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IMMIGRATION POLICIES, ANALYSIS, AND RESOURCES

The Immigration Domain tracks and reports on policies that deal with illegal and legal immigration, refugee resettlement and sanctuary cities. This domain tracks policies emanating from the White House, the Justice Department, the Department of Homeland Security, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the US Border Patrol, and state and city government policies that respond to federal policies.

Courts Put the Brakes Trump’s Immigration Policies

Courts Put the Brakes Trump’s Immigration Policies

Policy Updates

Recently, there have been some legal victories by way of upholding the US Constitution in the wake of the Trump Administration’s lawless attempts to limit immigration and install Trump’s long promised Border Wall. The first case, filed in El Paso, covers Trump’s threat to declare a national emergency to re-distribute federal funds to construct his wall (in January 2019) and the second case addresses Trump’s proposed changes to the path to citizenship for Legal Permanent Residents (Green Card Holders).

El Paso County v Trump

Protect Democracy represented the county of El Paso, Texas and the Border Network for Human Rights in a lawsuit against the Trump Administration over the declaration of a national emergency to fund the construction of a border wall along the US Southern Border earlier this year. They sought and were granted an injunction to block the declaration from taking effect. An injunction is a legal remedy in the form of a court order that obligates a party to do or refrain from certain acts. This lawsuit was filed in the US District Court for the Western District of Texas in El Paso. The plaintiffs claimed Trump’s threat to declare a national emergency if Congress did not allocate funding for his border wall usurped the Constitutional Authority that Congress has, and thus is inconsistent with the US Constitution’s separation of powers.

They also claimed that Trump’s demonization of Latino immigrants as sources of crime, drugs and violence has caused harm to immigrant communities and communities of color throughout the US and depicts Trump as an autocrat.

Inglis v South Carolina

In October 2019, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced potential changes to the naturalization process that could present barriers to citizenship for 10,000+ non-wealthy applicants annually. Protect Democracy and several other organizations filed a lawsuit in California on behalf of the communities who would be harmed by the proposed changes.

In November, the plaintiffs asked a federal court to immediately ban USCIS from implementing changes until the pending lawsuit was resolved. They additionally asked the court to find Ken Cucinelli’s installation as the current acting Head of USCIS as unlawful and therefore making the changes invalid. The installation was allegedly unlawful because it violated the Federal Vacancies Reform Act (FVRA) that governs the process for filling vacant executive branch positions usually subject to Senate confirmation. The FVRA would also govern who will succeed Kevin McAleenan, the installed acting Head of DHS. Congress passed the FVRA to ensure the President could not prevent the Senate from utilizing Constitutional checks on  Executive Branch appointees.

In December, a judge from the Northern District of California issued a nationwide preliminary injunction barring USCIS from implementing the proposed changes that would limit access to citizenship and the ruling went into effect immediately, on December 2.

Analysis

These court victories are a positive step in upholding the US Constitution and legal system in the face of Presidency with autocratic tendencies. In both Inglis v South Carolina and El Paso County v Trump, the emphasis on maintaining checks on the Executive Branch send an important message about American Democracy and enforces the notion that Americans will use the full extent of the law to ensure their rights are not infringed upon or abused.

President Trump has made several statements, carried out actions and used alarming rhetoric – in regard to immigration and other sectors of US politics – that contain rather autocratic auras. There are several measures in place, since the formation of the US as an independent, Democratic nation, to ensure the stability of a fair Democracy where no one individual may hold absolute power. The constitutions checks and balances system is designed power to limit any one branch of government from usurping the power of the other two brancges and the success of these court cases upholds this principle..

Engagement Resources

  • The National Immigration Law Center: an organization that exclusively dedicates itself to defending and furthering the rights of low income immigrants and strives to educate decision makers on the impacts and effects of their policies on this overlooked part of the population.
  • Protect Democracy: a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to fighting domestic and international attacks to free, fair and fully formed self-government
  • Border Network for Human Rights: network to engage education, organization and participation of border communities to defend human rights and work towards a society where everyone is equal in rights and dignity.

