DC dithering continues

U.S. Capitol dome_mct

Like an actor in a bad horror movie, Congress once again raises the budget axe, and we in the audience wait to see whether and on whom it may fall. Friday is the deadline for a budget, or a government shutdown. So far, Congress remains “mired in fights over immigration, gun control and health care,” delaying release of the text of the $1.3 trillion spending bill. That, in turn, delays the debate.

While Democrats have backed all the way down on immigration, Trump spokespeople continue to make “offers” such as trading some kind of DACA extension for $25 billion for a border wall. These “offers” get made and withdrawn with dizzying speed, making it even less likely that the budget bill will do anything for Dreamers.

MinnPost’s long article on the current state of DACA concludes with a couple of quotes:

“The highest level of frustration is directed at the president, because he stopped the program in the first place without a plan,” [Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota Executive Director John] Keller says. But he added that there’s frustration at Democrats, particularly those in the Senate. “The sort of pretending like you’re going to fight for the program when the Senate Democrats shut down the government for a weekend, only to cave in the activists’ perception, feels like they were kind of thrown under the bus one more time.”

“[St. Paul immigration attorney Kara] Lynum says that many of her clients [believe] that Washington won’t do anything until next year — if Democrats take control of Congress in the November midterms.

“I think everyone understands now that they have to hope there’s a change in the congressional makeup in the 2018 election to get anything going with this,” she says. “My clients do seem resigned.” Continue reading

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Focus on Minnesota, Update on DC


For today, we lead with several articles about immigration in Minnesota. You may have noticed coverage of Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) recently: that’s because DED for Liberians expires March 31, and Minnesota has the largest Liberian population in the country. Other Minnesota stories cover a soccer club, an educational series in St. Cloud (movie night tonight!), Somali refugees, and Norwegians.

Outside Minnesota, DC is debating the budget bill, and nothing looks good for immigrants.

And in other news: three family stories.   Continue reading

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Bigots in high places and other immigration news


As if racist immigration policies at home are not bad enough, now the United States has nominated an anti-Muslim conspiracy theory advocate to serve as director general of the U.N. International Organization for Migration. Along with a plan to monitor USCIS employees to make sure they are not soft on immigrants, recent moves confirm the accuracy of The Nation’s conclusion about immigration policy: For Trump, cruelty is the point.

Other news: Liberian DED, a new immigration sweep in California, and even some good news. Continue reading

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Queen of the Hill and other immigration games


On Thursday, California Republican Rep. Jeff Denham introduced a “queen-of-the-hill” resolution on immigration. Queen of the hill? Well, yes. Apparently that’s a thing in Congress. If Denham’s resolution is adopted, then four bills come to the floor, and the one with the most votes (in excess of a bare majority of 218) wins.

The bills are the totally nasty Goodlatte “Securing America’s Future Act,” HR. 4760; the Dream Act, H.R. 3440; the Uniting and Securing America (USA) Act, H.R. 4796 (extending DACA, but not as far as the Dream Act); and a fourth bill to be designated later by House Speaker Paul Ryan. That sounds more like a baseball trade than serious lawmaking, but it’s apparently true.

Also in the continuing Congressional circus, some Republican leaders were told by Trump envoys on Wednesday afternoon that Trump would support a “three for three” deal involving a three-year extension of DACA and three years of border wall funding. While Congressional Republicans were still trying to figure out exactly what that meant and whether they liked it, an official White House spokesperson issued a denial—no, Trump would not support that. Back to the drawing board.

In other news: Immigrant jails, courts, and forced labor; TPS and DED; family stories; sanctuary (again) from Minnesota to Texas
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Flip-flops and lies: Today’s immigration policy

U.S. Capitol dome_mct

On Wednesday, the Washington Post reported an apparent breakthrough on immigration: the Trump administration was telling kep Congressional Republicans that it was willing to accept a limited DACA deal in exchange for a limited amount of border wall funding, as part of the budget deal that will be passed by March 23.

White House officials have told key Republican leaders on Capitol Hill that President Trump is open to cutting a deal in an upcoming spending bill to protect young immigrants from deportation in exchange for border wall funding, according to four GOP officials briefed on the talks.”

That, the Post noted, would be “a significant shift” in immigration policy.

Within hours, the story shifted again, with CNN reporting that the White House had backed off, releasing an official statement repudiating the deal. According to CNN, the “mixed messages are partly a factor of Trump’s own repeated reversals on the issue.”

Lying is the one consistent theme in Trump immigration policy, argues libertarian Reason magazine editor Matt Welch in the Los Angeles Times opinion section. After listing several outright lies propagated by the administration, Welch concludes:

“We expect, though should never accept, that political actors will fudge facts and straight-out make things up to persuade people and gain votes. But Trump and Sessions are more than just politicians — they are the head of the executive branch and the No. 1 law enforcement official in America, respectively, and they’re weaving policy from fantasy.”

In other news: story of bombers who targeted Minnesota mosque gets stranger and stranger; Vox has an update on border wall construction; the problem with “non-punitive” immigration detention; and more on the ICE official who resigned in protest over lies.

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Mountain climbers and border walls


In California on Tuesday, Trump said that Mexican mountain climbers will scale the border wall, that the United States will go to Mars, and that the country will have a “space force.”

Back in Washington, Rex Tillerson is packing, and Mike Pompeo could be an even bigger disaster for refugees and for Muslims. A November article in The Atlantic outlines Pompeo’s history of anti-Muslim, anti-refugee positions.

Another newsworthy departure from the administration: the ICE spokesperson in San Francisco resigned in protest over being told to lie.

Other news ranges from the Fifth Circuit upholding Texas anti-sanctuary laws to a Kansas University student, adopted by her U.S. citizen aunt and uncle, now facing deportation.  Continue reading

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Virtual and physical walls trigger resistance

Wall mural Nogales McIntosh

Border wall mural, photo by Jonathan McIntosh, used under Creative Commons license

Recent moves by Attorney General Jeff Sessions threaten refugees, particularly women who are victims of domestic violence. The exact shape of his new policies remains somewhat secret, but the clear thrust is cutting down on refugee admissions and eligibility. With wide authority over immigration courts and judges, he can reshape policy without the need for Congressional involvement or public debate.

The ACLU filed a lawsuit challenging another policy decision: the Trump administration’s cancellation of TPS for Haitians and Hondurans. While DHS has authority to make taht decision, the lawsuit challenges alleges racist intent and violation of due process.

Today (Tuesday), Trump plans to visit the prototypes of a physical border wall. That will play well with his base, but might not be such good news for Republican Congressional candidates in California, where the visit may increase resistance to the administration and Republicans.

Resistance across the country takes many forms. Pro Publica and Univision are teaming up to help people monitor ICE activity.

In other news: Hmong women’s advocates, immigrant teachers, and individual immigrant stories from Cambodia, California, Boston, and Minnesota. Continue reading

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