"The Voice of the New Due Process Army" ————– Musings on Events in U.S. Immigration Court, Immigration Law, Sports, and Other Random Topics by Retired United States Immigration Judge (Arlington, Virginia) and former Chairman of the Board of Immigration Appeals Paul Wickham Schmidt. To see my complete professional bio, just click on the link below.
NYT: TRUMP IS A CHILD ABUSER — Here’s How to Stop Him: Speak, Educate, Donate, Vote!
The NY Times Editorial Board writes:
From his promise of a “beautiful wall” to his false alarms about caravans of alien marauders at the gate, President Trump has exploited immigration as his marquee issue. He is right, there is a crisis: Not of undocumented immigrants or thousands seeking refuge, as the president would have it, but a crisis of American values, a crisis of America’s premier tradition as a welcoming and humane haven. A crisis Mr. Trump has created, even as Congress has fueled it.
That is not to deny that comprehensive immigration reform is urgently needed, as is funding for the overstretched facilities where undocumented immigrants, and most horribly the children of undocumented immigrants, are held.
But, by his divisive, incoherent and barbaric policies, Mr. Trump has only made agreeing on an approach to immigration in the United States far more difficult. He has done so by systematically creating a false narrative of immigrants as job-stealing criminals, by insisting that there is a crisis of illegal immigration where there is none and, most maliciously, by dreaming up schemes to torment these people in the perverse notion that this would deter others from trying to reach the United States.
The most appalling of these has been the separation of children from their parents and detaining them in conditions no child anywhere should suffer, and certainly not children in the care of the American government. At a recent hearing before a federal appeals court in San Francisco, judges were stunned by the administration’s arguments that children sleeping on concrete floors in frigid, overcrowded cells, without soap or toothbrushes, were being kept in “safe and sanitary” facilities, as required by law. “You’re really going to stand up and tell us that being able to sleep isn’t a question of safe and sanitary conditions?” asked one judge.
Mr. Trump’s latest display of cruel bluster was the announcement, and then the delay, of nationwide raids to deport undocumented families. In fact, deporting immigrants who have exhausted their legal claims is not uncommon — President Obama, remember, was often referred to by immigration groups as “deporter in chief” — and the targets of these raids are not random. But Mr. Trump sought to use the operation to strut before his base and extract concessions from Democrats, and spread panic through immigrant communities. His announcement delayed action by Congress and made the operation that much more difficult by warning those targeted for deportation. Then he tweeted that he was delaying the raids for two weeks.
The United States urgently needs an immigration policy that combines border security, justice and humanity. President Trump has promoted policies that undermine all these goals, and Congress has failed to agree on a coherent vision. You can help turn that around. Here’s how:
. . . .
Read the complete editorial for the “game plan.”
Of course, we should never forget that the “Original National Child Abuser” is Jeff Sessions who developed the original “Family Separation” program for which he has escaped accountability to date.
Some of the lawyers interviewing immigrant children held in Border Patrol detention facilities were so disturbed by what they saw that they have decided to talk to the media.
Photograph by Cedar Attanasio / AP
Hundreds of immigrant children who have been separated from their parents or family members are being held in dirty, neglectful, and dangerous conditions at Border Patrol facilities in Texas. This week, a team of lawyers interviewed more than fifty children at one of those facilities, in Clint, Texas, in order to monitor government compliance with the Flores settlement, which mandates that children must be held in safe and sanitary conditions and moved out of Border Patrol custody without unnecessary delays. The conditions the lawyers found were shocking: flu and lice outbreaks were going untreated, and children were filthy, sleeping on cold floors, and taking care of each other because of the lack of attention from guards. Some of them had been in the facility for weeks.
To discuss what the attorneys saw and heard, I spoke by phone with one of them, Warren Binford, a law professor at Willamette University and the director of its clinical-law program. She told me that, although Flores is an active court case, some of the lawyers were so disturbed by what they saw that they decided to talk to the media. We discussed the daily lives of the children in custody, the role that the guards are playing at the facility, and what should be done to unite many of these kids with their parents. Our conversation has been edited for length and clarity.
How many lawyers were in your party? And can you describe what happened when you arrived?
We had approximately ten lawyers, doctors, and interpreters in El Paso this past week. We did not plan to go to the Clint Facility, because it’s not a facility that historically receives children. It wasn’t even on our radar. It was at a facility that historically only had a maximum occupancy of a hundred and four, and it was an adult facility. So we were not expecting to go there, and then we saw the report, last week, that it appeared that children were being sent to Clint, so we decided to put four teams over there. The teams are one to two attorneys, or an attorney and an interpreter. The idea is that we would be interviewing one child at a time or one sibling group at a time.
How many interviews do you do in a day?
We do a screening interview first to see if the child’s most basic needs are being met. Is it warm enough? Do they have a place to sleep? How long have they been there? Are they being fed? And if it sounds like the basic needs are being met, then we don’t need to interview them longer. If, when we start to interview the child, they start to tell us things like they’re sleeping on the floor, they’re sick, nobody’s taking care of them, they’re hungry, then we do a more in-depth interview. And those interviews can take two hours or even longer. So it depends on what the children tell us. So I’d say, with a team of four attorneys, if you’re interviewing several groups, which we sometimes try to do, or if you interview older children who are trying to take care of younger children, then you are interviewing, let’s say, anywhere from ten to twenty children per day.
How many kids are at the facility right now, and do you have some sense of a breakdown of where they’re from?
When we arrived, on Monday, there were approximately three hundred and fifty children there. They were constantly receiving children, and they’re constantly picking up children and transferring them over to an O.R.R. [Office of Refugee Resettlement] site. So the number is fluid. We were so shocked by the number of children who were there, because it’s a facility that only has capacity for a hundred and four. And we were told that they had recently expanded the facility, but they did not give us a tour of it, and we legally don’t have the right to tour the facility.
We drove around afterward, and we discovered that there was a giant warehouse that they had put on the site. And it appears that that one warehouse has allegedly increased their capacity by an additional five hundred kids. When we talked to Border Patrol agents later that week, they confirmed that is the alleged expansion, and when we talked to children, one of the children described as many as three hundred children being in that room, in that warehouse, basically, at one point when he first arrived. There were no windows.
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As Trump launches his latest “human hostages for outrageous ransom” scheme, it’s important for Democrats to hang tough against any reduction in rights for asylum seekers. The whole “loopholes” bogus claim is just another piece of this toxic White Nationalist racist narrative.
The only “change” needed would be to require the Trump Administration to comply with its domestic, international, and Constitutional duties to administer asylum laws fairly and generously for the protection of asylum seekers. An end of child abuse should be a prerequisite for any discussions.
The reality to keep in mind is that while ICE’s ability to inflict pain and suffering on ethnic communities as part of the racially-motivated “New Operation Wetback” is real, their capacity to actually remove undocumented residents is quite limited.
Contrary to the bogus narrative, several million of the 10 million so-called undocumented residents are actually here with permission and are therefore not currently subject to removal. Those include individuals with DACA, TPS, PD, Deferred Action, and in the EOIR Court System, or whose cases are pending in the Courts of Appeals.
