House Republicans met to hash out their differences over immigration on Thursday. It did not go well.
House Republicans emerge from meeting with no final deal to protect young immigrants, said CNBC, focusing on the debate over Dreamers. That was not the only issue, with border wall funding and limits on legal immigration also on the table. Moderate and right-wing anti-immigrant factions couldn’t even agree on what was said in the meeting.
That didn’t stop Republican leadership from trying to claim progress. Paul Ryan promises House immigration bill in election season, headlined the New York Times, with a straight face. Really? Vox more accurately proclaimed that Paul Ryan is in denial about Republicans’ immigration fight (or he’s lying).
In other news:
- Continuing stories of children caught up in the chaos and cruelty that passes for immigration policy
- Minnesota Republicans playing (dog whistle) politics with refugees
- Asylum seekers still wait, broiling in 100 degree heat on a bridge over the Rio Grande
- Feds plan mass trials, and are sending detainees to federal prisons while awaiting hearings
- A pizza delivery to a U.S. Army base in Brooklyn may end in deportation
Watching the children
More than 10,000 migrant children are detained in federal custody in more than 100 shelters in 14 states. Litigation and debate over their fate goes on, as more children are taken from their parents daily along the southwestern border.
“When Maria was six in August 2017, she was separated from her mother, Magdalena, by border patrol agents near El Paso, Texas.
“I didn’t understand them,” Maria says. She and her mother speak Akateko, an indigenous Mayan language. “I kept saying, ‘Ummm ummm ummm.’ And then when they took my mom, I got scared and didn’t understand anything.”
“Maria and her mother spent two nights in custody with three other parents and their children. Then, two woman gave Maria and the other kids teddy bears and put them on a plane to a government facility 2,000 miles away, in upstate New York. Maria says she used the bear to wipe the tears from her face.
“Magdalena and Maria have not seen each other since.”
Magdalena was deported back to Guatemala, without her daughter. She is in hiding from the abusive man she fled last year.
ACLU suit over family separations at border allowed to progress (HuffPost, 6/6/18)
“In the ruling, which allowed the suit to move forward, [U.S. District Judge Dana M. Sabraw in San Diego] wrote that the practice described in the suit “arbitrarily tears at the sacred bond between parent and child.”
“Such conduct, if true… is brutal, offensive, and fails to comport with traditional notions of fair play and decency,” he wrote. “The facts alleged are sufficient to show the government conduct at issue ‘shocks the conscience’ and violates Plaintiffs’ constitutional right to family integrity.”
Taking migrant children from parents is illegal, U.N. tells U.S. (New York Times, 6/5/18)
“The U.S. should immediately halt this practice of separating families and stop criminalizing what should at most be an administrative offense — that of irregular entry or stay in the U.S.,” [Ravina Shamdasani, a spokeswoman for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights] said….
“Without addressing the specifics of the accusation, [U.S. ambassador Nikki] Haley said: “Neither the United Nations nor anyone else will dictate how the United States upholds its borders.”
No, Jeff Sessions. We don’t treat immigrant families the way we treat other ‘criminals’ (Washington Post, 6/6/18) Jeff Sessions claims that taking immigrant children away from their parents is just like taking children away from parents who are convicted of crimes and go to jail. Post columnist Catherine Rampell says that’s not true.
“There are two enormous problems with this “it’s just like how we treat other criminals” claim.
“First is that U.S. government is ripping immigrant children out of their parents’ arms even when the parents didn’t actually commit a crime (including the crime of crossing the border illegally).
“Second, in some cases the government is refusing to return immigrant children to their parents even after the parents are released from jail.”
Minnesota Republicans playing (dog whistle) politics with refugees
Both Republican candidates for Minnesota governor marked Minnesota Refugee Recognition Month with attacks on Minnesota refugees. Jeff Johnson says he will stop refugee resettlement. Tim Pawlenty says he will pause it. The CBS “reality check” on the candidate statements, offers facts but does not mention the underlying issues of Islamophobia and anti-immigrant prejudice.
And in other news
Caught in limbo, Central American asylum seekers are left waiting on a bridge over the Rio Grande (Los Angeles Times, 6/7/18)
“Dozens of families from Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Peru, some with babies only a few months old, have spent weeks living on the Mexican side of the bridge, waiting to be admitted to the United States as asylum seekers.
“By Tuesday, nearly 50 people had camped on the bridge sidewalk coming from Mexico, half of them children. There was little shade, and in the afternoon, temperatures climbed above 100 degrees….
“Those seeking asylum say they presented their documents to U.S. Customs officials on the bridge. But the officials said the families have to wait on the Mexican side because there isn’t enough space for them to be processed.”
Feds plan mass prosecution of illegal border crossing cases in San Diego, attorneys say (Los Angeles Times, 6/6/18)
“Under the program, called Operation Streamline, migrants will be moved through the criminal justice system in group hearings, with cases handled in a matter of hours, from arraignment to sentencing….
“Defense attorneys have long criticized Streamline, saying it sacrifices constitutional due-process protections for speed. With several court appearances combined in one, attorneys have limited time to confer with clients that can be complex, they say.
“We’ll defend the cases that are brought, but we don’t want to be in position where we’re processing people like parts in a factory.… People who have been separated from their children are not in a position to make a decision in half an hour,” said Warren.”
ICE to send 1,600 immigration violators to federal prisons (USA Today, 6/7/18) Slightly misleading headline: these are people who are accused of violations and/or awaiting hearings on their asylum claims—they are accused, but not convicted of violations.
“The Trump administration has started moving up to 1,600 immigration violators awaiting deportation hearings into federal prisons, a first-of-its-kind transfer that shows how many more immigrants are being rounded up under the president’s push to crack down on illegal immigration….
“Facilities operated by the Department of Health and Human Services, which cares for unaccompanied children who crossed the border alone or who were separated from their families after entering the U.S., are at 95%. Short-term facilities operated by Border Patrol are near capacity.
“And courtrooms across the southwest have been so overloaded that the Department of Justice is sending more prosecutors and immigration judges to handle the surge.”
U.S. sending 1,600 immigration detainees to federal prisons (Reuters, 6/7/18) Among the reactions:
“At Victorville, the prison getting the largest number of people, workers are moving about 500 inmates in a medium-security facility to make space, said John Kostelnik, local president for the American Federation of Government Employees Council of Prison Locals union.
“There is so much movement going on,” said Kostelnik. “Everyone is running around like a chicken without their head.”…
“Our federal prisons are set up to detain the worst of the worst. They should not be used for immigration purposes,” said Ali Noorani, the executive director of the National Immigration Forum.
“Federal prisons are for hardened criminals. They are not physically set up for immigrant landscapers looking for a job or fleeing violence,” Noorani said.” https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-immigration-prisons-exclusive/exclusive-u-s-immigration-authorities-sending-1600-detainees-to-federal-prisons-idUSKCN1J32W1
He delivered pizza to an army base in Brooklyn. Now he faces deportation. (New York Times, 6/6/18)
Pablo Villavicencio Calderon was delivering a pizza to the United States Army base in Fort Hamilton, Brooklyn, as he had done several times before. This time, when he presented his New York City ID, military police said it wasn’t good enough, took him into custody, and turned him over to immigration officials. Now he is set for deportation, away from his U.S. citizen wife and children—and away from the permanent resident application filed last February.
“Is this city, state and nation safer because they took a pizza delivery guy off the street?” asked Justin Brannan, a Democratic city councilman representing Brooklyn.