — why is he out there looking for more?”

There are groups of immigrants for whom administrative closure is particularly important. Someone being deported for a crime but still fighting the conviction may have his or her case closed while an appeal is pending. Judges may also stop removal proceedings for immigrants with serious mental health issues or intellectual disabilities if they are found to be incompetent to go through court hearings.

Many undocumented children also ask for administrative closure while they’re applying for juvenile protected status, a legal status that can take years to wind its way through state family court and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Without administrative closure, “those children could be deported while their application for a green card is pending with another immigration agency,” said Nicholas Phillips, an immigration attorney with Prisoners Legal Services of New York.

If administrative closure isn’t an option, judges have another option of issuing a continuance, which postpones the decision. However, that practice also recently came under fire from the attorney general. Sessions’ office recently criticized the increased use of continuances by immigration judges, saying they delayed the courts.

The Justice Department has made several decisions and proposals recently that would change how immigration judges do their job.

This fall, the department proposed setting case completion quotas for judges to try to speed up decision-making. It released a memo in December that reminding judges to act “impartially” when looking at cases involving children, despite their commonly sympathetic stories. DOJ also said judges should give asylum applications more careful scrutiny and be more reluctant to postpone a case.

Sessions’ announcement of the review came when he intervened in the immigration case of a minor who arrived from Guatemala in 2014. He has asked the Department of Homeland Security and other interested groups to submit briefs on the issue of administrative closure by a February deadline.”

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There are an estimated 350,000 pending cases currently in “administratively closed” (“AC”) status! In my extensive experience at all levels of our immigration system, there are sound reasons supporting almost all of these ACs.

If Sessions, as expected by most advocates, reaches the rather absurd conclusion that notwithstanding over three decades of use by Administrations and Attorneys General of both parties, AC is somehow “illegal” or should be “withdrawn,” these cases likely would mindlessly be thrown back into the already overwhelmed U.S. Immigration Courts on top of the 660,000 already pending cases. Over a million pending cases! That has the potential to “implode” or “explode” or “sink” (choose your favorite verb) the Immigration Court system on the spot.

In reality, AC has been nothing but a godsend for overworked, over-stressed U.S. Immigration Judges and the immigration Court system. Rather than being forced to “docket babysit” cases that can better be resolved elsewhere in the system than in Immigration Court, or that under a proper use of resources and prosecutorial discretion by the DHS never should have been placed in Immigration Court in the first place, the Immigration Judges can “clear some of the deadwood” from their dockets and concentrate on the cases that actually need their limited time and attention. No, AC by itself can’t solve the chronic backlog and due process problems currently festering in the U.S. Immigration Courts. But, reducing the active docket by a whopping one-third without treading on anyone’s due process rights was certainly a step in the right direction! 

The current backlog has been aggravated, if not actually largely created, by the practice of “Aimless Docket Reshuffling” (“ADR”) by politicos in the DOJ and the White House going back decades. As Administrations and AG’s change, and DHS Enforcement priorities change with them, cases that were once “priorities” are shuffled off to the end of the docket to make way for the new “enforcement priority of the moment.” Other times, Immigration Judges are shuffled or detailed to the new “priority dockets” and their now “non-priority regular cases” are arbitrarily reassigned to other judges (who already are carrying full dockets themselves). Many times, this means taking cases that are “ready for trial” and replacing them with cases that aren’t ready for trial because the respondent needs to find a lawyer, file applications, and prepare the case. Other times, when dockets are shifted around largely without meaningful participation by the Immigration Judges, the DHS files or EOIR “record files” are not available, thus causing further delays.

In that manner, cases are not completed on any regular, predictable schedule, “Individual Hearing” dates become “jokes,” and U.S. Immigration Judges lose both credibility and the last vestiges of independent control over their court dockets as politicos and bureaucrats who neither fully understand nor are properly part of the Immigration Court System screw things up time after time.

Sessions appears anxious to add to and further aggravate these problems, rather than addressing them ion a reasonable and systematic manner with participation of all parties who use and rely on the U.S. Immigration Courts for due process and justice. Shame on him and on our Congress for allowing this to happen!

As I’ve said over and over: It’s past time for Congress to create an independent U.S. Immigration Court system that would be free of these types of highly politicized and totally wasteful shenanigans!

Only an independent U.S. Immigration Court will provide the “level playing field” and truly impartial administration and adjudication necessary to bring these potentially “life or death” cases to conclusion in a manner that is both efficient and in full compliance with fundamental fairness and due process (and, consequently, will find a high degree of acceptance in the U.S. Courts of Appeals, rather than generating too many “returns for redos” as happens in the current “haste makes waste” environment at EOIR.)

PWS

01-10-18

EXCLUSIVE FROM TAL @ CNN: “Pair of lawmakers unveil bipartisan DACA plan!”

http://www.cnn.com/2018/01/08/politics/bipartisan-daca-compromise-plan-unveiled/index.html

The always amazing Tal Kopan at CNN files this exclusive report on a possible “Dreamer Breakthrough:”

“Exclusive: Pair of lawmakers unveil bipartisan DACA plan

By Tal Kopan, CNN

A bipartisan pair of House members have reached a compromise on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and border security — a plan the two unlikely allies hope could provide a “foundation” for a deal President Donald Trump could sign into law.