Photo by unsplash-logoPaweł Czerwiński

Federal Courts Check Autocratic Uses of Executive Power

Federal Courts Check Autocratic Uses of Executive Power

Policy
Recently, there have been some victories by way of upholding the US Constitution in the wake of the Trump Administration’s lawless attempts to limit immigration and install Trump’s long promised Border Wall. The first case, filed in El Paso covers Trump’s threat to declare a national emergency to re-distribute funds to construct his wall (in January 2019) and the second case addresses Trump’s proposed changes to the path to citizenship for Legal Permanent Residents (Green Card Holders).

El Paso County v Trump

Protect Democracy represented the county of El Paso, Texas and the Border Network for Human Rights in a lawsuit against the Trump Administration over the declaration of a national emergency to fund the construction of a border wall along the US Southern Border earlier this year. They sought and were granted an injunction to block the declaration from taking effect. An injunction is a legal remedy in the form of a court order that obligates a party to do or refrain from doing  certain acts. This lawsuit was filed in the US District Court for the Western District of Texas in El Paso. The plaintiffs claimed Trump’s threat to declare a national emergency if Congress did not allocate funding for his border wall usurped the Constitutional Authority that Congress has and thus is inconsistent with the US Constitution’s separation of powers.

They also claimed that Trump’s demonization of Latino immigrants as sources of crime, drugs and violence has caused harm to immigrant communities and communities of color throughout the US and depicts Trump as an autocrat.

Inglis v South Carolina

In October 2019, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced potential changes to the naturalization process that could present barriers to citizenship for 10,000+ non-wealthy applicants annually. Protect Democracy and several other organizations filed a lawsuit in California on behalf of the communities who would be harmed by the proposed changes.

In November, the plaintiffs asked a federal court to immediately ban USCIS from implementing changes until the pending lawsuit was resolved. They additionally asked the court to find Ken Cucinelli’s installation as the current acting Head of USCIS  unlawful, therefore making the changes invalid. Cucinelli’s  installation was allegedly unlawful because it violated the Federal Vacancies Reform Act (FVRA) that governs the process for filling vacant executive branch positions usually subject to Senate confirmation. Under the FVRA any incoming acting secretary would need to be the natural next in line, like a deputy, be previously Senate-confirmed for another job, or have been working at the department 90 days of the 365 days prior to the last confirmed secretary’s departure. Cucinelli does not meet any of these requirements.

In early December, a judge from the Northern District of California issued a nationwide preliminary injunction barring USCIS from implementing the proposed changes.

Analysis

These court victories are a positive step in upholding the US Constitution and legal system in the face of  a presidency with autocratic tendencies. In both Inglis v South Carolina and El Paso County v Trump, the emphasis on maintaining checks on the Executive Branch sends an important message about American democracy and enforces the notion that Americans will use the full extent of the law to ensure their rights are not infringed upon or abused.

President Trump has made several statements, carried out actions and used alarming rhetoric – in regard to immigration and other sectors of US politics – that contain  autocratic auras. Fortunately there are still  measures in place, such as the Federal court system, that can check excess use of power in the executive branch.

Engagement Resources

  • The National Immigration Law Center: an organization that exclusively dedicates itself to defending and furthering the rights of low income immigrants and strives to educate decision makers on the impacts and effects of their policies on this overlooked part of the population.
  • Protect Democracy: a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to fighting domestic and international attacks to free, fair and fully formed self-government
  • Border Network for Human Rights: network to engage education, organization and participation of border communities to defend human rights and work towards a society where everyone is equal in rights and dignity.

Photo by unsplash-logoAditya Joshi

Leading 2020 Democratic Candidates Immigration Positions

Leading 2020 Democratic Candidates Immigration Positions

Policy Summary

Due to the Trump Administration’s repeated crackdowns on immigration matters, immigration has been a very prominent and important topic in regards to the 2020 46th presidential election. Several of the leading Democratic candidates have rather similar views, but vary to some degree on the minute details. A brief summary of the immigration positions of Joe Biden, Mike Bloomberg, Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren are outlined below.

Joe Biden

Biden believes immigrants should have health coverage and that the US should build more clinics around the country so illegal immigrants can be cared for should a medical emergency arise. He also supports DACA and believes that  Dreamers should have clear paths to citizenship.

