Showing posts with label Immigration. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Immigration. Show all posts

February 17, 2017

100,000 National Guard Troops For Immigration Round Ups

“Hell’s Threshold," by Nadia Werbitzky(1941)

The Trump administration is considering a proposal to mobilize as many as 100,000 National Guard troops to round up immigrants in the U.S. illegally, including millions living nowhere near the Mexico border, according to a draft memo obtained by the Associated Press.

The 11-page document calls for the unprecedented militarization of immigration enforcement as far north as Portland, Ore., and as far east as New Orleans, La.

Almost immediately after the Associated Press published its report, the White House issued a denial. “That is 100% not true. It is false," Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters aboard Air Force One before President Trump headed to South Carolina to tour a Boeing plant later Friday.

“There is no effort at all to round up, to utilize the National Guard to round up illegal immigrants," Spicer said. He said he couldn't deny altogether that the subject had never been discussed in the administration,  The White House has noted before that many proposals have been drafted on a range of issues, but not all are under serious consideration.
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Four states that border Mexico are included in the proposal — California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas — but it also encompasses seven states contiguous to those four — Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.

Governors of the 11 states would decide whether to have their guard troops participate, according to the memo, written by U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, a retired four-star Marine general.

While National Guard personnel have been used to assist with immigration-related missions on the U.S.-Mexico border before, they have never been used as broadly or as far north.

The memo is addressed to the then-acting heads of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. It would serve as guidance to implement the wide-ranging executive order on immigration and border security that President Trump signed Jan. 25. Such memos are routinely issued to supplement executive orders.

Also dated Jan. 25, the draft memo says participating troops would be authorized "to perform the functions of an immigration officer in relation to the investigation, apprehension and detention of aliens in the United States." It describes how the troops would be activated under a revived state-federal partnership program, and states that personnel would be authorized to conduct searches and identify and arrest any immigrants who crossed the border illegally.
The draft document has circulated among DHS staff over the last two weeks. As recently as Friday, staffers in several different offices reported discussions were underway.

If implemented, the impact of the program could be significant. Nearly one-half of the estimated 11.1 million people residing in the U.S. without permission live in the 11 states, according to Pew Research Center estimates based on 2014 Census data.

Use of National Guard troops would greatly increase the number of immigrants targeted in one of Trump's executive orders last month, which expanded the definition of who could be considered a criminal and therefore a potential target for deportation. That order also allows immigration agents to prioritize removing anyone who has "committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense."

Under current rules, even if the proposal is implemented, there would not be immediate mass deportations. Those with existing deportation orders could be sent back to their countries of origin without additional court proceedings. But deportation orders generally would be needed for most other immigrants in the U.S. illegally.

The troops would not be nationalized, remaining under state control.

Representatives for the governors of Arizona, Utah, Nevada, California, Colorado, Oklahoma, Oregon and New Mexico said they were unaware of the proposal, and either declined to comment or said it was premature to discuss whether they would participate. The other three states did not immediately respond to the AP.

The proposal would extend the federal-local partnership program that the Obama administration began scaling back in 2012 to address complaints that it promoted racial profiling.

The 287(g) program, which Trump included in his immigration executive order, gives local police, sheriff's deputies and state troopers the authority to assist in the detection of immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally as a regular part of their law enforcement duties on the streets and in jails.

The draft memo also mentions other items included in Trump's executive order, including the hiring of an additional 5,000 border agents, which needs financing from Congress, and his campaign promise to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

The signed order contained no mention of the possible use of state National Guard troops.

According to the draft memo, the militarization effort would be proactive, specifically empowering Guard troops to solely carry out immigration enforcement, not as an add-on to the way local law enforcement is used in the program.

Allowing Guard troops to operate inside non-border states also would go far beyond past deployments.

In addition to responding to natural or man-made disasters or for military protection of the population or critical infrastructure, state Guard forces have been used to assist with immigration-related tasks on the U.S.-Mexico border, including the construction of fences.

In the mid-2000s, President George W. Bush twice deployed Guard troops on the border to focus on non-law enforcement duties to help augment the Border Patrol as it bolstered its ranks. And in 2010, then-Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer announced a border security plan that included Guard reconnaissance, aerial patrolling and military exercises.

In July 2014, then-Texas Gov. Rick Perry ordered 1,000 National Guard troops to the border when the surge of migrant children fleeing violence in Central America overwhelmed U.S. officials responsible for their care. The Guard troops' stated role on the border at the time was to provide surveillance but not make arrests.

Associated Press

February 12, 2017

Foreign Born Doctors in Underserved Areas at Risk for Deportation

Patients in Alexandria, La., were the friendliest people Dr. Muhammad Tauseef ever worked with. They'd drive long distances to see him, and often bring gifts.

"It's a small town, so they will sometimes bring you chickens, bring you eggs, bring you homemade cakes," he says.

One woman even brought him a puppy.

"That was really nice," he says.

Tauseef was born and raised in Pakistan. After going to medical school there, he applied to come to the U.S. to train as a pediatrician.

It's a path thousands of foreign-born medical students follow every year — a path that's been around for more than half a century. And, like most foreign-born physicians, Tauseef came on a J1 visa. That meant after training he had two options: return to Pakistan or work for three years in an area the U.S. government has identified as having a provider shortage.

He chose to work with mostly uninsured kids at a pediatric practice in Alexandria. "That was a challenge," he says. "But it was rewarding as well because you are taking care of people who there aren't many to take care for."

