Trump administration & Immigration 2017

Written by  //  October 9, 2017  //  Immigration/migration, U.S.  //  Comments Off on Trump administration & Immigration 2017

9 October
Trump’s border wall is a nonstarter for Democrats. He knows that.
(WaPost) When Democrats struck a tentative deal last month with the president to protect “dreamers” from deportations, they were skeptical that it would turn into anything real.
That skepticism was well founded. Either President Trump has changed his mind about shielding from deportation thousands of young undocumented immigrants in the country, or he never really wanted to do so in the first place. We know this because late Sunday, the administration released a wish list of immigration principles it wants in any deal. No. 1 is funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Except, the wall is a manifestation of everything Democrats despise about Trump and his hard-line immigration stances, simplistic policy ideas and identity-focused politics. Basically, it’s a total nonstarter for Democrats and their base. Trump knows this well.

14 September
(The Atlantic) DACA Dealings: Democrats in Congress announced they’d reached an agreement with President Trump on legislation that will preserve the protections of the DACA program in exchange for increasing border security—conditions that Trump confirmed on Twitter, though he insisted no “deal” had been made. It’s a marked reversal of the president’s previous hardline rhetoric on immigration, and it’s disappointed restrictionist leaders. Immigration advocates are hopeful but cautious about the agreement, since many of the details have yet to be worked out.

As Trump talks DACA deal with Democrats, GOP leaders try to reassert control
(WaPost)  Ryan dismissed the possible deal as preliminary discussions and insisted any agreement must have buy-in from GOP leaders.
Whether Trump does understand that, however, is unclear, and there was no sign Thursday that Republicans were on a path back to his negotiating table.
Trump bucks the trend, does the right thing for Dreamers
By Maria Cardona
(The Hill) Wednesday night, the Democratic minority leaders of the House and Senate, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), announced they had cut a deal with Donald Trump to protect the Dreamers and enshrine Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) protections into law, in exchange for a robust border security package that excludes building the physical wall.
Wow. Democrats and Dreamers were ecstatic, albeit confused. Republicans were just dumbfounded. … we know this president loves to change his mind. Let’s hope his love of winning, his priority for good press and the fact that he knows many in his base are still with him will be enough to see this deal through — finally.

6 September
Donald Trump ‘wasn’t aware what scrapping DACA would mean’ before deciding fate of 800,000 people
Officials expressed the concern as late as an hour before the policy was announced
(The Independent) Administration officials privately fretted that Mr Trump may have not understood exactly what effects rescinding DACA could have, according to a report from the New York Times.
Mr Trump’s administration has since then has attempted to cede responsibility for the policy, and said that it is now up to Congress to determine a legislative future for the program.
… In the first six months of his presidency, Mr Trump’s administration issued 57,069 deportation orders, an increase of 31 per cent over the same period the year prior when Barack Obama was still in office. Of those, 16,058 people fought and won their immigration cases, or had them closed, which allowed them to stay in the United States.

5 September
Donald Trump’s Cowardice on ‘Dreamers’
(NYT editorial) President Trump didn’t even have the guts to do the job himself. Instead, he hid in the shadows and sent his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, to do the dirty work of telling the country that the administration would no longer shield from deportation 800,000 young undocumented immigrants brought to this country as children.
Mr. Sessions, a longtime anti-immigrant hard-liner, was more than up to the task. In a short, disingenuous speech, he said a program set up by President Barack Obama in 2012 — known as DACA, for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals — was a lawless policy that “yielded terrible humanitarian consequences” and denied jobs to hundreds of thousands of American citizens. (Mr. Trump echoed these claims in a statement released by the White House.) Mr. Sessions called DACA “an unconstitutional exercise of authority” and said “failure to enforce the laws in the past has put our nation at risk of crime, violence and terrorism.”
False, false, false and false.
DACA recipients are not threats to public safety or national security; to the contrary, they must have a nearly spotless record to be eligible in the first place. They do not receive legal status in this country, only a two-year, renewable deferral of deportation along with a work permit and eligibility for other government benefits down the road. And they are not taking jobs from native-born Americans, whose declining levels of employment can be chalked up to other factors.
Trump Moves to End DACA and Calls on Congress to Act
(NYT) The blame-averse president told a confidante over the past few days that he realized that he had gotten himself into a politically untenable position. As late as one hour before the decision was to be announced, administration officials privately expressed concern that Mr. Trump might not fully grasp the details of the steps he was about to take, and when he discovered their full impact, would change his mind, according to a person familiar with their thinking who was not authorized to comment on it and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Trump administration announces end of immigration protection program for ‘dreamers’
(WaPost) The Trump administration announced Tuesday it would begin to unwind an Obama-era program that allows younger undocumented immigrants to live in the country without fear of deportation, calling the program unconstitutional but offering a partial delay to give Congress a chance to address the issue.
The decision, after weeks of intense deliberation between President Trump and his top advisers, represents a blow to hundreds of thousands of immigrants known as “dreamers” who have lived in the country illegally since they were children. But it also allows the White House to shift some of the pressure and burden of determining their future onto Congress, setting up a public fight over their legal status that is likely to be waged for months.
[Announcing the decision at the Justice Department, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said] “The program known as DACA that was effectuated [Yes, that’s what he said – ‘effectuated’] under the Obama administration is being rescinded,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced in a televised statement.
“President Trump released a written statement that cast President Obama’s creation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program as going beyond his constitutional responsibilities.
“There can be no path to principled immigration reform if the executive branch is able to rewrite or nullify federal laws at will,” Trump said” [Oh, the delicious irony!]

