"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.
Federal immigration agency to furlough employees unless Congress provides funding
6:05 PM EDT May 26, 2020
US Citizenship and Immigration Services, the federal agency responsible for visa and asylum processing, is expected to furlough part of its workforce this summer if Congress doesn’t provide emergency funding to sustain operations during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Unfortunately, as of now, without congressional intervention, the agency will need to administratively furlough a portion of our employees on approximately July 20,” USCIS Deputy Director for Policy Joseph Edlow wrote in a letter sent to the workforce on Tuesday.
Earlier this month, the agency — which has 19,000 government employees and contractors working at more than 200 offices — requested $1.2 billion from Congress due to its budget shortfall.
Communications from the agency to Congress have grown more urgent as the threat of potential rolling furloughs could number in the thousands, according to one source familiar with the discussions.
The goal would be to attach the needed funds to the next coronavirus relief bill, which lawmakers plan to negotiate next. Still, with both parties far apart on any resolution, there is currently no clear pathway for lawmakers to fulfill the emergency request.
The immigration agency is primarily fee-funded and typically continues most operations during lapses in funding, such as last year’s government shutdown. However, during the pandemic the agency suspended its in-person services, including all interviews and naturalization ceremonies.
“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, USCIS has seen a dramatic decrease in revenue and is seeking a one-time emergency request for funding to ensure we can carry out our mission of administering our nation’s lawful immigration system, safeguarding its integrity, and protecting the American people,” said a USCIS spokesperson.
The agency proposed a 10% surcharge on USCIS application fees to reimburse taxpayers at a later time. USCIS previously estimated that application and petition receipts will drop by approximately 61% through the end of fiscal year 2020, exhausting funding this summer, according to the agency.
Sarah Pierce, a policy analyst for the US Immigration Policy Program at the Migration Policy Institute, told CNN earlier this month that USCIS’ depleted funds are the “inevitable result” of the administration’s policies, which decreased the number of petitions — and thus fees — received by the agency.
“Between the end of fiscal years 2017 and 2019, USCIS received nearly 900,000 fewer petitions. This decrease was largely driven by the administration’s own decisions, such as ending Temporary Protected Status for nationals of several countries or drastically decreasing the number of refugees admitted to the United States,” she said.
. . . .
Read the rest of the article at the link.
Sarah Pierce of MPI is totally right! This self-created “emergency” has to do mostly with the Trump regime’s ill-advised decision to turn what was supposed to be an agency providing impartial, expert, professional services to the public, and specifically the immigrant community, into a “junior branch of DHS enforcement.”
The need for a bailout or huge fee increases appears specious. How about giving USCIS the money that the regime illegally reprogrammed for Trump’s unneeded wall or the money used to maintain unfilled detention spaces and unneeded detention programs?
Right now, USCIS is engaged in improperly “slow walking” naturalization applications to prevent new citizens from being able to vote in the Fall 2020 elections. As a minimum requirement for further bailout, Congress should require that the “Naturalization Program” be removed from USCIS and returned to the supervision of the Article III Federal Courts.
I actually was once a “big fan” of “administrative naturalization,” believing that it could bedone most efficiently and with the best public service by adjudicators serving within the Examinations Branch of the “Legacy INS” which eventually “morphed” into USCIS. I supported the concept and helped lay the groundwork for it during my time at the “Legacy INS.”
The Trump kakistocrats have proved me wrong. The function is too important, too politicized, and too tied into the White Nationalist anti-immigrant agenda to remain within the Executive Branch. It also requires competent, professional, apolitical leadership which does not exist within today’s “DHS mass of disastrous politicized incompetence.”
A Syrian girl is among the residents in an apartment building where foreign workers have tested positive for the coronavirus. Long before the pandemic in Lebanon, they lived and worked in conditions that rights groups called exploitative — low wages, long hours, no labor law protections. Now, about 250,000 registered migrant laborers in the country — maids, garbage collectors, and farm and construction workers — are growing more desperate as an economic and financial crisis sets in, coupled with coronavirus restrictions.
A crisis is no excuse for a President and a regime that “checks humanity at the door” and encourages others to do so.
Trump is now threatening to “shut down Twitter” because it fact-checks him. But, what other forum would allow him to spread his lies and vile, hateful rhetoric so widely and rapidly? I could live without Twitter. Others probably could too. But, could Trump?
This November, vote like your life depends on it! Because it does!
Migrant children are still confined and vulnerable. It’s a gratuitous act of cruelty.
By Editorial Board
May 25 at 2:09 PM ET
As the pandemic gathered speed In March, a federal judge called the government’s immigrant detention centers “hotbeds of contagion” and ordered that migrant children be released from them without delay. Some have been. But the Trump administration has dragged its feet in freeing many migrant children detained with their families, offering parents the formal “option” of letting their children go — to be separated from their mothers and fathers.
That Hobson’s choice was presented in mid-May to several hundred asylum-seeking parents at the three migrant family detention centers, in Texas and Pennsylvania, run by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Many Americans may have assumed that the administration, scalded by its last experiment with separating migrant children from their families, would not again broach that subject. But it did.
[[Full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic]]
On May 13 and 14, parents at those facilities, mainly mothers, were herded into sudden encounters with ICE officials, who presented them with forms to sign. The detainees’ lawyers were neither notified nor aware of what was going on. The forms presented parents with the option of allowing government agents to place their children with relatives or other sponsors elsewhere in the United States, while the parents would stay behind in detention. Very few of the parents assented, though plenty were shaken by the experience; some agreed without realizing the repercussions, according to a subsequent court filing.
Judge Dolly M. Gee, of the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, has jurisdiction over detained migrant children under the 1997 Flores settlement, which prohibits the long-term detention of migrant minors. In March, as covid-19 cases were spreading rapidly in migrant detention facilities, she ordered the administration to speed up the release of minors; hundreds were placed with sponsors. However, the Flores agreement grants the judge no jurisdiction over parents detained with their children.
That apparently prompted ICE to undertake its proceedings in the family detention centers, in which agents asked asylum-seeking parents if they were willing to part with their children, some of them babies and toddlers. In fact, ICE has the authority to release families pending their next appearance in immigration court, and has done so routinely in the past. The Trump administration has taken a different tack, raising the bar on asylum as it subjects migrant families to months-long confinements even if children suffer in the process — which they do.
