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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. Our Principal Analyst is Allie Blum who can be reached at allie@usresistnews.org.

Latest Immigration Posts

 

Immigration Policy Updates

During the past week, when many Americans gave thanks for their blessings, those making their way to the southern US border were faced with continuing hostility and exclusion. President Trump invoked similar rhetoric he used to impose the travel ban on countries with dominantly Muslim populations, in his most recent attempts to ban asylum to all individuals who cross the border illegally. A federal judge from San Francisco temporarily blocked the government from denying asylum to those crossing the southern border between ports of entry, which led to Trump criticizing the Justice Department for appealing his request as being biased and an “Obama judge.”

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DACA: an update on our Dreamers

In September 2018, the Trump Administration made known they would like to put an end to the DACA program. DACA (Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals) was an executive action under the Obama Administration that allowed undocumented immigrants who came to the US under the age of 16 to apply for protection from deportation.

read more

Trump Wants to Call the Shots on Asylum Seekers

Brief #58—Immigration Policy Summary In addition to the Trump Administration’s announcement of rolling back DACA (see Brief #57), they have recently announced new rules that give President Trump vast authority to deny asylum to virtually any migrant who crosses...

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Where are America’s Child Prisoners Now?

Brief #55---Civil Rights Policy Summary Nearly 13,000 children are currently being held across the US; more than 200 children in detention are deemed ineligible for reunification or release and children as young as 2 years old are appearing in court for their...

read more

Child Prisoners: An Update

After a chaotic year of many heartbreaking migration stories and tragedies, the Trump Administration seeks to continue such practices that have disturbed much of the general American public. The Administration is proposing to lift the court-imposed limit on how long it can hold children in immigration detention from 20 days to the duration of their immigration case.

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Immigration Policy Updates

Immigration Policy Updates

Brief #59—Immigration

Policy
During the past week, when many Americans gave thanks for their blessings, those making their way to the southern US border were faced with continuing hostility and exclusion. President Trump invoked similar rhetoric he used to impose the travel ban on countries with dominantly Muslim populations, in his most recent attempts to ban asylum to all individuals who cross the border illegally. A federal judge from San Francisco temporarily blocked the government from denying asylum to those crossing the southern border between ports of entry, which led to Trump criticizing the Justice Department for appealing his request as being biased and an “Obama judge.” President Trump made claims that these measures were necessary ahead of the arrival of the Migrant Caravan from Central America, as such asylum seekers had no “lawful basis for admission into our country.”

Upon arrival at the southern US border, the Migrant Caravan was met with tear gas, as they attempted to cross as a large crowd; men, women, and children alike. US Customs and Border Protection – those that are policing the border – claim their personnel had been assaulted and hit by stones, while immigrants on the other side claim stones were thrown after “a person got hit [tear gas] and a lot of kids fainted.” President Trump defended his use of tear gas stating “here’s the bottom line: Nobody’s coming into our country unless they come in legally,” and further justifying it by saying the tear gas used was a “very minor form” and that it was “very safe.”

When confronted about the various images of women and children running from the tear gas circulating the media, Trump responds curtly questioning why these individuals are even there and why they would be running up into an area where tear gas is forming and knowingly putting children at risk. He also notes that in some cases, these ‘parents’ are not parents at all, but ‘grabbers’ – individuals who “grab a child because they think they’ll have a certain status by having a child.” He questions why an adult would put a child in such a precarious situation after claiming the tear gas was actually “very safe,” when the real question should be, why is there tear gas. Homeland Security Secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, essentially backs him up by accusing Migrant Caravan organizers of using women and children as “human shields” and thus “putting vulnerable people in harm’s way.” Well, why is there “harm’s way?”

Analysis
The Chemical Weapons Convention prohibits the use of tear gas in war, but allows it for domestic law enforcement purposes, perhaps to respect the law of sovereignty. According to the Centers for Disease Control, tear gas can cause blurred vision, choking, shortness of breath, coughing, burning and swelling of the nose. And some journalists said it was very painful even from a notable distance away, using the terms “tear gas” and “very safe” in one sentence sounds like an oxymoron. Even if the use of tear gas was solely to invoke fear and there was no risk of bodily harm, it still contradicts the language used by both President Trump and Secretary Nielson on the subject matter: “harm’s way,” (so it is not benign) “very safe” (as opposed to dangerous?), “human shields,” etc.

