SUPREMES AGREE TO REVIEW TRAVEL BAN 3.0!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-to-rule-on-trumps-powers-to-ban-foreign-travelers/2018/01/19/9e6e1242-fc90-11e7-8f66-2df0b94bb98a_story.html?hpid=hp_rhp-more-top-stories_travelban-214pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.5ed961faa53f

Robert Barnes reports for WashPost:

“The Supreme Court on Friday said it will review whether President Trump has the authority to ban travelers from certain countries in the name of national security, and will rule by June in what will be a major examination of the president’s powers.

The court will consider the third iteration of Trump’s travel ban, issued last fall, which bars various travelers from eight countries, six of them with Muslim majorities.

Lower courts have struck down each version of the Trump administration restrictions, dating back to those issued in his first week in office, but the Supreme Court has yet to rule on the extent of the president’s authority.”

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Read the complete article at the link.

PWS

01-19-18

DISORDER IN THE U.S. IMMIGRATION COURTS: SESSIONS “DECLARES WAR” ON HIS OWN IMMIGRATION JUDGES! — JUDGES’ ASSOCIATION (“NAIJ”) REPORTS MEMBERS REACTING WITH “DISBELIEF, SHOCK, CONFUSION, AND OUTRAGE” TO THE CONDESCENDING “McHENRY MEMO!” — NAIJ DEMANDS BARGAINING ON CASE QUOTAS!

FULL DISCLOSURE: I am a retired member of the National Association of Immigration Judges (“NAIJ”). In that capacity, I received the following e-mail from our President, The Honorable A. Ashley Tabaddor (who is resident in the U.S. Immigration Court in Los Angeles California), acting in her NAIJ capacity. I republish that e-mail below with Judge Tabaddor’s permission. 

“Dear NAIJ Members,

 

We have been hearing much from our members regarding the recent Director’s email, dated January 17, 2018, publishing purported “Case Priorities and Immigration Court Performance Measures.”  Many have expressed their disbelief, shock, confusion, and outrage as to the published standards, in light of the severe backlogs in our courts.  We share your concerns.  NAIJ has demanded to bargain on implementation of “numeric based performance measures on Immigration Judges”, and the Agency had provided assurances to NAIJ that no individual IJ based quotas and deadlines will be imposed until they have fulfilled their obligation under labor law to bargain with us.  And under the law, the Agency is prohibited from imposing such standards until all our bargaining rights have been properly exhausted.   NAIJ is also fighting any infliction of quotas and deadlines on Immigration Judges through outreach to the public and Congress, and is investigating the possibility of legal action.

 

In addition, NAIJ is currently evaluating the memo to determine if there has been any breach in law with the issuance of this memo or any further action we can take under labor law with respect to it.

 

NAIJ is working diligently to fight the implementation of any “numeric based performance measures” on Judges, and ensure that any future standards that may be imposed on Judges or the Immigration Courts are legally defensible, fair, and would not encroach on our independent decision making authority.  Please stay tuned for further development.

 

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to myself or any of our NAIJ representatives.

The Honorable A. Ashley Tabaddor, President

National Association of Immigration Judges

DISCLAIMER:  The author is the President of the National Association of Immigration Judges.  The views expressed here do not necessarily represent the official position of the United States Department of Justice, the Attorney General, or the Executive Office for Immigration Review.   The views represent the author’s personal opinions, which were formed after extensive consultation with the membership of NAIJ.”

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I’ve already noted the total preposterousness and tone-deafness of setting arbitrary “case completion goals” for a court system that is already working overtime but crumbling under incredible backlogs and outdated procedures and technology.

Make no mistake about it: those backlogs are not because of Judges, immigrants, or immigrants’ attorneys. They are the direct result of: 1) years of mismanagement and continuing improper political meddling by Sessions and his predecessors going back over several Administrations; and 2) an irresponsible lack of restraint and common sense priorities by DHS enforcement that has been encouraged, aided, and abetted by this Administration.

Under the Trump Administration, DHS line enforcement agents have been freed from any semblance of priorities and given essentially carte blanche to arrest anyone they feel like arresting and placing them into an already overwhelmed and crumbling U.S. Immigration Court System. Meanwhile, the Immigration Judges, who are struggling to provide due process, and have been stripped of any meaningful control over their own dockets, are treated like “assembly line workers” subject to “production quotas.” That’s no way to run a Due Process Court System, and it’s showing in some of the incorrect and unfair results that I report on regularly!

We need an independent Article I U.S. Immigration Court, now! But Congress, which can’t perform the basic functions of governance, apparently isn’t interested in cleaning up the mess they created and enabled. So, with the system fast heading for complete collapse, it looks to me like, willing or not, the Article III U.S. Courts will be stuck with effectively placing the U.S. Immigration Courts in “judicial receivership” until some future Congress addresses the situation in a way that insures Constitutional Due Process of law for all.

A very bad day for the U.S. Justice System and for all who care about upholding Due Process under our Constitution.

 

PWS

01-19-20

EOIR/IMMIGRATION COURTS: AG SESSIONS ANNOUNCES APPOINTMENT OF HON. JAMES McHENRY AS PERMANENT DIRECTOR OF EOIR!

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“JUSTICE NEWS

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Attorney General Sessions Announces Appointment of James McHenry As Director of the Executive Office for Immigration Review

Attorney General Jeff Sessions today announced the appointment of James McHenry as the permanent Director of the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) at the Department of Justice. McHenry has served as the Acting Director of EOIR since May 30, 2017.

 

“I am pleased to announce the appointment of James as the permanent Director of EOIR. Since his appointment as Acting Director last May, James has led EOIR in restoring its commitment to the timely and efficient adjudication of immigration cases, and in identifying additional common-sense improvements to the immigration court system,” said Attorney General Sessions. “James is an exceptionally talented and capable leader, and I am confident that he will continue to ensure that EOIR and its components will adjudicate cases in a manner that serves the national interest.”

 

“Under Attorney General Sessions’ leadership, EOIR has implemented a series of sensible reforms that aim to reduce the pending caseload by realigning the agency towards completing cases, increasing both productivity and capacity, and changing policies that lead to inefficiencies and waste,” said EOIR Director McHenry. “I look forward to building on the success of last year and further realizing our goal of cutting the pending caseload in half by 2020.”

 

EOIR was created on Jan. 9, 1983, through an internal department reorganization which combined the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) with the immigration judge function previously performed by the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) (now part of the Department of Homeland Security). The Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer (OCAHO) was added in 1987.

 

EOIR is headed by a director who is responsible for the supervision of the Chairman of BIA, the Chief Immigration Judge, the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer and all agency personnel. EOIR has more than 2,100 employees in its 59 immigration courts nationwide, at the BIA, at OCAHO, and at EOIR headquarters in Falls Church, Virginia.

 

Director McHenry has previously served in the Executive Office for Immigration Review; he first joined the agency in 2003 through the Attorney General’s Honors Program and returned to the agency in 2016, when he was appointed as an administrative law judge (ALJ) for EOIR OCAHO.

