Trump's War on Immigrants: The Latest

[Content Note: Nativism; abuse.]

Donald Trump's war on immigrants — migrants, refugees, undocumented, documented, and naturalized citizens — continues to expand in scope with each passing day and is doing untold harm to countless immigrant families. Here is some of the latest news.

1. Brittny Mejia at the LA Times: Trump Administration Reunites Just Over Half of Migrant Children Under 5 with Parents; Says Others Are 'Ineligible'.
Federal officials said early Thursday they had reunited 57 of 103 young migrant children separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border largely as part of the Trump administration's "zero-tolerance" policy on suspected illegal crossings, but have not returned an additional 46 for reasons including deportation and criminal histories of some of the adults.

The government began its first major wave of reuniting migrant children with their parents on Tuesday, the deadline set by U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw for those children younger than 5. Sabraw ordered the reunifications after a class-action lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Of 103 children younger than 5 who were covered by the court case, 57 had been reunited as of 7 a.m., officials said. Forty-six were "acknowledged by the court to be ineligible for reunification or determined by HHS, DHS, and DOJ to be ineligible under court-approved criteria."

...Twenty-two of the 46 remaining children were declared ineligible for reunification due to safety concerns posed by the adults in their cases, including serious criminal histories and adults determined not to be a parent, according to HHS. An additional 24 children were declared not eligible due to various circumstances of the adults, including 12 who have been deported, nine who are in custody of the U.S. Marshals Service, two in the custody of state jails, and one whose location has been unknown for over a year.
So, just to be clear: The Trump Regime has missed the deadline set by a judge to reunite families and is making the excuse that many of the children are ineligible for reunification for reasons that are their parents' fault.

This is not right. None of this is right.

And of course there are plenty of people who are willing to buy this execrable excuse, because they are so primed from demonization of undocumented immigrants as criminals and so primed from demonization of anyone who has ever been imprisoned as monsters, that they can't imagine it could ever be right to return a child to a parent who has a "criminal history." But with some notable and clear exceptions, e.g. violence and abuse, children belong with their parents, even parents with a "criminal history."

The Trump Regime is counting on the fact that most people will focus exclusively on that garbage excuse for missing the court-ordered deadline to reunite families, and regard them as heroes for separating children from parents who are criminals, and not notice that the Trump Regime is responsible in more than half of the outstanding cases, because they have detained or deported or lost track of the parents.

And trust that it's way more than half, if we were able to scrutinize the Trump Regime's designation of "serious criminal history" and their reasons for rendering guardians "not parents," to assert ineligibility.

2. Claire Parker and Neena Satija at the Texas Tribune: Trump Officials Want to Give Migrant Families Two Options: Stay Detained Together or Agree to Separation. "'The authority to detain and to parole are critical to the government,' Scott Stewart, the head of the immigration litigation office at the U.S. Department of Justice, told [federal Judge Dana M. Sabraw] yesterday. He explained that as the government faces Sabraw's deadline of reuniting more than 2,000 children with their parents by July 26, officials may give remaining parents in immigration detention two choices: Agree to be detained with their children — and give up their children's rights under the 1997 Flores agreement to be released after 20 days — or release their child to the custody of the federal government. In other words: 'The family could stay detained' together for longer than 20 days, Stewart said, or 'the family would be separated, but with the parent's consent.' Just because immigrant families must be reunited doesn't mean that parents can 'bootstrap a right to release' from immigration detention, he continued."

There is no "consent" in this situation. That is coercion, and no one can give meaningful consent when they are being coerced. This is horrifying. And it is exactly what I feared would happen: The concern about separating families is now being exploited by the Trump Regime to propose family detentions, and, worse still, the family detentions are being positioned as a choice that parents have to make in order to not risk being permanently separated from their children.

This is grotesque. Utterly grotesque. And I cannot fathom how the vast majority of this nation remains ignorant and/or indifferent to it.

3. Sam Levin at the Guardian: California Malls Are Sharing License Plate Data with ICE-Linked Surveillance Firm. "The Electronic Frontier Foundation found that Irvine Company, a real estate developer that operates dozens of malls throughout California, has been conducting vehicle license plate reader surveillance for Vigilant Solutions, a firm that maintains databases and works with law enforcement. The automated license plate recognition technology allows cameras to capture images of plates and link them to GPS locations. ...Earlier this year, U.S. officials confirmed that ICE had developed a contract with Vigilant that would give immigration authorities access to the company's vast database during investigations, sparking privacy concerns and protests."

