Immigration News: May 16, 2022

The National Immigration Forum offers this excellent infographic on ways to combat misinformation about immigrants and immigration. 

The “great replacement theory” espoused by the white nationalist murderer who targeted and killed 10 African Americans in Buffalo is not new. That’s the same theory cited by the racist, anti-immigrant shooter who killed 23 people in an El Paso, Texas Walmart a year ago. 

In brief, the theory claims that the targets of hatred—immigrants, African Americans, Jews, Muslims—are replacing the real (white, Christian) Americans. Tucker Carlson has been spouting this garbage for months on his nightly Fox News show. Republican politicians, like Elise Stefanik, claim they are not racist when they say Democrats are bringing immigrants into the country to outnumber and defeat Republican voters.

Brandon Judd, who is a Border Patrol agent and the president of the National Border Patrol Council union that represents more than 18,000 agents, espoused the same theory in an April Fox News interview. 

[USA Today] “Judd’s claim the Biden administration is actively working to weaken the nation’s southern border to allow in more immigrants and “change the demographics” of the nation is hardly new. The conspiracy theory that white Americans are being systematically “replaced” by immigrants from majority nonwhite countries has been a trope of American white supremacists and other racist extremists for decades. …

“Pedro Rios, a human rights advocate who works with several border-focused groups, said it is also especially troubling that somebody who speaks for, and is highly influential among, Border Patrol agents, is giving voice to this sort of rhetoric. …

“‘This provides political cover, for the agents on the ground that that Mr. Judd represents, to also espouse these white supremacist ideas and theories that then might drive how they conduct their work, and how they behave when they are detaining migrants,’ Rios said.”

Republican judges from Louisiana to the Supreme Court continue working to preserve Trump-era immigration policies and to discriminate against immigrants. 

Immigrants are not entitled to as much due process as citizens, according to a ruling by two federal appellate judges, both Trump appointees. An appeal to the full Fourth Circuit appellate court is likely. 

[Washington Post] “Unlike in criminal court, where the government has to prove that a person is a danger or a flight risk to keep them detained pending the adjudication of their legal case, the burden is on immigration detainees to convince a judge that they are neither. They also must make their case without a right to counsel, unlike defendants in criminal proceedings. If immigration detainees are granted bond, they must pay it all up front, and the court is not required to consider their ability to pay. …

“A U.S. district court judge in Maryland found that system unconstitutional in 2020 and issued an injunction requiring the government to carry the burden of proof and immigration judges to consider a detainee’s ability to pay for bond.

“The judge was overruled Thursday by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit. …

“’Aliens facing removal proceedings, although entitled to due process under the Constitution, are not entitled to the same process as citizens,’ wrote Judges Julius N. Richardson and A. Marvin Quattlebaum Jr., both appointees of President Donald Trump. ‘Aliens are due less process when facing removal hearings than an ordinary citizen would have.’”

On May 16, the Supreme Court made it more difficult, if not impossible, for federal courts to correct factual errors made by immigration officers. Conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch joined Justices Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, and Stephen Breyer in dissenting from the decision. 

[CNN] “The Supreme Court ruled against a Georgia man who has spent decades in the US and faces deportation after checking the wrong box on a driver’s license application. 

“The ruling made it more difficult for non-citizens who are in removal proceedings to get a federal court to review factual determinations that were made by an immigration court concerning relief from deportation….

“‘Today, the Court holds that a federal bureaucracy can make an obvious factual error, one that will result in an individual’s removal from this county, and nothing can be done about it,’ Gorsuch wrote. He said the ruling will have ‘dire consequences for countless lawful immigrants’ and noted that each year ‘thousands of individuals seek to obtain a green card’ such as students who hope to remain in the country, and a skilled worker sponsored by an employer.”

The Title 42 ban on asylum seekers and other migrants was put in place by the CDC under pressure from Trump administration, and against the recommendations of public health experts. 

