Immigration and Border Issues to Watch
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My Word (and welcome to it): The Dreamers Are Caught in a Political Nightmare (Oct. 8, 2017)
Updated: February 17, 2018, 2018
- The White House Immigration Framework Hurts Women - As part of the debate over how to provide protection to Dreamers the Trump administration has proposed a draconian “framework” on immigration that would radically reshape future immigration. This framework has now been turned into legislation by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), in the Secure and Succeed Act. New analysis finds that the Trump-Grassley legislation will significantly reduce opportunities for women to immigrate to the United States and will disproportionately affect immigrant women in their prime working age.
- 4th Circuit Court of Appeals Says Trump Travel Ban Unlawfully Discriminates Against Muslims - President Donald Trump’s travel ban targeting people from six Muslim-majority countries violates the U.S. Constitution by discriminating on the basis of religion, a federal appeals court ruled on Thursday in another legal setback for the policy. The 4th Circuit ruling went further than the earlier decision by the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which found the ban violated federal immigration law but did not address the question of whether it also violated the Constitution. The Supreme Court already has said it will consider both issues in deciding the legality of the ban in the coming months. The justices are due in April to hear arguments over the ban and issue a ruling by the end of June.
- Brooklyn judge puts hold on President Trump’s DACA rollback plan - A federal judge temporarily stops White House action, ruling it treaded “on erroneous legal ground” in seeking to end the program. A federal court judge in Brooklyn put a stop, at least for now, to President Donald Trump’s plan to wind down a program that shielded nearly 800,000 young immigrants known as Dreamers from deportation.
- Trump takes ‘shackles’ off ICE, which is slapping them on immigrants who thought they were safe - But as ICE officers get wider latitude to determine whom they detain, the biggest jump in arrests has been of immigrants with no criminal convictions. The agency made 37,734 “noncriminal” arrests in the government’s 2017 fiscal year, more than twice the number in the previous year. The category includes suspects facing possible charges as well as those without criminal records. Critics say ICE is increasingly grabbing at the lowest-hanging fruit of deportation-eligible immigrants to meet the president’s unrealistic goals, replacing a targeted system with a scattershot approach aimed at boosting the agency’s enforcement statistics. ICE has not carried out mass roundups or major workplace raids under Trump, but nearly every week brings a contentious new arrest.
- Draft Homeland Security Report Calls for Long-Term Surveillance of Muslim Immigrants - A Department of Homeland Security draft report from late January called on authorities to continuously vet Sunni Muslim immigrants deemed to have “at-risk” demographic profiles. The draft report, a copy of which was obtained by Foreign Policy, looks at 25 terrorist attacks in the United States between October 2001 and December 2017, concluding there would be “great value for the United States Government in dedicating resources to continuously evaluate persons of interest” and suggesting that immigrants to the United States be tracked on a “long-term basis.” If the report’s recommendations were implemented, it would represent a vast expansion of the Trump administration’s policies aimed at many Muslim immigrants, extending vetting from those trying to enter the United States to those already legally in the country, including permanent residents.
- Trump immigration plan could keep whites in U.S. majority for up to five more years - The plan, released by the White House last month, would scale back a program that allows people residing in the United States to sponsor family members living abroad for green cards, and would eliminate the “diversity visa program” that benefits immigrants in countries with historically low levels of migration to the United States. Together, the changes would disproportionately affect immigrants from Latin America and Africa. The Census Bureau projects that minority groups will outnumber non-Hispanic whites in the United States in 2044.
- California Crops Rot as Immigration Crackdown Creates Farmworker Shortage - Farmers say they’re having trouble hiring enough people to work during harvest season, causing some crops to rot before they can be picked. Already, the situation has triggered losses of more than $13 million in two California counties alone, according to NBC News. The ongoing battle about U.S. immigration policies is blamed for the shortage. The vast majority of California’s farm workers are foreign born, with many coming from Mexico. However, the PEW Research Center reports more Mexicans are leaving the U.S. than coming here.
- Hispanics forgo health services to avoid officials’ attention, advocates say - Hispanic immigrants are not only declining to sign up for health insurance under programs that began or expanded under Barack Obama’s presidency — they’re also not seeking treatment when they’re sick, Daniel Bouton, a director at the Community Council, a nonprofit organization in Dallas that specializes in health-care enrollment for low-income families, and others say. “One social worker said she had a client who was forgoing chemotherapy because she had a child that was not here legally,” said Oscar Gomez, chief executive of Health Outreach Partner, a national training and advocacy organization.
- Justice will ask Supreme Court to intervene, allow Trump administration to end DACA - The Justice Department will also petition the Supreme Court later this week to intervene in the case, an unusual action that would allow the government to bypass the 9th Circuit altogether in its bid to phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program starting in March. Last week, U.S. District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco issued a temporary injunction halting plans to end the program while a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s decision is pending.