Reps. Will Hurd, a Texas Republican, and Pete Aguilar, a California Democrat and whip for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, have been quietly working for weeks to develop their legislation, which the two sophomore lawmakers are releasing as a discussion draft as talks heat up on DACA ahead of a government funding deadline January 19 being used as leverage in Congress. The hope is, they say, that putting out a bipartisan proposal could speed up talks about resolving the issue.

The plan aims to be “as narrow as possible,” Hurd told CNN in an exclusive joint interview with Aguilar on Sunday night about the proposal.

The legislation draws heavily from other proposed legislation, a conscious decision by the two congressmen to lean on language that has already been vetted by committees and lawmakers, they say.

At the core of the deal would be a legislative way to enact DACA, an Obama administration program that protected young undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children from deportation that Trump has decided to end.

The bill would offer qualifying individuals the ability to get in line for a green card and eventual citizenship after years of conditional residency, provided they meet certain requirements, including a background check and work, education or military service requirements. The bill doesn’t make explicit reference to sponsoring relatives, but the bill summary notes that existing law would prohibit parents of these individuals who came to the US illegally to return to their home country for at least 10 years before applying for a visa to come back, and the bill does nothing to erase that requirement. That addresses “chain migration,” or family-based migration, that Trump says he wants to cut.

Other provisions include increasing the number of immigration judges and attorneys, as the Justice Department has sought, to reduce the lengthy backlog of cases in immigration courts that cause people to stay in the US in limbo for years. The bill also coordinates efforts to improve conditions in Central America, to address factors that send undocumented immigrants to the US.

For the border, the bill draws heavily from Hurd’s “smart wall” bill that would direct the Department of Homeland Security to gain “operational control” of the border by the end of 2020 through “technology, physical barriers, levees, tools and other devices,” according to a bill summary shared with CNN.

Both lawmakers said they hope the deal can provide a basis for Congress to resolve the DACA issue, which Trump has said he wants replaced but only if paired with his border wall and some other immigration fixes.

Leadership has not officially blessed Hurd and Aguilar’s work, but party leaders on both sides, including the White House, have been looped in on its development, the lawmakers said.

“This is a DACA and border security fix,” Hurd said. “And if there’s other elements that have to be included in a broader deal to get signed into law, this is a foundation for that conversation.”

Aguilar said he has been whipping “in the weeds” on the issue, and Hurd has been working on his side of the aisle. Neither gave numbers of supporters, though Hurd estimated “dozens of Republicans” could back it.

“This is the building block that would have bipartisan support if it was on the floor tomorrow,” Aguilar added. “I feel confident about that. I feel the same as Will, if there are other pieces that have to come to get a signature, we’ll take a look.”

 

Unlikely allies

 

Both lawmakers were elected in 2014, both defeating incumbent congressmen of the opposite party, and both defended their seats in rematch challenges in 2016.

The partnership evolved out of Congressional Hispanic Caucus efforts to engage Republicans and see what they could support, Aguilar said. He even checked with his colleague Democrat Beto O’Rourke, whose district neighbors Hurd’s and who did a 24-hour livestreamed road trip with him to DC. O’Rourke affirmed that Hurd could be trusted, Aguilar said.

Both noted that they were not in Congress for previous immigration reform battles, unlike some of their counterparts in the Senate and broader House negotiations, something they see as an advantage.

“I think it grew out of two folks that, we don’t have all the wounds from all the other in-fights over these topics,” Hurd said.

“We’re having really substantive discussions in a way that some of our colleagues can’t because they’re trying to fight the battles from 10 and 15 and 20 years ago, or because this isn’t something that they work with or see a lot,” Aguilar added.

Aguilar represents the whip operation of the Hispanic caucus, which has been one of the leading voices on the left and closely listened to by Democratic leadership in negotiating a deal.

Hurd’s district in Texas contains the most border of any lawmaker in Congress, from the outer ring of El Paso on the western edge of Texas to the region due south of San Antonio in the middle of the state. It includes more than 800 miles of border with Mexico, which is more than one-third of the entire US-Mexico border. It’s also a district Hillary Clinton won in the last election and has a heavy Hispanic population.

That combination of knowledge, the duo says, was key.

“From my perspective, he has the most knowledge of issues that are going on in a border district than any member I’ve worked with or talked to, period, irrespective of party affiliation,” Aguilar said.

“This is about solving the problem, and the only way you solve the problem is to do it with people that have the respect of their colleagues and knowledge of the problem, and that is Pete Aguilar,” Hurd said.”

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Sounds like a plausible deal that “finesses” some of the longer term immigration policy questions. Thanks to Tal for passing this on.

PWS

01-08-18

 

THE GIBSON REPORT — 01-08-18

THE GIBSON REPORT 01-08-18

HEADLINES:

“TOP UPDATES

 

Sessions takes aim at administrative closure

o   ABC: Sessions posed detailed questions challenging the use of “administrative closures,” an increasingly common outcome that allows people to stay in the country without legal status. The attorney general invited feedback from advocates and others, after which time he may issue new instructions for immigration judges nationwide.

o   Matter of CASTRO-TUM, 27 I&N Dec. 187 (A.G. 2018): The Attorney General referred the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals to himself for review of issues relating to the authority to administratively close immigration proceedings, ordering that the case be stayed during the pendency of his review.