Microsoft President To Trump: To Deport A DREAMer, You’ll Have To Go Through Us
(NPR) The president of Microsoft, Brad Smith, took a notable stand. He said not only will his company lobby for a legislative solution but also that Microsoft is calling on Congress to make immigration the top priority, before tax reform. And he is calling on other business leaders to follow suit.
When President Trump was first elected, leaders in the tech industry were reluctant to criticize campaign pledges of his that went against their values and interests. They took a wait-and-see approach and grappled with how to be a successful multinational in an increasingly nationalistic world. Tuesday morning’s outpouring illustrates a clear shift in business leaders’ willingness to speak out against decisions by the administration.

Hispanic CEO resigns from Trump council, rips Dreamer decision
The president and CEO of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Conference resigned Tuesday from President Trump’s National Diversity Coalition.
In a blistering statement, Javier Palomarez ripped Trump’s “inhumane and economically harmful” decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that protects about 800,000 young people known as “Dreamers” from deportation.

31 August
Trump’s border wall moves forward with prototypes
(The Hill) The Department of Homeland Security announced Thursday the winners of a contest to build prototypes for sections of President Trump’s proposed border wall.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection Acting Deputy Commissioner Ronald D. Vitiello said four companies were chosen to build the prototypes, which are planned to be built in the San Diego area.
Vitiello said the prototypes are a “significant milestone” in Trump’s plan to build a wall on the border with Mexico.
The prototypes will be built out of concrete, 18 to 30 feet high and 30 feet long. Vitiello said they would each cost between “just under $400,000 and just under $500,000.”
Vitiello also said the wall would not span the entire border, but would be constructed “where it’s necessary, not along the whole border.”
Democrats successfully blocked wall funding in May’s omnibus spending bill, but $1.6 billion in wall funding was added to the homeland security budget in House appropriations bills that must still clear the Senate.

24 August
Do immigrants “steal” jobs from American workers?
(Brookings) Throughout his campaign and into his presidency, President Trump has promised to implement new immigration policies that will help improve the U.S. economy and job market.
A motivating factor behind Trump’s proposed policies—including the construction of a new U.S.- Mexico border wall, more border patrol agents, and stricter deportation policies–is his belief that immigrants are stealing job opportunities from American workers. … some argue that the work of these agents to protect against “job-stealing” immigrants may be in vain. As Brookings Senior Fellow Vanda Felbab-Brown explains in her new Brookings Essay, “The Wall,” immigrants may not actually be “stealing” as many U.S. jobs as Trump thinks. As she put it, “the impact of immigrant labor on the wages of native-born workers is low… However, undocumented workers often work the unpleasant, back-breaking jobs that native-born workers are not willing to do.”
But what about legal immigrants and high-skilled workers? Brookings Senior Fellow William Frey takes issue with a proposal from President Trump to cut quotas for legal immigration in half and to prioritize the entrance of those with high skills. He argues that “these [proposals] fly in the face of census statistics that show that current immigration levels are increasingly vital to the growth of much of America, and that recent arrivals are more highly skilled than ever before.” …
Brookings Senior Fellow Dany Bahar also examined the positive link between immigration and economic growth. Bahar explains that while immigrants represent about 15 percent of the general U.S. workforce, they account for around a quarter of entrepreneurs and a quarter of investors in the U.S. and that over one third of new firms have at least one immigrants entrepreneur in its initial leadership team.

21 August
Trump aides plot a big immigration deal — that breaks a campaign promise
(McClatchy) Donald Trump’s top aides are pushing him to protect young people brought into the country illegally as children — and then use the issue as a bargaining chip for a larger immigration deal — despite the president’s campaign vow to deport so-called Dreamers.
The White House officials want Trump to strike an ambitious deal with Congress that offers Dreamers protection in exchange for legislation that pays for a border wall and more detention facilities, curbs legal immigration and implements E-verify, an online system that allows businesses to check immigration status, according to a half-dozen people familiar with situation, most involved with the negotiations.
The 5-year-old program launched by the Obama administration and known as DACA — Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals — protects young people brought into the country illegally as children by their undocumented parents from deportation and allows them to attain work permits.
Ten states, led by Texas, have threatened to sue the U.S. government if it does not end the program by Sept. 5. They sent a letter, signed by nine Republican attorneys general and one Republican governor, from states including Kansas, South Carolina and Idaho. Another 20 states, led by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra urged Trump to refuse that request.
During the presidential campaign, Trump repeatedly said he would end the deferred deportation policy, calling it “amnesty” and an abuse of the president’s powers. But after inauguration, he not only failed to act but pledged to treat Dreamers with “great heart.”

