JWG via DTN 15 January 2023 JT and Rae have been reading the tar baby saga and are trying hard…
Trump administration & Immigration 2018- April 2019
“He Actually Prefers the Chaos”: Stephen Miller, Immigration Warlord, Emerges from the Shadows
Never-ending battles with the courts and immigration advocates, and calculated displays of extreme callousness, are part of his scheme. But what will happen if Trump realizes he’s the border crisis?
(Vanity Fair) As I have previously reported, Miller has been building networks of influence inside the Trump administration…. At the same time, Miller and his acolytes have been developing increasingly radical policies to circumvent current immigration law. … Nielsen, who reportedly made a habit of raising legal concerns with some of Trump’s harsher immigration policies, became an impediment.The trouble for Miller, of course, is twofold. First, Trump’s policies have not proven to be effective deterrents—not even child separation. Notably, border apprehensions surged in March to more than 100,000, a 12-year high, 67 percent of which were children and people traveling as families. At the same time, Miller has lost a scapegoat and a shield with Nielsen. The more he remakes D.H.S. in his image, the greater his responsibility to deliver results.
Already, Miller’s goodwill with his boss appears to be eroding, ever so slightly. When asked by reporters if he intended to elevate Miller to the head of D.H.S., Trump praised his senior adviser as “a brilliant man” but in the next breath put Miller in his place. “Frankly, there’s only one person that’s running it,” Trump said. “You know who that is? It’s me.” Then you have Jared Kushner reportedly waiting in the wings to take on a bigger role in shaping immigration policy. And as we know, family trumps all in Trumpworld.
The latest Stephen Miller revelations require a tougher Democratic response
(WaPo) … while Miller’s worldview has obviously been important in shaping Trump’s policies, his influence should be understood in another way, too: He is one of the leading figures pushing the Trump administration toward increasing venality, corruption and lawlessness. … The Post reports that White House officials “tried to pressure U.S. immigration authorities” to release detained immigrants into “sanctuary cities” to “retaliate” against Trump’s “political adversaries.”
Max Boot: End the charade. Appoint Stephen Miller to run DHS.
Rather than appoint another outsider who will never live down to his expectations, Trump should nominate as her successor the actual mastermind of the administration’s immigration policies: White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller.
This is the 33-year-old wunderkind who orchestrated the Muslim travel ban … He even went so far as to deny that the Emma Lazarus poem inscribed on the Statue of Liberty — “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” — represents the spirit of America. Miller has further ambitions such as ending “birthright citizenship” and slashing legal immigration. He should assume formal, legal responsibility for this un-American approach.
Business Insider: Before Nielsen’s abrupt resignation, hardline Trump adviser Stephen Miller was reportedly handed total control of border policy
The Washington Post reported Friday that the president recently told Miller he was in charge of all immigration and border affairs.
If You Are Defending Stephen Miller, You Are an Ally of Anti-Semitism
(New York) Stephen Miller is personally responsible for the most xenophobic policies of the most xenophobic presidency in modern American history. The senior White House adviser authored the travel ban that denied a wide variety of American Muslims the right to be visited by their overseas relatives. He implored the president to adopt a policy of family separation at the southern border, arguing that Central American families would be less likely to seek asylum in the United States if the U.S. government gained a reputation for subjecting their children to psychological torment. The public hated this policy, and the judiciary struck it down. Meanwhile, the Trump administration proved itself incapable of competently administering the program: the U.S. government ended up losing track of thousands of migrant children and allowing others to be legally adopted by U.S. citizens without their birth parents’ consent.
… he has tried to ban Chinese students from American universities and pushed for the deportation of Vietnamese refugees who have been in the United States for decades — a policy with no national-security, economic, or assimilationist rationale. We also know that Miller reportedly told a colleague, “I would be happy if not a single refugee foot ever again touched American soil”; and a middle-school classmate, that they couldn’t be friends anymore because of the classmate’s “Latino heritage.” And we know that he wrote in his high-school yearbook, quoting Teddy Roosevelt, “There can be no fifty-fifty Americanism in this country. There is room here for only 100 percent Americanism, only for those who are Americans and nothing else.”
Given all this, it seems both fair to describe Miller as a white nationalist and nearly impossible to ascribe a non-racist motivation to his political behavior.
Trump Just Purged DHS Because Its Leaders Weren’t Breaking the Law Enough
If Nielsen and Cissna were not sufficiently extreme, it is alarming to consider what might come after them. With their ousters, DHS is entering a new era, one in which the agency will do whatever Donald Trump and Stephen Miller think it can get away with.
(Slate) Call it the Monday Afternoon Massacre. After firing Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen on Sunday, President Donald Trump purged the agency’s senior management on Monday. According to CBS News, Trump secured the resignation of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Lee Cissna, DHS Undersecretary for Management Claire Grady, and DHS General Counsel John Mitnick. He also fired U.S. Secret Service Director Randolph “Tex” Alles. Trump adviser Stephen Miller, an immigration hard-liner, reportedly masterminded the DHS purge as part of an effort to crack down on immigration at the southern border. Just how much worse, though, can Trump’s immigration policies get? The president, after all, persuaded Nielsen to carry out Trump’s ghastly family separation policy at the southern border (while publicly claiming that the policy did not exist). During her tenure, Nielsen also designed a plan that strictly limited the number of asylum-seekers allowed to enter the United States. And she implemented what was ultimately ruled to be an unlawful policy to prevent immigrants from applying for asylum if they entered the country illegally. The New York Times reports that Nielsen drew the line at Trump’s “clearly illegal” demands, including “blocking all migrants from seeking asylum.” She also reportedly refused to resume family separations, despite Trump’s entreaties, because she did not want to violate a court order that currently prohibits the practice.
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen leaving Trump administration amid surge of migrants
(WaPo) The president said in a tweet that Kevin McAleenan, the commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, will be the acting replacement for Ms. Nielsen. By installing McAleenan, a career U.S. Customs and Border Protection official who was confirmed as commissioner in 2017 by a wide margin, the White House has put the country’s top border security official at the head of the Department of Homeland Security.
McAleenan is generally well-liked by leaders in both parties and is viewed as a neutral, technocratic law enforcement official, rather than an immigration hawk.