 

Last year, McHenry served as a Deputy Associate Attorney General working on a variety of immigration-related litigation matters and overseeing multiple components reporting to the Office of the Associate Attorney General. From 2014 to 2016, he served as an ALJ for the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review in the Social Security Administration. Prior to that, he worked for the Office of the Principal Legal Advisor (OPLA), Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Department of Homeland Security as an Assistant Chief Counsel and, later, as a Senior Attorney where he served as a lead attorney for national security, denaturalization, gang cases, anti-human trafficking operations, and worksite enforcement matters. He also served a detail as a Special Assistant United States Attorney for the Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Georgia.

 

Director McHenry earned a Bachelor of Science from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, a Master of Arts in political science from the Vanderbilt University Graduate School, and a Juris Doctor from the Vanderbilt University Law School.”

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PWS

01-19-20

JRUBE @ WASHPOST: THE GOP IMMIGRATION RESTRICTIONISTS BIG LIE – The Bogus Claim That We Need To Cut Legal Immigration!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2018/01/17/the-biggest-anti-immigration-lie-of-them-all/?utm_term=.cb881e4c51ec

Rubin writes in “Right Turn” at the Post:

“Anti-immigration activists, whether deliberately or inadvertently, use a great deal of misinformation (on wages, competition against native-born workers, etc.) and shoddy economic analysis (e.g., the “lump of labor fallacy“) while ignoring well-established data on immigrants’ homeownership, participation in the workforce, entrepreneurialism, contribution to growth, etc. Welcome to the Fox News/Trumpian world, where facts are no longer facts.

There is one giant untruth that outweighs all others — and it is easily debunked. Will Wilkinson of the libertarian-leaning Niskanen Center writes:

Between 2000 and 2015, 109 countries saw their immigrant population grow at a faster rate than that of the United States. Among countries with any net international in-migration, the U.S. is resolutely on the closed side of the continuum. … It is very easy to say is that the U.S. status quo is much closer to “completely closed” than “completely open” under even the most modest estimates of movement under the “completely open” counterfactual. If we move out of the [Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development] into the broader world, the current world champ in immigrant population is Qatar, which makes extensive use of guest workers, with about 22 migrants per 1000 people. If we use Qatar as the open end of the closed-to-open continuum, the United States’ 4 migrants per 1000 people is in comparison very, very close to “completely closed.” …

Nevertheless, the immigration restrictionists who warn of swamping under open borders tend to be the same people who characterize the status quo as an “open borders” system. It’s obvious why they traffic in this sort of rank dishonesty. They want to further harden our already very hardened borders, and this is easier to justify if you can systematically mislead people about the fact that the American immigration system is relatively closed even when compared to other wealthy liberal democracies.

In other words, by scaring Americans that our borders are “open” (or that immigration reformers want “open borders”), opponents of immigration are pulling the wool over the eyes of the public and policymakers, just as they do when falsely accusing illegal immigrants of causing a crime wave.

This demographic reality underscores another fact that anti-immigration advocates would prefer to ignore: One big reason immigrants aren’t “taking jobs from Americans” is that Americans are aging and leaving the workforce without enough workers to backfill those positions. The gap is made up in part by automation and in part by immigrants, who tend to be younger, with many years in the workforce ahead of them.
Perhaps it is foolhardy to argue facts with anti-immigration advocates. If  Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.) dissembled about the president’s racist rhetoric, they aren’t likely to be any more honest when it comes to facts that undercut their economically catastrophic plan to slash legal immigration in half. Nevertheless, we surely hope that other lawmakers and the public refuse to be bamboozled by outright false claims.”
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Yeah, as Rubin points out, it’s by no means the only bogus information or shoddy, result-oriented “research” that the White Nationalist restrictionists use to support their racially motivated program.
We’ve already seen how as illegal immigration levels off and ceases to become anything other than a “made up” problem for America (the vast bulk of  so-called “undocumented” migrants are gainfully employed, useful, law-abiding members of the American community, many with U.S. citizen children and spouses, whose legalization would be both an economic and social benefit to the U.S.), the restrictionists have set their sights on our already unrealistically limited and far too overly bureaucratic legal immigration system.
Don’t be fooled! The restrictionists are out to destroy America’s future for their outdated vision of a racially, ethnically, and religiously homogenous and “pure” nation (one that, in truth, has never existed except in their imaginations and fantasies). Don’t let them get away with it!
PWS
01-19-18

 

ANOTHER DUE PROCESS ASYLUM VICTORY FOR THE GW IMMIGRATION CLINIC AT THE ARLINGTON IMMIGRATION COURT!

Professor Benitez reports:

“Friends,

Please join me in congratulating Immigration Clinic student-attorney Solangel González, who this afternoon won a grant of asylum for her clients, N-R and her two minor children, from El Salvador.  The ICE trial attorney waived appeal so the decision is final.  The immigration judge (IJ), Quynh Vu Bain, commenced today’s proceeding in the above manner.

N-R was threatened by the MS gang in her country because of her familial relationship with her uncle, who was murdered by the gang.  After her uncle’s body was discovered, N-R called the police.  While discussing the murder with a police officer a gang member walked by and saw the discussion.  During the discussion, however, the police officer told N-R that it was best if she dropped the matter because, if they found out she filed a complaint, the gang could kill her kids.  N-R later was told by a gang associate that she and her kids would be killed if she pursued the complaint.  Out of caution, N-R moved with her children to another part of El Salvador, but the gang continued to look for her.  Finally, N-R and her children fled to the USA.  N-R testified that the gang members continue to look for her.

Congratulations also to Alyssa Currier, Karoline Núñez, Chen Liang, and Jonathan Bialosky, who previously worked on this case.

NOTE:  While waiting in the lobby for her case to be called, Solangel escorted a respondent, who didn’t know where to go and who didn’t know who her lawyer was, to her assigned court room, thus avoiding a potential in absentia removal order.

**************************************************
Alberto Manuel Benitez
Professor of Clinical Law
Director, Immigration Clinic
The George Washington University Law School
650 20th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20052
(202) 994-7463
(202) 994-4946 fax
abenitez@law.gwu.edu
THE WORLD IS YOURS…”
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Congrats to all involved! It also illustrates one of the points that I repeatedly make. With good representation, adequate time to prepare, a good judge who knows asylum law and takes individuals’ rights seriously, and a conscientious Assistant Chief Counsel representing the DHS, many of the Central American asylum claims are very “winnable” under the law. That’s why detaining individuals in poor conditions in locations where competent pro bono counsel is not readily available and cases are being “raced through” to minimize detention expenses and maximize removal statistics is so unfair and such an obvious violation of due process.
Also, this is the Judge Quynh Vu Bain that I remember as a former colleague at the Arlington Immigration Court: fair, scholarly, hard-working, kind, and Due Process oriented. My Georgetown Law student observers remarked on how welcoming she was and how she went out of-her way to make sure that everyone in the courtroom understood what was happening and why.
Despite Sessions’s disdain for individual rights of migrants (particularly vulnerable asylum seekers) and Due Process, and his fanatic emphasis on using the U.S. Immigration Courts as mere tools of DHS enforcement, there are many U.S. immigration Judges out there working conscientiously every day to provide fairness and Due Process to vulnerable migrants while laboring under some of the highest stress levels and worst working conditions faced by any judges in America!
America needs an independent Article I United States Immigration Court dedicated to guaranteeing “fairness and due process for all” now!
DUE PROCESS FOREVER!
PWS
01-19-18