This occurrence in conjunction with Trump’s push for the asylum ban, raises alarming flags about his disregard for separation of powers, the division of government responsibilities into separate branches of the government so no one branch holds supreme power, is an important distinction between democracies and authoritarian governments.

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.

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

Photo by Dan Gold

DACA: an update on our Dreamers

DACA: an update on our Dreamers

Brief #57—Immigration

Policy

In September 2018, the Trump Administration made known they would like to put an end to the DACA program. DACA (Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals) was an executive action under the Obama Administration that allowed undocumented immigrants who came to the US under the age of 16 to apply for protection from deportation. After background checks, they were issued renewable 2-year permits to work and study in the US; revocable if recipients commit crimes or fail to prove they are working/studying in the US. Earlier this month, Trump claimed that nearly 800,000 of these “dreamers” have taken advantage of DACA and if Congress does not take action, he will end the program in 6 months. According to the Department of Homeland Security, 690,000 immigrants are enrolled in DACA and could face deportation if and when their work permits expire. Almost as high as Trump’s claims, a cool 787,580 people had been granted DACA status between August 2012 to March 2017, but 39,514 of those “nearly 800,000” had become legal permanent residents and 1,056 became US citizens. Only 2,139 individuals have had their DACA status revoked, which has led many to still believe in the program.

There is a chance that Trump could be found guilty of violating the Constitution’s equal protection clause by his abrupt attempt to rescind the program, based on its unequal yet substantial impact on Latinos. In the meantime, the Federal Courts have ruled that the administration must resume receiving DACA renewal applications, but only from those who have previously received DACA protections; no new ones. All existing permits are to be honored of their individual 2 year expiration dates, despite the March 5 end date recently established by the Trump Administration.

Analysis

Like many of Trump’s anti-immigration arguments, opposers of DACA believe that such a program only encourages illegal immigration. Migrants who come to the US seeking better economic opportunities, a stronger education, etc., rather than wealthy individuals coming to work in the US or even fleeing a threatening regime are labeled as burdens of society and are met at the border with hostility. Which makes for a very transactional view on immigration; those who appear to contribute greatly to society (economically, mostly) are more valued and welcomed.

With this mindset, the American Dream, is easily swept under the rug and our Dreamers are valued based on their potential future contributions. Many of whom came to the US so young they do not have memories of a different home, and just like those born here, they dream too.

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.

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

Photo by rob walsh

Trump Wants to Call the Shots on Asylum Seekers

Trump Wants to Call the Shots on Asylum Seekers

Brief #58—Immigration

Policy Summary
In addition to the Trump Administration’s announcement of rolling back DACA (see Brief #57), they have recently announced new rules that give President Trump vast authority to deny asylum to virtually any migrant who crosses illegally. Trump specifically intends to deny asylum to the 7,000-10,000 migrants from Central America as they begin arriving in clusters from the Migrant Caravan (see Brief #56). If migrants do not enter through a designated port of entry, they will be “apprehended, detained and deported” unless they can prove they will be tortured if they are sent home. To some of the American public who have been following Trump’s far-fetched plans for reform, this might sound like similar rhetoric used to support the travel ban early in Trump’s presidency.

Though Trump wants to firmly establish a norm that individuals who cross the border illegally will be stripped of their eligibility to receive asylum in the US, many oppose and are challenging the Administrations most recent order. The ACLU has sued to block the new restrictions, calling the case “the asylum ban.” Other NGOs have resorted to referring to international law and the early origins of America as a nation that lends a hand to refugees and asylum seekers. Trump’s new order would violate international law, the Immigration and Nationality Act, and a founding principle of federal asylum in which any individual can apply for asylum regardless of where or how they entered the country and that each case is judged individually.

Analysis
The Trump Administration’s new order to revoke the rights of migrants the opportunity to seek asylum is yet another action taken with the goal of eliminating and strengthening the existing ‘weak’ immigration laws, as he has constantly reiterated throughout his campaign and presidency. This new order only further proves his commitment to propelling an anti-immigrant and anti-refugee daily agenda. Throughout the recent midterm elections, Trump has focused on the migrant caravan and posing them as a threat to the American public, continuously calling them an “invasion” and “dangerous.” By focusing on something as trivial as port of entry – in the larger picture of seeking refuge – he poses migrants as the law breakers, and those who do not follow the rules and turn themselves in at the border – a designated point of entry – and that they deserve to be stripped of their right to seek asylum. Referring to Trump’s track record of his treatment of migrants at the border, the point of entry does not seem to be the real issue but rather the concept of migration as a whole.