During the past week, Trump has grappled with a response to the surge of migrants at the border, most notably by threatening to close off the U.S.-Mexico border but backing off within days after pleas from business leaders and Republican lawmakers who warned that a border closure could be devastating to the economy.
(NYT) In early 2019, as the number of migrant families from Central American countries surged to unprecedented levels, the president’s fury at Ms. Nielsen did, too. He repeatedly demanded that she cut off foreign aid to the Central American countries even though the funding was the responsibility of the State Department. She repeatedly deflected his demands.
One day after Ms. Nielsen traveled to Honduras to sign a regional compact with officials from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, Mr. Trump cut State Department funding for the Central American countries and threatened to seal off the United States border with Mexico.
Trump Directs State Dept. to End Aid to 3 Central American Countries
(NYT) President Trump said on Friday that there would be a “very good likelihood” that he would seal off the United States border with Mexico next week, even as he moved to punish Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador for migrant caravans by cutting off all foreign aid to the countries..
“I will close the border if Mexico doesn’t get with it,” Mr. Trump said.
Mr. Trump’s decision to end the aid to the Central American countries is likely to anger members of Congress from both parties, who have supported spending money to try to address the root causes of the violence that has caused migrants to flee those countries to come to the United States.
The southern border is experiencing a “humanitarian catastrophe,” according to Kirstjen Nielsen, the Homeland Security secretary.
She urged Congress to support the president’s border wall, although it was not clear how that would solve the humanitarian crisis. Her testimony came as the number of migrants crossing the border without authorization reached an 11-year high in February. And now, new data shows that 245 children have been newly removed from their families since a federal judge ordered the government to halt routine separations. U.S. Continues to Separate Migrant Families Despite Rollback of Policy
The Senate is poised to overturn the president’s national emergency declaration this week. The only question: how big the Senate margin will be.
Trump on brink of defeat on border emergency
Just one more Senate Republican is needed to block Trump’s emergency declaration, though even critics are reluctant to buck the president.
(Politico) Numerous Senate Republicans say that they despise Trump’s decision to declare a national emergency to get additional funding for his wall. But most aren’t ready to say they will vote to block him from doing so.
Dems Won This Fight On the Border. What About the Next One?
(Politico) It is clear to almost every political observer who has watched the events of the past few days unfold that on this fight, Democrats won and Trump lost.
But as a matter of both policy and strategy, is just saying “no”—as Democrats did in these negotiations—a sustainable long-term approach to dealing with Trump? Is it enough to simply block his immigration objectives, or do Democrats need to come up with an alternative policy of their own? And just what should that policy be?
Report: Missing Migrant Children Being Funneled Through Christian Adoption Agency
The Trump administration says it can’t reunite missing migrant children with their families; instead, many of the children are being shipped to a Christian adoption agency with ties to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos
In fact, there is already in place a huge and thriving business in the trafficking of children via Christian adoption agencies like the DeVos connected Bethany. In her 2013 book, The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking, and the New Gospel of Adoption, Kathryn Joyce documents this alarming trend of conservative Christians adopting children removed from their natural parents via nefarious means to feed the business of Christian adoption and serve the agenda of Christian theocracy.
Trump Administration Argues It Could Be ‘Traumatic’ to Reunite Thousands of Migrant Children With Their Parents
(Newsweek) Court filings by the Trump administration’s Health and Human Services (HHS) Department have argued that it could be “traumatic” to remove migrant children from sponsors homes and reunite them with their parents, suggesting that such action “would present grave child welfare concerns.”
The Cities Refugees Saved
In the cities where the most refugees per capita were settled since 2005, the newcomers helped stem or reverse population loss.
(The Atlantic) the effects of the Trump-era refugee policy don’t just affect individual families. In Buffalo, New York—another Rust Belt city that has been reinvigorated by new residents from refugee communities—medical clinics have closed down, housing developments have stalled, and employers have been left looking for employees, The Buffalo News reported. The loss for refugees hoping to come to America appears to also be a loss for the communities they might have called home
The biggest argument for refugee resettlement is that it is a moral imperative, many advocates argue. Refugees are human beings fleeing terrible circumstances; assisting them is just the right thing to do. Foes of taking refugees—most notoriously, White House advisor Stephen Miller, who is quoted as saying that he would “be happy if not a single refugee foot ever touched American soil again” in a new book by a former White House communication aide—point to the perceived costs and dangers of taking in more. Past analyses shows little basis to that fear. In fact, cities with large refugee populations have seen drops in crime, per a previous NAE’s analysis. And according to NBC News, an intelligence assessment that included inputs from the FBI concluded that refugees did not pose a major national security threat. The Trump administration dismissed its findings.
In Trump’s Immigration Announcement, a Compromise Snubbed All Around
Immigrant advocates denounced it as cruel. The conservative right howled that it was amnesty.
What President Trump billed on Saturday as a compromise to end the country’s longest government shutdown pleased neither the Democratic congressional leaders whose buy-in he needs to strike a deal nor the core supporters whose backing has always been at the heart of his insistence on a border wall. … While the original idea had been to include protections for as many as 1.8 million undocumented immigrants eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, Mr. Trump ultimately proposed shielding only the 700,000 who are enrolled
Family Separation May Have Hit Thousands More Migrant Children Than Reported
Thousands of children may have been separated during an influx that began in 2017, before the accounting required by the court, the report said.
(NYT) Thus, the total number of children separated from a parent or guardian by immigration authorities is “unknown,” because of the lack of a coordinated formal tracking system between the Office of Refugee Resettlement, the arm of Health and Human Services that takes in the children, and the Department of Homeland Security, which separated them from their parents.
Infants and toddlers were among the children who were put into foster homes or migrant children shelters, often hundreds or thousands of miles away from where their parents were detained. Under separate policies, the administration also made it difficult for relatives other than the children’s parents to take the children into their own homes.
Trump’s fight for a border wall is earning the blame he asked for
(Quartz) As the partial shutdown continues, creating ripple effects such as long delays at airports understaffed with security screeners and trash piling up at US national parks and monuments, polls confirm that Americans are giving Trump the blame he asked for. … as Nate Cohn recently pointed out at the New York Times, the wall is primarily popular within Trump’s base, and the ongoing shutdown isn’t likely to win him more supporters, particularly as federal workers going unpaid causes additional problems.