GONZO’S WORLD: HOW’S HE ABUSING HIS OFFICE AND WASTING YOUR MONEY NOW? – BY BATTLING 12-YR-OLD GIRL WITH EPILEPSY IN COURT!

http://www.newsweek.com/jeff-sessions-war-pot-goes-court-attorney-general-will-fight-12-year-old-780749?utm_source=email&utm_medium=morning_brief&utm_campaign=newsletter&utm_content=read_more&spMailingID=2801752&spUserID=MzQ4OTU2OTQxNTES1&spJobID=950839943&spReportId=OTUwODM5OTQzS0

Science Editor Kate Sheridan reports for Newsweek:

“A 12-year-old suing the federal government may have a whiff of adorableness. But for Alexis Bortell, who filed a lawsuit against Attorney General Jeff Sessions last fall, it’s a choice she had to make to save her life. Alexis has epilepsy, and Sessions has made it his mission to make it impossible for her to access the only drug that has kept her seizures at bay: cannabis.

A Scream of Terror

Alexis doesn’t remember her first seizure. But her father, Dean Bortell, does.

“We were literally folding clothes, and Alexis was sleeping on the couch,” Bortell told Newsweek. “All of a sudden, I heard her make this shriek—I mean, it was a scream of terror,” he said. “I look over, and Alexis is stiff as a board, on her back, spasming.”

At first, Bortell suspected his daughter had a brain-eating amoeba on account of headlines about them that summer and took her to the hospital. Within hours, it became clear something else was wrong. Alexis was diagnosed with epilepsy in 2013.

Three years ago, Alexis began taking medical marijuana, and her seizures disappeared. But that treatment option is threatened by an aggressive federal crackdown on medicinal cannabis led by Sessions, who is also the acting director of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Her day in court—February 14, at a New York City federal courthouse—is fast approaching. Alexis won’t be there in person, but her lawyer, Michael Hiller, thinks the ruling will go their way.

“We are very optimistic that the case is going to come out the way it should, which is that the Controlled Substances Act is going to be found unconstitutional,” Hiller said. Several other plaintiffs—a former professional football player, a veteran and another child—are also included.”

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Read the rest of Sheridan’s article at the above link.

So, when he’s not out picking on African-Americans, Hispanics, Immigrants, or Gays, seizing private property without due process, screwing up the U.S. Immigration Courts, or spreading false narratives about crime, Gonzo gets his jollies by wasting the USG’s time and resources to make the life of a 12-year-old with epilepsy worse. What else does he have up his sleeve? This is what we should expect from our senior public servants?

PWS

01-19-18

 

THE TRAGEDY OF EL SALVADOR IN THE AGE OF TRUMP: Linda Greenhouse @ NYT” – “[S]ince President Trump announced his decision, I’ve been obsessed not with its legality but with its cruelty and self-defeating stupidity.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/18/opinion/el-salvador-trump-immigration.html?em_pos=small&emc=edit_ty_20180118&nl=opinion-today&nl_art=8&nlid=79213886&ref=headline&te=1

Greenhouse writes:

“Expulsions on the scale the Trump administration envisions are hardly unknown to history. Even modern countries, within memory, have sought to rid themselves of entire populations. It tends neither to turn out well nor reflect well on the expelling country. Two hundred thousand people may not sound like a huge number on a historic scale. But the population of San Salvador, El Salvador’s capital, is only 280,000. Money sent home by Salvadorans living abroad, most in the United States, where protected status conveys work authorization, amounts to 17 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, according to the country’s central bank. The destabilizing effect of cutting off this flow of capital is obvious.

The potential economic effects in this country are less obvious, but real. Contrary to what President Trump might think, the Salvadoran community is highly productive. According to the Center for Migration Studies, a think tank in New York affiliated with a Catholic group, the Congregation of the Missionaries of St. Charles, 88 percent of Salvadorans participate in the labor force (the construction and food service industries are their biggest employers), compared with 63 percent of Americans as a whole. They pay taxes and own homes. Since individuals with protected status are ineligible for welfare and other social benefits, this is a group that contributes to the country while taking little.

And the human cost of expelling them is nearly unbearable. More than half have been in this country for at least 20 years. During that time they have become parents of some 200,000 United States-born citizens. Ten percent of the protected-status Salvadorans are married to legal residents. What exactly does the Trump administration think should become of these families? “Not even a dog would leave their babies behind,” Elmer Pena, an Indianapolis homeowner who has worked for the same company there for 18 years, said to USA Today. His children, United States citizens, are 10, 8 and 6 years old.

. . . .

Revisiting El Salvador’s bloody history is outside the scope of this column. But in this #MeToo era of standing with one’s fellow humans, it seems to me that we owe something to that country beyond the sundering of families and the expulsion of people who did exactly what they were supposed to do: make the best of the opportunity extended to them in grace nearly a generation ago. Were we a better country then? Are we comfortable with what we have become?”

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Read thge complete op-ed at the link.

And, over at the Washington Post, Charles Lane had this to offer:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trumps-dangerous-threat-to-the-third-largest-hispanic-group-in-america/2018/01/17/44b1b6bc-fbac-11e7-a46b-a3614530bd87_story.html?utm_term=.4f0ff01e7347

Lane writes:

“This forgotten history has contemporary lessons, which we should try to understand lest President Trump’s policy prove not merely morally questionable but also counterproductive.

El Salvador is the most densely populated Spanish-speaking country on the planet; yet a small elite historically controlled its best farmlands.

The struggle for existence there is intense, sometimes violent. And so generations of Salvadorans have left in search of land and work — and tranquility. Neighboring Honduras was once a crucial demographic escape valve. The 1969 war closed it, and disrupted the Central American common market, destabilizing El Salvador politically. There was a savage 1979-1992 civil war between U.S.-supported governments and Marxist guerrillas.

That conflict drove hundreds of thousands to the United States, establishing a migratory pattern that continues to this day. The 2.1 million Salvadoran-origin people now constitute the third-largest Hispanic group in the United States, after those of Mexican and Puerto Rican origin, according to the Pew Research Center.

Salvadoran labor helped build the shiny new downtown of Washington, D.C., one of several cities — including Houston and Los Angeles — that would barely be recognizable anymore without a Salvadoran community.

. . . .

Still, he is correct to focus on the deeper causes of migration, and the United States’ chronic failure positively to affect them. At the very least, history provides cause for concern that, by ending “temporary protected status” next year for nearly one-tenth of all Salvadoran-origin people here, Trump might ultimately destabilize Central America further.

