READ THE DOJ/EOIR’S (HIGHLY BUREAUCRATIC) RESPONSE TO THE NEWS 4 I-TEAM — The DOJ/EOIR “Plan” Is “No Plan” Because They Are Clueless As To How To Solve The Self-Created Court Backlog Problem Without Stomping All Over Due Process!

http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/US-Department-of-Justice-Executive-Office-for-Immigration-Review-Responses-to-I-Team-Immigration-Backlog-Report-446936203.html

“U.S. Department of Justice Executive Office for Immigration Review Responses to I-Team Immigration Backlog Report

 

What steps have been taken by DOJ/EOIR to combat the backlog?

EOIR is committed to a multi-level strategy to maximize our adjudicatory capacity, including the hiring of more judges, working with our federal partners to make the immigration process more efficient, and the increased use of video-teleconference capabilities. EOIR is undertaking a broad, agency-wide effort to review and reform its internal practices, procedures, and technology in order to enhance immigration judge productivity and ensure that cases are adjudicated in a fair and timely manner across all of the agency’s courts. EOIR records show that through the end of August 2017, the immigration courts had 628,698 pending cases. Although multiple factors may have contributed to this caseload, immigration judges must ensure that lower productivity and adjudicatory inefficiency do not further exacerbate this situation. To this end, EOIR recently issued Operating Policies and Procedures Memorandum 17-01: Continuances (available at https://www.justice.gov/eoir/oppm-log), which provides guidance on the fair and efficient handling of motions for continuance.

How many immigration judges have retired and how many have been sworn in the last two years?

The number of immigration judges who retired or separated during each of the following fiscal years (FY) is as follows: FY 2016, 13, and FY 2017 (through Sept. 15, 2017) 21. EOIR hired 56 immigration judges during FY 2016, and 64 immigration judges during FY 2017 (through Sept. 15, 2017).

How many open positions are there currently for immigration judges?

There are currently 329 immigration judges nationwide, out of EOIR’s current authorized level of 384.

Judge Marks discussed how she thinks the number of immigration judges should be doubled. Is there a goal by EOIR on how many new judges to hire?

As noted in EOIR’s FY 2018 budget request (available here: https://www.justice.gov/jmd/page/file/968566/download), the largest challenge facing the immigration courts is the growing pending caseload. The agency’s FY 2018 budget strategy is a sustained focus on increasing adjudicative capacity in order to meet EOIR’s mission to adjudicate immigration cases by fairly, expeditiously, and uniformly interpreting and administering the nation’s immigration laws.

To implement EOIR’s strategy, EOIR’s FY 2018 budget request includes a requested increase in immigration judge teams (each team consists of one immigration judge and five support staff) that would increase EOIR’s immigration judge corps to 449 and provide 225 additional full-time employees for mission support.”

Source: U.S. Department of Justice Executive Office for Immigration Review Responses to I-Team Immigration Backlog Report – NBC4 Washington http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/US-Department-of-Justice-Executive-Office-for-Immigration-Review-Responses-to-I-Team-Immigration-Backlog-Report-446936203.html#ixzz4toZyt2D9
Follow us: @nbcwashington on Twitter | NBCWashington on Facebook

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No guys, I’m sorry! Much as I love you, and much as I realize that it was was a bunch of meddling politicos and out of touch bureaucrats, with lots of help from a willfully blind Congress, that created these problems over the past 15 years, it’s going to take more than politicos at the DOJ and bureaucrats in Falls Church to solve it.
Committing “to a multi-level strategy to maximize our adjudicatory capacity,” whatever that primo piece of bureaucratic gobbledygook might mean in plain English, isn’t going to cut it. Nor is just throwing more judges and more money at it going to do the trick.
And the answer certainly isn’t more truncation of due process and typical bureaucratic “haste makes waste bogus efficiencies and streamlining” which actually wastes massive amounts of time and money while not getting the job done. The courts are already in a due process crisis. “Speeding up the assembly line” or setting bogus production goals is not the answer. However, some “smart court administration” and “smart enforcement” are part of the solution. Sadly, it’s just not within the “skill set” of the group at DOJ and EOIR who are flailing away at court administration.
Nor, frankly, does it appear to be within the expertise of current DHS/ICE management without some Congressional oversight and accountability (things that have been remarkably absent in this Congress). Old saying:  Garbage In = Garbage Out, and right now ICE Enforcement, Detention, and Legal Counsel Programs are in “Garbage Truck Mode.” If Congress doesn’t step in, I think the Article III Courts eventually will, if only as an act of self-defense. Nor is evading the Immigration Court system with unconstitutional proposals for expanding “expedited removals” the answer. 
The DHS Enforcement System and the Immigration Courts are already squandering resources and wasting the taxpayers money at alarming rates. “Big-time reforms” must precede the injection of massive resources into a totally broken system. And that goes for putting some Congressional brakes on the “gonzo” enforcement now being carried out by DHS, and their mismanagement of the ICE Legal Program, which is a key part of the problem.
Next up: My Response:  I take on the DOJ/EOIR Bogus  “Strategy” and tell you what really needs to be done to restore due process to a broken court system.
PWS
09-26-17

SEE PT. II OF NBC4’S “CRISIS IN THE IMMIGRATION COURTS” FEATURING INTERVIEWS WITH ME — Understand Why This System Must Be Changed NOW!

Here’s a link to the video of Jodie Fleischer’s “Late Night Report on the Crisis in the Immigration Courts” from last night’s 11PM Version of News 4:

http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Massive-Immigration-Case-Backlog-Takes-Years_Washington-DC-447835143.html

Here’s an updated story from the I-Team on the human costs of the backlog and the mindless policies of the Trump ‘administration that are making things even worse. Includes comments from superstar local practitioner Christina Wilkes, Esq.:

“Deportation rates of undocumented immigrants have ticked up in the federal Immigration Court for the first time in eight years as President Donald Trump starts to make good on his promise to expel millions of people. But even as the Trump administration expands its dragnet, the court is so backlogged that some hearings are being scheduled as far in the future as July 2022.

The long delays come as immigration courtrooms struggle with too few judges, only 334 for a backlog of more than 617,000 cases, and scant resources on par with a traffic court, said Judge Dana Leigh Marks of San Francisco, the president of the National Association of Immigration Judges.

Delays are the longest in San Francisco, where the court is setting dates more than four years out. Courts in Chicago, Boston, Atlanta, Cleveland, Detroit, Seattle and Arlington, Virginia are right behind with dates in 2021.

Immigration law is complex and the overloaded judges are making decisions about men and women who may have been tortured or raped, their children abused or forced to witness horrible acts, or who fear they will be killed if they return home.

“I compare the immigration courts to traffic courts and the cases that we hear – they are death penalty cases.”
Judge Dana Leigh Marks

“I compare the immigration courts to traffic courts and the cases that we hear – they are death penalty cases,” said Marks, a judge for 30 years who was speaking in her capacity as association president. “And I literally get chills every time I say that because it’s an incredibly – it’s an overwhelming job.”

The backlog in Immigration Court, which unlike other courts is not independent but part of the U.S. Justice Department, has been growing for nearly a decade, up from about 224,000 cases in fiscal year 2009. The average number of days to complete a deportation case has risen from 234 in 2009 to a projected 525 this year.

A couple in Immigration Court in New York City for the first time on Sept. 21 came to the United States to escape violence in Ecuador, they said, overstaying a visa as they applied to remain permanently in 2013. They were expecting to finally to explain their circumstances to a judge, but instead they were out the door in less than five minutes with a return date in 2020.

“I don’t even know, how do I feel,” said the woman, who did not want to give her name. “I feel frustrated.”

The logjam began during the Obama administration as President Barack Obama boosted immigration enforcement while a divided Congress cut spending. The Justice Department saw a three-year hiring freeze from 2011 to 2013, which then became even worse when tens of thousands of women and children came across the border escaping violence in Central America.

“I don’t even know, how do I feel,” said the woman, who did not want to give her name. “I feel frustrated.

“The problem was years in the making but this administration is making it much, much worse,” said Jeremy McKinney of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Obama was famously called the “deporter-in-chief” after he not only targeted immigrants with criminal records for deportation but also instituted formal removal proceedings for an increased number of unauthorized border crossers, according to a January study by the Migration Policy Institute. At the same time, fewer people were crossing the border because of a better economy in Mexico and fewer jobs in the U.S. after the recession.

The focus on criminals — whose hearings, when they were detained, were either short or waived — resulted in quick deportations, McKinney said. The Trump administration is targeting a much broader group and includes people who might be eligible to stay and that puts more strain on the courts, McKinney said.

“They will arrest anyone that has a pulse and that they suspect is in the United States without permission regardless of if that person poses a risk to our community,” he said.

To clear the backlog, the Trump administration has proposed hiring 75 new Immigration Court judges plus staff, a number the House has reduced to 65, and it has considered expanding the use of deportations without court approval. In the meantime it has moved some judges closer the border temporarily, but that leaves behind even greater backlogs in their home courts.

But the job of an immigration judge is difficult and those in the courts warn that hires are not keeping up with departures. Long background checks dissuade many except for attorneys already working for the government from applying, they say.

The government is trying to quicken the process by resisting delays it formerly acceded to, McKinney said. For example, he said, government lawyers are now opposing a temporary halt to deportation cases to allow an immigrant who might be eligible to remain in the United States to take the steps that are necessary.

“So you’ve got people that are eligible for green cards but are not able to pursue it because suddenly the government is opposing the motion to close those cases,” he said.

And it is also reopening cases that were closed during the previous administration, a move that could add to the delays, McKinney said.

“They’re taking old cases and dumping those into current dockets that are already overflowing,” he said. “These individuals are ones that were previously determined that they were not priorities for deportation.”

One consequence of the logjam until recently had been that judges were deporting fewer immigrants. Last year, just 43 percent of all cases ended with a deportation removal, down from 72 percent in 2007.

That downward trend is beginning to reverse this year. The deportation rate rose slightly over the first 10 months of the 2017 fiscal year, to 55 percent, from 43 percent for all of the previous fiscal year. Among immigrants in detention, the deportation rate rose to 72.3 percent.

The outcome of a case can depend on the location of a court. Georgia has deported the vast majority of immigrants in court this year, New York ousted less than a third. Houston has expelled 87 percent of the immigrants, while Phoenix is at the low end with 20 percent.

You appear to be in Virginia. Not your state?