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 rawpixel

Migrant Caravan: the Newest Attempt to Achieve the American Dream

Migrant Caravan: the Newest Attempt to Achieve the American Dream

Policy Summary
Migrants from Central America have banded together on their quest for a better life through what has become known as the “migrant caravan,” that began in Honduras on October 12. The numbers of migrants have fluctuated, but it has been consistently in the thousands. Some have had to veer off as nervousness and exhaustion contribute to anxiety and paranoia, as well as physical ailments: sickness, dehydration, sore throats, respiratory infections, blistered feet, pink eye, etc. News of the caravan spread throughout Central America through Facebook and local tv stations, appealing to men, women, families and the elderly. Most are from Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and now also Mexico.  People joined the caravan to flee poverty, drug and domestic violence, and political unrest.  Travelling as such a big group offers a form of protection against bandits who target migrants for kidnap, extortion and/or rape, while also saving many migrants from having to pay people smugglers to get through borders.

Upon reaching Mexico, some people have provided water, food, clothes and even ice cream to passing migrants. In the town of Huixtla, a restaurant owner served 200 plates of beans, rice and tortillas to the group. The journey is through essentially 90 degree weather and occasional heavy rains – so access to food and water are of the essence. One woman from Honduras felt that crossing the border into the US (legally or illegally) even if it resulted in long detention would be better than the Honduran misery she left behind, and expressed that “we prefer to die on the American border than die in Honduras from hunger.” Though, for others the journey has been very taxing. Of the ever-growing group, 1,699 people (Hondurans, Guatemalans, Nicaraguans, Salvadorians) have applied for asylum in Mexico and 495 Hondurans have asked to be repatriated thus far, as the journey is very taxing.

Mexico has now put in place checkpoints throughout the country because of the caravan, which forces them to take longer and more dangerous routes. Some have considered going towards California rather than Texas in hopes they will be more receiving.  Mexican president, Enrique Pena Nieto launched a program called “You Are Home” that promises shelter, medical attention, schooling and jobs to Central Americans who agree to stay instead of trekking on to the US. Most migrants rejected the plan, but would re-evaluate once they got to Mexico City as many of the members of the group have said once they make it to the border they are likely to turn themselves to the authorities and claim asylum (though, a few young men have said they will cross illegally if needed). But some (pregnant women, children and the elderly) did agree and were issued ID’s that allow them to stay and work in Mexico.

President Trump has said he will not let caravan members in, but the US is legally obligated to consider asylum seekers. If they pass the first step of asylum process, called the “credible fear interview” they will be held in detention or released in the US and face immigration court in months or years – or else they will be deported. He has also stated that as of now, foreign aid to Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador will be severely reduced or stopped altogether. Earlier this year, Trump had spread out 2,100 National Guard Soldiers along the US Southern border, and plans to send 800 troops to the US-Mexico border to confront the caravan.

Analysis
To further invoke xenophobia to the Republican voting base, Trump has insinuated that the caravan members were a part of gangs and that “middle easterners” were included in the mix. Not only is this false, but it appeals to the American voters who have channeled a deep hatred for Muslims and the Middle East as a reason to condemn immigration to the United States, just before the Midterm Elections. In addition, the Honduran president, Juan Orlando Hernandez told Mike Pence that the Venezuelan government was financing the journey, but no proof or indications have been made on that claim. In continuing to provide false allegations and rumors surrounding the caravan, the American public receive a very filtered view of the group and in turn respond with fear, rejection and ultimately hostility. The American public has been trained to view “outsiders” as intrusive, exploitative, and malicious over the course of 2018 through Trump’s aggressive and ruthless immigration crackdowns and policies. Decades of gang violence, corruption, destitution and lack of basic civil freedoms are most prominent in parts of the world that suffer from post-colonialism and/or outside governance, even if minutely. Due to corruption, inefficient distribution of foreign aid (or lack of appropriate foreign aid) and wealth and improper use of resources, Central America’s poorest citizens are forced to leave their homeland to seek economic stability and escape oppression.

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.

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

Photo by Drew Farwell

Where are America’s Child Prisoners Now?

Where are America’s Child Prisoners Now?

Brief #55—Civil Rights

Policy Summary
Nearly 13,000 children are currently being held across the US; more than 200 children in detention are deemed ineligible for reunification or release and children as young as 2 years old are appearing in court for their immigration hearings. In case that was not jarring enough, there have been reports of physical, psychological and sexual abuse accusations in the very facilities meant to house and protect these children.

