New Dream Act lands in Congress and other immigration news – July 21, 2017

dream-act-nowThey grew up here, went to school here, work here, pay taxes here, raise their own children here – let them become citizens. That’s the gist of the latest Dream Act, unveiled Tuesday (July 20) by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Dick Durbin (D-IL). According to their one-page summary:

The Dream Act would allow these young people to earn lawful permanent residence and eventually American citizenship if they:

• Are longtime residents who came to the U.S. as children;

• Graduate from high school or obtain a GED;

• Pursue higher education, work lawfully for at least 3 years, or serve in the military;

• Pass security and law enforcement background checks and pay a reasonable application fee;

• Demonstrate proficiency in the English language and a knowledge of United States history; and

• Have not committed a felony or other serious crimes and do not pose a threat to our country.

The bill, a successor to about a dozen earlier Dream Acts introduced since 2001, details a path to legal residence and, eventually, citizenship for young people brought here by their parents years ago. Despite Trump saying last week that Congress should solve the problem of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients through legislation, his aides said he would oppose the Dream Act legislation.

DACA faces a legal challenge by a group of states led by Texas, with a threat to push ahead on that challenge on September 5, unless the president halts DACA. It’s not clear whether the administration would instruct the attorney general to defend DACA.  Continue reading

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Twists and turns on travel ban and Dreamers and other immigration news – July 20, 2017

Roeder Supreme Court

Photo by Phil Roeder, published under Creative Commons license

Two more twists in immigration policy came on Tuesday:

The Supreme Court said yes to extended family ties exemptions from the travel ban and no to extended refugee exemptions. The court also set the travel ban case for oral arguments early in the next term: October 10.

The White House announced that Trump would not back legislation legalizing Dreamers.

But those developments came on Tuesday. By Friday, the president could have changed his mind again on Dreamers.  Continue reading

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Arrests up, deportations down and other immigration news – July 19, 2017

Arrests of undocumented immigrants are up – especially arrests of undocumented immigrants with no criminal records. Apprehensions at the border dropped after Trump’s inauguration, but are once again increasing. Deportations, however, are down. And immigration court backlogs are climbing.

The Trump administration’s hard line on immigration paradoxically explains both the increased arrest rate and the lower deportation rate. The elimination of prosecutorial discretion means that every case is pursued to deportation, and that clogs the entire system, as well as imposing massive hardship and suffering on immigrants and their families.  Continue reading

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Temporary workers yes, Dreamers maybe, and other immigration news – July 18, 2017

Dreamers hear only waffling from Trump as Republican attorneys general threaten to sue to end DACA. At the same time, Trump has – belatedly – increased the number of H-2B temporary worker visas to allow more immigrant workers for seasonal industries heavily dependent on their labor. Continue reading

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Travel ban goes back to Supreme Court and other immigration news – July 17, 2017

The travel ban is back in the Supreme Court, after Hawaii Federal District Judge Derrick Watson expanded the definition of “bona fide connection” to include grandparents and other family members, as well as refugees already vetted and scheduled for placement through a U.S. agency.  The Trump administration immediately appealed Judge Watson’s ruling to the Supreme Court, which ordered challengers to respond to the government motion by noon on Tuesday.   Continue reading

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Great immigrant stories and other immigration news

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Halima Adan (left) and Mai Neng Moua (right)

Halima Aden, a young Muslim woman from St. Cloud became a star model and glamorous cover girl, wearing a hijab. Mai Neng Moua, after beginning life in a refugee camp, is now a successful Minnesota immigration attorney and chair of Twin Cities World Refugee Day – where you can go on Sunday to learn more refugee stories.

More good news today:

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DACA at risk and other immigration news – July 13, 2017

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Illinois Congressional Representative Luis Gutiérrez spoke after the Congressional Hispanic Caucus meeting with Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly.  (Photo from Congressman Gutierrez Facebook post)

Congressional Hispanic Caucus members met with Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly on Wednesday and came away fearing for the future of DACA. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, instituted by the Obama administration, gives temporary protection from deportation and temporary work permits to more than 800,000 undocumented young people brought here as children by their parents.

While Trump initially threatened to abolish DACA, he later said the young people should “rest easy.” Kelly said he personally supports DACA, but that it probably would be vulnerable to a legal challenge. Texas leads a group of Republican attorneys general that has threatened a court challenge to DACA if the Trump administration does not begin phasing out the program by September 5.

Does Kelly’s statement signal that the administration will end DACA? Or that it will not defend DACA if there is a court challenge? Or that the decision will be up to Attorney General Jeff Sessions?

Representative Luis Gutiérrez said, “If you’re going to count on Jeff Sessions to save DACA, then DACA is ended.”

According to the Miami Herald, TPS is also at risk:

“Members of the Hispanic caucus said Kelly told them Wednesday that federal programs that grant Haitians, Salvadorans and Hondurans temporary protected status because of past disasters in their homelands are also at risk of being canceled, or not renewed, by the Trump administration. Haiti and Honduras are set to lose that status in January.”

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