According to advocates and attorneys for the migrant parents, the parents summoned by ICE officials were confused and intimidated. Some thought they risked being deported if they refused to let their children be taken away. In at least one instance, according to a court filing, a mother who signed the form asked an ICE officer if she could change her mind; she was told no.
[[The Opinions section is looking for stories of how the coronavirus has affected people of all walks of life. Write to us.]]
The administration closed the U.S. southern border to asylum seekers this spring, citing the risk of the pandemic. Most detained migrants had entered the country months earlier, and more than 1,000 covid-19 cases have been reported in detention facilities nationwide, including among detainees and staff members. None have been confirmed in the three family detention centers, perhaps because there has been little testing. Still, hundreds of migrant minors detained with their families remain at risk of contracting the virus. At this point, their continuing confinement seems a gratuitous act of cruelty.
A regime of scofflaws, child abusers, and human rights violators. How will we explain that to future generations?
This November, vote like your life depends on it. Because it does!
A 34-year-old Guatemalan man who tested positive for COVID-19 died in Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody at a Georgia hospital on Sunday, according to an internal government report obtained by BuzzFeed News.
Santiago Baten-Oxlaj, 34, had been in ICE custody at Stewart Detention Center, in Lumpkin, since early March and was granted a voluntary departure to Guatemala, ICE later confirmed in a press release.
Baten-Oxlaj was arrested on March 2 at a probation office in Marietta, Georgia “pursuant to his conviction for driving under the influence,” ICE said. On March 26, an immigration judge granted him voluntary departure. “At the time of his death, Baten was awaiting departure from the United States,” ICE added.
On April 17, he was admitted to a local hospital for treatment of decreased oxygen saturation levels, hospital officials tested the man for COVID-19 and the result was positive.
On Sunday, he died at the hospital, according to the report, which listed his preliminary cause of death as COVID-19.
ICE said it “is undertaking a comprehensive agency-wide review of this incident, as it does in all such cases.”
His death comes weeks after a 57-year-old man in ICE custody in San Diego died after testing positive for COVID-19. The San Diego County medical examiner’s office said the man, Carlos Ernesto Escobar Mejia, died of acute respiratory failure due to pneumonia resulting from COVID-19. He was the first immigrant in ICE custody to die of the disease.
As of May 16, 1,201 immigrant detainees have tested positive for the disease in ICE custody out of 2,394 who had been tested.
. . . .
Read the rest of Hamed’s article at the above link.
Unfortunately, this won’t be the last victim. According to the article, over 50% of those detainees tested for COVID-19 were positive.
With the BIA basically taking a “pass/dive” on requiring health and safety considerations to be serious factors in custody decisions, custody cases will continue to be litigated in U.S. District Courts throughout the country. Why have a BIA incapable of functioning as an independent tribunal consistent with due process?
This op-ed argues that the terms we use to discuss immigration rely on a lot of anti-immigrant assumptions.
The United States has a long history of hostility toward immigrants, from barring “undesirables” (a shifting category that has targeted the nonwhite, the disabled, and women) to turning away desperate asylum seekers who went on to gruesome deaths. Even after these cruel laws have been rolled back (and some haven’t), they’ve fundamentally shaped the way we as a nation think of immigration. A lot of the modern policy we consider “common sense” was directly molded by this history. It means that often the terms of the immigration debate rely on a lot of anti-immigrant assumptions. Even the best-intentioned progressives can fall into these traps, which is why examining how we talk about these issues is so important.
THE NOTION THAT THERE ARE “GOOD” AND “BAD” IMMIGRANTS
One common talking point holds that we should welcome the “good” immigrants while getting rid of the “bad” or “criminal” ones. This framing obscures the realities of the U.S. justice system, which disproportionately arrests, convicts, and incarcerates people of color. Black immigrants make up just 7.2% of the noncitizen population, yet they make up over 20% of people facing deportation on criminal grounds. The “good” vs. “bad” framework also obscures how laws are an expression of class power: Financial crimes committed by wealthy individuals and corporations often go unpunished, while everyday people are often punished for their poverty. And even people convicted of crimes shouldn’t lose their humanity, especially in a system that is incentivized to incarcerate.
Anti-immigration advocates often invoke misleading language and statistics suggesting that immigrants commit more crime, while ignoring a vast legal framework set out to criminalize immigrants for minor infractions. Many studies have found that undocumented immigrants actually commit crimes at lower rates than native-born Americans, but our very definition of what constitutes a crime has grown dramatically over the past few decades. A set of 1996 laws expanded deportable offenses by reclassifying more minor crimes as “aggravated felonies” in the context of immigration. As a result, immigrants can be considered felons for acts like drug possession or failing to appear in court.
DISTINGUISHING “REAL” REFUGEES FROM ECONOMIC MIGRANTS
Another dangerous misconception is the differentiation between “real” refugees (people whose search for safety we consider valid) and “economic migrants,” who are perceived as “gaming the system” to obtain a higher standard of living in America. This is a fundamentally false dichotomy: People, and the systems we live in, are far too complex to fit in these binaries. Who gets to be considered a “real” refugee is significantly informed by America’s ideological attitudes; for decades, the system was based more on Cold War politics than any real concern for the safety of asylum seekers. Those fleeing political or religious persecution are seen as legitimate, while those fleeing violent crime or a lack of economic opportunity — causes that also have political roots — are, too often, not. It’s a pattern that continues today: People coming to the U.S. from countries where America has vested geopolitical interests have historically had a harder time gaining asylum than those from countries the U.S. ideologically opposes, even if they have strong claims of persecution.
This hierarchy has stark consequences. As the bar becomes ever higher for who is a “true” refugee, many who flee certain death are turned away. Meanwhile, those who flee “less serious” violence, like poverty and starvation, often have no avenue for help. Their experiences expose the glaring gaps in our asylum policy. Why should certain types of violence be taken more seriously than others? Who is to say that the fear of gang violence is worse than that of not being able to feed your children?
. . . .
Read the rest of the op-ed at the link.
Whether you accept Uhlmann’s conclusions or not, her point that immigrants’ advocates often accept the terms and framework set forth by nativists and restrictionists is basically valid. One false concept that appears to govern much of the debate is that immigration is fundamentally “negative” and therefore 1) must be limited to those who can provide immediate economic benefits to us (leaving aside the range of human interests of the immigrants themselves), and 2) that any increases in “desirable” immigration must be offset by cuts, restrictions, and/or removals of “undesirables.”