8 August
California Crops Rot as Immigration Crackdown Creates Farmworker Shortage
(Fortune) Farmers say they’re having trouble hiring enough people to work during harvest season, causing some crops to rot before they can be picked. Already, the situation has triggered losses of more than $13 million in two California counties alone, according to NBC News.

3 August
U.S. immigration levels continue to fuel most community demographic gains
(Brookings) In endorsing a newly proposed bill, President Trump claims that legal immigration levels should be cut in half and that greater priority should be placed on those with high skills. Both of these claims fly in the face of census statistics that show that current immigration levels are increasingly vital to the growth of much of America, and that recent arrivals are more highly skilled than ever before. Current immigration is especially important for areas that are losing domestic migrants to other parts of the country including nearly half of the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas.

2 August
Trump Supports Plan to Cut Legal Immigration by Half
(NYT) President Trump embraced a proposal on Wednesday to slash legal immigration to the United States in half within a decade by sharply curtailing the ability of American citizens and legal residents to bring family members into the country.
The plan would enact the most far-reaching changes to the system of legal immigration in decades and represents the president’s latest effort to stem the flow of newcomers to the United States. Since taking office, he has barred many visitors from select Muslim-majority countries, limited the influx of refugees, increased immigration arrests and pressed to build a wall along the southern border.
The legislation would award points based on education, ability to speak English, high-paying job offers, age, record of achievement and entrepreneurial initiative. But while it would still allow spouses and minor children of Americans and legal residents to come in, it would eliminate preferences for other relatives, like siblings and adult children. The bill would create a renewable temporary visa for older-adult parents who come for caretaking purposes.. …
The number of immigrants granted legal residency on the basis of job skills, about 140,000, would remain roughly the same.
The senators said their bill was meant to emulate systems in Canada and Australia.

26 June
Agencies scramble to put travel ban in place
(The Hill) now that the Supreme Court has allowed it to partially take effect … Critics of the order are already warning that there could be a flood of litigation as the U.S. government determines who qualifies for the new criteria outlined by the high court.
The Supreme Court said that travelers who lack a bona fide relationship to a “person or entity” in the United States can be barred from entry once the order goes into effect on Thursday. Foreign nationals who can show they have a relationship to a person or entity will be allowed to enter the country.
Some of the examples cited in the decision include individuals who were accepted to a U.S. school or were hired to work for an American company.
The decision allows the administration to block travelers from Libya, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days, while halting entry for all refugees for 120 days.
“It is absolutely imperative that airlines receive clear and concise information, as well as sufficient time, to enable them to comply with those portions of the executive order for which the injunction was stayed,” said Perry Flint, head of corporate communications for [IATA]. …
Requiring officials to differentiate between travelers who have a connection to the U.S. and those who don’t could open the door to lawsuits, according to legal experts and critics.
Three of the justices dissented from the Supreme Court decision on Monday, predicting that the policy carved out by the court would prove “unworkable.”

Trump’s Partial Victory: The Supreme Court agreed to review President Trump’s proposed travel ban this October, and partially unblocked the administration from enforcing it in the meantime. Now, the administration can enforce the ban against foreign nationals from the six targeted countries “who lack any bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States,” but not against the students, employees, or family members of citizens and residents who would otherwise have been affected—and the delay means the case may be moot by the time the court considers it.

5 June
(The Atlantic) ‘Travel Ban’ Tweets: As his administration’s lawyers prepare to defend his executive order limiting travel to the U.S. from six Muslim-majority countries before the Supreme Court, the president risked undermining their case with a series of tweets criticizing the Justice Department and identifying the order as “what we need and what it is, a TRAVEL BAN!” Legal observers across the political spectrum criticized the tweets, including George Conway, the husband of Trump’s close adviser Kellyanne Conway, and one of the president’s finalists for the post of solicitor general. Conway emphasized that while he still supports Trump, he sees such impulsive comments as unwise and counterproductive. Many Republican leaders are facing the same dilemma.

25 May
4th Circuit Court Ruling Keeps Trump’s Travel Ban On Hold
(NPR) The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that President Trump’s controversial travel ban should be kept on hold, maintaining a nationwide preliminary injunction that blocks key elements of the executive order from being enforced.
A 13-judge panel of the court heard arguments over the ban earlier this month. In Thursday’s decision, the chief judge writes that the travel ban “drips with religious intolerance, animus, and discrimination.”

8 May
(Quartz) Judges weigh Trump’s revised travel ban. The 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Virginia will consider the administration’s case for its executive order suspending visas for people from six predominantly Muslim countries. Normally only three judges consider such appeals at first; this case, however, will go straight to the full 15-judge bench.

