Travel ban and more immigration news – June 28, 2017

The very limited travel ban reinstated by the Supreme Court will go into effect Thursday morning — but exactly who is banned remains unclear. Under a very narrow reading of the decision, only tourists with no other connection to the United States would be barred.Most visa applicants from the six targeted, mostly-Muslim countries will have the “bona-fide connection” to a person or entity within the United States that would exempt them from the travel ban.

Refugees, all of whom have undergone years of vetting before approval for visas, can arguably claim connection to the resettlement agencies working with them.However, it seems likely that the Trump administration will continue to resist admission of refugees.

The limited reinstatement of the travel ban is temporary — the Supreme Court has not ruled on the merits of the case, and will not do so until its October term. 
For Minnesota refugee advocates, concern and confusion over reinstated travel ban’s ‘bona fide relationship’ standard (MinnPost, 6/27/17)

“Many refugees in Minnesota went through years-long vetting process. It took Olat more than six years to get through the vetting process before he was admitted to the United States — a system that included multiple interviews, background checks, a health screening and orientation.

“In 2012, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) eventually brought him to the U.S. He was among thousands of people with no immediate relatives in the country. “I would have been considered people outside of the ‘bona fide’ relationship category,” he said. “I had no family in the U.S. The refugee resettlement agencies took care of me in my first few months in the country.”

By saying that only those with family, education or employment connections in the United States, Olat noted, the Trump administration and the Supreme Court are leaving behind some of the most vulnerable refugees: minor children who have lost their parents to persecution or violence or social activists who are targeted by terrorist groups.

With 3 Words, Supreme Court Opens a World of Uncertainty for Refugees (New York Times, 6/27/17)

“About four out of 10 refugees who come to the United States have no family ties in the country, according to independent estimates. In some cities known for taking in refugees — like Boise, Idaho; New Haven; and Fayetteville, Ark. — those with no family ties are a majority.

“On Monday, the Supreme Court threw into question whether such refugees, who are among the most vulnerable people seeking a haven after fleeing persecution or conflict, will be approved for resettlement in the United States.”

Innocent, Security-Vetted Refugees Victims of Supreme Court Decision (ImmigrationProf blog, 6/2/7/17)

“David Miliband, President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee (IRC), said today’s implementation of a partial stay by the Supreme Court on rulings against Trump Administration’s Travel Ban immediately impacts already vetted refugees scheduled to come to the United States.

“Too much time already has been spent litigating this misguided order,” said Miliband. “The approach of the Administration is bad policy. That is not changed by the legal arguments. The Court’s decision threatens damage to vulnerable people waiting to come to the US: people with urgent medical conditions blocked, innocent people left adrift, all of whom have been extensively vetted.”

Good sign or bad? Supreme Court travel ban announcement gets mixed reaction (Star Tribune, 6/27/17)

“Those supporting the travel ban order said the decision largely vindicated the president in his bid to suspend the arrivals of refugees and visitors from six countries as his administration rolls out more stringent vetting. Others pointed out that the great majority of refugees and travelers from the six Muslim-majority countries coming to Minnesota do have family or other ties to the state, so few would be affected by the order set to go into effect Thursday.”

Trump Travel Ban: Seven questions about the revised executive order (BBC, 6/27/17)

“The state department said the limited ban would be implemented in a “professional, organised and timely” fashion, and chaotic scenes at airports are not expected this time around.

“Those coming in on tourists visas are expected to face particular scrutiny, as they – unlike those on work, student or family visas, where the connection will be more evident – will have to clearly demonstrate a US relationship.

“Refugees without US connections are also expected to face particular difficulties.”

Agencies scramble to put travel ban in place (The Hill, 6/26/17)

“Federal agencies are now up against the clock to issue directives that comply with the court’s decision and to clarify how affected travelers can go about proving they have legitimate connections to the U.S.”

And in other news

Will Trump’s new rules make it harder to get asylum in the United States? That will vary dramatically from one judge to the next (Washington Post, 6/27/17)

“New Trump rules strongly encourage ICE officers to reject and refer applicants for immediate deportation if they don’t fit the criteria or don’t have a “well-founded” fear of returning to their home country, or both. They will often reject out of hand asylum claims from countries deemed friendly to the United States, regardless of whether that country respects human rights….

“[D]espite the law’s clear criteria, asylum denial rates vary widely by judge. Of the 115,500 cases studied, judges denied asylum in just under half the cases. But that is only the average. One judge denied asylum in nearly every case; another, almost never.”

Sanctuary Creativity and Expansions (ImmigrationProf blog, 6/27/17) An article by David Bacon describes labor union plans for workplace sanctuary. (Unlike many ImmigrationProf blog posts, this is a lengthy and detailed article.)