Trump backs away from declaring national emergency to fund border wall
‘What we’re not looking to do right now is national emergency’
White House attorneys and allies had prepared groundwork
It was not clear what a compromise might entail, and there were no indications that one was in the offing. Trump says he won’t reopen the government without money for the wall. Democrats say they favor measures to bolster border security but oppose the long, impregnable barrier that Trump envisages.
Trump’s immigration policy has foreign tech talent looking north of the border
Donald Trump fuels immigration fears in TV address on ‘border crisis’
(The Guardian) President offers no new solutions to government shutdown in first Oval Office address of his presidency
Fact-checking Trump’s immigration speech
(CNN) Trump: “Every day, Customs and Border Patrol agents encounter thousands of illegal immigrants trying to enter our country.”
This is overstated. Available Customs and Border Protection data shows a total of 396,579 people were apprehended by the US Border Patrol for fiscal year 2018 at the southwest border, which would mean an average of 1,087 each day — hardly the “thousands” that Trump purports. The numbers differ each month. The highest number of apprehensions was in September, with a daily average of nearly 1,400. Apprehensions are still well below historic highs.
Hundreds of migrant families arrive at remote border crossings, overwhelming U.S. agents
(WaPo) Lost in the diverging accounts of what happened — whether she had water, or proper medical care — is a fundamental question about changing patterns of illegal migration to the United States. What was a 7-year-old girl doing here, in the middle of the desert, to begin with?
Critics of the Trump administration have pointed to the government’s efforts to slow soaring numbers of Central America asylum seekers by limiting, or “metering,” how many are allowed to apply each day at U.S. ports of entry.
But U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials say their “queue management” system is operating at only a handful of the border’s busiest crossings, such as the San Diego area and El Paso. No capacity limits are in place at dozens of other entry points, they say.
Instead, according to U.S. officials and others with knowledge of what happened, Caal’s group appears to have been guided by a brazen start-up smuggling operation that in recent weeks has been whisking hundreds of rural Guatemalan families to remote areas of the U.S. border, depositing them at faraway U.S. outposts where their numbers overwhelm U.S. agents.
Homeland Security officials have declared a “humanitarian crisis” and on Thursday announced a broad overhaul of U.S. asylum policies they said would bring the numbers “under control” by requiring applicants to wait in Mexico — possibly for months or years — while their claims are processed.
Trump Moves to Deport Vietnam War Refugees
(The Atlantic) The Trump administration is resuming its efforts to deport certain protected Vietnamese immigrants who have lived in the United States for decades—many of them having fled the country during the Vietnam War.
This is the latest move in the president’s long record of prioritizing harsh immigration and asylum restrictions, and one that’s sure to raise eyebrows—the White House had hesitantly backed off the plan in August before reversing course. In essence, the administration has now decided that Vietnamese immigrants who arrived in the country before the establishment of diplomatic ties between the United States and Vietnam are subject to standard immigration law—meaning they are all eligible for deportation.
US briefly shuts border crossing, uses tear gas on asylum seekers
US Customs and Border Protection announces traffic at the San Ysidro port of entry has been suspended.
US creating border crisis by stalling asylum cases, advocates say
Rights groups say it’s ‘inconceivable’ US prioritised fortifying border over processing asylum cases expeditiously.
US President Donald Trump has referred to the exodus as an “invasion”, which has no basis in reality, migrant and human rights organisations say. Furthermore, the US is intentionally creating bottlenecks and long wait times for asylum seekers for no good reason other than to attempt to dissuade people from seeking asylum, according to advocates.
U.S. Troops to Leave U.S.-Mexico Border Just as Migrant Caravan Arrives
(The Daily Beast) The Pentagon announced all active-duty troops sent to the U.S. southern border ahead of a migrant caravan’s arrival will begin to drawdown, just as that caravan of asylum-seeking refugees began to arrive at a port of entry in Tijuana, Mexico.
Army Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan, who runs the mission out of Texas, told Politico that the troops sent by President Trump to back up existing border enforcement “should be home by Christmas.” He also said troop numbers would rapidly fall after “engineer and logistics troops” finish fortifying entry ports and base camps along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Buchanan also confirmed that the Pentagon rejected a Department of Homeland Security request for “armed force to back up Border Patrol agents in the event of a violent confrontation,” describing the request as a “law enforcement task.”
Trump Claims He’ll End U.S. Birthright Citizenship for Some Immigrants
(The Daily Beast) Donald Trump said he plans to sign an executive order that he claims will terminate the right to U.S. citizenship for babies born in America if their parents are non-citizens or unauthorized immigrants—though it’s far from clear if he has that constitutional power. The president revealed the plan to Axios on HBO, saying: “We’re the only country in the world where a person comes in and has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States… with all of those benefits… It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous. And it has to end.” It’s the latest escalation of Trump’s anti-immigration rhetoric ahead of the midterm elections, which are now one week away. Any move would end up in court if the president goes ahead with his dubious plan. The 14th Amendment states: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” But Trump insisted he has the power, saying: “It’ll happen… with an executive order.”
Don’t Believe Everything You Read About the Migrant Caravan
(Wired) This week, you need to be aware of misinformation surrounding news of a caravan of migrants walking from Central America through Mexico to the US.
On October 13, some hundreds of people began to march from San Pedro Sula in northern Honduras toward the United States border, and have since been joined by thousands. Accurate reporting of how many people are on the move is hard to come by, but recent estimates put it around 7,500. The trip from San Pedro de Sula to the closest US border crossing in Texas is approximately 2,000 miles, and requires people to pass through inhospitable borders. People walking and hitchhiking know that when—if—they reach the US border, they likely will not be allowed to cross. Their children may be taken from them. They may be arrested and sent back. But they come anyway, fleeing gang violence and poverty.
