“End DACA or else.” That’s the message Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and nine other state attorneys general sent in a June 29 letter to the Department of Homeland Security. (Click here for text of the letter.) They want the Trump administration to stop renewing DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) permits and stop issuing new ones. If that doesn’t happen by September 5, they say, they will sue in federal court. That’s how they stopped DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans) and DACA+.
State Officials Make Legal Threat Against DACA (Inside Higher Education, 6/30/17)
“Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and nine other state Republican attorneys general sent a letter Thursday threatening to sue if the Trump administration does not “phase out” the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, under which more than 700,000 undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children, many of them now college students, have obtained two-year, renewable work permits and protection against deportation.
“Trump has sent mixed messages about the DACA program, which was established by former President Obama in 2012. During the campaign Trump said that he would “immediately terminate” what he described as an “illegal executive amnesty” program. Since his election he has softened his tone and said he would deal with DACA “with heart,” but he has not pledged to continue it. “
GOP officials in 10 states push Trump to end DACA program (Washington Post, 6/30/17)
Next up: Anti-immigrant legislation goes to the Senate
Minnesota 7th District Congressmember Collin Peterson was among the few Democrats voting for two anti-immigrant measures passed by the House of Representatives on June 29.
Immigration law battle shifts to Senate, testing Dems (The Hill, 7/3/17)
“Democrats previously blocked similar proposals in 2015 and 2016. But a renewed push could force the 10 senators running for reelection in purple and red states won by Trump to take a tough, politically controversial vote.”
House-Passed Immigration Bills Have Murky Future in the Senate (Roll Call, 6/30/17)
“The bills are the first major pieces of immigration legislation taken up by the Republican-led Congress since President Donald Trump took office….
“But votes in the Senate as recently as last year have shown that measures dealing with immigration policy on a piecemeal basis, especially those viewed by Democrats as racially motivated and aimed at broadly painting immigrants as dangerous, are not likely to meet the Senate’s 60-vote threshold required to advance most legislation.”
Today’s Travel Ban news
Why the new travel ban isn’t causing chaos (Vox, 6/30/17)
“It’s not because the Trump administration implemented this ban perfectly — it made one important change to who’s banned and who isn’t right before the ban went into effect, and further changes could be on the way. But it was smooth enough to avoid a political uproar or a midnight courtroom fight.
“In one respect, that’s a victory for the ban’s critics. But it’s also a serious challenge. The ban, as it’s instituted right now, folds neatly into the things in existing immigration law that often seem maddening, unjust, or discriminatory — from the way different family relationships are categorized, to differences in treatment among people of different nationalities.”
More court challenges expected for Trump’s new travel ban (AP via MPR, 6/30/17)
- The EO itself (13780)
- The Supreme Court’s decision (allowing the ban to go forward, with restrictions)
- The DOS Cable June 28, 2017 (interpreting the SCOTUS decision and implementing Executive Order 13780)
- FAQ from the State Department about planned implementation
- FAQ from DHS about planned implementation
- DOS Factsheet regarding refugees
And in other immigration news
Denied: Afghanistan’s All-Girl Robotics Team Can’t Get Visas To The US (Forbes, 6/28/17)
“Their robot may have permission to travel, but six teenage Afghan inventors are staying put this summer.
“They’ve been rejected for a one-week travel visa to escort their robot to the inaugural FIRST Global Challenge – an international robotics competition happening in Washington DC in mid-July.”
In Western Minnesota Town of Dawson, a Muslim Doctor Tries to Understand His Neighbors Who Backed Trump (Washington Post via Star Tribune, 7/1/17) An immigrant, a Muslim doctor, in Dawson – speaking from the heart. Thoughtful and eloquent.
“In two hours, he was supposed to give his third lecture on Islam, and he was sure it would be his last. A local Lutheran pastor had talked him into giving the first one in Dawson three months before, when people had asked questions such as whether Muslims who kill in the name of the prophet Mohammed are rewarded in death with virgins, which had bothered him a bit. Two months later, he gave a second talk in a neighboring town, which had ended with several men calling him the Antichrist….
“The pastor had called to say two police officers would be there tonight, just in case. The late afternoon sun came in through the windows, beyond which was a lovely town of sprawling cottonwoods, green lawns and so many people the doctor felt he no longer knew or maybe even could trust.”
Private Bills & the Fate of Arthur Mkoyan (ImmigrationProf blog, 6/30/17) ICE now says it will deport people with pending private bills.
