The attorney general of Texas, Republcian Ken Paxton, has filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration for failing to end DACA program. After a previous threat of legal action, the Trump administration has moved to gradually end the program, beginning in March of this year, but many states opposing this plan have been able to temporarily block any action. Thus, the work permits of many DACA receivers have continued to be renewed for the time being.
Joining Texas in this suit, is Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina and West Virginia, other deeply red states. Their public argument for the prompt removal of DACA comes from the idea that Obama did not pass DACA in a constitutional way. In a statement, Paxton said, “Our lawsuit is about the rule of law, not the wisdom of any particular immigration policy.”
The lawsuit does not specifically call for deportation or rescinding of current DACA holders’ work permits, but it does call for ending the issuing of more work permits, leaving a stark discrepancy of immigration policy wishes between states.
Verdict: While outwardly, the suit has a focus on upholding the constitution, the troubling repercussions of the end of the DACA spark more of debate. These seven states are proposing an end to DACA once again with no solution for the hundreds of thousands of receivers. If this suit continues to the Supreme Court, it will be worrying to see what will occur.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) wrongfully and repeatedly targeted and arrested American citizens for years, with as many as 1,480 U.S. citizens being arrested since 2012. This is according to an investigation conducted by the Los Angeles Times (Link here http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-citizens-ice-20180427-htmlstory.html).
The report goes on to highlight how hundreds of U.S. citizens were forced to prove their identities in immigration courts, sometimes while spending months or years in detention. ICE makes around 100,000 arrests a year, but the high number of wrongful arrests is still troubling, especially given the fact that ICE policy requires a legal review within 48 hours if someone in custody claims to be an American citizen.
An ICE spokesman responded to this report by saying immigration agents only make arrests with probable cause and they take seriously any claim that a detainee is a U.S. citizen. One of the causes of the wrongful arrests was the use of inaccurate and incomplete databases, both electronic and paper.
VERDICT: There should be no reason that, in 2018, there it should take more than 48 hours to verify the citizenship of a detainee. The Trump administration has been requesting more funding to continue to increase strict immigration enforcement; however, any new funding given to ICE should immediately go to decreasing the number of current detainees.
The so-called ‘caravan’ of migrants seeking asylum in the United States reached Tijuana, Mexico, on Sunday, ending the trek that began March 25 near the Guatemalan border. The group of migrants, numbering almost 400, are stalled on the Mexican side of the border as U.S. immigration officials stated that the port of entry had filled to capacity. For the time being, those without documentation will have to wait in Mexico before presenting themselves to be processed.
On the U.S. side of the border, hundreds also gathered in San Diego’s Friendship Park to show their support for the asylum seekers. In addition, about 20 lawyers have also come to offer legal advice as well as help families with their preparations for seeking asylum. The lawyers have prepared cases for 115 to 185, a majority of whom are children.
The Trump administration views the group of migrants as a threat, with Attorney General Jeff Sessions calling the caravan “a deliberate attempt to undermine our laws and overwhelm our system.”
VERDICT: The trek from Central America to the U.S. border has been incredibly dangerous. One female migrant said her and her baby girl went days without food and water during their journey. It is hard to see a justifiable reason to go through such difficulties other to escape dangerous conditions in the migrants’ various home countries.
That said, the journey does not get any easier now that the migrants are at the U.S. border. As noted in previous blog posts, U.S. immigration officials have separated children from their parents while confirming parental relations. Moreover, it is not a guarantee that migrants’ asylum claims will be granted, and it may be more likely they are deported, meaning their travels would be for naught.
H-1B visas are typically the only way for international students from U.S. universities or high-skilled foreign nationals to work in the United States long-term. The first yearly limit on these visas was passed by Congress in 1990, a time before the internet and phone capabilities were significant. However, progress in the tech field has fueled demand for high-skilled labor.
As a result of the need for more high-skilled labor, the limit on H-1B visas has been met for 16 straight years. It would seem, then, that this is an indicator that reform is needed to allow more high-skilled foreign nationals to work in the United States.
However, the Trump administration is trying to do the opposite and further limit the number of H-1B visas. This month, Francis Cissna, Director of the U.S. and Immigration Services (USCIS) wrote a letter to Senator Charles Grassley laying out a series of measures making it more difficult to obtain an H-1B visa. USCIS plans to redefine the definition of specialty occupation to make it harder to qualify for the visa. Additionally, USCIS plans to prevent spouses of H-1B visa holders from working in the United States. This would make foreign-nationals less likely to want to work in America, thereby limiting the number of applicants.
