The uproar over the Trump administration’s immigration policies continues unabated.
Over the weekend there were protests in big cities and small towns across the 50 states. (See San Diego coverage here.) Sister demonstrations took place in London, Munich, Paris, Hamburg, Tokyo, and others cities around the globe.
Starting today, San Diego and nearby points will be the focus of more protests and non-violent civil disobedience in response to the ramping up of the Justice Department’s Operation Streamline, which applies a one-size-fits-all approach in assembly-line court proceedings for migrants.
Busses and caravan with labor and faith activists came to San Diego from Orange County, Los Angeles and Pheonix to a start-up rally in Chicano Park.
(I’ll insert more updates as the day goes on)
U.S. Attorney Adam Braverman has insisted on bringing Operation Streamline into San Diego federal court to expedite the attorney general’s enforcement agenda. This manifestation of a ‘zero-tolerance’ policy has been tried in various forms for over a decade and hasn’t worked–except for the private prisons the government’s contracted to hold detainees awaiting “trial” on for one of the lowest crimes in the U.S. criminal code.
Defense attorneys in San Diego, as has happened elsewhere, will have virtually no opportunity to consult with their clients, depriving them of meaningful representation.
And that’s not the only injustice perpetrated by Streamline, as James Stiven, a retired U.S. magistrate judge for the Southern District of California put it in an op-ed for the Union-Tribune:
Operation Streamline will also be an expensive addition to an already-extensive and backlogged immigration system that deepens private corporations’ reach into taxpayer pockets. In its initial years, the program cost the U.S. government $5.1 billion to detain up to 23,000 immigrants being prosecuted federally. Americans handed over more than $1 billion in 2011 to private prison corporations to hold people in jail, many of whom who didn’t need to be there.
Moreover, Streamline denies due process to asylum-seekers by virtually eliminating their fair day in court. Perhaps most cruelly, many of these cases will involve parents who experienced the nightmare of having their children ripped from their arms without explanation and taken to faraway places without information about their whereabouts, and who still face many unknowns about their children’s futures, who then have to make a decision about whether to plead guilty in a group hearing.
This assembly-line mass criminalization of migrants throws the book at people protecting themselves and their children from violence and persecution in their home countries. Do we really want a justice system that treats people not as individuals with families, jobs, and dreams, but as a just another input in a legal assembly line?
The size and scope of the administration’s unjust immigration policies have apparently been larger than previously acknowledged.
In smaller ports of entry, human rights activists are saying the US Customs and Border Protection Agency has quietly resumed late-night deportation of Mexican citizens, despite a 2016 agreement with the Mexican government halting the practice.
At some ports of entry, Mexican officials would have personnel on hand to help process deportees 24 hours a day. But in smaller ports of entry where Mexican officials work normal daytime hours, US authorities would simply drop the deportees off.
It’s a terrifying process for most deportees, who arrive at these ports of entry disoriented, tired, and scared. In many cases, they have no idea what town they are in, speak little to no Spanish and have few if any ties to the local community.
The practice was a boon to drug cartels, local drug gangs, and pimps, which targeted the deportees for kidnappings and being forced into prostitution, particularly in border towns that cater to US tourists.
Today’s Los Angeles Times, citing numerous court filings, reports CPB’s practice of separating families appears to have begun accelerating in 2017, long before zero tolerance was announced.
In several of those cases, parents said in sworn declarations they had documents showing their relationship to their children and were never told that officials believed they were a danger to their children.
In one case, a man from Kyrgyzstan who sought asylum in October at the port of entry in San Ysidro, Calif., with his 13-year-old son was told a few days later that they would be separated.
“All I can remember is how much my son and I were both crying as they took him away,” the man wrote in a sworn declaration. “I do not recall anyone questioning whether I am really his biological father or whether I was a danger or abusive to him in any way. I even had my son’s birth certificate proving I am his father.”
Bad news (?) from the courts on immigration…
An earlier court ruling extending DACA protections is likely to be overturned this month.
Even as Republicans struggle to pass a modest package on immigrant families, they could face pressure to go broader. A conservative-leaning federal court in Texas is expected to rule on the constitutionality of the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program as early as mid-July, pushing the issue to the fore again.
