Trump administration & Immigration 2019 (June – )

Written by  //  July 17, 2019  //  Immigration/migration, U.S.  //  No comments

Trump administration & Immigration 2018- April 2019

The immigration raids reported to start last weekend didn’t come to pass at the scale expected.
(The Atlantic) But ICE did make some attempts, and the way some were reportedly carried out represents a shift in strategy over the years, from targeting workplaces to targeting people’s homes. “The law is clear on home raids,” Adam Harris writes. “Without a warrant, ICE agents cannot enter homes. And advocates advise immigrants to keep their door closed, but reports of ICE agents using coercive measures, such as verbal threats, displays of guns, or force, to enter homes have increased.”

15 July
Trump’s latest plan to deny asylum seekers protection is illegal
(Quartz) The new rule, issued jointly by the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security, bars anyone who travels through what is called a “safe third country” from applying for asylum in the US. The rule, which isn’t open to public comment and goes into effect July 16, will “enhance the integrity of the asylum process by placing further restrictions or limitations on eligibility,” it states. Specifically, the rule will:

…add a new bar to eligibility for asylum for an alien who enters or attempts to enter the United States across the southern border, but who did not apply for protection from persecution or torture where it was available in at least one third country outside the alien’s country of citizenship, nationality, or last lawful habitual residence through which he or she transited en route to the United States.

Asylum seekers from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador generally travel through Mexico via land to reach the US. Just as with Trump’s other attempts to radically change US immigration policy by revising agency rules and using emergency executive orders, civil rights groups responded immediately with planned court challenges.
The Trump administration’s termination of DACA—the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals—program, its attempt to expel hundreds of thousands of Temporary Protected Status residents in the US, and a plan to stop providing migrant children access to education and lawyers, are all being challenged in courts right now.  In December, the Supreme Court denied the administration’s request to stay an injunction on a rule barring asylum seekers who don’t cross at legal ports of entry.
Immigration experts say the new rule breaks laws written by Congress and signed by previous presidents. It also contravenes international treaties the US adopted decades ago.
Mike Pence Says Jailed Migrants “Well Cared For” After Visiting Texas Facilities
(Democracy Now!) Vice President Mike Pence defended conditions for detained migrants after visiting two detention facilities in Texas Friday.
“Every family that I spoke to told me that they were being well cared for. And different than some of the harsh rhetoric that we hear from Democrats on Capitol Hill, our Customs and Border Protection are doing their level best to provide compassionate care to these families in a manner the American people would expect.”
A tweet from Washington Post reporter Josh Dawsey, who covered the visit, described the dire conditions inside one of the facilities: “VP saw 384 men sleeping inside fences, on concrete w/no pillows or mats. They said they hadn’t showered in weeks, wanted toothbrushes, food. Stench was overwhelming. CBP said they were fed regularly, could brush daily & recently got access to shower (many hadn’t for 10-20 days.)”
Meanwhile, a new report from the House Oversight Committee, released on Friday, found that at least 18 migrant children under the age of 2 have been separated from their families at the border as part of Trump’s “zero tolerance” family separation policy—this included nine infants under the age of 1.
#FakeChristian: Mike Pence under fire after visit to migrant centre
“I knew we’d see a system that is overcrowded,” he added. “It’s overwhelmed and that’s why Congress has to act.”
The caged migrants were being held in an area at the McAllen Border Patrol station. When detainees saw reporters arrive, many began shouting, saying they were hungry and wanted to brush their teeth.
The press pool covering the vice president was removed within 90 seconds.
Marshall Plan for Central America would restore hope, end migrant border crisis
(USA Today) A Marshall Plan today would provide the most important thing the people of Central America need: Hope. For that is exactly what the original Marshall Plan did for Europe after World War II.
What we saw last week of Vice President Mike Pence visiting overcrowded facilities at the U.S-Mexican border looked hopeless. Migrants were in sweltering hot, filthy rooms with only concrete to sleep on. We must take action to improve the care for migrant adults and children, but we must also realize that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Charities like Catholic Relief Services, Save the Children, and the World Food Programme see the horrible, impoverished conditions where the migrants come from in the Northern Triangle (Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador). They know that aid is crucial because you have to address the root causes behind migration. No one would make the dangerous journey from these nations through Mexico to America unless they were desperate.