Additionally, many, perhaps the majority, of those with so-called final “in absentia” orders of removal never received proper legal notice of their hearings and will be entitled to file a “motion to reopen” with an automatic stay while those motions are pending. Those who are not yet in the EOIR system will go to the end of a backlog that stretches out for many years.
Given their notoriously poor record keeping, it’s likely that many of ICE’s “last known addresses” are no good. Plus, the resistance that ICE’s racist fear-mongering tactics have engendered in many communities will hamper operations.
Additionally, ICE keeps claiming that is detention capacity is already “saturated.” Thus, most of those picked up, who will not be “immediately removable,” will have to be released.
In short, while we can expect some human tragedies and human rights abuses, the result of the Trump/DHS/ICE “saber rattling” will likely be another resounding operational failure that fuels the “Abolish ICE Movement” while energizing the vote to remove Trump and his GOP White Nationalist Cabal from office in 2020. Kind of an “everyone loses” outcome – but, despite all of his lies, boasting, and shamelessly false self-promotion, that’s all Trump has ever been about.
Much of the Supreme Court’s 7–2 decision in Flowers v. Mississippi on Friday reads like a nightmare. The facts are straight out of the Jim Crow South: A white Mississippi prosecutor, Doug Evans, prosecuted a black man, Curtis Flowers, for the exact same crime six times in search of a capital conviction that might stick. In the process, Evans struck 41 of 42 black prospective jurors, an obvious attempt to secure an all-white jury. Several convictions were overturned due to flagrant prosecutorial misconduct. At Flowers’ sixth trial, however, Evans finally got a death sentence upheld by the Mississippi Supreme Court. Can that punishment possibly comport with the Constitution’s command of equal protection?
In a decision written by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, the U.S. Supreme Court said no, reversing Flowers’ conviction in light of obvious racial bias. To Kavanaugh’s credit, his opinion confronts Evans’ racism head-on and bolsters constitutional safeguards against prosecutorial attempts to purge minorities from juries. Meanwhile, Justice Clarence Thomas penned a scorching dissent, joined in part by Justice Neil Gorsuch, savaging the majority for trying to “boost its self-esteem” while “needlessly prolong[ing] the suffering of four victims’ families.” Thomas, in fact, is eager to overturn decades of precedent limiting prosecutors’ ability to exclude minority jurors on the basis of their race.
The facts of Flowers are simply appalling. In 1996, someone murdered four people at Tardy Furniture in Winona, Mississippi; Evans, the district attorney, decided Flowers was the killer. The evidence against Flowers was astonishingly meager: It rested largely on eyewitness testimonies, provided weeks and months after the crime, that often provided conflicting details. No eyewitnesses came forward until the state offered a $30,000 reward, and several later reported being coerced by prosecutors into implicating Flowers. Investigators never found DNA evidence or fingerprints tying Flowers to the murder. Instead, they identified a single particle of gunshot residue on Flowers’ hand—which, they acknowledged, could have come from the police car that took him to the station, or from the fireworks he set off the day before.
Throughout the six trials, three “jailhouse snitches” testified that Flowers confessed to them; each later recanted, admitting that they had lied. One conceded that he fabricated the confession to receive a sentence reduction. The victims were executed with chilling efficiency, several execution-style, yet Flowers had no criminal history; he did not even own a gun. His cousin, Doyle Simpson, owned the gun allegedly used in the killings. Multiple eyewitnesses saw a man who looked like Simpson outside Tardy Furniture on the morning of the crime. Their evidence was not contradictory or coerced.
Nonetheless, Evans relentlessly targeted Flowers, engaging in a quest to remove black Mississippians from the jury each time. He did so using peremptory strikes, which allow trial attorneys to strike prospective jurors without providing a reason. In 1986’s Batson v. Kentucky, the Supreme Court attempted to come up with a tool to combat racist peremptory strikes: If a defendant challenged a strike on racial grounds, prosecutors had to provide a “neutral explanation” for their decision. The court explained that the Constitution “forbids the States to strike black [jurors] on the assumption that they will be biased in a particular case simply because the defendant is black.” Otherwise, the “core guarantee of equal protection … would be meaningless.”
Nonetheless, at Flowers’ first trial, Evans used peremptory strikes to remove every potential black juror, obtaining an all-white jury that sentenced Flowers to death. The Mississippi Supreme Court reversed because the prosecution acted “in bad faith” by baselessly disputing the credibility of a defense witness and mentioning facts not in evidence. Next time around, Evans once again used his peremptory strikes to remove all black jurors, but this time the trial judge objected and seated one black juror. The jury convicted Flowers, but its verdict was reversed again for essentially the same reasons.
Third time up: Prosecutors used all their peremptory strikes to remove black prospective jurors. Only one black juror was seated. The jury sentenced Flowers to death, but the Mississippi Supreme Court reversed, finding a Batson violation. At the fourth and fifth trials, prosecutors ran out of peremptory challenges and had to settle for juries with multiple blacks. Both times, the jury failed to reach a verdict, resulting in mistrials. Finally, at Flowers’ sixth trial, prosecutors used five out of six peremptory strikes on black potential jurors. A jury of 11 whites and one black sentenced Flowers to death. He argued another Batson violation, but the Mississippi Supreme Court upheld his sentence, so he appealed to SCOTUS.
Technically, only the peremptory strikes at Flowers’ sixth trial are at issue in this case. But Kavanaugh recounted the history of Evans’ racist machinations and clarified that this “historical evidence” matters. Across Flowers’ many trials, he wrote:
[T]he State employed its peremptory strikes to remove as many black prospective jurors as possible. The State appeared to proceed as if Batson had never been decided. The State’s relentless, determined effort to rid the jury of black individuals strongly suggests that the State wanted to try Flowers before a jury with as few black jurors as possible, and ideally before an all-white jury.
“We cannot ignore that history,” the justice concluded, when assessing Evans’ removal of blacks from the jury at Flowers’ most recent trial. “We cannot take that history out of the case.”
Kavanaugh also pointed to “dramatically disparate questioning of black and white prospective jurors in the jury selection process for Flowers’ sixth trial.” Prosecutors “asked the five black prospective jurors who were struck a total of 145 questions.” Yet they asked “the 11 seated white jurors a total of 12 questions.” Put differently, each prospective black juror was grilled with an average of 29 questions; each seated white juror was asked an average of one.
Why? By “asking a lot of questions of the black prospective jurors,” Kavanaugh wrote, “a prosecutor can try to find some pretextual reason—any reason—that the prosecutor can later articulate to justify what is in reality a racially motivated strike.” But a court “confronting that kind of pattern cannot ignore it.” This “lopsidedness” can demonstrate that the prosecutor was attempting to “disguise a discriminatory intent.”
Assessing all this damning evidence, Kavanaugh found that prosecutors struck at least one potential black juror from Flowers’ sixth trial on the basis of race. He tossed out the death sentence and sent the case back down to Mississippi for a new trial. Evans still serves as district attorney and could handle Flowers’ seventh trial—even though SCOTUS has now made clear that his conduct in this case has been permanently tainted by racism.
