Today, Trump’s Muslim ban was back in court, as the administration appealed U.S. Federal District Judge Theodore Chuang’s ruling against it. The entire Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, sitting en banc, heard the case, and judges’ questions were pointed and numerous. After one judge observed that some of Trump’s anti-Muslim comments were still posted on a campaign website, that page was quickly taken down.
Next week: the Ninth Circuit will hear the administration’s appeal from Judge Derrick Watson’s ruling against the travel ban/Muslim ban and the refugee ban.
And from China – even though the Kushner family tried to keep reporters out of the gathering, plenty of reports show them asking for $500,000 investments in return for U.S. visas.
Trump Muslim ban back in court
Fourth Circuit Targets Trump’s Comments in Travel Ban Hearing (National Law Journal, 5/8/17)
Judge Henry Floyd asked Wall if there was “anything other than willful blindness” that should prevent the court from considering Trump’s comments made on the campaign trail and in office. Wall replied that respect for the president and his authority would, and that the lower court applied the wrong standard in deciding whether to look at the statements in the first place. Judge Robert King, in a later exchange, seemed skeptical.
King added that several of Trump’s comments against Muslims were still on his campaign website when the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland issued its injunction against the ban.
“He’s never repudiated what he said about the Muslim ban,” King said of Trump.
President Trump’s lawyers on revised travel ban repeatedly asked about campaign promises (Washington Post, 5/8/17)
“The entire U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit was considering the case, and judge after judge asked Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey B. Wall about statements during the presidential campaign and afterward in which Trump talked about a Muslim ban.”
“Refugee groups and individuals separated from family members overseas said they are taking the president at his own word: trying to use public statements by Trump and his aides during the campaign and after to prove the order is motivated by religious animus….
“No court ruling is expected from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit Monday. But that case does not signal the end of the road. In fact, in one week, on May 15, a different federal appeals court, the 9th Circuit, will hear arguments in a similar case brought by the state of Hawaii.”
A Travel Ban’s Foe: A Young Firebrand and Her Pro Bono Brigade (Washington Post, 57//17) She coordinated the response to Trump’s first travel ban, recruiting volunteer lawyers ahead of the ban.
“So when President Trump signed the order two days later, and thousands of lawyers flocked to airports in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and elsewhere, the public saw not so much a spontaneous reaction as the meticulous preparation of a loud, pugnacious 35-year-old lawyer who is now in the middle of one of Mr. Trump’s biggest policy fights….
After Mr. Trump’s election, she said, “I started thinking increasingly in military terms, so I was like: ‘What does it mean that we have an army of 2,000 lawyers who want to do stuff for refugees? What can we do with that?’”
White House erases Trump’s call for a Muslim ban from website ‘minutes’ after reporter brings it up (The Independent, 5/8/17) Coincidence? If you believe that, I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.
Kushner family and cash-for-visas
A Few Thoughts on the Trump/Kushner Families’ Presidency Cash Bust Out (Talking Points Memo, 5/8/17)
“You’ve probably heard that the Kushner family was caught over the weekend literally selling visas to immigrate to the United States in exchange for funding a $150 million dollar New Jersey real estate project. The sale itself is actually legal. It’s part of a highly controversial and widely abused program which provides visas to foreign nationals in exchange for $500,000 investments in US projects which by certain standards are judged to create jobs in impoverished or economically distressed parts of the United States. It’s become a widely abused vehicle for real estate developers looking to fund luxury development projects….
“Do we think this is the only case of the Trump and Kushner families doing this? I think we can fairly assume that the effort to cash in is underway and in overdrive in numerous countries around the world and in every way possible.”
“But Larry Noble, general counsel for the Campaign Legal Center, says, ‘The strong feeling is that they — the Trump family, the Kushner family — see the White House and being in the government as a marketing opportunity.'”
Senators criticize visa program pushed by Jared Kushner’s sister in China (Washington Post, 5/8/17)
“Feinstein, a California Democrat, had introduced legislation earlier this year with Sen. Charles E. Grassley, an Iowa Republican, that called for the EB-5 visa program to be eliminated. Other members of Congress had put forward a proposal to overhaul the program, including raising the minimum investment from $500,00 to $1.3 million.
“However, with the program set to expire, Congress on Thursday extended it without instituting reforms. On Friday, Trump, who has called for strict enforcement of immigration laws, signed the extension as part of a massive spending bill.”
Trump Looms as Kushner Companies Courts Investors in China (New York Times, 5/8/17)
“Mr. Kushner’s sister, Nicole Meyer, cited her brother’s service to the company, which he led as chief executive until January. She said the project in Jersey City “means a lot to me and my entire family.”…
“The Shanghai event, at the opulent Four Seasons Hotel, was patrolled by burly security guards who screened those in attendance and kept journalists outside…
“Mr. Trump’s political power was palpable at the Shanghai event even if his name went unsaid. As on Saturday in Beijing, one slide that was presented to the Shanghai audience, describing who will decide the future of the visa program for foreign investors, included a photograph of Mr. Trump, as shown by a snapshot taken by an audience member.”
And more immigration news
Will high school segregation for refugees lead to better integration? (Hechinger Report, 5/4/17) Only students who request the high school go there, and it’s designed to help late arrivals to the U.S. learn English and catch up.
“I was losing sleep over these kids. They were 19 years old and they needed an accelerated way to learn English. I couldn’t get people to break out of the idea that they needed to learn English before academic instruction could begin.”
The Internationals’ approach is multipronged: The schools teach English at the same time as teaching subjects like math and history, and make the lessons project-based so that new arrivals can use multiple tools to build their vocabulary and creative thinking. The schools also emphasize student collaboration and working in mixed groups so they can develop their English skills and help one another as they move through the work, and they can build relationships that provide social support.
FOIA Backlog Skyrockets at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (The FOIA Project, 5/8/17) (H/T to Mila Koumpilova)
“The backlog of unprocessed FOIA requests to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) continues to climb. In just a two-year period, the backlog of unanswered FOIA requests has tripled, climbing from 17,998 at the end of December 2014 to 46,550 at the end of December 2016. See Figure 1.
“This means that countless requesters – including reporters, scholars, and those subject to immigration actions – are not getting the information they need to check against unlawful actions and to better hold the government accountable to the governed.”
Newly released letter shows growing battle between groups in immigration debate (Washington Post, 5/8/17) FAIR vs. AILA and SPLC and numerous other organizations and lawyers..
“Lawyers for the SPLC and for groups representing immigrants involved in the cases objected to the request for input from the federation, arguing that it is a “hate group,” “white supremacist,” “eugenicist,” “anti-immigrant,” “anti-Semitic” and “anti-Catholic,” the court’s letter said.
“The federation called those descriptions “McCarthyite ad hominem attacks” and asked the board to sanction the lawyers.?
“Texas Gov. Greg Abbott made an unannounced appearance on Facebook live Sunday evening to sign a tough bill banning “sanctuary cities” in the state, thereby avoiding demonstrations opponents planned for later in the week when they thought he was going to put his signature on the legislation….
“Though the bill, which cleared the Republican-controlled legislature last week, was opposed by most major police chiefs in Texas, Abbott said in a statement that the law was a blow against “those that seek to promote lawlessness in Texas.”