1-2 July
Everything We Know About the Inhumane Conditions at Migrant Detention Camps
Homeland Security Photos Show ‘Dangerous Overcrowding’ at Border Patrol Camps
The overcrowding of families has emerged as a profound concern: In the facilities visited by the inspector general’s office, over 2,500 unaccompanied children had been held for more than three days, which violates the Flores Settlement Agreement that set the guidelines for care of minors in U.S. custody. Around 50 children under the age of 7 had been in custody for over two weeks. At some Rio Grande Valley facilities, “Children had limited access to a change of clothes [and] Border Patrol had few spare clothes and no laundry facilities … We observed that two facilities had not provided children access to hot meals — as is required by the [Transport, Escort, Detention, and Search] standards — until the week we arrived.”
Border agents confiscated lawmakers’ phones. Joaquin Castro captured photo and video anyway.
[At] the two Border Patrol stations in El Paso and Clint, where the lawmakers’ phones were confiscated by CBP,… Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Tex.), chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, managed to capture photos and videos on a recording device anyway.
Though many members in the delegation, including Ocasio-Cortez, used their social media platforms to describe with words what they were seeing and hearing, Castro’s stealthily captured photos and videos served as a rare window into the Border Patrol stations and detention facilities that the Trump administration has made increasingly difficult to access.
While touring the facilities, Ocasio-Cortez linked the behavior in the Facebook group to what she said she witnessed at the border. The congresswoman described conversations with the women from the video, who told her that they had gone two weeks without showers, had been told to drink toilet water when their cell sink broke and were fearful of retribution for even speaking to the congressional delegation.
Inside the Secret Border Patrol Facebook Group Where Agents Joke About Migrant Deaths and Post Sexist Memes
(ProPublica) The three-year-old group, which has roughly 9,500 members, shared derogatory comments about Latina lawmakers who plan to visit a controversial Texas detention facility on Monday, calling them “scum buckets” and “hoes.”
Members of a secret Facebook group for current and former Border Patrol agents joked about the deaths of migrants, discussed throwing burritos at Latino members of Congress visiting a detention facility in Texas on Monday and posted a vulgar illustration depicting Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez engaged in oral sex with a detained migrant, according to screenshots of their postings.
Investigation of Secret Border Patrol Group Launched as New Degrading Facebook Posts Surface

28 June
The Democratic Candidates Are in a Bubble on Immigration
By Andrew Sullivan
(New York) Until now, many have denied that any crisis existed at all. They have, in fact, denied that the highest levels of mass immigration since the Bush years are an issue at all. … None of these people will admit they were gravely mistaken, or that their denial and delay in acting clearly exacerbated the situation. But now that we’re on the same page, the question is: Where do we go with this now? Yesterday was a sign of real bipartisan progress. The House passed a Senate bill to spend $4.6 billion to relieve the humanitarian crisis and tackle some of the structural inadequacies of the current failed system. The left wing of the Democratic caucus wanted to insist on various restrictions on the use of the $4.6 billion, primarily to ensure that none of it is earmarked (God forbid) for enforcement of the law. The problem with waging a longer fight would be that Congress would break for its July 4 recess having done nothing to help. Pelosi put children before politics, and it’s hard not to admire her humane pragmatism.
The good news is that the Democrats are finally beginning to announce policy plans that offer some solid ideas. A new bill for an overhaul of the entire system called the Northern Triangle and Border Stabilization Act has been introduced in the House. It proposes increased U.S. aid to Central American countries, to tackle the problem at its roots; a big investment in border facilities to ensure far more humane treatment of asylum seekers; a much stricter monitoring system to keep track of them after processing to make sure they turn up for their court hearings; many more immigration judges to reduce the massive backlog of cases; and it allows for asylum claims to be made in home countries, rather than at the border.

25 June
Harrowing photo of drowned migrants at U.S. border draws global attention
(Reuters) – A harrowing photo of a man and his young daughter who drowned on the U.S.-Mexico border has brought global attention to the dangers for a wave of mostly Latin American migrants traveling north, with Pope Francis on Wednesday expressing “immense sadness” at the deaths. The United Nations refugee agency UNHCR compared the photograph to the picture of refugee child Alan Kurdi who drowned in the Mediterranean and whose body washed up on a beach in Turkey in 2015. …
U.S. officials told Congress on Wednesday that they did not have adequate staffing and facilities to adequately handle the surge of migrants seeking asylum and made it harder to intercept drug smuggling and staff customs operations at ports of entry.
U.S. border patrol agents have apprehended 664,000 people along the southern border so far this year, a 144 percent increase from last year, said Brian Hastings, chief of law enforcement operations for the U.S. Border Patrol. “The system is overwhelmed,” he said.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Julia Le Duc/AP/Shutterstock (10321339a)
The bodies of Salvadoran migrant Oscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his nearly 2-year-old daughter Valeria lie on the bank of the Rio Grande in Matamoros, Mexico, after they drowned trying to cross the river to Brownsville, Texas. Martinez’ wife, Tania told Mexican authorities she watched her husband and child disappear in the strong current
US Border Migrant Deaths, Matamoros, Mexico – 24 Jun 2019

