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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

 

Trump Forced to End Family Separation at United States/Mexico Border

On June 20, 2018, the people were heard (haza!) and President Trump signed an executive order (“EO”) temporarily ending the immigration procedure of separating children from their parents. Section 1 of the EO states that the Trump Administration’s policy is “to maintain family unity, including by detaining alien families together where appropriate and consistent with law and available resources.”

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Domestic Abuse and Gang Violence No Longer Grounds For Asylum

On June 11, 2018, the Trump administration flexed its executive muscles adding another brick to its wall of immigration policy. Attorney General Jeff Sessions stated that individuals escaping domestic abuse and/or gang violence alone will no longer qualify for asylum in the United States.

read more

Keeping Families Apart: The Green Carnation of Trump’s Immigration Policies

On May 8, 2018, in accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published their notice of Modified System of Records. The System, currently titled “Department of Homeland Security/U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement—007 Alien Criminal Response Information Management (ACRIMe),” permits the DHS to receive and respond to immigration status inquiries made by federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. If implemented, ACRIMe will change to “Criminal History and Immigration Verification (CHIVe).”

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DHS Ends TPS for 9,000 Nepalis

Brief #52 Immigration April 24, 2018 Policy Summary On Tuesday, April 24, The Washington Post reported that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is once again ending Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 9,000 Nepalis living in the United States legally under the...

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Update: Trump Administration Reunification of Families Proves Chaotic

Update: Trump Administration Reunification of Families Proves Chaotic

Brief #48—Immigration

Policy
President Trump was court ordered to reunify families by July 26, 2018 (see Brief #47,) While the government claims the deadline was met, more than 700 children (yes, every 1 in 3 children)  still held in government custody were not reunited by 6 pm on the day of the deadline. The government has not offered a timeline for tracking down the hundreds of parents who still remain unaccounted for.

Parents of about 430 children were deported – despite the court ruling against deportation of separated families, in June 2018 – and thus those children were deemed ineligible for reunification. The remaining children of the 700 were also deemed ineligible due to red flags for a wide array of reasons that prevented reunification. In some cases parents were labelled “released” even though they were still in custody which made for an even more chaotic affair.

For those 1,820 children 5 and over that were reunited with their families, some parents waited up to a week for their children and were not allowed access to showers, phones or religious services during that time. One young migrant mother was greeted by her son who had a cough and a black eye; and some children were sent to the wrong facilities. What should have been a systematic and clear-cut system was in practice chaos.

Amateur fund-raisers have played a large role in helping to reunite families, providing food and travel essentials; as have larger groups, such as Fwd.us backed by Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg that raised millions of dollars for immigration court bonds and plane tickets. The ACLU filed a motion July 25 to protect the parents whom the government has claimed waived their rights to immediately recover their children. Many signed things they did not understand because they were not translated and  signed documents under duress. Additionally, faith based organizations and other groups  provided meals, clothing, legal advice, plane and bus tickets to families at ICE locations (even new shoe laces because those were taken away – like prisoners).

Analysis
This approach to reuniting families based on who is eligible and who is ineligible seems to be a form of organized disarray. The emphasis appears to be on counting children rather than parents, even though 1 parent can have more than 1 child. This seems like  a backwards way to approach the issue and come to a mutually beneficial solution. There are a number of various steps that could have been taken – perhaps more accurately keeping written record of parents and their child/children.

Additionally,  the Trump administration did in fact deport some parents without their children (reference above), which went against the court ruling that families who were separated could not be deported and could not be deported immediaitly upon reunification. This may seem trivial in the grand scheme of things due to statistics and the general public’s focus on making sure every child has a parent, but it is a  bold move on the Trump administration’s part that defied court orders

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.
  • 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.
  • 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 submitted by USRESIST NEWS Analyst Kathryn Baron: Contact Kathryn@usresistnews.org