In dissent, Thomas accused the majority of taking Flowers’ case because it wanted to “scorn” Mississippi state courts, or perhaps “because the case has received a fair amount of media attention.” (The media, he warned, often prefers “to titillate rather than to educate and inform.”) Thomas dismissed Kavanaugh’s opinion as “manifestly incorrect,” insisting that Evans had perfectly good reasons to strike five black prospective jurors from the sixth trial. And he wrote that the majority “builds its decision around the narrative that this case has a long history of race discrimination. This narrative might make for an entertaining melodrama, but it has no basis in the record.” (It does; Thomas just rewrites the record to excuse every single instance of Evans’ egregious racial bias.)
It’s an encouraging sign that Kavanaugh just ignored Thomas’dissent.
Gorsuch joined those portions of the dissent, but declined to sign onto its most radical assertion: that Batson itself should be overruled. Black defendants tried by all-white jurors created by racist prosecutors, Thomas wrote, suffer “no legally cognizable injury.” The accused suffer no equal protection violation when they are tried by a jury selected on the basis of race. Moreover, prosecutors should be permitted to make “generalizations” about black jurors, because “race matters in the courtroom.” Thomas ended his screed by berating the court for “needlessly prolong[ing] the suffering of four victims’ families” in an effort to “boost its self-esteem,” and declared: “If the Court’s opinion today has a redeeming quality, it is this: The State is perfectly free to convict Curtis Flowers again.”
It’s an encouraging sign that Kavanaugh just ignored Thomas’ dissent, as it is really too wacky, too hostile, and aggrieved to merit a response. Rather, with a majority of the court behind him, Kavanaugh made the case that courts can identify discriminatory intent without a smoking gun of overt racism. Evans never used racial epithets in the courtroom or stated his desire for a white jury; his actions alone told the court everything it needed to know about his motivations. This Supreme Court may not always confront unconstitutional prejudice with such clear-eyed pragmatism, but it’s worth celebrating a decision that enforces constitutional limits on racist prosecutions.
I admit to not being a big BKavs fan. But, I appreciate his strong and courageous leadership on this case.
Four toddlers were so severely ill and neglected at a U.S. Border Patrol facility in McAllen, Texas, that lawyers forced the government to hospitalize them last week.
The children, all under age 3 with teenage mothers or guardians, were feverish, coughing, vomiting and had diarrhea, immigration attorneys told HuffPost on Friday. Some of the toddlers and infants were refusing to eat or drink. One 2-year-old’s eyes were rolled back in her head, and she was “completely unresponsive” and limp, according to Toby Gialluca, a Florida-based attorney.
She described seeing terror in the children’s eyes.
“It’s just a cold, fearful look that you should never see in a child of that age,” Gialluca said. “You look at them and you think, ‘What have you seen?’”
Another mother at the same facility had a premature baby, who was “listless” and wrapped in a dirty towel, as HuffPost previously reported.
The lawyers feared that if they had not shown up at the facility, the sick kids would have received zero medical attention and potentially died. The Trump administration has come under fire for its treatment ― and its alleged neglect ― of migrants who have been crossing the southern border in record numbers. The result is overcrowded facilities, slow medical care and in some instances, deaths.
Immigration authorities say they’re overwhelmed; activists say they’re not trying hard enough.
“It’s intentional disregard for the well-being of children,” Gialluca said. “The guards continue to dehumanize these people and treat them worse than we would treat animals.”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection declined to respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.
The Associated Press reported this week that children in border facilities don’t have adequate access to food, water, soap or showers. On Tuesday, a Justice Department attorney argued in court that the government should not have to provide detained children with soap, toothbrushes or beds.
The AP report is based on interviews a group of lawyers conducted with hundreds of children in three Texas-based Border Patrol stations last week as part of the Flores settlement ― an agreement that outlines conditions for detained children. The lawyers say children are also being held in these facilities for longer than the 72-hour limit the settlement specifies, and in some cases up to three weeks.
Lawyers are particularly concerned about the spread of illness inside Border Patrol facilities, which can sometimes turn fatal. Five children have died in Border Patrol custody since December, some of whom were initially diagnosed with a common cold or the flu. The processing center in McAllen, known as Ursula, recently quarantined three dozen migrants who were sick after a 16-year-old died of the flu at the same facility.
Children and their parents told lawyers that in some cases they didn’t have any access to medical treatment in Border Patrol facilities despite being visibly ill. Gialluca spoke with one 16-year-old mother whose toddler had the flu, but was told by a guard the child “wasn’t sick enough to see a doctor.” She said others also reported being denied medical attention despite having critically sick babies.
Medical experts say that because children have less developed immune and respiratory systems, their symptoms can escalate quickly if they aren’t properly treated.
Dr. Julie Linton, the co-chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics, previously told HuffPost that children can’t recover from illnesses in Border Patrol facilities. These centers are described as “hieleras” ― Spanish for iceboxes ― because of their freezing temperatures, and migrants describe sleeping on floors under bright lights that shine 24/7, with nothing but Mylar blankets to keep warm.
Gialluca met one 16-year-old mother whose 8-month-old baby was sick with the flu and forced to sleep outside for four days at the McAllen Border Patrol station. The mother said the guards took the clothing off the baby’s back, leaving her in a diaper, and forced them to sleep on concrete without a blanket.
A sick 2-year-old girl was shivering in a T-shirt and had shallow breathing, according to Mike Fassio, a Seattle-based immigration attorney who visited Ursula.
“I was very, very concerned,” he said, adding lawyers spoke with immigrants in a room outside of the facility. “When she left us, I knew she was going back to a place that was cold, crowded and unsanitary.” Fassio noted that guards referred to the children as “bodies.”
Some children were so exhausted they fell asleep during the interviews, said Clara Long, a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch who spoke with kids at a facility in Clint, Texas. Long met a 3-year-old boy who was dirty with matted hair and was being taken care of by his 11-year-old brother. She said that more than 10 sick children were being quarantined in cells.
While the group of roughly eight lawyers and interpreters at Ursula were supposed to be interviewing children about conditions in the facilities, they also ended up asking guards and government officials to bring kids to the hospital because they were so worried about their state. Gialluca added that she and her colleagues interviewed only a small portion of migrants in the facility, which is the largest processing center in the U.S. and can hold up to 1,000 people. She believes the number of migrants in need of hospitalization is likely much higher.
Government officials have blamed horrific conditions at detention facilities on the fact that Congress has not yet passed an emergency funding package that would include almost $3 billion to help care for unaccompanied migrant children. But Gialluca says border officials shouldn’t need more resources to treat immigrants like human beings.
“Money isn’t keeping guards from allowing people to access toilets,” she said. “Money isn’t causing guards to take clothing and medicine away from children.”
Here’s Another report from Nicole Goodkind at Newsweek on the “malicious incompetence” and intentional misallocation of resources by Trump and his DHS sycophants that is willfully endangering kids’ lives as part of a cheap White Nationalist political stunt:
8-YEAR-OLD MIGRANTS BEING FORCED TO CARE FOR TODDLERS IN DETENTION CAMPS
A team of lawyers conducted 60 interviews with migrant children being held in an El Paso, Texas, detention camp and found conditions to be dismal.