And the U.S. medical system depends on doctors like Tauseef, says Dr. Andrew Gurman, president of the American Medical Association. He worries that if President Trump's executive order on immigration takes effect, it will mean parts of the country that desperately need medical care may not have a doctor.

"International medical graduates have been a resource to provide medical care to areas that don't otherwise have access to physicians," he says. "With the current uncertainty about those physicians' immigration status, we don't know whether or not these areas are going to receive care."

According to the AMA, today there are about 280,000 international medical graduates in the U.S. That's about 1 in 4 doctors practicing here. Some are U.S. citizens who've gone abroad for medical school, but most aren't.

"They don't all have permanent visas, and so a lot of them are concerned about what their status is going to be, whether they can stay, whether they can go home to visit family and still come back, and the communities they serve have similar questions," he says.

And the care provided by the graduates of foreign medical schools is, by and large, top notch. A study published Feb. 3 in the journal The BMJ, formerly The British Medical Journal, shows Medicare patients treated by doctors with degrees from non-U.S. medical schools get just as good care — and sometimes better — than those treated by graduates of American medical schools.

The immigration uncertainty is hitting medical schools at a tough time. Dr. Salahuddin Kazi is in charge of recruiting top students from across the world for the University of Texas Southwestern residency program.

"Typically we have 3,000 people applying for our 61 positions — of those 3,000, at least half of them are international medical graduates," he says.

Applicants find out their program match in March and usually start working in June. That gives them about 90 days to get a visa. Kazi worries this year that won't be long enough and that students from countries included in the travel ban won't be admitted.

"That would create hardship for the hospital, for us and for our remaining residents," he says. "They'll have to pick up more shifts or give up vacation."

Pediatrician Tauseef left Louisiana two years ago but continues to care for low-income patients at Los Barrios Unidos Community Clinic in Dallas. Six of the 30 physicians who work at this clinic are from other countries.

Tauseef says they're all educated to do the same thing. "As a physician, being a foreign medical graduate, U.S. medical graduate, a Muslim doctor, a non-Muslim, we are trained to look for signs and symptoms," he says. "We do not look at anybody's color; we are not trained to look at anybody's religion or ethnicity."

Tauseef, who has been in America for 13 years, says he will apply for U.S. citizenship in March.


This story is part of a reporting partnership with NPR, KERA and Kaiser Health News.

February 6, 2017

Belgium Man Afraid of Deportation Tried Jumping off B’klyn Bridge

 A Belgian man frightened that he could be deported was talked down from a beam above the roadway of the Brooklyn Bridge early Sunday morning, after he had reportedly been threatening to jump.
According to the Post, two NYPD officers had been patrolling the bridge's pedestrian path shortly after midnight Sunday when they happened upon two bags filled with clothes and personal items. While searching for the bags' owner, they spotted the man standing on an out-of-bounds beam above the Manhattan-bound road, threatening to jump to his death.
The officers quickly radioed for backup and halted traffic on the road beneath the man, the Daily News reports. Moments later, an officer from the nearby 84th NYPD Precinct climbed onto one of the bridge's cables to speak with the man, who shared his fears of being sent out of the country.
The man reportedly said he had come to the U.S. from Belgium on a tourist visa, the Post notes. The officer successfully talked the man down from the beam, and emergency responders took him to Bellevue Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.
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February 3, 2017

Federal Judge Blocks Trump’s Nationwide Immigration Directive

By Dan Levine and Scott Malone
 A federal judge in Seattle on Friday put a nationwide block on U.S. President Donald Trump's week-old executive order barring nationals from seven countries from entering the United States.
The judge's temporary restraining order represents a major challenge to Trump's action, although his administration could still appeal the ruling and have the policy upheld. 
The Seattle judge, James Robart, made his ruling effective immediately on Friday, suggesting that travel restrictions could be lifted straight away. 
"It's a wonderful day for the rule of law in this country," said Washington state solicitor general Noah Purcell.
The state's attorney general, Bob Ferguson, said: "This decision shuts down the executive order right now." He said he expected the federal government to honor the ruling. 
The new Republican president's order signed on Jan. 27 triggered chaos at U.S. airports last weekend. Some travelers abroad were turned back from flights into the United States, crowds of hundreds of people packed into arrival areas to protest and legal objections were filed across the country.
The challenge was brought by the state of Washington and later joined by the state of Minnesota. The Seattle judge ruled that the states have legal standing to sue, which could help Democratic attorneys general take on Trump in court on issues beyond immigration. 
The decision came on a day that attorneys from four states were in courts challenging Trump's executive order. The Trump administration justified the action on national security grounds, but opponents labeled it an unconstitutional order targeting people based on religious beliefs.
Earlier on Friday, a federal judge in Boston declined to extend a temporary restraining order that allowed some immigrants into the United States from countries affected by Trump's three-month ban.
Also on Friday in Virginia, a federal judge ordered the White House to provide a list of all people stopped from entering the United States by the travel ban.
The State Department said on Friday that fewer than 60,000 visas previously issued to citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen had been invalidated as a result of the order. That disclosure followed media reports that government lawyers were citing a figure of 100,000.
U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema in Alexandria, Virginia ordered the federal government to give the state a list by Thursday of "all persons who have been denied entry to or removed from the United States."
The state of Hawaii on Friday joined the challenge to the order, filing a lawsuit alleging that the order is unconstitutional and asking the court to block the order across the country.
The order also temporarily stopped the entry of all refugees into the country and indefinitely halted the settlement of Syrian refugees.
On Friday the Department of Homeland Security issued additional clarification of the order, stating that there were no plans to extend it beyond the seven countries. The DHS also reiterated that the ban did not apply to permanent residents, or green card holders, and some others, such as those who have helped the U.S. military.
In the Boston case, U.S. District Judge Nathan Gorton denied the request, after expressing skepticism during oral arguments about a civil rights group’s claim that Trump's order represented religious discrimination.
(Additional reporting by Mica Rosenberg in New York, Brian Snyder in Boston and Lawrence Hurley, Lesley Wroughton and Susan Heavey in Washington; Writing by Jonathan Weber and Kristina Cooke; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Bill Rigby)

Trump Drafts of Exec Order on Cuts-full of Noise and Black Holes

 Who is going down the black hole besides children and poor immigrants?