 

Acting ICE Director Wants to Arrest Politicians Running Sanctuary Cities

NYMag: In an interview Tuesday with Fox News Channel’s Neil Cavuto, Homan said political leaders in sanctuary cities, which don’t cooperate with ICE officials looking to make immigration arrests, are breaking the law when they “knowingly shield and harbor an illegal alien.” “That is a violation of 8 USC 1324. That’s an alien-smuggling statute. I’ve asked the Department of Justice to look at this,” he said.

 

OCC Trying to De-designate UACs?

Catholic Charities: Before IJ Kolbe: It was business as usual until a case that involved a UAC, 13 years old, present with step-father, after counsel stated they were pursuing Asylum, DHS handed her a letter stating that they’re giving her a letter de-designating her client. It all happened very fast, and it was unexpected. Kolbe did look surprise and stated that counsel could still send her application to USCIS and keep her up-to-date with the outcome. My question is, has anyone else had  this letter handed out to them? If so, can you share the letter so we can see what exact language DHS is using and prepare rebuttals?

 

ICE sending G-56 call-in letter after attempted raid

IDP: We just got a call from an individual who was deported (to the wrong country) in 2007, he then reentered in 2008.  He was recently arrested on a criminal case in Rockland County, NY.  About 3 weeks ago — shortly after one of his criminal court dates –, 9 agents, a mix of ICE and the local gang unit of the sheriff’s department, raided his home early in the morning.  He was at work and after waking up his sleeping children and speaking everyone in the home, the agents left without arresting anyone. A few days later, this individual received [a] G-56 letter from ICE in the mail, telling him to report to ERO at 201 Varick Street this Tuesday for “Case Review”, with his immigration documents and valid passport, which seems like a less resource-intensive tactic of ICE to take him into custody to re-deport him.

 

Trump Justice Department Pushes for Citizenship Question on Census, Alarming Experts

ProPublica: The Justice Department is pushing for a question on citizenship to be added to the 2020 census, a move that observers say could depress participation by immigrants who fear that the government could use the information against them. That, in turn, could have potentially large ripple effects for everything the once-a-decade census determines — from how congressional seats are distributed around the country to where hundreds of billions of federal dollars are spent.

 

Fewer family visas approved as Trump toughens vetting of immigrants: Reuters review

Reuters: The number of approvals dropped by nearly a quarter in the first nine months of 2017 to around 406,000 compared to the same period a year earlier when approvals were more than 530,000, despite a similar number of applications during both periods, USCIS data showed.

 

Immigration Clinic Represents Somali nationals in Class Action Lawsuit

ImmProf: The hearing will address whether the court has jurisdiction to consider the petitioners’ claim that they are entitled to a stay of removal while they seek reopening of their removal orders.

 

Motel 6 Gave Guest Information To ICE Agents, Lawsuit Says

NPR: Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson sued Motel 6 on Wednesday, alleging motel employees gave private information about thousands of guests to U.S. immigration authorities.

 

More workers say their bosses are threatening to have them deported

LA Times: Complaints over immigration-related retaliation threats surged last year in California, according to the Labor Commissioner’s Office. Through Dec. 22, workers had filed 94 immigration-related retaliation claims with the office, up from 20 in all of 2016 and only seven a year earlier.

 

US Commission on Civil Rights Concerned with Alleged Abusive Labor Practices at Immigration Detention Centers

AILA: The Commission calls for heightened oversight and transparency of the Voluntary Work Program within both government and privately-run detention centers.

 

Trump, lawmakers step up talks on immigrant ‘Dreamers’

Reuters: Urgent negotiations aimed at shielding young, undocumented immigrants from deportation intensified on Thursday as Republican U.S. senators emerged from a meeting with President Donald Trump expressing confidence a deal could be struck this month.

 

IJ Lamb’s Retirement

Empire Justice Center: Update 1/8/18: I spoke with IJ Lamb’s legal assistant this morning and she informed me that my individual scheduled for tomorrow was adjourned and all her hearings will be reassigned to a new judge.

 

ACTIONS

 

o   AILA: Call for Examples: Compelling Family Immigration Stories”

 

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PWS

01-08-18

 

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

 

GONZO’S WORLD: WASHPOST EDITORIALS RIP GONZO’S BOGUS “CRIME WAVE” & “REEFER MADNESS!” – Is He “On The Ropes?” – Don’t Count On It – NBC Describes How He’s The “Ultimate Survivor!”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/jeff-sessions-says-theres-a-staggering-increase-in-homicides-the-data-dont-agree/2018/01/05/b0ae52fa-f169-11e7-b390-a36dc3fa2842_story.html

Jeff Sessions says there’s ‘a staggering increase in homicides.’ The data disagree.


Attorney General Jeff Sessions at the White House in Washington on March 27, 2017. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
January 5

“PRESIDENT TRUMP rode a claim of out-of-control crime — to be fought with “law and order” — to victory in 2016. He reinforced the message in his inaugural address about “American carnage.” So it’s no surprise that Attorney General Jeff Sessions harps on the same theme, most recently on Wednesday, when he issued a statement describing this as a “time of rising violent crime [and] a staggering increase in homicides.” As the nation’s chief law enforcement officer, Mr. Sessions can and should use his bully pulpit to raise justified concern about crime and violence; his latest remarks, however, constituted a misuse of that power. Currently available data do not support his alarmism.

The most recent FBI national crime reports do indeed show that both murder and violent offenses generally rose in 2015 and 2016. The murder rate had risen from at least a 54-year low of 4.4 per 100,000 people in 2014 to 5.3 at the end of 2016. This reversal of a long and positive trend in American society cries out for thoughtful analysis and response. We’re still waiting for the 2017 FBI data, which won’t be out until later this year.