. . . .

At the same time, it would deprive the Salvadoran economy of millions of dollars in cash remittances, while requiring it to house and employ a large number of returnees.

Of course, that’s on the implausible assumption that most affected Salvadorans wouldn’t try to stay, thus swelling the very undocumented population Trump is supposedly bent on shrinking.

MS-13 itself metastasized in El Salvador as the unintended consequence of a (defensible) American effort, begun under the Clinton administration, to deport members convicted of crimes in the United States. The gang began in L.A.’s Salvadoran community; once back in El Salvador, its members took advantage of corrupt, weak law enforcement to expand and, eventually, reach back into the United States.

Of all the United States’ international relationships, surely the most underrated — in terms of tangible impact on people’s everyday lives, both here and abroad — is the one with El Salvador. Any policy that fails to take that into account is doomed to fail.”

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Read the complete article at the link.

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Of course the Trump Administration neither cares about the human effects on Salvadorans and their families nor fully understands and appreciates the adverse effects on both the U.S. and El Salvador. And, this Administration arrogantly and stupidly thinks that it can control human migration patterns solely by “macho” enforcement actions on this end. That’s why they are on track for an immigration policy that is “FUBAR Plus.” Others will be left to wipe up the tears and pick up the pieces! But, then, taking responsibility for failure isn’t a Trump specialty either.

PWS

01-19-18

 

 

TAL @ CNN SAYS “GANG OF SIX” STILL WORKING FURIOUSLY TO GET BIPARTISAN SUPPORT AS BUDGET CRISIS LOOMS EVER CLOSER!

http://www.cnn.com/2018/01/18/politics/immigration-shutdown-talks/index.html

Tal reports:

“Gang of Six senators furiously trying to nail down support for immigration bill

By: Tal Kopan, CNN

As votes for government funding look perilous in Congress, bipartisan senators behind an immigration deal are furiously working behind the scenes to build support for their bill, hoping it could be in play to avert a shutdown.

The group, an offshoot of the so-called Gang of Six, is “practically sprinting” to get the bill officially introduced, one congressional aide said, and are working to add as many Republican supporters as possible. When the bill was unveiled on Wednesday night, it had picked up four Republicans in addition to the three that worked to develop it.

If all 49 Democrats support the bill, only four more Republicans would be needed to clear the 60 votes required to advance legislation in the Senate.

Even though the bill has already been rejected by the President and Republican leadership, the calculus is that with a standoff on government funding, Republicans will be pressed on why they walked away from a bipartisan deal with votes to pass it when the shutdown blame game begins.

Illinois Democrat Sen. Dick Durbin, one of the lead authors of the bill, met on Thursday morning with the House Problem Solvers Caucus, a bipartisan group of lawmakers who have sought a centrist deal on DACA as well, his office said. Building House support could answer White House chief of staff John Kelly’s criticism that the bill didn’t have support from both sides of Capitol Hill when it was brought to the President last week.

Democrats’ negotiating position got stronger on Thursday when Republican South Dakota Sen. Mike Rounds, who has backed the bipartisan immigration bill, announced he would not vote for a weeks-long short-term funding extension, saying good governance requires a long-term solution instead of short-term fixes.

Rounds joined the bill’s other lead author, South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, in his opposition. With other Republican fiscal hawks traditionally opposed to short-term continuing resolutions, the pressure is lifted off vulnerable Democratic senators up for re-election to vote for a funding deal that even a handful of Republicans aren’t supporting.

The bill would offer a pathway to citizenship for eligible young undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children, allocate nearly $3 billion to a border wall and technology, limit sponsorship of family members by recipients of the program and reallocate diversity lottery visas to other immigration programs.

Advocates are optimistic that the tide has turned in Democrats’ favor in recent days. They argue that the President’s rejection of the bipartisan bill — just days after he was televised telling lawmakers to bring him a deal and he would sign it — combined with the news of Trump referring to certain countries in a disparaging way has only empowered Democrats to stand up.

“In the last 24 hours we’ve sensed a real shift from Republicans not believing Democrats are going to be resolute, to, ‘Oh my god, Democrats are resolute and Republicans are joining in and we won’t be able to pass the CR without negotiation,'” said Frank Sharry, a longtime immigration advocate with America’s Voice Education Fund.”

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

I encourage everyone to go on over to CNN and check out Tal’s many other reports on the DACA process. Tal is so prolific, I just can’t keep up with her, sometimes! But, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t!

Notwithstanding Nolan’s skepticism about the “Gang of Six” effort, these Senators still think they can get something done and sell it to enough of their colleagues to make a difference! Time will tell! Stay tuned!

PWS

01-18-18

U.S. IMMIGRATION JUDGE RODGER P. HARRIS REPORTEDLY STANDS TALL FOR DUE PROCESS AS NEW COURT SUIT ALLEGES THAT HIS COLLEAGUES ON THE IMMIGRATION BENCH IN CHARLOTTE, N.C. ARE SCOFFLAWS WHO FAIL TO HOLD LEGALLY REQUIRED BOND HEARINGS!

https://www.lexisnexis.com/legalnewsroom/immigration/b/immigration-law-blog/archive/2018/01/18/lawsuit-challenges-immigration-judges-who-refuse-to-hold-bond-hearings-palacios-v-sessions.aspx?Redirected=true

From LexisNexis Immigration Community online:

“Lawsuit Challenges Immigration Judges Who Refuse to Hold Bond Hearings: Palacios v. Sessions

AIC, Jan. 17, 2018

“The government cannot lock people up without giving them access to prompt bond hearings and an opportunity to show that they should be released for the months or years that it takes to adjudicate their removal cases. This lawsuit challenges the actions of immigration judges in Charlotte, North Carolina who have done just that: refused to conduct bond hearings for people who properly file bond motions with the Charlotte Immigration Court.  The case was filed as a class action in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina by the American Immigration Council, the CAIR Coalition, and Cauley Forsythe Law Group.”

Complaint

Brief in Support of Motion for Class Certification”

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Go on over to LexisNexis Immigration Community at the link for the complete story.
Check out paragraph 6 of the Complaint which contrasts the conduct of Judge Harris, who holds bond hearing in accordance with the law and established procedures, and the alleged conduct of his judicial colleagues in Charlotte.
Not surprising to me! Judge Harris was my colleague for years at the U.S. Immigration Court in Arlington Virginia where he had a reputation for scrupulously following the law and providing full due process to all who came before him. Just like a U.S. Immigration Judge is supposed to do.
On the other hand, prior to Judge Harris’s arrival, the Charlotte Immigration Court had a reputation among the private bar, commentators, and the press as a place where due process was often given short shrift, particularly in asylum cases.
Of course, these are merely allegations at this time. We’ll see what happens as the case progresses in Federal District Court.
While Sessions, McHenry, and the “Falls Church Crew” are screwing around with imaginary “goals and timetables’ — untethered to reality in a system with a 660,000 backlog and no real plan for resolving it — these are the real due process problems that are festering in the U.S. Immigration Courts and denying individuals their legal right to due process on a regular basis. Where’s the concern from “on high” with a court system that’s failing in its mission to provide due process to individuals under our Constitution? Obviously, the problem starts with a “Scofflaw Attorney General” who cares more about expediting removals and a White Nationalist immigration enforcement agenda than he does about the Constitution, Due Process, and the integrity of the U.S. Immigration Court system.
We need an independent Article I U.S. Immigration Court now!
PWS
01-18-18