A draft plan, under discussion inside the Trump administration, promises to exclude would-be immigrants who might need public assistance and to deport, whenever possible, those already dependent on welfare.
The draft executive order, as written, illuminates one of the ways in which the Trump administration plans to deliver on campaign-trail promises to halt what candidate Trump repeatedly described as the intentional abuse of American social service programs. The effort, as described, appears to want to reduce immigrants’ impact on American taxpayers and the workforce. But there are just a few problems with Trump’s draft order. They begin with the facts.
The language in the order, as written, portrays immigrants generally as a drain on the American taxpayer, and would direct the government to address the issue in several ways. The draft order would:
  • Direct various federal agencies to more strictly identify and exclude potential immigrants likely to need certain types of public aid and deport those already in the United States who have had to rely on social services help.
  • Command federal officials to determine how much the federal government could save — it specifically suggests a savings of $100 billion — if immigrants were limited to getting “only the public benefits that they are eligible to receive.”
  • Compel federal officials to demand reimbursement from people inside the United States who made legal promises to support immigrant relatives, if necessary.
  • Require social service agencies to report immigrant benefit recipients to federal authorities.
The order calls for lots of research too, including how the estimated $100 billion in savings the order says these activities would generate could be brought to bear on domestic poverty along with regular reports monitoring the number of immigrants blocked, reimbursements demanded and the status of monitoring efforts to stop immigrants from receiving public benefits.
But, almost none of the issues identified in the draft order exist as they are described in the order.
Immigration is complexCitizenship status can change and, in many U.S. households, citizens and legal and illegal immigrants live together, making the rights and benefits available to them difficult to quantify or classify as aid to “aliens.” Long-standing U.S. law already makes it rare for noncitizens to receive most forms of public assistance, such as cash payments. And, experts in immigration law and the nation’s public assistance programs say there’s little data to support the administration’s claim that immigrants disproportionately draw on public aid. 
There are at least 5.1 million children living in the United States with a parent who is an unauthorized immigrant, according to an analysis published by the Migration Policy Institute in January 2016. More than 70 percent of these children are also U.S. citizens, eligible for a full slate of social service benefits as any other child in a family with a similar income. And immigrant children are more likely than others to live in low-income families. As many of those children are minors, they cannot simply be given control of the federal food or cash aid for which they qualify. The benefits have to be controlled by their parents, immigrants who are the heads of their households.
These families offer a helpful framework for thinking about any promise to surgically extract needy immigrants, said Tanya Broder, a senior staff attorney at the National Immigration Law Center.
“The reality is that immigrants and citizens live together, work together and inhabit the same communities and neighborhoods,” said Broder, who specializes in policies affecting access to health care, public education and aid. “For good reason, we want every baby to be born healthy, every young child to have basic nutrition and the people around us to be physically healthy enough to contribute to our economy. When you ignore that, the consequences can quickly become more costly in terms of human beings and taxpayer dollars than providing services in the first place.” 
Though the draft orders characterize a ban on immigrants receiving welfare as something new, or at least insufficiently enforced, some of what it lays out as proposals for new immigration and welfare policy already exists. And what the order depicts as poor enforcement is actually more like a long line of laws, legal decisions, rules and official guides for federal employees that have made public charge deportations rare. 
For more than 100 years, U.S. law has allowed federal officials to bar immigrants who, based on a specific formula, seem likely to need public assistance after arrival. That test is known as the “public charge” law. The law technically allows federal immigration authorities to deport immigrants who become public dependents within five years of their arrival and prevent legal immigrants from moving toward citizenship for the same reason.
Individuals living in the United States who want to help their relatives enter the country also are already required to sign an affidavit attesting to the fact that they earn enough money to support themselves and those hoping to immigrate. Anyone signing such an affidavit also agrees to pay back public assistance should their relatives receive it.
On top of that, in 1996, President Bill Clinton signed The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, widely known as “welfare reform.” In addition to the lifetime limits for all welfare recipients, the law significantly restricted immigrant access to the U.S. social safety net.
“It was definitely the biggest change in policy regarding immigrant access to means-tested benefits ever,” said Ron Haskins, one of the chief architects of the welfare reform law and a Republican congressional committee staffer who worked with the Clinton administration on the matter. Today, Haskins is a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, where he co-directs the Center on Children and Families. 
Those reforms barred illegal immigrants from many programs designed for the poor, said Audrey Singer, a senior fellow in the Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center at the Urban Institute. She studies demographic change, immigration, global refu­gee movements and their municipal implications.
Much to the chagrin of many Republicans in Congress, some of these rules were scaled back during the George W. Bush and Obama administrations, Haskins said. The reason for the rollbacks: Many Democrats were never fond of the specifics of the welfare reform law, Haskins said. Clinton was unsure, and just two cabinet members and advisers in the room with Clinton when he decided to sign the 1996 law thought the immigrant provisions should be included, Haskins said.
Politics wasn’t the only driver. In the years that followed welfare reform, documented reports of abuses, inaccurate reads of the public charge law, exorbitant fines 33 times the value of benefits provided and other stories began to reach Washington, Broder said.
By 1999, administration officials clarified the public charge law so that participation in food aid programs, seeking help with medical care, job training, education or child care clearly could not be considered violations of the country’s prohibition on public dependency. Since 2002, immigrant children have been eligible for food aid during the five-year waiting period required for adults, and since 2009, states have had the option of providing health care coverage to legal immigrant children and pregnant women within their first years in the United States.
Still today, immigrant access to Social Security assistance is seldom granted, Singer said. Legal immigrants — including green-card holders — must navigate a mandatory five-year waiting period for eligibility in most aid programs. And, once on cash aid rolls, legal immigrants become subject to the same lifetime limits that apply to everyone else. What’s more, some immigrants never become eligible for cash aid, Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). To do so they have to fit certain criteria and live in a certain states. Across the country, refugees — people fleeing war, famine or persecution — receive six months of assistance after they arrive in the U.S., then become ineligible for most aid for several years. 
None of that adds up to a situation anything like that implied by Trump’s draft executive order. Immigrants do not make up overwhelming majorities of those receiving public assistance.
Immigrant families are less likely to receive food benefits than other households, according an Urban Institute analysis of federal 2008 and 2009 SNAP data. The pattern held but the gap between immigrant and native-born families narrowed when it came to cash aid and public health insurance.
In poor families, about 18 percent of children with native-born parents received cash help — Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) — in 2008 and 2009, compared with about 12 percent of children with foreign-born parents, according to the study. Among children in poor families, 77 percent of those with U.S.-born parents and 69 percent of those with foreign-born parents had Medicaid or CHIP coverage.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture did not respond to a request for detailed data on the citizenship and national origin status of more recent or current SNAP (food stamps) recipients. A Department of Health and Human Services representative said the department does not have such data for Medicaid users. But an annual report on TANF recipients compiled by the agency suggests strongly that the inferences in Trump’s draft order are not well founded.
In fiscal year 2015, 744,257 adults were enrolled in the cash assistance program along with about 2.37 million children who live with ineligible adults. That group of children includes some living with legal and illegal immigrant parents. But, non citizens made up about 280,300 — or just 9 percent — of all the people receiving cash aid.