27 April
Immigration Woes: President Trump recently walked back his campaign promise to eliminate DACA, the Obama-era program that protects undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as kids. Yet a small number of DACA recipients have already been arrested, showing that they’re still at risk of deportation. And in the private sector, a new lawsuit against Wells Fargo claims the bank’s employees tried to meet sales quotas by targeting undocumented immigrants.

4-6 April
Cheap Indian engineers now have no place in Donald Trump’s America
There may be more trouble in the offing: Four immigration bills currently in the US Congress could further affect the H-1B programme.
(Quartz) Currently, these visas are heavily utilised by India’s $150-billion IT sector to fly relatively inexpensive engineers to the US.  … in order to secure an H-1B visa, companies must now prove that their employees possess specialised knowledge required for highly-skilled positions. Alongside, on April 03, the USCIS announced multiple measures to check H-1B visa fraud and abuse, including targeted visits to workplaces.
… Late last year, Infosys, the second-largest in the sector, too, signalled that it would look to hire local talent more aggressively in the US, a far cry from the turn of the decade when such companies were infamously called out for “body shopping“—i.e, hiring Indian software professionals to use them on short-term projects elsewhere.
Despite all such evasive action, though, the US clampdown will hurt the sector. “It’ll be a short-term jolt,” said Sanjoy Sen, a former Deloitte partner and doctoral researcher at UK’s Aston Business School, although the exact magnitude of the impact will depend on the size of the companies and their levels of preparation. Smaller firms with a headcount in the hundreds, in particular, may be harder hit, Sen said.
H-1B Visa Revamp Poised To Benefit Big U.S. Tech, Punish Outsourcers
The new way foreign worker visas are doled out in the U.S. is poised to benefit some of the biggest technology companies, like Alphabet Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Facebook Inc., while punishing outsourcing firms that developed a disproportionate dependence on the program.
The administration is increasing scrutiny on H-1B visa applications for low-level computer programmers, focusing enforcement on the heaviest users of the program, and warning applicants not to discriminate against American workers. The size and scope of the program remains unchanged for now.
Trump Cracks Down on H-1B Visa Program That Feeds Silicon Valley
(Bloomberg) The U.S. administration began to deliver on President Donald Trump’s campaign promise to crack down on a work visa program that channels thousands of skilled overseas workers to companies across the technology industry.
Fed up with a program it says favors foreign workers at the expense of Americans, the Trump administration rolled out a trio of policy shifts. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency on Friday made it harder for companies to bring overseas tech workers to the U.S. using the H-1B work visa. On Monday, the agency issued a memo laying out new measures to combat what it called “fraud and abuse” in the program. The Justice Department also warned employers applying for the visas not to discriminate against U.S. workers.
Quartz: America’s H-1B visa applications open. A popular visa for foreign tech workers, the permit for skilled US jobs hit its 85,000 cap in less than a week last year after the application process began. This year, amid immigration tensions, the option to expedite the application for a $1,225 fee has been frozen.
The cap will be exceeded, which means that the visas that allows US companies to temporarily employ workers in specialty professions will be awarded based on a random lottery for a fifth consecutive year.
Foreign-born workers comprise nearly 17% of the US labor force. While they work in various sectors, the H-1B is especially popular in tech. Nearly two-thirds of the H-1B visas allocated in 2014 went to those in computer-related occupations

20 March
No African citizens granted visas for African trade summit in California
Every single African citizen who requested a visa was rejected, according to the organizer of the African Global Economic and Development Summit
The African Global Economic and Development Summit, a three-day conference at the University of Southern California (USC), typically brings delegations from across Africa to meet with business leaders in the US in an effort to foster partnerships. But this year, every single African citizen who requested a visa was rejected, according to organizer Mary Flowers.
“I don’t know if it’s Trump or if it’s the fact that the embassies that have been discriminating for a long time see this as an opportunity, because of talk of the travel ban, to blatantly reject everyone,” Flowers said in an interview on Monday. “These trade links create jobs for both America and Africa. It’s unbelievable what’s going on.”

15-16 March
(The Atlantic) Ban There, Done That: After a federal judge in Hawaii blocked the revised version of Trump’s travel ban last night, a judge in Maryland quickly followed suit, both of them ruling—largely based on statements made by Trump aides out of court—that the new executive order was essentially the same as the old one. Trump himself more or less confirmed that with his comments during a rally last night, which doesn’t help his situation in court. But White House messaging aside, there’s still a strong enough legal case for the ban to succeed—and for that matter, a ruling that leans too heavily on signals sent by the president may set a dangerous precedent.