- U.S. customs agents are searching more cellphones — including those belonging to Americans - American citizens who refuse to allow their devices to be inspected cannot be denied entry into the United States, but their devices could be retained for up to five days, the official said. In cases where noncitizens refuse the search, they could be denied entry and sent home. Last year U.S. civil rights groups filed suit against the federal government in an attempt to curb device searches.
- Trump Justice Department Pushes for Citizenship Question on Census, Alarming Experts - The Justice Department is pushing for a question on citizenship to be added to the 2020 census, a move that observers say could depress participation by immigrants who fear that the government could use the information against them. That, in turn, could have potentially large ripple effects for everything the once-a-decade census determines — from how congressional seats are distributed around the country to where hundreds of billions of federal dollars are spent. Observers said they feared adding a citizenship question would not only lower response rates, but also make the census more expensive and throw a wrench into the system with just two years to go before the 2020 count. Questions are usually carefully field-tested, a process that can take years.
- Is the US Exporting Its Travel Ban With Thousands of TSA and DHS Agents in 70 Countries? - A New York Times investigation has revealed how the Department of Homeland Security is increasingly going global, with thousands of agents from the Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration stationed in more than 70 countries around the world. Hundreds more DHS workers are deployed at sea on Coast Guard ships or in the skies on surveillance planes. Stationing ICE overseas is reportedly about four times as expensive as a domestic post. Now some countries are accusing DHS of attempting to export the United States’ restrictive immigration laws, with one German politician saying DHS’s interrogations and detentions at foreign airports constitute an extrajudicial travel ban. We speak with Ron Nixon, The New York Times’s homeland security correspondent who broke the story, “Homeland Security Goes Abroad. Not Everyone Is Grateful.”
- Sanctuary Churches Fight Trump's Deportation Surge - At least 32 congregations have opened their doors to potential deportees so far this year, according to World Church Services, an organisation that tracks the protest actions. Nina Pruneda, a public affairs officer at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), explained that the agency's policy normally forbids it from carrying out raids in "sensitive locations", such as educational institutions, places of worship and medical facilities.
- Appeals Court Rules Against Latest Travel Ban - A three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Seattle affirmed the decision of a federal judge in Hawaii who ruled on Oct. 17 that the order was unlawful on statutory grounds. The ruling on Friday was a procedural but important step. This month, the Supreme Court allowed the ban — the third version issued by the Trump administration — to take effect for now, and encouraged the appeals courts to rule on the case, a sign that it intended to take up the matter. The Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit is considering a similar ruling out of Maryland.
- To curb illegal border crossings, Trump administration weighs new measures targeting families - These measures, described on the condition of anonymity because they have not been publicly disclosed, would also crack down on migrants living in the United States illegally who send for their children. That aspect of the effort would use data collected by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to target parents for deportation after they attempt to regain custody of their children from government shelters.
- Give ICE cold shoulder in courts, dozens of groups urge top judge - A coalition of nearly 80 legal groups, labor leaders and politicians will send a letter today to the state’s chief judge, Janet DiFiore, asking her to ban ICE from courthouses. Nearly 100 defense attorneys staged an impromptu protest late last month, after ICE agents arrested a man when he appeared in Brooklyn Criminal Court for a domestic violence charge.
- Justices, Divided 5-4, Let Trump Shield DACA Documents - The vote was 5 to 4. Justice Stephen G. Breyer, writing for the court’s four-member liberal wing, issued a 10-page dissent. The dispute over the documents arose in five consolidated lawsuits in California that accused administration officials of acting unlawfully when they abruptly rescinded the program, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. The plaintiffs include four states — California, Maine, Maryland and Minnesota — and Janet Napolitano, the president of the University of California. As secretary of homeland security in the Obama administration, Ms. Napolitano signed the document that established the program in 2012.
- City DREAM Act supporters join rally in Washington - Members of the group "Make the Road New York," along with thousands of immigrants, made their way to Washington for a protest. This comes as hundreds of thousands of young people across the United States are in danger of losing their temporary protected status in the U.S. They are covered under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which President Donald Trump has said he wants to end. Congress has until March to pass a fix to the program.
- Arrests For Illegal Border Crossings Hit 46-Year Low - New data released by DHS show that Border Patrol arrests are actually at a 46-year low. Border officers apprehended 310,531 people for being in the country illegally in fiscal 2017, a 25 percent decrease from the year before. Meanwhile, arrests by agents with ICE in the interior of the country spiked from the year before to 143,470 immigrants — mostly Central Americans. <
- Judge permanently blocks Trump sanctuary cities order - A federal judge permanently blocked Trump’s executive order to cut funding from cities that limit cooperation with U.S. immigration authorities. U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick rejected the administration's argument that the executive order applies only to a relatively small pot of money and said Trump cannot set new conditions on spending approved by Congress.
- Trump ends temporary protection for Haitians, forcing out nearly 60,000 who came to U.S. after earthquake - The Trump administration is ending a temporary residency permit program that has allowed almost 60,000 citizens from Haiti to live and work in the United States since a 2010 powerful earthquake shook the Caribbean nation. The United Nations last month ended a peacekeeping mission in Haiti that, at its peak, included more than 10,000 troops. Its new mission is comprised of about 1,300 international civilian police officers and 350 civilians who will help the country try to reform a deeply troubled justice system.
