“As Republicans, whose party has consistently and rightly advanced policies to support the essential role of families in America, we are deeply troubled by the harm that is about to be done to hundreds of thousands of families that have legally called America home for more than two decades.”—John Kasich and Jeb Bush Jr.
Dreamers, border, government shutdown
Parts of the federal government shut down on Jan. 20, in large part due to disagreements over how to address protections for Dreamers. One proposed compromise—which included funding for border walls, elimination of the diversity visa, limits on family migration and protections for TPS recipients and parents of Dreamers—elicited racist remarks from President Trump. The government reopened on Jan. 22 after Senate leaders promised to allow a vote on Dreamer legislation by Feb. 8. Any bill, however, could be an even tougher sell in the House. One bipartisan solution being discussed is the USA Act (more below).
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Updates & news
DACA/Dream: A bipartisan compromise bill introduced in the House by Rep. Will Hurd (R-Tex.), the USA Act, has protections for Dreamers and border security measures—but more reasonable security components than many other proposals. On Jan. 9, a federal judge ordered the Trump administration to partially resume the DACA program and accept renewal requests. The administration has requested an immediate review of the case by the Supreme Court which has yet to respond.
Border: If any border wall funding is agreed to as part of a DACA compromise, the first walls are likely to cut through the Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge (short film, Defenders Magazine, Audubon piece). Testing on border wall prototypes has begun. While unauthorized border crossings are at a 45-year low, concerns about excessive force and accountability by Border Patrol officers persist. Meanwhile, ports of entry are severely short staffed.
Are you in the 100-mile border-zone? Two-thirds of U.S. residents live in this zone where Border Patrol has more leeway to conduct warrantless searches and detentions. A woman was recently pulled off a Greyhound bus in Miami when border patrol agents demanded proof of citizenship from riders. The zone has numerous consequences for U.S.-Mexico border residents in particular.
Central American asylum seekers: A number of organizations filed a legal complaint against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) citing multiple cases where children were forcibly separated from their parents by Border Patrol officers as families crossed the border to claim asylum. Another group of organizations filed a complaint regarding summer raids that picked up more than 400 sponsors of unaccompanied children.
Enforcement: Earlier this month, nationwide immigration raids targeted 98 7-Eleven stores. Additional raids are expected in northern California with a reported goal of 1,500 arrests. “Operation Janus” could lead to thousands of people having their citizenship revoked due to old convictions or deportation orders. One man stopped an immigration arrest by knowing what to do.
Temporary Protected Status: On Jan. 8, the Trump administration announced it would end Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for more than 200,000 Salvadorans. This followed decisions in November ending TPS for Haitians and Nicaraguans. TPS for Syrians comes up for renewal on Jan. 30. (CLINIC TPS resources.) In a separate decision, Haitians will no longer be eligible for temporary work visas.
Detention: A DHS Inspector General report raised serious concerns about the care of immigrant detainees. At the same time, several House members wrote a letter to DHS expressing “deep concerns about the prevalence of reports of sexual abuse, assault, and harassment in U.S. immigration detention facilities, [and] the lack of adequate government investigation into these reports.” Another lawsuit challenges a North Carolina court’s refusal to conduct bond hearings.
Refugee/travel bans: On Dec. 4, the U.S. Supreme Court lifted an injunction on the most recent iteration of the travel ban allowing it to go into effect and then, on Jan. 19, agreed to review the legality of the ban. On Dec. 23, a federal judge partially blocked the current 11-nation refugee ban.
Challenging the (nativist, racist) narrative: The White House released a report linking immigrants to terrorism, though the report was misleading and allegedly created without input from experts within DHS. On the heels of President Trump’s racist comments about Africans and others, a new analysis shows that immigrants from Sub-Saharan Africa have higher levels of education that the average U.S.-born person. Read how Irish and Mexican immigrant communities have been targeted in the past.
- Center for Migration Studies: DREAM Act-eligible poised to build on the investments made in them
- Migration Policy Institute: Recent data show legalizing Dreamers would have little effect on displacing U.S.-born millennials from jobs
- DHS Office of Inspector General: Concerns about ICE detainee treatment and care at detention facilities
- Immigrant Justice Network: Dismantle, don’t expand: The 1996 immigration laws
- MPI: Trump’s first year on immigration policy: Rhetoric vs. reality
- Human Rights Watch: Devastating impact of Trump’s immigration policy deportations undercut fundamental rights
- Derechos Humanos & No More Deaths: The disappeared: How the U.S. border enforcement agencies are fueling a missing persons crisis
- Occupy: Climate change, mass migration and the border militarization to come
- Short film, “Ay Santa Ana” about the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge
- Defenders: In the shadow of the wall: Wildlife on the line in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands
- Audubon: As border wall plans progress, the White House flouts environmental laws
Temporary Protected Status
Challenging the narrative
- New American Economy: Power of the purse: How Sub-Saharan Africans contribute to the U.S. economy