 

THE BO-GLO: FEDERAL JUDGE IN BOSTON STRONGLY REBUKES TRUMP ADMINISTRATION’S “GONZO” ENFORCEMENT — COMPARES CHRISTIANS BEING FORCED OUT “to Jews fleeing the Third Reich in a boat!”

https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2018/01/17/judge-compares-christians-facing-deportation-trump-administration-jews-fleeing-nazis/klnay5JG42au9fadumgIcL/story.html?s_campaign=8315

Michael Levinson reports for the Boston Globe:

“A federal judge on Wednesday likened a group of Indonesian Christians facing possible deportation by the Trump administration to Jewish refugees trying to escape the Nazis.

Judge Patti B. Saris compared the plight of the Indonesians, who are in the country illegally, to Jews fleeing the Third Reich in a boat — an apparent reference to the infamous case of the St. Louis, an ocean liner that left Germany with 937 passengers, most of them Jews, and was turned away by the US government in 1939. Hundreds of the Jews were later killed during the Holocaust.

The Indonesians argue they will be tortured or killed because of their religion if forced to return to their Muslim-majority homeland. The Trump administration insists they have not proven they would be harmed if they returned to Indonesia.

“We’re not going to be that country,” Saris said Wednesday at a hearing in US District Court in Boston. “We don’t want to put them on the ship unless someone” can review their contention that deportation back to Indonesia is “a really bad situation for them.”

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

Read the complete story at the link. Thanks to my good friend Kevin Roche from Boothbay Harbor (summer) and Boston (winter) for sending this my way.

More wasteful litigation, more abuse of authority, more cruel, unnecessary, and unproductive “Gonzo” enforcement from the Trump Administration! They seem determined to repeat all of the worst mistakes of American history. But, then again, the Trumpsters pride themselves on ignorance of history, disregard of facts, and anti-intellectualism. So, why should we be surprised that they act more like “third-world thugs” than representatives of an enlightened Western Democracy?

All of this supports my observation that DHS doesn’t have enough real law enforcement functions to keep its current workforce busy. They clearly don’t need any additional agents. Just different leadership and smarter, more humane and sensible policies.

PWS

01-18-18

 

 

 

 

NO SURPRISES HERE – “GONZO” IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT IS BAD LAW ENFORCEMENT!

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/01/how-trumps-immigration-policies-are-backfiring.html

Isaac Chotiner reports for Slate

“A week after President Trump declared his preference for immigrants from places like Norway over various “shithole” countries (that just happen to be majority nonwhite), Congress and the White House are negotiating over keeping the government funded, with immigration as a key issue. Most Democrats only want to do avoid a shutdown if the Dreamers are given legal protections that Trump has sought to remove. In return for offering them protections, Trump wants funding for things like a border wall. Meanwhile, the Trump administration has continued its heightened pace of immigration raids and deportations, and recently declared that it would remove protections from Salvadoran immigrants who had settled in the country.

To discuss the state of play on Capitol Hill, and Trump’s approach to immigration more broadly, I spoke by phone with Jonathan Blitzer, a staff writer at the New Yorker who covers immigration issues. (Earlier this month, he wrote about the presence of the MS-13 gang on Long Island.) During the course of our conversation, which has been edited and condensed for clarity, we discussed how much racism has influenced Trump’s immigration policies, whether tough-on-immigration stances can be counterproductive to halting crime, and if Democrats should compromise on a border wall if it means protecting the Dreamers.

. . . .

Essentially in the past, in the last two years of the Obama presidency, DHS created a set of priorities, basically saying to ICE: Look, there’s a huge undocumented immigrant population in the United States. 12 million people. You can’t go after everyone. If you guys are going to be a serious police force and if people aren’t going to live in fear of completely random acts of arrest and deportations, you have to prioritize people with criminal records. You have to prioritize people who could be viewed as constituting a public safety threat. The new administration immediately canceled those priorities, which pretty much means there are actually no guidelines for how ICE now goes about its business.

In one sense, that suits the MO of the administration, which is almost total randomness. There really isn’t a kind of thoroughgoing vision of what immigration enforcement looks like. In fact, if you think thematically, the administration is doing things that in some ways undermine the president’s very public statements about how concerned he is with the growing undocumented population in the U.S.

How so?

Just talking about the Salvadoran population, you’re talking about 200,000 people. Those people aren’t just going to leave after two decades here because the administration has now removed this legal protection for them. You are going to see the undocumented community grow in the United States under the Trump administration.

What’s more, arrests are up, right? So the statistics I’ve seen are that ICE arrests have gone up by something like 40 percent, and a significant number of those are people who did not have criminal records. There’s an enormous backlog in immigration courts, a backlog of over 600,000 cases, which means that you actually can’t process all the people who are being arrested. In fact, if you were thinking about this all rationally, [the arrests] would be counterproductive.

One thing your colleague Sarah Stillman mentions in her piece in last week’s issue of the New Yorker is that immigrants are not reporting crime. The drops in major cities are staggering. In Arlington, Virginia, for example, according to Stillman, “domestic-assault reports in one Hispanic neighborhood dropped more than eighty-five per cent in the first eight months after Trump’s Inauguration, compared with the same period the previous year. Reports of rape and sexual assault fell seventy-five per cent.” You would think that as an administration that talks about being tough on crime that this would be a huge problem, but it isn’t to them.

One hundred percent agreed. It’s counterproductive in almost every sense. You don’t even need to go to the bleeding-heart liberals for confirmation of this. You talk to police, you talk to sheriffs, and a lot of them are actually quite concerned about what this means for public safety and how they do their police work. Victims aren’t coming forward.

In some of the work that I’ve done on Long Island, MS-13 has been basically an obsession with this administration, and in every instance, the way the administration has gone about trying to combat the gang problem has backfired and has resulted in communities being a lot less safe than they otherwise would have been.

What specifically?

What’s happening on Long Island—and I think it’s fair to say this is happening elsewhere where MS-13’s been active—what ICE and local law enforcement have started to do is they’ve been so indiscriminate in who they’re arresting for suspected gang associations that they’re actually arresting a lot of people who are the victims of gang crime. I mean, you look at some of these communities, the victims and the perpetrators live side-by-side in these tiny hamlets. They go to the same schools. They work the same jobs. The idea of arresting anyone who has this kind of peripheral association with the gang is nonsensical.

There’s some racial profiling going on on Long Island, and this is exactly the stuff that you’re describing, the fears that people have. I mean you have victims of crimes who are scared to come forward because when they talk to the police, they know police are talking to ICE and the next thing they know, they’ll either end up in detention or family members will end up in detention.