Photo by Matheus Ferrero

Courts Challenge Trump’s Separation of Immigrant Parents and Children

Courts Challenge Trump’s Separation of Immigrant Parents and Children

Brief #47—Immigration

Policy Summary
In reaction to the Trump Administration separating families at the border there has been a lot of responses, more often than not, questioning the morality and effectiveness of the practice. On June 26, 17 states (including California and New York) sued the Trump Administration in attempts to get them to reunite families. The court ruled children can only be separated if the adults accompanying them appear to pose an immediate threat to their safety and that if families are separated, adults may not be deported from the US without their children. However, the Trump Administration had successfully separated many families and scattered children across the country to foster care or shelters with no concrete plans of reunification and some had even failed to keep track of which children belonged to which parents. There are currently nearly 3,000 children in federal custody. Three-Thousand. And of the roughly 100 children under the age of 5, 19 of those parents have been deported, despite the court’s ruling.

Thus, the court ordered US immigration agents to stop separating families at the border and that all children under the age of 5 were supposed to be reunited with their families by July 10 and all children held in federal custody must be reunited by July 26. The Trump Administration has continued to bargain for more time due to challenges they claim they are facing with reuniting families. Some families are now thousands of miles apart, and with lost records of which child belongs to which parent, they are insisting on taking time-costly measures to ensure the correct familial relationships are identified. The government does not wish to delay reunifications, but they also want to make sure that in rushing to reunite families they do not accidentally release any child to adults that wish to exploit them and want to ensure their safety as well. The government also feared that with this court order to reunite families would come with mass deportations. So, to further ensure the safety of families upon reunification, on July 16, the court ordered the halt of deportation of families upon reunification. Deportations are to be stalled for at least a week to provide proper time for families to decide whether they would like to continue the process and stay in the US or leave. Though, despite Trump’s pleas for extra time, Judge Sabraw has demanded Trump move faster in reuniting children with their parents.

There are some complications and loopholes that leave some children potentially ineligible for release such as those who did not cross the border with their parents, parents who are serving criminal sentences, parents with a background of criminal histories, in particular child abuse and therefore deemed unfit. Lastly, some parents were simply deported, thus making the process even more difficult.

Analysis
The Trump Administration’s separation of families has left a “gaping wound in our country” and can only be healed by morally and respectfully adhering to the nation’s commitment to individual rights. Trump is a firm believer in hard borders and remaining tough on immigration, claiming “without borders, you do not have a country.” His response to some earlier questioning about missing his first court appointed reunification deadline was to call for individuals to come to the US legally and there will be no issues. While on the surface, that may seem simple, there are specific cases such as asylum seekers and refugees who may not have as clear cut of a path to safety and thus must resort to unconventional migration.

In some cases, it is fair to confirm familial relationships so that unaccompanied children are not put in precarious situations, but there were steps that could and should have been taken early on to ensure familial connections were secure and confirmed. In the Executive Order issued June 26, there were no steps laid on for reuniting families, thus making it relatively easier for the Trump Administration to attempt to bargain. But, as there has been a universal plea for the end of separating families, it is crucial for society to continue pushing for social justice.

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.

Photo By Fancycrave

Supreme Court Upholds Travel Ban: Institutionalized Discrimination

Supreme Court Upholds Travel Ban: Institutionalized Discrimination

Brief #46—Immigration

Policy Summary
On June 26, 2018, the Supreme Court officially voted to uphold Trump’s travel ban that has been on his agenda since the early days of his presidency. Now, there are travel restrictions on individuals coming from Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, North Korea (yes, North Korea, who’s relationship with the United States was currently in-repair), and Venezuela from entering the United States. To Trump, this is an extraordinary victory and will serve as a tool for him to fulfill his promise of defending the country from “terrorism, crime and extremism.” Trump and his advisors have long argued that presidents possess the authority to control and redesign the way the United States controls its borders as deemed fit; and with the 5-4 majority Conservative vote, unfortunately, he has done so. A policy openly introduced as a total and complete ban on Muslims entering the United States has been masked as a national security concern and properly lipsticked enough for 5 out of the 9 judges to admire.