Meanwhile, private sources have been crunching the 2017 numbers reported by the police of the largest cities — generally indicative of the national total, since homicide is overwhelmingly an urban phenomenon. The basic picture is that homicide probably dippedslightly last year. Through Dec. 16, the total number of homicides in the nation’s 30 largest cities was 4.4 percent below what it was at the same point in 2016, according to the New York-based Brennan Center for Justice. The Brennan Center is a liberal nonprofit that frequently criticizes the Trump administration, but its numbers come from police agencies and city reports, and its findings agree with those of independent crime analyst Jeff Asher of FiveThirtyEight. His study of public data from 54 cities with 250,000 or more residents showed that murder is down 2.75 percent over 2016.

Mr. Sessions’s statement came in the context of his announcement of new interim U.S. attorneys, including for Manhattan and Brooklyn. Yet the nation’s largest city recorded only 290 homicides in 2017 — a decline of nearly 90 percent over the past quarter century. Mr. Sessions could just as easily have taken the opportunity to send the Big Apple and the other improving cities his congratulations.”

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https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/sessionss-unwise-move-on-marijuana-may-backfire/2018/01/06/12216a4a-f264-11e7-b3bf-ab90a706e175_story.html

Sessions’s unwise move on marijuana may backfire

January 6 at 7:39 PM

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is pushing the federal government back into marijuana enforcement. This is an unwise and unnecessary move that may divert resources from more serious problems — and end up backfiring on those who want to restrain pot use.

Mr. Sessions rescinded Thursday a policy that kept the federal government largely out of the way of states that have legalized marijuana. A majority of states have now legalized it in some form. Maryland just began permitting medical marijuana. California just legalized recreational marijuana, and Vermont is near to doing so.

Mr. Sessions’s move upended a tenuous deal the Obama administration made with legalization states: keep pot out of minors’ hands and help combat trafficking, and federal authorities will focus on bigger priorities. This policy allowed a handful of states room to experiment with unencumbered legalization, which would have made the consequences clearer to others.

Mr. Sessions’s decision is unlikely to result in arrests of small-time marijuana users. But it will chill the growth of the aboveboard weed economy by deterring banks and other institutions from participating. From there, U.S. attorneys across the country will decide whether to crack down, and on whom — a few big distributors, perhaps, or a few local grow shops, too. In states with complex regulations on marijuana growing, testing and selling, some operations may move back underground rather than provide documentation to state authorities that federal prosecutors might later use against them.

Mr. Sessions’s move is counterproductive even for skeptics of legalization, whose only defense against a growing tide of public opinion would be evidence that full legalization has significant negative consequences. Mr. Sessions’s move diminishes the possibility of drawing lessons — including cautionary ones — from the examples of legalization states. Similarly, Mr. Sessions has made it harder to learn how to regulate the legitimate weed economy, if that is the path the country chooses.

Jars of medical marijuana are on display on the counter of Western Caregivers Medical marijuana dispensary in Los Angeles. (Richard Vogel/Associated Press)

More concerning is the prospect that U.S. attorneys will begin diverting limited federal resources into anti-pot campaigns from far more pressing matters. As Mr. Sessions himself said this past November, the nation is experiencing “the deadliest drug crisis in American history.” That would be the opioid epidemic, which, Mr. Sessions noted, claimed some 64,000 lives in 2016. Marijuana simply does not pose the same threat, and the attorney general should have avoided any suggestion that it requires more attention right now.

Mr. Sessions’s decision will spur calls for Congress to finally change federal law. That is warranted, but lawmakers should be wary of swinging too far in the opposite direction. As a recent National Academies of Science review found, experts still know relatively little about marijuana’s health effects. It makes no sense to lock up small-time marijuana users, but it may not make sense to move quickly to national legalization. Rather, Congress should decriminalize marijuana use, then await more information.”

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Obviously, Gonzo isn’t “winning friends and (favorably) influencing people” with his with his various personal vendettas. And, Trump trashes him one day and pats him on the back the next. But, that doesn’t mean he’s going anywhere soon. Ironically, Senate Democrats, who once called for his resignation, are now defending him in light of calls from various GOP legislators for him to step down.  Also ironically, it’s Special Counsel Robert Mueller, whom Gonzo doesn’t even supervise, who’s probably his “job insurance.” Jonathan Allen at NBC News explains how Gonzo has become the “ultimate survivor” of the Trump Administration.

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/why-attorney-general-jeff-sessions-survives-trump-s-wrath-n835251

“POLITICS

Why Attorney General Jeff Sessions survives Trump’s wrath

WASHINGTON — Attorney General Jeff Sessions is taking so much friendly fire these days that it’s easy to conclude he might soon be shown the Justice Department exit.

President Donald Trump has long been apoplectic over Sessions’ recusal from the Justice Department’s Russia probe — as well as the agency’s passing interest in allegations of misconduct by Trump’s vanquished rival, Hillary Clinton — and the president often criticizes Sessions, the Justice Department and the FBI publicly.

“So General Flynn lies to the FBI and his life is destroyed, while Crooked Hillary Clinton, on that now famous FBI holiday ‘interrogation’ with no swearing in and no recording, lies many times … and nothing happens to her? Rigged system, or just a double standard?” Trump wrote on Twitter last month.