In many ways, this explains the sad failure of the Obama Administration to adopt more humane and effective immigration policies. They apparently never could get over the idea that they had to “prove their toughness” by deporting record numbers of folks and inflicting some gratuitous cruelty on migrants, particularly helpless asylum seekers, to “establish their creds” and get the GOP to the table to discuss serious immigration reform. No chance!
With restrictionists, even record levels of removals and historically low levels of border apprehensions are “never enough.” That’s because they are coming from a place of ideological nativism which is neither fact nor reality driven. It’s driven by inherent biases and nativist myths.
Overall, immigration is both a human reality — one that actually predated the establishment of “nation-states” — and a plus for both the immigrants and the receiving countries.
That being said, I personally think that immigration should be robust, legal, humane, and orderly. But, I doubt that “immigration without limits” is politically realistic, particularly in today’s climate.
Generally, global “market forces” affect immigration much more than nativists are willing to admit. When the legal system is too far out of line with the realities of “supply and demand” the excess is simply forced into the “extralegal market.”
That’s why we have approximately 11 million so-called “undocumented immigrants” residing in the U.S. today. Most are law abiding, gainfully employed, and have helped fuel our recent economic success. Many have formed the backbone of the unheralded “essential workforce” that has gotten us through the pandemic to this point. Many pay taxes now and all could be brought into the tax system by wiser government policies.
That’s why the mass removals touted by Trump and his White Nationalists are both impractical and counterproductive, as well as being incredibly cruel, inhumane, and cost ineffective.
There is a theory out there that although Trump’s uber-enforcement policies might be doomed to long-term failure, he is “succeeding” in another, much more damaging, way. By attacking the safety net, government, education, science, the environment, worker safety, and the rule of law while spreading racism, xenophobia, divisiveness, and maximizing income inequality, Trump has finally succeeded in making the U.S. a less desirable place for “immigrants with choices” to live.
As Bill Gelfeld wrote recently in International Policy Digest:
This pandemic has laid bare national weaknesses, and these weaknesses will have not gone unnoticed by potential and future migrants. Where they have a choice, and many skilled and even unskilled migrants do indeed have a choice, they will increasingly opt for those locales that have figured out universal health care, pandemic and crisis response, and unified national action, and these are the nations that now stand to gain from this migratory boon. https://apple.news/AiY6v3tN0SU6ES08RMUe29g
In the “post-pandemic world economy,” as our birthrate continues to go down and we need immigrants to fuel continued economic growth, the U.S. might well find itself losing the international competition for immigrants, particularly those we most want to attract.
The latter is likely if we give in to the restrictionist demand that we cut legal immigration. That simply forces more immigrants into the “extralegal market.” “Immigrants with choices” are more likely to choose destinations where they can live legally, integrate into society, and fully utilize their skills over a destination that forces them to live underground.
“Petitioner Richard Marvin Thompson (“Thompson”) appeals the Board of Immigration Appeals’ (“BIA”) denial of his motion to reopen sua sponte his immigration proceedings, alleging that the BIA committed a clear legal error. Thompson asks this Court to exercise jurisdiction to review whether the BIA clearly erred when it determined that he was not entitled to relief from deportation under section 237(a)(2)(A)(vi) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”), 8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)(2) (A)(vi) (the “Pardon Waiver Clause”), because a pardon issued by the Connecticut Board of Pardons and Paroles is “not effective for purposes of establishing entitlement to” a waiver of deportation. Because we find that this Court has jurisdiction to review this colorable legal question and because, here, the BIA departed from its settled course of adjudication, we vacate the decision of the BIA and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.”
[Hats off to Gregory Romanovsky, William M. Tong, Attorney General of Connecticut, Jane Rosenberg, Assistant Attorney General, Clare Kindall, Solicitor General, amicus curiae for the State of Connecticut, Trina Realmuto, Kristin Macleod-Ball and Emma Winger!]
So, let’s take a little closer look. Thompson immigrated legally to the U.S. in 1997, at age 14. Nearly two decades ago, Thompson was convicted of second degree assault in Connecticut and given a suspended sentence and 3-years probation. In other words, no jail time.
He successfully completed probation, got a GED, and worked as a commercial operator for 10 years. Essentially, Thompson successfully rehabilitated and became a productive member of society.
In 2012, the Obama Administration DHS, in its wisdom, instituted removal proceedings against Thompson based on his 2001 Connecticut assault conviction. After being found removable and losing on appeal, Thompson received a full and complete pardon from the Connecticut State Board of Pardons, the highest pardoning authority in the state. Although established by the legislature, the Board of Pardons’ action was deliberative and based on an assessment of the factors in Thompson’s individual case. It was not an “automatic expungement” pursuant to legislation.
Since the time for filing a motion to reopen had expired, Thompson asked the BIA to reopen his case “sua sponte” — on its own motion — to recognize that the pardon had eradicated the legal basis for removal.
Following its previous rulings, as well as sound policy and common sense, the BIA should promptly have granted Thompson’s motion and terminated proceedings in a two or three sentence order. Instead, the BIA, now operating under the “Trump removal regime in 2018,” denied the motion based on specious reasons that deviated without rational explanation from their prior treatment of substantially identical motions.
The BIA’s action touched off approximately 20 months of furious litigation involving a small army of lawyers on both sides, including the Connecticut Attorney General and the Connecticut Solicitor General, as well as the American Immigration Council, filing briefs in support of Thompson.
Following this 34-page opus by the First Circuit, Thompson’s case is by no means over. It’s been “orbited” back to the “Weird World of EOIR” where Thompson might, or might not, receive justice at some undetermined point in the future. To make matters even worse, Thompson remains detained at the Etowah County Detention Center in Gadsden, Alabama. Alabama is one of the current “hot spots” for COVID-19.
Is it any wonder that a “weaponized,” overtly anti-immigrant “court system” that looks for “reasons to deny” meritorious cases, rather than promoting prompt and efficient due process in deserving cases is running a backlog of approximately 1.4 million “on and off calendar” cases?
The longer the reviewing Circuit Courts keep up the fiction of treating EOIR as a legitimate adjudicative organization rather than the biased, “non-expert,” unconstitutional extension of DHS Enforcement that it has become, the bigger the mess will get and the more injustice that will be done to individuals like Thompson.