Analysis
Naturally, as a nation built on immigrants, there has been major backlash and a lot of disappointment. Liberals have denounced the decision and many – even politicians and important decision-makers – have equated the ruling with that of the post-World War II decision in 1944 that endorsed the detention of Japanese-Americans. Justice Sotomayor claimed the court “blindly accept[ed] the Government’s misguided invitation to sanction a discriminatory policy,” as she became part of the minority vote. A decision like this puts policymakers and the Supreme Court on the wrong side of history and creates a platform that harbors the institutionalization of racism of Islamophobia and only encourages it to spread. Many have considered this ruling a historic failure in the sense that it has failed to protect its most vulnerable citizens – and people – from those that hold the most power.

In some regards, harboring such a policy that exudes fear, xenophobia and discrimination can potentially have the opposite of its intended effect and actually serve as a recruiting tool for extremist groups and existing terrorist organizations. Othering and grouping innocent individuals due to religion, race, or region can only induce further anger, resentment, and retaliation. If an extremist group held the values that Trump has claimed they do, i.e. exposing a deep hatred for the west and its ideals, a travel ban is only going to fuel their existing efforts and provide solid, tangible reason for them to alter and improve their already destructive tactics.

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.
  • 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 unsplash-logoMitch Lensink

Trump Forced to End Family Separation at United States/Mexico Border

Trump Forced to End Family Separation at United States/Mexico Border

Brief #45—Immigration

Policy Summary
On June 20, 2018, the people were heard (haza!) and President Trump signed an executive order (“EO”) temporarily ending the immigration procedure of separating children from their parents. Section 1 of the EO states that the Trump Administration’s policy is “to maintain family unity, including by detaining alien families together where appropriate and consistent with law and available resources.” Section 3, titled Temporary Detention Policy for Families Entering this Country Illegally, states that during the pendency of status determinations, “The Secretary of Homeland Security (Secretary), shall, to the extent permitted by law and subject to the availability of appropriations, maintain custody of alien families . . . .” Wonderful, children will not be separated from their parents upon apprehension. Not wonderful, they are just moving from cages to criminal custody.

Since 1997, a bedrock legal limit set by the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in Flores v. Session, is that children (those under 18 years of age) are not permitted to be criminally detained for more than twenty (20) days. Hence the EO section’s title of “Temporary Detention Policy . . .” According to Flores, children must be separated from their parents on the 21st day and sent back in DHHS custody – which is the root of our current need for change. But, President Trump anticipated this criticism, and included subsection (e) to the Temporary Detention Policy.

In this section 3(e), Trump orders Attorney General Jeff Sessions to “promptly file a request with the [Flores court] in a manner that would permit the Secretary, under present resource constraints, to detain alien families together throughout the pendency of criminal proceedings for improper entry or any removal or other immigration proceedings.” Children will thus follow their parents in the detention process. If granted, does this mean that the sponsorship system will no longer apply because the children are no longer in DHHS custody? Are children being sent to jail with their parents? Are children being criminally prosecuted as adults? How are we supposed to analyze quickly enough to produce solutions protecting their human rights?

Analysis
A wise scholar (and doctor) once said that when dealing with the federal government, “strive to give six and take four.” Adopting her wisdom, we can consider Trump’s June 20th executive order in the “four” column. Positive light must shine on the recent humanitarian success before diving into the darkness. The voice of Americans around the country effectively ended the procedure of separating children from their parents! We are Trump’s kryptonite; democracy at its finest.

Now, the policy ended because President Trump issued an executive order. An EO is essentially an order from a boss to its employees. It provides direction to civil servants under the Executive Branch. Senate Democrat Leader Chuck Schumer of New York preferred an executive order over legislation due to its efficiency and quick implementation measures.

In line with Schumer, President Trump expressly refused to sign any Senate or House bill considering a termination of the separation policy. For weeks Trump stated that he was forced to separate families due to laws enacted by Democrats. If that was so, how are the people supposed to rationalize the fact that today Trump signed an executive order ending the policy he previously said he was forced to enforce? Again, it is crucial to identify intent to prepare for what follows – and we know it is generally not pleasant.