Three House Republicans — Chris Stewart of Utah, Jim Jordan of Ohio and Mark Meadows of North Carolina — called on Sessions to resign this week. In an op-ed in the Washington Examiner, Meadows and Jordan argued that leaks about the Russia investigation show the attorney general doesn’t have control over his department. And there have been reportsthat EPA Chief Scott Pruitt is lining himself up to try to take Sessions’ job.

Third Republican calls for Sessions to resign 0:48

Things have gotten so bad for Sessions that his chief defenders this week were the very same Senate Democrats that had railed against his appointment last year, a function of their fear that a new attorney general would be both more loyal to Trump and more able to affect Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

It all adds up to the kind of drumbeat that usually portends the political demise of a Cabinet official.

But on Saturday, Trump sought to quiet Sessions’ critics. Asked whether he stands by his attorney general, Trump replied, “Yes, I do.”

It may be that Sessions is untouchable. At the very least, veteran Washington insiders say, he’s shown a survivor’s instincts for dealing with Trump.

“Sessions has figured out a way to appease Trump at the moments where his ire is at its maximum,” said Brian Fallon, a former Obama Justice Department and Hillary Clinton campaign spokesman who also worked on Capitol Hill. “Sessions finds ways to relieve some of the tension.”

In the latest example, Trump’s fury may have been tempered this week by reports that Sessions’ Justice Department has been investigating the Clinton Foundation and is taking another look at Clinton’s private email server. Trump had publicly pressured Sessions to investigate longtime top Clinton aide Huma Abedin over her handling of classified information.

Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said in an email that the possibility of Sessions losing his job is a “non story” that has been “ginned up by the media.”

But even if he’s not fully pleased with Sessions, Trump may be stuck with him.

On a political level, it’s not clear whether any possible replacement could win Senate confirmation at a time when two GOP defectors would be enough to scuttle a nomination.

And there’s also the tricky legal question of whether firing Sessions could be interpreted as an attempt to obstruct justice in the Mueller probe, especially after The New York Times reported that a Sessions aide tried to dig up dirt on James Comey when the former FBI director testified that his agency was examining possible Trump campaign ties to Russia.

While Sessions may be secure, his No. 2, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, may not be if Trump continues to be displeased with the progress of Mueller’s investigation. With Sessions recused, it’s Rosenstein who oversees Mueller. If Trump decides he wants to fire Mueller, that order would go through Rosenstein, which could set up the kind of constitutional crisis that faced Justice Department executives during the 1973 Saturday Night Massacre.

Back then, President Richard Nixon wanted to fire special prosecutor Archibald Cox, who was investigating the Watergate scandal. The top two justice department officials resigned rather than carry out his order, and Cox was eventually fired by Solicitor General Robert Bork at Nixon’s direction. Nixon won the battle but the backlash from his heavy-handed tactics accelerated his defeat in the war to keep his job. The House began impeachment hearings less than two weeks later.

That history is reason enough for Trump to think twice about cashiering Sessions or any other senior Justice Department official.”

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Gonzo’s attacks on African-Americans, Latinos, LGBTQ individuals, state and local officials, and legalized marijuana merchants and users, among others, is an anathema to effective law enforcement! Indeed, these are just the communities whose support and assistance Gonzo and the DOJ would need to actually be effective in fighting serious crime.

Moreover, his false crusades against these groups have made him ignore America’s most pressing problem: combatting the opioid crisis, which would require not just law enforcement but a coordinated effort among Federal, state and local law enforcement, local communities, and medical,social, welfare, and economic development entities, all of which Gonzo has gone out of his was to “dis” or otherwise offend.

On the other hand, as pointed out by Jonathan Allen, for reasons unrelated to his unrelentingly poor administration of “justice,” Sessions might be in charge of his own destiny at the DOJ.

PWS

01-07-18

ROBIN UREVICH @ CAPITAL & MAIN: “ICEY DEATH” — How The “New American Gulag” Is Killing Civil Immigration Detainees!

Investigative Reporter Robin Urevich of Capital & Main is writing a continuing series on immigration detainee deaths in ICE detention. Here are excerpts from her first two articles.

“Since 2016, 23 men and women have died inside Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention centers. They came from 15 countries in Latin America, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the Caribbean, and ranged in age from 23 to 65. The detainees included Osmar Gonzalez Gadba, a Nicaraguan national who hanged himself in his cell at the Adelanto Detention Facility near San Bernardino; a Panamanian named Jean Jimenez Joseph, who also committed suicide, in Georgia’s Stewart Detention Center; and Moises Tino Lopez, a young Guatemalan who died of “cardiac arrest” in a Nebraska jail. They were not prisoners serving criminal sentences, but immigrants who existed in a legal twilight without the freedom to leave their places of incarceration — in at least one case, because the detainee couldn’t afford the cost of bail.

Read “The Lonely Death of Moises Tino Lopez”
Capital & Main has launched a new project, Deadly Detention, to give names and faces to these 23 dead, and to explain how they met such sad fates in the country most had come to in search of better lives. It is a counterweight to ICE’s secrecy and comes as the Trump administration expands an already sprawling detention system to accommodate the growing number of immigrants caught up in its deportation surge. (In September and October of this year, the Department of Homeland Security issued notices to potential bidders that it was interested in establishing new detention centers near Chicago, Detroit, St. Paul, Salt Lake City and one in South Texas that would hold some 1,000 detainees.)