In Virginia, 56.0% of immigrants who go to court are deported.

See the rates of deportation in state immigration courts across the country:

Fiscal year 2017 (October through July); Source: TRAC

WHO ARE THESE IMMIGRANTS?

More than half of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States are from Mexico but their number has declined by about 1 million since 2007. They have been replaced by those fleeing violence in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, plus immigrants from elsewhere. They live mostly in California, Texas, Florida, New York and New Jersey though the state with the highest percentage of undocumented immigrants is Nevada.

Nearly 60 percent arrived in the U.S. before 2000 and a third have been here for more than 20 years. Eight million of the 11 million have jobs. They make up 5 percent of the country’s labor force, mostly in agriculture, construction and the hospitality industry. They are much younger and somewhat more male than the population as a whole.

The long delays in Immigration Court are jeopardizing some immigrants’ chances. They risk losing touch with witnesses they will need or the death of relatives who would enable them to stay. They may have children back in their home country who are in danger. And although they are entitled to lawyers, they must pay for them.

“And so it is very frustrating and stressful frankly for the litigants in our courts to be in that limbo position for such a long period of time,” Marks said.

The couple who fled violence in Ecuador has built a new life in the U.S. She is now a teacher, he works with hazardous materials and they have three American-born children. With no resolution of their case, they remain in that limbo.

“We’re stuck here,” she said.

Christina Wilkes, an immigration lawyer at Grossman Law in Rockville, Maryland, is representing a mother, identified as Z.A., who arrived with her daughter and son from El Salvador in 2014 after a gang tried to recruit the daughter.

In Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia the number of cases has more than tripled in past five years, with some cases taking more than four years to be heard.

The daughter’s application for permanent residency has been pending since the beginning of the year when a judge granted her asylum, Wilkes said. But the mother still does not have a date for a judge to hear her asylum case, though the facts for both are nearly identical.

“For her, where her likelihood of success is relatively high, it’s really frustrating because she wants a resolution,” Wilkes said.

Andres, whose last name NBC is witholding, left Guatemala in August 2014, because he was discriminated against there, he said. He speaks Mam, a Mayan language, and dressed in traditional clothing, both of which made him a target.

“Because I’m indigenous, that’s why they discriminated against me,” he said. “A policeman would beat me, and we don’t have any rights because they rule. The Spanish speakers are the ones who rule all parts of the country.”

He has a work permit, he said, and is employed in construction. But he has twice had his asylum hearing postponed in Immigration Court in San Francisco and says he is scared that as he waits for his new date in January he will detained and deported.

Those waiting to have their asylum cases heard find the reality that there currently aren’t enough judges and staff to handle the demand leaving some applicants forced to wait for years while their witnesses and key evidence disappear.

“Because that is happening where I live in Oakland,” he said.

Shouan Riahi, an attorney with the non-profit Central American Legal Assistance in Brooklyn, New York, said that the delays are causing particular problems for those seeking asylum. If a court date is set years in the future, they might not think it’s important to meet with a lawyer immediately or know they face a one-year deadline for asylum applications.

“So that creates a whole host of issues because a lot of people that are applying for asylum now are people who didn’t have their hearing scheduled within a year,” he said. “And never went to see an attorney because why would you if your case is in 2019 and now their cases are being denied because they haven’t filed for asylum within a year.”

Some judges are counting the delays as an exceptional circumstance and are accepting the applications as filed on time, but others are turning immigrants away. Riahi’s office is appealing those cases and he expects some to end up in federal circuit court.

Other who are getting caught up in the delays are children who have been neglected, abused or abandoned and are eligible for special immigrant juvenile status. In some courts they are being deported before they receive their visas, he said.

Paul Wickham Schmidt, a retired immigration judge who served in Arlington, Virginia, for 13 years, said that the delays do not serve due process or justice.

“It’s not fair either way,” he said. “It’s not fair to keep people with good claims waiting, but it’s not really fair that if people have no claim their cases sort of aimlessly get shuffled off also. That leads to loss of credibility for the system.”

ABOUT THE DATA

These stories are based on enforcement, budget and demographic data from the federal government and nonprofit groups.

Our primary source for information on operations of the Immigration Court was the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse. TRAC, a nonprofit at Syracuse University, has collected and organized data from federal law enforcement agencies for decades and makes that data available to the public. Its website is trac.syr.edu. TRAC is funded by grants and subscription fees; NBC subscribed to TRAC during this project.

Information about the size and demographics of the undocumented immigrant population came from two primary sources: the Pew Research Center and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Both groups use a roughly similar technique, the residual method, to estimate the undocumented population, and reach similar estimates of its size. For a brief description of the residual method, go here.

Some of the best information on the immigrant population as a whole as well as historic perspective on immigration enforcement comes from the Department of Homeland Security’s Yearbook of Immigration Statistics. It is available here. The most recent year for which statistics are available is 2015, though 2016 statistics should be provided shortly.”

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Here’s a link that will get you a version where all the links graphs,  and charts work: http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/national-international/Immigration-Crisis-in-the-Courts-446790833.html

Next up, the EOIR/DOJ response!

PWS

09-26-16

BREAKING: 5th Cir. Says Texas Cities Must Comply With DHS Detainers, But Blocks Laws Punishing Free Expression & Non-Cooperation!

http://www.reuters.com/article/legal-us-usa-texas-immigration/u-s-appeals-court-allows-part-of-texas-law-to-punish-sanctuary-cities-idUSKCN1C02QC

Reuters reports:

“AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – A U.S. appeals court on Monday issued a mixed decision on a Texas law to punish “sanctuary cities” by allowing a few parts of the law to take effect but blocking major parts of it.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit allowed the part of the Texas law that called on localities to abide by detainer requests from federal authorities to hold people in local jails to allow for checks of suspected U.S. immigration law violations.

But the court left in place a lower court decision to block a part of the law that would punish local officials who criticized state policies on immigration enforcement.

The appeals court has yet to render a full decision on the law.”

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Read the full article at the link.

This appears to be  an important victory for the Trump-Sessions program of requiring  jurisdictions to honor DHS Detainers issued by non-judicial officers. Seems clear that the 5th Circuit ultimately will vacate the injunction on this part of Texas SB 4.

PWS

O9-25-17

“More Dangerous Than Weed.” — Gonzo Apocalypto Gets A Warm “Welcome” To Portland, OR!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2017/09/23/attorney-general-jeff-sessions-visited-portland-of-course-there-was-a-protest/

Leah Sottile reports for the Washington Post:

“Portland is a sanctuary city in a sanctuary state — a place where officials have scoffed at threats from the Trump administration, where court employees have shuffled illegal immigrants out through employee entrances when Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel conducted raids, and where local law enforcement officials have argued that enforcing federal immigration policies is not their job.

Sessions’s appearance here Tuesday was brief. He spoke to a group of federal employees — ICE, FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives — for 18 minutes in the “oath room” of a Pearl District building, the place where people recite the Oath of Allegiance before they are granted U.S. citizenship. Sessions railed against sanctuary cities, places he called a “trafficker’s, a smuggler’s or gang member’s best friend.”

Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks to federal employees in Portland, Ore., on Tuesday. (Stephanie Yao Long/The Oregonian via AP)
But outside, the protest against Sessions lasted for hours. A group of a dozen protesters leaned on a metal barricade just before 11 a.m. — hours before Sessions even touched down in Portland. And they were ready.

 

Juan Rogel, 26, is a leader of Milenio.org, a group that helps engage Latinos in political action and was one of several groups that organized protesters Tuesday.

“We want to send a clear message that he is not allowed to come here,” Rogel said of Sessions. “We’re pissed off.”

Rogel said it’s essential for Latinos to organize and for Sessions to see, if only for a moment, that people here aren’t welcoming of him.

“My dad used to say, ‘If you knock on the door for opportunity and they don’t open it, you have to break it down,’ ” Rogel said. “We haven’t been heard. We are young people working on a legacy for tomorrow.”

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Read the complete article at the link.

No, Gonzo, “sanctuary cities” are not a “smuggler’s best friends.” Look in the mirror:  you, Gonzo, are the smugglers’ and gangsters’ “best friend” with your xenophobic policies intended to drive a wedge between the Hispanic communities across the nation and law enforcement and to heap shame and blame on law-abiding residents who are just trying to make a living helping America out.

I can guarantee that smuggling and gang violence won’t be solved by a bunch of White Nationalists sitting at the DOJ thinking about the next attack they can make on Hispanic America. There is no “silver bullet” solution to deep-seated problems. But, whatever the solution might be, it’s going to take some reflection and lots of help, trust, assistance, and sharing of information with the Hispanic community which would like to get rid of gangs as much as you would (because they are much more likely to be victims than you and your white buddies are) and whose undocumented members (usually intermingled with family or neighbors in legal status) would vastly prefer being allowed to come to the United States through legal channels rather than paying smugglers.

Almost forty years ago when I was counsel to the “Legacy INS” Enforcement, among other things, one of the few effective tools we had for breaking up smuggling rings involved fairly sophisticated undercover operations. These, in turn, almost always involved agents, local law enforcement, or informants from ethnic communities.

Why would anyone from the Hispanic community want to risk his or her life to help someone like Gonzo, who disses them, denies their achievements, and intentionally minimizes their monumental contributions to America’s success and prosperity at every turn?

PWS

09-25-17

NYT: ADMINISTRATION PLANS TO FILL PRISONS WITH PARENTS WHOSE CHILDREN ARE SMUGGLED INTO THE UNITED STATES!