Federal Judge Blocks Trump’s Latest Travel Ban Nationwide
(NYT) A federal judge in Hawaii issued a nationwide order Wednesday evening blocking President Trump’s ban on travel from parts of the Muslim world, dealing a stinging blow to the White House and signaling that Mr. Trump will have to account in court for his heated rhetoric about Islam.
The ruling was the second major setback for Mr. Trump in his pursuit of a policy he has trumpeted as critical for national security. His first attempt to sharply limit travel from a handful of predominantly Muslim countries ended in a courtroom fiasco last month, when a federal court in Seattle halted it.
But in a pointed decision that repeatedly invoked Mr. Trump’s public comments, the judge, Derrick K. Watson of Federal District Court in Honolulu, wrote that a “reasonable, objective observer” would view even the new order as “issued with a purpose to disfavor a particular religion, in spite of its stated, religiously neutral purpose.”
Trump on Travel Ban Ruling: ‘Go Back to the First One’
(Bloomberg) Reaction to the ruling was swift.
“Let me tell you something: I think we should go back to the first one and go all the way,” President Donald Trump said at a rally in Nashville. “This ruling makes us look weak.”
“This is a major setback for President Trump,” said Stephen Yale-Loehr, who teaches immigration law at Cornell Law School. “President Trump and his advisers should think long and hard before trying to impose a travel ban a third time. They may strike out.”
Trump immigration policies kill work visas for specialized Canadian nurses
Advanced practice nurses and nurse anesthetists told they no longer qualify for professional visas

6 March
Trump’s New Travel Ban Blocks Migrants From Six Nations, Sparing Iraq
(NYT) President Trump signed an executive order on Monday blocking citizens of six predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States, the most significant hardening of immigration policy in generations, even with changes intended to blunt legal and political opposition.
The order was revised to avoid the tumult and protests that engulfed the nation’s airports after Mr. Trump signed his first immigration directive on Jan. 27. …
The new order continued to impose a 90-day ban on travelers, but it removed Iraq, a redaction requested by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who feared it would hamper coordination to defeat the Islamic State, according to administration officials.
It also exempts permanent residents and current visa holders, and drops language offering preferential status to persecuted religious minorities, a provision widely interpreted as favoring other religious groups over Muslims. In addition, it reversed an indefinite ban on refugees from Syria, replacing it with a 120-day freeze that requires review and renewal.

27 February
(The Atlantic) Borders, Patrolled: On a flight from San Francisco to New York City last week, deplaning passengers were required to show ID to agents of Customs and Border Patrol (CBP). The agents likely didn’t have any legal authority to enforce the demand—but the effect on citizens’ freedoms is still worrying. Also worrying is recent news of CBP agents requesting digital passwords from detained travelers at the border—especially since CBP could retain those records for up to 75 years.

26 February
Immigration Agents Discover New Freedom to Deport Under Trump
In Virginia, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents waited outside a church shelter where undocumented immigrants had gone to stay warm. In Texas and in Colorado, agents went into courthouses, looking for foreigners who had arrived for hearings on other matters.
At Kennedy International Airport in New York, passengers arriving after a five-hour flight from San Francisco were asked to show their documents before they were allowed to get off the plane.
The Trump administration’s far-reaching plan to arrest and deport vast numbers of undocumented immigrants has been introduced in dramatic fashion over the past month. And much of that task has fallen to thousands of ICE officers who are newly emboldened, newly empowered and already getting to work.
French Historian Says He Was Threatened With Deportation at Houston Airport
Henry Rousso, a French historian and one of the most pre-eminent scholars on the Holocaust, said he was detained for more than 10 hours by federal border agents in Houston and told he would not be allowed to enter the United States before lawyers intervened to stop his deportation.
Australian children’s author Mem Fox detained by US border control: ‘I sobbed like a baby’
Author of Possum Magic was aggressively questioned for two hours over her visa status and later received an apology for her treatment by border guards

14 February
Ninth Circuit May Rehear Trump’s Travel-Ban Case
(National Review) At least one judge on the Ninth Circuit has requested reconsideration in the matter of State of Washington and Minnesota v. President Trump. The Ninth Circuit chief judge issued an order Friday stating that an unnamed judge among the 29 active members of the circuit court has requested an en banc hearing — meaning that eleven judges or possibly the entire panel would hear the case, rather than the select three-judge panel that issued the 3-0 ruling against Trump’s executive order. Procedurally, any judge on the circuit court may sua sponte — on the judge’s own initiative without a party asking or moving the court through any written pleadings — request a reconsideration before a fuller bench, rather than the select panel.
The court’s February 10 order requires the parties to file briefs by 11:00 a.m. Pacific time on Thursday, February 16, arguing their respective positions only on whether the matter should be reconsidered before the fuller panel. Importantly, amicus (or “friend of the court”) briefs may also be filed by interested organizations on either side, seeking to advise the court whether or not to grant a rehearing. –– ADVERTISEMENT

13 February
The only way to get into America is through this 60,000 strong, pro-Trump armed force
(Quartz) As part of the US Department of Homeland Security’s largest law enforcement body, the 60,000 employees of the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are tasked with policing the migration of goods and people in and out of the country, with two-thirds of them manning border crossings, airports, and ports. The agency is part of the executive branch of government, which means it answers to the White House—and is subject to the same checks and balances, from the legislative and judiciary branches, as the administration.
But in the wake of Trump’s attempted policy change on immigration, CBP officers refused to comply with a Brooklyn court order, issued hours after the president’s executive action, that temporarily blocked travelers nationwide from being deported. They also ignored demands from other federal judges that the CBP let travelers see lawyers.
The initial ban was hugely popular among CBP officers, who backed Trump in large numbers during the election and affirmed their support in the wake of the executive action on immigration. … The CBP itself called the executive order “lawful and appropriate,” even after the federal courts ordered it be stayed.