We have petitioned for detailed information about each detainee death since 2016 under the federal Freedom of Information Act. ICE publicly released 13 of these detainee death reviews this month. Although far from conclusive, the reviews aim a rare spotlight on poor and often delayed care at the nation’s nearly 250 detention centers and county jails that house immigration detainees, many of which are in remote locations and largely hidden from public view.

Capital & Main has dug deeply into how and why these and other deaths occurred, whether or how they could be prevented, who is responsible and how the system can function more humanely.

This project begins as ICE signals a move toward even less openness than it has previously displayed. The agency has received preliminary approval from the National Archive and Record Administration to destroy records of detainee deaths and in-custody sexual assaults after 20 years, and solitary confinement documents after just three years.”

Read the rest of Robin’s First article here:

Deadly Detention: Why Are Immigrants Dying in ICE Custody?

Here’s Part Il:

“It’s an open question whether Tino Lopez would be alive if he hadn’t landed in the Hall County Jail. But it was clearly bad luck that got him locked up in the first place.

According to Rose Godinez, an American Civil Liberties Union attorney, Tino Lopez would have had a chance to fight his case with a competent immigration attorney. He hadn’t committed a crime in the United States; he was ordered deported simply because he had entered here illegally, was caught and later failed to check in with immigration authorities, possibly because he didn’t understand the requirement.

He probably had a case for asylum, according to Godinez. Tino Lopez and his wife claimed they had been threatened by gun-wielding supporters of a mayoral candidate they had opposed in Guatemala, and said they feared for their lives. Juarez has since been granted a work permit in her asylum case on the same grounds, and has been told by her attorney that she’ll likely prevail.

Tino Lopez’s death triggered a criminal investigation by the Nebraska State Patrol and a grand jury proceeding, both required by Nebraska law following inmate deaths. The grand jury determined no crime was committed in his death. But an ICE review concluded that the Hall County Jail, which currently houses some 80 immigrant detainees, violated a number of ICE federal detention standards on medical care, and took other questionable actions that concern the agency.

All told, the documents raise questions about the jail’s ability to properly care for medically vulnerable detainees.

“The first [seizure] should have prompted a high level of concern and attention,” said Dr. Marc Stern, a correctional health-care expert. “And if the first one didn’t, the second one should have.”
In recent years ICE has come under fire for alleged substandard medical care in detention centers and in county jails. In a Human Rights Watch report released earlier this year, two physicians who reviewed 18 ICE detainee deaths found that poor care probably contributed to seven of them.

At the Hall County Jail, as in many ICE detention facilities, health care is provided by a for-profit contractor. Advanced Correctional Healthcare, based in Peoria, Illinois, serves over 250 jails and prisons in 17 Midwestern and Southern states and, on its website, states the company is saving thousands of dollars for local governments. But in the past 12 years, more than 150 inmates or their families have filed suit against the company and the local jails it serves, alleging they were hurt or their loved one killed as a result of poor care from ACH. Three wrongful death suits have been lodged in federal court against the company in the past six months alone.”

Here’s the link to the complete article:

Deadly Detention: The Lonely Death of Moises Tino Lopez

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Congress is legally and morally responsible for funding, and in many cases actively encouraging, the New American Gulag. But, “We the People” are also responsible for those supposedly elected to govern in accordance with our Constitution and values. Tell your Senators and Representatives that it’s time to drastically reduce and carefully regulate civil immigration detention!

PWS

01-06-18

 

WRONG AGAIN: BIA ERRED IN FINDING THAT NV “CONSPIRACY TO POSSESS DRUGS” IS A BASIS FOR REMOVAL — VILLAVICENCIO V. SESSIONS

Julio Villavicienco Decision Published_

Villavicienco v. Sessions, 9th Cir., 01-05-18, published

STAFF HEADNOTE:

“The panel granted Julio Cesar Villavicencio’s petition for review of the Board of Immigration Appeals decision, concluding that Villavicencio was not removable for a controlled substance offense under 8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)(2)(B)(i) because the statutes under which he was convicted of conspiracy to possess drugs, Nevada Revised Statutes §§ 199.480 and 454.351, are overbroad and indivisible.

The panel held that the Nevada conspiracy statute, NRS § 199.480, is overbroad when compared to the generic definition of conspiracy because the Nevada statute lacks the requisite “overt act” element. Therefore, the panel concluded that the categorical approach may not be used to determine removability. The panel also concluded that application of the modified categorical approach is foreclosed because this court has already determined that NRS § 199.480 is indivisible.

The panel further held that NRS § 454.351, which covers any drug which may not be lawfully introduced into interstate commerce under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, is categorically overbroad relative to the substances controlled under 21 U.S.C. § 802. The panel also concluded that, although the Nevada statute lists multiple means of violation, i.e., possessing, procuring, or manufacturing,

because jurors need not agree on the means of the violation, the statute must still be regarded as indivisible. Accordingly, the panel held that the statute cannot be used as a predicate offense to support removal

** This summary constitutes no part of the opinion of the court. It has been prepared by court staff for the convenience of the reader.”

PANEL: Mary M. Schroeder and Johnnie B. Rawlinson, Circuit Judges, and William H. Stafford, Jr.,* District Judge.

* The Honorable William H. Stafford, Jr., United States District Judge for the Northern District of Florida, sitting by designation.