The caravan’s organization has been a major focus of politicians and misinformation campaigns. The Honduran government, attempting to downplay the dangerous conditions in the country, has claimed the caravan is an effort to destabilize the nation. The Daily Beast reports that it was actually an inaccurate news report on television in Honduras, falsely promising that their food and “transportation” would be paid for by a former politician, that inspired many people to begin walking. Some migrants interviewed by the Daily Beast say that since the trip to the US is so dangerous, they decided to join the caravan in the hopes of benefitting from safety in numbers.
One online conspiracy theory, pushed by sites like InfoWars, says the migrants in the caravan are getting rides paid for by wealthy bankers, and that they are organized by immigration advocacy groups. Last week, Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz asked on Twitter whether liberal philanthropist George Soros or “US-backed NGOs” are behind it. Some message boards are more blunt, suggesting it’s not merely Soros but a vast Jewish cabal that’s driving the caravan.
President Trump and Vice President Pence have both added to the confusion, repeatedly suggesting, among other things, that “Middle Easterners” are among the migrants. So far, on-the-ground reporters have been unable to corroborate this. Rumors about Middle Eastern terrorists going through the Mexican border have circulated for years, and they have largely been debunked.
How the migrant caravan became so big and why it’s continuing to grow
(WaPost) The question of how the migrant caravan began has wound its way to the American midterm elections. President Trump and other Republicans have suggested that Democrats paid migrants to begin the journey. As the group continues to grow, the largest such caravan in recent years, its beginnings are being scrutinized: How did more than 5,000 migrants from across Central America find each other?
By mid-October, the explosion of media coverage and viral social media posts across Central America prompted an explosion in the number of migrants. Within days of the caravan’s departure from San Pedro Sula on Oct. 13, almost no one could pin down the group’s official origin story. They could cite only the Facebook post or television program that led to their own decision to migrate.
A shouting match inside the White House unmasks one of Trump’s biggest lies
(WaPost) While angry arguments are typical in the world of stressful, high-stakes White House decision-making, this one has true revelatory potential: It opens a window on a big, festering lie at the very core of Trump’s worldview.
That lie is actually two, interrelated lies. The first is that immigration to the United States is fundamentally a malicious, destructive force that Americans should feel taken advantage of or menaced by. The second is that it can be dealt with primarily through “toughness.” Those lies feed each other: If immigration represents a zero-sum threat, in which migrants or their countries of origin are merely driven by a desire to prey on Americans and America, then a “tough” response will overwhelm that predatory motive. Respond “weakly” and you’re a sucker, a victim.
Bloomberg reports that White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly and national security adviser John Bolton got into a furious argument over immigration. …
A core assumption of Trump’s immigration agenda is that making life as horrible as possible for immigrants — either those trying to cross the border or those living undocumented here — will reduce the flow of immigration and the size of that undocumented presence. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents now target longtime undocumented residents not just to remove them, but also to spread fear and misery so more “self deport.
This latter policy, too, has been justified with lies. Trump regularly claims that having undocumented immigrants here means more crime, but much research contradicts this. Low-skilled immigration does not have a meaningful impact on Americans’ economic prospects.
How Family Reunification Actually Works at the Border
An immigration lawyer outlines the logistical challenges of bringing together detained parents and kids, and why families reunited at the border still face uncertain futures.
Ivanka Trump Blames Family Separation At Border On Parents
The senior White House adviser told Axios, “We have to be very careful about incentivizing behavior that puts children at risk of being trafficked.”
(HuffPost) Ivanka Trump’s remarks on family separation are convoluted in several ways. For one, by saying that the policy “was a low point” intimates that family separation at the border is a thing of the past. The administration is still actively working on reuniting families after Donald Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy spurred the separation of thousands of children from their families.
The policy was not only a creation made entirely by the Trump administration, but one that the president continued to go ahead with even after members of his team warned that it would be a bad idea.
1,634. That’s how many migrant families the federal government was rushing to reunite by Thursday’s court-ordered deadline.Families deemed “eligible” for reunification have been reunited in chaotic scenes. Many families in Arizona, Texas and New Mexico were sent to federal offices that were designated as “staging facilities.” In a flurry of activity, migrant children were evacuated overnight from New York. But there are at least 917 other parents who were not cleared to recover their children this week because they failed criminal background or parental verification checks. Their cases remain uncertain.
As Migrant Families Are Reunited, Some Children Don’t Recognize Their Mothers
(NYT) The tearful reunions — ordered by a court in California — came as the government said that it would release hundreds of migrant families wearing ankle bracelet monitors into the United States, effectively returning to the “catch and release” policy that President Trump promised to eliminate.
[Traumatic experiences like family separations pose great psychological risks, mental health experts say.]
Faced with a pair of court orders restricting immigration detentions, federal officials said that they could not hold all of the migrant families who had been apprehended. They said that their hands were tied by dueling requirements to release children from detention after 20 days and also to keep them with their parents or other adult relatives.
Travel-ban ruling could embolden Trump in remaking the U.S. immigration system
By David Nakamura
(WaPost) President Trump’s victory Tuesday in the Supreme Court’s ratification of his travel ban marked a milestone in his attempt to paint broad swaths of immigrants as dangerous — a rhetorical strategy that has underpinned the administration’s sweeping efforts to unilaterally curtail immigration. …
Shunting aside a Congress mired in a decades-long stalemate over immigration, the president has wielded his executive authority to pursue a hard-line agenda. The Trump administration has ramped up arrests of illegal immigrants, slashed refugee programs, criminalized unauthorized border crossings, attempted to terminate a deferred-action program for immigrants who came as children and — until Trump reversed himself last week — implemented a policy that separated families at the border between the United States and Mexico.
Critics expressed fears that the court’s ruling would embolden Trump to further test the limits of his statutory authority to enforce border-control laws without explicit approval from lawmakers. Aides have promised new measures ahead of the midterm elections in November, and Trump ruminated this week about the power to turn away unauthorized immigrants without offering them due-process rights.
Republicans press ahead with narrow fix to migrant crisis created by Trump all but abandoning efforts for a far-reaching immigration overhaul that would fund a border wall and deal with the fate of young undocumented immigrants. … deeply divided Republicans say they have little hope of rallying support for a broad package of reforms. However, GOP leaders are eager to adopt legislation that would make sure migrant children can remain with their parents at the border. Haunting images of children in metal cages and reports of the government struggling to reunite families have touched off an international outcry.