Fifteen of those in the holding center had the flu and 10 more are quarantined with illness, according to the lawyers, who first gave the data to the Associated Press. Three infants are being detained alongside their teenage mothers, and many children are under the age of 12.
“A Border Patrol agent came in our room with a 2-year-old boy and asked us, ‘Who wants to take care of this little boy?’ Another girl said she would take care of him, but she lost interest after a few hours and so I started taking care of him yesterday,” one teenaged girl told the lawyers in an interview. The boy was not wearing a diaper and his shirt was covered in mucus, she said.
Law professor Warren Binford, who aided in the interviews, said she witnessed an 8-year-old girl caring for a 4-year-old child who was very dirty, the girl was unable to get the boy to take a shower. She also described the children she interviewed as sleep-deprived, often falling asleep while speaking with her.
“In my 22 years of doing visits with children in detention, I have never heard of this level of inhumanity,” said Holly Cooper, co-director of the University of California, Davis’ Immigration Law Clinic, to the AP.
The lawyers were inspecting the facility as part of the Flores agreement, which resulted from a landmark 1985 case that established that facilities where minor migrants are held must be kept “safe and sanitary.”
A representative of the Trump administration, the Justice Department’s Sarah Fabian, argued Tuesday that safe and sanitary conditions don’t necessarily have to include toothbrushes, soap or towels for children.
Nicole Goodkind is a political reporter at Newsweek. You can reach her on Twitter @NicoleGoodkind or by email, N.Goodkind@newsweek.com.
TRUMP ADMINISTRATION PLANS MAJOR ICE RAIDS FOR SUNDAY
U.S. immigration authorities plan to raid Miami, Houston, Chicago and Los Angeles and other cities. They intend to arrest up to 2,000 families, three U.S. officials with knowledge of the plans told The Washington Post. The orders reportedly come directly from President Donald Trump.
On Monday, the president tweeted: “Next week ICE will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States. They will be removed as fast as they come in.”
Officials told The Washington Post that the Department of Homeland Security agency plans to hold families in hotel rooms until they are deported. Acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan is allegedly targeting families that have completely dropped out of the court process, but has warned that the operation could lead to further cases of families being separated.
Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore confirmed the raids on Friday, saying that about 140 families in southern California will be targeted in pre-dawn raids early next week. The chief also made clear that the raids are done on a federal level and that the police department will not be involved.
On Thursday, Carla Provost, chief of the United States Border Patrol argued that the Department of Homeland Security was not receiving enough money to properly care for migrants on the southern border, and that was leading to terrible conditions in detention centers. On Wednesday, the Senate Appropriations Committee agreed to $4.6 billion in emergency funds for what the Trump administration has referred to as a “border crisis.”
Texas Congressman Joaquin Castro questioned how the agency could afford mass raids while asking for more money Friday. “The Trump Administration says it needs more money (supplemental bill) for the situation at the border yet they may be starting massive immigration raids next week. So how do you have the money for that if you’re running out of money ICE?” he tweeted.
“These potential raids are a disgusting political ploy to stoke fear and rile up Trump’s base for 2020,” wrote Sandra Cordero, Director of Families Belong Together, an immigration advocacy group, in a statement. “Past raids have left children alone and afraid in empty homes, praying they won’t be left to care for younger siblings by themselves, with no idea if they’ll see their parents again. This is yet another flagrant disregard for the welfare of children on behalf of a cruel administration bent on fomenting fear and creating chaos.”
Come on, Carla, cut the BS and butt covering. The “mix” of arrivals at the Southern Border began to shift to refugee families from the Northern Triangle back in the summer of 2014. So, CBP and DHS have had five years to prepare for this “change” which is actually “old news.”
More “old news” is the increased flow of asylum seekers with kids which began back before Thanksgiving. Plenty of time for CBP and DHS to bring back retired asylum officers and adjudicators and reassign other adjudicative personnel to the border to insure prompt, orderly, safe, and efficient processing of asylum applicants at ports of entry, thus eliminating the incentive (or necessity) for folks to turn themselves in after crossing the border between ports.
Also, plenty of time to work with NGOs, pro bono groups, states, and communities to insure representation and proper placement of family groups in various locations throughout the country without panic or “dumping.”
Another bogus claim spread by Trump, Provost, and the rest of the sycophants: that the prevalence of kids among new asylum arrivals is somehow totally a response to the Flores settlement (which actually has been in effect for decades).
Undoubtedly, with the Trump Administration’s active assistance, unscrupulous smugglers and coyotes are encouraging some folks to bring children as the only way to have a shot at fair processing under the tilted U.S. asylum system promoted by Trump. Indeed, as I have observed before, the Trump Administrations has consistently been a “best friend” to gangs, smugglers, traffickers, cartels, and druggies seeking to “jack up” profits by further exploiting the human misery caused by the Trump Administration’s “maliciously incompetent “ approach to immigration, effective law enforcement, and humanity generally. https://apple.news/AFQw_eqcHSZCYxUznmP0wpQ
So, the prevalence of children among new arrivals should properly been seen as part of a sad worldwide trend that Trump and his cronies disgustingly have done everything possible to encourage, exploit, and aggravate. It most certainly is not primarily caused by the Flores settlement or by giving soap, toothbrushes, blankets, or medical care to children being abused in the “DHS Gulag” administered in part by disingenuous folks like Provost.
Any honest observer of what’s going on knows that the majority of the asylum applications that passed credible fear probably could have been granted (or given protection under the Convention Against Torture — “CAT”) by the Asylum Office without even going to Immigration Court under the proper generous interpretation of our asylum laws, an honest interpretation of CAT that reflects the true conditions in the Northern Triangle, and a very “doable” change in procedures.
Only dishonest fools in the Trump Administration (and a few from the Obama Administration) would maintain that gender isn’t a social group subject to widespread persecution in the Northern Triangle, deny that gangs have assumed the role of quasi-governmental entities thus making most of the harm they inflict on resisters “political persecution,” and make the beyond ludicrous claim that the corrupt failed states of the Northern Triangle have either the ability or much real interest in protecting those subject to persecution.
And, Carla, why aren’t you out there today registering a public protest of the waste of time and funds in ICE going after families with ridiculously inappropriate “raids” when everyresource could and should be focused instead on providing humanitarian assistance to asylum seekers arriving at the Southern Border?
This racist-inspired “Sunday Morning Reign of Terror” directed at U.S. ethnic communities is specifically designed to return helpless families to the very dangerous countries from which they originally fled! Thus, Trump and his phony DHS are intentionally feeding “fresh meat” to gangs and cartels and insuring that the cycle of northward migration, no matter how dangerous, will continue until everyone who needs to leave its either gone or dead (the latter apparently the “solution” favored by Provost, Trump, Morgan, McAleenan, Miller, and others).
