July 29, 2019

All Things Immigration

“The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday handed President Donald Trump a victory by letting his administration redirect $2.5 billion in money approved by Congress for the Pentagon to help build his promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border even though lawmakers refused to provide funding.” Reuters

Also on Friday, “the Trump administration signed an agreement with Guatemala that will restrict asylum applications to the U.S. from Central America. The ‘safe third country’ agreement would require migrants, including Salvadorans and Hondurans, who cross into Guatemala on their way to the U.S. to apply for protections in Guatemala instead of at the U.S. border.” AP News

Last Monday, “the Trump administration announced… that it will vastly extend the authority of immigration officers to deport migrants without allowing them to appear before judges.” AP News

See past issues

From the Left

The left focused on the horrific conditions at the border detention facilities and remains very critical of the Trump administration’s immigration policies.

Many are pointing to the case of Francisco Erwin Galicia as evidence that the system is broken. “A Dallas-born U.S. citizen, [Galicia] spent 23 days in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection in conditions that made him so desperate he almost opted to self-deport. Galicia says he lost 26 pounds during that time in a South Texas immigrant detention center because officers didn’t provide him with enough food. He said he wasn’t allowed to shower and his skin was dry and dirty. He and 60 other men were crammed into an overcrowded holding area where they slept on the floor and were given only aluminum-foil blankets, he said. Some men had to sleep on the restroom area floor… ‘It’s one thing to see these conditions on TV and in the news. It’s another to go through them,’ he said.”
Obed Manuel, Dallas News

His detention was hardly an isolated mistake — hundreds of American citizens have now been detained on suspicion that they are living illegally in the United States, including a man held in custody for 1,273 days… The entire system of checkpoints, detention centers and immigration agents hunting for Hispanics — along with all the horror of children penned in disgusting conditions and a cascade of immigration policies that violate fundamental rights — perverts American values and traditions…

“It should be in the DNA of the American people, the overwhelming majority of whom are themselves descendants of immigrants who found refuge, opportunity and happiness in the United States, to approach this crisis with humanity.”
Editorial Board, New York Times

“At least seven children have died while in such circumstances and many more are suffering from lice, scabies, chicken pox, and other afflictions. Yet when doctors from the American Association of Pediatricians traveled to the camps to offer their help, their services were refused… It’s hard not to assume that, however overwhelmed Customs and Border Protection may be, at least some of this treatment is intentional…

“Why else turn away doctors offering help or refuse supplies of donated aid sent by worried citizens? Why arrest a humanitarian aid volunteer who gave food and water to two ill and desperate undocumented Central American migrants and tried to get them medical help? The administration acknowledges that the overall situation is dire, but its officials on the spot have basically thrown up their hands, complaining that they have been overwhelmed by the situation they created… The rest of the administration refuses even to admit to the appalling conditions.”
Karen J. Greenberg, The Nation

Regarding “the Trump administration’s expansion of the use of fast-track deportations through ‘expedited removal’ … [it] will create a ‘show me your papers’ regime nationwide in which people — including citizens — may be forced to quickly prove they should not be deported. This policy allows Immigration and Customs Enforcement to quickly deport someone without going before an immigration judge, undermining American principles of fundamental fairness and putting United States citizens, permanent residents and asylum-seekers at risk of wrongful deportation… In expedited removal proceedings, immigration officers serve as both prosecutor and judge — charging someone as deportable and making a final decision to deport him, often all within a day…

“Moreover, there is typically no judicial oversight, with relatively low-level government officers authorized to issue the deportation orders… Immigration officers applying expedited removal are obligated to inform individuals of their opportunity to seek asylum and refer a person who expresses a fear of returning to their home country for a ‘credible fear interview.’ Unfortunately, multiple investigations have revealed that officers at the border sometimes fail to fulfill these obligations.”
Beth Werlin, New York Times

“In the final two years of the Obama Administration, ICE had a clear mandate: only convicted criminals and certain recent arrivals were priorities for arrest… The [overall] idea was to spare those who were law-abiding and had deep personal ties to the U.S. One of the first things Trump did after taking office was to rescind those priorities, making anyone unlawfully in the U.S. subject to deportation… ‘[Among Democrats] no one is willing to say who they are willing to deport,’ Cecilia Muñoz, who worked in the Obama White House, told me. ‘It sounds harsh, but you need to be able to articulate that so you can be clear about who you want to protect.’”
Jonathan Blitzer, The New Yorker

Regarding Guatemala, “In pressuring [the country] to accept a deal to absorb vast numbers of asylum seekers, the Trump administration has embarked on a dramatic and risky strategy to slash the number of Central Americans flooding the U.S. border. The accord — which was negotiated in secret and signed at the White House on Friday — could plunge Guatemala’s young democracy into a constitutional crisis… the agreement is built on a fragile political and legal base…

“The Guatemalan Constitutional Court ruled earlier this month that President Jimmy Morales needed approval from the Guatemalan Congress to sign the accord, something he has not received… On Saturday, hundreds of people demonstrated in front of the presidential palace in Guatemala City to protest the agreement.”
Mary Beth Sheridan, Washington Post

From the Right

The right is generally supportive of Trump’s immigration policies and celebrates the Supreme Court’s decision.