The chaotic effort to reunite immigrant parents with their separated kids
(WaPost) Even though the Trump administration has halted its policy of separating illegal border crossers from their children, many of the over 2,300 youths removed from migrant parents since May 5 remain in shelters and foster homes across the country. The U.S. government has done little to help with the reunifications, attorneys say, prompting them to launch a frantic, improvised effort to find the children — some of them toddlers. One legal aid organization, the Texas Civil Rights Project, is representing more than 300 parents and has been able to track down only two children.
(The Atlantic) Policy Shift: President Trump signed a new executive order on immigration that, while preserving the “zero tolerance” policy that has resulted in the separation of hundreds of families who entered the United States illegally, calls for parents to be detained together with their children. What exactly the order will change is not yet clear. It may violate an existing agreement not to hold immigrant children in adult facilities, and could also stymie potential legislative solutions. Before signing the order, Trump insisted that only Congress could stop the separations. So far, though, lawmakers have struggled to reach an agreement—and changing messages from the president haven’t helped.
Trump, in reversal, signs executive order to end family separations at border
For days, President Trump and his top administration officials were unwilling to unilaterally reverse the separation policy. But images of young children housed in metal cages set off an international outcry that reached the White House
The plan would keep families together in federal custody while awaiting prosecution for illegal border crossings, potentially violating a 1997 court settlement limiting the duration of child detentions.
“So we’re going to have strong, very strong borders, but we’re going to keep the families together,” Trump said as he signed the order in the Oval Office. “I didn’t like the sight or the feeling of families being separated.”
Reuniting Families Separated at the Border Won’t Be Easy
(New York) When the Trump administration ends its policy of separating children and their parents at the border, it will be an indisputably good thing. But the horror visited upon the thousands of migrant families torn apart by the “zero tolerance” immigration policy will not be over, because there’s no plan to reunite the children taken into government custody with their detained parents.
Children at a tent encampment in Tornillo, Texas. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Trump and Kirstjen Nielsen’s embarrassing surrender on separating families at the border
The Trump administration insisted it didn’t have a policy of separating children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border. It said that it was merely following the law. And it said “Congress alone can fix” the mess.
It just admitted that all that was nonsense — and that it badly overplayed its hand.
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who on Sunday and Monday insisted that this wasn’t an actual policy and that the administration’s hands are tied, will now have to untie them as the White House will reverse the supposedly nonexistent policy.
Trump signs executive order halting family separations
(Politico) The executive action may not put an end to the question of how migrant children are handled at the border. The American Civil Liberties Union, which is already suing the administration on behalf of separated families, said prolonged detention of asylum seekers even as a unit would be unacceptable. “What we don’t want to see happen is we’ll keep the child and parent together but we’re going to detain them for a long time,” said ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the nonprofit’s Immigrant Rights Project. “We don’t want to see a situation where they’re building more and more detention facilities.
Unpleasant facts that must be faced
Trump’s Draconian Immigration Policies Highlight Obama’s Missteps
(New York) A confluence of factors during Obama’s tenure, which included a pronounced drop in border-crossers compared with the first years of the 2000s, meant that the actual number of people apprehended and sent back across the border was far higher during the George W. Bush years. But the number of people fingerprinted, processed, and officially deported to their home countries soared under Obama, with 2013 setting a high-water mark of 435,498. The administration justified the policy as an effort — at least partially successful — to discourage recidivism.
Throughout his presidency, Obama did put a priority on removing migrants who had committed violence in the past, or who had only recently crossed the border. In late 2014, he codified this approach with an executive order that specifically directed ICE not to deport those who posed little threat to the country. Still, a controversial “bed mandate” quota incentivized ICE to jail immigrants with no record of violent offenses, though many of them were allowed to stay in the country.
Beyond the deportation numbers, there were other questionable choices that are less well remembered.
Unapologetic Trump digs in on immigration despite outrage
(AP) An unapologetic President Donald Trump defended his administration’s border-protection policies Monday in the face of rising national outrage over the forced separation of migrant children from their parents. Calling for tough action against illegal immigration, Trump declared the U.S. “will not be a migrant camp” on his watch.
Images of children held in fenced cages fueled a growing chorus of condemnation from both political parties, four former first ladies and national evangelical leaders. The children are being held separately from parents who are being prosecuted under the administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy for illegal border crossings.
Trump on Monday falsely blamed Democrats — the minority party in Washington — for obstructing legislation to fix the situation. In fact, it was Trump’s administration that broke with longstanding practice of processing migrant families in civil, rather than criminal, proceedings that allow families to be held together.
Growing number of Republicans urge Trump to change policy on separating families
President Trump doubled down on his false insistence that Democrats are to blame for the administration’s forced separation of migrant children from their families at the border. Contrary to Trump’s claims, the separations largely stem from a “zero-tolerance” policy announced with fanfare last month by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Republicans on defensive, but Trump digs in on separating parents and children at border
Head of Department of Homeland Security says administration is ‘enforcing the laws passed by Congress’
(Associated Press via CBC) Facing a rising tide of outrage from Democrats and some Republicans over the forced separation of migrant children and parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, U.S. President Donald Trump dug in Monday, while his top law enforcement officials also forcefully defended the practice.
It was the latest swerve from an administration that has at times denied ownership of the separation policy, while on other occasions blaming it on the opposition or using the spectre of violent crime and the Bible to justify the response.
Trump plans to meet with House Republicans on Tuesday to discuss pending immigration legislation amid an election-season debate over one of his favourite issues. The House is expected to vote this week on a bill pushed by conservatives that may not have enough support to pass, and a compromise measure with key proposals supported by the president. The White House has said Trump would sign either of those.
Trump team cannot get its story straight on separating migrant families
(WaPost)More than a month after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Trump’s new “zero tolerance” policy to great fanfare, members of the administration continue to struggle with how to talk about it – alternating between defending the initiative as a necessary deterrent, distancing themselves, blaming Democrats, trying to use it as leverage for negotiations with Congress or denying that it exists at all.
