Trump administration & Immigration June 2019 –

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Trump administration & Immigration 2018- April 2019

Trump Suspends Visas Allowing Hundreds of Thousands of Foreigners to Work in the U.S.
The move is fiercely opposed by business leaders, who say it will block their ability to recruit critically needed workers from countries overseas.
(NYT) President Trump on Monday temporarily suspended new work visas and barred hundreds of thousands of foreigners from seeking employment in the United States, part of a broad effort to limit the entry of immigrants into the country.
In a sweeping order, which will be in place at least until the end of the year, Mr. Trump blocked visas for a wide variety of jobs, including those for computer programmers and other skilled workers who enter the country under the H-1B visa, as well as those for seasonal workers in the hospitality industry, students on work-study summer programs and au pairs who arrive under other auspices.
The order also restricts the ability of American companies with global operations and international companies with U.S. branches to transfer foreign executives and other employees to the United States for months or yearslong stints. And it blocks the spouses of foreigners who are employed at companies in the United States.
Officials said the ban on worker visas, combined with extending restrictions on the issuance of new green cards, would keep as many as 525,000 foreign workers out of the country for the rest of the year.
Stephen Miller, the White House aide and the architect of Mr. Trump’s immigration policy, has pushed for years to limit or eliminate the worker visas, arguing that they harm employment prospects for Americans.
“Putting up a ‘not welcome’ sign for engineers, executives, IT experts, doctors, nurses and other workers won’t help our country, it will hold us back,” said Thomas J. Donohue, the chief executive of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “Restrictive changes to our nation’s immigration system will push investment and economic activity abroad, slow growth and reduce job creation.”
The White House Is Quietly Deporting Children
The Trump administration is flouting the law to turn away minors in desperate need of protection.
By Maria Woltjen, executive director and founder of the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights.
The Supreme Court decision last week protecting the DACA program was reason for celebration, but the Trump administration’s assault on immigration isn’t over. President Trump has already said he plans to keep pushing to end DACA. But more immediately, under the guise of the pandemic, the Trump administration is turning back unaccompanied children at the border in violation of federal law

21 April – Update 12 May
Trump Halts New Green Cards, but Backs Off Broader Immigration Ban
After pledging on Twitter to end immigration during the pandemic, President Trump moved to block new green cards but stopped short of ending all work visas.
(NYT) President Trump said on Tuesday that he would order a temporary halt in issuing green cards to prevent people from immigrating to the United States, but he backed away from plans to suspend guest worker programs after business groups exploded in anger at the threat of losing access to foreign labor.
Mr. Trump, whose administration has faced intense criticism in recent months for his handling of the coronavirus crisis, abruptly sought to change the subject Tuesday night by resuming his assault on immigration, which animated his 2016 campaign and became one of the defining issues of his presidency.
While numerous studies have concluded that immigration has an overall positive effect on the American work force and wages for workers, Mr. Trump ignored that research on Tuesday, insisting that American citizens who had lost their jobs in recent weeks should not have to compete with foreigners when the economy reopens.

26 February
Justice Dept. Establishes Office to Denaturalize Immigrants
The department called the decision a move “to bring justice to terrorists, war criminals, sex offenders and other fraudsters,” but some lawyers there feared a broader crackdown.
The Justice Department said Wednesday that it had created an official section in its immigration office to strip citizenship rights from naturalized immigrants. … The move promises to further expand a practice that was once used infrequently, but that the Trump administration has increasingly turned to as part of its immigration crackdown. It has raised alarms among some department lawyers who fear denaturalization lawsuits could be used against immigrants who have not committed serious crimes.

20 February
The Trump administration’s green card Catch-22
(WaPo) Starting next week, green card applicants can be denied green cards partly on the basis that they are applying for green cards.
On Monday, the Trump administration begins enforcing a new rule supposedly designed to make sure any immigrants let in are self-sufficient and not a drain on government resources. That might sound reasonable enough. The rule is based on a series of flawed premises, though, and even more flawed processes.
For instance, immigrants already pay more in taxes than they receive in federal benefits. In fact, they use fewer benefits than their native-born counterparts. Even those who arrive with relatively low incomes — people who might be suspected of one day becoming a burden on Uncle Sam — tend to have a steep earnings’ trajectory as they gain skills, greater English-language proficiency and professional networks. Census data and reams of academic research show that poor immigrants generally do what politicians advise them to: work hard, pull themselves up by their bootstraps and become productive members of society.
Thanks to what it calls the “public charge” rule, immigration officials are permitted to deny green cards (among other visas) if they suspect that the applicant might use government benefits someday — “at any time in the future.” Exactly what this means, or how one might make such a prediction, is frustratingly vague.
This month, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services published additional “guidance” on implementation in its internal policy manual. It elaborated on a particular red flag.
Among the “negative factors” it says employees should consider when assessing whether an immigrant could someday become a public charge: whether the immigrant is applying for a green card. You know, the very reason the official is evaluating the immigrant.