OPINION BY: Judge Rawlinson

KEY QUOTE:

“Villavicencio was not removable under 8 USC § 1227(a)(2)(B)(i). N.R.S. §§ 199.480 and 454.351 are both overbroad. N.R.S. § 199.480 criminalizes a broader range of conduct than is described in the generic definition of conspiracy, and N.R.S. § 454.351 encompasses a wider range of substances than those set forth in the federal Controlled Substances Act. Because neither statute is divisible, the modified categorical approach was unavailable to determine if Villavicencio was convicted of a removable offense. As a result, Villavicencio is entitled to his requested relief reversing the determination of removability.”

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Admittedly, this is complicated stuff. But, the BIA is supposed to have “special expertise.”

Given the complexity of these determinations, how could an unrepresented immigrant ever hope to present a defense like this? (Look at the list of pro bono counsel who appeared for the respondent in this case!) How can Removal Hearings conducted where only the DHS is represented by counsel possibly comply with Due Process? (Particularly in light of the recent memo from the Chief Immigration Judge “reminding” Immigration Judges not to “act as counsel” for unrepresented respondents.) How can intentionally detaining immigrants and establishing so-called “courts” in detention centers in out-of-the-way locations where pro bono counsel are known to be generally unavailable possibly comply with Due Process? Why aren’t Immigration Judges and the BIA taking the time and doing the research to get cases like this right in the first place? How does Sessions’s exclusive emphasis on “peddling faster” and “churning out” more final removal orders effectively address the glaring systemic “quality control” problems exposed by cases like this?

PWS

01-06-17

 

 

ELISE FOLEY @ HUFFPOST: TRUMP’S WHITE NATIONALIST AGENDA APPEARS ON TRACK TO SINK DREAMER AGREEMENT, PERHAPS RESULTING IN USG SHUTDOWN! – Sen. Durbin, Dems “Just Say No” To Restrictionist Measures!

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/trump-daca-dreamers-dick-durbin_us_5a4fff0ce4b01e1a4b151ad1

Elise writes in HuffPost:

“WASHINGTON  ― President Donald Trump sent senators a lengthy set of demands on Friday that could tank a deal to help Dreamers ― young undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children ― and might risk a government funding agreement in the process.

The document is essentially an immigration restrictionist wish list. It calls for a border wall, more immigration enforcement agents, punishment for so-called “sanctuary cities,” restrictions on citizens and legal residents sponsoring family members’ visas, and policies to make it easier to detain and deport undocumented immigrants. No dollar amounts were included in the list of demands, but The Wall Street Journal reported earlier Friday that Trump is seeking nearly $18 billion to pay for a border wall.

Democrats and immigrant rights activists have said they won’t accept the White House’s demands in a deal to grant legal status to Dreamers, hundreds of thousands of whom are at risk of losing deportation protections because Trump ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA program.

The list could be enough to trigger a Democratic revolt on a government funding bill that needs to pass later this month, Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), whose office shared the White House’s list with reporters, said in a statement.

“President Trump has said he may need a good government shutdown to get his wall,” Durbin said. “With this demand, he seems to be heading in that direction. … It’s outrageous that the White House would undercut months of bipartisan efforts by again trying to put its entire wish-list of hardline anti-immigrant bills—plus an additional $18 billion in wall funding—on the backs of these young people.”

Trump ended DACA in September and said Congress should act to give more permanent protections to recipients of the two-year work permits and deportation relief. DACA recipients will begin to lose permits in greater numbers in March, although activists estimate they’re already losing them at a rate of about 122 per day.

In the months since Trump ended the program, the White House has put out long lists of immigration priorities, and Trump has made broad pronouncements in public comments and tweets, largely focused around building a wall, ending the diversity visa lottery and eliminating so-called “chain migration,” immigration restrictionists’ preferred term for family reunification visas.

The list of demands was initially created in October, with Stephen Miller, a Trump policy adviser, listed as the author of the document, according to the properties on the PDF file. But senators didn’t get a copy until Friday.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the document.

Democrats have said they are willing to give Trump some of what he wants on border security, such as more infrastructure, technology and funds, in exchange for legal status for Dreamers. But they, and Dreamers themselves, have argued any deal must be proportional — not everything Republicans want in exchange for legal status for one subset of the undocumented population. During comprehensive immigration reform efforts in 2013, for example, Democrats agreed to an overhaul of the legal immigration system, border security measures and enforcement as part of a package that would have also granted a path to legal status and eventual citizenship for much of the undocumented immigrant population.

Democrats, activists and even some Republicans have warned that piling on more immigration issues has the potential to sink a deal — it happened during past reform efforts and could again now.

The document the White House sent to senators on Friday could indicate the administration either thinks it can get Democrats to settle because of their desire to help Dreamers, or that it doesn’t really want a deal at all.

I am not a bargaining chip for Stephen Miller’s vendetta against brown and black people. Offering up my safety in exchange for the suffering of immigrant families is sick and we won’t stand for it. Greisa Martinez Rosas, advocacy director for United We Dream

The demands include ending the diversity visa lottery and limiting refugee intake, as well as allowing citizens and legal permanent residents to sponsor only minor children and spouses for green cards ― shutting out the ability to bring over adult children or siblings. Trump has disparaged both the diversity visa lottery and “chain migration” as dangerous by citing two terror incidents allegedly perpetrated by people who entered through those programs, although there is no evidence there is a greater risk of terror by immigrants with those visas.