The large number of migrant children being held in detention has increased the amount of young children appearing in court to determine whether they will be (1) deported (2) reunited with their parents or (3) granted asylum. As extensive background checks (on any adult claiming a detained child) ensue, many children are appearing in court by themselves. Unfortunately, some children have to show up to court multiple times before they can be reunited with a relative. Shelters are filling up, unable to house the growing number of detained children who were only supposed to be held for the short term.

But what of the children that remain ununited? They are moved to a government created tent city in Tornillo, Texas – a tiny, farming town near the Texas-Mexico border – where an anticipated 3,800 children will be housed. Under Obama, children were temporarily housed in tent camps during the height of the unaccompanied migrant minors crisis in 2014; this is not the predicament the Trump Administration is facing. Trump is making this a consistent practice and steadily increasing the number of children detained over the past year, despite decreased illegal border crossings. Through the consistent crackdowns on all types of immigration, the world has watched in horror as the US has displayed a visibly broken immigration system.

Analysis

For many of the children deemed ineligible for reunification or release, it is due to complications with the family member or relative they would be released to. The Trump Administration had enforced extensive and lengthy measures to assure proper background checks, explicitly to weed out adults with criminal and/or abusive pasts from being reunited/claiming vulnerable detained children. Yet ironically, in facilities intended to keep such children safe and away from harm, caretakers are in fact inflicting the assault that is sure to stick with them for years beyond their release and immigration cases.

For example In the case of abuse accusations, 3 children were physically abused in a shelter in Arizona that led to the closure of that shelter. In a different Phoenix area shelter for immigrant children a youth care worker was convicted of sexually abusing 7 teenage boys; and at another facility accusations of a 14 year old girl being molested. Not only are these children traumatically separated from their families, but in a place that is supposed to keep them safe during limbo, they are violated, disrespected and dehumanized.

If the US continues to treat children like prisoners, their health – mental, physical and emotional – will be at stake. Children traumatically separated from their parents are more likely to have emotional problems throughout their lives and damaged memories. The question is when will these vulnerable children begin to fall severely ill or die due to these conditions, before the Trump Administration finds their humanity?

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.
  • 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.

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

Photo by Charlein Gracia

Trump Administration to Limit Green Cards for the “Burdens of Society”

Trump Administration to Limit Green Cards for the “Burdens of Society”

Brief #54—Immigration

Policy Summary
To promote self-sufficiency and protect finite resources, the Trump Administration has proposed harsher reviews of individuals applying for green cards and/or permanent resident status in the US. Historically, federal law has excluded immigrants who are likely to become “public charge,” but Trump has taken his own drastic measures to ensure this. Specifically, immigrants who have previously relied on public assistance benefits such as food stamps, housing subsidies (i.e., Section 8 housing vouchers) and Medicaid for (low-cost prescription drugs) will face stronger barriers to obtaining a green card.

This forces millions of poor immigrants to pick between a green card to live and work legally in the US or accepting financial help. Advocates fear that those with legal resident status will stop using public benefits to protect their status. Roughly 382,000 people seeking to adjust their immigration status could be subject to “public charge reviews” each year to assess how much of a burden they could be on the American taxpayers and government. Immigration law states that age, health, family status, financial resources, skills and education should be taken into account when evaluating. Nearly 1 million people become legal permanent residents each year in the US, so the Trump Administration feels they can be choosy about who is allowed into the country.

But for some, it is not so simple to apply for such legal status. Certain health conditions like mental health disorders, heart disease and cancer are also among the heavily weighted factors being taken into consideration during application. Individuals with the above predicaments are red-flagged and seen as likely to ecru high medical costs and thus be a burden. Some immigrants could be asked in some cases to post cash bonds of at least $10,000 to avoid being denied green cards. For many, this is simply not feasible. While this new rule does not affect refugees, asylum seekers or legal immigrants who serve in the US military, many will feel the brunt of this most recent crackdown on immigration to the US.

Analysis
In contrast to the Trump Administration’s claims, there have been many studies about the economic effects and legacies of immigration to the US. According to US Citizenship and Immigration Services data, immigrants and non-immigrants alike benefit from public assistance at almost the same rate. The lasting effects of immigration has proven even more beneficial to the US as time progresses: first generation immigrants cost US taxpayers roughly $57.4 Billion dollars, but second and third generation Americans make for an economic boost of $30.5 Billion and $223.8 Billion, respectively.