Mike Bloomberg

Bloomberg takes an economic approach to immigration and preaches the value that  immigration provides  for the US economy. He claims the American Dream cannot survive if the US tells dreamers to go elsewhere and bring their talents with them; that failing to fix the broken immigration system is to inflict self-harm on the US economy. Bloomberg believes that  immigrants who are graduates with advanced degrees in essential fields should receive or be put on a path to receive green cards (rather than providing “first-rate” STEM educations to foreign students only to send them back to their nation with now competitive knowledge and expertise). He also believes that immigrant entrepreneurs who have interested American investors should receive temporary visas that can become permanent should their ideas take off. Bloomberg puts a heavy emphasis on the critical role immigrants have played in the revitalization of economies throughout America in both small towns and big cities.

Pete Buttigieg

Buttigieg supports a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, DACA, and is against sending troops to the US Southern Border.

Bernie Sanders

Sanders believes there is an urgent need for immigration reform, visa reform, restructuring of  ICE, and expansion of DACA. He agrees that securing the border is important, but that it can be done without building a wall. Sanders seeks to protect guest and undocumented workers from labor exploitations and to hire more judges to process asylum claims. Sanders stresses the importance of immigrants and undocumented workers because they are “doing the extremely difficult work of harvesting our crops, building our homes, cooking our meals, and caring for our children. They are part of the fabric of America”

Elizabeth Warren

Warren arguably has the most robust immigration position, thus far. She seeks to “create a rule-based system that is fair, humane, and reflects our values.”  Warren’s main goals are, in no particular order:

  • Increase and restore US foreign aid to Central America to target crime, disrupt trafficking, address poverty, reduce sexual violence and enhance programs for at-risk youth and rally the international community to match this
  • Raise the refugee-cap to 125,000 in her first year and 175,000 in the following years. She also proposes establishing an Office of New Americans designed to support new immigrants in learning English, and civics and provide employment focused training courses.
  • Reverse the Muslim Travel Ban and Remain in Mexico policy; eliminate expedited removal and provide due process for all immigrants coming to the US
  • End unnecessary detention, eliminate private detention facilities, decriminalize migrations and refocus enforcement on serious criminal threats
  • Separate law enforcement and immigration enforcement, remake CBP and ICE (no warrantless arrests, increase Homeland Security efforts like screening cargo, identifying counterfeit goods, preventing smuggling and trafficking), create a Justice Department Task Force to investigate accusations of serious violations like medical neglect, and physical and sexual assaults of detained immigrants

Engagement Resources

  • The ACLU: a non-profit with a longstanding commitment to preserving and protecting the individual rights and liberties the Constitution and US laws guarantee all its citizens. You can also donate monthly to counter Trump’s attacks on people’s rights. Recently, the ACLU has filed a lawsuit challenging the separation of families at the border.
  • The National Immigration Law Center: an organization that exclusively dedicates itself to defending and furthering the rights of low income immigrants and strives to educate decision makers on the impacts and effects of their policies on this overlooked part of the population.
  • us: an organization that aims to promote the tech community to support policies that keep the American Dream alive. They specifically and currently focus on immigration reform.

Image by unsplash-logomicah boswell

Trump to Require Health Insurance as Proof to Receive Visas

Trump to Require Health Insurance as Proof to Receive Visas

Policy Summary
President Trump has recently issued a proclamation that would require immigrants to provide proof of insurance or adequate financial means should a health emergency occur, in order to be eligible to receive a visa that would lead to a resident green card. Insurance can be bought individually or provided by an employer, short term and/or catastrophic. However, Medicaid does not count, nor does any Affordable Care Act subsidies for that matter because the federal government would still be footing those bills. This would not apply to noncitizen children, college students on limited visas, asylum seekers, or refugees. This proclamation applies solely to individuals who are abroad and seeking immigrant visas. Trump claims immigrants are three times more likely than Americans to lack health insurance, which would make them a burden on hospitals and taxpayers, should they require health related coverage.