Caitlin Dickerson and Ron Nixon report for the NYT:

“WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is stepping up its pursuit of parents who paid to have their children illegally brought into the United States, according to people familiar with the matter. The effort, part of a widening crackdown on illegal immigration, is aimed at discouraging families from paying human smuggling organizations.
As part of a new round of immigration sweeps, officials are targeting parents or other relatives who were deported, re-entered the United States and then had their children smuggled across the border. Legal experts say cases of illegal re-entry are faster and easier to prove than a smuggling charge.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said it was common for parents or family members in the United States to make illegal payments to smugglers to arrange for children to be brought to the border, where they turn themselves in and are often eventually handed over to their relatives. Tens of thousands of women and children have arrived at the border in the last three years, beginning with a surge of arrivals in the summer of 2014, many seeking refuge from gang violence and extreme poverty in Central America.
It was not clear how many people would be affected by the effort to arrest and prosecute family members for illegal re-entry, but officials familiar with the plan said it would serve as a deterrent to stop other parents and relatives from paying to have children brought to the United States as unaccompanied minors. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss enforcement policies publicly.
ICE officials said they had arrested hundreds of people for smuggling children and referred dozens of cases to the Justice Department for prosecution, including many for illegally re-entering the country and then paying to have children smuggled across the border.
“The risks associated with smuggling children into the U.S. present a constant humanitarian threat,” ICE officials said in a statement. “The sponsors who have placed children directly into harm’s way by entrusting them to violent criminal organizations will be held accountable for their role in these conspiracies.”
Some children reported being raped or held hostage by smugglers for more money. Others have been abandoned by smugglers as they try to cross the border.
Immigration advocates called the new enforcement policy a heartless way to try to reduce smuggling.
“It’s extremely cruel when you started shutting down refugee applicants and rescinding protections for children brought to the country at a young age, to send this kind of message to parents trying to get their kids to safety,” said Chris Rickerd, policy counsel with the American Civil Liberties Union in Washington.
Smuggling cases are among the most challenging to prove, and the biggest hurdle is identifying witnesses, who are likely to be undocumented and unwilling to help, according to Michael J. Wynne, who spent 12 years as an assistant United States attorney in the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas. Targeting parents for re-entering the country illegally, rather than trying to go after them for smuggling, presents prosecutors with a higher likelihood of success.
“It’s a throwdown case,” he said. “You’re going to prosecute the crime where you get the biggest bang for your buck.”
Officials in ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations division have been told to look for cases that can be brought to United States attorneys for possible prosecution, according to people familiar with the enforcement effort. Because prosecutions for illegal re-entry carry a five-year statute of limitations, ICE special agents are also looking to see if they can prosecute relatives of unaccompanied children for other immigration-related crimes, such as giving false statements, according to people familiar with the effort.
Convictions for illegal re-entry are politically popular among immigration restrictionists.
According to Justice Department data analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, a nonprofit research group at Syracuse University, illegal re-entry made up the bulk of prosecutions for illegal immigration for the last five years.
The Trump administration has made no secret of its plans to go after parents living in the country illegally who bring in their children.
Earlier this year, administration officials said that the thousands of children who arrived each year as unaccompanied minors would no longer be protected against deportation, reversing an Obama administration policy. John F. Kelly, then the Homeland Security secretary and now the White House chief of staff, wrote a memo in February saying parents would be subject to criminal prosecution if they had paid human traffickers to bring children across the border.
The children, who turn themselves in to the Border Patrol, are handed over to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement. The office will either place the children in a shelter or release them to a family member. Immigration officials said most of the unaccompanied children apprehended at the border were eventually turned over to a family member, most often a parent, already living in the United States.
Homeland Security officials acknowledge that many of the children are fleeing violence in their home country, but they say that paying smugglers to transport them to the border endangers the children.”

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Read the full article at the link.

Seems like a pretty typical Trump Administration approach: please the White Nationalist/restrictionist base, fill the prisons with nonviolent “criminals,” rack up some nice stats, and make sure not to deal with the root causes of undocumented migration.

PWS

09-26-17

ADMINISTRATION ISSUES TRAVEL BAN 3.0!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump-administration-changes-travel-ban-countries/2017/09/24/1fef7cfe-a140-11e7-ade1-76d061d56efa_story.html

The Washington Post reports:

“The Trump administration announced new restrictions Sunday on visitors from eight countries — an expansion of the pre-existing travel ban that has spurred fierce legal debates over security, immigration and discrimination.

Officials had said they wanted the new rules to be both tough and targeted. The move comes as the key portion of President Trump’s travel ban, which bars the issuance of visas to citizens of six majority-Muslim countries, is set to expire.

“These restrictions are necessary and conditions-based, not time-based,” a senior administration official said.

The new travel restrictions represent the third version offered by the Trump administration.

Three new nations were added to the list of countries whose citizens will face the restrictions: Chad, North Korea and Venezuela — although the restrictions on Venezuela target that country’s leadership and family members. One country, Sudan, fell off the travel ban list issued at the beginning of the year. Senior administration officials said a review of Sudan’s cooperation with their national security concerns and information-sharing showed that it was appropriate to remove the nation from the list.

The new restrictions will be phased in over time, officials said, and the restrictions will not affect anyone who already holds a U.S. visa.

The original travel ban was created as a temporary measure, designed to give officials a few months to assess the vetting of visa applicants and what information other countries could and couldn’t provide.

 

“The restrictions either previously or now were never, ever ever based on race, religion or creed,’’ one senior administration official said. “Those governments are simply not compliant with our basic security requirements.”

The original version, signed as an executive order in January, blocked citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries — Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Yemen and Syria — as well as all refugees across the globe.

When that measure was blocked in court, Trump signed a revised order removing Iraq from the banned list and only barring the issuance of visas to citizens of the six remaining countries and all refugees.

The second order, too, was blocked by judges, but the Supreme Court in June allowed it to go into effect with a significant caveat. The administration, the court said, could not block from entering the country those with a “bona fide” connection to the United States, such as family members or those with firm offers of employment.

The ban on citizens of the six countries was to last 90 days; the ban on refugees was to last 120 days. The refu­gee ban is set to expire Oct. 24, and it was not immediately clear what impact the new restrictions might have on it.

The Supreme Court has scheduled arguments for Oct. 10 on whether the measure, at its core, is legal. It is unclear how any new restrictions might affect that case, and it is possible that they could spark fresh legal challenges.

 

Many countries, officials said, already met U.S. requests — using secure biometric passports, for example, and willingly passing along terrorism and criminal-history information. Others agreed to make changes and share more data. But some were either unable or unwilling to give the United States what it needed, officials said.

Citing an attack in London earlier this month, Trump seemed to call for an expansion of the travel ban, writing on Twitter, “The travel ban into the United States should be far larger, tougher and more specific-but stupidly, that would not be politically correct!”

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We’ll see how it all plays out!

PWS

09-25-17

Here’s the full text of Trump’s order:

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate ReleaseSeptember 24, 2017
Presidential Proclamation Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry Into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats

ENHANCING VETTING CAPABILITIES AND PROCESSES FOR DETECTING ATTEMPTED ENTRY INTO THE UNITED STATES BY TERRORISTS OR OTHER PUBLIC-SAFETY THREATS
– – – – – – –
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A PROCLAMATION
In Executive Order 13780 of March 6, 2017 (Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States), on the recommendations of the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Attorney General, I ordered a worldwide review of whether, and if so what, additional information would be needed from each foreign country to assess adequately whether their nationals seeking to enter the United States pose a security or safety threat. This was the first such review of its kind in United States history. As part of the review, the Secretary of Homeland Security established global requirements for information sharing in support of immigration screening and vetting. The Secretary of Homeland Security developed a comprehensive set of criteria and applied it to the information-sharing practices, policies, and capabilities of foreign governments. The Secretary of State thereafter engaged with the countries reviewed in an effort to address deficiencies and achieve improvements. In many instances, those efforts produced positive results. By obtaining additional information and formal commitments from foreign governments, the United States Government has improved its capacity and ability to assess whether foreign nationals attempting to enter the United States pose a security or safety threat. Our Nation is safer as a result of this work.
Despite those efforts, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Attorney General, has determined that a small number of countries — out of nearly 200 evaluated — remain deficient at this time with respect to their identity-management and information-sharing capabilities, protocols, and practices. In some cases, these countries also have a significant terrorist presence within their territory.
As President, I must act to protect the security and interests of the United States and its people. I am committed to our ongoing efforts to engage those countries willing to cooperate, improve information-sharing and identity-management protocols and procedures, and address both terrorism-related and public-safety risks. Some of the countries with remaining inadequacies face significant challenges. Others have made strides to improve their protocols and procedures, and I commend them for these efforts. But until they satisfactorily address the identified inadequacies, I have determined, on the basis of recommendations from the Secretary of Homeland Security and other members of my Cabinet, to impose certain conditional restrictions and limitations, as set forth more fully below, on entry into the United States of nationals of the countries identified in section 2 of this proclamation.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including sections 212(f) and 215(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. 1182(f) and 1185(a), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code, hereby find that, absent the measures set forth in this proclamation, the immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States of persons described in section 2 of this proclamation would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and that their entry should be subject to certain restrictions, limitations, and exceptions. I therefore hereby proclaim the following:
Section 1. Policy and Purpose. (a) It is the policy of the United States to protect its citizens from terrorist attacks and other public-safety threats. Screening and vetting protocols and procedures associated with visa adjudications and other immigration processes play a critical role in implementing that policy. They enhance our ability to detect foreign nationals who may commit, aid, or support acts of terrorism, or otherwise pose a safety threat, and they aid our efforts to prevent such individuals from entering the United States.
(b) Information-sharing and identity-management protocols and practices of foreign governments are important for the effectiveness of the screening and vetting protocols and procedures of the United States. Governments manage the identity and travel documents of their nationals and residents. They also control the circumstances under which they provide information about their nationals to other governments, including information about known or suspected terrorists and criminal-history information. It is, therefore, the policy of the United States to take all necessary and appropriate steps to encourage foreign governments to improve their information-sharing and identity-management protocols and practices and to regularly share identity and threat information with our immigration screening and vetting systems.
(c) Section 2(a) of Executive Order 13780 directed a “worldwide review to identify whether, and if so what, additional information will be needed from each foreign country to adjudicate an application by a national of that country for a visa, admission, or other benefit under the INA (adjudications) in order to determine that the individual is not a security or public-safety threat.” That review culminated in a report submitted to the President by the Secretary of Homeland Security on July 9, 2017. In that review, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Director of National Intelligence, developed a baseline for the kinds of information required from foreign governments to support the United States Government’s ability to confirm the identity of individuals seeking entry into the United States as immigrants and nonimmigrants, as well as individuals applying for any other benefit under the immigration laws, and to assess whether they are a security or public-safety threat. That baseline incorporates three categories of criteria:
(i) Identity-management information. The United States expects foreign governments to provide the information needed to determine whether individuals seeking benefits under the immigration laws are who they claim to be. The identity-management information category focuses on the integrity of documents required for travel to the United States. The criteria assessed in this category include whether the country issues electronic passports embedded with data to enable confirmation of identity, reports lost and stolen passports to appropriate entities, and makes available upon request identity-related information not included in its passports.
(ii) National security and public-safety information. The United States expects foreign governments to provide information about whether persons who seek entry to this country pose national security or public-safety risks. The criteria assessed in this category include whether the country makes available, directly or indirectly, known or suspected terrorist and criminal-history information upon request, whether the country provides passport and national-identity document exemplars, and whether the country impedes the United States Government’s receipt of information about passengers and crew traveling to the United States.
(iii) National security and public-safety risk assessment. The national security and public-safety risk assessment category focuses on national security risk indicators. The criteria assessed in this category include whether the country is a known or potential terrorist safe haven, whether it is a participant in the Visa Waiver Program established under section 217 of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1187, that meets all of its requirements, and whether it regularly fails to receive its nationals subject to final orders of removal from the United States.
(d) The Department of Homeland Security, in coordination with the Department of State, collected data on the performance of all foreign governments and assessed each country against the baseline described in subsection (c) of this section. The assessment focused, in particular, on identity management, security and public-safety threats, and national security risks. Through this assessment, the agencies measured each country’s performance with respect to issuing reliable travel documents and implementing adequate identity-management and information-sharing protocols and procedures, and evaluated terrorism-related and public-safety risks associated with foreign nationals seeking entry into the United States from each country.
(e) The Department of Homeland Security evaluated each country against the baseline described in subsection (c) of this section. The Secretary of Homeland Security identified 16 countries as being “inadequate” based on an analysis of their identity-management protocols, information-sharing practices, and risk factors. Thirty-one additional countries were classified “at risk” of becoming “inadequate” based on those criteria.
(f) As required by section 2(d) of Executive Order 13780, the Department of State conducted a 50-day engagement period to encourage all foreign governments, not just the 47 identified as either “inadequate” or “at risk,” to improve their performance with respect to the baseline described in subsection (c) of this section. Those engagements yielded significant improvements in many countries. Twenty-nine countries, for example, provided travel document exemplars for use by Department of Homeland Security officials to combat fraud. Eleven countries agreed to share information on known or suspected terrorists.
(g) The Secretary of Homeland Security assesses that the following countries continue to have “inadequate” identity-management protocols, information-sharing practices, and risk factors, with respect to the baseline described in subsection (c) of this section, such that entry restrictions and limitations are recommended: Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen. The Secretary of Homeland Security also assesses that Iraq did not meet the baseline, but that entry restrictions and limitations under a Presidential proclamation are not warranted. The Secretary of Homeland Security recommends, however, that nationals of Iraq who seek to enter the United States be subject to additional scrutiny to determine if they pose risks to the national security or public safety of the United States. In reaching these conclusions, the Secretary of Homeland Security considered the close cooperative relationship between the United States and the democratically elected government of Iraq, the strong United States diplomatic presence in Iraq, the significant presence of United States forces in Iraq, and Iraq’s commitment to combating the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
(h) Section 2(e) of Executive Order 13780 directed the Secretary of Homeland Security to “submit to the President a list of countries recommended for inclusion in a Presidential proclamation that would prohibit the entry of appropriate categories of foreign nationals of countries that have not provided the information requested until they do so or until the Secretary of Homeland Security certifies that the country has an adequate plan to do so, or has adequately shared information through other means.” On September 15, 2017, the Secretary of Homeland Security submitted a report to me recommending entry restrictions and limitations on certain nationals of 7 countries determined to be “inadequate” in providing such information and in light of other factors discussed in the report. According to the report, the recommended restrictions would help address the threats that the countries’ identity-management protocols, information-sharing inadequacies, and other risk factors pose to the security and welfare of the United States. The restrictions also encourage the countries to work with the United States to address those inadequacies and risks so that the restrictions and limitations imposed by this proclamation may be relaxed or removed as soon as possible.
(i) In evaluating the recommendations of the Secretary of Homeland Security and in determining what restrictions to impose for each country, I consulted with appropriate Assistants to the President and members of the Cabinet, including the Secretaries of State, Defense, and Homeland Security, and the Attorney General. I considered several factors, including each country’s capacity, ability, and willingness to cooperate with our identity-management and information-sharing policies and each country’s risk factors, such as whether it has a significant terrorist presence within its territory. I also considered foreign policy, national security, and counterterrorism goals. I reviewed these factors and assessed these goals, with a particular focus on crafting those country-specific restrictions that would be most likely to encourage cooperation given each country’s distinct circumstances, and that would, at the same time, protect the United States until such time as improvements occur. The restrictions and limitations imposed by this proclamation are, in my judgment, necessary to prevent the entry of those foreign nationals about whom the United States Government lacks sufficient information to assess the risks they pose to the United States. These restrictions and limitations are also needed to elicit improved identity-management and information-sharing protocols and practices from foreign governments; and to advance foreign policy, national security, and counterterrorism objectives.
(ii) After reviewing the Secretary of Homeland Security’s report of September 15, 2017, and accounting for the foreign policy, national security, and counterterrorism objectives of the United States, I have determined to restrict and limit the entry of nationals of 7 countries found to be “inadequate” with respect to the baseline described in subsection (c) of this section: Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen. These restrictions distinguish between the entry of immigrants and nonimmigrants. Persons admitted on immigrant visas become lawful permanent residents of the United States. Such persons may present national security or public-safety concerns that may be distinct from those admitted as nonimmigrants. The United States affords lawful permanent residents more enduring rights than it does to nonimmigrants. Lawful permanent residents are more difficult to remove than nonimmigrants even after national security concerns arise, which heightens the costs and dangers of errors associated with admitting such individuals. And although immigrants generally receive more extensive vetting than nonimmigrants, such vetting is less reliable when the country from which someone seeks to emigrate exhibits significant gaps in its identity-management or information-sharing policies, or presents risks to the national security of the United States. For all but one of those 7 countries, therefore, I am restricting the entry of all immigrants.
(iii) I am adopting a more tailored approach with respect to nonimmigrants, in accordance with the recommendations of the Secretary of Homeland Security. For some countries found to be “inadequate” with respect to the baseline described in subsection (c) of this section, I am restricting the entry of all nonimmigrants. For countries with certain mitigating factors, such as a willingness to cooperate or play a substantial role in combatting terrorism, I am restricting the entry only of certain categories of nonimmigrants, which will mitigate the security threats presented by their entry into the United States. In those cases in which future cooperation seems reasonably likely, and accounting for foreign policy, national security, and counterterrorism objectives, I have tailored the restrictions to encourage such improvements.
(i) Section 2(e) of Executive Order 13780 also provided that the “Secretary of State, the Attorney General, or the Secretary of Homeland Security may also submit to the President the names of additional countries for which any of them recommends other lawful restrictions or limitations deemed necessary for the security or welfare of the United States.” The Secretary of Homeland Security determined that Somalia generally satisfies the information-sharing requirements of the baseline described in subsection (c) of this section, but its government’s inability to effectively and consistently cooperate, combined with the terrorist threat that emanates from its territory, present special circumstances that warrant restrictions and limitations on the entry of its nationals into the United States. Somalia’s identity-management deficiencies and the significant terrorist presence within its territory make it a source of particular risks to the national security and public safety of the United States. Based on the considerations mentioned above, and as described further in section 2(h) of this proclamation, I have determined that entry restrictions, limitations, and other measures designed to ensure proper screening and vetting for nationals of Somalia are necessary for the security and welfare of the United States.
(j) Section 2 of this proclamation describes some of the inadequacies that led me to impose restrictions on the specified countries. Describing all of those reasons publicly, however, would cause serious damage to the national security of the United States, and many such descriptions are classified.
Sec. 2. Suspension of Entry for Nationals of Countries of Identified Concern. The entry into the United States of nationals of the following countries is hereby suspended and limited, as follows, subject to categorical exceptions and case by-case waivers, as described in sections 3 and 6 of this proclamation:
(a) Chad.
(i) The government of Chad is an important and valuable counterterrorism partner of the United States, and the United States Government looks forward to expanding that cooperation, including in the areas of immigration and border management. Chad has shown a clear willingness to improve in these areas. Nonetheless, Chad does not adequately share public-safety and terrorism-related information and fails to satisfy at least one key risk criterion. Additionally, several terrorist groups are active within Chad or in the surrounding region, including elements of Boko Haram, ISIS-West Africa, and al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb. At this time, additional information sharing to identify those foreign nationals applying for visas or seeking entry into the United States who represent national security and public-safety threats is necessary given the significant terrorism-related risk from this country.
(ii) The entry into the United States of nationals of Chad, as immigrants, and as nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas, is hereby suspended.
(b) Iran.
(i) Iran regularly fails to cooperate with the United States Government in identifying security risks, fails to satisfy at least one key risk criterion, is the source of significant terrorist threats, and fails to receive its nationals subject to final orders of removal from the United States. The Department of State has also designated Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism.
(ii) The entry into the United States of nationals of Iran as immigrants and as nonimmigrants is hereby suspended, except that entry by such nationals under valid student (F and M) and exchange visitor (J) visas is not suspended, although such individuals should be subject to enhanced screening and vetting requirements.
(c) Libya.
(i) The government of Libya is an important and valuable counterterrorism partner of the United States, and the United States Government looks forward to expanding on that cooperation, including in the areas of immigration and border management. Libya, nonetheless, faces significant challenges in sharing several types of information, including public-safety and terrorism-related information necessary for the protection of the national security and public safety of the United States. Libya also has significant inadequacies in its identity-management protocols. Further, Libya fails to satisfy at least one key risk criterion and has been assessed to be not fully cooperative with respect to receiving its nationals subject to final orders of removal from the United States. The substantial terrorist presence within Libya’s territory amplifies the risks posed by the entry into the United States of its nationals.
(ii) The entry into the United States of nationals of Libya, as immigrants, and as nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas, is hereby suspended.
(d) North Korea.
(i) North Korea does not cooperate with the United States Government in any respect and fails to satisfy all information-sharing requirements.
(ii) The entry into the United States of nationals of North Korea as immigrants and nonimmigrants is hereby suspended.
(e) Syria.
(i) Syria regularly fails to cooperate with the United States Government in identifying security risks, is the source of significant terrorist threats, and has been designated by the Department of State as a state sponsor of terrorism. Syria has significant inadequacies in identity-management protocols, fails to share public-safety and terrorism information, and fails to satisfy at least one key risk criterion.