Enacting legislation is an act of Congress, the Legislative Branch. Brilliantly, our Legislative Branch’s power is separate from the Executive Branch, which is where Trump and immigration policy call home.  (Immigrant courts are part of the Justice Department and also considered part of the Executive branch.)However, the power of media informed the world of the vile inhumanity implemented on families and children due to the Trump Administration.

Trump knew something needed to happen, and to Trump, an executive order is superior to legislation because it is within his executive power. Although he may not have known that “Nambia” is not a country, we can strongly assume Trump is aware of where and how he can use his executive authority. Now, the current immigration policy via the EO was created by the President, which can thus be changed by the President, or terminated by the President. Allowing Congress to enact immigration legislation takes power away from the Executive. Trump wants to consolidate power, not separate it.

Remember what the President said about murderous dictator Kim Jung Un: “He Speaks and his people sit up in attention. I want my people to do the same.” Trump is greatly mistaken. We are not “his people,” he is “our president.” He works for us. And the people will rise, but they will be ordering Trump’s attention.

Resistance Resources

This Brief was developed by USRESIST NEWS Analyst J.R. Phillip: Contact Justin@usresistnews.org

Photo By: Daniel Apodaca

Domestic Abuse and Gang Violence No Longer Grounds For Asylum

Domestic Abuse and Gang Violence No Longer Grounds For Asylum

Brief #44—Immigration

Policy Summary
On June 11, 2018, the Trump administration flexed its executive muscles adding another brick to its wall of immigration policy. Attorney General Jeff Sessions stated that individuals escaping domestic abuse and/or gang violence alone will no longer qualify for asylum in the United States. That includes individuals seeking United States protection from systemic murder, rape, slavery, and human rights violations. According to Sessions, the home country’s government must, in addition to being unable or unwilling to help, have condoned the private actions or demonstrated an inability to protect the claimant. As discussed later, these are murky waters perfect for manipulation by bottom feeders like the Trump Administration.

Analysis:
Under U.S. immigration law, asylum is granted to someone at the U.S. border or within the U.S. who meets the definition of a refugee. “Refugee” is defined by the Refugee Act of 1980 and the U.N. 1967 Protocol. Like many important laws, it is vague; and, in the U.S. it is at the interpretation of the Executive Branch. Immigration courts are under the control of the Justice Department. The Justice Department is under the control of the Executive Branch, which is under the control of the President . . . and that is President Trump. So it goes.

Absent the moral dilemmas at play, there are two matters that draw particular attention: action and theory. First, Sessions took action by overruling a 2014 Board of Immigration Appeals decision, threatening the same for future rulings, that provided refugee status to Central American women whom, with caveats, were unable to escape their abusive partners. Considering the epidemic of domestic violence in Central America (evidently acknowledged by previous immigration judges), it does not make sense how the United States is playing its humanitarian, global role in providing sufficient care to those in need. The United Nations has openly shared that many Trump immigration policies are in clear violation of international law.

Secondly, can you imagine a circumstance where the Trump administration would conclude that a country demonstrated an inability to protect a claimant from domestic abuse or gang violence? If a country has a law that states, “domestic violence is prohibited” would that be sufficient? It’s legal protection, right? The line can be drawn at the whim of Attorney General Sessions, as seen by his overruling of the 2014 decision. The intent here seems to completely lack any consideration (and obviously compassion) for the human rights of those sharing our international society. Inhumane purity creates pure inhumanity.

Trump was right. Yet, like everything nowadays, we can diagnose it as vague correctness. President Trump campaigned that he would build a wall and those south of the border would pay. He is building a wall, albeit through immigration policy. And, the Latin Americans are in fact paying, but with basic human rights instead of currency – what else can “animals”[1] exchange?

