Officials with the Trump administration have been quietly meeting for several months, according to an article in Politico, planning additional crackdowns on immigration prior to the mid-term elections.
While the details are still being worked out, proposals include tightening rules on student visas and exchange programs; limiting visas for temporary agricultural workers; creating obstacles making it harder for legal immigrants to obtain residency; and collecting biometric data from visitors from suspect countries.
The H-2A program for agricultural workers is uncapped, meaning there’s no annual limit on visas. Limiting the number of visas flies in the face of immigration bills proposed by Congressional Republicans, which typically try to make it easier for farmers to bring in guest workers.
Putting a cap on the agricultural workers’ program would seemingly break a promise President Trump made during an April rally in Detroit. “For the farmers, OK, it’s going to get good,” he said. “We’re going to let your guest workers come in.”
A 2017 California Farm Bureau Federation survey reported that more than half of farmers experienced labor shortages last summer. The guest worker issue has split the Republican party and become a major stumbling block in efforts to reach a deal on an immigration bill. Farm groups were reportedly hoping executive actions by the Trump administration would ease the barriers to bringing in laborers by streamlining the program.
The Politico story also says DHS is working on a new rule to be used as an end run around the 1997 court settlement limiting the time migrant children can be kept in government custody.
Leading the effort to double-down on immigration restrictions is Stephen Miller’s White House’s Domestic Policy Council. The avowed hardliner recent gave an interview to a right-wing publication calling for additional scrutiny of H1-B visas, which allow U.S. employers to hire foreign workers for certain specialized jobs.
Here’s the money quote from Politico:
Senior policy adviser Stephen Miller and a team of officials from the departments of Justice, Labor, Homeland Security and the Office of Management and Budget have been quietly meeting for months to find ways to use executive authority and under-the-radar rule changes to strengthen hard-line U.S. immigration policies, according to interviews with half a dozen current and former administration officials and Republicans close to the White House.
The goal for Miller and his team is to arm Trump with enough data and statistics by early September to show voters that he fulfilled his immigration promises — even without a border wall or any other congressional measure, said one Republican close to the White House.
The bottom line in all this maneuvering is the assumption that Congress will not pass any meaningful legislation this year. By ratcheting up enforcement, starting with making DACA recipients susceptible to deportation, creating barriers to families seeking asylum, and tamping down on work visas, the administration is betting on its base being energized for the fall elections.
Local, National Actions (As of Noon, Tuesday)
Friday, June 22 – Keep Families Together Nurse-In, 3-4:30pm, Edward J Schwartz Federal Courthouse. We condemn the brutal separation of a mother from her 4-month-old infant as she nursed. We stand in solidarity with migrant parents who have risked everything to flee violence and give their children the hope of a brighter future.
Saturday, June 23 – Families Belong Together March San Diego, 10am, Civic Center (200 C Street, Downtown) Families Belong Together opposes the cruel, inhumane and unjustified separation of children from their parents along the U.S. border with Mexico and at other ports of entry into the U.S. We protest the conditions in which these children are kept. We protest the irreversible trauma that has already been perpetrated on these children and their parents for the crime of seeking a better life.
Saturday, June 23, 10am Families Belong Together Rally North County at Westfield North County Mall, 272 E Via Rancho Parkway, Escondido 92025 (intersection Westfield Way).
National Action: June 30. A nationwide response in Washington DC and other cities. Details coming soon. Sponsoring organizations (list in formation) include:
ACLU, Advancement Project, AFT, Avaaz, Center for Community Change, Credo, Daily Kos, DC Immigration Hub, Gamliel, Greenpeace, Indivisible, LGBTQ Task Force, Moms Demand Action, MomsRising, MoveOn, NARAL, National Nurses United, NCJW, NDWA, NEA, NextGen, Pantsuit Nation, People’s Action, Planned Parenthood, Progressive Change Campaign Committee, SEIU, Sierra Club, Sojourners, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Unitarian Universalists, United We Dream, Voto Latino, Women’s March, YWCA, MarchOn, SwingLeft.
The San Diego response is tentatively scheduled for Waterfront Park (County Administration Building) at 11am on Saturday, June 30.
In other immigration-related developments:
- A coalition of groups led by MoveOn are calling for protests in Washington DC and around the country on June 30. Backers include:
- A group of 75 bipartisan former U.S. Attorneys are calling on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to end the family separation policy at the border.
- Editorial boards across the country slamming Trump for separating children from their families:
SDUT-The president can find other, much less cruel ways to live up to his 2016 campaign promises on immigration enforcement.
NYT: “When Did Caging Kids Become the Art of the Deal?”
WSJ: “The GOP’s Immigration Meltdown”
WaPo: “Trump admin created this awful policy. It doesn’t need Congress to fix it.”
Newsday: “Stop cruel separation of families at the border.”
KS City Star: “Stop Separating Migrant Families”
Chicago Sun-Times: “Our Bible’s not big on separating families”
Natl Catholic Reporter: “Immoral, ineffective policy”
USA Today: “Stop traumatizing kids”
- House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senator Kamala Harris were in the forefront of a growing number of elected Democrats calling on DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to step down over the family separation controversy.
- Every single Senate Democrat has now signed on to a bill introduced by Senator Dianne Feinstein to bar the Trump administration from splitting up families at the border. Zero Republicans have signed on.
- Two governors—New York Democrat Andrew Cuomo and Massachusetts Republican Charlie Baker—announced on Monday that they would refuse to deploy National Guard troops to the border due to the Trump administration’s “inhumane” treatment of immigrant families.
- More than 600 United Methodist clergy and laity are bringing church law charges against Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
- For two days, residents in Portland. Oregon have surrounded the local ICE detention center with a 24 hr encampment. Last night ICE agents complained those blocking their trucks were “keeping them apart from their families.”#SurroundICE#OccupyICEPDX
The use of the word “infest” here is calculated. https://t.co/Em7jnukOxV
— Susan Hennessey (@Susan_Hennessey) June 19, 2018
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