Funding for enforcement and border walls
The fiscal year 2018 spending package signed last month did not meet the president’s specific request for additional immigrant detention beds and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents. But it included funding that will increase both detention and enforcement. And, though border walls will not be built in the Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge in Texas, they will likely cut through a butterfly center, several other critical protected areas for wildlife and hundreds of parcels of private property.
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“I feel helpless.” “I cried Thursday night, wondering which of my students were without parents.” “I do not want to live in a place where people I have known for so long can be taken away from me in a second.” --Reflections from teachers of students whose parents were detained after a workplace raid in Tennessee.
Enforcement: On April 5, 97 immigrants were detained in Tennessee in the largest worksite raid in nearly 10 years. Raids in North Carolina and in Cambodian and Vietnamese refugee communities have detained dozens more. A recent study shows that a much higher percentage of long-time residents are being detained and deported under the Trump administration. ICE released a fact sheet detailing its procedures for detaining and deporting parents of minor children. In two significant court rulings, a law making it easier to deport immigrants convicted of certain crimes was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court and a federal judge in Los Angeles ruled that federal funds for local police could not be tied to cooperation with ICE.
Detention: The trump administration reversed its decision to suspend a legal-aid program that is a win-win for immigrants and the government. The Legal Orientation Program, which is favored by immigration judges and advocates alike, provides legal information to immigrants in detention, helping them move through the court system more quickly and saving more money than it costs. Two new lawsuits allege immigrants in detention are being forced to work for as little as $1 per day and locked in solitary confinement when they complain.
Border: The Trump administration will prosecute more first-time border crossers and is deploying about 4,000 National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border. Although unauthorized border crossings increased in March, the trend is consistent with previous years and crossings are still at a 45-year low. Construction has begun on 20 miles of new border wall in New Mexico and letters are expected to go out soon to landowners in Texasfor surveys prior to eminent domain actions there.
DACA/Dream: A U.S. District Court judge ruled that new DACA applications should be processed but has given the Trump Administration 90 days to justify its cancellation of the program. Though a court injunction has made it possible for DACA recipients to continue to renew their status, the slow pace of renewals is a concern. One Republican lawmaker has proposed a vote on four DACA-related bills in an unconventional “queen of the hill”process. His bipartisan bill is cosponsored by a majority of House members but Speaker Ryan is not ready to bring it up for a vote.
Asylum seekers: A caravan of several hundred Central Americans traveled through Mexico in April, with many expected to seek asylum in the U.S. The Trump administration has characterized the group of adults and children as a security threat and promised to end “catch and release” policies that allow asylum seekers to be released to family while their cases wind through the courts. More than 50 members of Congress raised concerns about families being forcibly separated at the border. The administration is seeking to roll back protections for victims of domestic violence seeking asylum.
- CNN: DHS decision to end Haitian immigrant protections questioned
- Niskanen Center: European refugees are making it to America, but many others are not
- Washington Times: Interfaith leaders bathe feet of refugees
- NY Times: The other border problem: American guns going to Mexico
May 23-27, 2018: Borderlands learning tour
June 4-8, 2018: Immigration law training
Jun 27-Jul 3, 2018: Building Leaders 4 Peace (California)
- USA Today: The border: Unknown stories, unintended consequences (2018 Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting)
- NY Times: Where fear and hope collide: images from Mexican border, and beyond
- Politico: How Trump moved the Mexican border north
- Defenders of Wildlife: In the shadow of the wall: Executive summary
- Defenders of Wildlife: Borderlands: Biological hotspots
- The Opportunity Agenda: Five tips for talking about border communities without talking about a wall
- LAWG: Between a wall and a dangerous place: The intersection of human rights, public security, corruption and migration in Honduras and El Salvador
- UJC/CLINIC: Denied a day in court: The government’s use of in absentia removal orders against families seeking asylum
- Church World Service (video): New ICE policy to detain more pregnant women
- AILA: Map of ICE enforcement actions (January 2017- current)
- AILA: Assumption of risk: Legal liabilities for local governments that choose to enforce federal immigration laws
- NIJC: The weaponization of the immigration court system
- ProPublica: Who polices the immigration police? Claims of unjust arrests by ICE agents and cops often disappear into an overwhelmed immigration court system
- CAP: All talk, no action: Debunking the Trump administration’s support for law enforcement
- CAP: What’s at stake: Immigrant impacts in 287(g) jurisdictions
- United We Dream: 'Notifica' App'
- ICE Fact Sheet: Policies and procedures involving detained parents and legal guardians
- MPI: As is case in U.S., family admissions represent biggest immigration stream in Canada & UK when all family ties are taken into account
- Red Letter Christians: Call it a family reunion (rather than “chain migration”)
- Reuters: ACLU sues Trump administration for separating immigrant couples
- NY Times: A marriage used to prevent deportation. not anymore
Update created April 30, 2018, by Tammy Alexander, Senior Legislative Associate for Domestic Affairs.
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