January 30, 2017

AG Hold Over from Obama Bars Justice from Defending Trump’s Order

Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, a holdover from President Barack Obama's administration, ordered Justice Department lawyers Monday not to defend President Donald Trump's executive order restricting immigration. 

IMAGE: Acting Attorney General Sally Yates

Sally Yates in June 2016. J. David Ake / AP

The Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel signed off on Trump's order last week, but Yates — who stayed on as acting attorney general pending the confirmation of Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama — said the office's reviews don't "address whether any policy choice embodied in an Executive Order is wise or just." 
"My responsibility is to ensure that the position of the Department of Justice is not only legally defensible, but is informed by our best view of what the law is after consideration of all the facts," Yates wrote in a memo to the department's lawyers. 
"At present, I am not convinced that the defense of the Executive Order is consistent with these responsibilities nor am I convinced that the Executive Order is lawful," she wrote.  The memo came to light only a few hours after Obama broke his post-presidential silence in a statement backing protesters demonstrating against the executive order. 
Obama "fundamentally disagrees with the notion of discriminating against individuals because of their faith or religion," the statement said.  Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the Immigrants' Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union, called the directive "a remarkable but welcome development." 
The directive "sends a powerful message that there's something very wrong with a Muslim ban," Gelernt said. 
But Stephen Miller, a senior policy adviser to Trump and a major architect of the travel ban, said, "It's sad that our politics have been politicized, that you have people refusing to enforce our laws." 
In an interview Monday night on MSNBC's "For the Record," Miller said it was "sadder still that you have a situation where the previous administration — and I don't want to bring up the past — lifted, removed, eliminated whole sections of immigration law, and it wasn't even considered by many in the media and many in the administration to be matter of controversy." 
Yates’ memo would appear to represent the most serious rebellion by the Justice Department since the "Saturday Night Massacre" of October 1973, when Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus resigned rather than carry out President Richard Nixon's order to fire Archibald Cox, the Watergate special prosecutor.


January 28, 2017

On The Holocaust Mem.Trump Creates Chaos,Panic for ALL Immigrants

 Yeganeh Torbati and Doina Chiacu report from Reuters

President Donald Trump's sweeping ban on people seeking refuge in the United States and visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries caused confusion and panic among travelers on Saturday, with some turned back from U.S.-bound flights.

Immigration lawyers in New York sued to block the order, saying numerous people have already been unlawfully detained.

The new Republican president on Friday put a four-month hold on allowing refugees into the United States and temporarily barred travelers from Syria and six other Muslim-majority countries. He said the moves would protect Americans from terrorism, in a swift and stern delivery on a campaign promise. 

The bans affects travelers with passports from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

The action prompted fury from Arab travelers in the Middle East and North Africa who said it was humiliating and discriminatory. It drew widespread criticism from U.S. Western allies including France and Germany, Arab-American groups and human rights organizations.

Iran condemned the order as an "open affront against the Muslim world and the Iranian nation" and vowed to retaliate. Of the seven countries targeted, Iran sends the most visitors to the United States each year - around 35,000 in 2015, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

The ban extends to green card holders who are authorized to live and work in the United States, according to Gillian Christensen, a Homeland Security spokeswoman.