12 February
A US-born NASA scientist was detained at the border until he unlocked his phone
(The Verge) Bikkannavar says he was detained by US Customs and Border Patrol and pressured to give the CBP agents his phone and access PIN. Since the phone was issued by NASA, it may have contained sensitive material that wasn’t supposed to be shared.
His ordeal also took place at a time of renewed focus on the question of how much access CBP can have to a traveler’s digital information, whether or not they’re US citizens: in January, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) filed complaints against CBP for demanding that Muslim American citizens give up their social media information when they return home from overseas. And there’s evidence that that kind of treatment could become commonplace for foreign travelers.

9 February
Trump furious after court upholds block on travel ban
(CNN Politics) President Donald Trump’s travel ban will remain blocked, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday.
The unanimous ruling from a three-judge panel means that citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries will continue to be able to travel to the US, despite Trump’s executive order last month.
It is a significant political setback to Trump’s new administration and raises questions about how the courts will view his apparent vision for an expansive use of executive power from the Oval Office on which he is anchoring the early weeks of his presidency.
Trump immediately tweeted his reaction to the ruling: “SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!”

3 Fronts in Legal Battle Over Trump’s Immigration Order
Opponents of President Trump’s targeted travel ban opened a three-pronged attack on Monday, telling the federal appeals court in San Francisco that the ban is a threat to the rule of law, to the nation’s security and to the economy.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit will soon decide whether to stay a trial court’s order blocking the ban. … US tech firms officially objected to Trump’s immigration ban. Ninety-seven tech companies, including Netflix, Twitter, Apple, and Facebook filed an amicus brief on Sunday night, which argues that the president’s executive order is illegal, discriminatory, and “inflicts significant harm on American business, innovation, and growth.”

4 February
Appeals Court Rejects Request to Immediately Restore Travel Ban
(NYT) A federal appeals court early Sunday rejected a request by the Justice Department to immediately restore President Trump’s targeted travel ban, deepening a legal showdown over his authority to tighten the nation’s borders in the name of protecting Americans from terrorism.
In the legal back and forth over the travel ban, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco said a reply from the Trump administration was now due on Monday.
The ruling meant that travelers from seven predominantly Muslim nations — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — as well as vetted refugees from all nations could, for now, continue to enter the country. Those foreigners had been barred by an executive order signed by the president on Jan. 27.
After a Federal District Court in Seattle blocked Mr. Trump’s order nationwide on Friday, the Justice Department appealed the ruling late Saturday, saying that the president had the constitutional authority to order the ban and that the court ruling “second-guesses the president’s national security judgment.”
The legal maneuvering led Mr. Trump to lash out at Judge James Robart of the Federal District Court in Seattle throughout the day, prompting criticism that the president had failed to respect the judicial branch and its power to check on his authority.
In a Twitter post on Saturday, Mr. Trump wrote, “The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!”

3 February

Full Executive Order Text: Trump’s Action Limiting Refugees Into the U.S.

President Trump signed an executive order on Friday titled “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States.” Following is the language of that order, as supplied by the White House

The little-noticed bombshell in Trump’s immigration order
The travel ban got all the headlines, but experts are realizing another provision could clamp down on normal tourism and even diplomats.
(Politico) The little-noticed section, appearing immediately after the travel ban, calls for the government to develop a “uniform screening standard and procedure” for all individuals seeking to enter the United States. As written, it appears to require all visitors to go through the same vetting measures, regardless of where they come from or how long they intend to stay.
If interpreted as broadly as it’s written, “It would basically shut down tourism,” said Stephen Legomsky, the former chief counsel for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services during the Obama administration.
The implications of the order as written are so extreme that most lawyers are convinced that the Trump administration will not adhere to its literal meaning; as with other sections of the order, they expect the White House to stray from the drafted language. But such uncertainty has left lawyers baffled about what the interpretation will actually look like, and wondering whether Trump and his top advisors really do intend to upend the U.S. immigration system—and possibly disrupt global travel altogether.

Former Norway PM held at Washington airport over 2014 visit to Iran
Kjell Magne Bondevik describes shock after being held and questioned at Dulles hub under new US entry controls
(The Guardian) Bondevik said Dulles officials told him he had been detained because of a 2015 law signed by Barack Obama that placed restrictions on travellers from those seven countries, or travellers from elsewhere who had recently visited those countries.
Harvard Files Amicus Brief in Case Against Immigration Ban
Harvard and seven other Massachusetts universities have filed a friend-of-the-court brief in Louhghalam v. Trump, one of the lawsuits challenging President Donald J. Trump’s executive order banning travel and immigration from seven predominantly Muslim nations.
The lawsuit, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, is broad in scope, calling for a full repeal of the executive order. Harvard and other universities argue in the amicus brief that the ban threatens their academic mission: Read the full text of the brief here.