4. Ananya Bhattacharya at Quartz: America's Broken Immigration System Is Tearing Indian Families Apart. "An estimated 40,000 children of H-1B workers on the dependent H4 visa face the same uncertainty as Ponnada. Overall, those in jeopardy, including kids of skilled immigrants across different visa categories, could be between 250,000 and 350,000, Aman Kapoor, co-founder of advocacy group Immigration Voice, estimates. ...It doesn't help that the Donald Trump administration's overall stance on immigration is far from encouraging. Securing the H-1B, which allows immigrants to live and work in the U.S. for up to six years, is getting harder with burdensome paperwork and heightened scrutiny to prevent visa fraud and abuse. Spouses of people belong to this visa class, known as H4 visa-holders, may be robbed off the right to work. 'That the administration is seeking to rescind the H4 EAD rule suggests there is very little spirit of accommodation for the interests of immigrant professional families right now,' said Leon Rodriguez, a partner at Seyfarth Shaw, a law firm based in Washington DC."

5. Martin Patriquin at the Guardian: How Did Quebec's Nationalist Movement Become So White? "The sovereignty movement now seems less focused on achieving a country than on how immigration is purportedly reshaping the province for the worse." The news here is not the white supremacy, which has long been a part of this movement; the news is that it has become the central part of this movement.

Something to keep an eye on. It's very troubling to see organized white nationalism scapegoating immigrants of color on either side of the border. Right now, there is no broad, substantive cross-border alliance among nativist white supremacists under the banner of "nationalism," but that could change.

6. Tal Kopan at CNN: Trump Administration to Turn Away Far More Asylum Seekers at the Border Under New Guidance. "The Trump administration is implementing a new asylum policy at the border that will result in potentially thousands of asylum seekers being turned away before they can plead their case in court. The guidance, reviewed by CNN, also applies to refugee applicants — immigrants seeking similar protections in the U.S. who are still abroad. Under new guidance given Wednesday to the officers who interview asylum seekers at the U.S.'s borders and evaluate refugee applications, claims based on fear of gang and domestic violence will be immediately rejected. In addition, the guidance tells officers they should consider whether an immigrant crossed the border illegally and weigh that against their claim, potentially rejecting even legitimate fears of persecution if the immigrant crossed illegally."

Emphasis mine. As Jeff Sessions threatened.

Further, it's important to note, again, that border agents have reportedly been blocking asylum-seekers from entering at established points of legal entry for requesting refuge. So they are being forced to enter the country illegally.

In other words, the Trump Regime is essentially making it impossible to arrive at the U.S. border seeking refuge at all.

7. Finally, this item may not seem on its face directly related to Trump's war on immigrants, but this is how he is going to ensure that he's allowed to pursue his nativist agenda without checks, balance, or consequence.

Ephrat Livni at Quartz: Trump Just Made It Easier for Agency Heads to Pick Judges Who Agree with His Politics.
Donald Trump is busy changing the way the government works. On July 10, the commander-in-chief issued an executive order that eliminates the testing process for administrative law judges (ALJ) at federal agencies. Basically, the change will allow the administration to exert more influence over the process of hiring judges — and the subsequent decisions they'll issue.

The order explains that, previously, ALJ appointees underwent a competitive examination and competitive service selection procedures. "The role of ALJs, however, has increased over time and ALJ decisions have, with increasing frequency, become the final word of the agencies they serve," Trump says. Given "this expanding responsibility for important agency adjudications," the president has changed the process.

Now agency heads, who were appointed by Trump, will pick ALJs. That means department heads can install judges who agree with the president's policies and his limited regulation stance, and they will in turn make rulings on matters at the Social Security Administration, National Labor Relations Board, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Securities and Exchange Commission, among others.
Previous to Trump's executive order, ALJs were "the only merit-based judicial corps in the United States," and they had to pass rigorous testing to get their positions: "The Administrative Procedure Act of 1946 (APA) requires that federal ALJs be appointed based on scores achieved in a comprehensive testing procedure, including a four-hour written examination and an oral examination before a panel that includes an Office of Personnel Management representative, an American Bar Association representative, and a sitting federal ALJ."

But with the stroke of a pen, Trump turned all 2,000 ALJs into partisan tools that he can weaponize in defense of his vile bigotry.

Make noise. Make your calls. Make a plan. Please support immigrant families, in whatever way you can.

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