House Approves Border Aid, Seeking to Curb Trump’s Crackdown
(NYT) A divided House voted on Tuesday to send $4.5 billion in humanitarian aid to the border to address horrific conditions facing a crush of migrants, attaching significant rules on how the money could be spent in the first action by Democrats to rein in President Trump’s immigration crackdown.
But the package — which passed by a vote of 230 to 195 nearly along party lines, only after Democratic leaders toughened restrictions on the money to win over liberal skeptics — faces a tough path to enactment. A similar measure with many fewer strings binding Mr. Trump has drawn bipartisan support in the Senate. And the House bill faces a veto threat from White House advisers, who regard the Senate bill as the surest way to speed the needed aid to strapped agencies dealing with the migrant influx.
Hours before the House bill passed, Mr. Trump said that he did not like some of the restrictions that lawmakers were seeking to place on the humanitarian funding, but that he badly needed the resources.
Lawyer Draws Outrage for Defending Lack of Toothbrushes in Border Detention

21 June
4 Severely Ill Migrant Toddlers Hospitalized After Lawyers Visit Border Patrol Facility
The kids were unresponsive, feverish and vomiting, yet receiving no medical care, according to lawyers.
(HuffPost) The Associated Press reported this week that children in border facilities don’t have adequate access to food, water, soap or showers. On Tuesday, a Justice Department attorney argued in court that the government should not have to provide detained children with soap, toothbrushes or beds.
The AP report is based on interviews a group of lawyers conducted with hundreds of children in three Texas-based Border Patrol stations last week as part of the Flores settlement ― an agreement that outlines conditions for detained children. The lawyers say children are also being held in these facilities for longer than the 72-hour limit the settlement specifies, and in some cases up to three weeks.

4 June
House passes bill to protect ‘Dreamers’
(The Hill) The House voted Tuesday to protect so-called Dreamers and establish a path to citizenship for more than 2 million immigrants without legal status.
The Democratic-led chamber passed the Dream and Promise Act in a largely party line 237-187 vote, with seven Republicans joining all Democrats in voting for the bill.
The bill would grant permanent residency with a path to citizenship to more than 2 million immigrants across three categories: It would permanently protect from deportation Dreamers – immigrants who came to the country illegally as children – as well as certain recipients of the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) programs.
TPS and DED are programs that grant work permits and protect from deportation citizens of certain countries that have undergone natural or man-made disasters.
Still, it’s unlikely the bill will see a vote in the GOP-led Senate, as the White House announced Monday it “strongly opposes” the measure.

3 June
Nearly All U.S. Visa Applicants Now Required To Submit 5-Year Social Media History
Under a State Department policy that took effect Friday, almost all visa applicants to the United States will now be required to submit the social media usernames, email addresses and phone numbers they’ve used in the past five years.
The policy shift was described by AP as a “vast expansion” of the Trump administration’s enhanced screening of people wanting to enter the U.S. Immigration advocates have decried the move as a potential impingement on privacy and First Amendment rights.
Previously, only a select number of visa applicants who’d been singled out for additional scrutiny had been required to submit their social media, email and phone number histories, AP noted. Under the new policy, however, only applicants for certain diplomatic and official visa types will be exempted from this requirement.

2 June
Shutdowns, emergencies and tariffs: Trump’s frenetic immigration approach has become central to his 2020 bid
(WaPo) As Democratic presidential candidates have put out fresh policy proposals this year on a host of issues including education, child care, housing, climate change, student loan debt, taxes and inequality, President Trump has put forward new ideas at much the same clip.
They just happen to be almost exclusively about one issue: immigration.
Trump has shut down the government, declared a national emergency over his proposed border wall, threatened to close the U.S.-Mexico border, cut off funding for Northern Triangle countries, sent additional troops to the border, fired his top immigration officials, selected an immigration “czar,” pitched an overhaul of the legal immigration system and called for releasing immigrant detainees into so-called sanctuary cities.
On Thursday, he ratcheted up the pressure again by threatening to slap tariffs as high as 25 percent on all goods imported from Mexico — a move that risks harming the economy and undermining a trade deal he had been championing as a potential legislative achievement under divided government. … [he] announced that he would place a 5 percent tariff starting June 10 on all goods coming into the United States from Mexico, a move that would affect millions of products, including cars, produce and equipment. Trump said the tariffs would increase by five percentage points each month until Mexico stopped migrants from entering the United States. … business leaders, free-market conservatives and some Republican lawmakers warned that Americans ultimately will pay the price.

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