DOJ orders end to legal advice program for immigrants


Even as ICE tweet/bragged about its help to victims of abuse, the Justice Department moved to end a legal advice program for immigrants in detention and also to deport crime victims who have qualified for visas. The tweet came Monday evening:

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ICE is bragging about its Victim Assistance Program at the same time that it is trying to deport other victims. A few weeks ago, ICE agents arrested a man at his own asylum hearing.

Then there is the recent move by Attorney General Jeff Sessions to end asylum for victims of domestic abuse. The Justice Department is trying to end withholding of deportation for everyone, including people who have qualified for visas but are waiting until a visa number comes up. This affects all crime victims waiting for U visas, since that wait now exceeds ten years.

At the same time as ICE’s tweet/brag about its Victim Assistance Program, the Justice Department moved to end the Vera Institute’s legal advice program for immigrants in detention. The excuse: they want to study the program’s efficiency. While they study it,  they will stop its operation. From the Washington Post story:

“[The] Vera Institute said a 2012 study by the Justice Department concluded that the program was “a cost-effective and efficient way to promote due process” that saved the government nearly $18 million over one year. …

“In Vera’s Legal Orientation Program, lawyers and others hold hour-long group information sessions with detainees to explain their rights, how the court process works and their possible defenses to deportation in federal law, such as seeking asylum if they are in fear for their lives. They also meet with detainees individually and refer detainees to free or low-cost lawyers, but do not represent them in court.

“Experience has shown that the LOP has had positive effects on the immigration court process: detained individuals make wiser, more informed, decisions and are more likely to obtain representation; non-profit organizations reach a wider audience of people with minimal resources; and, cases are more likely to be completed faster, resulting in fewer court hearings and less time spent in detention,” the agency’s website says.”

DACA and Dreamers

U.S. officials told a DACA recipient that he and his spouse could leave the country to get a visa application approved, and that he would not have to wait 10 years to return. Then they changed the rules.

Opinion: A ‘Dreamer’ traveled to Mexico. Now he can’t get home to his husband. (Washington Post, 4/9/18)

“Working with an immigration attorney, Villada applied for, and received, a “provisional unlawful presence waiver.” This basically said the government determined that he met the qualifications and that he should feel free to go to Mexico for a consular interview.

“The couple planned a two-week trip to Ciudad Juarez in January, which they mostly viewed as a formality. Still, it was significant: When he left the country, Villada’s DACA protections, which had been scheduled to last through 2019, automatically terminated. …

“The consular official interviewing Villada kept leaving the room and returning. At the end, she gave him a blue paper saying his application for a visa was denied — and that he could not return to the United States for at least a decade, if at all.”

Arizona Supreme Court strikes down in-state tuition for Dreamers (Arizona Republic, 4/9/18)

“More than 2,000 DACA recipients, commonly referred to as “dreamers,” currently attend community college or a state university in Arizona and pay in-state rates. The ruling will make DACA recipients pay much more to attend these schools, as out-of-state rates are about triple the cost of in-state tuition.

“For example, in-state students at Arizona State University will pay $9,834 for tuition next school year, while non-resident students pay $27,618.”

U.S. restrictions on immigration make no economic sense

Immigrant Entrepreneurship in America: Evidence from the Survey of Business Owners 2007 & 2012 (National Bureau of Economic Research working papers, April 2018)

“First-generation immigrants create about 25% of new firms in the United States, but this share exceeds 40% in some states. In addition, Asian and Hispanic second-generation immigrants start about 6% of new firms.”

Silicon Valley is fighting a brain-drain war with Trump that it may lose (CNBC, 4/9/18)

“For decades the United States has attracted some of the best and brightest. Now some are starting to see the reverse happen. Vivek Wadhwa, a distinguished fellow and adjunct professor at Carnegie Mellon University’s College of Engineering and author of The Immigrant Exodus: Why America Is Losing the Global Race to Capture Entrepreneurial Talent, said that in his current class at Carnegie Mellon, not one of the foreign students is looking to stay. Foreign students from India, China and elsewhere who used to stay are now returning to their home countries to start businesses. This is alarming because it will adversely impact U.S. innovation, Wadhwa said.”



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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