Provost, McAleenan, Morgan, and their co-conspirators are all participants in a cynical scheme to intentionally “crash” the asylum system, rather than competently administering it. They are intentionally endangering the lives of children and other vulnerable asylum seekers, many entitled to legal protections, to promote, along with GOP restrictionists, totally bogus, dishonest, and completely unnecessary and unwarranted restrictions of the precious, life-saving right of refugees to seek asylum in the U.S.
It’s an unbelievably dishonest and cowardly scheme, and a complete breach of both oaths of office and public trust. It might be that those who long ago abandoned American values will lap up this insult to human values and human dignity.
But, there are plenty of us out here who know and understand exactly what you are doing. We will not only resist it, but will be historical witnesses to your cruel, inhuman, and unlawful schemes and gimmicks to “abuse and kill the innocent.” And, we’ll be keeping count.
MEXICO CITY — The Mexican authorities are investigating the death of a teenage migrant from El Salvador who was shot and killed after the truck she was in ran a government checkpoint.
Witnesses have told investigators in the state of Veracruz, where the shooting happened last Friday, that a truck carrying the 19-year-old woman and other migrants bound for the United States border passed through a government checkpoint and that people wearing police uniforms gave chase in a police car and shot at the truck, said Jorge Winckler Ortiz, the attorney general of Veracruz.
Two other migrants in the truck were wounded in the shooting, officials said.
The incident occurred amid a Mexican government deployment of security forces to assert greater control of migration toward the United States, part of a dealthat President Andrés Manuel López Obrador struck with President Trump earlier this month to fend off a threat of tariffs.
The possibility that the Mexican police may have killed the teenager has reaffirmed the fears of migrants’ advocates and human rights experts, who worry that the security forces, being rushed into migration control, are ill-prepared for the task.
A Justice Department attorney this week argued in court that the federal government should not be required to provide soap, toothbrushes or even beds to detained children apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Attorneys for the detained children are arguing that the government is not following the requirements of a 1997 settlement agreement in the case of Jenny Flores that established a framework for the humane treatment and release of detained migrant minors. Children must be housed in “safe and sanitary conditions” under the settlement. A district judge added the specific requirements that children be provided with soap and toothbrushes.
“Are you arguing seriously that you do not read the agreement as requiring you to do something other than what I just described: cold all night long, lights on all night long, sleeping on concrete and you’ve got an aluminum foil blanket?” asked Judge William Fletcher. “I find it inconceivable that the government would say that that is safe and sanitary.”
Judge Marsha Berzon asked Fabian: “You’re really going to stand up and tell us that being able to sleep isn’t a question of ‘safe and sanitary’ conditions?… You can’t be sanitary or safe as a human being if you can’t sleep.” (See the video below at 24:30.)
Fabian was challenging an order by U.S. District Judge Gee in Los Angeles, who appointed an independent monitor to ensure that the federal government complies with the Flores settlement and specifically required such items as soap and toothbrushes. Fabian argued that such requirements are not detailed in the original settlement. (In the video at 26:40.)
“One has to assume … parties couldn’t reach agreement on how to enumerate that or it was left to the agencies to determine,” Fabian argued.
Fletcher responded: “Or it was relatively obvious — at least obvious enough so that if you’re putting people into a crowded room to sleep on a concrete floor with an aluminum foil blanket on top of them, that doesn’t comply with the agreement.”
He added: “It may be they don’t get super-thread-count Egyptian linen, I get that. … I understand at some outer boundary, there may be some definitional difficulty. But no one would argue that this [current situation] is safe and sanitary.”
As for soap, it “wasn’t perfumed soap, it was soap. That sounds like it’s part of ‘safe and sanitary,’” he added. “Are you disagreeing with that?”
Judge A. Wallace Tashima said that such items are “within everybody’s common understanding that if you don’t have a toothbrush, if you don’t have soap, if you don’t have a blanket, it’s not safe and sanitary. Wouldn’t everybody agree to that?” he asked. “Do you agree to that?”
Fabian, who appeared to stumble throughout much of her presentation, responded: “Well … maybe.”
The attorney for the children argued that, although soap and toothbrushes weren’t specifically mentioned in the 1997 settlement, they must be provided because they would be “reasonably interpreted” as part of the agreement under contract law.
The “first thing you do is honor the plain meaning” of words like “safe and sanitary,” said Peter Schey. “Today we have a situation where once a month a child is dying in custody. Certainly the Border Patrol facilities are secure, but they’re not safe and they’re not sanitary.”
It’s not clear when the 9th Circuit, based in San Francisco, will issue a decision in the case.
Honestly, how does Sarah Fabian sleep at night? If she has kids, what does she tell them about what she does to other people’s kids for a living?
And, what can you say about 9th Circuit judges who accept frivolous, totally disingenuous arguments from Government counsel. A private attorney who wasted the court’s time and disrespected its integrity and functions in this matter would almost certainly be disciplined or disbarred in short order.
At one time, DOJ attorneys were expected to adhere to higher standards of ethics because of their role in protecting the public interest and aiding the courts in pursuit of justice. Why in the age of Trump, Sessions, Barr, and Solicitor General Noel Francisco are ethical standards no longer enforced against DOJ Attorneys? And that goes right up to the top, as both Barr and Sessions have clearly interfered with and participated in quasi-judicial immigration decisions after showing clear bias against migrants and in favor of DHS Enforcement, in violation of ethical standards.
Folks like Trump and his cronies always depend on complicit subordinates, as well as complicit courts, to carry out their vile and illegal programs.
Trump tweeted Monday night that Guatemala is “getting ready to sign” a socalled safe third country agreement with the U.S., and he lauded Mexico for “using their strong immigration laws” to stop migrants well before they reach the southern U.S. border. Mexico said Friday it would also weigh a safe third country agreement with the U.S. if its efforts to ramp up immigration enforcement as part of a trade deal do not succeed within 45 days.
The announcements came as the Trump administration moved to reduce its obligations to asylum seekers by expanding its “Remain in Mexico” policy, officially known as the Migrant Protection Protocols, by which migrants are sent back to Mexico while they await hearings in U.S. immigration court.
As for Guatemala, experts have protested that Mexico’s southern neighbor cannot offer asylum seekers the kind of security intended by a safe third country agreement.
But the Trump administration is not proposing such an agreement with Guatemala because it believes the country to be safe, said Jeffrey Chase, a former immigration judge and ex senior legal adviser to the Board of Immigration Appeals. Rather, the White House believes the accord will stop asylum seekers from countries farther south from entering the U.S., Chase said.
Migrants from El Salvador and Honduras have to travel through Guatemala en route to the U.S., and if Guatemala were subject to such an agreement, the Trump administration would have an “excuse to turn away those fleeing violence in those countries,” he said.
Karen Musalo, the founding director of the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies at University of California, Hastings College of the Law, said that to call Guatemala safe is absurd.
“I don’t think that anyone familiar with the human rights situation in Guatemala — with its extremely high levels of homicides, femicides, gender violence, gang and organized crime violence, corruptions, etc. — could say with a straight face that asylum seekers would be safe there,” she said.
. . . .