The White House also asked for funds to hire 10,000 additional Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers and to give local police more authority to assist with deportation efforts. Another priority is to more easily penalize “sanctuary cities,” the loose term for jurisdictions that don’t fully cooperate with immigration enforcement, often because they view it as bad for community policing or because of constitutional concerns.

The list also includes changing policies for people seeking asylum and for unaccompanied children apprehended at the border, restricting relief and making it easier to quickly deport them. It would also mandate E-Verify, a system that allows employers to check immigration status of would-be hires, something immigrant advocates and some business interests oppose because there currently is no pathway for many undocumented people in the U.S. to get status and some industries say they can’t find enough willing legal workers.

The demands include ending the diversity visa lottery and limiting refugee intake, as well as allowing citizens and legal permanent residents to sponsor only minor children and spouses for green cards ― shutting out the ability to bring over adult children or siblings. Trump has disparaged both the diversity visa lottery and “chain migration” as dangerous by citing two terror incidents allegedly perpetrated by people who entered through those programs, although there is no evidence there is a greater risk of terror by immigrants with those visas.

The White House also asked for funds to hire 10,000 additional Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers and to give local police more authority to assist with deportation efforts. Another priority is to more easily penalize “sanctuary cities,” the loose term for jurisdictions that don’t fully cooperate with immigration enforcement, often because they view it as bad for community policing or because of constitutional concerns.

The list also includes changing policies for people seeking asylum and for unaccompanied children apprehended at the border, restricting relief and making it easier to quickly deport them. It would also mandate E-Verify, a system that allows employers to check immigration status of would-be hires, something immigrant advocates and some business interests oppose because there currently is no pathway for many undocumented people in the U.S. to get status and some industries say they can’t find enough willing legal workers.”

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Read the rest of Elise’s report at the link.
I think that “Dreamers” are a good place for the Dems to take a stand. And, given the “Bakuninist Wing” of the GOP (who share Trump’s desire to destroy Government, but are dissatisfied with the pace of the destruction), it’s going to be very difficult for Trump to get any type of budget passed without Democratic support.
The DHS needs an additional 10,000 agents like we all need holes in our heads. They don’t have enough legitimate law enforcement functions to perform with the staff they have; that’s why they have time for chasing after kids and stuffing their generally law-abiding parents into an already overwhelmed Immigration Court system for hearings that probably won’t take place until long after this Administration is history. (And, that’s even without Gonzo’s current “plan” which appears to be intentionally “jacking up” the Immigration Court backlog to more than 1,000,000 cases overnight by “recycling” all of the currently “administratively closed” cases!)
The words of Greisa Martinez Rosas, advocacy director for United We Dream,  are worth repeating and keeping in mind:
“I am not a bargaining chip for Stephen Miller’s vendetta against brown and black people. Offering up my safety in exchange for the suffering of immigrant families is sick and we won’t stand for it.”
PWS
01-06-17

LAW360: BIA REMOVES IMMIGRATION JUDGE FOR ABUSIVE CONDUCT DURING HEARING!

https://www.law360.com/articles/999284/judge-s-hostile-and-bullying-acts-prompt-new-hearing

Kevin Penton reports for Law360:

“Law360, New York (January 5, 2018, 9:27 PM EST) — The Board of Immigration Appeals has vacated an immigration judge’s denials of a Salvadoran native’s bids to secure asylum and to duck deportation, after finding that the judge used “hostile and bullying behavior” toward the individual’s attorney.

The BIA wants a different judge to review the case, essentially from scratch, after finding that the Immigration Judge Quynh V. Bain “screamed” at the lawyer for more than five minutes, mimicked her voice, called her “several disrespectful names,” said she was “unprofessional” and refused to allow a recess…”

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Those with complete Law360 access can read Penton’s full story at the link. Kudos to the BIA for “stepping up” to stop such abuses and protect due process!

Surprisingly, and sadly, Judge Quynh V. Bain is one of my former colleagues at the U.S. Immigration Court in Arlington, Virginia. The Arlington Immigration Court generally has had a well-deserved reputation for fairness, professionalism, respect, teamwork, and unfailing courtesy. In other words, it’s always been a court where lawyers on both sides enjoy practicing. Indeed, it often serves as a “training court” for student attorneys, interns, new Assistant Chief Counsel, and newly appointed U.S. Immigration Judges. So, I’d have to assume that this was an aberration in the context of Arlington.

Nevertheless, given the high stress levels that U.S. Immigration Judges are already working under, the plans of Attorney General Jeff “Gonzo Apocalypto” Sessions to “torque up” the pressure on Immigration Judges to turn our final orders of removal without much, if any regard, for due process, the counter-pressure from the U.S. Courts of Appeals for Immigration Courts to function like “real” courts, the many newly appointed inexperienced Immigration Judges, and the lack of meaningful training for Immigration Judges, I would expect such incidents to increase in the future. Just another reason why it’s past time for an independent Article I U.S. immigration Court!

Changing to the topic of Law360, one of my favorite “immigration beat” reporters, Allissa Wickham (a/k/a the fabulous “AWick”) tells me that she has left Law360 for a “new gig” with HBO, working on a show featuring Wyatt Cenac (formerly of the “Daily Show”). The show is scheduled to air this spring. Allissa says that she will continue to do original reporting, so hopefully at least some immigration topics will find their way into her “portfolio.” Good luck Allissa, and thanks for all of your great immigration reporting, clear writing, and many contributions while at Law360!

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PWS

01-06-18