The case, brought by Texas and several other Republican-dominated southern states, could contradict a previous court’s decision that halted Trump’s move to end DACA. The result could be that Dreamers again face the risk of deportation unless the Supreme Court — or Congress — weighs in.
The Trump administration has responded to San Diego-based US District Court Judge Dana Sabraw’s order to reunite families by proposing to eliminate the Flores ruling, limiting the detention of children to 20 days in state-licensed daycare centers. If the motion is upheld it would allow the government to detain them together through the course of immigration proceedings.
“The Trump Administration has been engaged — since January of 2017–in restoring order to the lawlessness at the southwest border and protecting our nation’s citizens, but we are beholden to a broken immigration system that Congress has refused to fix and that courts have exacerbated,” a Justice Department spokesman said in a statement. “While Congress has recessed for the 4th of July holiday, we continue to urge them to act decisively in order to solve the crisis at our border and end ‘catch and release.’”
The Justice Department’s position gives supremacy to the injunction Sabraw issued Tuesday, while the decades-old Flores agreement oriented toward release of children has been interpreted by not only Gee but the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to require release of accompanied and unaccompanied minors within 20 days.
If you somehow thought the administration was focusing on “illegal” immigrants, think again.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services is also busy tamping down on those who try to “play by the rules” (a popular right-wing thought).
According to NBCNews, applications for citizenship are moving at a snail’s pace.
There were nearly 730,000 pending naturalization applications as of the end of last year, a more than 87 percent increase since 2015 under President Barack Obama, according to the report from the National Partnership for New Americans, an alliance of immigrants’ rights groups.
“The Trump admin has built a second wall that prevents legal immigrants in the U.S. from becoming voting U.S. citizens,” Joshua Hoyt, executive director of the partnership, told NBC News…
And if the slowdown wasn’t bad enough news, the agency is now dedicating resources to investigating those who have already been sworn in as citizens.
Hoyt said his advocacy group has been tracking the backlog of citizenship applications for years and had never seen numbers like this.
He noted that while the backlog is ongoing, USCIS has launched an office focusing on identifying Americans suspected to have used fraudulent means to get their citizenship — and then strip them of it.
Would anybody care to venture a guess as to the skin color of those being investigated?
Operators are standing by to take your calls. One of the theatrical elements used by the President in rolling out inhumane immigration policies was the creation of a call-in center for ordinary citizens to report crime by undocumented aliens.
Like so many of the administration’s schemes, putting this idea into practice hasn’t worked out as intended. Fifteen months after getting underway, the ICE entity has released its first ‘quarterly report,’ covering April thru September 2017.
Dozens of callers reported space aliens, some going into the details of what dates they were abducted by UFOs — all dutifully logged by the operators. Hundreds called to denounce ex-spouses, neighbors, and business rivals whom they suspected of being in the country illegally.
A much smaller number called to request information about the immigration status or the custody status of alleged criminals who are undocumented immigrants — the original purpose of the toll-free hotline.
This is the picture that emerges of the Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement office, known as VOICE, that President Donald Trump created within the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency soon after taking office. According to its own data and to call logs released to several news organizations through Freedom of Information Act requests, the high demand that the Trump administration anticipated for additional resources for victims of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants hasn’t materialized. Nor has the office recorded any evidence of the widespread “victimization by criminal aliens” as Trump’s executive order mandates, one of his favorite themes as he presses his anti-immigration agenda.
Today’s news for the factually challenged:
— Share the Facts (@sharethefact) July 2, 2018
Republicans: “We need to get the border under control!!!”
People who actually read the news and look at data: “WE ALREADY DID.” pic.twitter.com/0xEyrgbpIw
— Noah Smith (@Noahpinion) July 1, 2018
Dammit! YouTube conspiracist Alex Jones forgot to let me know to include the overthrow of the government in this week’s activist calendar.
So Alex Jones says the liberals are starting a Civil War on July 4th? You guys are supposed to tell me about this crap, now I am totally unprepared!
Is there a dress code? Do I need a horse?
Damnit, all I bought was BBQ supplies. Seriously, why didn’t anybody tell me? pic.twitter.com/apTDQF56zd
— Wise PaxCat (@WisePaxCat) July 2, 2018
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