“Every student of mine for the past several years has heard the story of Arthur. He’s my go-to poster boy for private bills. And I talk to them about why Senator Feinstein didn’t just submit the private bill once but instead kept on submitting it legislative session after legislative session. Even though it’s never passed, the very existence of the pending bill has continued to provide a stay of deportation for the family.”
“After nearly two decades in the United States, Minerva Garcia received an order from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to leave the country by Friday. Instead, at a press conference on Thursday, she announced her decision to seek sanctuary at Congregational United Church of Christ in Greensboro, North Carolina. She will remain there indefinitely with her two youngest sons, U.S. citizens ages 3 and 6. Her eldest son, 21-year-old Eduardo, who is blind and a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient, will stay with friends and family.”
Trump administration targets parents who paid to smuggle children into U.S. (McClatchy News, 6/29/17) The Office of Refugee Resettlement places unaccompanied children with relatives in the United States – who then become ICE targets for deportation.
“The Trump administration has begun a new surge of immigration enforcement targeting parents who have paid to have their children illegally brought to the United States….
“Parents of the children report receiving surprise knocks on their door by immigration agents — sometimes the day after their children arrive — asking about their children and demanding that they be let in, according to government case workers. Once the parents open the door or leave the house they are detained.”
Immigrant rights groups blast new ICE policy they say targets parents of child migrants (Los Angeles Times, 6/30/17)
“The Trump administration has begun to arrest parents and relatives it suspects of paying to have children smuggled to the United States, sparking fierce criticism from immigrant advocates that officials are interrogating vulnerable migrant children with the intent of separating families….
“Refugee and immigrant advocacy groups across the country, however, are pushing back against officials’ claims of acting in the interest of children. They argue that the government is manipulating children fleeing persecution and violence in Central America in a bid to target their loved ones and sow fear across migrant communities.”
Immigration Courts, Lacking Judges, Are Sinking Under a Massive Backlog of Cases (Miami Herald, 6/30/17)
“When Miami immigration attorney Tammy Fox-Isicoff takes on new clients, the first thing she tells them — no matter how simple the case, no matter how open-and-shut — is, “This is going to take, at an absolute minimum, one year to resolve.”
“And she’s probably low-balling it. The average time for a case to wend its way through South Florida’s hopelessly backlogged federal immigration courts is 551 days — closer to two years. Even if those courts stopped taking new cases tomorrow, it would take about four years to work the backlog down to zero….
“Last week, during an angry and divisive meeting in New Orleans, the American Immigration Lawyers Association, a long-time supporter of hiring more judges, reversed course and voted to oppose any money for new judges.
“We don’t trust Trump and Sessions,” said Fox-Isicoff, a past president of the group. “They’re going to hire anti-immigration judges…And if they hire two or three hundred of them right now, basically we’ll be stuck with all these horrible judges forever.”
“San Francisco taxpayers could soon pay $190,000 in a lawsuit settlement with an undocumented immigrant who claimed he was reported to federal immigration authorities in violation of the city’s “sanctuary city” ordinance, the City Attorney’s Office confirmed to CBS San Francisco station KPIX-TV.”
Feds fight to deport Chamroeun Phan even after judge orders his release (City Pages, 6//30/17) Despite thel judge’s order restoring his permanent resident status, ICE is appealing and still trying to deport him.
“Chamroeun Phan has been locked up in Sherburne County Jail for nearly a year, awaiting deportation. His elderly parents were refugees of the Vietnam War. Phan himself was born in a Thai refugee camp, and has never actually set foot in Cambodia, where the U.S. government now wants to ship him….
“Phan’s immigration judge put an emergency halt to the deportation. The judge reasoned that Phan’s case deserved a second look because he hasn’t gotten into any more trouble since the window incident six years ago, most of his relatives live in the United States, and his young daughter would suffer in his absence.”
USCIS to Naturalize 15,000 New Citizens During Independence Day Holiday (USCIS news release, 6/29/17)
“U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will celebrate the 241st anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, and our nation’s birthday, by welcoming nearly 15,000 new U.S. citizens during more than 65 Independence Day-themed naturalization ceremonies across the country this year.”
Months after deportation, they do what the Mexican government will not (Los Angeles Times, 7/3/17)
“Every week, Maria, 36, and other migrants deported from the United States in recent months greet planeloads of people sent back to Mexico City. They call themselves Deportees United in the Fight.
“They help new arrivals phone relatives, figure out how to catch a bus and register for the few government benefits available to former migrants. But mostly, they come to show the new deportees that they are not alone.”