Meanwhile, legions of lawyers and judges at all levels, who could and should be devoting their talents to operating a constitutional immigration justice system that provides “due process and fundamental fairness with efficiency and humanity for all concerned” will instead continue to flail as a result of this “designed and operated to fail” system run by a kakistocracy to produce injustice and to squander judicial time and legal resources on a massive scale. When will it ever end?
Family Separation 2.0: “You aren’t going to separate me from my only child.”
On April 7, 2020, Amnesty International issued a report, ‘We are adrift, about to sink’: The looming COVID-19 disaster in US immigration detention facilities, documenting how the Trump administration was failing to adequately protect tens of thousands of immigrants and asylum- seekers whom the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (“DHS”) Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) agency was detaining in over 200 detention centers across the United States.1
Three of these facilities detain families, including infants as young as 1-year-old who are still breast-feeding. Deceptively named “family residential centers” (FRC), these detention facilities are: the Berks County Residential Center (“Berks”) in Leesport, Pennsylvania; the South Texas Family Residential Center (“Dilley”) in Dilley, Texas; and the Karnes County Residential Center (“Karnes”) in Karnes City, Texas.
While the dangerous conditions in immigration detention remain little changed since Amnesty International published its April report, ICE has now introduced a new element of harm: family separation. Once again, this administration is weaponizing its public health response to COVID- 19 to punish and deter people seeking safety.
. . . .
Read the complete report at the above link.
The regime’s “Dred Scottification” — dehumanization of “the other” before the law — continues unabated as those institutions charged with preventing such abuses tank.
This November, vote like your life depends on it! Because it does!
WASHINGTON — The Trump administration has expedited the deportation of child migrants during the coronavirus pandemic, citing public health, but documents obtained by NBC News show that as far back as 2017, now–DHS Acting Secretary Chad Wolf sought to expedite child deportations in order to discourage Central American asylum seekers.
Recent reports from immigration lawyers, DHS officials and congressional staff have indicated a rise in the number of rapid deportations of unaccompanied migrant children. Previously, children who arrived in the U.S. without a parent or legal guardian were given protections under anti-trafficking laws, which included the right to claim asylum and to be placed in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services until they could be placed with a guardian.
The New York Times recently reported that more than 900 children have been deported under a new policy that sends children back to their home countries before they have had a chance to coordinate plans with a guardian at home or claim asylum in the U.S.. Many of those children, according to the Times, were in the U.S. and living in HHS custody or with family members before the pandemic began.
DHS has said the deportations are justified under Title 42, which allows restrictions on immigration to slow the spread of disease.
But a 2017 policy proposal by Wolf shows that the agency has long sought the ability to deport children more quickly, long before the threat of a virus gave it cover to do so.
The documents were first obtained by Sen. Jeff Merkley, D.-Ore., and then shared with NBC News.
As I keep saying, ever since “tanking” on the so-called “Travel Ban Cases,”John Roberts and his GOP buddies on the Supremes have been avoiding their duty to critically examine the clearly invidious motives of the Trump regime. They have encouraged legal and intellectual fraud by inviting the regime to present a plethora of demonstrably bogus pretexts to thinly cloak their unlawful intent.
Undoubtedly, we’re just seeing the “tip of the iceberg” here. Future historians will unearth overwhelming evidence of the racism and other improper drivers of the regime’s cowardly attack on vulnerable children and asylum seekers. They will expose fully the disgraceful role of Roberts and his gang in encouraging and covering up what future generations will almost universally view as grotesque abuses of human rights and the rule of law. Which they are!
This November, we have a chance to change course and start writing an end to this disgraceful chapter of American history. Don’t blow it!
New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker said he is planning to introduce legislation on Wednesday that would expand legal immigrants’ access to health care subsidy programs and allow unauthorized immigrants to buy health plans from federal insurance marketplaces.
The bill, known as the HEAL for Immigrant Women and Families Act, would permit legal immigrants to enroll in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), provided that they meet the programs’ income requirements. Rep. Pramila Jayapal introduced the bill in the House in October 2019, but it would be the first time that the Senate would consider the legislation.
The bill isn’t likely to advance in a Republican-controlled Senate, where Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already rejected relief for unauthorized immigrants. But it’s the latest effort by Democrats to rectify inequalities in access to health care laid bare by the coronavirus pandemic.
Only a fraction of immigrants is eligible for Medicaid and CHIP: naturalized citizens, green card holders who have lived in the US for at least five years, immigrants who come to the US on humanitarian grounds (such as receiving asylum), members of the military and their families, and, in certain states, children and pregnant women with lawful immigration status. But many other categories of immigrants — including temporary visa holders and young immigrants who have been allowed to live and work in the US under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — would become eligible under Booker’s bill.
“Covid-19 has shined a punishing light on the unjust health care inequities that exist for communities of color broadly, and immigrant communities in particular,” Booker told Vox. “While we should always be working to expand access to health care for everyone, the dire current situation highlights the urgency of addressing these gaps in health care coverage. Health care is a right, and it shouldn’t depend on immigration status. We’re never going to be able to slow and stop the spread of the virus be if we continue to deny entire communities access to testing, treatment, or care.”
The bill also contains provisions expanding health care options for unauthorized immigrants, who are often uninsured and have so far been largely left out of Congress’s coronavirus relief efforts. Booker’s bill would allow them to buy health insurance on the Affordable Care Act marketplace, from which they’re currently barred. It would also allow unauthorized immigrants to become eligible for health care subsidies if they have purchased such an insurance plan and meet other criteria, including minimum income requirements.
. . . .
Read the rest of Nicole’s always outstanding and accessible analysis at the above link.
Good luck with getting this through the Senate with Moscow Mitch and the GOP in charge! Not going to happen. And, Booker knows it!
Few groups in America have been as screwed over as migrants, regardless of status, in this pandemic. They perform some of the most difficult and essential jobs that have kept us going through this crisis. But, when it comes to safety, stimulus, health care, unemployment and pretty much anything else they are left out in the cold by the GOP nativists.
Get back to work:no PPE, social distancing, hazard pay, testing, unemployment benefits, home computers, or health care for you! This isn’t the “GOP playing Soup Nazi” – it’s the real deal, the 21st Century version of completely expendable workers and intentional “dehumanization” of the “other.” Already, xenophobic GOP nativists are whining about the very modest economic emergency money that the State of California has provided to their migrant residents, many “essential workers,” regardless of status.