Those with access to Law360 can read Nicole’s complete article at the above link.
It isn’t just that Trump (supported by some equally dishonest and nasty GOP legislators and flunkies like Mike Pence, Mike Pompeo, Ken “Cooch Cooch” Cuccinelli, and Kevin McAleenan) is blatantly lying about asylum seekers and Guatemala being “safe.” What he essentially proposes is the U.S.-sanctioned murder of innocent asylum seekers from the Northern Triangle.
Why is this outrage against the law and humanity “below the radar screen?” Seems like it’s actually the most clear “impeachable offense” that Trump has committed to date. And, it’s right out in plain view for all to see, with irrefutable proof that Guatemala is NOT a safe country for anyone, let alone asylum seekers. That’s exactly why folks are fleeing Guatemala for their lives every day.
WASHINGTON, DC – The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) will recognize the Roundtable of Former Immigration Judges, with the 2019 Advocacy Award for outstanding efforts in support of AILA’s advocacy agenda. The roundtable will accept the award this week during AILA’s Annual Conference in Orlando, FL.
The Round Table of Former Immigration Judges was formed in June 2017 when seven former Immigration Judges and BIA Members united for an amicus brief in Matter of Negusie. In the two years since, the group has grown to more than 30 members, dedicated to the principle of due process for all. Its members have served as amici in 14 cases before six different circuit courts, the Attorney General, and the BIA. The group has made its voice heard repeatedly in support of the rights of victims of domestic violence to asylum protection, and has also lent its arguments to the issue of children’s need for counsel in removal proceedings, the impact of remote detention in limiting access to counsel, and the case against indefinite detention of immigrants. The Round Table of Former Immigration Judges has submitted written testimony to Congress and has released numerous press statements. Its individual members regularly participate in teaching, training, and press events.
Cite as AILA Doc. No. 19062032.
And here are Judge Chase’s “acceptance remarks” in behalf of our entire group:
Thank you; we are humbled and honored to receive this award. Due to the time constraints on our speeches, I don’t have time to either name all of the members of our group, or to thank all those to whom thanks is due. So I will do that in a blog post.
In terms of advocacy, we are all advocates – everyone in this room, all AILA members. The past experience of our group as former judges gives us more of a platform. But it is a special group, in that so many have chosen to spend their post-government careers or their retirement actively fighting to make a difference in these trying times.
In fighting to make that difference, we must all speak for those who have no voice, and must serve as the conscience in a time of amoral government actions. Those whom we advocate for had the courage and strength to not only escape tragedy and make their way to this country, but once here, to continue to fight for their legal rights against a government that makes no secret of its disdain for their existence. We owe it to them to use our knowledge and skills to aid them in this fight.
In conclusion, I will quote the response of one of our group members who isn’t here tonight upon learning of this award: “It’s nice to be recognized. Now let’s get back to work.”
Thank you all again.
Congrats to all of my 30+ wonderful colleagues in “The Roundtable.” It’s an honor to be part of this group. Also, many, many thanks to all of the firms and individual lawyers who have provided hundreds of hours of pro bono assistance to us so that we could have a “voice.” It’s been a real team effort!
WaPo: With days to prepare, a top state official said he expects a fivefold increase in the number of migrants who will be sent to Juarez as a result of the expansion of the Trump administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols.
WaPo: The strategy, which will apply only to applications for permanent residency — also known as green cards — or U.S. citizenship, probably will be a welcome respite to immigrant communities in cities such as St. Paul, Minn., where some applicants wait up to two years to become citizens. Immigrants in other places could see the process lengthen.
The Conversation: As current anti-immigrant policies diminish the supply of migrant workers (both documented and undocumented), farmers are not able to find the labor they need. So, in states such as Arizona, Idaho and Washington that grow labor-intensive crops like onions, apples and tomatoes, prison systems have responded by leasing convicts to growers desperate for workers.
NYT: Men, women, and children from central Africa — mostly from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola — are showing up at the United States’ southwest border after embarking on a dangerous, monthslong journey. Their arrival at the border and at two cities more than 2,100 miles apart — San Antonio and Portland, Maine — has surprised and puzzled immigration authorities and overwhelmed local officials and nonprofit groups.
TIME: Fort Sill, an 150-year-old installation once used as an internment camp for Japanese-Americans during World War II, has been selected to detain 1,400 children until they can be given to an adult relative, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Daily Beast: Former Virginia attorney general Ken Cuccinelli’s long-rumored role as a top coordinator of the Department of Homeland Security immigration policy finally has an official title. According to an email sent to staff at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on Monday, the longtime border hawk has been named acting director of the agency, whose 19,000 employees orchestrate the country’s immigration and naturalization system. See also High Turnover Roils Trump’s Immigration-Policy Ranks and GOP mutters, gently, as Trump sidesteps Senate for top aides.
USCIS provided notice to the class in R.F.M., et al., v. Nielsen, et al. The class involves Special Immigrant Juveniles with applications based on a New York Family Court Special Findings Order issued between their 18th and 21st birthdays. Notice includes next steps. AILA Doc. No. 19061400. See also Legal Aid’s R.F.M. v. Nielsen website.
IDP: has put out a legal alert on the BIA’s new decision in Matter of Navarro Guadarrama, 27 I&N Dec. 560 (BIA 2019), and why it should not affect the Second Circuit precedent set by Harbin and Hylton. Included are some arguments that could be used to rebut DHS should they try to argue otherwise (please let us know if they do raise this decision and what IJs are deciding).
Fed Defenders: On May 30, 2019, the Second Circuit withdrew the per curiam opinion in Thompson v. Barr, #17-3494, that was issued on May 13. The opinion found that NY assault in the second degree (NYPL § 120.05(1)) is an aggravated felony crime of violence for immigration purposes under the force clause of 18 USC § 16(a).
RollingStone: In the days before he allegedly struck a 23-year-old undocumented Guatemalan man with a government-issued Ford F-150, Border Patrol agent Matthew Bowen sent a text to a fellow agent. In the exchange, which federal prosecutors now claim offers “insight into his view of the aliens he apprehends,” Bowen railed against unauthorized migrants who’d thrown rocks at a colleague as “mindless murdering savages” and “disgusting subhuman shit unworthy of being kindling for a fire.”
Chase: So in summary, Andrade Jaso is inconsistent with all of the AG’s precedent decisions under this administration, and with binding regulations. And yet, a three Board Member panel had no reservations (there wasn’t any dissent) in issuing this decision. Why? Because it prevents the only group of people who actually want to be in proceedings from having the chance to apply for legal status.
AP: federal appeals court in Washington ruled Friday against a Trump administration policy it described as a “blanket ban” preventing immigrant teens in government custody from getting abortions, and it kept in place an order blocking the policy.
NPR: The courts have yet to issue their final word on whether the Trump administration can add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. But starting Thursday, the Census Bureau is asking about a quarter-million households in the U.S. to fill out questionnaires that include the question, “Is this person a citizen of the United States?”