Jonathan Chaitt: Why Trump Is Using Hostage Tactics on Family Separation
(New York) The hostage strategy arises from a profound internal division within not only the Republican Party but the Trump administration itself. The administration originally enacted a policy of separating child migrants from their parents in order to deter those families from entering the country. Chief of Staff John Kelly defended family separation last month as “a tough deterrent.” Also last month, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen laid out the tough policy: “If you are single adult, if you are part of a family, if you are pregnant, if you have any other condition, you’re an adult and you break the law, we will refer you. Operationally what that means is we will have to separate your family.” To justify this powerful new deterrent, the White House “interpreted a 1997 legal agreement and a 2008 bipartisan human trafficking bill as requiring the separation of families,” an interpretation neither of the previous two administrations supported.
… the administration’s public explanation of this policy toggles between three mutually exclusive positions. One, the policy exists and is good (“It was a simple decision by the administration to have a zero tolerance policy for illegal entry. Period,” says Stephen Miller.) Two, the policy does not exist. (“We do not have a policy of separating families at the border. Period,” insists Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen.) And third, the policy does exist, and is bad, and the Democrats are to blame (“I hate the children being taken away. The Democrats have to change their law — that’s their law,” declared President Trump.)
A 2-year-old Honduran asylum seeker cries as her mother is searched and detained near the U.S.-Mexico border on June 12 in McAllen, Tex. (John Moore/Getty Images)
‘America is better than this’: What a doctor saw in a Texas shelter for migrant children
(WaPost) Nearly 4,600 mental-health professionals and 90 organizations have joined a petition urging President Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and several elected officials to stop the policy of separating children from their parents. The petition says:
“These children are thrust into detention centers often without an advocate or an attorney and possibly even without the presence of any adult who can speak their language. We want you to imagine for a moment what this might be like for a child: to flee the place you have called your home because it is not safe to stay and then embark on a dangerous journey to an unknown destination, only to be ripped apart from your sole sense of security with no understanding of what just happened to you or if you will ever see your family again. And that the only thing you have done to deserve this, is to do what children do: stay close to the adults in their lives for security.”
How Trump Came to Enforce a Practice of Separating Migrant Families
(NYT) For more than a decade, even as illegal immigration levels fell overall, seasonal spikes in unauthorized border crossings had bedeviled American presidents in both political parties, prompting them to cast about for increasingly aggressive ways to discourage migrants from making the trek.
Yet for George W. Bush and Barack Obama, the idea of crying children torn from their parents’ arms was simply too inhumane — and too politically perilous — to embrace as policy, and Mr. Trump, though he had made an immigration crackdown one of the central issues of his campaign, succumbed to the same reality, publicly dropping the idea.
But advocates inside the administration, most prominently Stephen Miller, Mr. Trump’s senior policy adviser, never gave up on the idea. Last month, facing a sharp uptick in illegal border crossings, Mr. Trump ordered a new effort to criminally prosecute anyone who crossed the border unlawfully — with few exceptions for parents traveling with their minor children.
And now Mr. Trump faces the consequences. With thousands of children detained in makeshift shelters, his spokesmen this past week had to deny accusations that the administration was acting like Nazis. Even evangelical supporters like Franklin Graham said its policy was “disgraceful.”
Trump cites as a negotiating tool his policy of separating immigrant children from their parents
(WaPost) President Trump has calculated that he will gain political leverage in congressional negotiations by continuing to enforce a policy he claims to hate — separating immigrant parents from their young children at the southern border, according to White House officials.
On Friday, Trump suggested he would not change the policy unless Democrats agreed to his other immigration demands, which include funding a border wall, tightening the rules for border enforcement and curbing legal entry. He also is intent on pushing members of his party to vote for a compromise measure that would achieve those long-standing priorities.
Trump’s public acknowledgment that he was willing to let the policy continue as he pursued his political goals came as the president once again blamed Democrats for a policy enacted and touted by his own administration.
(Politico Playbook) IMMIGRATION WATCH — STEVEN OVERLY: Facebook, Amazon, IBM and Microsoft are among the technology companies that huddled with staff for House Republican leadership [Thursday] afternoon to discuss their immigration bill slated for a vote next week, according to sources familiar with the meeting. …
Their proposal would provide a pathway to citizenship for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival beneficiaries and eliminate per-country caps on visas, two provisions the tech industry has pushed for. … Other companies represented at the meeting include Apple, Google, Cisco, Cognizant and Accenture, two sources said. Officials from the National Retail Federation, Information Technology Industry Council, TechNet and the Chamber of Commerce were also present.”
— WE HEAR that tech companies aren’t rushing to endorse any GOP plan with many in the industry skeptical over how they will treat Dreamers. Another source told us tech is not happy with the cuts to legal immigration.
An Editorial Cartoonist Was Fired For His Anti-Trump Art, Here Are The Cartoons His Paper Refused To Publish
Award-winning editorial newspaper cartoonist Rob Rogers has been fired from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette due to “political differences” with his editors. Rogers’ firing comes several weeks after the paper stopped publishing his cartoons — many of which were critical of Donald Trump and his administration.
(The Atlantic) Immigration Crisis: Experts say the Trump administration’s policy of separating migrant families who have crossed the border illegally has deeply traumatic consequences for young children taken from their parents, including potential long-term effects on their health and development. Attorney General Jeff Sessions defended the policy by invoking Romans 13, a Bible verse that calls on every person to obey the powers ordained by God. The verse has a long history of conflicting—and troubling—interpretations.
Inside the Former Walmart That Is Now a Shelter for Almost 1,500 Migrant Children
(NYT) The converted retail store at the southern tip of Texas has become the largest licensed migrant children’s shelter in the country — a warehouse for nearly 1,500 boys aged 10 to 17 who were caught illegally crossing the border.
The teeming, 250,000-square-foot facility is a model of border life in Trump-era America, part of a growing industry of detention centers and shelters as federal authorities scramble to comply with the president’s order to end “catch and release” of migrants illegally entering the country. Now that children are often being separated from their parents, this facility has had to obtain a waiver from the state to expand its capacity.
