“Heading down a dark path”


The ACLU is suing to have Temporary Protected Status reinstated for people from Sudan, Haiti, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. Documents obtained as part of this lawsuit show that U.S. State Department analyses said the countries were too dangerous for people to return. The Department of Homeland Security refused to pay attention to these reports.

One example:

“There was a simple explanation in October 2017 when a Department of Homeland Security official was asked why a memo justifying ending immigrant protections for Central Americans made conditions in those countries sound so bad.

“The basic problem is that it IS bad there,” the official wrote.

“Nevertheless, he agreed to go back and see what he could do to better bolster the administration’s decision to end the protections regardless.”

In another example, USCIS director Francis Cissna wrote:

“”The memo reads like one person who strongly supports extending TPS for Sudan wrote everything up to the recommendation section and then someone who opposes extension snuck up behind the first guy, clubbed him over the head, pushed his senseless body of out of the way, and finished the memo. Am I missing something?” he wrote to key DHS staffers.

“Another high-ranking official then asks for the memo to be “revised.”

This NPR article includes seven pages of text of internal State Department and DHS emails and memos, which show the State Department’s repeated objections to DHS’s “significant mischaracterizations” of conditions in Sudan.

People with TPS are not the only ones being told to return to danger. Immigration officials are also deporting people to Burma and to Mauritania.

Yesterday, August 27, the United Nations reported on massive human rights violations in Burma/Myanmar, and called for prosecution of Burmese generals for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has also denounced the Myanmar military for “abhorrent ethnic cleansing.”

Despite this human rights catastrophe, the Trump regime has arm-twisted government officials in Burma to change policy and accept deportees. Last week, U.S. authorities deported 47 people to Burma, and more are scheduled for deportation.

The Mauritanian deportations come mostly from Ohio, so they have been below the radar of much of the rest of the  country. Here’s a description from The Atlantic:

“Imagine: You fled from a government militia intent on murdering you; swam across a river with the uncertain hope of sanctuary on the far bank; had the dawning realization that you could never return to your village, because it had been torched; and heard pervasive rumors of former neighbors being raped and enslaved. Imagine that, following all this, you then found yourself in New York City, with travel documents that were unreliable at best.

“This is the shared narrative of thousands of emigrants from the West African nation of Mauritania. The country is ruled by Arabs, but these refugees were members of a black subpopulation that speaks its own languages. In 1989, in a fit of nationalism, the Mauritanian government came to consider these differences capital offenses. It arrested, tortured, and violently expelled many black citizens. The country forcibly displaced more than 70,000 of them and rescinded their citizenship. Those who remained behind fared no better. Approximately 43,000 black Mauritanians are now enslaved—by percentage, one of the largest enslaved populations in the world.”

Jim Jones, a former Idaho Supreme Court chief justice and former Idaho attorney general enumerates the administration’s anti-immigrant moves and finds a common thread:

“It certainly appears that our great country is embarking on a program to deny entry to immigrants of color and to expel many who are already here, even if they entered legally.

“The program has two components–a publicity effort to besmirch refugees and other immigrants, and wide-ranging governmental actions to reduce the immigrant population. It takes on the look of an ethnic cleansing of this wonderful immigrant nation.  …

“Ethnic cleansing is not a concept to be invoked lightly, but when a policy looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, about the only conclusion to be drawn is that the country is heading down a dark path.”

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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