Trump has not expressed the amount of money immigrants would need if they did not have insurance already – or anticipate receiving it from an employer. This new rule would block nearly two thirds of prospective legal immigrants and greatly reduce or eliminate the number of immigrants who enter the US with family sponsored visas. Most recently, a federal judge in Portland has put a hold on this proclamation and  voiced they disagree with Trump’s decision.

Analysis
While Trump has harped on immigrants posing a burden on hospitals and taxpayers, because they are supposedly two thirds more likely to lack health insurance, American citizens also lack health insurance and adequate coverage. Nearly 30 million Americans do not have health insurance and/or lack adequate coverage. So, while it could possibly be true that immigrants could contribute to an exacerbation of this issue, the main problem is the structure of  our healthcare system.

This proclamation is another attempt to move the US away from family-based immigration to a system based on merit and financial resources. Trump has failed to build the physical wall he long-promised his support base, but has made several attempts to construct an invisible wall to limit immigration.

Engagement Resources

  • The ACLU: a non-profit with a longstanding commitment to preserving and protecting the individual rights and liberties the Constitution and US laws guarantee all its citizens. You can also donate monthly to counter Trump’s attacks on people’s rights. Recently, the ACLU has filed a lawsuit challenging the separation of families at the border.
  • The National Immigration Law Center: an organization that exclusively dedicates itself to defending and furthering the rights of low income immigrants and strives to educate decision makers on the impacts and effects of their policies on this overlooked part of the population.
  • us: an organization that aims to promote the tech community to support policies that keep the American Dream alive. They specifically and currently focus on immigration reform.

Photo by unsplash-logoHush Naidoo

Trump to Begin DNA Testing Migrants

Trump to Begin DNA Testing Migrants

Policy Summary
The Trump Administration has recently declared that immigration officials detaining migrants who cross the border illegally may also retrieve DNA samples from these individuals. Their DNA would then be stored in an FBI DNA database known as CODIS (Combined DNA Index System), which has been traditionally used by law-enforcing agencies to identify suspects for serious criminal offenses. CODIS was established in 1990 for law enforcement purposes and has been a “key tool for linking violent crimes” since its creation, according to the FBI.

It is unclear if this will apply to children who cross alone or asylum seekers as well. However, this shift in DNA collection changes the scope from criminal investigations to population surveillance.

Under the Administration’s interpretation of the DNA Fingerprint Act of 2005, this is legal. The DNA Fingerprint Act of 2005 permits states to take samples from individuals convicted of state offenses, especially if individuals are arrested or detained under US Authority.

Analysis
This is not quite the same as when the Trump Administration DNA tested families in detention to prevent adult migrants from claiming kids who were not theirs. As this is essentially, population surveillance and p measures operating under the guise that illegal migrants are inherently prone to criminal behavior.

Engagement Resources:

  • The ACLU: a non-profit with a longstanding commitment to preserving and protecting the individual rights and liberties the Constitution and US laws guarantee all its citizens. You can also donate monthly to counter Trump’s attacks on people’s rights. Recently, the ACLU has filed a lawsuit challenging the separation of families at the border.
  • The National Immigration Law Center: an organization that exclusively dedicates itself to defending and furthering the rights of low income immigrants and strives to educate decision makers on the impacts and effects of their policies on this overlooked part of the population.
  • FWD.us: an organization that aims to promote the tech community to support policies that keep the American Dream alive. They specifically and currently focus on immigration reform.

Photo by unsplash-logoArif Wahid

Asylum Cooperation Agreement: What it Entails in Practice

Asylum Cooperation Agreement: What it Entails in Practice

Policy Summary
The US has recently signed a deal with the government of Honduras that would effectively allow US immigration officials to send asylum seekers from the US border to Honduras. Which means simply, that immigrants could be sent away almost immediately. The US entered into similar agreements with El Salvador (early September) and Guatemala (July).

The agreement with Honruas would apply to anyone but Hondurans because that would entail sending them back to the country in which they fled. Such an action violates a principle of international law, called non-refoulement. Similarly, a Salvadorian could not be sent back to El Salvador, and a Guatemalan to Guatemala. But in practice, this policy allows for migrants from each of these countries to still be sent back to any of these 3 countries that now have asylum cooperation agreements with the US, so long as they are not sent back to their nation of origin.

