Sessions overturns immigration court rulings


A unilateral decision by Attorney General Jeff Sessions ends one of the very few remaining ways that immigration court judges could exercise discretion on deportation. While immigration battles divide Republicans in the House, the Trump administration is pushing to classify Mexico as a ‘safe third country,’ which would make Mexico responsible for asylum seekers from Central America.

Meanwhile in Washington, Republicans are splitting over immigration legislation: while those backing a discharge petition still haven’t mustered 25 signatures, the leadership is talking about deals.

In other news:

  • ICE arrests of noncriminals rises
  • Federal judge denounces ICE lies about DACA recipient
  • Force labor in for-profit prisons
  • Facebook limits ad purchases by undocumented immigrants

Sessions, House, Republicans on immigration

Sessions takes key authority away from immigration court judges (San Francisco Chronicle (5/17/18) Because he can: Sessions does not answer to anyone.

“Attorney General Jeff Sessions barred the nation’s immigration judges Thursday from putting deportation cases on hold, a practice used in hundreds of thousands of cases of immigrants who needed time to gain legal status or were found to be low priorities for removal.”

U.S. pushes plan to make Mexico handle asylum seekers (New York Times, 5/17/18)

“Mexico’s asylum system is already overwhelmed by the growing numbers of immigrants that have sought sanctuary in recent years, the advocates contend. Moreover, they say, Mexico remains a very dangerous place, with weak law enforcement and judicial systems incapable of providing adequate protections for migrants who are in transit or are seeking to stay.”

Immigration is tearing Republicans apart (Washington Post, 5/17/18)

This open rebellion really is extraordinarily unusual.These renegade Republicans risk retribution from party chieftains by signing onto this petition over the strenuous public and private objections of leadership. But these lawmakers feel caught between a rock and a hard place: They also realize that they may lose reelection in November if they do nothing.

GOP seeks immigration deal within next 24 hours (The Hill, 5/17/18) Supposedly, the deal would involve bringing the anti-immigration Goodlatte bill to the floor, where it would be voted down, and then voting on a second, compromise bill—which has not yet been defined. Sounds like a song we’ve heard before.

The use of the discharge petition has angered some conservatives, who say it is wrong for members of their party to essentially work with Democrats.

“But those behind it argue they have little choice since they see votes on immigration to protect Dreamers — people who came to the United States illegally as children and who are losing protections under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that President Trump is winding down — as crucial to their own hopes in this fall’s midterm elections.

Ryan and McCarthy collide over immigration (Politico, 5/1/7/18) House Speaker Paul Ryan thinks a deal including DACA is possible. His number 2, and possible successor as Speaker, Kevin McCarthy, thinks a DACA deal would be bad for Republicans in 2018.  

Breaking with Trump’s GOP, Koch brothers praise Democrats on immigration (MPR, 5/17/18) Key is support for Dreamers. Politics makes strange bedfellows.

For the first time, the LIBRE Initiative — the Hispanic outreach arm of the Koch network — is putting money behind efforts to praise Democrats on the federal level, and doing so with control of Congress on the line in the midterm elections.

And in other news

ICE arrests of noncriminals in California soar under Trump crackdown (San Francisco Chronicle, 5/17/18)

“From October through March, more than 3,400 “non-criminals” were arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s California offices, the agency said Thursday.

“That was a significant jump from the same time period a year earlier, which included the final 3½ half months of President Barack Obama’s term, when about 1,000 “non-criminals” were arrested by the agency through the California offices, which include San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego.”

Man threatens Spanish-speaking workers: ‘My next call will be to ICE’ (New York Times, 5/16/18)

“The video shows a middle-aged, athletic-looking white man berating both customers and a manager at a cavernous fast-casual restaurant called Fresh Kitchen. “Your staff is speaking Spanish to customers when they should be speaking English,” he says. “It’s America.” He adds: “I will be following up, and my guess is they’re not documented. So my next call is to ICE to have each one of them kicked out of my country.”

“He said that he was paying for their “welfare.”

Ranting Manhattan lawyer once spewed another anti-immigrant tirade — at a Massachusetts-born white man (NY Daily News, 5/17/18) A ranting lawyer who threatened to call ICE on deli employees who spoke Spanish has done it before.

“I’m a citizen here, you’re not,” he continued. “You’re an ugly f—ing foreigner, so f— you. You’re not allowed to walk on the wrong side of the street, bump into a lawyer.”

“The most bizarre part of the random encounter: Morris is clearly a white man, as he’s quick to confirm.

“I was born in Massachusetts, I grew up in West Virginia, I went to school in Alabama,” he told the Daily News. “I’m like, pretty white. I don’t know. Maybe it was the fact that I had a man bun at the time.

Why are for-profit US prisons subjecting detainees to forced labor? (The Guardian, 5/17/18) Maybe the $1.6 million in political contributions during the 2016 election cycle have something to do with it.

“In 2017, officials at the Stewart immigration detention center in Georgia placed Shoaib Ahmed, a 24-year-old immigrant from Bangladesh, in solitary confinement for encouraging fellow workers to stop working.

“Ahmed, who was paid 50 cents per hour to work within the facility, was upset because his $20 paycheck was delayed. His punishment was solitary confinement for 10 days, where he was subject to deplorable conditions – a cell with no access to other workers, only an hour of out of cell time per day and showers only three times per week. ”

ICE claimed a Dreamer was “gang-affiliated” and tried to deport him. A federal judge ruled that ICE was lying. (Slate, 5/16/18)

“On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez shot down the federal government’s efforts to strip Daniel Ramirez Medina of his DACA status. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement had arrested and detained Ramirez last year, then falsely claimed that he was affiliated with a gang and attempted to deport him.”

Facebook tweak bars undocumented immigrants from buying political ads (The Guardian, 5/16/18)

“Facebook announced last month that it would start requiring political ad buyers in the US to verify their identities in an effort to combat fake news and misinformation and avoid a repeat of the 2016 election when it allowed Russia-backed posts to reach millions of Americans. Because users must now confirm their social security number and submit their US driver’s license or passport, millions of undocumented people in America are also no longer able to post political ads.”


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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