The federal Office of Refugee Resettlement is now overseeing an estimated 100 shelters in 17 states, serving a population that has grown to more than 11,000 youths. One of the biggest concentrations is here near the border in South Texas, in the Rio Grande Valley, one of the poorest regions in the nation. There are about 10 shelters in three Valley counties, the majority in the Cameron County cities of Brownsville, Harlingen and San Benito.
What reporters couldn’t see when they toured a Texas shelter for child migrants
Reporters who visited told PRI they saw good conditions overall. Children are not kept in cages or cells. They’re free to move around, but they’re not allowed to leave the center. They get two hours per day outside. But because the center is overcrowded, five beds are packed into rooms built for four.
“It looked something like how I might describe a charter school…You had an area when you first walked in, there was a cafeteria, pretty nice kitchen. There were brightly colored murals painted all over the walls in other areas. There was a barbershop. There were indoor and outdoor basketball courts, pool tables, kids playing video games on big screen TVs. There was a movie theater playing ‘Moana’ in Spanish. There were classrooms. There was a medical area.”
As zero-tolerance immigration policy begins, parents and lawyers say family separations surge
(CNN) Since the policy was announced in May, some 500 children have been separated from their parents within the last month, according to Miguel A. Nogueras, an assistant federal public defender for the Southern District of Texas in McAllen, citing an unofficial count by an attorney in his office.
Some parents who are under arrest tell public defenders they don’t know what happened to their children, Nogueras said. Some parents also claim they have been told their children are being taken to be bathed or cleaned up, then the adults don’t see them again.
Taking Migrant Children From Parents Is Illegal, U.N. Tells U.S.
(NYT) The Trump administration’s practice of separating children from migrant families entering the United States violates their rights and international law, the United Nations human rights office said on Tuesday, urging an immediate halt to the practice.
The administration angrily rejected what it called an ignorant attack by the United Nations human rights office and accused the global organization of hypocrisy.
The human rights office said it appeared that, as The New York Times revealed in April, United States authorities had separated several hundred children, including toddlers, from their parents or others claiming to be their family members, under a policy of criminally prosecuting undocumented people crossing the border.
The U.S. lost track of 1,475 immigrant children last year. Here’s why people are outraged now.
(WaPost) On May 7, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Justice Department would begin prosecuting every person who crossed the Southwest border illegally — or at least attempt to prosecute “100 percent” — even if some of them could or should be treated as asylum seekers, as the American Civil Liberties Union has argued.
Although Sessions said he understood that some people were fleeing violence or other dangerous situations, he has also stated that the United States “cannot take everyone on this planet who is in a difficult situation.”
“If you cross the border unlawfully … then we will prosecute you,” he said in a pair of speeches in Scottsdale, Ariz., and San Diego. “If you smuggle an illegal alien across the border, then we’ll prosecute you. … 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. It’s not our fault that somebody does that.” …
as Vox immigration reporter Dara Lind pointed out in a long thread about both matters, the fact that HHS has already admitted that it cannot account for nearly 1,500 migrant children previously in its custody does not inspire confidence that the agency could perform better with an expanded scope of responsibilities. “Is this relevant to their newly expanded duties to care for kids separated from parents? You bet it is,” Lind wrote. “But that’s [because] it’s the agency failing at its TRADITIONAL function, and now being asked to perform a new one.”
Immigrant kids held on military bases would be housed in these conditions
(Quartz) The Trump administration is reportedly looking into holding undocumented immigrant children in military facilities.
That’s because the number of unaccompanied minors illegally in the US, which the federal government is required to house, is set to grow. The Department of Homeland Security is rolling out a mandate to prosecute everyone caught entering the US without permission, which is a crime under federal law. That policy will likely result in the separation of children from their parents during the time it takes for the adults’ legal cases to go through the court system.
Trump Returns to a Hard Line on Immigrants
(NYT) The proposals include toughening laws to make it more difficult to apply for or be granted asylum in the United States, stripping protections for children arriving illegally without their parents so they can be turned back at the border or quickly removed, and allowing families to be detained for longer periods while they await decisions from immigration authorities about their fates. While the steps have long been advocated by Mr. Trump’s hard-line aides, including Stephen Miller, his senior policy adviser, focusing on them now opens a new front in the president’s push for immigration restrictions.
Trump’s DACA tweetstorm speaks volumes about his presidency
(WaPost) Donald Trump is either woefully uninformed or intentionally misleading the American people about one of his most consequential decisions as president. Which is the more charitable explanation?
With a trio of temperamental tweets on Easter Sunday and three follow-ups this morning, Trump announced there will be no deal to save the 700,000 “dreamers” whose futures he put in peril by ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. He also called on Republicans to change the rules of the Senate to pass anti-immigration legislation with a simple majority and threatened to kill the North American Free Trade Agreement if Mexico does not step up border security.
The president then falsely claimed that there are “big flows of people” who are sneaking into the United States “because they want to take advantage of DACA.”
In truth, to be eligible for the program created by Barack Obama, immigrants must have lived in the United States since 2007, have arrived in the country before they turned 16 and have been younger than 31 on June 15, 2012. Anyone who came after does not qualify.
Immigration failure shows the ideologues are ascendant in the Trump White House
Hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants now face the threat of deportation, starting in just three weeks. Advocates hope the courts intercede to save the dreamers. Several senators are floating the idea of jamming a fix into a must-pass spending bill next month, though they know that could lead to another government shutdown.
(WaPost) Donald Trump could have gotten his border wall. Democrats were willing to cave on that in exchange for saving the “dreamers.” That would have fulfilled the president’s single biggest campaign promise, and he might have taken a triumphant victory lap.
But Trump moved the goal posts, demanded dramatic reductions in legal immigration and then mobilized to kill a bipartisan compromise that would have given him much of what — until very recently — he said he wanted.
The White House demanded all or nothing. For now, he gets nothing.
The president’s refusal to accept a meaningful victory, because he wanted a bigger one, is just the latest illustration of the degree to which he has fallen under the thrall of his most rigidly ideological advisers. From entitlements to infrastructure and even Russia, Trump has moved toward the hard-liners who work for him this week.
On immigration, domestic policy adviser Stephen Miller — who played a key role in killing the last chance for comprehensive reform in 2013 — has been in the driver’s seat.