But, Booker’s HEAL bill is a significant “ready for prime-time marker” if we get regime change! Health care and immigration are huge issues in the Hispanic community. Biden needs to get out the Hispanic vote and having legislation like this “ready to roll” on “Day 1” will be key in energizing voters to “work through the obstacles” and vote Trump & the GOP Senators out in the key states to finally get some much needed aid out to the American Hispanic community and others, including folks in rural areas of so-called “Red States,” and disproportionately adversely affected African-American communities in need who are excluded from “Trump’s America” (except, of course, when the chips are down and we need workers for thankless jobs or when Trump needs votes). You can also add in Asian Americans who have been working hard for America but face a barrage of racist-inspired incidents. There’s a “community of interest” there that the Dems’ should be able to attract and build upon with “good government” that furthers the common interests.
This November, vote like your life depends on it. Because it does!
The last time Sandra Rodríguez saw her son Gerson, she bent down to look him in the eye. “Be good,” she said, instructing him to behave when he encountered Border Patrol agents on the other side of the river in the United States, and when he was reunited with his uncle in Houston.
The 10-year-old nodded, giving his mother one last squinty smile. Tears caught in his dimples, she recalled, as he climbed into a raft and pushed out across the Rio Grande toward Texas from Mexico, guided by a stranger who was also trying to reach the United States.
Ms. Rodríguez expected that Gerson would be held by the Border Patrol for a few days and then transferred to a government shelter for migrant children, from which her brother in Houston would eventually be able to claim him. But Gerson seemed to disappear on the other side of the river. For six frantic days, she heard nothing about her son — no word that he had been taken into custody, no contact with the uncle in Houston.
Finally, she received a panicked phone call from a cousin in Honduras who said that Gerson was with her. The little boy was crying and disoriented, his relatives said; he seemed confused about how he had ended up back in the dangerous place he had fled.
Hundreds of migrant children and teenagers have been swiftly deported by American authorities amid the coronavirus pandemic without the opportunity to speak to a social worker or plea for asylum from the violence in their home countries — a reversal of years of established practice for dealing with young foreigners who arrive in the United States.
The deportations represent an extraordinary shift in policy that has been unfolding in recent weeks on the southwestern border, under which safeguards that have for decades been granted to migrant children by both Democratic and Republican administrations appear to have been abandoned.
Historically, young migrants who showed up at the border without adult guardians were provided with shelter, education, medical care and a lengthy administrative process that allowed them to make a case for staying in the United States. Those who were eventually deported were sent home only after arrangements had been made to assure they had a safe place to return to.
That process appears to have been abruptly thrown out under President Trump’s latest border decrees. Some young migrants have been deported within hours of setting foot on American soil. Others have been rousted from their beds in the middle of the night in U.S. government shelters and put on planes out of the country without any notification to their families.
The Trump administration is justifying the new practices under a 1944 law that grants the president broad power to block foreigners from entering the country in order to prevent the “serious threat” of a dangerous disease. But immigration officials in recent weeks have also been abruptly expelling migrant children and teenagers who were already in the United States when the pandemic-related order came down in late March.
Since the decree was put in effect, hundreds of young migrants have been deported, including some who had asylum appeals pending in the court system.
Some of the young people have been flown back to Central America, while others have been pushed back into Mexico, where thousands of migrants are living in filthy tent camps and overrun shelters.
In March and April, the most recent period for which data was available, 915 young migrants were expelled shortly after reaching the American border, and 60 were shipped home from the interior of the country.
During the same period, at least 166 young migrants were allowed into the United States and afforded the safeguards that were once customary. But in another unusual departure, Customs and Border Protection has refused to disclose how the government was determining which legal standards to apply to which children.
“We just can’t put it out there,” said Matthew Dyman, a public affairs specialist with the agency, citing concerns that human smugglers would exploit the information to traffic more people into the country if they knew how the laws were being applied.
On Tuesday, the Trump administration extended the stepped-up border security that allows for young migrants to be expelled at the border, saying the policy would remain in place indefinitely and be reviewed every 30 days.
Chad F. Wolf, the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, said the policy had been “one of the most critical tools the department has used to prevent the further spread of the virus and to protect the American people, D.H.S. front-line officers and those in their care and custody from Covid-19.”
An agency spokesman said its policies for deporting children from within the interior of the country had not changed.
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Read the rest of Caitlin’s article at the above link.
Thanks to my friend, the amazing “Due Process Warrior Queen,” 👸🏼 👑 ⚔️🛡Deb Sanders for bringing Caitlin’s article to my attention.
Kids suffer, the law is ignored, corrupt bureaucrats like Chad Wolf continue to wander around spreading lies. There is no evidence that any of those kids “rocketed” out of the country in violation of laws and human rights had coronavirus.
And if they did, returning them to a poorer nation with even fewer resources to fight the pandemic without taking proper precautions and safeguards would be totally irresponsible, inhumane, and ultimately counterproductive. What goes around, comes around!
This has absolutely nothing to do with “protecting” the U.S. from coronavirus (something that Trump otherwise largely eschews) and everything to do with advancing a racist, xenophobic, White Nationalist political agenda designed to appeal to a relatively narrow slice of Trump voters. So, how does this pass “legal muster?” Clearly, “It doesn’t!”
How do folks like Trump, Miller, Wolf, and their accomplices get away with it? Easy when GOP legislators and life-tenured Federal Judges look the other way rather than forcing the regime to comply with the rule of law and simple human decency.
Congressional letters, particularly to a lawless regime, are useless unless accompanied by veto-proof legislation. Courts that fail to take a unified “Just Say No” approach to Trump’s systemic abuses, all the way up to the Supremes, and which rule without holding the officials and lawyers masterminding these abuses legally accountable are basically feckless!
These are not difficult questions from either a legal or moral standpoint. What the Administration is doing is wrong! Period! Those who say otherwise are wrong! Period!
The Trump regime disguises their vicious attacks on human dignity and the rule of law as bogus “legal issues.” And, the Federal Courts encourage them by going along with the charade. This is no “normal Executive.” It’s a “rogue regime” and must be treated as such!
The failure to end these disgraceful practices and hold those who are abusing their authority accountable says much about the current state of our democratic institutions, justice system, civil servants, and the inadequacy and moral complacency of many of our current GOP legislators and Federal Judges.