Honduras has one of the highest murder rates in the world, and the bulk of migrants fleeing Honduras and the Northern Triangle (El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras) are escaping gang violence that has overrun the region. In the past year alone, more than 250,000 Hondurans have fled and crossed the US border filing protection claims fleeing [gang] violence.

These 3 countries have tiny asylum offices that would have nowhere near the appropriate capacity for effectively processing such large quantities of asylum requests.

Analysis
This new policy harkens a stricter enforcement of the Trump Administration’s attempts at safe-third-country policies in which migrants are encouraged/required to seek asylum in a country they pass along the way to the US. Through this new policy it is  inherently possible that an asylum seeker from the Northern Triangle would just be sent to one of the 2 countries in which they are not a citizen.

Additionally, the Honduran president, Juan Orlando Hérnandez has been negatively tied to his brother, Tony Hérnandez for major drug-smuggling charges. It has been rumored his 2013 campaign was [partially] funded by $1.5 million in drug money for bribes and gifts for political supporters. While this may tangentially bode poorly, it raises questions about corruption, legitimacy, and ultimately credibility.

A senior official at the US Department of Homeland Security stated that this new policy would “allow migrants to seek protection as close to home as possible.” Regardless of the fact that this could mean roughly 26,000 individuals per year would be hosted by Hondurans alone, waiting for the completion of  their asylum applications process – which can take years. Similarly, it is wrong to assume that some escaping such widespread violence would want to be sent back to the region in which they fled – just within different borders.

Engagement Resources

  • The ACLU: a non-profit with a longstanding commitment to preserving and protecting the individual rights and liberties the Constitution and US laws guarantee all its citizens. You can also donate monthly to counter Trump’s attacks on people’s rights. Recently, the ACLU has filed a lawsuit challenging the separation of families at the border.
  • The National Immigration Law Center: an organization that exclusively dedicates itself to defending and furthering the rights of low income immigrants and strives to educate decision makers on the impacts and effects of their policies on this overlooked part of the population.
  • us: an organization that aims to promote the tech community to support policies that keep the American Dream alive. They specifically and currently focus on immigration reform.

Photo by unsplash-logoAiram Dato-on

Supreme Court Upholds Trumps Ban on Immigrants from Central America Seeking Asylum in the US

Supreme Court Upholds Trumps Ban on Immigrants from Central America Seeking Asylum in the US

Policy
The Supreme Court has recently upheld the Trump Administration’s decision to bar migrants from certain Central American countries (predominantly The Northern Triangle – El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras) from seeking refuge in the United States. Trump has been granted his wish of blocking migrants from making asylum claims in the US; and instead requiring them to first apply for asylum in a country they pass while en route to the US. Most often, this third country is Mexico and refers to a previous proposal made by the Trump Administration in the Summer of 2019. Mexicans themselves are unaffected by this new policy because they share a border with the US and therefore cannot be outright banned in such a way. Mexico has previously written off the US attempts to make Mexico a ‘safe third country’ as overall numbers in border crossings have declined.

Supreme Court Justices, Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg submitted written oppositions to this decision. Sotomayor expressed that this new policy, “topples decades of settled asylum practices and affects some of the most vulnerable people in the Western Hemisphere – without affording the public a chance to weigh in.”  Various organizations – such as the ACLU – have also publicized their disdain and pleaded that such a decision violates principles of international law.

Analysis
More than 400,000 people from The Northern Triangle are caught illegally crossing the border with Mexico annually. More than 400,000 people would theoretically be turned away from claiming asylum for the immediate foreseeable future in the US. As the ACLU claimed, there are long-existing asylum laws that have been a pivotal part of international law that Trump’s new rule violates. To much of Trump’s xenophobic fan base, this comes as a victory on the path to essentially closing the border

As Justice Sotomayor pointed out, the public has not had much of an opportunity to weigh in on the matter. Given that immigration has been as a household topic during this Administration, a public debate might prove divisive. But given that the US is a democracy it is a conversation worth having.