(ii) The entry into the United States of nationals of Syria as immigrants and nonimmigrants is hereby suspended.
(f) Venezuela.
(i) Venezuela has adopted many of the baseline standards identified by the Secretary of Homeland Security and in section 1 of this proclamation, but its government is uncooperative in verifying whether its citizens pose national security or public-safety threats. Venezuela’s government fails to share public-safety and terrorism-related information adequately, fails to satisfy at least one key risk criterion, and has been assessed to be not fully cooperative with respect to receiving its nationals subject to final orders of removal from the United States. There are, however, alternative sources for obtaining information to verify the citizenship and identity of nationals from Venezuela. As a result, the restrictions imposed by this proclamation focus on government officials of Venezuela who are responsible for the identified inadequacies.
(ii) Notwithstanding section 3(b)(v) of this proclamation, the entry into the United States of officials of government agencies of Venezuela involved in screening and vetting procedures — including the Ministry of the Popular Power for Interior, Justice and Peace; the Administrative Service of Identification, Migration and Immigration; the Scientific, Penal and Criminal Investigation Service Corps; the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service; and the Ministry of the Popular Power for Foreign Relations — and their immediate family members, as nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas, is hereby suspended. Further, nationals of Venezuela who are visa holders should be subject to appropriate additional measures to ensure traveler information remains current.
(g) Yemen.
(i) The government of Yemen is an important and valuable counterterrorism partner, and the United States Government looks forward to expanding that cooperation, including in the areas of immigration and border management. Yemen, nonetheless, faces significant identity-management challenges, which are amplified by the notable terrorist presence within its territory. The government of Yemen fails to satisfy critical identity-management requirements, does not share public-safety and terrorism-related information adequately, and fails to satisfy at least one key risk criterion.
(ii) The entry into the United States of nationals of Yemen as immigrants, and as nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas, is hereby suspended.
(h) Somalia.
(i) The Secretary of Homeland Security’s report of September 15, 2017, determined that Somalia satisfies the information-sharing requirements of the baseline described in section 1(c) of this proclamation. But several other considerations support imposing entry restrictions and limitations on Somalia. Somalia has significant identity-management deficiencies. For example, while Somalia issues an electronic passport, the United States and many other countries do not recognize it. A persistent terrorist threat also emanates from Somalia’s territory. The United States Government has identified Somalia as a terrorist safe haven. Somalia stands apart from other countries in the degree to which its government lacks command and control of its territory, which greatly limits the effectiveness of its national capabilities in a variety of respects. Terrorists use under-governed areas in northern, central, and southern Somalia as safe havens from which to plan, facilitate, and conduct their operations. Somalia also remains a destination for individuals attempting to join terrorist groups that threaten the national security of the United States. The State Department’s 2016 Country Reports on Terrorism observed that Somalia has not sufficiently degraded the ability of terrorist groups to plan and mount attacks from its territory. Further, despite having made significant progress toward formally federating its member states, and its willingness to fight terrorism, Somalia continues to struggle to provide the governance needed to limit terrorists’ freedom of movement, access to resources, and capacity to operate. The government of Somalia’s lack of territorial control also compromises Somalia’s ability, already limited because of poor recordkeeping, to share information about its nationals who pose criminal or terrorist risks. As a result of these and other factors, Somalia presents special concerns that distinguish it from other countries.
(ii) The entry into the United States of nationals of Somalia as immigrants is hereby suspended. Additionally, visa adjudications for nationals of Somalia and decisions regarding their entry as nonimmigrants should be subject to additional scrutiny to determine if applicants are connected to terrorist organizations or otherwise pose a threat to the national security or public safety of the United States.
Sec. 3. Scope and Implementation of Suspensions and Limitations. (a) Scope. Subject to the exceptions set forth in subsection (b) of this section and any waiver under subsection (c) of this section, the suspensions of and limitations on entry pursuant to section 2 of this proclamation shall apply only to foreign nationals of the designated countries who:
(i) are outside the United States on the applicable effective date under section 7 of this proclamation;
(ii) do not have a valid visa on the applicable effective date under section 7 of this proclamation; and
(iii) do not qualify for a visa or other valid travel document under section 6(d) of this proclamation.
(b) Exceptions. The suspension of entry pursuant to section 2 of this proclamation shall not apply to:
(i) any lawful permanent resident of the United States;
(ii) any foreign national who is admitted to or paroled into the United States on or after the applicable effective date under section 7 of this proclamation;
(iii) any foreign national who has a document other than a visa — such as a transportation letter, an appropriate boarding foil, or an advance parole document — valid on the applicable effective date under section 7 of this proclamation or issued on any date thereafter, that permits him or her to travel to the United States and seek entry or admission;
(iv) any dual national of a country designated under section 2 of this proclamation when the individual is traveling on a passport issued by a non-designated country;
(v) any foreign national traveling on a diplomatic or diplomatic-type visa, North Atlantic Treaty Organization visa, C-2 visa for travel to the United Nations, or G-1, G-2, G-3, or G-4 visa; or
(vi) any foreign national who has been granted asylum by the United States; any refugee who has already been admitted to the United States; or any individual who has been granted withholding of removal, advance parole, or protection under the Convention Against Torture.
(c) Waivers. Notwithstanding the suspensions of and limitations on entry set forth in section 2 of this proclamation, a consular officer, or the Commissioner, United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP), or the Commissioner’s designee, as appropriate, may, in their discretion, grant waivers on a case-by-case basis to permit the entry of foreign nationals for whom entry is otherwise suspended or limited if such foreign nationals demonstrate that waivers would be appropriate and consistent with subsections (i) through (iv) of this subsection. The Secretary of State and the Secretary of Homeland Security shall coordinate to adopt guidance addressing the circumstances in which waivers may be appropriate for foreign nationals seeking entry as immigrants or nonimmigrants.
(i) A waiver may be granted only if a foreign national demonstrates to the consular officer’s or CBP official’s satisfaction that:
(A) denying entry would cause the foreign national undue hardship;
(B) entry would not pose a threat to the national security or public safety of the United States; and
(C) entry would be in the national interest.
(ii) The guidance issued by the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Homeland Security under this subsection shall address the standards, policies, and procedures for:
(A) determining whether the entry of a foreign national would not pose a threat to the national security or public safety of the United States;
(B) determining whether the entry of a foreign national would be in the national interest;
(C) addressing and managing the risks of making such a determination in light of the inadequacies in information sharing, identity management, and other potential dangers posed by the nationals of individual countries subject to the restrictions and limitations imposed by this proclamation;
(D) assessing whether the United States has access, at the time of the waiver determination, to sufficient information about the foreign national to determine whether entry would satisfy the requirements of subsection (i) of this subsection; and
(E) determining the special circumstances that would justify granting a waiver under subsection (iv)(E) of this subsection.
(iii) Unless otherwise specified by the Secretary of Homeland Security, any waiver issued by a consular officer as part of the visa adjudication process will be effective both for the issuance of a visa and for any subsequent entry on that visa, but will leave unchanged all other requirements for admission or entry.
(iv) Case-by-case waivers may not be granted categorically, but may be appropriate, subject to the limitations, conditions, and requirements set forth under subsection (i) of this subsection and the guidance issued under subsection (ii) of this subsection, in individual circumstances such as the following:
(A) the foreign national has previously been admitted to the United States for a continuous period of work, study, or other long-term activity, is outside the United States on the applicable effective date under section 7 of this proclamation, seeks to reenter the United States to resume that activity, and the denial of reentry would impair that activity;
(B) the foreign national has previously established significant contacts with the United States but is outside the United States on the applicable effective date under section 7 of this proclamation for work, study, or other lawful activity;
(C) the foreign national seeks to enter the United States for significant business or professional obligations and the denial of entry would impair those obligations;
(D) the foreign national seeks to enter the United States to visit or reside with a close family member (e.g., a spouse, child, or parent) who is a United States citizen, lawful permanent resident, or alien lawfully admitted on a valid nonimmigrant visa, and the denial of entry would cause the foreign national undue hardship;
(E) the foreign national is an infant, a young child or adoptee, an individual needing urgent medical care, or someone whose entry is otherwise justified by the special circumstances of the case;
(F) the foreign national has been employed by, or on behalf of, the United States Government (or is an eligible dependent of such an employee), and the foreign national can document that he or she has provided faithful and valuable service to the United States Government;
(G) the foreign national is traveling for purposes related to an international organization designated under the International Organizations Immunities Act (IOIA), 22 U.S.C. 288 et seq., traveling for purposes of conducting meetings or business with the United States Government, or traveling to conduct business on behalf of an international organization not designated under the IOIA;
(H) the foreign national is a Canadian permanent resident who applies for a visa at a location within Canada;
(I) the foreign national is traveling as a United States Government-sponsored exchange visitor; or
(J) the foreign national is traveling to the United States, at the request of a United States Government department or agency, for legitimate law enforcement, foreign policy, or national security purposes.
Sec. 4. Adjustments to and Removal of Suspensions and Limitations. (a) The Secretary of Homeland Security shall, in consultation with the Secretary of State, devise a process to assess whether any suspensions and limitations imposed by section 2 of this proclamation should be continued, terminated, modified, or supplemented. The process shall account for whether countries have improved their identity-management and information-sharing protocols and procedures based on the criteria set forth in section 1 of this proclamation and the Secretary of Homeland Security’s report of September 15, 2017. Within 180 days of the date of this proclamation, and every 180 days thereafter, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, the Director of National Intelligence, and other appropriate heads of agencies, shall submit a report with recommendations to the President, through appropriate Assistants to the President, regarding the following:
(i) the interests of the United States, if any, that continue to require the suspension of, or limitations on, the entry on certain classes of nationals of countries identified in section 2 of this proclamation and whether the restrictions and limitations imposed by section 2 of this proclamation should be continued, modified, terminated, or supplemented; and
(ii) the interests of the United States, if any, that require the suspension of, or limitations on, the entry of certain classes of nationals of countries not identified in this proclamation.
(b) The Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Secretary of Defense, the Attorney General, the Director of National Intelligence, and the head of any other executive department or agency (agency) that the Secretary of State deems appropriate, shall engage the countries listed in section 2 of this proclamation, and any other countries that have information-sharing, identity-management, or risk-factor deficiencies as practicable, appropriate, and consistent with the foreign policy, national security, and public-safety objectives of the United States.
(c) Notwithstanding the process described above, and consistent with the process described in section 2(f) of Executive Order 13780, if the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, and the Director of National Intelligence, determines, at any time, that a country meets the standards of the baseline described in section 1(c) of this proclamation, that a country has an adequate plan to provide such information, or that one or more of the restrictions or limitations imposed on the entry of a country’s nationals are no longer necessary for the security or welfare of the United States, the Secretary of Homeland Security may recommend to the President the removal or modification of any or all such restrictions and limitations. The Secretary of Homeland Security, the Secretary of State, or the Attorney General may also, as provided for in Executive Order 13780, submit to the President the names of additional countries for which any of them recommends any lawful restrictions or limitations deemed necessary for the security or welfare of the United States.
Sec. 5. Reports on Screening and Vetting Procedures. (a) The Secretary of Homeland Security, in coordination with the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, the Director of National Intelligence, and other appropriate heads of agencies shall submit periodic reports to the President, through appropriate Assistants to the President, that:
(i) describe the steps the United States Government has taken to improve vetting for nationals of all foreign countries, including through improved collection of biometric and biographic data;
(ii) describe the scope and magnitude of fraud, errors, false information, and unverifiable claims, as determined by the Secretary of Homeland Security on the basis of a validation study, made in applications for immigration benefits under the immigration laws; and
(iii) evaluate the procedures related to screening and vetting established by the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs in order to enhance the safety and security of the United States and to ensure sufficient review of applications for immigration benefits.
(b) The initial report required under subsection (a) of this section shall be submitted within 180 days of the date of this proclamation; the second report shall be submitted within 270 days of the first report; and reports shall be submitted annually thereafter.
(c) The agency heads identified in subsection (a) of this section shall coordinate any policy developments associated with the reports described in subsection (a) of this section through the appropriate Assistants to the President.
Sec. 6. Enforcement. (a) The Secretary of State and the Secretary of Homeland Security shall consult with appropriate domestic and international partners, including countries and organizations, to ensure efficient, effective, and appropriate implementation of this proclamation.
(b) In implementing this proclamation, the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Homeland Security shall comply with all applicable laws and regulations, including those that provide an opportunity for individuals to enter the United States on the basis of a credible claim of fear of persecution or torture.
(c) No immigrant or nonimmigrant visa issued before the applicable effective date under section 7 of this proclamation shall be revoked pursuant to this proclamation.
(d) Any individual whose visa was marked revoked or marked canceled as a result of Executive Order 13769 of January 27, 2017 (Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States), shall be entitled to a travel document confirming that the individual is permitted to travel to the United States and seek entry under the terms and conditions of the visa marked revoked or marked canceled. Any prior cancellation or revocation of a visa that was solely pursuant to Executive Order 13769 shall not be the basis of inadmissibility for any future determination about entry or admissibility.
(e) This proclamation shall not apply to an individual who has been granted asylum by the United States, to a refugee who has already been admitted to the United States, or to an individual granted withholding of removal or protection under the Convention Against Torture. Nothing in this proclamation shall be construed to limit the ability of an individual to seek asylum, refugee status, withholding of removal, or protection under the Convention Against Torture, consistent with the laws of the United States.
Sec. 7. Effective Dates. Executive Order 13780 ordered a temporary pause on the entry of foreign nationals from certain foreign countries. In two cases, however, Federal courts have enjoined those restrictions. The Supreme Court has stayed those injunctions as to foreign nationals who lack a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States, pending its review of the decisions of the lower courts.
(a) The restrictions and limitations established in section 2 of this proclamation are effective at 3:30 p.m. eastern daylight time on September 24, 2017, for foreign nationals who:
(i) were subject to entry restrictions under section 2 of Executive Order 13780, or would have been subject to the restrictions but for section 3 of that Executive Order, and
(ii) lack a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.
(b) The restrictions and limitations established in section 2 of this proclamation are effective at 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time on October 18, 2017, for all other persons subject to this proclamation, including nationals of:
(i) Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States; and
(ii) Chad, North Korea, and Venezuela.
Sec. 8. Severability. It is the policy of the United States to enforce this proclamation to the maximum extent possible to advance the national security, foreign policy, and counterterrorism interests of the United States. Accordingly:
(a) if any provision of this proclamation, or the application of any provision to any person or circumstance, is held to be invalid, the remainder of this proclamation and the application of its other provisions to any other persons or circumstances shall not be affected thereby; and
(b) if any provision of this proclamation, or the application of any provision to any person or circumstance, is held to be invalid because of the lack of certain procedural requirements, the relevant executive branch officials shall implement those procedural requirements to conform with existing law and with any applicable court orders.
Sec. 9. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this proclamation shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or
(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(b) This proclamation shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(c) This proclamation is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-fourth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand seventeen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-second.
DONALD J. TRUMP