- Immigration arrests at New York courthouses up 900 percent, advocates say - “The exponential increase in ICE courthouse arrests reflects a dangerous new era in enforcement and immigrant rights violations." Last year, the advocacy group Immigrant Defense Project documented 11 arrests or attempted arrests in New York. That number went up to 110 this year, mostly in New York City, the publication reported. About 20 percent of individuals detained by ICE did not have prior criminal convictions; 16 percent were there for desk appearance tickets or offenses that didn’t warrant an arrest. Some of the immigrants were arrested in family court and even at the Queens Human Trafficking Court.
- Civil Rights Group Warns States: Don't Bar Immigrant Students From Schools - A Washington-based civil rights group has issued a stern reminder to attorneys general in all 50 states and the District of Columbia that all students, regardless of their immigration status, can enroll in K-12 public schools. A school district cannot: refuse to enroll a student enrollment because he or she does not have a birth certificate; bar a student because of a foreign place of birth and should accept foreign birth certificates when verifying age; or require a driver's license or state-issued identification from a parent.
- 'New York is not a safe haven,' warns new Buffalo head of ICE - "Everyone is fair game," Feeley said during a recent interview. "I think people want us to apologize for what we do, and that's not going to happen." Thomas Feeley, a 21-year veteran of ICE, is on the front lines of Trump's immigration clampdown, a role that also puts him at the center of one of the country's most polarizing political debates.
- U. S. judge bars Pentagon from blocking citizenship applications by immigrant recruits - A federal judge has ordered the Defense Department not to block fast-tracked citizenship applications that it promised to about 2,000 foreign-born U.S. Army Reserve soldiers under their enlistment contracts. U.S. District Judge Ellen S. Huvelle of Washington issued a rare preliminary injunction saying that while the lawsuit can move ahead, the government cannot in the meantime withhold a form that three named Army plaintiffs and other military members in similar situations need to start the vetting for citizenship.
- Trump allows refugee admissions to resume with new, stricter screening rules - President Donald Trump on Tuesday allowed the resumption of refugee admissions into the U.S. under new, stricter screening rules but ordered nationals from 11 countries believed to pose higher risk to U.S. national security to face even tougher scrutiny.
- College Leaders Urge ‘Legislative Fix’ for Dreamers - Nearly 800 college and university presidents signed a letter to leaders of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives calling on them to “pass a long-term legislative fix as soon as possible to protect Dreamers,” undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children. “Children brought to the United States at a young age did not have a choice in the matter and are today Americans in every way but immigration status,” the letter from the college presidents states. “It remains in America’s best interest to enable them to use their knowledge, skills and energy to continue to make the strongest possible contribution to our country.”
- ICE Chief: 'We're Going to Quadruple Workplace Crackdowns' - Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will extend its war on undocumented immigrants to their employers, the agency’s acting chief said.
- Federal judge blocks Trump’s third travel ban - A federal judge on Tuesday largely blocked the Trump administration from implementing the latest version of the president’s controversial travel ban, setting up yet another legal showdown on the extent of the executive branch’s powers when it comes to setting immigration policy. The decision from Judge Derrick K. Watson in Hawaii is sure to be appealed, but for now, it means that the administration cannot restrict the entry of travelers from six of the eight countries that officials said were either unable or unwilling to provide information that the United States wanted to vet their citizens.
- Judge: DACA legal advice must be made public - A federal judge in California on Tuesday ordered the Trump administration to turn over emails, letters, memos and other materials related to its decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
- Trump plans massive increase in federal immigration jails - The Trump administration is planning an increase in federal immigration jails across the country for the thousands of additional undocumented immigrants its agents are arresting. In recent weeks, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency has put out requests to identify privately-run jail sites in Chicago, Detroit, St. Paul, Salt Lake City and southern Texas, according to notices published on a federal contracting website. It did not publicly announce its plans to house 4,000 more detainees at the facilities.
- The White House Has a Disturbing Plan to Make Immigration Judges Speed Up Deportations - An overlooked statement in President Trump’s recently released list of DACA demands proposed that the Justice Department establish “numeric performance standards” on federal immigration judges to force them to speed up the pace of deportations. There are currently 600,000 backlogged cases, and imposing quotas would allow the administration to inhumanely shuffle asylum seekers and undocumented immigrants through like a factory.
- Justice Department Gives ‘Sanctuary Cities’ Final Warning on Immigrants - The Department of Justice (DOJ) sternly warned a group of major cities Thursday that they remain in violation of federal law by adopting so-called “sanctuary city” policies that shield undocumented immigrants from being reported to the feds. Cities on the attorney general’s warning list include New York, Philadelphia and New Orleans, as well as Chicago and surrounding Cook County, in Illinois. Big-city mayors, including New York’s Bill de Blasio and Chicago’s Rahm Emanuel, have openly defied federal instructions to turn in undocumented immigrants.
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