Engagement Resources

  • The ACLU: a non-profit with a longstanding commitment to preserving and protecting the individual rights and liberties the Constitution and US laws guarantee all its citizens. You can also donate monthly to counter Trump’s attacks on people’s rights. Recently, the ACLU has filed a lawsuit challenging the separation of families at the border.
  • The National Immigration Law Center: an organization that exclusively dedicates itself to defending and furthering the rights of low income immigrants and strives to educate decision makers on the impacts and effects of their policies on this overlooked part of the population.
  • us: an organization that aims to promote the tech community to support policies that keep the American Dream alive. They specifically and currently focus on immigration reform.

Photo by unsplash-logoAditya Joshi

Trump to End Medical Deferred Action

Trump to End Medical Deferred Action

Policy Summary
This past August, the US Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) eliminated their ‘Medical Deferred Action’ program for individuals who may avoid deportation whilst they and/or their family members were undergoing medical treatment. Medical Deferred Action was intended as a temporary agenda, to be modified and made more robust, but not eliminated. This special program for individuals with rare diseases who may not have access to treatments in their home country rely heavily on the medical treatments they can  receive in the US – which also aids scientific development of medicines to treat such rare diseases. The agency sent letters to individuals previously exempt from deportation, giving them a 33 day notice to leave the country or else face deportation. Requests for deferred action must now be made to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE – the agency responsible for deportations) instead of USCIS. Previously, individuals had to re-apply/renew their deferred action every couple of years and many have been renewed for decades now. Those same individuals received letters from the USCIS telling them that their program support was coming to an end.. The elimination of the program is technically still under review, but it is unclear if there will be a limited version of deferred action or if the program  will be eliminated entirely.

CBS reached out to USCIS to inquire about the abrupt change, but they provided no answers and instead deflected by re-directing them to ICE. Confusingly, an ICE official told CBS that they were not previously consulted about the change but alerted once the letters were sent out to migrants. In reality, the government does not have  the time nor the resources to deport literally every single unauthorized immigrant.

As the news of this program termination began to trickle out, public outrage led to a temporary reversal by the Trump Administration. Roughly 100 members of Congress officially denounced this and wrote letters to senior officials at the Department of Homeland Security urging them to reverse their decision.

Analysis
There is a huge lack of transparency surrounding the end of this program. No public announcements were made, just private letters to specific individuals. The program termination is a death sentence for many of the individuals in the US under Medical Deferred Action. A number of individuals would essentially be sent home to die.

In the past 6 months, the Trump Administration also decided it would abstain from giving flu vaccinations to migrant families held in border detention centers, despite 3 deaths of migrant children due to the flu. These are subtle, but dire actions of intentional cruelty under the existing guise of national security.


Resistance Resources

  • The ACLU: a non-profit with a longstanding commitment to preserving and protecting the individual rights and liberties the Constitution and US laws guarantee all its citizens. You can also donate monthly to counter Trump’s attacks on people’s rights. Recently, the ACLU has filed a lawsuit challenging the separation of families at the border.
  • The National Immigration Law Center: an organization that exclusively dedicates itself to defending and furthering the rights of low income immigrants and strives to educate decision makers on the impacts and effects of their policies on this overlooked part of the population.
  • FWD.us: an organization that aims to promote the tech community to support policies that keep the American Dream alive. They specifically and currently focus on immigration reform.

Photo by
unsplash-logoElias Castillo

Indefinite Detention of Migrants: Trump’s Latest Crackdown

Indefinite Detention of Migrants: Trump’s Latest Crackdown

Policy Summary
The Trump Administration recently announced they seek to enable indefinite detention of migrants, that would be a direct overturn of the Flores Settlement The new rule is set to go into effect within the next 2 months. Migrants would be legally detained until their cases are decided – which could take years. Trump believes that this will act as a deterrent for migrant families and in turn ‘save many lives,’ so as to essentially prevent families from making the sometimes dangerous trek to the United States. Acting head of Homeland Security, Kevin McAleenan finds this new policy to aid in avoiding the Catch and Release loophole that he credits to detention limitations.

