Immigration News: May 10, 2022

Big Brother is Watching You sign
Image by Ventdorage, This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.


ICE is watching you. Its data collection, authorized in the aftermath of 9/11, includes citizens and non-citizens and is conducted without warrants or judicial oversight. ICE spies on us through drivers’ license records, utility bills, and facial recognition technology. 

[The Guardian] “US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) has built a vast digital surveillance system that gives it access to the personal details of almost every person in America, a two-year investigation by Georgetown University law center has found. … 

“Operating largely in secret and with minimal public oversight, Ice has amassed a formidable armory of digital capabilities that allows its agents to “pull detailed dossiers on nearly anyone, seemingly at any time”.

“The vast mountain of data to which Ice now has access includes:

• Driver’s license data for three of every four adults living in the US.

• Data drawn from the utility records of 75% of adults, covering more than 218 million unique utility consumers in all 50 states.

• Information on the movements of drivers in cities that contain 75% of the US population.Facial recognition technology drawn from the driver’s license photos of at least a third of all adults.”

[Los Angeles Times] “Immigration and Customs Enforcement has crafted a sophisticated surveillance dragnet designed to spy on most people living in the United States, without the need for warrants and many times circumventing state privacy laws, such as those in California, according to a two-year investigation released Tuesday by the Georgetown Law Center on Privacy & Technology.

“Over the years, privacy law experts and civil rights activists and attorneys have accused ICE of overreach in its surveillance tactics directed at immigrants and Americans alike, but the Georgetown report paints a picture of an agency that has gone well beyond its immigration enforcement mandate, instead evolving into something of a broader domestic surveillance agency, according to the report, called “’American Dragnet: Data-Driven Deportation in the 21st Century.’”

And in other news

The U.S. asylum system is under attack. The Title 42 bar to immigrants was a phony public health measure. Now that the CDC has said it must end, Republicans in Congress demand a law that will bar asylum for the indefinite future. 

[Washington Post] “Moderate Democrats, spooked by the GOP attacks, are demanding a vote on a bill that would effectively codify that Title 42 rule into law for the foreseeable future. This is playing into GOP hands: Republicans are insisting they will filibuster the covid-19 aid package badly wanted by the White House until they get a vote on an amendment that would put that border policy into place. …

“That’s right: To deal with an ongoing pandemic that has killed around 1 million Americans, Democrats must deal a blow to the asylum system, keeping the United States’ doors closed to those fleeing oppression and violence. …

“No one pretends that extending it is necessary to prevent the spread of the virus. Instead, what the proponents want to stop is more people seeking asylum.”

An Arizona sheriff says Title 42 bar to migrants was bad from the beginning and should end now. Instead, he says, the border needs more immigration judges and clear procedures to handle cases. And politicians should just stop coming to the border for photo ops. 

[Arizona Republic]”It is a red herring that claims to be a benefit to public health by prohibiting persons from filing immigration claims and having their cases heard by an immigration judge….

“The closure of the borders – by way of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – exacerbated the chaos within our nation’s immigration system.

“Many individuals seeking protection under U.S. law  were expelled under Title 42 as they sought to cross at ports of entry or between ports of entry to attend to their jobs or see their families. And they kept trying, over and over.

“It falsely inflated statistics of what was taking place at the border as these migrants faced immediate deportations with no processing and no repercussions for repeat attempts.” 

How powerful is anti-immigrant rhetoric? Entirely without any factual or rational basis, one person in three says they fear immigrants will influence U.S. elections. 

[AP] “About 3 in 10 also worry that more immigration is causing U.S.-born Americans to lose their economic, political and cultural influence, according to a poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Republicans are more likely than Democrats to fear a loss of influence because of immigration, 36% to 27%. …

“In their most extreme manifestation, those increasingly public views in the U.S. and Europe tap into a decades-old conspiracy theory known as the “great replacement,” a false claim that native-born populations are being overrun by nonwhite immigrants who are eroding, and eventually will erase, their culture and values. …

“Those views aren’t held by a majority of Americans — in fact, two-thirds feel the country’s diverse population makes the U.S. stronger, and far more favor than oppose a path to legal status for immigrants brought into the U.S. illegally as children. “

Immigration laws are supposed to be passed by Congress, with additional regulations coming from the executive branch. Instead, with Congress failing to do anything, courts increasingly take over the shaping of immigration policy.

[Time] “Because Congress has failed to act meaningfully since the 1990s to reform the U.S. immigration system, immigration policy has been increasingly shaped by court challenges. In recent years, liberal and conservative attorneys general, nonprofit organizations, and individual plaintiffs have filed an avalanche of immigration-related suits in federal courts, resulting in a profusion of complex and often-contradictory court rulings, experts tell TIME. With Congress on the sidelines, federal judges are now on the frontlines of interpreting and dictating the scope of executive actions, federal guidelines and agency rules—thereby determining how U.S. immigration policy actually works.

““This is a manifestation of our broken immigration system,” Stephen Yale-Loehr, professor of immigration law at Cornell University, tells TIME. Congress’s failure to pass comprehensive immigration reform has resulted in an explosion of agency rules and executive actions—which, in turn, lead to more legal challenges, he says. “Today, almost every executive action on immigration is being challenged in the courts.”

“This ad-hoc system has resulted, both at the U.S.-Mexico border and within government agencies, in “peak confusion,” says Theresa Cardinal Brown, managing director of immigration and cross-border policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC), a Washington think tank. New federal rules or guidances are often blocked, terminated, or forcefully reinstated, sometimes with additional restrictions or requirements, just days or weeks after they were announced. Government officials, immigration lawyers, and lay people are often baffled about the contours of U.S. law, says Elora Mukherjee, professor of law at Columbia University and director of the school’s Immigrants’ Rights Clinic.” 

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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