It was unclear how many green card holders would be affected, but exceptions can be made on a case-by-case basis. 

Legal residents of the United States were plunged into despair at the prospect of being unable to return to the United States or being separated from family members trapped abroad. Immigration lawyers worked through the night to help stranded travelers and enforcement at entry points was uneven.

"I never thought something like this would happen in America," said Mohammad Hossein Ziya, 33, who came to the United States in 2011 after being forced to leave Iran for his political activities.

Ziya, who lives in Virginia, has a green card and planned to travel to Dubai next week to see his elderly father. "I can't go back to Iran, and it's possible I won't be able to return here, a place that is like my second country," he said.

Saleh Taghvaeian, 36, teaches agricultural water management at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, said he feared his wife will not be able to return from Iran after a visit.

"In Iran they're not being allowed to get on the airplane," he said.

In Cairo, five Iraqi passengers and one Yemeni were barred from boarding an EgyptAir flight to New York on Saturday, sources at Cairo airport said. Dutch airline KLM [AIRF.PA] said on Saturday it had refused carriage to the United States to seven passengers from predominately Muslim countries.

At least three lawyers from the International Refugee Assistance Project were at the arrivals lounge at New York City's John F. Kennedy International Airport's Terminal 4, buried in their laptops and conference calls, photocopies of individuals' U.S. visas on hand.


"Just because Trump signed something at 6 p.m. yesterday, things are coming to a crashing halt," said Mana Yegani, an immigration lawyer in Houston. "It's scary."

She and fellow lawyers worked all night fielding calls from travelers with student and worker visas who were being denied entry into the United States and ordered on flights back to the Muslim-majority countries.

Enforcement of the order was spotty and disorganized.

Travelers were handled differently at different points of entry and immigration lawyers were advising clients to change their destination to the more lenient airports, said Yegani, who works with the American Immigration Lawyers Association.
The order seeks to prioritize refugees fleeing religious persecution. In a television interview, Trump said the measure was aimed at helping Christians in Syria.

Some legal experts said that carve-out showed the order was unconstitutional, as it would violate the U.S. right to freedom of religion. But others said the president and U.S. Congress have latitude to choose who receives asylum.

Lawyers from numerous immigration organizations and the American Civil Liberties Union sued in federal court in Brooklyn on behalf of two Iraqi men, one a former U.S. government worker and the other the husband of a former U.S. security contractor.

The two men had visas to enter the United States but were detained on Friday night at Kennedy airport, hours after Trump's executive order, the lawsuit said.

Green card holders were also being stopped and questioned for several hours. Officials also denied travelers with dual Canadian and Iranian citizenship from boarding planes in Canada that were headed to the United States, Yegani said.

"These are people that are coming in legally. They have jobs here and they have vehicles here," Yegani said.

Those with visas from Muslim-majority countries have gone through background checks with U.S. authorities, Yegani noted.

Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway reaffirmed the president's decision in a Twitter post on Saturday.

"@POTUS is a man of action and impact. Promises made, promises kept. Shock to the system. And he’s just getting started," she tweeted.


The director of an Oscar-nominated film can’t attend next month’s Academy Awards after President Trump banned entry to the U.S. from seven Muslim majority nations for 90 days, according to the leader of an Iranian-American group in Washington.
Trita Parsi, president of the National Iranian American Council, said on Twitter early Saturday that Iranian director Asghar Farhadi “won’t be let into” the U.S. to attend the Feb. 26 ceremony.

November 14, 2016

Trump Changes theCore Fight for Civil Rights on Muslims and LGBT in the US


For the combatants in America’s long-running culture wars, the triumph of Donald Trump and congressional Republicans was stunning — sparking elation on one side, deep dismay on the other.

American Muslims are reeling after the election of Trump, whose campaign was rife with anti-Islamic rhetoric and proposals that included banning Muslims from entering the country and heightened surveillance of mosques across the nation.
Meanwhile, advocates of LGBT rights and abortion rights fear setbacks. The election outcome has emboldened the antiabortion movement and breathed new life into the religious right’s campaign for broad exemptions from same-sex marriage and other laws.

For Muslims living in the United States, there is significant fear, along with some reports of harassment; one hijab-wearing student at San Diego State University said she was briefly choked by suspects who made remarks about Trump’s victory.
‘‘There are lots and lots of people who aren’t going out of the house,’’ said Eboo Patel, a Muslim who heads the Interfaith Youth Core, a Chicago-based organization that works with colleges and government officials to build interreligious relationships.

At New York University late last week, hundreds of people sat shoulder-to-shoulder on a grand staircase of a student center to express solidarity after the word ‘‘Trump!’’ was scrawled on the door of a Muslim prayer space at the school.

Students spoke of friends who wore headscarves or other traditional clothing and were afraid to take public transportation home for fear of being harassed.

Sana Mayat, a 21-year-old senior who wears the hijab, said the election made her realize ‘‘there was a large part of this country that didn’t want me here.’’

‘‘There is an intense state of anxiety about the future,’’ said Rami Nashashibi, a parent of three and executive director of Chicago’s Inner-City Muslim Action Network. ‘‘I grappled with the conversation I had to have with my children.’’

The outcome was especially bitter after an unprecedented voter registration drive by American Muslims, including get-out-the-vote sermons at mosques and the creation of a political action committee, Emerge USA, to mobilize Arabs and Muslims.