Analysis
While this policy would almost certainly institutionalize and legalize imprisoning children on an even greater scale than already exists, the adverse effects of indefinite detainment are plenty. Unlike a prison sentence where perhaps a set release date is agreed upon, indefinite detention would permit an excruciating mental battle and destruction of morale among hundreds of thousands of migrants. Many migrants might never know the end of their imprisonment as the immigration courts can be quite slow and are increasingly overwhelmed. Needless to say, it can be days, months, and/or years of imprisonment bestowed upon any migrant who seeks to become a permanent resident of the United States.

Detained children often have PTSD and suicidal feelings post detainment, according to Human Rights Watch and various other human rights organizations. The American Psychological Association is highly critical of this new policy, stating:

The large majority of these children have already experienced trauma before arriving at immigration facilities, and the longer they are held in detention, the more likely their mental health will continue to suffer

Chronic stress and adversity severely effects the development of a child’s brain, especially in regards to cognition, intellectual process, judgement, self-regulation, and social skills.

Resistance Resources

  • First Focus on Children: a Washington, DC based advocacy organization dedicated to making children and their families a priority in federal policy and budget decisions.
  • Kids in Need of Defense: an organization that promotes the protection of children as they migrate alone in search of safety and ensuring children’s rights are upheld and respected.
  • Families Belong Together: an organization that has dedicated its mission to ensuring families are together, especially reuniting children with their families. This organization contributes all its efforts to counter Trump’s separation of children from their families.

Photo by unsplash-logoKatie Moum

Trump Administration to Limit Green Cards: an Update

Trump Administration to Limit Green Cards: an Update

Policy Summary
The acting US Citizenship and Immigration Services Director, Ken Cuccinelli, announced the Trump Administration’s proposal to limit Green Card applicants and essentially make them more exclusive. This is aimed at the hundreds of thousands of immigrants who enter illegally every year and apply to become permanent residents. Beginning in October – a full year since the first indicator of this policy change – Green Card decisions will be made based on an aggressive wealth test to determine whether applications have the means to support themselves. If applicants are deemed likely to require assistance from government benefit programs (such as food stamps and subsidized housing) they will likely be denied. The new Green Card criteria will examine age, health, family status, resources, education, financial status, and assets. For example, someone with an income equal to or greater than 250% of the poverty line (which comes out to nearly $64,000 for a family of 4) will be less likely to be denied.

Cuccinelli claimed the goal was to bring:

People to join us as American citizens, as legal permanent residents first, who can stand on their own two feet, who will not be reliant on the welfare system, especially in the age of the modern welfare state which is so expansive and expensive

According to the US Citizenship and Immigration services website, to obtain a Green Card entails a few steps. First, an immigrant petition must be filed by a sponsor, or essentially someone who can vouch for the applicant. If this is approved, the individual must fill out a Green Card application with the USCIS or a visa application with the US Department of State (depending on the results of the petition). Then, the individual must go to a biometrics appointment to provide photos, signatures and fingerprints before a final interview. Lastly, they wait for a decision.

San Francisco and Santa Clara counties have filed lawsuits against the Trump Administration to challenge their move to deny permanent residence to legal immigrants who use or potentially will use public-assistance programs; claiming it is both harmful to society and unlawful.

Analysis
This new policy puts a price tag on obtaining permanent residency in the US and favors wealthy or highly skilled immigrants. It shifts away from family-based immigration, a long-standing US outlook. Limiting Green Cards to the upper echelon of society creates uneven immigration, extreme gaps in the labor force, and disregards America’s foundation of providing asylum.

Resistance Resources

  • The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law: a nonpartisan law and policy institute that works to defend and reform – as necessary – the US systems of democracy and justice, focusing on upholding the Constitution and US laws while maintaining national security.
  • Stay up to date with the National Immigration Forum who advocates for the value of immigrants and immigration to the US and promotes responsible immigration policies and addresses those that hinder the success of immigrants.
  • The National Immigration Law Center: an organization that exclusively dedicates itself to defending and furthering the rights of low income immigrants and strives to educate decision makers on the impacts and effects of their policies on this overlooked part of the population.

This Brief was authored by Kathryn Baron. For inquiries, suggestions or comments email kathryn@usresistnews.org.

Photo by Blake Guidry

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