 

THE HILL: N. RAPPAPORT ON WHAT IT WILL TAKE TO CLOSE THE DEAL ON DREAMERS

http://thehill.com/opinion/immigration/352155-if-democrats-insist-on-chain-migration-theyll-kill-the-dream-act

Nolan writes:

“According to Migration Policy Institute estimates, potentially 3,338,000 aliens would be able to qualify for conditional lawful status under H.R.3440, which leads to permanent resident status, and chain migration would make the number much larger.

Moreover, chain migration would make it possible for the DREAMers to pass on legal status and a path to citizenship to the parents who brought them to the United States in violation of our laws, which is sure to be unacceptable to many Republicans.

The chain migration issue does not just apply to a DREAM Act. If it is allowed to block passage of a DREAM Act, it is likely to become an obstacle to every legalization program from now on, and for most undocumented immigrants, there is not going to be another way to obtain lawful permanent resident status.”

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

Read Nolan’s complete analysis over at The Hill at the link.

I’m far removed from the days when I had a sense of what’s happening on the Hill. So, if Nolan says that the Dems will have to give on family migration for  Dreamers to cut a deal to save them in a GOP-controlled Congress in a Trump presidency, maybe that’s true. Gotta do what you have to do to save lives and preserve America’s future.

But, I do know something about the bogus term “chain migration” It’s a pejorative term coined by restrictionists to further their racial and ethnic agenda.

Chain migration is simply legal family migration, a process that has been ongoing for at least half a century and has done nothing but good things for America. Of course, it makes sense to give preferred treatment to those with family already in the U.S. Of course, having family here helps folks adjust, prosper, and contribute. It’s a win-win. Studies by groups not associated with a restrictionist agenda confirm that.

Moreover, unlike the folks pushing the restrictionist agenda, I actually have seen first-hand the highly positive results of family-based legal immigration for years in Immigration Court. It brings really great folks into our society and allows them to contribute fully to the success of America, and particularly our local communities.

If we want more skills-based immigration, that’s also a good idea. But, that doesn’t require a corresponding cut in family immigration. Immigration is good for America. It’s not a “zero-sum game,” although restrictionists would like us to think so.

The GOP position on parents of Dreamers is absurd. Those folks are already here and contributing to our society and our communities. Many have been here for decades. They are not going anywhere notwithstanding the rhetoric of the restrictionists and the Trump Administration. Other than picking on Dreamers once they become citizens, what could we as a country possibly gain by such an absurd and punitive measure directed against productive long term residents?

I think it is worth considering what pushing for unnecessary and harmful restrictions on family migration says about the real motivations of today’s GOP and its apologists.

PWS

09-24-17

 

AWARD-WINNING NBC INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER JODIE FLEISCHER & THE “I-TEAM” TACKLE THE MAN-MADE DISASTER IN OUR UNITED STATES IMMIGRATION COURTS — Including A Clip Of Her Interview With Me — MUST SEE TV, MONDAY, SEPT. 25, ON THE 6 PM SEGMENT OF NBC4 NEWS!

Those of you who have seen Jodie in action know that she is a brilliant, hard-hitting, no holds barred investigative journalist who always gets to the bottom of her story — no matter how little some public officials want the truth to come out! She and her all-star investigative team, including Senior Investigative Platform Manager Rick Yarborough and Photojournalist Editor Stephen Jones, are relentless.

Using her contacts throughout the nation, Jodie shows you what our Government has been trying to hide for years — the ridiculous backlogs and impending failure of one of our nation’s largest, perhaps the largest, Federal Court system! I was stunned and amazed by the amount of technical knowledge and feeling about the human side of this needless national tragedy that Jodie brought to her interview with me.

The judges and staff of the Immigration Court work hard. That’s always been true. But, that has not helped many of the vulnerable individuals caught up in the morass and not always finding the justice that our laws promise them. Similarly, it does not serve the true needs of DHS enforcement to have results determined by the number of pending cases in a particular court, many of which should have long ago been settled by the responsible exercise of prosecutorial discretion as they would have been in almost any other high volume court system in America.

What has happened to the United States Immigration Courts under the control of the U.S.Department of Justice is a sad tale of bureaucratic incompetence, intransigence, inbreeding, improper influence by enforcement authorities, and inability to provide the independent judiciary that can deliver on the court’s forgotten promise of “guaranteeing fairness and due process for all.” This has combined with a disturbing lack of Congressional oversight and reform. How can we clean up this tragic “train wreck” that threatens to topple the entire Federal Court System and to undermine our nation’s Constitution and our ideals?

Over three quarters of U.S counties now have residents in the Immigration Court system! But, even if you aren’t one of them, or a relative, friend, neighbor, employer, teacher, student, employee, patient, customer, or fellow parishioner of one of them, this mess affects you as an American. If this is the way we treat the most vulnerable among us, what’s going to save you when your precious rights are challenged in a U.S. justice system that has lost sight of justice?

Tune in Monday night to find out more about one of “America’s Most Underreported Crises.” Those interested should be able to “live stream” NBC4 News at 6 with the NBC4 app. I assume it will also be available online in the NBC4 app archives under “Investigative Reporting” once the piece has aired.

PWS

09-23-17

UPDATE:

Part II Of Jodie’s Report, which specifically examines the Baltimore and Arlington Immigration Courts, will air at 11:15 PM tonight.

MORE IMMIGRATION COURT INSANITY! — DHS REPORTEDLY STRIPS OWN ATTORNEYS OF AUTHORITY TO NEGOTIATE BONDS, WAIVE APPEALS!

Sources from several areas of the country have informed me that there is a new, of course unpublished and unannounced, policy at DHS prohibiting ICE Assistant Chief Counsel who represent the agency in U.S. Immigraton Court from either negotiating bonds with private counsel or waiving appeals from U.S. Immigraton Judge decisions ordering release on bond.