30 January
Harvard president hits back at Trump’s immigration ban: ‘Nearly half of the deans of Harvard’s schools are immigrants’
(Business Insider) Harvard President Drew Faust criticized President Donald Trump’s immigration ban in an email to the Harvard community on Sunday, The Harvard Crimson reported.
“Nearly half of the deans of Harvard’s schools are immigrants — from India, China, Northern Ireland, Jamaica, and Iran,” she wrote. “Benefiting from the talents and energy, the knowledge and ideas of people from nations around the globe is not just a vital interest of the University; it long has been, and it fully remains, a vital interest of our nation.”

29 January
More Republicans chastise Trump over executive order
After holding back, a growing number of GOP lawmakers came out Sunday in opposition to his refugee directive. But many remarks were pretty tepid and/or self-serving.
(Politico) … new statements in full support of Trump were in short supply on Sunday. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said in a joint statement that they oppose interpretations of the order that barred green-card holders, interpreters and vetted refugees from entering the United States. They also said that Trump’s “executive order may do more to help terrorist recruitment than improve our security.” Still, they did not outline concrete steps to overturn Trump’s actions via legislation, investigations or congressional hearings.
“We fear this executive order will become a self-inflicted wound in the fight against terrorism,” they said. “This executive order sends a signal, intended or not, that America does not want Muslims coming into our country.”
‘Astonishing incompetence’: Legal experts utterly shred Trump’s Muslim ban
While the White House has not given a reason for the secretive surprise implementation of this ban, many suspect the experts were not consulted because most national security experts think that the ban will make America less safe.
The root cause of this sloppy work is clear: none of the relevant branches of federal government had any input on its creation. The document was not seen by the Justice Department, State Department, Dept. of Defense, or the DHS until after it was finished. The Dept. of Homeland Security didn’t get to make a legal analysis on the order until after it had been implemented.
White House Official, in Reversal, Says Green Card Holders Won’t Be Barred
(NYT) But the official, Reince Priebus, the White House chief of staff, also said that border agents had “discretionary authority” to detain and question suspicious travelers from certain countries. That statement seemed to add to the uncertainty over how the executive order will be interpreted and enforced in the days ahead.
Customs And Border Officials Defy Court Order On Lawful Residents
Customs officials aren’t letting green card holders talk to lawyers.

28 January
Judge Blocks Part of Trump’s Immigration Ban After His Own Lawyers Can’t Justify It
(The Daily Beast) Federal judge stays part of Trump’s immigration ban after flustered U.S. Attorney admits government didn’t have time to think through “important legal issues.”
White House Defends Immigrant Ban After Travelers Stopped
(Bloomberg) President Donald Trump defended his order suspending refugee resettlements in the U.S. and barring entry to people from from Iraq, Syria and five other Middle East nations, as confusion broke out at airports around the world and government agencies and airlines tried to interpret the new rules.
“It’s not a Muslim ban,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. “We were totally prepared. It’s working out very nicely. You see it at the airports, you see it all over. It’s working out very nicely.”
Judge grants stay against part of Trump’s immigration order
(PBS NewsHour) A federal court in New York granted a stay against President Donald Trump’s executive order halting entry of immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries, the American Civil Liberties Union confirmed Saturday night.
The ACLU filed a complaint Saturday on behalf of two Iraqi citizens, Hameed Khalid Darweesh and Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi, who both were issued U.S. visas prior to Friday’s executive order and were held at the John F. Kennedy International Airport upon arrival to the U.S.
Trump’s Immigration Ban Ruptures Truce with Business, as Tech Leaders Speak Out
(Fortune) President Trump and top business leaders settled into an uneasy detente after his shock-victory in November. It began to fray Saturday, when a handful of tech executives spoke out against Trump’s order banning U.S. entry to immigrants from seven majority-Muslim countries.
Dissent started trickling in from Silicon Valley chiefs as the extent of the ban, issued late Friday afternoon, became clear. With green card-holding employees left stranded abroad—and news reports dominated by reports of refugees from war zones getting detained in American airports—execs from Google, Facebook, Apple, Lyft, and Uber voiced varying degrees of alarm. (Bloomberg) Google Recalls Staff to U.S. After Trump Immigration Order

refugees_no-safe-havenNo safe haven in America. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

