Immigration News

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:

Three Democratic representatives have introduced a bill to “abolish ICE” – Homeland Security’s Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Calculating a vote on the bill would help Republican candidates in the fall election, Republican House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy plans to bring the bill to a floor vote. But the Democratic co-sponsors – Mark Pocan, Pramila Jayapal, and Adriano Espaillat – say they will vote against their own bill. Their reasoning?

“We know Speaker Ryan is not serious about passing our ‘Establishing a Humane Immigration Enforcement System Act,’ so members of Congress, advocacy groups, and impacted communities will not engage in this political stunt. If Speaker Ryan puts our bill on the floor, we plan to vote no and will instead use the opportunity to force an urgently needed and long-overdue conversation on the House floor.”

The Trump administration announced Thursday it had reunited 57 children younger than 5 with their families as required by a court order. The order, given by federal judge Dana Sabraw in response to a suit by the ACLU, required the government to reunite undocumented parents with children younger than 5 by July 10 and to reunite all families with separated children by July 26.

The DHS says that 46 additional children younger than age 5 remain in U.S. custody because they were “ineligible for reunification or determined by HHS, DHS, and DOJ to be ineligible under court-approved criteria.” These include children whose parents were found to have serious criminal histories, children who arrived in the U.S. with adults who were determined not to be their parents, and children whose parents have already been deported.

This was a big week for court decisions on immigration. Trump administration arguments lost in three rulings by lower-level federal court judges. Perhaps the most significant of these was a decision in a suit brought by the ACLU that will bring an end to Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy of locking up every asylum-seeking migrant who crosses the U.S. border illegally. In a sense the judge simply ruled that ICE must obey its own rules.

Under a 2009 directive that remains in effect, ICE detained relatively few asylum seekers — in 2013, for instance, just 10 percent. In the five ICE offices that were targets of the suit, however, 96 percent of asylum seekers were detained in the first eight months of 2017. Under the 2009 directive only those judged a danger or a flight risk are to be detained. Absent those factors, the government’s own rule was — and remains — that “continued detention is not in the public interest.”

Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy for asylum seekers has resulted in many heart-breaking and truly absurd stories. One of the strangest is what happened when a one-year-old appeared before an embarrassed U.S. immigration judge in Phoenix.

His attorney, provided by the Florence Project, an Arizona-based nonprofit that offers free legal help to immigrants, told the judge that the boy’s father had brought him to the USA, but that they had been separated. He said the father, who was now in Honduras, was removed from the country under false pretenses because he’d been told he would be able to leave with his son. The end result in this case was a happy one as the boy was granted a voluntary departure order that would allow the government to fly him to Honduras so that he could be reunited with his family.

On Thursday Health Human Services Secretary Alex Azar held a press conference to say his department was making every effort to comply with a federal judge’s order to bring migrant families separated by the Border Patrol together again within 30 days. Later that day the Trump administration filed a request with the court to extend the deadline, saying it was unable to comply with the judge’s order. The government’s filing also revealed, astonishingly, that it does not know how many children ages 5 through 18 have been separated from their parents.

As surprising as it seems, the answer is no., the fact-checking website, responded to readers’ skeptical inquiries when news articles reported this to be the case.  In the USA, the Supreme Court has ruled that defendants in criminal cases are constitutionally entitled to be represented by a court-appointed attorney at no cost if they cannot afford to hire their own. This constitutional guarantee does not extend to civil cases or immigration courts. In this very thorough report, Snopes talked to lawyers who work on a pro bono basis and learned they have represented clients as young as two and three years old in immigration hearings.

John Mendez, a federal judge appointed by George W. Bush, has upheld several California laws restricting cooperation with federal authorities in immigration matters. Mendez’s ruling said the state of California has the authority to limit local police cooperation with ICE and to inspect immigration-detention facilities, but that California may not fine employers for allowing ICE agents on their premises without a warrant. “Refusing to help is not the same as impeding” is the way the judge summed up the case, in which the U.S. government had sued the state of California.

Trump clearly believes that his stance on immigration is a winning issue for him and Republicans come election time. But polls show that the harder Trump cracks down through his policies and the more extreme his rhetoric on immigration, the harder the pushback. A new Pew poll, for example, finds that, for the first time on record, more Americans want to see legal immigration levels increased rather than decreased.

This week a movement to “#AbolishICE” gained some traction among a few Democratic politicians, most prominently New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the 28-year-old Socialist who defeated senior Democratic House leader Joseph Crowley in a primary election. Columnist Karen Tumulty explains why this cri de coeur makes for a short-sighted strategy that is not likely to win votes nor to deal with fundamental issues of immigration policy.

Bonus Item

In the cacophonous digital world we live in, simply getting public attention can require some clever maneuvering. The IndivisibleHoCoMD immigration Action Team has figured out a way to reach thousands with a protest against Trump’s ”zero-tolerance” immigration policies. Each Friday afternoon, 4 to 7 pm, for the past three Fridays the group has strung banners across an I-95 overpass and let the motorists and truckers passing below know that there are some flag-waving Americans who won’t stand for separating children from parents.