This is just further evidence of the consequences of having ignorant proponents of “gonzo enforcement” in charge of both the DHS and the U.S. Immigraton Courts at the Department of Justice.

First, negotiated bonds are one of the key ways of making bond dockets move forward in an efficient manner in the U.S. Immigraton Courts. Bonds are initially sent by ICE Enforcement personnel, often on an arbitrary or rote basis. Without authority to negotiate bonds, particularly in advance, each bond hearing will take longer. Moreover, since bond cases take precedence in Immigraton Courts, longer bond dockets will further limit the already inadequate court time for hearing the merits of removal cases. With a growing backlog of over 600,000 cases, this appears to be an intentional effort to undermine due process in the Immigration Courts. Typically, when I served at the Arlington Immigration Court, at my encouragement, the parties agreed on most bonds in advance and neither party appealed more than 1%-2% of my bond decisions. Indeed, discussing settlement with the Assistant Chief Counsel in advance was more or less of a prerequisite for me to redetermine a bond.

Second, appealing all bond release decisions will also overburden the already swamped Appellate Division of the U.S. Immigration Courts, the Board of Immigraton Appeals (“BIA”). As in the Immigraton Courts, bond appeal cases at the BIA take precedence and will push decisions on merits appeals further back in line.

Third, Immigraton Judges usually only prepare a bond decision (known as a “Bond Memorandum”) in cases where a bond appeal is actually taken. Since that currently happens only infrequently, the process is manageable. However, if appeals are taken in more cases, and Bond Memoranda are “priorities,” Immigration Judges will have to spend more time writing or dictating Bond Memoranda, further limiting their time to hear cases on the merits. Moreover, by making it more burdensome to release individuals on bond, the system actually creates an inappropriate bias against releasing individuals on bond.

Fourth, yielding to inappropriate pressure from the “Legacy INS,” the Clinton DOJ gave Assistant Chief Counsel regulatory authority to unilaterally stay the release of a respondent on bond under an Immigraton Judge’s order provided that: 1) the Director originally had set “no bond;” or 2) the original bond was set at $10,000 or more. That means that the DHS can effectively neuter the power of the Immigraton Judge to release an individual on bond pending the merits hearing. By contrast, the respondent has no right to a stay pending a decision by the Immigraton Judge not to allow release, unless the BIA specifically grants a stay (which almost never happens in my experience).

Fifth, unlike petitions to review final orders of removal, which must be filed with the appropriate U.S. Court of Appeals at the conclusion of all proceedings, judicial review of bond decisions is sought in the U.S. District Courts. More decisions denying bonds have the potential to create new workload issues for the U.S. District Court.

Fifth, the individuals in the DHS most with the most knowledge and expertise in how the U.S. Immigration Courts work are the Assistant Chief Counsel. Stripping them of their authority to control dockets and settle cases, authority possessed and exercised by every other prosecutor in America, is both dumb and insulting. In what other system do the “cops” have the authority to overrule the U.S. Attorney, the District Attorney, or the State’s Attorney on matters they are prosecuting in court? It also makes the Assistant Chief Counsel job less professional and less attractive for talented lawyers.

In short, the Trump Administration is making a concerted attack on both common sense and due process in the U.S. Immigration Court system. The results are not only unfair, but are wasting taxpayer funds and hampering the already impeded functioning of the U.S. Immigraton Court system. Unless or until the Article III Federal Courts are willing to step in and put an end to this nonsense, the quagmire in the U.S. Immigration Courts will become deeper and our overall U.S. justice system will continue to falter.

We need an independent Article I Immigraton Court now!

PWS

09-23-17

NBC’S PETE WILLIAMS REPORTS: “Trump to Replace Travel Ban With Revised Requirements”

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/trump-replace-travel-ban-revised-requirements-n803836

NBC’S veteran Legal Reporter Pete Williams (one of my all-time favorites) reports:

“WASHINGTON — The White House could issue new requirements this weekend for travelers entering the United States, replacing President Donald Trump’s controversial ban on visitors from six Muslim countries, administration officials tell NBC News.

The announcement, expected by Sunday, will supersede the 90-day travel ban on issuing visas to visitors from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, which expires Sunday.

The new restrictions will be based on a Homeland Security and State Department review of the kinds of information that must be provided about visitors and immigrants hoping to enter the U.S. The new guidelines are aimed at preventing terrorists and other security threats from entering the country, officials said.

Following the review, the State Department asked U.S. diplomats around the world to gather the information from foreign governments, warning that visitors will be eligible to enter the country only after the requests are fulfilled.

Once those responses came back, Homeland Security and State Departments reported to the White House on which countries agreed to provide the required information and conform to US requirements, and which did not.

Based on that report, the White House is expected to announce the new restrictions, probably in the form of a presidential proclamation, administration officials said. For many countries on the list, visas will be restricted, meaning that only specified categories of travelers can get them.

Any country that flunks the test can get itself off the list by agreeing to conform to the US requirements, which include issuing electronic passports with a photo, regularly reporting passport thefts, and notifying the US of suspected terrorists. Plus countries must also “take measures to ensure that they are not and do not have the potential to become a terrorist safe haven.”

The original White House order, imposed in January, caused chaos in some of the nation’s airports as customs officials were left to interpret the meaning of the surprise order. After it was struck down in court, a revised order was issued in March.

The executive orders have faced a litany of legal challenges. The Supreme Court ruled in June that parts of the current travel ban could be enforced until the court hears argument, on October 10, about whether the president had authority to impose it in the first place.

Lawyers tell NBC News they are unsure what this latest move could mean for the case.”

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

I think this action by the Administration is likely to “moot out” the case currently pending before the Supreme Court.  That seems to be the result the Court was “hinting at” when it issued its partial stay earlier this summer.

PWS

09-22-17

 

USE WITH EXTREME CAUTION! — HON. JEFFREY CHASE ON THE USE OF SO-CALLED AIRPORT STATEMENTS IN REMOVAL PROCEEDINGS — They Often Prove To Be Highly Unreliable!

https://www.jeffreyschase.com/blog/2017/9/21/the-reliability-of-airport-statements-in-removal-proceedings

Jeffrey writes in his blog:

“In August 2016 I organized and moderated the mandatory international religious freedom training panel at the immigration judges’ legal training conference in Washington, D.C. One of the panelists from the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (“USCIRF”) informed me of a just-published report she had co-authored.

The report, titled Barriers to Protection: The Treatment of Asylum Seekers in Expedited Removal, is the follow-up to a 2005 study by USCIRF of the treatment of arriving asylum seekers in their interactions with the various components of DHS and the Department of Justice involved in the expedited removal process. What jumped out at me from the report was the first key recommendation to EOIR: “Retrain immigration judges that the interview record created by CBP is not a verbatim transcript of the interview and does not document the individual’s entire asylum claim in detail, and should be weighed accordingly.”

The new report referenced the Commission’s 2005 findings, which it described as “alarming.” The earlier study found that “although they resemble verbatim transcripts, the I-867 sworn statements” taken from arrivees by agents of DHS’s Customs and Border Patrol (“CBP”) component “were neither verbatim nor reliable, often indicating that information was conveyed when in fact it was not and sometimes including answers to questions that were never asked. Yet immigration judges often used these unreliable documents against asylum seekers when adjudicating their cases.”

The 2016 report found similar problems with the airport statements taken a decade later. The study found the use of identical answers by CBP agents in filling out the form I-867 “transcript,” including clearly erroneous answers (i.e. a male applicant purportedly being asked, and answering, whether he was pregnant, and a four year old child purportedly stating that he came to the U.S. to work). For the record, USCIRF is a bipartisan organ of the federal government. So this is a government-issued report making these findings.”

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

Read the rest of Jeffrey’s analysis at the above link.

Too bad that the Trump Administration has eliminated Annual Immigration Judge Training! With a bunch of new Immigration Judges on board and the push to rubber stamp removals as quickly as possible to comply with the President’s Executive Orders on Enforcement, I guess there is no time for training in how to make correct decisions.

In fact, when judges have enough experience to know what’s really happening and are able to selectively regulate the speed of cases to make sound decisions and achieve due process, they find out that there are lots of problems in how the DHS prepares and presents cases, not all of which immediately meet the eye.

To state the obvious, how would an unrepresented respondent in detention get together the necessary Circuit Court case law to learn and effectively challenge unreliable airport statements introduced by DHS Counsel? How would he or she subpoena Immigration Officers or get documentation necessary to show that many airport statements are prepared by rote with exactly the same information in the same language. Mistakes as to age, gender, and “best language” of applicants are common, suggesting that the reports too often have little to do with the actual facts of a particular case.

Short answer, they wouldn’t! As a result, the chances of the Imigration Judge using unreliable information to reach an incorrect decision against the respondent greatly increase.

And their use in the “kangaroo court” procedure known as “Expedited Removal” where enforcement officers make the decisions is prima facile problematic. Someday, all of the Article III Judges who have turned a blind eye to this unconstitutional procedure will have their judicial records forever tarnished in the light of history.

No wonder this Administration likes to detain individuals in out of the way locations (where conditions are coercive and lawyers are not readily available) to make their removal stats look good. And, while most Immigration Judges are conscientious, without a good lawyer to help pick apart the weaknesses and inaccuracies that are often in airport statement, invoking concepts drawn from Federal case law, the possibility of an incorrect or unjust decision is much greater.

We need an independent Article I U.S. Immigraton Court whose sole objective is achieving due processs and making correct legal decisions. And, that would include providing regular in person judicial training from a wide range of sources, including academic experts and those with litigation experience outside the government, on how to fairly evaluate evidence. It would also include a focus on insuring that every individual who goes to a “Merits Hearing” in Immigraton Court has a fair chance to be represented by counsel and reasonable access to his or her lawyer and the evidence and resources necessary to prepare a successful case.

PWS

09-22-17

9TH CIR SAYS DEPARTURE DOES NOT AUTOMATICALLY WAIVE BIA APPEAL: CHAVEZ-GARCIA V. SESSIONS

14-72172

Chavez-Garcia v. Sessions, 9th Cir., 09-21-17 (published)

Before: S. Jay Plager,* Carlos T. Bea, and John B. Owens, Circuit Judges.

Opinion by Judge Bea; Dissent by Judge Owens

* The Honorable S. Jay Plager, United States Circuit Judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, sitting by designation.