USCIS: As part of USCIS’ implementation of this memorandum, USCIS officers will now be required to remind individuals at their adjustment of status interviews of their sponsors’ responsibilities under existing law and regulations. Our officers must remind applicants and sponsors that the Affidavit of Support is a legal and enforceable contract between the sponsor and the federal government. The sponsor must be willing and able to financially support the intending immigrant as outlined by law and regulations (see INA 213A and 8 CFR 213a). If the sponsored immigrant receives any federal means-tested public benefits, the sponsor will be expected to reimburse the benefits-granting agency for every dollar of benefits received by the immigrant.
CLINIC: The memo, titled “Updated Procedures for Asylum Applications Filed by Unaccompanied Alien Children” and signed by Asylum Division Chief John Lafferty, reverses a 2013 policy, often referred to as the “Kim memo.” Under the Kim memo, USCIS took jurisdiction over asylum applications filed by applicants who had previously been determined by Immigration and Customs Enforcement or Customs and Border Protection to be “unaccompanied alien children” (UC).
The U.S. and Mexican governments proclaimed their commitment to address the increase in migrants moving from Central America, including the deployment of the Mexican National Guard to the southern border and the expansion of Migrant Protection Protocols across the entire southern border. AILA Doc. No. 19061197
ImmProf: While bold immigration proposals continue to be in the news, a lesser noticed regulatory planning document provides info on the timeline and implementation details of known policies. An analysis of the regulatory agenda shows that the administration plans to spend the next year implementing the public charge rule that denies green cards and visas to those who take public benefits and reforming employment visa programs to eliminate work authorization for H1-B spouses.
EOIR SHAKEUP: Chief Immigration Judge, Deputy Director, General Counsel Ousted!
Courtside: Evidently, Chief Immigration Judge MaryBeth T. Keller, General Counsel Jean King, and Deputy Director Katherine H. Reilly all “got the boot” late this week. They are career civil servants. Keller and King were “holdovers” from the prior Administration, while Reilly was appointed to her recent position by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Piecing together bits from anonymous sources, it’s likely that the three clashed with EOIR Director James McHenry and Department of Justice (“DOJ”) politicos over some of the more extreme aspects of the Administration’s “master plan.” See also American Bar Association Says Immigration Courts Are ‘On The Brink Of Collapse’.
Reuters obtained a memo with updated procedures for asylum applications filed by unaccompanied alien children (UACs), modifying 5/28/13 guidance. This guidance is effective 30 calendar days after 5/31/19 and applies to any USCIS decision issued on or after the effective date. AILA Doc. No. 19060771
WaPo: On the same day the White House heralded veterans on the 75th anniversary of D-Day, a federal watchdog said the government had violated its own rules on deporting former service members — and immigration authorities have no idea how many they have removed.
Salon: The State Department announced this week a major change to the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, which Trump has repeatedly maligned. The first new rule requires applicants to already have a passport at the time of application. The second mandates that any typographical error on the application results in immediate, unappealable disqualification.
Sunlight Foundation: In answer to our first question— who initiated the removal? — the records turned over under FOIA show that USCIS’ training materials, which had been public for years, were in fact removed at the explicit direction of the Asylum Division’s top official. Even as that official, John Lafferty, acknowledged that the materials were of significant public interest, correspondence shows he rebuffed his own staff’s suggestion to archive them.
IOM and UNHCR: The number of Venezuelans leaving their country has reached four million, IOM, the International Organization for Migration, and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, announced today. Globally, Venezuelans are one of the single largest population groups displaced from their country.
QNS: The legislation [would] ensure that conditions for immigrants in New York State county jails comply with legal detention standards. In addition, the law will also limit the expansion of detention facilities in the state unless approved by the legislature.
From the listservs: If you get calls from family trying to locate someone who was just detained, keep in mind that if they were detained crossing the border then there is a high probability that they are not with ICE, but with the U.S. Marshal Service with pending illegal entry charges. This became much more common over the past year with Zero Tolerance and its implementation through Operation Streamline. So they won’t appear on the ICE Locator. Unfortunately, they will often not appear on BOP’s website either because USMS detainees that are in contract facilities don’t show on the website. One trick is to check on PACER (www.pacer.gov worth getting an account), which will confirm if have a pending criminal 1325 or 1326 case, and will also have their defense atty name.
In a one-sentence order, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the Trump administration’s motion to expedite consideration of the petition for a writ of certiorari. (DHS, et al. v. Casa de Maryland, et al., 6/3/19) AILA Doc. No. 18030734
LexisNexis: “The BIA reversed [an IJ in] Salt Lake City in a detained withholding / CAT case (client is in Tacoma, WA in withholding only proceedings) on the grounds that my client had suffered past persecution at the hands of local [Mexican] police on account of his imputed nationality as a U.S. citizen.”
Gothamist: The civil rights lawsuit, which was filed this week in federal District Court by Legal Services NYC, raises serious questions about the DOE’s commitment to serving a significant demographic in the New York City public school system, that of non-native English-speaking parents.
The GAO responded to a letter sent by 82 members of the House, accepting their request to work within the scope of its authority to review several issues regarding the current backlog of immigration cases managed by USCIS. AILA Doc. No. 19060334
AILA issued a practice alert on EOIR’s policy memo, No Dark Courtrooms, effective Wednesday, 5/1/19. This memo formalizes EOIR’s policy of “no dark courtrooms” and directs “OCIJ managers to ensure…that all blocks of available immigration court time are being utilized for scheduling cases.” AILA Doc. No. 19052970
On 5/31/19, the DOS updated its immigrant and nonimmigrant visa application forms to request additional information, including social media identifiers, from most U.S. visa applicants worldwide. AILA Doc. No. 19060671
DHS OIG issued a report after it conducted inspections of four detention facilities and found violations of ICE’s National Detention Standards, including “immediate risks or egregious violations of detention standards in Adelanto, VA, and Essex County, NJ….” AILA Doc. No. 19060601
USCIS Updates Fee Payment System Used in New York Field Offices
USCIS: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has expanded the fee payment system used in field offices across the country, including the New York, Brooklyn, Long Island, and Queens offices. The improvements, implemented in New York in April, will fully replace the older system on Friday, June 7. Note that after that date, applicants will no longer be able to pay by money order or a cashier’s check at the New York, Brooklyn, Long Island, and Queens offices.
· Mexican Tarjetas de Visitante por Razones Humanitarias and Firm Resettlement: A Practice Advisory for Advocates (attached)
· Practice Advisory on the SIJS litigation for applicants between the ages of 18-21 (attached)
Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan testified Tuesday that 90 percent of asylum-seekers tracked under a recently instituted program skipped the hearings in which their cases were to be adjudicated.
Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, McAleenan explained that his department is hampered in its efforts to deter illegal immigration by U.S. laws that allow asylum-seekers to remain on U.S. soil under their own recognizance for months or even years while awaiting a hearing that the vast majority of them simply skip.
“Out of those 7,000 cases, 90 received final orders of removal in absentia, 90 percent,” McAleenan told Senator Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), referring to the results of a recent DHS pilot program that tracks family units applying for asylum.
“90 percent did not show up?” Graham asked.