This new regulation creates a caste-like system among US immigrants. Poor immigrants with health conditions are expected to prove they are insured, yet cannot access the available benefits to enroll and thus have a far lower chance at changing their immigration status than their wealthy counterparts. The executive director at the Center for Immigration Studies and others  who supports decreased immigration that low level skilled workers are a mismatch for such a modern society. What they don’t like to admit is the fact that low-skilled immigrants perform many important functions in our country that others eschew, such as cleaning, gardening, picking crops and providing home health care. Tightening immigration policies has become a given to bring Republicans to the polls, while motivating Democrats to stand by their values and uphold the nation’s promise of being a beacon of light for the world.

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 Jhon David

Transactional Migration: a Transition in American Values

Transactional Migration: a Transition in American Values

Brief #53—Immigration

Policy Summary
Following up on an Executive Order he made in September 2017, President Trump has signed a new order placing an even lower cap on immigration to the United States than ever before. Last fall, Trump signed an order lowering the number of refugees allowed into the United States to 45,000 – the lowest cap since 1980 under the Refugee Act. This was a 59% reduction from what Obama had set previously and completely blurs the line between refugees and migrants as the guidelines became a transactional ordeal. International relief groups consider the current refugee crisis to be the worst since World War I, yet the Trump Administration seeks to determine what migrants can contribute to the US rather than how the US can help. He claimed the goal should be to host refugees in nations as close to their homes as possible to eventually return them there – which is extremely problematic. However, even under this order the US still accepts more refugees than other countries.

Fast forward a year, and this September Trump seeks to lower the refugee cap to 30,000; an absolute record low. This has been slowly building up through various crackdowns on immigration to the US (both legal and illegal) if you recount the previous travel bans, events at the US Southern border and disregard for America’s history of providing asylum. Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of State claimed that the US “must continue to responsibly vet applicants to prevent entry of those who might do harm to our country.”

Analysis
It is becoming increasingly clear that the true goal of the Trump Administration is to essentially deconstruct the United States refugee program and limit immigration on all fronts; regardless of national security demands. A cap is just a cap, the Administration could accept far less than 30,000 – it is a ceiling not a floor. This drastically limits US diplomacy and lowers its image and morality on a global stage.

The Justice Department and White House ignored a report from intelligence agencies proving refugees do not pose a major threat to national security and continued to emphasize the need for extraordinary vetting measures.

Cutting the number of refugees and asylum seekers allowed into the US to what could be nothing, puts the Trump Administration on the path of regimes that America has historically tried to defeat.  Those who support the Trump administration policy are either xenophobic nationalists, or are fearful of opposing an authoritarian leader.

Additionally, the Trump Administration has increasingly blurred the lines between refugee/asylum seeker and migrant in the quest to eliminate total immigration to the United States. An asylum seeker is an individual who has crossed an international border into a country in which they hope to receive refugee status due to fear of persecution for political, social, religious, or race reasons. Whereas a migrant is someone who attempts to permanently relocate to a new country or place for various reasons including personal gain, upward economic mobility, etc. Through Trump’s attempts to lower the refugee cap he has sent a clear message to the vast number of asylum seekers displaced in the world that the US can no longer be considered a place of refuge.

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 Martino Pietropoli

Child Prisoners: An Update

Child Prisoners: An Update

Brief #52—Immigration

Policy Summary
After a chaotic year of many heartbreaking migration stories and tragedies, the Trump Administration seeks to continue such practices that have disturbed much of the general American public. The Administration is proposing to lift the court-imposed limit on how long it can hold children in immigration detention from 20 days to the duration of their immigration case. Federal Judge Gee who oversees the Flores Settlement had to recently reject a similar attempt by the administration to detain children in jail-like settings for more than 20 days.

The Flores Settlement is an agreement from 1997 that limits the length of time and conditions under which any US officials can detain immigrant children. Under the agreement, US officials are required to give children food, water, medical assistance in emergencies, toilets, sinks, temperature control, supervision and separation from unrelated adults (as much as possible). The decree was meant to be temporary until it could be codified into law, but has remained until present day. The Administration has argued that this settlement encouraged northern migration and for immigrants to bring children along in order to shield themselves from the threat of lengthy detention. Thus, Trump and officials have asked to pull out from the Flores Settlement entirely and replace it with regulations that would ‘honor’ its spirit and treat children with “dignity, respect, and special concern for their particular vulnerability as minors.”