Enas Almadhwahi, a 28-year-old Yemeni immigrant who has been in the US since 2008, became a citizen this year and voted for the first time.

To mark the occasion, she brought her 7-year-old daughter, along with some coworkers. The next day, when she told her daughter Trump had won, the girl cried.

Trump’s administration could radically reshape the Justice Department, which has been an ally under President Obama in protecting Muslim civil rights. Trump could also repeal a key Obama program that prevents the deportation of some immigrants, including Muslims, living in the country illegally.

Religious conservatives have been heartened by the election of Trump.

Kelly Shackelford, head of First Liberty Institute, a legal group that specializes in religious freedom cases, said the environment for his cause will be transformed from ‘‘brutal’’ under the Obama administration to friendly given GOP control of both Congress and the White House.

His clients include two Christian bakers in Oregon who were fined for refusing to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding.

David Crary

October 26, 2016

In Louisiana an Immigrant May Not Get Married [Gay or Straight]

 Humans without human Rights! Louisiana


When Victor Anh Vo went with his fiancée to obtain a marriage license, he instead received a nasty shock: The couple was legally barred from getting married. Both Vo and his fiancée are American citizens of legal age—but Vo was born in a refugee camp and has no official birth certificate. As a parish clerk informed the devastated couple, that disqualifies him from obtaining a license, because Louisiana law forbids anyone without a birth certificate from marrying within the state.

This requirement is no ancient rule. It was enacted just last year during a fit of legislative xenophobia driven by paranoia that immigrants were committing marriage fraud in Louisiana. Now a coalition of attorneys from the National Immigration Law Center, the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice, and the law firm Skadden, Arps is challenging the measure in court. Their fight to overturn the law is the first big marriage equality battle post-Obergefell, and it poses a nearly identical question: Can states deny individuals their fundamental right to marry because they don’t think certain people deserve to get married?

On the surface, the Lousiana law, dubbed Act 436, might not appear especially insidious. The bill simply adds documentary requirements to the marriage licensing process. Applicants must now provide a Social Security number and a birth certificate before receiving a license. If they don’t have a Social Security number, then they must present a birth certificate and a passport. If they don’t have a passport, they need official documentation showing that they are in the United States legally—in addition to a birth certificate. (A previous statute allowed an individual with no birth certificate to prove his or her identity before a judge, but that judicial bypass procedure is now gone.) The upshot of these requirements is that someone like Vo, who was born in a refugee camp in Indonesia after his parents fled Vietnam, cannot ever get married in Louisiana.

Why did the Louisiana legislature add these extensive new requirements, which then–Gov. Bobby Jindal happily signed into law? Rep. Valarie Hodges, Act 436’s sponsor, initially asserted that the bill was necessary to “combat marriage fraud” broadly. But after the bill passed, Hodges acknowledged that its true purpose was to combat immigration fraud, stating that her measure was necessary to prevent immigrants from marrying citizens solely to get lawful permanent resident status. Immigrant marriage fraud, however, is not known to be a particular problem in Louisiana—and federal law explicitly grants the federal government, not the states, the power to combat it.

I asked Alvaro Huerta, an attorney at the National Immigration Law Center, what he thought the bill’s true purpose was.

“Act 436’s intention isn’t really combatting marriage fraud writ large,” Huerta told me. “The bill is trying to get at immigrants—and, in particular, making it very difficult for undocumented immigrants to obtain marriage licenses.”

Audrey Stewart, the managing director at the New Orleans Center for Racial Justice, agreed. “This law is not about marriage fraud,” she told me. “It is an attack on immigrant families and communities. And it’s rooted in anti-immigrant sentiment.”

But Act 436’s challengers don’t even need to prove the bill’s insidious intent in court: It is, by its own terms, almost certainly unconstitutional under Obergefell. In that decision, the court reiterated that marriage is a fundamental right, a critical component of the “liberty” protected by the Constitution, and held that states may not deny marriage rights based on some arbitrary distinction. Nationality or immigration status is surely as arbitrary a distinction as gender—so a law that restricts marriage rights on those bases is just as invalid as a law that restricts marriage rights on the basis of sexual orientation. That’s why the suit against Act 436 opens with the stirring peroration from Obergefell, an encomium to marriage proclaiming that all loving couples deserve “equal dignity in the eyes of the law.”

“Obergefell didn’t explicitly extend to immigration,” Huerta told me, “but the argument is there. It’s spot-on precedent for this case. Louisiana can’t pass laws that infringe on that right to marry unless they have a very compelling state reason. And we can’t think of any compelling reasons for wanting to keep some people, particularly immigrants, from getting married to the people that they love—or preventing the people who love immigrants from marrying them”
Without the certificate, how can we be sure they were actually born?

Huerta noted that even if the suit doesn’t prevail under Obergefell, Act 436 is still a straightforward violation of the Equal Protection Clause (which generally prohibits discrimination on the basis of national origin). But Obergefell is the headlining precedent here, and the all-stars of the marriage equality movement have already lined up to support the suit. Indeed, the National Center for Lesbian Rights has already signaled its eagerness to contribute to the litigation in any way it can. I asked the group’s legal director, Shannon Price Minter, why the group was jumping into this battle. He provided me with the remarks he delivered to the National Immigration Law Center in throwing his organization’s support behind the suit:

Speaking on behalf of the LGBT community, whose fundamental freedom to marry was only recently recognized in this country, just last year by the U.S. Supreme Court, we are appalled by Louisiana’s blatant attempt to deny the fundamental right to marry to immigrants, which of course includes many LGBT people who have come to this country from other places and who are now living in Louisiana.
As LGBT people know from recent experience, the purpose and impact of such laws are so invidious and harmful—and especially so here, when the discrimination is targeted at a class of people, immigrants, who have already experienced so much discrimination and abuse and who are under attack in such a vicious way by one of our presidential candidates.