The right is generally supportive of Trump’s immigration policies and celebrates the Supreme Court’s decision.

“One of the reasons CBP facilities suffer overcrowding and backlogs is that ICE facilities are built for long-term holding of illegal aliens. CBP facilities are meant for short-term holding. But due to the massive increase in illegal immigration, ICE’s systems are collapsing, leaving CBP to bear the brunt of the surge. Galicia’s story is yet another example of how the southern border crisis urgently needs congressional attention to the roots of the problem: American asylum laws’ vulnerability to immigration fraud.”
Chrissy Clark, The Federalist

“What we’re witnessing is a mass exodus from Central America driven above all by poverty but made possible by a broken asylum and immigration system in the United States. The scale of this exodus is hard to convey. About 17 million people live in Guatemala. Since October of last year, 235,638 Guatemalans have been apprehended by U.S. Border Patrol. That means over the past nine months nearly 1.4 percent of the entire population of Guatemala has been apprehended and processed by U.S. authorities…

“A 2016 survey by the International Organization for Migration found that more than 90 percent emigrated to the United States for economic reasons. According to the report, ‘56.8 percent of Guatemalans migrate in search of better employment, 32.9 percent to improve their income, 1.2 percent to buy a home, and 0.1 percent to open businesses.’ Only 0.3 percent say they migrate because of violence, and 0.2 percent cite gang problems.”
John Daniel Davidson, The Federalist

“What we have done at our borders for so many decades is not working. Most of the politicians we have elected have failed miserably. There has been plenty of talk, promises and fundraising when it comes to securing our borders, but little progress toward truly accomplishing that goal. We finally have a chance to get something substantive done. We finally have a chance to make our country and its citizens safer. We finally have a chance to gain control of an immigration system that so many call ‘broken’ but do nothing to fix.”
Brandon Judd, Fox News

“No one would claim that a border wall will reduce the flow of illegal immigrants and drugs to zero. But just because a measure doesn’t totally solve a problem doesn’t mean we should take no action… Our nation, states and localities do a great deal to reduce the toll of deaths and injuries from traffic accidents. We set speed limits, design roads to minimize accidents, and require vehicles to have safety belts and meet other safety standards. Unfortunately, people still get killed and hurt in traffic accidents. But many more would lose their lives if we said there was no point in setting any safety standards because they couldn’t eliminate all deaths and injuries. A border wall is one piece of the much-needed infrastructure that the men and women of the Border Patrol need to protect our nation.”
Tom Homan, Fox News

“American citizens don’t have freestanding rights to walk into court and challenge administration expenditures. They have to show that they have standing — that the specific plaintiffs suffered a concrete and legally-recognized injury as a result of the government’s action. In this case, while the private parties were claiming that the diversion of funds created concrete harms on the ground along the southern border, it’s less clear how the plaintiffs themselves were harmed by the government’s action…

“The Supreme Court may ultimately decide this case on the merits… but for now it’s right to cast doubt on a sweeping lower-court injunction granted on behalf of plaintiffs who haven’t yet been able to adequately articulate the legally recognized harms they’ve suffered in what is ultimately a battle between Congress and the president of the United States.”
David French, National Review

“The Justice Department reports that, as of late May, federal district courts had issued 37 nationwide injunctions against executive actions by the Trump Administration. By our count the number is now at least 39. This compares with two such injunctions in the first two years of the Obama Administration, and both of those were vacated by the Ninth Circuit… These legal stays are supposed to be issued only in the most extreme circumstances. Too often these days they are issued as a first resort and on mistaken legal grounds…

The proliferation of national injunctions has inserted judges into policy debates in ways they should avoid and can sometimes pre-empt debate in the political branches where the issues should be settled… Lifting the injunction in the border case should also give the district court and Ninth Circuit an incentive to speed up a decision on the merits. Courts have been taking their sweet time on immigration cases, almost as if they hope to push the disputes past the 2020 election. These injunctions aren’t in the public interest, and the High Court needs to police them.”
Editorial Board, Wall Street Journal

Some, however, argue that “for Republicans to back the president on that question is to support a broad expansion of executive power at the expense of Congress… If federal courts refuse to rein in an executive that flouts the rule of law in order to bypass an uncooperative Congress, then the constitutional power of Congress is weakened and the president, already much more powerful than the Framers envisioned, becomes even stronger and less accountable.”
David Thornton, The Resurgent

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