Resistance Resources

This Brief was developed by USRESIST NEWS Analyst J.R. Phillip: Contact Justin@usresistnews.org

[1] Quoting President Trump’s reference to some illegal immigrants at May 16, 2018 roundtable discussion in California.

Photo by: Nitish Meena

Keeping Families Apart: The Green Carnation of Trump’s Immigration Policies

Keeping Families Apart: The Green Carnation of Trump’s Immigration Policies

Brief #43—Immigration

Summary
On May 8, 2018, in accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published their notice of Modified System of Records. The System, currently titled “Department of Homeland Security/U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement—007 Alien Criminal Response Information Management (ACRIMe),” permits the DHS to receive and respond to immigration status inquiries made by federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. If implemented, ACRIMe will change to “Criminal History and Immigration Verification (CHIVe).” A difference in acronym is not all the DHS’S notice proposes to modify. Of prominence is that CHIVe will now add as a category of individuals covered by the System of Records, individuals seeking approval from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to sponsor unaccompanied minors awaiting status determinations. Public comments were due to DHS on June 7, 2018.

Policy Analysis
CHIVe stinks of a Trump administration attempt to form and control the narrative. In light of the criticized, extremely aggressive, and inhumane Zero Tolerance Policy (see USN Immigration Brief # 42 dated June 9, 2018), the administration is strongly guided to put forth some policy—any policy—to belt and suspenders the position that the United States is actively protecting the human rights of unaccompanied minors whom are forcibly ripped away from their parents and placed into the custody of DHHS. With roughly 1,500 unaccompanied minors lost in the DHHS sponsorship system in 2017, and a dramatic increase due to enforcement of the Zero Tolerance Policy, the administration is between a rock and hard place under the eyes of human rights watchdogs and the United Nations.

Why is this bad? Considering the (i) exorbitant amount of unaccompanied minors whom will now enter the sponsorship system, and (ii) thousands of unaccompanied minors whom are already unaccounted for, it seems reasonable and pro-social to enhance the System of Records on potential sponsors. The new policy is framed as a counterforce to any negative externalities caused to children by the Zero Tolerance Policy.

The Trump administration claims that with CHIVe, the government can take better care to protect unaccompanied minors from trafficking and smuggling. CHIVe is not bad in theory. But, theory and reality do not always purely align. In our non-xenophobic reality, CHIVe is catastrophic—the result counteracts protection of the rights and well-being of unaccompanied minors.

In fact, CHIVe dwindles the opportunity for sponsorship with parents/relatives as the data shows that many are undocumented, illegal aliens as well. When unaccompanied minors are apprehended by the federal government for illegally entering the United States, they cannot be criminally detained and are thus sent to the custody of the DHHS Office of Refugee Resettlement to be placed in sponsorship program. The hierarchy of sponsorship placement is parents, relatives, juvenile detention centers, and then foster care. With CHIVe, family members may no longer come forward to apply for sponsorship in fear of deportation or federal attention/abuse. Instead of being in the care of family, unaccompanied minors now face greater risk of placement into a defunct foster care system.

The Zero Tolerance Policy’s original intent was to threaten separation of families to deter people from crossing the border between port entries. Trump, claiming to be acting in the best interest of children through his, in reality, deplorable use of executive power, has implemented policies that when practiced cause and enhance long-term psychological trauma suffered by the children.

When analyzing public policies, identifying the underlying intent assists in the rationalization process. So, is it not irrational to entertain the possibility that DHS is baiting illegal immigrants with unaccompanied minors? One stroke of the executive pen determines the future for thousands of children. This is not a meaningless pledge to quiet the media or save face — THIS IS REAL. And, the world has witnessed that premature and arguably inhumane immigration procedures are worn by the Trump administration with as much pride as a green carnation on Oscar Wilde’s left lapel.

Resistance Resources:

  • American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) – Non-profit with a mission to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person.
  • Federal Register: The Daily Journal of the U.S. Government – Online medium where DHS published notice and accepts public comments on CHIVe.
  • FamiliesBelongTogether – A Grassroots organization demanding an end to the harmful family separation policies.

