Dreamers, border walls and the budget
With the continuing budget resolution due to expire on Friday, Congress is close to finalizing a budget deal for Fiscal Year 2018. The deal reportedly contains $1.6 billion for border security including 33 miles of new “fencing.”
Not included is funding the White House had requested for 10,000 additional immigrant detention beds, 850 immigration enforcement officers and limits on federal funding for so-called sanctuary cities. The deal also does not include a fix for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Members of Congress feel less urgency to address the DACA program after courts ordered it extended past the March 5 deadline (see below).
Local stories, events and resources
Indiana: A bill to allow DACA recipients to get professional licenses has passed both the House and the Senate
Texas: A federal appeals court allows “sanctuary cities” ban to go into effect while legal challenges continue.
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Updates & news
U.S. no longer a “nation of immigrants”: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services changed its mission statement to remove that language along with a reference to visa applicants as “customers.”
DACA/Dream: The U.S. Supreme Court declined to overrule a lower court injunction keeping the DACA program in effect while legal challenges continue. Despite the injunction, thousands of Dreamers may see their DACA status expire, at least temporarily (FAQ on DACA renewals). A Maryland judge struck down another challenge to ending the DACA program. Several Catholic leaders were arrested on Capitol Hill calling for protections for Dreamers.
Border: A federal judge has ruled that the Trump administration has the authority to waive environmental and other laws to speed construction of border walls. As construction begins on replacement walls in California, artists work to preserve murals on the Mexican side. Migrants crossing the border are still being held in freezing cells and suffering other degrading and dehumanizing treatment.
Asylum seekers: A Congolese woman and her seven-year-old daughter were separated at the border by immigration officials and have remained apart for four months. Likely part of a larger effort by the Trump administration to separate families seeking asylum, this case is now the subject of a lawsuit. Another lawsuit alleges the Trump administration is violating U.S. law by holding more than 1,000 asylum seekers in detention indefinitely, even though they have passed initial screenings and pose no threat to public safety. The Trump administration is working to change the asylum process in multiple ways, including by limiting who qualifies.
Enforcement: Raids are sweeping up farmworkers, Vietnamese refugees and this single mom with three daughters. In Baltimore, Maryland, the city will spend $200,000 to pay lawyers to help immigrants fight deportations.
Detention: The U.S. Supreme Court overturned a ruling requiring custody hearings for immigrants in detention but the case now goes back to a lower court to determine if the policy violates the due process clause of the Constitution. Concerns persist about the treatment of immigrant detainees, particularly those at risk of suicide.
Sanctuary cities: The Trump administration is suing California over its sanctuary policies.
April 1-7, 2018: Borderlands learning tour
April 20-23, 2018: Ecumenical Advocacy Days: A world uprooted
May 23-27, 2018: Borderlands learning tour
June 4-8, 2018: Immigration law training
- MCC: Anabaptist faith leaders advocate for better immigration policies
- Third Way Café: A temporary fix for enduring issues
- United We Dream: DACA renewals FAQ
- National Parks Conservation Association: A land divided: How would a border wall affect national parks
- NY Times: They died near the border. Art students hope to bring them back. At the New York Academy of Art, facial reconstruction—fusing art and science—may help identify the missing, including migrants.
- New York Times: Op-ed: Looking at Trump’s ‘beautiful wall’
- AILA: Cogs in the deportation machine: How policy changes by the Trump administration have touched every major area of enforcement
- Time: 'No One Is Safe:' How Trump’s immigration policy is splitting families apart
- Human Rights Watch: In the freezer: Abusive conditions for women and children in U.S. immigration holding cells
- World magazine: Those Hebrew midwives
- Undocumented: A book from photographer John Moore that shows a decade of the immigration debate from multiple angles
Update created March 22, 2018, by Tammy Alexander, Senior Legislative Associate for Domestic Affairs.
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