Biggest, baddest news: Trump has cut refugee admissions for 2020 to 18,000, the lowest ever. Thursday’s announcement is devastating news for
- refugee families trying to reunite with loved ones still languishing in camps around the world,
- refugee agencies that will be forced to close,
- U.S. communities that receive the tremendous cultural, economic, and social benefits of refugees settling there
- anyone who believes that the United States can and should be a safe haven for persecuted people.
I suppose Trump’s decision is good news for anyone who still believes the United States was right to turn away Jewish refugees in the 1930s, sending them back to face Nazi persecution and death camps.
Against this bad news, balance three smaller wins in federal courts: Judges blocked the Trump administration’s attempt to remove limits on time in detention and other protections for immigrant children; temporarily enjoined its effort to extend expedited deportation throughout the entire country; and enjoined ICE from using flawed databases to issue detainers for deportations. Details below:
“The move to supplant a decades-old legal agreement that set strict limits on the incarceration of such children with new government policy was part of a wider campaign by the Trump administration to discourage migrant parents from journeying with their children to the southern border.
“Judge Dolly Gee of the Federal District Court in Los Angeles, who oversees the 1997 court settlement known as the Flores agreement, concluded that the administration’s attempt to frame regulations that would carry out the mandate to protect migrant children — but allow them to be detained for long periods — was not adequate. …
“She said the new regulations “fail to implement and are inconsistent with” the terms of the agreement, which the government must now continue to comply with.”
Make the Road New York sued in federal court in DC and got a preliminary injunction:
“Expedited removal is a procedure that allows a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official to summarily deport a noncitizen without a hearing before an immigration judge or meaningful review.
“Individuals subjected to expedited removal may be removed within hours of apprehension, without an opportunity to:
- Speak with an attorney.
- Gather evidence or call witnesses.
- Present a claim for relief from removal, other than a truncated process for expressing fear of persecution.
- Seek review of their expedited removal order except under limited circumstances.
“On September 27, 2019, the court granted Plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction, which blocks the expansion of expedited removal from taking effect while the case moves forward. As a result, expedited removal currently remains limited to people who are within 100 miles from the border and have been in the U.S. for 14 days or fewer, and to those who arrived by sea.”
The ruling is limited in scope, applying only to the Central District of California, but still significant because ICE sends detainer requests from its center in Orange County to 43 states, Guam, and Washington D.C.
“U.S. District Court Judge Andre Birotte Jr. on Friday issued a permanent injunction barring ICE from relying solely on databases when issuing so-called detainers, which are requests made to police agencies to keep people who have been arrested in custody for up two days beyond the time they would otherwise be held….
“The class-action lawsuit, which represents broad categories of people who have been or will be subjected to detainers, alleged the databases that agents consult are so badly flawed by incomplete and inaccurate information that ICE officers should not be allowed to rely on them as the sole basis for keeping someone in custody.
“The judge agreed with that assessment, finding that the databases often contained ‘incomplete data, significant errors, or were not designed to provide information that would be used to determine a person’s removability.’”