This Brief was developed by USRESIST NEWS Analyst J.R. Phillip: Contact Justin@usresistnews.org

Photo by Andrew Schultz

The Justice Department’s New Abhorrent “Zero Tolerance” Immigration Policy

The Justice Department’s New Abhorrent “Zero Tolerance” Immigration Policy

Brief # 42—Civil Rights

Policy Summary
On April 6, 2018, Attorney General Jeff Sessions informed the world, on behalf of the Trump administration, that the government will be adhering to a “Zero Tolerance Policy” with respect to illegal border entry. The policy requires criminal prosecution for every person caught entering the United States without proper inspection. It is a federal misdemeanor to illegally enter the United States; which, evidently, the Trump administration has “zero tolerance” for. The most relevant externality is that minors are being separated from their parents whom are undergoing federal prosecution, and placed into the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). As the parents remain in custody awaiting an immigration hearing, the children are placed in the sponsorship of relatives, juvenile detention centers, or foster care awaiting an Immigration Court to determine their status. After much criticism and anticipation, on June 5, 2018, the Office of the U.N. High Commission for Human Rights informed the Administration that such policy “is an unlawful interference in family life, and a serious violation of the rights of the child.”

Analysis
The Zero Tolerance Policy is very simple, and very “effective.” If you enter the United States’ border illegally between port entries you will be federally prosecuted. Adults are sent to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service awaiting an immigration court judge to arbitrarily determine their privilege to remain in the country. With an infamously backlogged immigration processing system, such determinations can take months to years. Now, what happens when parents are apprehended with their child(ren)? Attorney General Sessions provided a simple answer: “If you’re smuggling a child, then we’re going to prosecute you, and that child will be separated from you, probably, as required by law. If you don’t want your child separated, then don’t bring them across the border illegally.”

If you ask President Trump, his self-proclaimed power and influence has been arm-barred, naturally, by the Democrats. “We have to break up families” claimed President Trump, “[t]he Democrats gave us that law. It’s a horrible thing, we have to break up families. That Democrats gave us that law and they don’t want to do anything about it.” However, this is fake news; no federal legislation or court ruling requires families to be separated.

Since commencement, an estimated 700 children have been taken from their parents, deemed unaccompanied minors, and thus placed in the custody of the ORR awaiting sponsorship. In 2017, roughly 1,500 unaccompanied minors placed into sponsorship through the ORR have remained completely unaccounted for. Their parents wouldn’t be able to find them; the court could not find them; the system could not save them. This is not fake news. But, according to Chief of Staff John Kelly, there is no need to worry because “[t]he children will be taken care of – put into foster care or whatever.” Oh, nothing eases the life-long psychological trauma to infants like the comfort of a “whatever.”

A core pillar of American jurisprudence with respect to minors is that rulings shall be in the best interest of the child. It is extremely difficult to comprehend – especially with an absence of justification from the government and the Trump administration – how inflicting such unnecessary psychological trauma on children is in their best interest.

The narrative would be different if unaccompanied minors were placed into the custody of an agency not violating their most basic human rights. Unfortunately, that is just not the case. After the U.N. requested the Trump administration to immediately stop the policy of separating families, Ravina Shamdasani, spokeswoman for the U.N. Human Rights Office, commented that: “The use of immigration detention and family separation as a deterrent runs counter to human rights standards and principles.”

Our current situation provokes the ever so common response: So, what now? To begin, we can find comfort in knowing that the outer boundaries of executive power are being identified and regulated due to the hubris of the Trump administration. Then follows social action. It is indisputable that enforcement of sound immigration policy is important and necessary. But, there is a vast different between individuals illegally crossing the border alone, and those seeking refuge or asylum for themselves and their minor children.

Should there be a contextual balance, where parents apprehended with their minor children are held together in administrative custody whereas adults without children are placed in criminal custody and federally prosecuted? Another option, although riddled with routes for legal challenge, would be lawsuits arguing that the policy of separating families is a constitutional violation which would hopefully result in a court-ordered injunction.

