Cruelty as Policy: that’s the underlying premise of U.S. immigration policies today, according to a two-part series for The Advocates for Human Rights, written by volunteer attorney James O’Neal. In Part One, he wrote about the push for “self-deportation:”
“The decision to flee one’s home country permanently and come to a strange land is not made lightly. Many refugees seek to escape starvation, persecution, torture or certain death, which could be due to their ethnicity, gender or gender orientation, political beliefs or religion, or it could be simply because conditions in their country of origin make it impossible to stay. Such people often have a legal right to asylum.
“What the concept of encouraging “self-deportation” embraces is intentionally making conditions in the United States worse for undocumented immigrants than the conditions in the country from which they fled. Not the American Dream, but the American Nightmare. On purpose.”
Part Two, published on May 31, begins by exploring fear of “the other,” a long-standing fear skillfully organized and managed by today’s right wing elites to feed “the current rise of anti-immigrant sentiment, a recurring wave that has swept the United States several times in its history and has always been regretted afterward.”
O’Neal identifies the authors of Trump administration anti-immigrant policies:
“It is a promising time for the hard-line anti-immigrant elites. A former executive director of FAIR, Julie Kirchner, is now an advisor to the Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection. Jon Feere, a former CIS policy analyst, now works for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Steve Bannon, strategy advisor to the President, has repeatedly referred to The Camp of the Saints in describing his thoughts on immigration policy. Their thinking permeates actions and attitudes displayed by the current administration.”
Besides the individuals serving in positions of power, O’Neal points to John Tanton and to “the Federation for American Immigration Reform (“FAIR”); the Immigration Reform Law Institute (“IRLI”); the Center for Immigration Studies (“CIS”); Numbers USA; ProEnglish; U.S.English; the Social Contract Press and, the funding organization, U.S. Inc.”
And in other news
Homeland Security chief signals shift on immigration policy (Washington Post, 6/1/17) After setting a six-month end date for Temporary Protected Status for Haitians, Kelly signaled that he intends to end TPS for others as well.
“The point is not that there be a complete recovery of all ills in the country,” Kelly said. “The point is, whatever the event is that caused TPS to be granted — that event is over, and they can return.”
“That might shock 86,000 immigrants from Honduras and another 263,000 from El Salvador, who constitute the vast majority of the program’s current beneficiaries.”
“Fake signs designed to look like they were issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have sprung up in Washington, D.C., in what has been criticized as an effort to “scare and divide” the city’s residents.
“The flyers, which claim to be a notice from ICE on D.C.’s status as a sanctuary city, inform residents they must report ‘illegal aliens’ and claim there is a prison term for those people who harbor or aid undocumented immigrants.”
Officials: Flyers Warning Against Aiding Immigrants Are Fake (New York Times, 6/1/17)
“Prosecutors have wide latitude when negotiating plea deals. It typically depends on the facts of each case. In several U.S. cities now, prosecutors are using their discretion to protect defendants who are immigrants. They want to ensure that immigrants, whether here illegally or seeking citizenship, don’t get deported for minor crimes. “
Interpreters play a vital role in immigration courts — but their rights are being violated, labor board says (Los Angeles Times, 6/1/17)
“The complaint alleges that SOS International, also known as SOSi, misclassified workers and engaged in unfair labor practices under the National Labor Relations Act, including coercion and retaliation. By misclassifying workers, SOSi circumvented labor laws that would require it to pay overtime and to provide certain benefits, such as workers’ compensation.
“The NLRB’s complaint marks the first time a federal agency has recognized the contract interpreters as employees.”
Here’s What it Looks Like to Grow Up Undocumented in America (ACLU, 6/1/17) Jessica Colotl tells her story. (As did the New York Times in May.)
Weeping in the Playtime of Others: The Obama Administration’s Failed Reform of ICE Family Detention Practices (Journal on Migration and Human Security, 2017) This journal article traces the history of family and child detention facilities, and examines current policy and practice, as well as the way current practices violate U.S. law.
Vetting Refugees: Is Our Screening Process Adequate, Humane, Culturally Appropriate? (Federal Lawyer, 5/17)
“This article first provides a brief history of this country’s long-standing commitment to refugee protection. Next, it describes the legal standard applied in determining whether an individual is eligible for refugee protection, including bars to protection under U.S. law. The article then provides an overview of the extensive screening procedures already in place to address national security concerns. Finally, the article concludes with a discussion of challenges related to credibility and corroboration, including issues with trust, translation, trauma, time, resources, and other hurdles, all of which must be considered as part of any effort to change the system.”
Here’s where immigrants are moving in America (Business Insider, 6/1/17) Article also includes a county-by-county map.
“International migration was only a small part of population change in most of the nation’s counties. About two-thirds of counties saw less than a 0.1% change in their populations between 2015 and 2016 because of immigration and emigration.”