Reporting on immigration can get complicated, but you’d think the Washington Post could do better than this June 12 headline: Trump Administration Grants Work Permits to Thousands of Illegal Immigrants
The story is actually about DACA – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. That’s an Obama executive order that suspended deportation for hundreds of thousands of young people who had been brought to the United States as children. Many of them grew up here and never knew any other home. DACA gave some kind of security, as well as work permits, to those who met its strict requirements, submitted the application and extensive documentation, including fingerprints and criminal background check, and paid the $465 application fee. If granted, DACA permission was good for two years, and after that, the DACA recipients could re-apply (and pay another fee) for a two-year extension.
The Washington Post article is about that specific story: extending temporary and limited protection and work permits to these young people.
“Trump had called the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program an “unconstitutional executive amnesty” during his campaign. But statistics from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services released last week showed that more than 17,000 new DACA applicants were approved for the program in the first three months of 2017.
“In addition, 107,000 immigrants already enrolled in DACA had their two-year work permits renewed during that time…”
Trump has moved from calling for an end to DACA to telling DACA recipients that they can “rest easy.” That angers many of his supporters, who want him to issue an executive order ending DACA. On the other hand, many of his opponents are angry because of his administration’s arrests and deportations of some DACA recipients.
And in other news
Welcome to America: Here’s Your Electronic Shackle (Village Voice, 6/15/17) Carlos is a refugee from gang coercion and death threats in Honduras. While he waits for his case to get a hearing, he wears an electronic shackle – and pays for the privilege. The Village Voice explains how it works:
“Immigrations and Customs Enforcement has been using ankle bracelets to track people for years, but it doesn’t charge undocumented immigrants for the pleasure. Libre by Nexus, a young for-profit company unaffiliated with the government, is in the business of making money off the people wearing its bracelets. Its clients pay 20 percent of their bond, plus fees, up front, of which the company keeps 5 percent, passing on 15 percent to the bail bond agent who actually posts the bond. (Libre by Nexus’s founders, Richard Moore and Michael Donovan, are both convicted felons and so are barred in many states from operating a licensed bail bonds operation.) According to a contract filed as evidence in one of several lawsuits against Libre by Nexus, the company rents the bracelets from a provider, Omnilink Systems, for $3 a day, though Libre by Nexus disputes that figure. Libre by Nexus then charges its clients $14 a day for the GPS bracelets. Multiply that profit margin across an estimated 12,500 customers to date, and one can see why the company is in rapid expansion mode, with 22 offices in cities ranging from Tacoma to Orlando to New York.”
Illegal immigration picks up as deadly Texas heat moves in (KJOU, 6/13/17)
“[I]llegal immigration had dropped to about 70% since Trump took office until May when it picked up again about 25%….
[Former Texas Governor Mark White] knows a thing or two about illegal immigration. He believes the country is taking the wrong approach.
“It’s every attribute that you want to see in a good citizen, is revealed to you in those people who have come here,” he said.
Attorneys for Iraqi immigrants detained by ICE file emergency motions to stop deportation (Detroit Free Press, 6/13/17) ICE says those who were arrested had previously been convicted of crimes. Family members insist that some of the crimes were decades-old and for minor offenses – and that Iraqi Christians face persecution if they are returned.
“Dass said that some of his clients pled guilty to crimes, not realizing they could one day be deported back to Iraq. The administration of President Donald Trump has toughened enforcement of immigration laws, saying that legal immigrants convicted of felonies can be deported.”
Immigration arrests of dozens of Iraqi Christians prompt protest in Detroit (Chicago Tribune, 6/12/17)
“The Homeland Security Department has boasted in recent months that Iraq has agreed to start allowing the return of immigrants who have been ordered out of the United States. The first details of that agreement came amid litigation over President Donald Trump‘s travel ban, and the first version of the order included seven countries.”
ICE chief tells lawmakers agency needs much more money for immigration arrests (Washington Post, 6/13/17) ICE acting director asked for a $1.2 billion dollar increase, including an increase in jail beds from 34,000 to 51,000.
“Thomas D. Homan, the acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, told lawmakers at a hearing on Capitol Hill that the agency is churning out detainer requests, adding thousands of cases to its docket and deputizing an increasing number of local law enforcement agencies to help enforce federal immigration law.
“If you’re in this country illegally, and you committed a crime by entering this country, you should be uncomfortable,” Homan said. “You should look over your shoulder.”
Bishops renew pledge to fight Trump-backed immigration proposals (America, 6/14/17)
“Taking stock of their efforts over the past six months to combat some Trump administration attempts to crack down on undocumented people living in the United States, Catholic bishops meeting in Indianapolis today pledged to be more proactive in laying out a vision for comprehensive immigration reform.”
An Expensive Escape Hatch For U.S. Illegal Immigrants Fearing Deportation (Forbes, 6/14/17) Money talks. Forbes describes a “great investment for those who can afford it” – buying a passport from a Caribbean country, which could become a new home in case of deportation. Why would you want a “backdoor escape hatch?”
“While U.S. citizens may wonder why “going home,” is such a bad thing, for illegal immigrants that all depends on where “home” is and what has happened there. It may be conceivable for a middle-class illegal in the U.S. to go back to Mexico and establish a decent quality of life there, but the same cannot be said for returning to a place like Syria, where war has turned the country upside down. Going home to places such as Egypt, Ukraine and Libya is now a risky proposition for many, to say nothing of Iraq and Afghanistan since 2000.”
U.S. citizen detained by immigration authorities asks California lawmakers to support ‘sanctuary state’ bill (Los Angeles Times, 6/13/17)
“Guadalupe Plascencia told state lawmakers on Tuesday that she was frustrated and humiliated when she was handcuffed and detained in March by immigration authorities in San Bernardino, despite having become a U.S. citizen about 20 years ago….
“She said immigrants deserve to be treated with dignity and respect and pointed to her experience as an example of how immigration laws can be wrongfully applied, even against citizens.”
Activists want New Hope officer fired for asking light-rail rider’s immigration status (Star Tribune, 6/14/17)
“Danielle Robinson Briand, the attorney representing Vences-Lopez, said a court recently reopened his removal proceeding, which means he won’t be deported as long as the case is pending. She is also preparing for a bond hearing.
“Vences-Lopez entered the United States illegally in 2013 and worked for a roofing company. He said he was robbed of $2,000 at knife point in early May, so he couldn’t afford the light-rail fare. He didn’t report the crime to Minneapolis police until recently “because he was very afraid,” his lawyer said.”
Son of immigration activist who sought sanctuary in Chicago church to graduate high school (Chicago Tribune, 6/14/17)
“A decade ago, Saul’s mother, Elvira Arellano, became a lightning rod in the nation’s immigration debate when she sought sanctuary in a Humboldt Park church while fighting her second deportation back to Mexico. Her son, born in the U.S., has joined her as an immigration advocate, serving as a symbol of why so many people live in the U.S. illegally — to find better opportunities for their children.
“After his mother was deported in 2007, young Saul — who went to live with her in Mexico — took up her mantle, traveling back and forth between the U.S. and Mexico, lobbying for immigration reform.”
California aims to suppress immigration detention growth (KCRA, 6/14/17)
“The state’s $125 billion budget — which is set to be approved Thursday — has a related measure to prevent local governments from signing contracts with federal authorities for immigration detention facilities or expanding existing contracts.
“It would also have the state attorney general review conditions at immigration detention facilities in California.”