What would be a more proper approach to MS-13? It seems like a tough issue for Democrats.

The proper approach from a law enforcement and community-building standpoint is to invest more money in after school programs. It sounds like sort of milquetoast policy, but you talk to experts on this, you talk to former gang members and community organizers and all of them, all of them are aligned in stressing the importance of just basically providing some sense of community for kids who live in these immigrant communities who often have come fleeing gang violence in Central America who have essentially nowhere else to turn. They go to schools. They don’t speak the language. There aren’t after school programs. They don’t have counseling. Some of them have undergone intense trauma. They’re easy marks for a gang that recruits people who feel isolated and socially marginalized. Oftentimes what happens is they join up on the U.S. side and not on the Central American side, precisely because they feel exposed here.

But that’s not an easy sell. I think Democrats are in a tough spot on that and I think that’s one of the reasons why the Republicans have really tried to link MS-13 to this kind of nationwide attack on sanctuary cities. It’s all playing on these fears and rhetorically, I think for the most part has been pretty successful for Republicans.

If you put aside for a minute America’s role in helping immiserate El Salvador, going back many years to our support for very bad people during their civil war, what would you tell American citizens about taking in immigrants who might be likely to end up in gangs like this?

I don’t think they are so likely to end up in gangs. I think that’s one of the first things that the administration trades on: playing up the idea that all of these kids who arrive here are somehow threats. A tiny, tiny minority of unaccompanied kids who show up in the U.S. end up joining these gangs. The vast majority, the overwhelming majority of them have no gang affiliation, want nothing to do with the gangs, and if given the opportunity here, thrive.

The argument for why we should be more open to them is the same argument that I would make about U.S. refugee policies generally. It is a mark of American moral and political leadership. It actually affects our policies and our foreign policy weight in these regions. The United States has supported all kinds of horrifying political regimes in Central America, but even leaving that political history aside, the gang problem in Central America is the direct outgrowth of U.S. deportation policy. It’s a literal shift. It’s not even a manner of speaking.

Mass deportation creates instability. It’s just going to continue to create a refugee crisis. I mean this crisis is just the continuation of a decades-long trend. We sometimes look the other way, which sometimes is contributing directly to the violence in these regions and then people basically having no other move than to try to move north.

. . . .”

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

Read the complete interview at the link.

As I have been saying, Trump, Sessions, Miller, Homan, & Co. have little or no interest in effective law enforcement. Anything but!

Indeed, as this article points out, and as I have said in the past, truly effective, legitimate law enforcement would involve securing the trust of the Hispanic communities and separating real law enforcement targets — serious criminals and terrorists — from the vast, vast bulk of the undocumented population who are residing peacefully and productively in the U.S. In addition to exercising “PD” for the latter, effective law enforcement would involve putting forth a “no strings attached” proposal to give these folks legal status and work authorization in the U.S., preferably with, but even without, a “path to citizenship.”

No, with the Trumpsters, it’s all about White Nationalism, racism, and the quest to create a false link between Hispanics, crime, and loss of American jobs (conveniently forgetting that we’re now basically at “full employment” in the U.S. and that without undocumented workers our economy would likely be contracting rather than continuing to expand). As a result, ICE is becoming a “bad joke” in the legitimate law enforcement community and an anathema to people almost everywhere. In a democracy (which Trump, Sessions, et al don’t really want) law enforcement can’t operate effectively without a certain amount of mutual trust and respect from the community.

PWS

01-18-18

MORE NONSENSE FROM EOIR: NEW “PRIORITIES & TIMETABLES” WON’T HELP RESOLVE 660,00 CASE BACKLOG, BUT WILL MINDLESSLY INCREASE STRESS, CAUSE MORE “ADR,” & IMPEDE DUE PROCESS!

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/01/17/doj-issues-new-immigration-court-policies-addressing-obama-era-caseload-backup.html

Brooke Singman reports for Fox News:

“The Justice Department issued new measures on Wednesday that will prioritize certain immigration cases in an effort to streamline a system that nearly tripled the caseload of judges during the Obama administration.

A memo listing guidelines for all new cases filed and an order that all immigration court cases that are reopened must establish case priorities was sent by John [sic] McHenry, the director of the Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review, to the Office of Chief Immigration Judge, all immigration judges, all court administrators and all immigration court staff.

“In 2010, immigration court benchmarks for non-detained cases were abruptly abandoned, and since that time — perhaps non-coincidentally — the caseload has tripled,” Justice Department spokesman Devin O’Malley said in a statement to Fox News, noting that the reintroduction of court-based goals and benchmarks would “assist in properly managing cases, increase productivity, and reduce the pending caseload.”

“Some policies implemented in the immigration court system in recent years have contributed to a three-fold increase of the courts’ pending caseload,” O’Malley said to Fox News, noting that certain “prioritization practices” made the caseload “worse” by continuing cases that could be resolved more quickly in favor of cases that often took longer to complete.

It was “the immigration court equivalent of fiddling while Rome burned,” O’Malley said.

“Some policies implemented in the immigration court system in recent years have contributed to a three-fold increase of the courts’ pending caseload.”

– Devin O’Malley, DOJ spokesman

McHenry’s memo is part of a larger push led by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who issued a broader memo late last year outlining principles to ensure that the “adjudication of immigration court cases serves the national interest,” and gave McHenry the “authority” to set time frames for the resolution of cases, and to evaluate the performance of immigration judges and “take corrective action where needed.”

Currently, less than 10 percent of immigration cases pending meet the definition of “priority,” according to McHenry, leading him to address “confusion” and “clarify” the department’s priorities. That statistic, however, conveys a “potentially mistaken impression” of the importance of completing the other 600,000-plus pending cases that do not bear a “priority” designation, according to McHenry.

“All cases involving individuals in detention or custody, regardless of the custodian, are priorities for completion,” McHenry wrote, but noted that “the designation of a case as a priority is not intended to mandate a specific outcome in any particular case.”

Other measures McHenry ordered were new benchmarks for courts, and for immigration judges.

The new measures require that 85 percent of all non-status detained removal cases be completed within 60 days of filing; 85 percent of all non-status non-detained removal cases be completed within 1 year of filing; and 85 percent of all motions adjudicated within 14 days of the request.

McHenry also required 90 percent of custody redeterminations to be completed within 14 days of the request, and 95 percent of all hearings to be completed on their initial scheduled hearing date.

Another new rule requires 100 percent of “all credible fear reviews” to be completed within seven days.

Fox News’ Jake Gibson contributed to this report.”

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

Thanks to Dan Kowalski over at LexisNexis for sending this item my way.

Inane memos like this, issued without consultation and meaningful input from either the U.S. Immigration Judges who actually decide the cases or the attorneys who litigate in immigration Court, are basically “DOA.” Significantly, both the BIA and the Federal Courts have made it clear that compliance with bureaucratic “timeframes” can’t overrule the legal requirements of Due Process in an individual case. Even assuming that Sessions can “co-opt” the BIA, the Federal Courts will be sending back cases in which it appears that the Immigration Judge has elevated the desire to meet timeframes over the requirements of fundamental fairness and Due Process.

