Haitian TPS extended and other immigration news – May 23, 2017

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At the last minute, the Trump administration extended Temporary Protected Status for Haitians for six months – until January 17, 2018. DHS officials claimed that Haitian officials assured them the country is ready and willing to receive the 58,000 Haitians now living in the United States and sending money home to help support family there. Haitian officials insist they said no such thing, and that the country is not and will not be ready.

“There was no ambiguity as to what we asked for…. At least 18 months was a key part of the conversation,” [Haitian Ambassador Paul] Altidor said, noting that even that amount of time would be insufficient.”

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) was granted in 2010 after an earthquake destroyed much of the country. Then UN peacekeepers brought cholera, which swept across the island nation. Last year a hurricane struck, with many survivors still living in tents or caves. 

Haitians get six months protection from deportation – but told to prepare to leave U.S. (Miami Herald, 5/22/17)

Homeland Security Extends Protections For Thousands Of Haitians In U.S. (NPR, 5/22/17)

“Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., says Haiti is still struggling.

“The reality is that in six months Haiti will still be in no position to absorb and aid 58,000 unemployed people,” she said in a statement. “It will still be recovering from the 2010 earthquake and the subsequent cholera epidemic imported by U.N. peacekeepers that has killed 10,000. And it will still be struggling to rebuild the extensive damage its infrastructure incurred after Hurricane Matthew struck the island-nation last October.”

What did Sessions really say about sanctuary this time?

Three news sources report the same story with differing emphases and headlines. The central facts of the story: Judge William Orrick has already heard the argument that Trump’s executive order doesn’t really mean what it says, and that only DOJ grants to sanctuary cities could possibly be at stake. He didn’t believe the argument when the DOJ attorney first presented it, so now Sessions is making the same argument in an official statement.

As AP reports, he is seeking to get the judge to reconsider his order. Has he really narrowed the scope of the executive order, as NPR reports? Can he even do that?

Trump seeks reconsideration of sanctuary cities ruling (AP via Star Tribune, 5/22/17)

“The Trump administration filed court papers Monday aimed at getting a judge to reconsider his ruling blocking the president’s executive order to cut funding from sanctuary cities that limit cooperation with U.S. immigration authorities.

“The U.S. Department of Justice asked U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick for permission to file documents asking the judge to reconsider or clarify his ruling in light of a new memo by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.”

AG Jeff Sessions Demands Proof Sanctuary Cities Complying with Immigration Law (USA Today, 5/22/17)

“The directive issued Monday by Attorney General Jeff Sessions appears to redefine terms of President Trump’s controversial executive order that would punish so-called “sanctuary cities” that do not fully comply with federal immigration enforcement efforts. The general term describes more than 300 local government that have limited their cooperation with immigration officials.

“Sessions also said that the order would not put at risk all federal grant money, but would apply only to those funds administered by the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security.”

Justice Department narrows scope of ‘sanctuary cities’ executive order (NPR, 5/22/17)

“In the new memo, the attorney general defines the cities narrowly — as places that “willfully refuse to comply” with federal law. Sessions also made clear the threats apply only to a modest pool of grants administered by the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security, not the entire stream of U.S. funding for states and localities.

“That point figured prominently in the recent ruling by federal Judge William Orrick, who wrote: “Federal funding that bears no meaningful relationship to immigration enforcement cannot be threatened merely because a jurisdiction chooses an immigration-enforcement strategy of which the president disapproves.”

And in other immigration news

Outnumbering refugees two to one: how the world ignores war’s greatest scandal (The Guardian, 5/222/17) Internally displaced persons outnumber refugees.

“Conflict, violence and natural disasters forced more than 31 million people to leave home and settle elsewhere within their countries last year, the equivalent of one person every second.

“But while the number of people uprooted by conflict outnumbers refugees by two to one, they have been largely ignored by the international community, according to a report by the Norwegian Refugee Council’s Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre.”

Republicans are preparing extreme immigration measures (The Hill, 5/22/17) The Republican legislation focuses exclusively on enforcement. Among its provisions: ramping up deportations without hearings, imposing harsh criminal penalties on people entering or remaining in the United States without authorization; and authorizing state governors to enforce immigration laws if a future president made exceptions or softened enforcement.

Churches, Synagogues Openly Defy Trump’s Immigration Crackdown (60 Minutes, 5/21/17)

“There is a peaceful rebellion growing against federal immigration law and the interpretation of that law by the Trump administration. More than 800 houses of worship across the country have volunteered to shelter illegal immigrants and their families who face deportation — daring federal agents to step through their stained-glass doors. The churches and synagogues are joining more than 600 cities and counties that have declared themselves sanctuaries—ordering their police not to detain people if it’s only because of their immigration status. In no other venue of the law has so much of the nation stood in defiance of Washington.”

Officer’s immigration status question raises many more (Fox 9 News, 5/21/17)

“We’ve seen it, even before the election. But even more so now,” said Robin Phillips, executive director of The Advocates for Human Rights. “And not just with metro police, but with individuals, private citizens. We’re seeing a lot of people making comments, verbal harassment.”

An Undocumented Future: Fear in the Immigrant Community (WCCO, 5/21/17)

“There’s a tremendous level of fear. People think they will rounded up and shipped somewhere,” Omar Jamal, a Somali American advocate, said.

“Some have decided to pack up and head to the border — the northern border in Canada — to seek asylum, Jamal said.”

About Mary Turck

News Day, written by Mary Turck, analyzes, summarizes, links to, and comments on reports from news media around the world, with particular attention to immigration, education, and journalism. Fragments, also written by Mary Turck, has fiction, poetry and some creative non-fiction. Mary Turck edited TC Daily Planet, www.tcdailyplanet.net, from 2007-2014, and edited the award-winning Connection to the Americas and AMERICAS.ORG, in its pre-2008 version. She is also a recovering attorney and the author of many books for young people (and a few for adults), mostly focusing on historical and social issues.
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