On Tuesday, Trump officially ended the Deferred Enforced Departure program that has protected about 4,000 Liberians in the United States for about two decades. His order gave them 12 months to wind up their lives here: to homes, jobs, children behind and leave for Liberia. Most of the people with DED live in Minnesota, which is home to about 30,000 Liberians, the largest population in the United States.
The president ended DED despite requests from multiple sources including most of Minnesota’s Congressional delegation: Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith and Representatives Keith Ellison, Betty McCollum, Tim Walz, Collin Peterson, Rick Nolan, and Erik Peterson.
In other stories today:
- The Commerce Department says that the 2020 Census will include a citizenship question. (I’ll write about that in more detail tomorrow.)
- Mitt Romney is positioning himself to be “tougher” on immigration than Trump, saying that DACA recipients should be deported.
- Attorney General Jeff Sessions has taken jurisdiction of another immigration case away from the immigration judge and court system.
Trump ends temporary immigration status for thousands of Liberians (New York Times, 3/27/18)
“The president said in a memo to the secretary of state that he was formally ending a program that has allowed Liberian immigrants to remain in the United States and work legally since 1999, when President Bill Clinton established it in response to conditions in the country after a civil war….
“The decision about the Liberian program mirrors the actions the Trump administration has taken toward other, larger groups of immigrants in the United States. Since taking office, the president has ended temporary protected status for certain immigrants from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Sudan, arguing that conditions have improved significantly in those countries.”
Liberians facing threat of deportation say: We have nothing to go to (MPR, 3/26//18) Minnesota is home to an estimated 30,000 Liberians, the largest population in the United States, and to most of the 4,000 who will lose protection from deportation when DED ends on Saturday.
“Christina Wilson is living on borrowed time. She’s a Liberian native who fled her country’s civil war in September of 2000….
“She’s now living in Crystal and working as a nursing assistant. She’s earned a culinary arts degree in Minnesota and dreams of opening her own restaurant. But for now, Wilson is still supporting her children back in Liberia, and worried about what will happen if she gets deported.
“Liberia is a place that I left long time. I don’t know if I have a place there right now,” Wilson said. “Homes were destroyed. I have nothing to go to, to be frank.”
In other news
2020 Census will ask about respondents’ citizenship status (NPR, 3/26/18) The census has not asked about citizenship since 1950.
“A lot of census watchers, former census bureau directors, other census experts have said that they are very, very concerned that there already is a lot of anti-immigrant sentiment, that already folks are very concerned about giving personal information to the federal government, that now if there is a citizenship question added as the Commerce Department is announcing that … a lot of immigrants, not only those who are undocumented, but anyone who maybe has ties to folks who are undocumented, may not want to … participate in the census and therefore they would not be counted, and that has direct impacts on how people are represented in this country.
“All census numbers are used to reapportion seats in Congress, specifically the House of Representatives, and also these numbers have an impact on how billions of dollars are distributed around the country … from the federal level all the way down to the local level of how school districts figure out how to divide up resources.
“I’m also more of a hawk on immigration than even the president,” Romney, who announced his bid for Senate in Utah in February, said at a Republican event Monday when asked to defend his conservative credentials. “My view was these DACA kids shouldn’t all be allowed to stay in the country legally.”
Making The Law Up As He Goes: Sessions Refers Another Case to Himself, This Time On Motions For Continuance (The Insightful Immigration Blog, 3/26/18) Sessions wants to minimize continuances for any reason and speed up deportations. Cyrus Mehta closely examines a number of cases bearing on continuances.
“The BIA has sensibly addressed motions for continuance in several cases authorizing IJs to grant them when there is when there was a pending immigrant petition with the USCIS. In Matter of Hashimi, 24 I&N Dec. 785 (BIA 2009), for example, the IJ granted the respondent four continuances on his removal proceedings to allow for USCIS to adjudicate his family-based immigrant visa petition. …
“There is no need for Sessions to undermine a framework that is working, and also less need to further erode the independence of IJs to judiciously exercise discretion based on their own sense of fairness and efficiency….
“If the immigration system worked more efficiently, there would be less need to place people in removal proceedings. But if people are placed in removal proceedings as a result of these inefficiencies, why not continue their proceedings, or even temporarily close their proceedings, until such time that they can obtain the benefit and terminate proceedings – which should not have been started in the first place? If Sessions is unable to see it this way when he reconsiders BIA decisions to undermine Avetisyan, Hashmi and Rajah, he is not doing so to create efficiency but to further his animus and hostility against immigrants.”