Defending Trump’s executive orders in court is a tough assignment. On April 14, an assistant U.S. Attorney seemed to argue that Trump’s order doesn’t really mean anything and therefore should not be struck down:
“There’s been no action threatened or taken against the cities,” Assistant Attorney General Chad Readler said at a hearing in San Francisco on a lawsuit by San Francisco and Santa Clara County. He said Trump, in a Jan. 25 order that spoke of withholding federal funds from cities and counties that refused to cooperate with federal immigration agents, was just using a “bully pulpit” to advocate compliance.”
This peculiar argument came in a lawsuit brought by the city of San Francisco against Donald Trump to prevent punishment for being a sanctuary city. A federal judge heard arguments on the case on Friday, April 14, and further arguments are scheduled for April 25. The city’s lawsuit is based on Trump’s January 25 executive order directing the Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security to take away federal funding and take other “appropriate enforcement action” against sanctuary cities.
San Francisco makes several arguments, including that the order violates the Tenth Amendment, that Congress and not the president allocates federal funds, and that the language of the order is imprecise.
Federal judge in California deals blow to Trump policy on sanctuary cities (Chicago Tribune, 4/14/17)
“U.S. District Judge William Orrick dealt a first blow to the administration in court Friday, agreeing with the city and county that they’re harmed by Trump’s policy and have the right to sue to block it. The judge went on to pick apart the administration’s argument that the order merely restates existing law, saying in making his decision he would take into account past statements by the president and Attorney General Jeff Sessions and not just the text of the order itself.”
Judge weighs arguments in SF, Santa Clara sanctuary cities case (San Francisco Chronicle, 4/14/17)
“A Trump administration lawyer told an apparently skeptical federal judge Friday that President Trump’s executive order against so-called sanctuary cities, such as San Francisco, doesn’t deprive them of federal funding — at least not yet — but merely encourages them to follow immigration laws….
“In their lawsuit, San Francisco and Santa Clara County argue that federal funding is controlled by Congress, not the president, and that the Constitution prohibits federal agencies from coercing state and local governments to carry out federal law by threatening to slash their funding. The Trump administration has not yet replied to those arguments, contending only that the suit is premature because no funding cutoffs are imminent.
“Readler also appeared to back away from threats by both Trump and Sessions to withhold all federal funds to sanctuary cities. The only funding at stake, the government lawyer said at the hearing, would be grants from the Justice Department or the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees immigration enforcement, and not the bulk of federal appropriations that support local health and social service programs.”
Faced with San Francisco lawsuit, Trump lawyer backs down on sanctuary cities (Immigration Law Prof blog, 4/14/17) From SF City Attorney Dennis Herrera’s press release:
“The Trump administration tried to hold a gun to the head of local governments across this country saying, ‘We’re going to pull the trigger unless you break the law.’ San Francisco is not going to lock people up illegally, even at the federal government’s direction.
“Today the president’s lawyer had to acknowledge in court that local governments cannot be forced to comply with federal immigration requests to hold people in jail past their release date.
“The president’s lawyer also was forced to admit that only a tiny fraction of federal grants can potentially be withheld from local governments under the president’s executive order on sanctuary cities. “Unfortunately with the Trump administration, federal lawyers have repeatedly said one thing in court while the attorney general and the president say something else in public. That’s why we need a court order to protect San Francisco and every other sanctuary jurisdiction.
Trump’s sloppy, unconstitutional order on sanctuary cities (The Atlantic, 1/30/17) And a reminder about what people were talking about when that executive order was issued:
“The document, not to put too fine a point on it, reads as if The Simpsons’ Lionel Hutz sat up all night cutting words out of a magazine and pasting them on a brown paper bag. (In fact, National Public Radio reported that the Office of Legal Counsel, which is supposed to review all federal orders, refused to say whether it had even seen the “sanctuary” order.)”
How strong is San Francisco’s ‘sanctuary city’ lawsuit against the Trump administration? (Justia, 2/10/17) Extended legal analysis of San Francisco v. Trump, which challenges Trump’s executive order on penalizing sanctuary cities.
And in other immigration news:
ICE immigration arrests of non-criminals almost double under Trump (Washington Post, 4/16/17)
“Immigration arrests rose 32.6 percent in the first weeks of the Trump administration, with newly empowered federal agents intensifying their pursuit of not just undocumented immigrants with criminal records, but also thousands of illegal immigrants who have been otherwise law-abiding….
“In January, [Trump] issued executive orders that made all undocumented immigrants at risk of deportation. In February, Trump’s press secretary said the “shackles” were off immigration and border agents, whose unions backed Trump in the election.”
Trump travel crackdown turns ‘wedding celebration into family separation’ (The Guardian, 4/14/17) The bride’s mother – a widow with a PhD – has traveled back and forth to the United States for years. Now she and the bride’s sister can’t even get a consular appointment for a visa.
