Immigration train wreck in Congress and other immigration news

train wreck

Photo by 826 Paranormal published under Creative Commons license

Over the weekend, Trump’s immigration train wreck continued to dominate immigration news stories. The White House fingerprints are all over last week’s debacle, from Trump’s veto threats on moderate, bipartisan plans to Trump’s demands for slashing legal immigration and removing legal safeguards in the deportation process. Republicans, with only a few exceptions, caved to the White House bluster and bullying. Though the immigration deal-making failed, March 5 no longer means the end of DACA: for the moment, two federal court rulings keep DACA alive, barely.

Around the country, arrests and deportations continue, and U.S. citizens and permanent residents rush to file visa petitions for mothers and fathers, spouses and children, brothers and sisters, fearing that Trump’s proposed ban on visas for close relatives could become reality.

In addition to analyses of DC immigration action, today’s stories include homes for young asylum seekers in Chicago, a young immigrant couple in love and fear, shameful scapegoating around the opioid crisis, and a senior ICE attorney charged with fraud and identity theft from immigrants.

Trump administration assault on bipartisan immigration plan ensured its demise (Washington Post, 2/17/18)

In the end, a president who promised to build a border wall paid for by Mexico balked over an immigration deal that would have given him a $25 billion down payment from U.S. taxpayers. A president who last year advised dreamers to “rest easy” and told lawmakers last month at the White House that he wanted a “bill of love” torpedoed an effort backed by 16 senators on Valentine’s Day.

“… curbs to legal immigration became a central part of the GOP demands.”

The DACA and immigration debate is now a giant game of chicken (Washington Post, 2/15/18)

“Trump is the one who undid DACA, and Congress could probably pass a stand-alone DACA bill immediately if he urged Congress to do so. He hasn’t done so, of course, and the White House has even suggested that it would veto the bipartisan Schumer-Rounds-Collins bill that came up six votes shy Thursday despite it containing plenty of concessions in exchange for DACA.

“The question is whether that changes as we get closer to a deadline. Both sides seem to think that the other will cave eventually. Given the spectacular failures of the four bills on Thursday, it seems that is about all that is left in this debate.

“It’s a hell of a way to do business.”

What the Senate’s failure on immigration means for the future of DACA (Vox, 2/16/18) Excellent, thorough analysis of present status of legislation voted down and proposals still surviving in Congress.

“The courts have probably kept DACA alive for months — but probably won’t be able to keep it alive forever.”

The business world is livid over Trump’s ‘immigration train wreck’ (Vanity Fair, 2/16/18) “Echoing the sentiment was Jay Timmons, president of the National Association of Manufacturers, who noted: “We have people who are working here contributing to our society. Many of them are in the manufacturing sector. We don’t want to lose those folks. And frankly our country shouldn’t want to lose those folks—especially in manufacturing where we have 364,000 open jobs.” Earlier in the week, Goldman Sachs chief Lloyd Blankfein said in interview, “I couldn’t bear the idea of sending outside the country someone who grew up here his or her entire life,” adding that “over time, immigrants add to the economy because they bring in skills,” a data point the administration would rather not hear. To that end, the Cato Institute estimates that if the employers lost all of their DACA employees, it would set businesses back $6.3 billion in worker-turnover costs.”

Around the country

Immigration arrests, deportation up in Iowa, its neighbors (Quad City Times, 2/17/18) ICE’s Minnesota field office covers Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

“Deportations in that five-state area increased 55 percent and immigration arrests jumped 67 percent from the state budget year that ended in September 2016, just before the 2016 elections, to the state budget year that ended in September 2017, according to the federal data.

“And enforcement did not just focus on immigrants with a criminal history. The number of deportations of immigrants without a criminal conviction jumped 74 percent from the 2016 to 2017 budget years, and the number of arrests nearly tripled.”

Immigrants Are Scrambling To Submit Petitions For Family Members To Come To U.S. (NPR, 2/16/18) Family members include only spouses, children, parents, and siblings. 

MAURICE GOLDMAN: For example, if you’re from the United States and you want to sponsor your sister from Mexico, right now the processing time is looking like at least 20 years, if not longer.

“BURNETT: Because of congressionally imposed caps on immigrants from individual countries and on categories of family members, the wait for an immigrant visa can be decades for some countries like Mexico, India and the Philippines. Now add to those waiting times the crush of new applicants.”

Homes offer safety for young asylum seekers (Chicago Catholic, 2/7/18) Viator House and Bethany House provide homes for young asylum seekers who otherwise might languish in immigration jails.

“Viatorian Father Corey Brost said that the houses offer their young residents something else they have not had for a long time, if ever.

“We see their basic human dignity and the value they have in the world,” said Brost, who is co-director of Viator House with Viatorian Brother Michael Gosch. “We try to surround them with an environment of care and compassion and hope.”

Running out of time in the land of opportunity (Chronicle of Higher Education, 2/16/18)

“She’s an undocumented student fearing the death of DACA. He’s a Haitian citizen with a deadline to leave the United States. They’ve fallen in love. What do they do now?”

Lawmakers are blaming undocumented immigrants for opioid crisis (Immigration Impact, 2/15/18)

“The scapegoating of immigrants for crime in the United States was on full display at a February 15 hearing of the House Judiciary Committee. The hearing was devoted to exploring the ways in which “sanctuary” jurisdictions allegedly impede law-enforcement efforts to control the opioid epidemic. That argument is a bit of a stretch, to say the least. In fact, as Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) put it, she was a bit confused as to why the committee was holding a hearing on an issue which has “no basis in fact.”…

“Indeed, the one reasonable panelist who testified at the hearing—Dr. Keith Humphreys of the Stanford University School of Medicine—said that the opioid epidemic is

“…at its most destructive [in] rural areas that don’t have sanctuary cities and indeed generally don’t have cities at all. Recent immigrants are rare, yet opioid addiction is rampant. That’s because the opioid epidemic was made in America, not in Mexico, China, or any other foreign country.”

Senior ICE lawyer used government computer systems to steal immigrants’ identities and defraud banks (The Independent, 2/17/18)

A chief counsel at US Immigration and Customs Enforcement(ICE) has admitted stealing immigrants’ identities to defraud banks.

“Raphael Sanchez, 44, forged identity documents on his government computer to open bank accounts and credit cards in the names of seven immigrants.”  

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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