“Correct. That is a recent sample from families crossing the border,” McAleenan replied.
Here’s the truth as compiled by the nonpartisan TRAC on the basis of a case-by-case examination of actual court records:
Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The latest case-by-case records from the Immigration Courts indicate that as of the end of May 2019 one or more removal hearings had already been held for nearly 47,000 newly arriving families seeking refuge in this country. Of these, almost six out of every seven families released from custody had shown up for their initial court hearing. For those who are represented, more than 99 percent had appeared at every hearing. Thus, court records directly contradict the widely quoted claim that “90 Percent of Recent Asylum Seekers Skipped Their Hearings.”
These findings were based upon a detailed analysis of court hearing records conducted by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University. With rare exception virtually every family attended their court hearings when they had representation. Appearance rates at the initial hearing were 99.9 percent. One reason for these higher rates for represented families is that it is an attorney’s responsibility to keep on top of when and where their client’s hearing is scheduled, and communicate these details to them. Thus, even if the court’s notification system fails, the family still finds out where and when to appear for their hearing.
Under our current system, there is no legal requirement that immigrants actually receive notice, let alone timely notice, of their hearing. Given many problems in court records on attendance that TRAC found, and in the system for notifying families of the place and time of their hearings, these appearance rates were remarkably high. TRAC’s examination of court records also showed that there were nearly ten thousand “phantom” family cases on the court’s books. These were cases entered into the Immigration Court’s database system but with little information apart from a case sequence number. The date of the notice’s filing, charges alleged, and particulars on the family were all blank.
Most courts showed patterns very similar to national appearance rates — with represented families’ appearance rates close to 100 percent, and unrepresented families somewhat lower. Full details by nationality and court are available at:
In addition, a number of TRAC’s free query tools – which track the court’s overall backlog, new DHS filings, court dispositions and much more – have now been updated through May 2019. For an index to the full list of TRAC’s immigration tools and their latest update go to:
TRAC is self-supporting and depends on foundation grants, individual contributions and subscription fees for the funding needed to obtain, analyze and publish the data we collect on the activities of the U.S. federal government. To help support TRAC’s ongoing efforts, go to:
David Burnham and Susan B. Long, co-directors
Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse
Suite 360, Newhouse II
Syracuse, NY 13244-2100
315-443-3563 firstname.lastname@example.org https://trac.syr.edu
The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse is a nonpartisan joint research center of the Whitman School of Management (https://whitman.syr.edu) and the Newhouse School of Public Communications (https://newhouse.syr.edu) at Syracuse University. If you know someone who would like to sign up to receive occasional email announcements and press releases, they may go to https://trac.syr.edu and click on the E-mail Alerts link at the bottom of the page. If you do not wish to receive future email announcements and wish to be removed from our list, please send an email to email@example.com with REMOVE as the subject.
Obviously, if McAleenan and the Administration were serious about court appearances, rather than spreading lies and creating chaos, they would work with the pro bono bar and NGOs to establish a universal representation program for asylum seekers. That would achieve nearly 100% compliance with hearing notices while promoting the rule of law and Constitutional Due Process. Not to mention that they should be investing in “quality control” in the issuance of the hearing notices, which all too often are erroneously addressed or improperly served.
Lawyers and improved notice as well as more professional adjudications that actually comply with the generous legal standards for asylum established by Congress and the Supreme Court would be much smarter and better investments than detention, more enforcement officers, bogus in absentia hearings (most based on defective notices), attempting to force asylum seekers to apply or wait in dangerous third countries without functioning asylum systems, and smearing lawful asylum applicants in support of totally unwarranted changes in the law.
Additionally, with lawyers and fair, impartial, and properly trained independent judges, many more of these asylum cases could be granted in short order, thus helping eliminate largely self-created Immigration Court backlogs and unnecessary appeals that burden the system as a result of the Administration’s constant malfeasance (a/k/a “malicious incompetence” resulting in “Aimless Docket Reshuffling”).
In the meantime, McAleenan’s lies, distortions, and misrepresentations under oath should certainly be grounds for a Congressional investigation into why he retains his current position and why DHS is using taxpayer money to falsify data to support a bogus attack on lawful asylum seekers.
Also interesting, but not surprising, that EOIR has 10,000 “phantom family cases” in its system.
President Trump said in a tweet Monday night that U.S. immigration agents are planning to make mass arrests starting “next week,” an apparent reference to a plan in preparation for months that aims to round up thousands of migrant parents and children in a blitz operation across major U.S. cities.
“Next week ICE will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States,” Trump wrote, referring to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. “They will be removed as fast as they come in.”
Large-scale ICE enforcement operations are typically kept secret to avoid tipping off targets. In 2018, Trump and other senior officials threatened the mayor of Oakland, Calif., with criminal prosecution for alerting city residents that immigration raids were in the works.
Trump and his senior immigration adviser, Stephen Miller, have been prodding Homeland Security officials to arrest and remove thousands of family members whose deportation orders were expedited by the Justice Department this year as part of a plan known as the “rocket docket.”
In April, acting ICE director Ronald Vitiello and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen were ousted after they hesitated to go forward with the plan, expressing concerns about its preparation, effectiveness and the risk of public outrage from images of migrant children being taken into custody or separated from their families.
Vitiello was replaced at ICE by former FBI and Border Patrol official Mark Morgan, who had impressed the president with statements on cable television in favor of harsh immigration enforcement measures.In his first two weeks on the job at ICE, Morgan has said publicly that he plans to beef up interior enforcement and go after families with deportation orders, insisting that the rulings must be carried out to uphold the integrity of the country’s legal system.
“Our next challenge is going to be interior enforcement,” Morgan told reporters June 4 in Washington. “We will be going after individuals who have gone through due process and who have received final orders of deportation.
“That will include families,” he said, adding that ICE agents will treat the parents and children they arrest “with compassion and humanity.”
U.S. officials with knowledge of the preparations have said in recent days that the operation was not imminent, and ICE officials said late Monday night that they were not aware that the president planned to divulge their enforcement plans on Twitter.
Executing a large-scale operation of the type under discussion requires hundreds — and perhaps thousands — of U.S. agents and supporting law enforcement personnel, as well as weeks of intelligence gathering and planning to verify addresses and locations of individuals targeted for arrest.
The president’s claim that ICE would be deporting “millions” also was at odds with the reality of the agency’s staffing and budgetary challenges. ICE arrests in the U.S. interior have been declining in recent months because so many agents are busy managing the record surge of migrant families across the southern border with Mexico.
The family arrest plan has been considered even more sensitive than a typical operation because children are involved, and Homeland Security officials retain significant concerns that families will be inadvertently separated by the operation, especially because parents in some households have deportation orders but their children — some of whom are U.S. citizens — might not. Should adults be arrested without their children because they are at school, day care, summer camp or a friend’s house, it is possible parents could be deported while their children are left behind.
Supporters of the plan, including Miller, Morgan and ICE Deputy Director Matthew Albence, have argued forcefully that a dramatic and highly publicized operation of this type will send a message to families that are in defiance of deportation orders and could act as a deterrent.