If all else fails, we can fall back on the system and continue voting! If we cannot welcome those in need via our current laws, we can change them. Persistence is key; let’s make it common practice to utilize the opportunities of our brilliant governmental structure.

Resistance Resources:

  • American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) – Non-profit with a mission to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person.
  • UnitedWeDream  The Largest immigrant youth-led network in the United States.
  • FamiliesBelongTogether A Grassroots organization demanding an end to the harmful family separation policy.


This Brief was submitted by USRESIST NEWS Analyst J.R. Phillip:
justin@usresistnews.org

Image by Elias Castillo

DHS Ends TPS for 9,000 Nepalis

Brief #52 Immigration

April 24, 2018

Policy Summary

On Tuesday, April 24, The Washington Post reported that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is once again ending Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 9,000 Nepalis living in the United States legally under the program. DHS Secretary Kristjen Nielsen is allowing Nepali THS recipients to remain in the country for one year before they are forcibly removed, setting the official termination date to June 24, 2019. Nepalis now joins the ranks of Nicaraguans, Haitians, Liberians, and Salvadorans, who will also face deportation in 2018 and 2019 as DHS ends TPS for these populations as well. 9,000 citizens of Nepal came to the United States in 2015 after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake ravaged the South Asian republic, killing nearly 9,000 people, injuring 23,000 more, and destroying over 800,000 homes.

Analysis

The decision to end TPS for the Nepalis community has received less pushback than the decision to end TPS for Nicaraguans, Haitians,  Liberians and Salvadorans last year and earlier this year. Perhaps this is due to the fact that the population of Nepalis living in the US under TPS is considerably smaller than those from the aforementioned nations, and that most Nepalis are living in a concentrated area, settling in New York City. However, while this decision effects less people and may have a smaller geo-economic impact, the implications still matter; it is yet another moved made by the Trump administration to cleanse the US of immigrants for unfounded, bigoted, and unjust reasons.

Engagement Resources

Act with America’s Voice: America’s Voice is a progressive immigration reform nonprofit that advocates for full and equal rights of all immigrants. The organization runs numerous campaignsmaps incidents of hate against people of color, and assists with voter registration, amongst other activities essential to promoting equity for immigrant lives in the United States. You can make a contribution to America’s Voice here.

Support the Center for Migration Studies:  The Center for Migration Studies is a think-tank and educational institute devoted to the study of international migration, to the promotion of understanding between immigrants and receiving communities, and to public policies that safeguard the dignity and rights of migrants, refugees and newcomers. You can support the institute through purchasing its publications or attending an event.

Stay Up to Date with the National Immigration Forum:  The National Immigration Forum is a DC-based nonprofit that leads the nation in constructive conversation and advocacy for the value of immigrants and immigration. The Forum is currently running a program called Immigration 2020, a multi-constituency effort to ensure that new Americans have the opportunities, skills, and status they need to contribute to the United States and realize their maximum potential. Join the organization’s email list to stay up date on all things related to immigration policy.

Conservative SCOTUS Justices Appear to Be in Favor of Trump Travel Ban

Brief #51 Immigration

April 25, 2018

Policy Summary

On Wednesday, April 25, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) heard arguments over the Trump Travel ban in the case of Trump v. Hawaii. This case is going to decide if the third iteration of Trump’s travel ban is constitutional. The third and most current revision of the ban currently in place bars citizens from Syria, Libya, Iran, Yemen, Somalia, North Korea, and Venezuela from entering the country. (Chad was on the third travel ban but was removed before arguments in front of the Supreme Court took place.) SCOTUS is specifically taking a look at the restrictions placed on travelers from the first five of the seven aforementioned countries.

After the arguments, National Public Radio and The Washington Post both reported that Conservative SCOTUS justices appear to be siding with the Trump administration on the constitutionality of the travel ban. This notion is drawn largely from claims made by Justice Kennedy, who is often SCOTUS swing vote in spite of his conservative nature. Justice Kennedy repeatedly stated that the Court does not tend to question national security decisions made by a president, who tends to have more up-to-date and comprehensive knowledge on contemporary national security issues.