(The Hill) The Senate on Thursday rejected immigration legislation from centrists in both parties after President Trump threatened to veto the bill if it made it to his desk.
The centrist deal, which was supported by eight Republicans including Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Jeff Flake (Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.), represented perhaps the best chance to advance legislation in the Senate, but was opposed by Trump and his allies in part because it did not cover all four immigration “pillars” he had demanded
Trump immigration plan hits wall of opposition
(The Hill) Trump’s one-page framework calls for granting a pathway to citizenship for nearly 2 million young immigrants in exchange for tens of billions of dollars for his border wall and other policies that would dramatically restrict legal immigration in the coming years.
The president wants the Senate to draft legislation based on his blueprint and introduce it by Feb. 5, just three days before funding for the government runs out.
Schumer rejects Trump’s immigration proposal
The White House plan to win over Democrats by providing citizenship for Dreamers in exchange for sharp restrictions on legal immigration isn’t working.
(Politico) The New York Democrat on Friday accused President Donald Trump of using a proposed path for citizenship for young undocumented immigrants as cover for making sweeping — and damaging — changes to the legal immigration system.
A bipartisan group of senators plans to continue meeting over the next two weeks to try to strike a deal that can pass the Senate with overwhelming support, with hopes that would force the House to swallow it and Trump to sign it. But Republican and Democratic lawmakers are also meeting separately in partisan groups, making the prospects of an aisle-crossing deal murky at best given the political tensions in the Capitol following a three-day government shutdown.
(LA Times) If history repeats itself, Republicans will become less and less interested in voting on immigration legislation, which divides their party, as the midterm elections get closer. And if Democrats continue to think they have a strong shot at winning back the House majority in November, they will also have a powerful incentive to stall in hopes that the election will give them more leverage.
(The Atlantic) Immigration Issues: In addition to calling for a border wall and aggressive deportations, the White House immigration proposal released on Thursday recommends a path to citizenship, not only for the existing recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, but also for DACA-eligible undocumented immigrants who have not yet applied. It’s the latest salvo in an heated debate over immigration policy, which Peter Beinart argues has become more central to American politics as economic and wartime problems have given way to discussions of national identity. On the latest episode of Radio Atlantic, three Atlantic editors and second-generation immigrants discuss that pressing question: Who gets to be American?
Stephen Miller: Immigration agitator and White House survivor
(WaPost) Miller’s driving obsession is immigration, an area where he has long pushed hard-line positions going back to his days as a combative conservative activist at Duke University. In Washington, as an aide to then-Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), he was instrumental in helping to kill a bipartisan effort in 2013 for a broad immigration deal. He and Sessions helped galvanize House conservatives to block the bill passed by the Senate, including distributing a handbook of talking points aimed at undercutting the compromise.
Now working in the White House, Miller — who is known for his natty attire, long-winded conversations and distinctive heavy-lidded appearance on television — has told colleagues that his “consuming focus is to make what I know the president wants in an immigration deal a legislative reality…”
WHAT’S THE STATUS OF DACA?
(LA Times) As we reported, last week, a federal judge in San Francisco ordered the administration to reinstate the DACA program until a lawsuit brought by California and other states could be fully heard.
Late on Saturday, the Homeland Security Department announced it would once again start processing applications for DACA permits, as Sarah Wire reported.
On Tuesday, the Justice Department said it would appeal to the Supreme Court to get the DACA ruling overturned. But the lawyers said they would not ask the high court to put the ruling on hold while the litigation continues. As Joe Tanfani wrote, that means DACA will continue in effect for months, and maybe longer.
The administration has asked the high court to rule on the issue by June, but there’s no guarantee the justices will move that fast.
DACA recipients who get their permits renewed now get another two years of protection, so advocacy groups have urged Dreamers to get their applications in while the window remains open.
Trump just denied his ‘shithole’ comment. In the process, he confirmed the worst
(WaPost Plum Line) Trump’s comments have upended the negotiations underway over a deal to protect the “dreamers.” But it can no longer be denied that Trump opposes the deal at least in part because it does not do enough to resist or roll back ongoing racial and demographic trends.
Trump Puts the Purpose of His Presidency Into Words
The president’s remarks reflect a moral principle that has guided policy while in office, a principle obvious to all but that some refuse to articulate.
(The Atlantic) [They] reflect scorn not only for those who wish to come here, but those who already have. It is a president of the United States expressing his contempt for the tens of millions of descendants of Africans, most of whose forefathers had no choice in crossing the Atlantic, American citizens whom any president is bound to serve. And it is a public admission of sorts that he is incapable of being a president for all Americans, the logic of his argument elevating not just white immigrants over brown ones, but white citizens over the people of color they share this country with.
House Republicans’ Hard-Line Immigration Stand Clashes With Trump Overture
(NYT) The proposal, championed by the chairmen of the House Judiciary and Homeland Security Committees, would crack down on illegal immigration and sharply reduce the number of legal immigrants to the United States. Coming one day after Mr. Trump held an extraordinary meeting in which he laid out the parameters for a bipartisan immigration deal, the House proposal highlighted the uncertainty surrounding negotiations that are supposed to coalesce before the government runs out of money on Jan. 19.
Judge blocks Trump move to end DACA
(The Hill) A federal judge in San Francisco on Tuesday temporarily blocked the Trump administration from ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that protects certain immigrants from deportation.
Judge William Alsup said the Obama-era program must remain in place while litigation over Trump’s decision to end the program plays out. In a court ruling, Alsup said the Department of Homeland Security’s “decision to rescind DACA was based on a flawed legal premise.” Trump vs. Trump, again: Judge cites presidential tweets as he blocks DACA phaseout
Trump, lawmakers agree to parameters of potential immigration deal
Congressional negotiators say they have the parameters of an immigration deal following a lengthy bipartisan meeting with President Trump at the White House Tuesday.
The emerging scope of the deal would protect an estimated 700,000 to 800,000 immigrants known as “Dreamers” from deportation, secure the southern border, reform family-based migration and change the nation’s diversity visa lottery program.
But many key details still need to be worked out, such as how to weigh family relationships in granting legal status, how to allocate visas available through the lottery program and how much to spend on border security.