If the government is successful US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) can run more family detention centers without the need for state licenses and more children will be kept in prison-like facilities while their immigration proceedings go on (can last up to a year). They also have plans to oversee new detention centers that could hold more than 12,000 immigrants and to hold children with their parents in ICE residential facilities rather than state licensed facilities.

Analysis
In regards to the Administration’s claims of the Flores Settlement encouraging northern migration with children as a buffer, there have actually been no records of this being an upward trend. Unauthorized crossings along the border with Mexico have actually sharply declined in the past 20 years. Many immigrant advocates are preaching that most migrants bring their children with them to escape poverty and/or violence, not as “bargaining chips to avoid detention.” Any logical member of civil society would assume parents would bring their children along wherever they are going, especially young children.

Another point of concern is the quality of these family detention centers even before the idea of extended stays were on the table. A toddler recently died of a respiratory infection after being released from a family center in Texas. Thus the mother filed a claim alleging negligent medical care within the facility. She is not a solo case, there have been many claims of children being returned to their parents in sub-par conditions, which makes one question the legitimacy and validity of Trump’s proposal that will further punish children and make prisoners out of toddlers.

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 Matteo Paganelli

President Trump Puts Hurdles in Place for Legal Immigrants to Gain Citizenship & Work

President Trump Puts Hurdles in Place for Legal Immigrants to Gain Citizenship & Work

Policy
President Trump has made it increasingly difficult to obtain American citizenship even for individuals who have legally immigrated to the United States. In April 2017, Trump created a Buy American and Hire American Executive Order that was intended to limit the amount of foreign specialists and professionals from taking American’s jobs and opportunities.

Such a visa – an H-1B – is specifically for skilled foreign workers, like computer engineers and other professionals (medicine, law, etc.) On August 28, 2018, the United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced it would suspend the processing until approximately February 2019 (originally until September 2018). Thus, in line with the Executive Order, it has become increasingly hard to acquire and renew H-1B visas.

Additionally, the Trump Administration has made it harder for legal immigrants to become citizens or get green cards if they have ever used public welfare programs – and this covers not only a broad spectrum of programs but individuals. Essentially, if any foreigner provided labor or work at the expense of the US Government, they are not deemed worthy of citizenship or a green card because they still contribute to the “theft of American prosperity.”

Analysis

In delaying and denying work visas, due to lack of information or a cap on the number of issued H-1B visas is harming local companies and businesses. Employees who remain must pick up the slack in the short-term, but the long-term effects could prove dire. Corporate executives worry that talented engineers and programmers will go to Canadian corporations instead since they are more willing to accept foreigners. This would lead to a prolonged reduction in immigration that could then hinder economic growth overtime as baby boomers retire and leave a gap in the job market. Aside from Administrative claims, there is no research that cutting immigration is actually good for the economy.

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 John Bakator

President Disregards America’s Tradition of Offering Asylum

President Disregards America’s Tradition of Offering Asylum

Brief #50—Immigration

Policy Summary
In accordance with the travel ban covered in Brief 46, Trump claims he wants to “ensure that we are not admitting into our country the very threats our soldiers are fighting overseas.” Trump finds it absurd that the US offers refuge and asylum when “no other country” does it. In June 2018, Trump announced that it would order the US Immigration Courts to stop granting asylum to victims of domestic abuse and gang violence who come to the US seeking safety. Attorney General, Jeff Sessions backed this by saying survivors of “private crimes” were not eligible for asylum in the US.

There are over 100,000 people in line to be processed for resettlement in the US during this fiscal year. Many of them have already made it through the intense vetting process and have waited years only to be told they must endure another waiting period. Now, they must wait again. Upon leaving their home because of discrimination, a woman and her husband and 6 kids had fled Sudan to Jordan only to be rejected by the US. She went on to tell reporters, “to be discriminated by a nation we see our future in, is so disheartening.”

Analysis
The US has been a symbol of hope, equality and a light at the end of a tunnel since its founding; a nation built on immigrants through and through. The American Dream is well-known around the world for individuals who want to start a new life, grow their business, give their children a better life, and especially those in danger or escaping their homeland in search of refuge. Individuals such as the woman from Sudan who fled her homeland due to violent prejudices only to face more discrimination from the one nation she had laid all her hope in prove how strong the notion of the American Dream is. She endured so much in the hopes that an end to her struggles would be found in the sanctuary that is the US and to turn away individuals like her would be to bury the American Dream as it has become known to the world and discount how far our immigrant ancestors have come.

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 Jose Fontano

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