VERDICT: The policies included in this letter are only a part of President Trump’s restrictive anti-immigration agenda. Just these policies limiting the number of H-1B visas actually push company investment outside of the United States, harming the U.S. economy more than allowing more foreign-born workers in the U.S
A “caravan” of Central American migrants stopped in Hermosillo (a city in Northern Mexico) on Monday, after Trump ordered for Department of Homeland Security Officials to not let them into the United States. This order left the group of around 600 in a state of limbo, as many had traveled hundreds of miles and were planning on seeking asylum within the United States, after reaching Tijuana. With approximately 400 miles until the border, many are struggling with where to go next, with many now considering trying to seek asylum within Mexico.
The large group, mostly traveling together for safety reasons, started at around 1,500 people, but as people split off, settling in different parts of Central America, the group whittled down to around 600 people, including many children. In Hermosillo, the group has received temporary shelter, receiving goods like shoes and clothing.
In recent months, a greater number of migrants have been found crossing the border into the United States illegally, following an initial decline after Trump’s election into office. In a series of tweets, Trump has been pushing his immigration agenda harder, with a call to build his wall.
Verdict: While it remains unclear about what will happen once the large group does reach the border, it is clear that Trump will fight to keep them out of the country. However, many of the migrants have an extremely strong case for attaining asylum status due to threats of violence and political persecution in their countries of origin.
In a tweet on Monday, President Donald Trump threatened to make tighter Mexican immigration control a condition of a new North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) deal. This is despite the fact that representatives for Canada, the U.S., and Mexico are trying to finalize an updated agreement this week.
Trump had previously introduced the idea of tying NAFTA to Mexican immigration laws when the so-called immigrant ‘caravan’ travelling through Mexico made headlines earlier in April. Despite Trump’s rhetoric, immigration has not been a part of the formal negotiation talks, and those talks are progressing.
Mexico’s Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray sent his own tweet in which he stated that Mexican immigration policy is an internal matter and that it would be unacceptable to condition a new NAFTA deal on Mexico’s internal immigration policies.
VERDICT: A renegotiated trade deal should theoretically benefit all parties to the negotiations. That said, it is important President Trump does not act on the rhetoric of tying NAFTA to Mexico’s immigration policies. This deal would benefit the United States and improve already strong relations with Mexico and Canada. It would be foolish to threaten this deal with a condition of stricter immigration policies in Mexico.
New data reviewed by the New York Times shows that more than 700 children have been taken from adults who claim to be their parents since October 2017, including more than 100 children under the age of four.
These data counter the story senior officials at the Department of Homeland Security have been pushing that the numbers were not so high. It was not until the New York Times confirmed that three federal officials who work with the cases confirmed these numbers that a government spokesman acknowledged there were about 700 cases.
Members of Congress had been pushing for answers about how many cases of child separation there were at the border, partially due to the fact that the Trump administration had previously said it was considering separating children from their parents as a way to deter more migrants from trying to cross the border.
Department of Homeland Security officials note that the department is required by law to protect the interests of minor children crossing into the United States, which sometimes means separating the child from the adult they were with if they cannot confirm a parental relationship.
Children separated from parents are taken to shelters run by nongovernmental organizations. Workers at the shelters seek to identify a relative in the U.S. to care for the child, but if they cannot find someone, the children remain in custody indefinitely. Often, parents crossing the border with their children do not bring proof of parental relations making the possibility of reunifying the parents with their children that much more difficult.
VERDICT: This is a very difficult situation for the U.S. government, as homeland security has had to deal with instances of fraud. Immigrants who arrive with children can be released more quickly into the U.S. than adults who come alone. Some migrants have conceded that they brought their children not just to remove them from the danger in their home country, but also because they thought it would allow them to be released sooner.
Though there may be cases of fraud, the conditions noted above for legitimate families separated are completely traumatizing. In the words of Michelle Branè, director of the Migrant Rights and Justice program at the Women’s Refugee Commission, “the idea of punishing parents who are trying to save their children’s lives, and punishing children for being brought to safety by their parents by separating them, is fundamentally cruel and un-American.”
The pain caused by separating children from their parents is too severe to not take the utmost care before resorting to that tactic. Border officials must do their due diligence to confirm or deny parental status before acting to separate families.