But, quite contrary to Acting Director James (not “John” as the article states) McHenry’s bogus claim that the memo does not suggest any particular outcome, the memo clearly suggests that U.S. Immigration Judges should cut corners and deny Due Process to meet these artificial guidelines or risk having their performance judged “deficient.” For example, most detained cases with asylum applications that go to an “Individual Merits” hearing are going to take more than 60 days for the Respondent to locate a pro bono attorney and for that attorney to complete the application and prepare for what often can be a very complex and hotly contested hearing.  It’s an open invitation, if not an actual directive, to engage in sloppy, unprofessional judging.

Moreover, the tone of the memo insultingly suggests that the problem is that  in the absence of this type of sophomoric “guidance from above” U.S. Immigration Judges haven’t been working very hard or effectively to complete cases. Therefore, “cracking the administrative whip” — by folks that by and large are not and never have actually been sitting U.S. immigration Judges — will somehow motivate them to “peddle faster.” What a crock! Almost any executive or manager worth his or her salt knows that this type of “scare tactic” applied to a senior professional workforce accomplishes nothing besides ratcheting up already astronomically high stress levels and unnecessarily diminishing already low morale.

This memorandum is, however, yet another key exhibit on how and why the current U.S. Immigration Court is being incompetently administered by the DOJ and their “gofors” over at EOIR Headquarters in Falls Church. With the likes of Jeff “Gonzo Apocalypto” Sessions in charge of the U.S. Immigration Courts, things are only going to get worse. American needs an independent Article I U.S. Immigration Court now! 

PWS

01-18-18

 

 

 

THE HILL: NOLAN UNIMPRESSED BY “GANG OF SIX’S” DREAMER COMPROMISE EFFORT!

http://thehill.com/opinion/immigration/369403-gang-of-six-daca-bill-is-an-exploitative-political-statement

 

Family Pictures

Nolan writes:

“. . . .

Yet no matter how Flake describes the proposal, it is not a good faith attempt to find common ground with either the majority of congressional Republicans or the president.

Five of the six senators in the Gang of Six were also in 2013’s the Gang of Eight, which showed the same disregard for majority Republican positions when they moved the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013, S. 744, through the Senate.

S. 744 was bipartisan too, but it was opposed by 70 percent of the Senate Republicans. Among other things, it would have established a large legalization program without assurance that the aliens being legalized would not be replaced in 10 years by a new group of undocumented aliens.

This has been the sine qua non for Republican cooperation with a legalization program since the failed implementation of the enforcement provisions in the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, (IRCA), which legalized 2.7 million aliens.

One of IRCA’s major objectives was to wipe the slate clean and start over with an effective enforcement program. But IRCA’s enforcement measures were not implemented, and by October 1996, the undocumented alien population had almost doubled.

. . . .

Trump wants a physical wall. Virtual walls rely primarily on surveillance technology, which just notifies the border patrol when aliens are making an illegal crossing. They will be in the United States before they can be apprehended, and Trump’s enforcement program suffers already from an immigration court backlog crisis.

A physical wall makes illegal crossings more difficult. While some grown men can climb over a large wall, children can’t, and the dangers involved in climbing over such a wall should deter parents from bringing their children here illegally.

If the Democrats really want to help the DACA participants, they will let Trump have his wall.”

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

I probably see it more the way the Washington Post did in yesterday’s lead editorial. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/ignore-the-president-vote-on-the-daca-deal/2018/01/16/55f38288-fb03-11e7-8f66-2df0b94bb98a_story.html

There apparently are enough Democratic and GOP votes to pass the “Gang of Six” compromise. Why be held hostage by GOP legislators who, while perhaps they are a majority of the GOP, are a minority of the total legislature and actually represent a minority position among Americans? Some days Trump says he’ll sign anything Congress passes; other days he doesn’t. So, give him the bill and see what happens. Seems unlikely that he will veto his own budget.

On the other hand, at this point, I’d be willing to give Trump his Wall (but not an end to “chain migration” or permanent cuts in permanent immigration) if that’s what it takes to save the Dreamers. Unlike Nolan, however, my experience tells me that “The Wall” will ultimately be an expensive failure. Whatever the technical difficulties with past “Virtual Walls” might have been, I have to believe that technology, which tends to improve over time, not physical barriers are the wave of the future.

And the real solution to individuals coming here without documents is a more robust and realistic legal immigration program that meets market demands for additional labor and also satisfies our humanitarian obligations. 

Most of the current adult so-called “undocumented” residents of the U.S. are gainfully employed in ways that actually help and support the U.S. They are a huge net “plus.” So, why would we want to go to great lengths in a futile attempt to keep folks like them from coming in to help us in the future? Doesn’t make any sense! That’s why we’re in the current situation — unrealistic laws.

The real solution is more legal immigration which would insure that those coming get properly screened and don’t have to use the services of smugglers. Then, immigration enforcement could concentrate on those seeking to come outside the system.

Leaving aside refugees, why would folks come if the job market actually gets to the point where it is saturated and can no longer expand? For the most part, they wouldn’t. But, of course, that wouldn’t satisfy the GOP White Nationalist restrictionists who are operating from a racial rather than a realistic perspective.

PWS

01-18-18

 

MORE DEADLY MISTAKES: 6TH CIR. FINDS BIA’S ERROR-RIDDLED DECISION WRONGLY SENT WOMAN BACK TO FACE CARTEL THREATS IN MEXICO – TRUJILLO DIAZ V. SESSIONS!

18a0012p-06-6thGangs

Trujillo Diaz v. Sessions, 6th Cir., 01-17-18, published

PANEL: MERRITT, MOORE, and BUSH, Circuit Judges.

OPINION  BY: Judge Bush.

SUMMARY (FROM OPINION):

“In this immigration case, Maribel Trujillo Diaz petitions for review of an order denying her motion to reopen removal proceedings. The United States Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”) ruled that Trujillo Diaz failed to establish a prima facie case of eligibility for asylum or withholding of removal under the Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA” or “Act”) because she failed to show that she would be singled out individually for persecution based on her family membership. The BIA reiterated this finding in ruling that Trujillo Diaz failed to establish a prima facie case of eligibility for protection under the Convention Against Torture. Because the BIA failed to credit the facts stated in Trujillo Diaz’s declarations, and this error undermined its conclusion as to the sufficiency of Trujillo Diaz’s prima facie evidence, we hold that the BIA abused its discretion. We further hold that the BIA abused its discretion in summarily rejecting Trujillo Diaz’s argument that she could not safely relocate internally in Mexico for purposes of showing a prima facie case of eligibility for relief under the Convention Against Torture. Thus, we vacate the order of the BIA and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.”