The Court is expected to release its decision on Trump v. Hawaii in early June.

Analysis

While Justice Kennedy isn’t wrong when he claims that the President in all likelihood has more insider knowledge on national security issues than the SCOTUS, it seems that he is neglecting to consider that it is up to him and the rest of the Supreme Court to decide on the constitutionality of the ban and not to decide the depth of the President’s knowledge on the topic of national security. The ban is solely founded on anti-Muslim sentiments fueled by false claims that all Muslims from the banned countries are terrorists and pose a threat to the security of the United States. If the Court rules in favor of Trump, it is upholding the fear-mongering tactics Trump has used to garner support for the ban, threatening American democracy, tolerance, and against Trump’s false word, safety.

Engagement Resources

Act with ACLU ActionACLU Action enables people to sign petitions and contact their representatives regarding pressing social and political matters. Through ACLU Action, you can add your name to the petition to call on Congress to rescind the travel ban immediately.

Support the National Immigration Law Center: Since 1979, NILC has been exclusively dedicated to defending immigrants with low income. Through impact litigation, policy analysis and advocacy, and strategic communications, NILC advances the rights of those who came here in search of a better life. You can support NILC’s mission by donating or attending one of their training or educational events.

Stay Up to Date with the National Immigration Forum: The National Immigration Forum is a DC-based nonprofit that leads the nation in constructive conversation and advocacy for the value of immigrants and immigration. The Forum is currently running a program called Immigration 2020, a multi-constituency effort to ensure that new Americans have the opportunities, skills, and status they need to contribute to the United States and realize their maximum potential. Join the organization’s email list to stay update on all things related to immigration policy.

 

Third Federal Judge Upholds DACA

Brief #50 Immigration

Policy Summary

On Wednesday, April 25, Judge John D. Bates became the third federal judge to uphold the DACA program, dealing a blow to Trump’s hard-lined anti-immigration policies, calling the administration’s decision to terminate the program capricious. In his decision, Judge Bates cited that the move to end DACA was unlawful because no rationale was provided in ending the program. Judge Bates gave the Department of Homeland Security 90 days to come up with a reason or reasons as to why DACA should be made illegal, otherwise the program will stand and DHS will be forced to accept and process DACA renewal applications.

Analysis

Once again, DACA recipients and immigration advocates can take a sigh of relief that federal judges are upholding the legality and necessity of the program, enabling Dreamers to remain in America as they continue to go to school, work, raise their families, and generally speaking, live their lives. Judge Bates was explicit in his demands for DHS to come up with a sound argument as to why DACA should be illegal, slapping a three-month timeframe on the demand, creating a sense of urgency for DHS, and in doing so became an advocate for Dreamers all over the country. However, Dreamers, their families, and advocates alike are going to have to monitor DHS over the next three months to act and react to how the administration may attempt to undermine DACA, and in doing so, threaten Dreamers and the American Dream, once again.

 Engagement Resources

Support Here to Stay: Here to Stay is a campaign run by United We Dream aimed at defending DACA. The organization hosts local Defend DACA rallies and other events, holds community calls, and provides resources for understanding DACA, as well as mental health resources for anyone who is affected by Trump’s decision to end DACA.

Take Action with the National Immigration Law Center: Since 1979, NILC has been exclusively dedicated to defending immigrants with low income. Through impact litigation, policy analysis and advocacy, and strategic communications, NILC advances the rights of those who came here in search of a better life. You can help NILC advance its mission by donating or attending one of their training or educational events.

Show Your Solidarity with the Immigrant Legal Resource Center: ILRC is a national nonprofit resource center that provides immigration legal trainings, technical assistance, and educational materials, as well as engages in advocacy and immigrant civic engagement to advance immigrant rights. You can show your solidarity with ILRC by making a contribution to the center or attending a virtual or in-person ILRC training.

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