Just because he can, just because they can, the president and the federal agencies that answer to him make life more and more miserable for immigrants every day. Today’s stories include shaming and blaming local law enforcement, implementation of a “mandatory social media check” for all visa applicants, deportation of a “model resident” from South Bend, Indiana, and more individual stories of immigrants.
President Trump’s reckless shame game (New York Times editorial, 3/22/17)
“President Trump’s Homeland Security Department turned its immigration purge — and assault on the Constitution — up a notch this week. It posted the first of what it says will be weekly online reports identifying state and local law enforcement agencies that decline its requests to keep immigrants in jail to give federal agents time to pick them up.
“The idea is to name and shame these agencies, accusing them of recklessly loosing dangerous aliens onto the streets….
“The accusation is dishonest. The report is a sham. And the claim of protecting public safety is ridiculous — dangerously so.”
“He has also ordered a “mandatory social media check” for all applicants who have ever been present in territory controlled by the Islamic State, in what two former U.S. officials said would be a broad, labor-intensive expansion of such screening. Social media screening is now done fairly rarely by consular officials, one of the former officials said.”
Individual immigrant stories
Why These Trump Voters Are Sticking Up for an Undocumented Neighbor (Huffington Post, 3/1/17) and Indiana restaurant owner to be deported Friday (Indiana Public Media, 3/22/17) He’s married to a U.S. citizen, father of four U.S. citizen children, owner of a restaurant, a “model resident,” according to South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who wrote the Huffington Post article and was quoted in the Indiana Public Media article. After living in this country since 1998, Roberto Beristain is being deported. Not because he committed a crime, but because he accidentally crossed into Canada while visiting Niagara Falls – in 2000.
“During an interview earlier this month, [his wife] Helen said she voted for President Donald Trump because she supports his immigration policies. She said criminals should be deported, but she didn’t think her husband would face that fate.
“[Trump] did say the good people would not be deported, the good people would be checked,” Helen said.”
I came here as a refugee. And then I rebuilt the Pentagon. (Washington Post, 3/23/17)
“The anti-immigrant sentiment I feel today is nothing new to me. When my Jewish parents arrived in the United States just a few years after fleeing persecution in an Arab regime, it was as difficult for them to be accepted here as it is for Muslims now. But my parents went on to create a new home for me and my siblings”
Border agent took two sisters aside and sexually molested them, lawsuit claims (Washington Post, 3/23/17)
After an immigration raid, a city’s students vanish (New Yorker, 3/23/17)
“There’s always some recoiling after raids or policy announcements,” Roberto Gonzales, a professor of education at Harvard and the author of “Lives in Limbo,” told me. “But in the last month or so there have been conflicting messages from the Trump Administration regarding its enforcement policy. There have been several large-scale and visible enforcement actions. Parents have been picked up after dropping off their children from school. All of this fuels rumor and dread for worst-case scenarios.”
Also in today’s news …
More than 200 migrants feared drowned in the Mediterranean (BBC, 3/23/17)
Immigrant advocates spread the word: Be prepared, be self-reliant, know your rights (Los Angeles Times, 3/23/17)
Trump said dangerous people might be pouring in without his travel ban. But he’s not rushing to restore it. (Washington Post, 3/23/17)
“I think this ultimately goes to the Supreme Court, and I think it is likely to find a Supreme Court that is much more open to the government’s arguments once Judge Gorsuch is confirmed and sworn in,” Meyer said. “So it’s quite possible that part of what is going on right now is slowing things down to allow that to happen.”
“The delay, though, undercuts one of the president’s primary arguments for the ban: that it is temporary and needed for national security while the administration reevaluates its vetting procedures for foreign travelers.”
DOJ highlights immigration arrests in statistics report (CNN, 3/23/17) Immigration arrests made up half of all federal arrests in 2014.
“Part of the increases came because the Bush and Obama administrations made an effort to prosecute first-time immigration offenders to deter illegal immigration and also increase potential punishment for illegal re-entry after being prosecuted and deported previously, according to the report and Leon Fresco, a former Obama administration Justice Department official….
“Fresco said that while the report may look like evidence that non-citizens and undocumented immigrants are dangerous, it’s actually more a reflection that immigration offenses are the easiest federal crime to prosecute.”