KEY QUOTATION:

“The BIA’s abuse of discretion in failing to credit Trujillo Diaz’s father’s affidavit undermined its conclusion that Trujillo Diaz had not made a prima facie showing of eligibility for asylum and withholding of removal under the INA. This conclusion also affected the BIA’s analysis of whether Trujillo Diaz made a prima facie showing of eligibility for protection under the Convention Against Torture. Further, the BIA abused its discretion in summarily rejecting Trujillo Diaz’s argument that she could not safely relocate internally in Mexico for purposes of showing prima facie eligibility under the Convention Against Torture. Accordingly, we GRANT the petition and REMAND to the BIA for reconsideration consistent with this opinion.”

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Following the denial of her original claim for asylum, Trujillo Diaz was allowed by the Obama Administration as an exercise of prosecutorial discretion to remain in the United States with work authorization and faithfully checked in with the DHS. However, the Trump Administration arbitrarily targeted her for removal. Although many in the community, including the Catholic Church, protested, the Administration nevertheless removed Trujillo Diaz to Mexico while this motion was pending.

Our tax dollars are being squandered for this type of useless, immoral, and in this case ultimately wrongful removal. At no time has Jeff “Gonzo Apocalypto” Sessions shown any concern whatsoever for the significant  number of mistaken asylum denials and improper deportations taking place as a result of poor quality decision-making taking place in the over-stressed and overwhelmed U.S. Immigration Courts operating under his administration. Nor has he shown any appreciation for the obvious fact that rather than more speed in deporting individuals, this court system is badly in need of better representation for asylum seekers, more careful decision-making that complies with the law, and measures to insure Due Process as required by the U.S. Constitution. 

Sessions’s anti-due-process administration of the U.S. Immigration Courts is a national disgrace! We need an independent United States Immigration Court dedicated to insuring Due Process and protecting vulnerable individuals from wrongful removals like this! Now! 

PWS

01-18-18

 

DANA MILBANK @ WASHPOST: KIRSTJEN NIELSEN IS A BUREAUCRATIC SUPER SYCOPHANT! – Duh! Why Do You Think She Got The Job?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/this-way-madness-lies/2018/01/16/0b627fe2-fb0a-11e7-a46b-a3614530bd87_story.html

Milbank writes:

“This way madness lies.

I knew that Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, when she appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, would deny that Trump said what the whole world knows he said: that he wants immigrants from Norway rather than from “shithole” countries in Africa.

What I was not expecting was that Nielsen would raise a question about whether Norwegians are mostly white.

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) displayed a poster from the dais proclaiming, in big letters, “Trump: Why allow immigrants from ‘Shithole Countries’?” An aide held the poster aloft right behind Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), who, along with Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), was at the infamous meeting with Trump and told others about his racist language.

Nielsen, who was also in that meeting, was now under oath, and she wiggled every which way to excuse Trump without perjuring herself: “I did not hear that word used. . . . I don’t dispute that the president was using tough language.”

Leahy moved on to Trump’s wish for more Norwegian immigrants. “Norway is a predominantly white country, isn’t it?” he asked, rhetorically.

“I actually do not know that, sir,” Nielsen replied. “But I imagine that is the case.”

Kirstjen Nielsen doesn’t know Norwegians are white?

Just as Nielsen “imagines” Norwegians are white, I imagine that she, in her denial of the obvious and defense of the indefensible, is the latest Trump sycophant to trash her reputation. She joins the two Republican senators, David Perdue (Ga.) and Tom Cotton (Ark.), who were in the room for the “shithole” moment but not only denied that it was said (Trump’s use of the vulgar word was widely confirmed, even by Fox News, and not denied by the White House until Trump tweeted a partial denial the next day) but also disparaged the integrity of Durbin for being truthful.

It’s clear they, like Nielsen, do this so they don’t get crosswise with the volatile president — but in the process shred their own integrity.

Now the federal government is hurtling toward a shutdown, entirely because of the president’s whim. Democrats and Republicans presented him last week with exactly the bipartisan deal he said he would sign — protecting the immigrant “dreamers” while also providing funding for his border security “wall” — but Trump unexpectedly exploded with his racist attack and vulgar word.”

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Read the rest of Milbank’s op-ed at the above link.

Obviously, Neilsen got the job of DHS Secretary because she was perceived by the Trumpsters to be a lightweight sycophant who wouldn’t “rock the boat.” After all, a truly independent individual at the head of DHS might stand up to the wasteful and immoral “Gonzo” enforcement program being pursued by Trump, Miller, Sessions, Kelly, Homan, and the rest of the Administration’s “White Nationalist Cabal.”

How dumb and complicit is Nielsen? Well, she’s been “reassuring” the “Dreamer community” that even if the budget deal falls through they won’t be an “enforcement priority!” She ignores, of course, the fact that without DACA or legislation, the Dreamers will lose their hard-earned legal work authorizations and, in many cases, their ability to pursue higher education.

In plain terms, they will be “forced underground” where they will be subject to employer abuse, won’t be able to pay taxes, won’t be able to realize their full potential, and, naturally, will be unable to report or act as witnesses to crimes because of fear of removal. Plus, Jeff “Gonzo Apocalypto” Sessions and Tom Homan have assured Dreamers that if they happen to get caught up in any of ICE’s “dragnet” operations, their “nonpriority” status won’t save them from deportation. Also, once “underground” and no longer required to apply to the DHS for renewals, those few “Dreamers” who do go “off the tracks” will not have their records periodically reviewed by the Government. We won’t even have a real idea of how many actually are in the U.S. any more. So, how is this sane government?

The Obama Administration correctly determined that removal of the Dreamers was not an enforcement priority and not in the national interest. In other words, they that they should receive “prosecutorial discretion,” or “PD” pending an appropriate legislative resolution which was not immediately available.

Rather than leaving it to a myriad of local enforcement officials to arbitrarily exercise PD, the Obama Administration established a program where Dreamers were carefully reviewed by professional DHS adjudicators who consistently applied written, transparent criteria. If qualified, Dreamers were given legal authorization to work and documentation that, for the most part, allowed them to pursue higher education, get drivers licenses, etc. What a reasonable and rational way to exercise “prosecutorial discretion” or “PD.” Indeed, a model program.

A real DHS secretary might have stood up to bullies Trump, Kelly, Miller, and Sessions by arguing that the DACA program should be reinstated. The opportunity certainly presented itself. The Administration could simply drop its opposition to the order of the U.S. District Judge Alsup blocking the rescission of DACA. That also would offer the Administration “legal cover” if any of the restrictionist GOP state AGs challenge DACA. They would have to deal with a highly skeptical Judge Alsup.

A real DHS Secretary might also not have had “bogus amnesia” and have reported accurately under oath what the President really said. A real DHS Secretary might also have “Just Said No” to the cruel and irrational termination of Salvadoran TPS. Yeah, the President could fire her for either of those things. But, no Cabinet Secretary job is forever anyway. If you’re going to go down, having it be for courageously telling truth to power, when power is being abused, isn’t the worst way to go out.

Instead, Neilsen will go down as just another bureaucratic sycophant who “went along to get along” no matter what the cost to her country and to her own integrity.

PWS

01-17-18