“Albeit far from its intentions, the Trump administration has put the idea of sanctuaries on steroids — spaces free from the threat of raids and deportations. As immigrant workers, unions and their allies look for creative ways to counter anti-immigrant onslaughts, they’re adopting the sanctuary framework to deal with the dangers faced on the job.

“This is not just a recent response to administration threats of increased enforcement. Immigrant workers have been battling jobsite raids and firings for many years, seeking ways to prevent la migra (immigration agents) from using their employment to sweep them into the enforcement net. Says Wei-Ling Huber, president of UNITE HERE Local 2850, the hotel union in the East Bay area of northern California, “When we go to work, we should be valued for the contributions we make, and we should be able to do our jobs free from fear of deportations.”

Justice Department developing strategies to shut down ‘sanctuary cities:’ report (The Hill, 6/24/17)

“One option would see Justice officials argue that local police departments refusing to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement illegally pre-empts federal law.

“Another would argue that municipalities refusing to comply with ICE are discriminating against ICE because those cities honor requests from other federal agencies, like the FBI.

“The DOJ source also … expressed hope that as Trump fills more vacancies on federal courts, the DOJ’s chances of securing a legal victory will improve, according to the Journal.”

Supreme Court Will Rehear Immigrant Indefinite Detention Case (NPR, 6/26/17) The Ninth Circuit said immigrants have a right to bail hearings and to be released unless they pose a danger or are flight risks. The Obama administration appealed, saying it had authority to hold”criminal and terrorist aliens” as well as “aliens seeking admission to the United States.”

“As a teenager, Rodriguez was convicted of joyriding, and at 24, he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance.

“In 2004, U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement began deportation proceedings against Rodriguez. He was ultimately detained for three years without the right to appear before a judge to ask for bond.”

Detroit judge halts deportation of more than 1,400 Iraqi nationals nationwide (Washington Post, 6/27/17) The June 11 raids included seizing a man at his daughter’s baptism and ICE agents going into popular restaurants with guns drawn to arrest people dining with their families. Many of those arrested have lived in the United States since the 1980s and 1990s, checking in regularly with ICE.

“On Monday night, U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith issued a stay of removal for about 1,444 Iraqi nationals recently rounded up across the country, including about 85 who are in detention and were expected to be removed on a plane to Baghdad as early as Tuesday. The individuals will now have two more weeks to challenge their deportations.

“The order comes days after Goldsmith halted the deportations of at least 114 Iraqis — most of them Chaldean Christians — in the Detroit area. Monday’s decision expands the order nationwide — against the government’s wishes — and affects potential deportees living in numerous states, including Tennessee and New Mexico….

“This is a community that galvanized itself to do everything in its power to fight ISIS, to send resources back to our community in Iraq to fight ISIS,” Naoum said, using another name for the Islamic State. “To find ourselves in 2017 still in that fight and having to turn around and fight off the Trump administration at the same time … talk about deplorable.”

Asylum seeker tries to legally enter Canada, is turned away because of controversial agreement (Winnipeg Free Press, 6/222/17)

“The Canada-U.S. agreement enacted in 2004 requires asylum seekers to claim refugee status in the first safe country in which they arrive. Because the U.S. is not accepting most refugee claimants, they’re being driven to use irregular means of getting into Canada where, once inside, they can legally apply for refugee protection because Canada honours its UN commitment to make sure it’s not removing anyone who’s at risk of they’re returned to their country.

“Canadian critics say the U.S. no longer meets the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act’s definition of a safe third country because it’s not respecting human rights and offering a high degree of protection to asylum seekers.”

Texas Latinos greet court date for ‘show me your papers SB4 immigration law (The Guardian, 6/27/17)

“The four largest cities in Texas – Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin – have joined a legal challenge kicked off by El Cenizo, a tiny border outpost with a sanctuary policy….

“Latino community leaders are hoping to harness the sense of outrage. Among the ideas Cadena floated on Saturday are supporting the lawsuit, voting out officials who backed SB4, targeted economic boycotts, voter education and programs to increase election turnout, passing city council resolutions in solidarity, and mass protests on 1 September.”

The Pentagon promised citizenship to immigrants who served. Now it may help to deport them. (Washington Post, 6/26/17) They were recruited because they had needed skills. Now the Pentagon may cancel their contracts, leaving them exposed to deportation.

“The undated action memo, prepared for Defense Secretary Jim Mattis by personnel and intelligence officials at the Pentagon and obtained by The Washington Post, describes potential security threats of immigrants recruited in a program designed to award fast-tracked citizenship in exchange for urgently needed medical and language skills.

“Additionally, 4,100 troops — most of whom are naturalized citizens — may face “enhanced screening,” though the Pentagon voiced concern on how to navigate “significant legal constraints” of “continuous monitoring” of citizens without cause, according to the memo.”

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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