Laws such as these are intended to—and do—send a clear message that immigrants are not entitled to equal dignity and respect, and that their relationships are not worthy of the same protections as other. They have a devastating practical impact as well, as same-sex couples experienced for so many years, in denying couples the ability to protect their relationships and their families.

The connection Minter draws between this litigation and same-sex marriage is potent and depressingly topical. This election season has featured relatively little conversation about gay people’s rights—and extensive debate about the rights of immigrants. Much like George W. Bush campaigned on homophobia in 2004, Donald Trump has rooted his campaign in vicious xenophobia, promoting legalized discrimination against immigrants and making many feel unwelcome in the United States. For LGBTQ advocates, the parallels to their own recent history are impossible to ignore. And Louisiana will soon discover that after Obergefell, the constitutional guarantee of “equal dignity” for all cannot be so easily abridged.

Mark Joseph Stern is a writer for Slate. He covers the law and LGBTQ issues

September 27, 2016

The "Immigrant Jungle” in Calais Will Be Closed

President Francois Hollande said Monday that France will shut down "The Jungle" migrant camp in Calais.

Image: An aerial view shows "The Jungle" in Calais, France
Makeshift shelters, tents and containers where migrants live in what is known as "The Jungle" in Calais, France, on Sept. 7. CHARLES PLATIAU / Reuters
"The situation is unacceptable and everyone here knows it," Hollande said on a visit to the northern port city where as many as 10,000 migrants from war-torn countries such as Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan live in squalor.

"We must dismantle the camp completely and definitively," he added.

France plans to relocate the migrants in small groups around the country but right-wing opponents of the Socialist leader are raising the heat ahead of the election in April, accusing him of mismanaging a problem. 

August 26, 2016

Trump Reverses Course on Immigration but Finds No Takers on New Pitch

Trump having been made aware by his new advisors there is one thing the American electorate will not do and that is to elect someone they think is a bigot. This is a label that the Donald was wearing very well but he decided to apply the brakes at full force and go in reverse trying to find the part in which he got lost in his own mind. The only problem is that as he goes back he is going to find out it was the beginning of his campaign for the GOP nomination and that is what made him popular with the white uneducated racist vote and a win with 14 million votes.

He turned millions of people who felt unhappy for various reasons but had one thing in common and that was being pissed off at the government. They were blaming their lack of jobs, lack of raises, lack of keeping a job at immigrants,  particularly at the undocumented immigrants. They hated the government because they saw it as too liberal with domestic issues like backing gay rights and Transexual civil rights for Transexuals using the bathroom of their accepted gender. Also for not winning the war in Iraq, Libya and all the places were the US is involved in a minor or major way  and probably for a tornado or two.

They were mad even though the numbers showed the world economic down turn was barely affecting Americans. Low unemployment rates and with major industries like car sales and even a return of certain industries which had gone abroad for cheaper wages found out that customers don’t like to talk with people that have heavy accents or cannot mastered their english real well. 

Telecommunication like Verizon, TWC, Apple started coming back and hiring Americans and training for positions which do not require a college degree. Despite of all these there was like Ex-President Carter would say a certain “malaise” in certain parts of the electorate. Trump swept with them promising all the things short of a revolution they thought they would never get. America with the biggest best equipped and best trained military in the world with expenditures way more than any country in the world  was not good enough. Trump said we don’t even have a military and they agreed, we have to make America great again! Doing what? Getting the immigrates out and all will be better, America would be great again. But for Trump to start back pedaling on the centre of his making American great again is making his supporters head to shake and their mouth to drop wide open. Would they take what ever this rich man dishes out to them because he is so, so Trump???


Donald J. Trump, who captured the Republican nomination with a hard-line approach to immigration, faced anger and disgust from across the political spectrum on Thursday after he indicated he might retreat from his vow to deport all 11 million immigrants who are in the United States illegally.

In a town hall-style appearance broadcast on Fox News on Wednesday night, Mr. Trump appeared to suggest that he would now be open to some kind of path to legal status, if not citizenship, for undocumented immigrants.

“No citizenship,” Mr. Trump said. “They’ll pay back taxes. They have to pay taxes,” he added. “There’s no amnesty, but we will work with them,” he said at another point.

Mr. Trump said that while his supporters wanted to “get the bad ones out,” he also had heard from voters who took a less absolutist view. “They’ve said, ‘Mr. Trump, I love you, but to take a person that has been here for 15 or 20 years and throw them and the family out, it’s so tough, Mr. Trump,’” he said.

Several times, Mr. Trump turned to the audience in what he told his host, Sean Hannity, was “like a poll.”

“Number one, we’ll say throw out. Number two, we work with them,” Mr. Trump said.

Liberals who support an overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws expressed horror at the spectacle.

“It’s not a small issue. It’s 11 million people,” said Angie Kelley, executive director of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. “He’s reducing a serious policy discussion to a pep-rally vote and cheering the loudest for your team. It’s insulting. It’s dangerous. It’s unprecedented.” 

But for conservatives who have vocally opposed comprehensive immigration reform, and who had admired Mr. Trump’s calls for a border wall and mass deportations, Mr. Trump’s words sounded dismayingly similar to those of former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida, whom Mr. Trump drove from the Republican primaries in large part by deriding him as weak on immigration.