“The nadir came when Karbasi’s sister was told by a consulate worker what she had long been suspecting. He said: “If you were Spanish you could get an appointment in two days, but for Iranians appointments are closed.” …
“Karbasi … is steeling herself for a wedding celebration without her mother and sister. With just a few days to go before her special day, Karbasi said she wakes up every morning wondering what is she doing here. “Why am I living here? I brought money to this country, I pay my taxes, yet I’m treated with no respect. I’ve told Mark if he was not here, I would be gone. Let’s go somewhere where we are wanted.”
Border Patrol struggles to recruit agents amid immigration crackdown (The Guardian, 4/14/17) Trump wants the Border Patrol to hire 5,000 new agents, and ICE to hire 10,000. The Border Patrol can’t even keep up with attrition – and fears that some of its agents will apply for the ICE positions.
“Ice looks for undocumented people in the US, so its agents live in cities, not desert outposts, and the agency offers more overtime opportunities.
“It has another recruitment advantage: no lie-detector test. About two-thirds of CBP applicants fail the polygraph, the Associated Press reported in January.
“A 2010 law obliged CBP to use the test to curb corruption and misconduct after an earlier hiring surge …”
Unsurprisingly, the Trump administration’s solution includes eliminating the lie detector test.
I’m an undocumented immigrant. I pay my taxes every year. (Vox, 4/14/17)
“I have lived in the United States for the past 17 years, half of that time as an undocumented immigrant. Paying taxes has, at times, felt like a contradictory experience for me.
“My parents, who became undocumented immigrants after losing their immigration status in 2007, continue to pay their taxes to this day. Just like me, they have always abided by the simple belief that regardless of their immigration status, they have to do right by the country that has given their family a better life and opportunities.”
“Lanre Falusi, a DC-area pediatrician focused on migrant health, said she’s hearing reports from colleagues across the country about a drop in the use of health care services among migrant children following Trump’s swearing in. Mixed-status families are not showing up for their health care appointments, or they’re asking to be unenrolled from services that children were eligible for, like WIC (the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children), she said. And she’s worried that the “prolonged exposure to serious stress will harm the developing brain and affect the health” of these kids.
“Recently, several media reports have suggested more families are going hungry post-Trump because they are avoiding SNAP. As the Washington Post recently reported, “In the two months since President Trump’s inauguration, food banks and hunger advocates around the country have noted a decline in the number of eligible immigrants applying for SNAP — and an uptick in immigrants seeking to withdraw from the program.”
Why Trump’s wall contradicts today’s immigration trends (Washington Post, 4/14/17) Other answers: technological monitoring, keeping track of who leaves the country, identifying visa overstays.
“Trump’s desire to build a wall seems to run against the opinions of immigration officials who have years of experience in U.S. border enforcement. Although many agree the border needs more funding and improvements, the overwhelming majority say a wall along the entire Southwest border is unnecessary.”
New detention center coming to Conroe, Texas (Immigration Law Prof blog, 4/14/17)
How much it costs to deport an undocumented immigrant (CNN Money, 4/13/17)
“Each deportation conducted by ICE cost taxpayers an average of $10,854 in fiscal 2016, an official from the agency told CNNMoney. This amount includes everything from housing and feeding a detainee to transporting him back to his home country.”
The President Wants to Use Your Tax Dollars to Fund His Deportation Agenda (NCLR Blog, 4/14/17)
“The administration has requested $3 billion dollars as the first down-payment on the president’s executive orders to implement his mass deportation agenda. This includes $1.4 billion to go towards the construction of the border wall, $1.2 billion to go towards more detention facilities, and funding to go towards hiring more border patrol and immigration enforcement agents.
“Now, the United States already spends more on immigration enforcement than on all other federal law enforcement agencies combined. That includes the DEA, the FBI, the ATF, the Secret Service, and the Federal Marshals Service.”
Even Canadians are skipping trips to the U.S. after Trump travel ban (Washington Post, 4/14/17)
“As anecdotal evidence mounts, industry experts say it’s increasingly clear that travelers from all over — Canada and Mexico, Europe and Asia — are rethinking their plans to visit the United States.”
Mexican tourists don’t want to visit Trump’s America. It will cost us billions. (Los Angeles Times, 4/14/17)
“Barba canceled his Easter week trip, along with the jaunt he usually makes in December for Christmas shopping.
“I decided not to go until anti-Mexican sentiment decreases,” said Barba, a legal advisor for the congressional human rights committee. He said he’s also stopped buying Nike shoes and Washington state apples in favor of products made in Mexico or other countries.”
Migrant boats: Thousands saved off Libyan coast over Easter (BBC, 4/16/17)
“More than 2,000 people were rescued on Friday and 3,000 on Saturday in dozens of separate rescues, the Italian Coast Guard said.
“But at least seven people drowned as aid workers struggled to rescue more than 1,500 migrants in one operation.
“An eight-year-old boy was among the dead, rescue workers said.”