This November, vote like your life and your humanity depends on it! Because it does!
Immigration courts in ‘chaos,’ with coronavirus effects to last years
By Tal Kopan
WASHINGTON — Raquel and her sons fled gang threats in El Salvador, survived the weeks-long journey to the U.S., and then endured the Trump administration’s 2018 separations at the southern border.
This month, she was finally going to get her chance to convince an immigration judge in San Francisco that she should be granted permanent asylum in the U.S., ending the agony of having to prepare for her court date by reliving the danger in her native country and her weeks of detention at the border.
Thanks to the coronavirus, she will have to endure the wait for three more years.
“It’s really traumatizing, because I have to keep telling them the same thing,” Raquel said. “I thought I had gotten over everything that had happened to me … but every time I remember, I can’t help crying.”
Raquel’s case is one of hundreds of thousands in the immigration courts that are being delayed by the pandemic. The courts, run by the Justice Department, have been closed for health reasons in the same way that much of U.S. public life has been on hold. But many of those who work in the system say the Trump administration has handled the shutdown in an especially haphazard manner, increasing the stress on judges and attorneys in addition to immigrants and making it harder for the courts to bounce back.
“There isn’t a day that goes by that there isn’t mass chaos behind this veil of business as usual,” said Ashley Tabaddor, president of the National Association of Immigration Judges.
The Justice Department began postponing hearings for immigrants who are not in detention on March 18, and the delays have been extended every few weeks. Hearings are now set to resume June 15. But many courts technically remain open, including the one in San Francisco, with frequently changing statuses announced on social media and a website. It also took weeks for all judges to get laptops that would allow them to work remotely, said Tabaddor, who hears immigration cases in Los Angeles.
The scattershot communications make it difficult to prepare for if and when the hearings are held, immigrants say. And it’s worse for those who have no lawyer who can help navigate the changes. About one-third of immigrants with pending cases have no representation, according to Justice Department statistics, and missing a hearing is grounds for deportation.
The Justice Department says it is being proactive in balancing safety with immigrants’ rights. A spokeswoman said the agency is “deeply concerned” for the health of its staff and the public.
In a recent legal filing, the director of the immigration courts, James McHenry, said a “one size fits all” approach to court closures and procedures wouldn’t work, given varying situations at different locations.
With postponements happening on short notice, most immigrants fighting deportation feel they must prepare for court even if pandemic-caused delays seem likely. But doing so can force them to revisit the terrifying situations they say they came to the U.S. to escape.
None who spoke with The Chronicle said they wanted to risk their health by keeping the courts open. But they and their attorneys said they wished the administration was doing more to take immigrants’ and staffers’ needs into account.
Because the immigration courts already have a backlog of more than 1 million cases, it can take years for an asylum applicant such as Raquel to go before a judge. In the meantime, they build lives here, knowing that can be yanked away if they’re ordered deported.
Raquel and others whose hearings have been postponed won’t go first when the courts reopen — they go to the back of the line. The alternative for the immigration courts would be a logistical nightmare of rescheduling everyone else’s hearings, which are now booked years in advance.
The Trump administration ended the practice of prioritizing cases of criminal immigrants or recent arrivals, and has curtailed judges’ ability to simply close the case of a low-risk migrant less deserving of deportation, which would clear court schedules for more serious cases.
The Justice Department declined to say how many hearings have been postponed because of the pandemic. But a nonprofit statistics clearinghouse estimated that the government shutdown of 2018-19 resulted in the cancellation of 15,000 to 20,000 cases per week.
Raquel’s case is emblematic of the thousands that are now in limbo. The Chronicle has agreed not to use her real name out of her concern for her safety, in accordance with its anonymous sourcing policy.
Raquel says she came to the U.S. in 2018 because a gang in the area of El Salvador where she lived threatened her family after her two sons refused to join.
She was among the immigrant families that were forcibly separated at the border. She spent a month and a half apart from her teenage son as she was shuffled between detention centers and jails. She says she endured numerous indignities, including having to shower in front of guards and being shackled by her wrists and ankles.
“It was the most bitter experience I’ve ever had,” she said in Spanish.
After finally being reunited with her son and released, Raquel rejoined her husband and other son who had come here previously, settling in San Francisco. She was ordered to wear an ankle monitor, which again made her feel like “a prisoner.”
“I had never felt so hurt like I did in this country, which hurt me so much just for crossing a border illegally,” Raquel said. “That was the sin and the crime that we committed, and we paid a high price.”
Raquel spoke with The Chronicle before receiving word that her May hearing was canceled. She and her attorney had felt forced to prepare despite a high likelihood of postponement, just in case the Justice Department forged ahead.
San Francisco attorneys who are working with immigrants during the pandemic say it is an acute challenge. Stay-at-home orders complicate preparing for cases that could have life-and-death consequences for those who fled violence back home.
Difficulties include trying to submit 1,000-page filings from home, needing to discuss traumatic stories of domestic and sexual violence with immigrants who are sharing one-bedroom apartments with 10 other people, and navigating courts’ changing status on Twitter.
“It’s taking an already not-user-friendly system and spinning it into chaos to the extent that even savvy practitioners don’t know how to get information, let alone the applicant,” said Erin Quinn, an attorney in San Francisco with the Immigrant Legal Resource Center.
She added, “The stakes are high, and at the same time, a comment I got yesterday from a practitioner was, ‘I’m tired of trying to figure out what to do with my practice based on tweets.’”
Judges and court staffers are also frustrated. On March 22, an unprecedented partnership was formed among the unions representing Immigration and Customs Enforcement attorneys who serve as prosecutors in the courts, judges and the association for attorneys who represent immigrants. They wrote a letter to the Justice Department demanding it close all the courts, not just postpone hearings for immigrants who are not in detention. The agency later expanded the ability of attorneys to appear by telephone and for some judges to work from home.
Even now, however, the Justice Department is requiring some judges and staff to come in to court to handle cases of immigrants who are being detained — those hearings have not been canceled — or to process filings.
“It is very, very upsetting. Employees do not feel like they are, No. 1, being protected and, No. 2, you don’t feel respected and valued,” said Immigration Judge Dana Leigh Marks, president emerita of the judges’ union.
Marks and Tabaddor say it’s part of a Trump administration pattern of stripping immigration judges of their independence at the expense of fair proceedings— an example of “haste makes waste,” Marks said. The Justice Department has set performance metrics to push judges to complete more cases, and Trump’s attorneys general have issued rulings that made it more difficult for judges to prioritize their caseloads.