16 September
It’s Not Just Trump: New Report Details How Greed of ‘Border-Industrial Complex’ Fuels Militarization and Abuse
“The last three decades have witnessed an unstoppable boom in U.S. border spending and many arms, security, and IT firms have made millions as a result.”
(Common Dreams) A new report detailing the ways U.S. corporations are profiting off of President Donald Trump’s war on immigrants calls the partnership between security firms and the federal government a “powerful border–industrial complex,” the existence of which presents a major barrier to reform, and explains that making money off of the border is nothing new.
“More Than a Wall,” the report from the Transnational Institute, “looks at the history of U.S. border control and the strong political consensus—both Republican and Democrat—in support of border militarization that long pre-dates the Trump administration.”

10 September
The Trump administration credited Mexico and Central American countries with helping to cut U.S. border arrests by nearly 60% from a record high earlier this year but then lashed out at a federal judge for ruling against a strict anti-asylum policy. The administration is also seeking to strike a “cooperative agreement” with Mexico to help stem the tide of migrants looking to enter the United States to claim asylum, the top U.S. border control official said.

16 August
How Family Separations Brought Down a Migrant Mogul
Juan Sanchez was once hailed as a champion for social justice. Then his network of shelters started taking in children split from their relatives.
(The Atlantic) His Walmart facility had become a symbol of Trump’s industrial-scale separation policy, and he’d weathered months of criticism: that he was complicit in the destruction of migrant families, that his $1.5 million salary was unseemly for the operator of a charity, and that he’d failed to prevent sexual abuse in his shelters as Southwest Key grew into a massive operation. Within months of our interview last fall, he would leave the company he built from scratch.

12-14 August
The New Stephen Miller
In Ken Cuccinelli, President Trump’s biggest immigration hard-liner has found the consummate ideological ally.
When President Donald Trump’s administration on Monday rolled out its so-called public-charge rule, which would allow the government to deny permanent residence to legal immigrants receiving public assistance, whispers of Stephen Miller were immediate.
Miller…has created many of the White House’s most controversial immigration policies over the past two and half years, and sure enough, when Acting Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Ken Cuccinelli announced the plan, which is scheduled to take effect in 60 days, reports detailing Miller’s handiwork were not far behind. It was as though Cuccinelli, in briefing journalists on the rule, had served as little more than a suited vessel for Miller’s worldview. But to shift focus away from Cuccinelli is to ignore the very real convictions he brings to bear in this administration.
… The former Virginia attorney general joined the Trump administration in late May. His background includes trying to eliminate birthright citizenship, questioning whether Barack Obama was born in the United States, and proposing to make speaking Spanish on the job a fireable offense. Accordingly, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell advised the president against nominating Cuccinelli to any post that required Senate confirmation.
Trump’s latest immigration proposal has one goal: Keep immigrants out
By David Bier, immigration policy analyst at the Cato Institute
(WaPo) President Trump’s administration rolled out its most significant change yet to immigration policy Monday: the “public charge” rule. This regulation will ban legal immigrants if government bureaucrats believe that they might use welfare. Officials claim the rule will protect taxpayers and make immigrants self-sufficient, but the rule isn’t designed to meet these goals. It’s just designed to keep immigrants out.
… The entire methodology of how a bureaucrat will predict someone’s future likelihood to use benefits is designed to set immigrants up to fail. It sets up a checklist of factors, including age, education, family size, English language ability, income, assets, etc. The government plans to count the negative factors and “weigh” them against the positive ones.
Paul Waldman: The Trump administration ramps up its war on legal immigration
The administration has all but shut America’s doors to refugees fleeing war, disaster and oppression. They’ve tried to make it impossible to seek asylum if you’re coming from the south. They’ve allowed officials to reject green card applications for trivial paperwork reasons such as a missing blank page, without allowing applicants to fix the errors. They’ve proposed raising immigration filing fees, just to make things more difficult.
And now, they’re following through on a proposal they first suggested not long after President Trump took office and officially unveiled last year, to use a 19th-century “public charge” principle to deny green cards and citizenship to legal immigrants who have ever used a public benefit such as Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program or food stamps. The policy goes even further. …
Trump can tell people that immigrants are both the cause of their current problems and a dire threat to everything they value, and even their very lives. He can spread his poison of hate and fear, encouraging everyone to nourish and cultivate their worst impulses.
Just like the policy of taking children from their parents’ arms at the border and holding children in cages, this one is meant to have a practical impact, but it’s also meant to send a message. That message is this: We hate you and we don’t want you here, and if you come we will treat you with all the cruelty we can muster.

17 July
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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