KEY QUOTE:

“As a general rule, ignorance of the law is no excuse[.]” Antonio–Martinez v. INS, 317 F.3d 1089, 1093 (9th Cir. 2003) (citing Cheek v. United States, 498 U.S. 192, 199, 111 S.Ct. 604, 112 L.Ed.2d 617 (1991)). Therefore, one might conclude that Chavez–Garcia validly waived his right to appeal when he departed from the United States because of the mere existence of the departure-waiver regulation coupled with the fact that Chavez–Garcia was represented by counsel during and after his removal proceedings. Our precedent suggests otherwise. Even though regulations that interpret the INA expressly state that an alien may appeal his removal order to the BIA, the Ninth Circuit does not treat an alien’s waiver of his right to appeal as valid unless the IJ “expressly and personally inform[s] the alien that he has the right to appeal.” See Ubaldo–Figueroa, 364 F.3d at 1049; see also 8 C.F.R. § 1003.38(a). By that same logic, even though the departure-waiver regulation expressly states that an alien’s departure constitutes a waiver of his right to appeal to the BIA, an IJ must inform an alien who requests immediate removal that his departure would constitute a waiver of his right to appeal. See Garcia, 786 F.3d at 792 (holding in a slightly different context that “an alien’s waiver of his right to appeal” was not “considered and intelligent” because “the IJ fail [ed] to advise [him]” of information relevant to the future outcome of his case). Without the information that his departure would constitute a waiver of appeal, conveyed from the IJ to the alien, the IJ has no way to know whether an alien’s departure alone qualifies as a “considered” and “intelligent” waiver of his right to appeal his removal order. See Martinez-de Bojorquez v. Ashcroft, 365 F.3d 800, 806 (9th Cir. 2004) (holding that a petitioner’s due process rights were violated after the IJ failed to inform the petitioner when she reserved her right to appeal that her departure from the United States during her pending appeal to the BIA would constitute a waiver of her right to appeal under 8 C.F.R. § 1003.4). We grant Chavez–Garcia’s petition for review because his departure from the United States, without more, does not provide clear and convincing evidence of a “considered” and “intelligent” waiver of the right to appeal. See United States v. Gomez, 757 F.3d 885, 894 (9th Cir. 2014) (“The government must prove a valid waiver ‘by clear and convincing evidence.’ ”) (quoting United States v. Reyes–Bonilla, 671 F.3d 1036, 1043 (9th Cir. 2012)).8 The IJ’s failure to inform Chavez–Garcia that his departure would constitute a waiver of his previously reserved right to appeal to the BIA renders Chavez–Garcia’s purported waiver invalid. Therefore, his petition is granted. The case is remanded for further proceedings before the BIA.


PETITION GRANTED; REMANDED.”

Here’s Judge Owens’s Dissent:

“OWENS, Circuit Judge, dissenting:

I respectfully dissent. In my view, the February 12, 2013 letter from Chavez–Garcia’s own lawyer—which asked for his immediate removal and stated that Chavez–Garcia did “not intend to appeal” the IJ’s decision—supports the BIA’s decision to dismiss the appeal on waiver grounds.”

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

Interesting case. I think the panel majority got this one right. That being said, although I gave pretty extensive appeals warnings, I don’t remember ever warning a respondent about the consequences of departure unless asked by the respondent or the attorney. But, it wouldn’t have been hard to add that to my “standard language.”

And, I  don’t really see the harm in considering the appeal. Here, the BIA’s decision to go with the appeal waiver actually caused more delay and time spent on a systemic basis than adjudicating the appeal on the merits would have.

As I used to say, in the time and energy some Immigration Judges wasted on complicated decisions to deny motions to reopen, I could have reopened the case, held a merits hearing, and adjudicated it on the merits in a way that probably would not have been appealed. “Practical judging” makes sense in a system with more than 600,000 pending cases and not a clue as to how to fairly deal with the backlog.

PWS

09-22-17

 

 

BIA SETS FORTH FACTORS FOR EVALUATING DELAYED BIRTH CERTIFICATES: MATTER OF REHMAN, 27 I&N DEC. 124 (BIA 2017)

3903

BIA HEADNOTE:

”Where a petitioner seeking to prove a familial relationship submits a birth certificate that was not registered contemporaneously with the birth, an adjudicator must consider the birth certificate, as well as all the other evidence of record and the circumstances of the case, to determine whether the petitioner has submitted sufficient reliable evidence to demonstrate the claimed relationship by a preponderance of the evidence.”

BIA PANEL:  Judge Adkins-Blanch, Vice Chair; Appellate Immigration Judges Mann and Kelly

OPINION BY: Judge Ana L. Mann

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

The point of this decision is that in dealing with a non-contemporaneous birth certificate (here in the context of a Visa Petition Proceeding, but the issue also arises in Removal Proceedings) the adjucdicator cannot reject it as probative evidence simply because it was not contemporaneous. The adjudicator must examine all the factors in weighing the certificate, including factors indicating reliability.

Here, the BIA correctly rejected the Director’s phantom “one-year rule” that automatically required the submission of “secondary evidence” if the birth certificate was issued one year or more after the birth.

PWS

09-22-17

NEWSWEEK REPORTS TRUMP ADMINISTRATION PLANNING MASSIVE ASSAULT ON RIGHTS OF UNDOCUMENTED TEENS ADMITTED UNDER THE WILBERFORCE ANTI-TRAFFICKING ACT!

http://www.newsweek.com/trump-administration-weighs-deporting-thousands-unaccompanied-child-migrants-668778

Graham Lanktree reports:

“The Trump administration is drafting a new policy to quickly deport more than 150,000 child migrants from Central America who arrived alone in the U.S. illegally, creating a new class of undocumented migrants.

The Department of Justice and Homeland Security is drawing up a policy proposal in a series of memos, according to two sources with knowledge of the internal debate who spoke to the Miami Herald.

As it stands, the plan would allow for teens and children who arrived in the U.S. illegally by themselves to be put on a fast track to deportation when they turn 18. Most of these children have traveled thousands of miles alone from Central American countries, including Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, to escape violence and poverty.

The policy wouldn’t allow the teens to plead their case before an immigration judge.

The discussions follow controversy within the government about Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, a program implemented by Barack Obama, which protects children brought to the country illegally by their parents from deportation.

Speaking about the new policy plans, a former U.S. Justice Department official told the Herald, “The concern is that most people at DOJ know this will likely be viewed as illegal and do not want to have to defend this in court if they can avoid it.”

Current law “doesn’t give the administration a lot of flexibility with how to deal with unaccompanied children,” said a U.S. official familiar with the internal debate about the policy. “This administration still has its hands somewhat tied with what it can do with that population,” that person said.

. . . .

The new policy around unaccompanied children is part of the Attorney General’s efforts to avoid creating a another protected group of illegal immigrants like those under DACA, the Herald’s sources said.

The arrival of unaccompanied children and families from Central America peaked in 2014. In the year between October 1, 2013 and September 30, 2014 U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) says it encountered 67,339 unaccompanied children.

At the height of the influx in June 2014, 27,000 people, including unaccompanied children and families, crossed the U.S.-Mexico border. Three months later the number dropped below 5,000 following crackdowns by the U.S. and Mexico governments.

More than 150,000 children have been referred by Homeland Security to the Office of Refugee Resettlement since that time. The program cares for unaccompanied children after they are caught at the border by officials and either places them in shelters, with sponsors, or relatives in the U.S.

About 63 percent and 73 percent of the unaccompanied youth who arrive at the border are between 15 and 17 years old, making a large group of those who are in the U.S vulnerable to deportation if the administration moves ahead with the policy.

“For a growing population of migrants deported from Mexico and the United States to Central America, the conditions upon return typically are worse than when they left, setting up a revolving-door cycle of migration, deportation, and remigration,” according to the nonprofit Migration Policy Institute. The group advocates better programs to reintegrate those who are deported to their home country.

If the Trump administration decides to move ahead with the policy proposal it will it will likely meet similar opposition to Trump’s travel ban on people coming to the U.S. from six Muslim-majority nations. Elements of the ban have been blocked by federal courts and a legal case against the policy will be heard in the U.S. Supreme Court this fall.

The new policy on unaccompanied minors could be blocked by the courts almost immediately, said Leon Fresco, the former head of the Office of Immigration Litigation at the Justice Department during the Obama administration.

The question is, Fresco said, “whether the administration wants to add this to the travel ban, sanctuary cities, Byrne Jag grants, and DACA repeal to the issues they would want the Supreme Court to have to decide this year.”

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

Read the complete report at the link.

These kids clearly are entitled to full and fair hearings before U.S. Immigration Judges with full rights of appeal. So, whatever Gonzo Apocalypto has up his sleeve must be clearly illegal.

DOJ career lawyers probably realize that their law licenses, and perhaps their individual freedom, could be at stake for participating in such an illegal operation. It would be nice to think that Sessions could also be held accountable under the law. But, as a high-ranking Government official, he’s likely to escape liability under the current Supreme Court rulings. Besides, Trump (or Pence) would probably pardon him anyway in the tradition of his fellow racist xenophobe “Racist Joe.”

PWS

09-21-17

 

 

 

AP: AILA TAKES ISSUE WITH SESSIONS’S UNSUPPORTED CLAIM THAT UNACCOMPANIED MINORS ARE “WOLVES IN SHEEP CLOTHING!”

https://www.boston.com/news/local-news/2017/09/21/heres-what-jeff-sessions-had-to-say-in-boston

Alanna Durkin Richer Reports for AP:

“Sessions, a Republican, said gangs are exploiting a program for unaccompanied minors found crossing the southern border by sending members over as ‘‘wolves in sheep clothing’’ and recruiting in communities.

Gregory Chen, director of government relations for the American Immigration Lawyers Association, called that assertion ‘‘truly baseless.’’ The program aids children fleeing violence in their home countries, he said.

‘‘He’s trying to inflame public opinion against this highly vulnerable population,’’ Chen said.

A few dozen protesters carrying signs with phrases such as #NotWelcome gathered outside the courthouse before Sessions’ speech to condemn his views on immigration and law enforcement.”

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

Read the full report of Sessions’s speech to law enforcement officials in Boston at the link.

Sessions is well-known for his alarmist, inflammatory rhetoric on immigration and his “fact-challenged” claims. While undoubtedly some gang members do come into the United States as so-called “unaccompanied minors,” I have seen no hard evidence on the extent of this problem.

PWS

09-21-17