On Holocaust Remembrance Day, president Donald Trump repeated one of the US’s most tragic errors
(Quartz) On the morning of yesterday’s Holocaust Remembrance Day—when the world pauses to honor the millions killed by the Nazis, and promises to never forget the horrific event—US president Donald Trump made a promise: “In the name of the perished, I pledge to do everything in my power throughout my Presidency, and my life, to ensure that the forces of evil never again defeat the powers of good. Together, we will make love and tolerance prevalent throughout the world.”
Yet only hours later he moved in the opposite direction. With an executive order, he shut the United States to all refugees for the next four months, and to Syrian refugees indefinitely, and he imposed a 90-day ban on entry to the US from seven Muslim-majority nations. Already, people are being stopped and refused entry at US airports. The US may decide to block refugees from some countries entirely in the future, and could expand the list of countries subject to “extreme vetting” or to a total refugee ban.
Trump’s Order Blocks Immigrants at Airports, Stoking Fear Around Globe
President Trump’s executive order on immigration quickly reverberated through the United States and across the globe on Saturday, slamming the border shut for an Iranian scientist headed to a lab in Boston, an Iraqi who had worked as an interpreter for the United States Army, and a Syrian refugee family headed to a new life in Ohio, among countless others.
Around the nation, security officers at major international gateways had new rules to follow. Humanitarian organizations scrambled to cancel long-planned programs, delivering the bad news to families who were about to travel. Refugees who were airborne on flights when the order was signed were detained at airports.
Reports rapidly surfaced Saturday morning of students attending American universities who were blocked from getting back into the United States from visits abroad. One student said in a Twitter post that he would be unable to study at Yale. Another who attends the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was refused permission to board a plane. Stanford University was reportedly working to help a Sudanese student return to California.
Human rights groups reported that legal permanent residents of the United States who hold green cards were being stopped in foreign airports as they sought to return from funerals, vacations or study abroad — a clear indication that Mr. Trump’s directive is being applied broadly.
Canadian dual citizens from Muslim-majority countries in Trump’s travel ban won’t be allowed into U.S.
(Globe & Mail) Shahin Sayadi founded Halifax’s Onelight Theatre, which produces and tours shows around the world. He, along with his wife and kids, moved to Los Angeles a few months ago. He is still Onelight’s artistic director, a position that requires international travel.
But now Mr. Sayadi, who immigrated to Canada from Iran 30 years ago, is afraid to leave the United States even though he has the right to live and work there. President Donald Trump’s executive order Friday barring citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the U.S. has created panic and confusion around the globe, and Mr. Sayadi is among those caught in the chaos.
Donald Trump Muslim ban will keep Oscar-nominated director Asghar Farhadi from 2017 ceremony
Nationals from seven Muslim countries will be refused access to the United States
In Iran, Shock and Bewilderment Over Trump Visa Crackdown
(NYT) The order is expected to freeze almost all travel to the United States by citizens from the Muslim-majority countries of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for at least 90 days. Three of those countries are considered sponsors of terrorism (Iran, Sudan and Syria), and three are designated countries of concern (Libya, Somalia and Yemen).
Passport-holders from those countries, who have American visas but are outside the United States, will not be permitted to return.
“We only want to admit those who will support our country and love deeply our people,” Mr. Trump said on Friday before signing the order at the Pentagon. “We will never forget the lessons of 9/11, nor the heroes who lost their lives at the Pentagon.”(The 19 hijackers implicated in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack came from Egypt, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. None of those countries will be subject to what Mr. Trump described as “new vetting measures.”)

27 January
Experts skeptical that limiting refugees would deter terrorism
(PBS NewsHour) … is the move by President Trump an effective form of deterrence? Antonio Mora talks with Reuel Marc Gerecht, former CIA case officer, now a senior fellow with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and Daniel Benjamin, former ambassador-at-large and coordinator for counterterrorism at the State Department during the Obama administration. He’s now at Dartmouth College.
Daniel Benjamin: Since 9/11, there hasn’t been a single case of a terrorist coming in from outside the country to carry out an attack. And so it’s really hard to believe that this executive order is going to improve on the very, very good job that our immigration system does right now. That system has been improved dramatically since 9/11. Applicants for visas or to immigrate here are screened many times against many databases with all kinds of information that might tell us something about them, and I don’t think that this is going to in any way help. And, if anything, it will send the wrong signal and might undermine our security by further disturbing Muslim communities here at home about their feeling and increase their feeling of isolation and embattlement.
The Disastrous Consequences of Trump’s New Immigration Rules
With the stroke of a pen, the president has seriously jeopardized America’s safety and standing.
(Politico) The order signed on Friday calls for a temporary ban on visas for individuals from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia; a 120-day suspension of the resettlement of all refugees; and an indefinite ban on the resettlement of Syrian refugees.
It is hard to find any real basis for this action. …  over the past decade and a half, U.S. immigration enforcement has improved vastly to the point where it bears scant resemblance to the system whose vulnerabilities were exposed on 9/11. Travelers from all over the world are screened three or more times, with their names run through databases that draw on staggering amounts of intelligence and law enforcement information. The process flags all manner of misdeeds or suspicious information.
… We had one near miss more than seven years ago on Christmas Day of 2009 with Umar Farouk Abdulmuttalab, the so-called “underwear bomber,” which led to another round of improvements in the visa process. Since then it has been doing an excellent job in keeping out those who would cause Americans harm
There has not been a single terrorism-related death caused by foreign operatives coming into the country since 9/11. From Fort Hood to Orlando, jihadist killings have been the work of American citizens and green card holders. The strong consensus in the counterterrorism community remains that the principal danger today continues to come from homegrown extremists.

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