Under the Trump-Sessions regime, immigration policy has three prongs: keep them out, lock them up, throw them out. The latest in the lock-them-up policy area is a memo directing a search for more jail cells, especially in private prisons, and especially in four “sanctuary” cities.
In contrast, a research paper from Texas A & M’s Legal Studies Research Series recommends reversing the trend toward more detentions, and instead relying more on community based alternatives.
And a reminder: immigration detainees have not been convicted of any crime. If they had been convicted of a crime, they typically would be serving time in state or federal prison, not in immigration detention. Continue reading
The bad news from St. Cloud is that city council member Jeff Johnson wants to stop refugee resettlement. The good news is that his anti-refugee resolution drew quick and strong condemnation from civic and community leaders, including his fellow city council members and St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis. Now Johnson has delayed the planned introduction of his anti-refugee resolution from October 23 to some time in November – which may still be problematic, because he can’t introduce it without getting a second from at least one other council member.
In another Minnesota story, a farmworker faces deportation after years in Minnesota – back to Guatemala. He fled the country after three of his first cousins were killed – more below. Continue reading
With a presidential pledge to “take it five steps further” on immigration enforcement, the ICE acting director’s promise to quintuple workplace raids, and an email to Army recruiters directly contradicting DoD policy and federal law on enlistment by permanent residents, the Trump administration is back to full-on anti-immigrant posture.
In other news: courts halt Trump travel ban 3.0, DACA organizing and legal action, Minnesota news, and more. Continue reading
Trump’s travel ban 3.0 was stopped in its tracks today by Federal District Judge Derrick Watson in Hawaii. Watson ruled on one of several cases brought against the travel ban since it was issued. The ban was scheduled to go into effect tomorrow, October 18.
Another legal challenge by the ACLU and several other organizations was heard by a judge in federal court in Baltimore on Monday. One of the plaintiffs, Eblal Zazkok, tells his family’s story and the stories of two other plaintiffs in a heartbreaking op/ed in USA Today. He details the “veritable gauntlet of screening procedures” required before he and his family could be granted asylum here. Because of the travel ban, his eldest daughter is barred from rejoining the family, and lives in fear in a refugee camp in Turkey. One of his co-plaintiffs is a man whose wife cannot rejoin him and their sick infant daughter because of the travel ban.
While challenges to the previous travel bans made it to the Supreme Court, those bans were temporary and expired before the Supreme Court ruled. The current ban is permanent, so the new challenges may result in a definitive ruling – some day. Continue reading
One of several television shows including significant immigration plots or sub-plots.
I tried hard to find some good news to start the week. The best I could find was fictional: television sitcoms focusing on immigration. There’s also a halfhearted Defense Department statement on immigrant soldiers that might be good news, though the devil is in the details. The rest of today’s stories include another deportation of a long-time Minnesota resident, denial of a visa to a celebrated jazz musician, and other stories pointing to the brokenness of our immigration system and the terrible human costs it imposes. Continue reading
On October 12, Attorney General Jeff Sessions slammed asylum applicants, immigration judges, and immigration attorneys in a speech filled with inaccuracies and outright lies. He charged that asylum applicants are “gaming the system” with the help of “dirty immigration lawyers.”
One example of an outright lie:
Sessions said that, “Denying an asylum application is difficult to prove—and so it seldom happens.” That is not true according to statistics released by the U.S. government. The Attorney General’s speech reflects the continuing racist and anti-immigrant policy stance of the current administration.
The facts about asylum grants, as carefully documented by the University of Syracuse:
“Denials of asylum by immigration judges continued to rise last year. As of the end of September 2016, overall asylum denial rates for FY 2016 had risen to 57 percent.”
Moreover, the University of Syracuse found that asylum decisions are often arbitrary and depend on which judge hears the case:
“For example, while the specific ranges differed by court, the typical asylum seeker might have only a 15 percent chance of being granted asylum all the way up to a 71 percent chance depending on the particular judge to whom their case is assigned.”
Meanwhile, the DOJ’s continuing attack on immigrants has moved to include immigration judges, with a proposal to evaluate judges based on the number of cases they close. You might be able to come up with a worse way to evaluate judges, but I’m not sure what that would be. Continue reading
Good news! Congratulations to Cristina Jiménez Moreta, co-founder and executive director of United We Dream. Cristina was chosen as one of 24 people to receive the MacArthur ‘genius’ award. She came to the United States as an undocumented child, grew up here, worked hard in advocacy for DACA, and is still working for immigrants and for the DREAM Act.
In addition to Cristina, the Washington Post observes:
“The new class also includes a striking number of fellows whose work is tied to themes of global migration, the experiences of marginalized people and cultural drift across borders.
“In addition to Jiménez Moreta, grants were awarded to Jason De León, 40, a University of Michigan anthropologist who uses forensic science and archaeological methods to study the journeys of migrants from Latin America to the United States; Sunil Amrith, 38, a Harvard historian studying migration and the consequences of colonization in South and Southeast Asia; and Greg Asbed, 54, of Florida, who has worked to improve working conditions for migrant farmhands.”