Big Brother is watching you, too, and other immigration articles – June 22, 2017

Biometrics, drones with facial recognition capacity, cell-site simulators: these weapons developed for the war on terror are being used in immigration enforcement. The Atlantic reports that Deportation Is Going High-Tech Under Trump (6/21/17). Obama began using some of these tools and tactics, but only at the border. Now Trump is unleashing all of it  for use anywhere. The Big Brother-style surveillance is not limited to deportation or to immigrants.

“Donald Trump brings two fundamental changes. The first is animus. When Trump calls Mexican immigrants drug traffickers and rapists, when he says a judge cannot do his job because of his Mexican heritage, when he implies that Muslim immigrants are party to a vast, Islamist conspiracy (we have to “figure out what’s going on”), it could send a signal to rank and file immigration enforcement.

“Second, Trump is starting to use his surveillance arsenal to its utmost legal and technical capacity—within the U.S.”

Trump’s January 25 executive order revoked Privacy Act protection for “persons who are not United States citizens or lawful permanent residents.” (Section 14) That may leave Privacy Act protections in place for citizens and legal residents, but when it comes to use of high-tech surveillance, we are all at risk.

“State legislatures have passed dozens of laws restricting geolocation tracking, cell-site simulators, drones, and other technologies; Congress has passed zero such laws for criminal law enforcement, let alone ICE….

“For years, Congress pressed DHS to use biometrics to track foreign nationals leaving the country. This year, DHS launched face scans through Delta and JetBlue—and both systems scan the faces of foreign nationals and citizens alike.”

And in other immigration news –

Where Trump’s Immigration Crackdown is Failing (Slate, 6/20/17) Article argues that sanctuary cities are protecting some immigrants from arrest by ICE. Maps illustrate the argument.

“In discussing the new arrest spike last month, Homan acknowledged the logistical difficulties that sanctuary cities pose to ICE agents. “To arrest people at-large rather than in the county jail, it takes longer, it takes more resources, it’s less efficient,” said Homan. He later added, “If people get released, now there’s several people out in the general public, we may not know where they are. So it is gonna take a team of officers to locate that person and do a lot of investigative research on where we can find them.”

L.A. Police Chief Charlie Beck endorses ‘sanctuary state’ bill that Eric Holder hails as ‘constitutional’ (Los Angeles Times, 6/19/17)

“This is not a soft-on-crime bill,” Beck said Monday at a Los Angeles news conference, with former U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric Holder and Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León. “This is not an anti-law enforcement bill. This is a bill that displays courage. The courage of Californians, the courage of Angelenos to understand that when we stand together we are much more effective than when we stand apart.”

Arizona Court Strikes Down In-State Tuition for DACA Recipients (Immigration Prof Blog, 6/20/17)

“The Arizona Court of Appeals ruled today that DACA beneficiaries are not eligible for in-state tuition.

“In 2012, the Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) began accepting EADs from DACA recipients as evidence that they qualified for residence-based, in-state tuition benefits. The Arizona Attorney General (AAG) objected and challenged the District.”

How the Democrats Lost Their Way on Immigration (The Atlantic, July/August issue) Contributing editor Peter Beinart argues that “In the past decade, liberals have avoided inconvenient truths about the issue.” He says Democrats should promote assimilation, learning English, and tough immigration enforcement. He argues that poor immigrants cost more in government services than they pay in taxes, and that they may take American jobs, though he does acknowledge that immigration, overall, boosts the U.S. economy. Along the way, he takes a few potshots at multiculturalism and universities.  The commenters love this article.

Queens landlord demands tenants prove their immigration status or face eviction (New York Daily News, 6/18/17)

“The notice, sent to residents of all 23 apartments at the corner of 42nd Ave. and Junction Blvd. last week, demands each leaseholder appear at the building’s management office with photo ID, Social Security card, “proof of your status in US (Green card or Passport)” and proof of employment.

“P.S If you fail to comply, your lease will not be renewed, we may have to terminate your lease and may have to evict you from the apartment,” the notice from “New Management” reads.

Cuomo orders state investigation into landlords discriminating against immigrant tenants (New York Daily News, 6/20/17)

“Gov. Cuomo has ordered a multiagency investigation into whether landlords across the state are discriminating against immigrants — including asking them to prove their citizenship or face eviction.

“The Daily News reported exclusively on Sunday night that 23 apartments in a building on 42nd Ave. near Junction Blvd. in Corona, Queens had received such a letter.”

Controversial immigration measures move forward in Nashville’s Metro Council (The Tennessean, 6/20/17) A final vote will come in July.

“After an intense debate, the council voted 25-8, with four abstentions, to advance an ordinance that would prevent Metro from using city funds and facilities to enforce federal immigration law. That includes a prohibition on agreeing to voluntary requests from federal immigration officials to detain those in the nation illegally in Nashville jails.”

What Will Trump Do With Half A Million Backlogged Immigration Cases? (The New Yorker, 6/20/17) Not only are immigration cases backlogged so that getting a hearing may take two years or more – immigrants also lack due process protections during that time.

“Immigration proceedings are civil matters rather than criminal ones, so the protections generally afforded to criminal defendants don’t apply to individuals with cases before immigration judges. If a defendant wins in a criminal case, the government can’t appeal. Nor can authorities hold a person in prison after an exonerating ruling. In immigration court, however, ice can appeal if a judge decides to close a case, and often an individual will remain in detention while that process runs its course. The Supreme Court is currently weighing a case in which a large class of litigants are seeking mandatory bond hearings every six months for anyone in immigrant detention. As it stands now, individuals are held indefinitely while they wait for a judge to rule on their situation, whether it’s an asylum claim or a contested deportation order. (Being detained doesn’t mean their cases are weak; according to Justice Department figures, roughly twenty per cent of all deportation cases resolved in 2016—some twenty thousand cases—ended in the immigrants’ favor, with the deportation orders being dropped.) In immigration cases, Anthony Enriquez, a lawyer with the Immigrant Defense Project, told me, people “wear the same jumpsuits as criminal defendants. They’re put in the same cells. Still, they don’t have the same protections.”

L.A. County supervisors OK $3 million to aid legal efforts for immigrants facing deportation (Los Angeles Times, 6/20/17)

“The decisions also follow the state Legislature’s passage last week of a budget that would funnel $45 million to community organizations to provide immigrants with legal assistance and other services.”

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,, 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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