The Justice Department, for its part, says it is making the courts more efficient. In November, McHenry testified before Congress that his agency had “made considerable progress in restoring (the courts’) reputation as a fully functioning, efficient and impartial administrative court system fully capable of rendering timely decisions consistent with due process.”
Quinn, the San Francisco attorney, said the Justice Department should work more closely with immigrants’ lawyers like Raquel’s to prioritize cases that are ready to move forward.
“Everything this administration has done to speed up or deal with the backlog are actually actions that limit the meting out of justice in the courts, which even before this crisis have been gumming up the system further,” Quinn said. “We will see the impact of that now as we try to come out of this crisis.”
Meanwhile, for immigrants like Raquel, the wait will continue. Even with the hardship, she says coming to the U.S. was worth the risks.
“It’s about protecting my children,” she said. “I’ve always told my sons, if God let us get here, they have to take advantage of it. … In my country, someone walks down the block and they get assaulted or kidnapped and nobody ever finds them. But not here. Here you feel safe.”
San Francisco Chronicle staff writer Alexei Koseff contributed to this report.
It’s great to have you back, Tal! We’ve missed you!
It’s well worth going to the link to read Tal’s full article! Also, you’ll see some great pictures from the “home chambers” of my good friend and colleague Judge Dana Leigh Marks of the San Francisco Immigration Court, a Past President of the NAIJ.
What also would be great is if the dire situation in the U.S. Immigration Courts had actually improved over the past few months. But, predictably, the “downward spiral” has only accelerated.
Tal’s article brings to life the “human trauma” inflicted not only on those poor souls whose constitutional due process rights have been “sold down the river” by this “maliciously incompetent” regime, but also the unnecessary trauma inflicted on everyone touched by this disgraceful system: private and pro bono counsel, judges, interpreters, clerical staff, government counsel, and their families all get to partake of the unnecessary pain and suffering.
While it undoubtedly would take years to restore due process, fundamental fairness, and some measure of efficiency to this dysfunctional mess, the starting points aren’t “rocket science” – they are deceptively simple. One was eloquently stated by Erin Quinn, an attorney with the Immigrant Legal Resource Center in San Francisco who “said the Justice Department should work more closely with immigrants’ lawyers like Raquel’s to prioritize cases that are ready to move forward.” That’s actually how it used to be done in places like Arlington.
As Judge Marks points out, a host of “haste makes waste” gimmicks and enforcement schemes by this Administration (and to a lesser extent by the Obama Administration) have resulted in massive “Aimless Docket Reshuffling” and total chaos as politicos in at the DOJ and bureaucrats in EOIR HQ “redesign and reshuffle” dockets to achieve political objectives and “send messages” without any meaningful input from the Immigration Judges and attorneys (on both sides) who actually do the work and understand the dynamics of a particular docket.
In particular, under a fair and unbiased application of legal standards there are thousands of well-documented meritorious asylum and cancellation of removal cases that could be handled in “short hearings.”Other individuals could be removed from the docket to pursue U and T nonimmigrant visas or “stateside processing” permanent immigration with USCIS. Still others have documentation establishing that they are productive, law-abiding tax-paying members of their communities, often with U.S.citizen family, who should be removed from the dockets through the type of sensible, mutually beneficial “prosecutorial discretion” (“PD”) programs that were beginning to show meaningful results before being arbitrarily terminated by this Administration.
This is just the “tip of the iceberg.” There are many more improvements in efficiency, without sacrificing due process, and “best practices” that could be made if this were operated as a fair and impartial court system, rather than an appendage of DHS Enforcement committed to Stephen Miller’s nativist agenda.
The other necessary piece is the one promoted by Judge Tabaddor and the NAIJ and endorsed by nearly all “non-restrictionist” experts in the field: establishing an independent Immigration Court outside of the Executive Branch. That’s not likely to happen without “regime change.”
Moreover, it’s clear from his recent actions that Billy Barr, who is currently running the Immigration Courts into the ground, actually aspires to “kneecap” the Article III Judiciary in behalf of his lord and master, Trump. Barr would be delighted if all Federal,Courts, including the Article IIIs, were functionaries of the all powerful “Unitary Executive.” Given the Supremes’ failure to stand up for immigrants’ and asylum seekers’ legal rights as they are systematically dismantled by the regime, Barr is already a ways down that road!
Tal’s article also highlights another glaring deficiency: the lack of a diverse, merit-based Immigration Judiciary committed solely to “due process with efficiency” and fair and impartial adjudications under the law, particularly the asylum laws. Experts like Erin Quinn, folks with a deep scholarly understanding of immigration and asylum laws and experience representing the individuals whose lives are caught up in this system, should be on the Immigration Bench. They are the ones with the knowledge and experience in making “hard but fair” choices and how to achieve “practical efficiency” without sacrificing due process.
Rather than actively recruiting those outstanding candidates from the private, academic, and NGO sectors with asylum experience and knowledge, so that they could interact and share their expertise and practical experiences with other judicial colleagues, the current system draws almost exclusively from the ranks of “insiders” and government prosecutors. They apparently are hired with the expectation that they will churn out orders of removals in support of DHS Enforcement without “rocking the boat.” To some extent this was also true under the Obama Administration, which also hired lopsidedly from among government attorneys.
Indeed, prior immigration experience is not even a job requirement right now. The hiring tends to favor those with high volume litigation skills, primarily gained through prosecution. That doesn’t necessarily translate into fair and scholarly judging, although it might and has in some instances.
Of course, a few do defy expectations and stand up for the legal and due process rights of respondents. But, that’s not the expectation of the politicos and bureaucrats who do the hiring. And the two-year probation period for newly hired Immigration Judges gives Administration politicos and their EOIR subordinates “leverage” on the new judges that they might not have on those who are more established in the system, particularly those who are “retirement eligible.”
Moreover, the BIA has now been “stocked” with judges with reputations for favoring enforcement and ruling against asylum seekers in an unusually high percentage of cases.The design appears to be to insure that even those who “beat the odds” and are granted asylum by an Immigration Judge get “zapped” when the DHS appeals. Even if the BIA dared not to enforce the “restrictionist party line,” the Attorney General can and does intervene in individual cases to change the result to favor DHS and then to make it a “precedent” for future cases.Could there be a clearer violation of due process and judicial ethics? I doubt it. But, the Courts of Appeals largely pretend not to see or understand the reality of what’s happening in the Immigration Courts.
