Immigration News

Bonus Item

IndivisibleHoCo’s Immigration Action Team asked candidates for MD governor, MD attorney general, Howard County executive, and U.S. Congress questions about immigration policies. Here’s what they said.

Many Americans are not aware that the U.S. immigration court system is not the proverbial third branch of government unlike, for example, federal district and appeals courts. Immigration courts fall under the Department of Justice and so their ultimate administrator is Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The many ways Sessions has used his power to enforce an anti-immigrant agenda points up the need for an independent court system to give a fair hearing to  immigrants’ applications for asylum in the USA.

In this Opinion piece, Ben Johnson, executive director of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, writes: “Just as it would be unacceptable for a district attorney to supervise trial judges, it should be unacceptable for the Attorney General to control the jurisprudence, docket management, and even the terms of employment of immigration judges.”

The Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General has found gross violations of health and safety standards at a privately contracted immigration jail in Adelanto, California. The report details, among other violations, poor dental care, neglect of inmates in wheelchairs, and bed sheet nooses hanging in cells.

The facility is run by Geo Group, a major Trump campaign donor and a contractor that operates 71 prisons for the federal government. Geo Group declined to comment on the report.

The Trump administration has proposed changes in the Flores Agreement, a 1997 settlement of several law suits that established rules for how the U.S. government may treat immigrant children in its custody. This comprehensive article explains how the proposed changes would allow indefinite detention of families, change standards of care, and make it more difficult to release children.  (Under Flores, children may be held may not be detained more than 20 days.)

The deadline for public comments on these proposed regulations is November 6, 2018.

A U.S. District Court judge in San Francisco has granted a preliminary injunction against the Trump administration’s plan to phase out Temporary Protected Status for immigrants from four countries – Sudan, Nicaragua, Haiti and El Salvador. This status is granted to citizens of countries ravaged by natural disasters or war; it lets TPS immigrants remain in the U.S. until the situation improves back home. About 300,000 people have received those protections.

In his ruling Judge Edward Chen said the government failed to show the harm of continuing the 20-year-old program and that uprooting these immigrants could hurt the local and national economy. The law suit had cited Trump’s vulgar comment about African countries in arguing that the administration’s decisions on TPS were driven by a racial animus and Chen agreed with that argument.

This is an excellent, three-minute video that delineates the racist roots of U.S. immigration laws.

This week the Democratic Governors Association released 1,400-plus pages on Maryland Governor Larry Hogan’s record. A compilation of quotes by the governor and press reports on his actions, the opposition research report offers a deep dive into Hogan’s personal, professional, and political life. It includes information about Hogan’s positions on social and economic issues, as well as details about his personal likes and dislikes and his real-estate business, which has earned him $2.4 million in the years he’s been governor.  

Maryland’s governor recently made a show of not sending Maryland National Guard troops to the Mexican border as Trump had asked. In fact, much of Governor Hogan’s high approval rating at this point in the campaign rests upon his not being Trump.

This thorough article, however, makes clear that as the president of the immigrant-advocacy group CASA in Action says, Hogan has been “extremely quiet in moments when we needed real leadership, and other times he has attacked immigrants using the same talking points about criminals and danger the president relies on.” Among Hogan’s stances on immigration issues:

He opposed Maryland’s policy of allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses.

He instructed the state-run Baltimore City Detention Center to provide ICE agents with 48 hours’ notice before an undocumented immigrant targeted for deportation was set to be released, so that feds could assume custody and try to remove them from the country.

He told the federal government that more Syrian refugees would not be welcome in Maryland because of “safety and security” concerns.

He vowed to veto the Maryland Trust Act, which would have prevented state law enforcement agencies from disclosing nonpublic records to ICE, and barred state officials from asking crime victims or suspects about their immigration status.  Hogan called it an “outrageously irresponsible bill” that would “endanger” Maryland citizens. “We cannot allow Maryland to become a sanctuary state, “he added in a fundraising letter.

When two undocumented immigrants in Rockville, high school students, were accused of rape, Hogan echoed Trump Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s words in citing the case as a reason for voting against the Maryland Trust Act. (The charges were later dropped when police determined the sex was consensual. )

Hogan’s re-election web site makes no mention of immigration.

For more on Hogan’s comments about the Rockville “rape” case, check this link: