When legal limbo looks good: DACA and the courts

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The U.S. Supreme Court refused the Trump administration’s request that it grant an unusual, expedited review of two district court orders telling the administration to keep DACA in effect while challenges are litigated. This means the Trump administration will have to fight the battle in lower courts, with no Supreme Court decision this year.

The ruling leaves in place lower court orders directing the administration to process renewal applications for people who have DACA now or have had it in the past. Those orders do not authorize new DACA applications. That leaves almost 800,000 DACA recipients with a way to renew, but leaves just about as many other people eligible for DACA and with no way to apply. One example: DACA required people to be 15 years old before applying.  Someone who was brought to the United States as a baby in 2006 is not yet eligible to apply. A one-year-old child brought to the United States in 2004  will turn 15 this year—but will have no way to apply for DACA protection. 

Then there are about 800,000 children who are currently in legal status, but will age out. Their parents have H-4 or H-1B status, and the children have legal status as dependents until they reach age 21. Then they have no legal status, and no way to become permanent legal residents, even if they have lived here most of their lives. Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul has proposed what he calls DALCA legislation to give them a path to permanent legal residence.

Other immigration articles linked below include a Houston sanctuary church, panic in Oakland, Burmese refugees in Des Moines, and an immigrant star in Albert Lea, as well as former USCIS officials’ take on the “nation of immigrants” controversy.

Senate pivots to stopgap ‘Dreamer’ deal (The Hill, 2/26/18) They’re talking about a temporary fix that would leave DACA protections in place until—maybe 2019 maybe longer? And would that protect the kids ow turning 15, who could not apply for DACA before the president ended the program, solely because of their age? Would a temporary fix allow new initial applications? And would any bill pass the House? 

Koch-backed group launches ad to pressure Congress to protect Dreamers (Washington Post, 2/26/18) The Koch network may be synonymous with right-wing politics in other arenas, but when it comes to immigration, they aren’t buying the Trump package. They want DACA, they want border security, and they say that’s also the administration position. But the Koch crew does not want cuts to family immigration or “arbitrary” caps on legal immigration.“ 

As Trump’s DACA Deadline Bears Down, Dreamers Choose Fight Over Flight (TPM, 2/26/18)

“Though federal courts have for now blocked the Trump administration from canceling DACA, and the Supreme Court refused Monday morning to overturn those injunctions, the judicial branch offers Dreamers only a temporary reprieve. Now, faced with mounting threats to their families and the chance they could soon lose their own status, many DACA recipients say they still feel they are safer in the limelight than in the shadows. They have found that the more vocal and visible they are, the harder it will be for the Trump administration to deport them and their families.”

As DACA deadline looms, churches open doors (Houston Chronicle, 2/25/18)

“Hilda Ramirez never steps foot outside St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church. When her 11-year-old son leaves for school, she holds her breath, praying that he will return. When sirens wail on the streets outside, her heart stops.

“For much of the past two years, the Austin church has provided sanctuary for Ramirez, a 30-year-old immigrant who came to the U.S. illegally after fleeing violence in Guatemala.

“She and her son, Ivan, sleep on bunk beds in a room in the east wing of the house of worship, where church members have been trained to form a human barrier should immigration agents show up.” 

And in other immigration news

Widespread panic as Oakland mayor warns sanctuary city of ICE sweep (Washington Post, 2/26/18)

“Schaaf’s news release was short on detail. It didn’t provide times or locations or say how the mayor, who took office in 2015, had obtained information about an upcoming federal raid.

“But it came a month after a Bay Area roundup and is similar to informal warnings that have circulated within immigrant communities for decades.” 

Attorney: Gestapo-esque letter sent to several Burma refugees living in Des Moines (WHO TV, 2/24/18)

“Thousands of refugees from Burma, many an ethnic minority who escaped a bloody civil war, settled in the United States. They are facing more uncertainty after some of them received the letter. The letter asks the refugee to return the city they originally settled in for an interview with USCIS. What the interview was about, the letter didn’t say; save that it was “part of an investigation”.

‘An invaluable asset’ (Albert Lea Tribune, 2/23/18)

“Before her job and before a short time as a success coach with the albert Lea district, eh Mwee would sometimes show up early to her job at Select Foods to help fellow Karen workers with things like tricky paperwork or human resources-related tasks. She was interpreting in her spare time, trying to be a good role model, Mwee said.

“The thing is, to be honest, I struggled when I moved here first,” Mwee said. “I want to change something, not just for myself, but within the Karen community.”

“What Mwee used to do in her spare time is now her full-time job.”

Donald Trump at CPAC gives misleading impression about immigration, MS-13 (PolitiFact, 2/26/18) In plain English: he lied. But since he’s president, and since this is Polite-in-Fact, they conclude that the president’s rant was “misleading.”

Data Clashes With Emotion As CPAC Immigration Panel Goes Off The Rails (TPM, 2/23/18) Trump wasn’t the only anti-immigrant voice: both fellow panelists and CPAC audience members jeered and dismissed any factual assertions by Cato Institute researchers, who pointed out that immigrants have lower crime rates and contribute to the economy.

Two more perspectives on “A nation of immigrants”

Last week, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services changed its mission statement, eliminating any reference to the United States as a nation of immigrants.

I ran USCIS. This is a nation of immigrants, no matter what mission statements say. (Washington Post, 2/26/18) León Rodríguez served as director of USCIS from 2014-2017.

“The new mission statement is a faithful articulation of the Trump administration’s policies grounded in the view that immigrants, with a few carefully defined exceptions, are a threat and burden to the United States, rather than the very essence of what has made our country a beacon and an example to the rest of the world.

“Regardless of the Trump administration’s rhetoric, we are, always have been and, I am optimistic enough to say even in these times, always will be a “nation of immigrants.” 

Removal of ‘Nation of Immigrants’ from USCIS Mission Ignores Agency’s Mandate and American History (Immigration Impact, 2/26/18) Response by Mary Giovagnoli, Esq., who served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Department of Homeland Security from 2015 to 2017 and worked for legacy Immigration and Naturalization Service and U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services from 1996 to 2008.

“The previous statement spoke to American values; the new statement turns inward, suggesting protectionism and isolationism.

“America’s promise as a nation of immigrants” links today’s immigrants—the dreamers, the persecuted, and the hopeful—to those who came before them and created the nation as it is today. It reminds the public and USCIS staff that the agency doesn’t just adjudicate benefits, it transforms lives.” 

 

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, www.tcdailyplanet.net, 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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