In an interview with Rita Cosby of WABC radio, Mr. Bush called Mr. Trump’s shifting speech “abhorrent.”
“I don’t know what to believe about a guy who doesn’t believe in things,” Mr. Bush said.

Mr. Trump’s shifting locutions also prompted some conservatives to compare Mr. Trump to Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, a member of the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” in the Senate who led a failed attempt at immigration reform in 2013.

“For me, the two phrases that were the last straws were, ‘It’s not amnesty,’ and ‘back taxes,’” said Mark Krikorian, of the conservative Center for Immigration Studies. “Those things are terms of art for the Gang of Eight-type crowd.”

“Betraying his base and making clear that, a year after he launched his campaign, he still doesn’t know really what he wants to do on immigration, is really the last straw, it seems to me,” Mr. Krikorian added of Mr. Trump.

For Mr. Trump, the new, moderate talk on immigration could help convince some on-the-fence voters, particularly whites, that he has more compassion for Hispanics and other minorities than his previous, hard-line positions would suggest.

But whatever the possible gains, Mr. Trump risks offending millions of conservatives. A first-time candidate, he made himself a hero of the Republican right wing in large part by casting himself as more hard-core on the immigration issue than any of his rivals. He vowed to build a wall, called immigrants “rapists,” promised to establish a “deportation force” and said every immigrant in the country illegally would be forced out.

That fired up a part of the Republican base that had been frustrated with the party leadership in Washington, whom they saw as too willing to compromise and negotiate with President Obama and Capitol Hill Democrats.

Mr. Trump’s most devoted supporters have ignored his many other inconsistencies. But if they perceive Mr. Trump to be backing away from what drew them to him in the first place, they could stay home.

Ann Coulter, the conservative author — who is promoting a new book titled “In Trump We Trust” — seemed almost apoplectic Wednesday night during Mr. Hannity’s broadcast with Mr. Trump.

In her book, Ms. Coulter writes that the only unforgivable sin Mr. Trump could commit would be to shift on immigration.
Watching as Mr. Trump appeared to do just that, Ms. Coulter erupted in a series of Twitter messages. “It’s not ‘amnesty.’ It’s ‘comprehensive immigration reform’!!!! Trump: ‘they have to pay taxes, there’s no amnesty,’” she wrote in one post.

(On his daily radio show, the conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh choked over his laughter at Ms. Coulter’s expense, noting the timing of what he called Mr. Trump’s “near flip-flop” on immigration. “Poor Ann!” he said. Ms. Coulter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.)

As aghast conservatives publicly warned Mr. Trump against any policy retreat — “Once you become an immigration enforcement hard-liner, there’s no going back!” the hard-line activist William Gheen told The Washington Times — Mr. Trump’s aides insisted that his policy proposals remained unchanged.

A spokeswoman, Katrina Pierson, said on CNN that Mr. Trump was merely changing the “words” he was using, not the proposals themselves.

Democrats and immigration-overhaul advocates made the same point.

“Details matter, and we have seen no actual policy shift to date,” said Todd Schulte, the president of, the immigration-reform group backed by the Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

Mr. Trump has frequently dangled vague phrases suggestive of policy shifts, only to accuse the news media of having wrongly interpreted them.

Still, Mr. Trump has been softening his language on immigration for several days, as he courts an electorate far less receptive to his harsher proposals, like for a wall along the Mexican border, than he faced in the primaries.

A new poll by the Pew Research Center, conducted from Aug. 9 through 16, found that while 91 percent of strong Trump supporters advocate building the wall, 61 percent of Americans are against it.

Mr. Trump has said he will give a speech on immigration next week in Arizona — an address originally set for this week, but that was delayed as he grappled with precisely what he would say.

Mr. Trump’s latest remarks would also appear to align him more closely to the policies pursued by Mr. Obama and endorsed by the Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton.

His suggestion that he would deport only “the bad ones” while letting law-abiding, but undocumented, immigrants stay in the United States is quite similar to the approach announced by Mr. Obama in November of 2014, when he directed the Department of Homeland Security to prioritize its immigration enforcement on violent criminals and people who have repeatedly violated immigration laws by crossing the border multiple times.

In a Fox News interview Monday night, Mr. Trump praised Mr. Obama for having aggressively deported immigrants in the United States illegally during his tenure in office, a reality that has long angered immigrants and Latino activists. “Lots of people were brought out of the country with the existing laws.,” Mr. Trump said. “Well, I’m going to do the same thing.”

It is unclear what Mr. Trump meant by that. Many of the deportations during Mr. Obama’s tenure were conducted under a program that often abruptly separated longtime undocumented residents from spouses or children who are American citizens. In 2014, Mr. Obama pledged to shift away from that approach to focus more on criminals.

But Mr. Trump has not said that he has reversed his opposition to Mr. Obama’s programs that aim to keep families together by allowing some immigrants to remain in the United States and work legally.

The statement about payment of “back taxes” in Mr. Hannity’s Wednesday night broadcast is very similar to the president’s “deferred action” proposals, which would have required millions of immigrants in the country illegally to pay taxes, among other things, in exchange for legal protections.

At the White House, officials who have spent years trying to find ways to overhaul the nation’s immigration system declined to be drawn into an examination of Mr. Trump’s latest comments.

Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, said Thursday that the challenge for American voters as they consider the immigration positions of the two presidential candidates “is to listen carefully to the promises, agenda and priorities, as articulated by the two candidates.”

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