Trying to catch up, as the week slips away from me. Yesterday’s big news included a new deal to allow about one thousand parents to re-apply for asylum, a Trump push to pay Mexico to deport Central Americans before they can reach the U.S. border, and money to fund the deportation machine. Meanwhile, the clock continues to tick on for immigrant kids still separated from their parents 48 days, 49 days, 50 days after the court ordered them reunited. That’s a gross understatement of their suffering: some of the kids were ripped away from their parents months before the court ordered their return, and have been separated for almost half a year.
The Deal on Asylum
The government reached a deal with plaintiffs in three pending lawsuits, agreeing to allow up to one thousand parents to re-apply for asylum. The deal still has to be approved by the judge. Vox has the best summary, but NBC and the Washington Post also have good coverage. Once again, everyone who believes in due process, everyone who works for immigrant and refugee rights, owes a debt of gratitude to the lawyers and judges forcing some concessions to the law and constitution from the Trump/Sessions regime.
“The agreement covers three lawsuits: Ms. L v. ICE, which forced the government to reunite separated families this summer; M- M- M- v. ICE, brought on behalf of children separated from parents; and Dora v. Sessions, a lawsuit from parents who had failed their initial asylum screenings because they were distraught after weeks of separation from their children.
“If the agreement is approved by the federal judges overseeing the three lawsuits, it will result in a second chance for hundreds of parents. Muslim Advocates and the Legal Aid Justice Center, who represented the plaintiffs in Dora v. Sessions, believe it could give “well over 1,000” parents another chance at an asylum claim. And for many families, it will eliminate (or at least defer) the impossible choice between giving up a child’s legal case, and separating the family again by keeping the child in the US while the parent is deported.”
The (maybe) Deal on Deportation
For years, Trump has boasted to his followers that Mexico will pay for a border wall, and Mexico has said that’s completely and utterly false. Now, instead of getting Mexico to pay for a wall, Trump says he will give Mexico $20 million to deport some 17,000 Central Americans, so that they cannot reach the U.S. border.
After multiple reports of that pledge on September 12 and 13, The Guardian headlined on September 14: Incoming Mexican government rejects US offer to fund deportations. But wait—the second and third paragraphs of that article say the officials in the incoming administration in Mexico said no offer had been made to help fund the deportation process. That’s not exactly rejecting an offer. Stay tuned for clarification, or for further layers of confusion.
The Deal on the Budget
Deportations are up, numbers of immigrant children in detention are up, and ICE requests for funding are way up—the latest is a request for an additional billion dollars in the stop-gap funding bill (continuing resolution) that Congress is considering to get past the November election without voting on an actual budget.
That request comes at the same time as renewed revelations of DHS taking $10 million from FEMA and transferring it to ICE, along with taking “more than $200 million away from other programs to cover DHS’s overspending on immigration prisons. In addition to FEMA, that transfer took money from the Transportation Security Administration and the Coast Guard.”