While U.S. political attention focuses on the unfolding Flynn / Russia / Turkey / Trump debacle and the consequent special counsel / Congressional committee investigations, Republicans are trying to push through (anti)immigration legislation. The Intercept summarizes the “little noticed bills, marked up in the House Judiciary Committee Thursday” that would “bring sweeping changes to the nation’s immigration enforcement apparatus, adding thousands of new deportation officers and, among other things, equipping each of them with body armor and an assault rifle.”
The Trump anti-immigrant agenda already has increased arrests and ratcheted up fear in immigrant communities. As Vox says, “The Trump White House is collapsing. The Trump immigration agenda is chugging along.”
Republican immigration bill threatens to turn millions of people into criminals overnight (The Intercept, 5/18/17)
“That third bill, the “Michael Davis, Jr. and Danny Oliver in Honor of State and Local Law Enforcement Act,” which appeared in a tweeted photo of White House strategist Steve Bannon’s policy agenda, would see immigration violations traditionally treated as civil infractions transformed into criminal violations, punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Speaking before judiciary committee members Thursday, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), said the provision would “turn millions of Americans into criminals overnight.” Nadler added that the legislation was “straight out of the Donald Trump mass deportation playbook.””
House committee squares off on aggressive immigration bills (CNN, 5/18/17)
“The Davis-Oliver Act would substantially increase the capabilities of federal and local immigration enforcement, including empowering state and local law enforcement to enact their own immigration laws and penalties. It also would give the government powers to revoke visas, beef up Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s ability to arrest and deport undocumented immigrants, increase criminal penalties for undocumented immigrants and punish sanctuary jurisdictions.”
“But the biggest difference in what the Trump administration is bragging about is “at-large arrests”: cases where ICE agents are going into immigrant communities to track people down….
“Those are the arrests that have the biggest chilling effects rippling through immigrant communities. They’re the ones that make it impossible to know whether ICE is targeting specific individuals or sweeping indiscriminately through neighborhoods — and engender false rumors about roadside checkpoints and arrests in schools. They’re the arrests that do the most to remind millions of unauthorized immigrants that they could be next.”
U.S. judge blocks federal move against immigration lawyers (Reuters, 5/17/17)
“The government had told the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, a nonprofit in Washington state, that it could not advise people in immigration court without formally representing them.
“The project argued that it did not have resources to formally represent everyone it advises, and much of the work involves informally guiding people how to file legal documents on their own behalf. It filed a lawsuit against the government earlier this month in Seattle federal court.”
“Haiti’s TPS designation expires in July of this year, which means that Haitians with this status may be deported from the U.S. For months now, various stakeholders have been pressing DHS to renew the designation, citing disruptions in the lives of Haitians who are settled in the United States, and dangerous conditions in Haiti exacerbated by a 2016 hurricane and a cholera epidemic started by United Nations peacekeepers in 2010. That epidemic has killed thousands and has led to food shortages, infrastructure damage and a lack of housing, health care and sanitation services. As a result of these conditions, the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti notes that the country is incapable of properly receiving and resettling detainees at this time.”
REAL ID Update / Noticias de REAL ID (Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota, 5/18/17)
“Minnesota will have a “clean” REAL ID law, without anti-immigrant language – but there’s more to the story. There will still likely be efforts by House Republicans to put the anti-immigrant & anti-rulemaking for driver’s licenses language in a different bill, such as the Omnibus Judiciary/Public Safety budget bill.”
U.S. Immigration Policy and the Case for Family Unity (Journal on Migration and Human Security, Vol. 5, No. 2, 2017)
“Reducing wait times for family reunification with spouses and children of lawful permanent residents, allowing prospective family-based migrants to visit their relatives in the United States while their applications are being processed, and providing relief from deportation and a path to legalization to parents and spouses of US citizens should be prioritized. The cost to implement these measures would likely be minor compared to current and projected spending on immigration enforcement and it would be more than offset by the improved health and well-being of American families.”
Despite Hiring, Immigration Court Backlog and Wait Times Climb (TRAC Immigration, 5/15/17) An appalling report from the TRAC Immigration project at Syracuse University.
“As of the end of April 2017, the number of cases waiting for a decision had reached an all-time high of 585,930….
“Viewing these figures from a different perspective, the existing large backlog and extraordinary wait times mean that some individuals are not scheduled to have their day in court until after President Trump’s current four-year term in office has ended. And we are only a little more than 100 days into his four-year term.”
Trump cites MS-13 in immigration crackdown. But others here illegally are helping police bring down the gang (Los Angeles Times, 5/17/17)
The sweep was possible, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said, because the police got critical help from others who also are in the country illegally.
“The … thing that has been effective is public cooperation,” Beck said. “MS preys on the illegal immigrant community. They extort them. They rob them. They rape them. They murder them. Without their cooperation as witnesses, none of this would be possible.”…
“The sweep was possible, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said, because the police got critical help from others who also are in the country illegally.
“The … thing that has been effective is public cooperation,” Beck said. “MS preys on the illegal immigrant community. They extort them. They rob them. They rape them. They murder them. Without their cooperation as witnesses, none of this would be possible.”
Advocates Protest Immigration Arrest of Virginia Mother (U.S. News, 5/1817)
“According to the advocacy group CASA, 30-year-old Liliana Cruz Mendez of Falls Church was arrested Thursday after going with her lawyer to a check-in appointment at Immigration and Customs Enforcement regional headquarters in Fairfax.
“CASA spokeswoman Fernanda Durand said Cruz Mendez has no criminal record and came to the U.S. from El Salvador a decade ago. She came to officials’ attention in 2013 after being stopped for a broken taillight.”