Beyond that, the Immigration Judge job, intentionally in my view, has been made so unattractive for those who believe in due process for individuals and a fair application of asylum laws, that few would want to serve in the current environment. Indeed, a number of fine Immigration Judges have resigned or retired as matters of conscience because they felt unable to square “system expectations” with their oaths of office.
To state the obvious, the current version of Congress has become a feckless bystander to this ongoing human rights, constitutional, ethical, and fiscal disaster. But, the real question is whatever happened to the existing independent Article III Judiciary? They continue to remain largely above the fray and look the other way as the Constitution they are sworn to uphold is further ground into the turf every day and the screams of the abused and dehumanized (“Dred-Scottified”) emanating from this charade of a “court system” get louder and louder.Will they ever get loud enough to reach the refined ears of those ensconced in the “ivory tower” of the Article III Judiciary?
Someday! But, the impetus for the necessary changes to make Due Process, fundamental fairness, and equal justice for all a reality rather than a cruel, intellectually dishonest, and unfulfilled promise is going to have to come from outside the current broken and intentionally unfair system and those complicit in its continuing and worsening abuses of the law and humanity!
WASHINGTON — Several immigrant rights organizations are outraged by a new choice U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is presenting to migrant parents: Separate from your child or stay together in detention indefinitely.
Starting on Thursday, the groups claim, ICE began distributing a form in all three of its family detention centers that would allow parents to apply for their minor children to be released. The form, a copy of which was obtained by NBC News, states that it is in compliance with the Flores court agreement, which prohibits ICE from holding minors for more than 20 days.
The released children are placed with family members, sponsors or placed in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services.
The Trump administration faced intense criticism for a Zero Tolerance policy in 2018 in which undocumented migrant children were separated from parents who had illegally crossed the order. The policy was implemented in May 2018 but reversed after an outcry in June.
The current, “voluntary” concept was previously termed “binary choice,” but has never been fully implemented. Now, lawyers representing clients in ICE family detention say parents may be persuaded to separate from their children if they are worried about exposing them to COVID-19 in detention.
The timing is no coincidence, said Shayln Fluharty, director of the Dilley Pro Bono Project, which provides legal services for families in detention in Dilley, Texas. A federal judge recently told ICE it was not in compliance with the Flores agreement, and the forms, said Fluharty, are a way for ICE to show that these parents have chosen to keep their children in detention.
. . . .
Read the rest of Julia’s article at the link.
Just another “in your face” unlawful move by DHS officials sending a strong message of contempt to the Federal Judges handling various aspects of the regime’s intentional child abuse, family separation, and punishing asylum seeking families by needless imprisonment in the New American Gulag (“NAG”).
Yes, the District Court Judges handling these matters have ordered the Government to take various forms of corrective action. But, even where the judges use forceful language, it’s largely ineffective to change illegal policies. The regime and its officials just play “hide the ball” and develop schemes and “work arounds” to violate the law and court orders in other ways. That they continue to do this over and over – a strategy known as “malicious compliance” – shows their total disrespect for the Federal Courts and that they share Trump and Miller’s belief that they are above the law.
So far, particularly in the immigration and refugee area, the scofflaws have largely prevailed.They have dismembered immigration and asylum laws with neither legislative enactments nor meaningful judicial consequences. They have publicly and arrogantly “thumbed their noses” at court orders they don’t like. Unless and until the Federal Judges back up their orders by holding Chad Wolf and other scofflaw officials in contempt – real contempt – jail time not just meaningless fines – the abuse and the open disregard for the rule of law and for the authority of Federal Judges will continue.
The law, our Constitution, and human rights will continue to be mocked. Even the best of Federal Judges will appear feckless unless and until they start treating immigration officials as the lawless criminals they actually are!
Undoubtedly, some of the children and families intentionally being abused, dehumanized, and punished by the Trump regime as Federal Courts play bystander won’t survive long enough to tell their stories. But, some will. While those officials, legislators, and judges enabling, or in some cases masterminding and encouraging, these abuses appear likely to escape “temporal” legal accountability for their actions, moral and historical accountability are a different matter altogether. Lots of folks who believe they are “operating under the radar screen” are going to look very bad when the light of history shines on the grotesque human rights, moral, and constitutional violations at our borders and in our Gulags and those who carried them out or failed to effectively halt them.
THE WORLD CHANNELS “COURTSIDE” — A Shocked & Dismayed World Now Sees America Under The Trump Clown 🤡🤡 Kakistocracy For What It Is: A Rich, Arrogant, Willfully Ignorant, Dishonest, Dangerous “Failing State” To Be Pitied — Not To Be Trusted, Followed, Or Admired — “But there is one emotion that has never been directed towards the US until now: pity.”
The Trump administration has repeatedly claimed that the US is “leading the world” with its response to the pandemic, but it does not seem to be going in any direction the world wants to follow.
Across Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America, views of the US handling of the coronavirus crisis are uniformly negative and range from horror through derision to sympathy. Donald Trump’s musings from the White House briefing room, particularly his thoughts on injecting disinfectant, have drawn the attention of the planet.
“Over more than two centuries, the United States has stirred a very wide range of feelings in the rest of the world: love and hatred, fear and hope, envy and contempt, awe and anger,” the columnist Fintan O’Toole wrote in the Irish Times. “But there is one emotion that has never been directed towards the US until now: pity.”
The missing six weeks: how Trump failed the biggest test of his life
The US has emerged as a global hotspot for the pandemic, a giant petri dish for the Sars-CoV-2 virus. As the death toll rises, Trump’s claims to global leadership have became more far-fetched. He told Republicans last week that he had had a round of phone calls with Angela Merkel, Shinzo Abe and other unnamed world leaders and insisted “so many of them, almost all of them, I would say all of them” believe the US is leading the way.
None of the leaders he mentioned has said anything to suggest that was true. At each milestone of the crisis, European leaders have been taken aback by Trump’s lack of consultation with them – when he suspended travel to the US from Europe on 12 March without warning Brussels, for example. A week later, politicians in Berlin accused Trump of an “unfriendly act” for offering “large sums of money” to get a German company developing a vaccine to move its research wing to the US.