[USA Today] “U.S. District Judge Robert Summerhays of Louisiana said he would leave in place the Trump-era policy for now while he weighs a legal challenge filed by more than 20 states seeking to bar the White House from rescinding the so-called Title 42 policy. …

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced in April the policy would be rescinded on May 23, saying it is ‘no longer necessary’ after ‘considering current public health conditions and an increased availability of tools to fight COVID-19.'”

Republicans in state governments have brought at least 17 lawsuits to stop the Biden administration from rolling back Trump-era immigration restrictions. By filing their cases where they will be heard by Trump-appointed judges, they are winning.  

[NPR] “President Biden has struggled to end a number of hardline immigration restrictions held over from the Trump administration, in large part because Republican-led states have gone to court to keep those policies in place. The states argue that lifting border restrictions will lead to increased health care and other costs.

“But immigrant advocates say these states are deliberately steering cases to federal judges appointed by former President Trump, where they know they’ll get a sympathetic hearing.”

And in other news

ICE is skewing statistics on migrant deaths in detention by releasing dying migrants from custody so that their deaths are not counted. The details of Johana Medina Leon’s (lack of) medical care while in ICE custody are, sadly, typical of ICE contractors’ failure to provide even minimal medical treatment. 

[Los Angeles Times] “Johana Medina Leon spent years advocating for the LGBTQ community and HIV awareness before fleeing the violence she faced as a transgender woman in El Salvador. The 25-year-old nurse technician had hoped to start a new life in California.

“But just over a month after she was detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and booked into New Mexico’s Otero County Processing Center, her health was in free-fall. She was transferred to an El Paso hospital, where she died on June 1, 2019.

“Medina Leon’s name wasn’t among the nine deaths recorded by ICE that year. She had been hurriedly released from custody while hospitalized, just before succumbing to the same failures in care she had worked to prevent for others …

“While it took six weeks and several visits with medical staff before she saw a doctor in detention, ICE expedited her release in less than six hours — relieving the agency of responsibility when she died four days later. .”

The latest outrage from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is his support of denying infant formula to babies in ICE custody and sending the formula to U.S. citizen infants. Also—whatever baby formula that Border Patrol does have on hand is tiny compared to national demand. Fewer than 1,000 children (0-18 yrs) were taken into custody on border in March. 

Then there’s the photo of “pallets of infant formula” featured on Fox News and social media. It’s not infant formula at all, but actually NIDO, a powdered milk for children over one year old—which is not baby formula and is not in short supply

[Washington Post] “The idea of pitting one group of babies against another would be nasty in any circumstance. But the implied proposal to starve some children to punish their parents should leave all decent people aghast. …

“It was bad enough when Abbott wanted to deny immigrant children schooling. This new statement is an implied endorsement of politically motivated starvation. …

“Under the 1997 Flores consent decree, which governs the treatment of migrant children in federal custody, the U.S. government is required to feed the children in its care. …

“There is also a moral answer that is even more important: Our duty to babies is distinct from our judgments of their parents and stems from a higher place than petty hatreds and domestic politics.”

Who needs immigrants? Rural counties, that’s who. Even rural Republican counties.

[Washington Post] “For the last several years, officials here have tried desperately to attract new residents to Greene County, a sea of corn and bean fields about 60 miles from Des Moines. They brought in a Hy-Vee supermarket, a career academy, a high-tech workspace, and a second bank. A glitzy casino anchors one side of the highway, a brand-new high school is on the other.

“Nothing worked. The population kept dropping.

“Greene County — like much of rural America — is sinking into a demographic hole, down from more than 15,500 residents after World War II to an estimated 8,717 last year, with the population now falling by about 100 every year. Factories have dozens of job openings, schools have closed, and villages are crumbling. Deaths have outpaced births for so long that the hospital stopped delivering babies.

“In a series of public meetings that started last month, the community has been weighing how to stop the decline, and this mostly White, mostly Republican stronghold has concluded that the only way to grow is to recruit Latino residents.”

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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