Archive for the ‘Trump and illegal immigration’ category

Sessions Calls on Congress to End Abuse of Asylum Process

October 12, 2017

Sessions Calls on Congress to End Abuse of Asylum Process, Washington Free Beacon, October 12, 2017

Attorney General Jeff Sessions / Getty Images

“Individuals who wanted to enter illegally, and individuals who had hired smugglers, were aware of the fact that if they said the words ‘credible fear’ the odds are that they would be released and that they’d be allowed to continue into the United States.”

The result of the Obama administration guidance was a skyrocketing rate of credible fear exception applicants.

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday called for Congress to swiftly pass policy proposals from the Trump administration that would help rectify abuses of the asylum process.

Sessions addressed the Executive Office for Immigration Review, which oversees the administration of America’s immigration courts.

“The immigration laws that Congress has enacted are some of the most generous in the world,” Sessions said. “Indeed, we will soon reach the highest level of non-native born Americans in our history.”

However, a failure to properly enforce immigration laws has resulted in an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants currently living in the United States. One of the ways by which said aliens take advantage of the immigration system is through so-called “credible fear” claims for asylum seekers, Sessions said.

The Department of Homeland Security uses a process called “expedited removal” to remove certain immigrants without a full hearing or the laborious process used in more complicated immigration cases. Exceptions are made for illegal immigrants who claim to have a “credible fear” of persecution in his or her country of origin, who are allowed to avoid the expedited removal process and proceed to a full immigration court hearing.

“This is an important exception,” Sessions said. “We have a generous asylum policy that is meant to protect those who, through no fault of their own, cannot co-exist in their home country no matter where they go because of persecution based on fundamental things like their religion or nationality. Unfortunately, this system is currently subject to rampant abuse and fraud.”

Under the credible fear procedure, an asylum seeker has a preliminary interview, which may then make him eligible for a subsequent formal hearing to grant asylum. Historically, the ashylum seeker was detained while awaiting the hearing, unless the would-be asylee explicitly requested parole.

That changed in 2009, when the Obama administration issued new guidance that made the consideration for parole automatic. What that meant in practice is that asylum seekers were no longer detained, but were all-but-automatically released into the population after their interview—meaning they only sometimes showed up to their subsequent formal hearing.

“This is a pretty easy way into the United States,” explained Andrew Arthur, a former federal immigration judge and Resident Fellow in Law and Policy for the Center for Immigration Studies. “Individuals who wanted to enter illegally, and individuals who had hired smugglers, were aware of the fact that if they said the words ‘credible fear’ the odds are that they would be released and that they’d be allowed to continue into the United States.”

The result of the Obama administration guidance was a skyrocketing rate of credible fear exception applicants.

In 2009, the DHS reported doing around 5,000 credible fear reviews. By 2016, that number reached 94,000. In 2009, around 4,000 asylum seekers were placed in removal proceedings; in 2016, that number is more than 73,000. At the border, some 3,000 people sought credible fear exemptions in 2009; 2016 saw more than 69,000. In all, an illegal alien has an 88 percent chance of avoiding expedited removal by making a credible fear claim.

Even if asylum seekers do show up to court, litigating an asylum claim is relatively low cost, and every asylum case is required to have a full hearing.

“That’s why there’s a common, fatalistic refrain you’ll hear from immigration judges and immigration enforcement that ‘the case isn’t over until the alien wins,'” Sessions said.

The credible fear process also poses a threat to national security: Sessions noted that at least five Somali terrorists had taken advantage of the process to try to gain access to the United States.

“I think the expedited removal/credible fear process has been largely ignored up to this point,” Arthur said, “and I think that it poses a much more serious risk to the national security than even the legal immigration process does.”

Sessions called for Congress to pass President Donald Trump’s new bevy of immigration proposals, released earlier this week. Among those proposals are recommendations to tighten standards in the immigration system, increase the standard of proof in initial interviews, impose penalties for frivolous or fraudulent asylum applications, and tighten the standards for parole.

Trump also pushed for an expansion of the personnel and resources of the immigration court system, the overwhelming backlog in which Sessions has made a priority of reducing.

“The president’s proposals on asylum reform especially are crucial,” Arthur said. “There are many loopholes in the asylum system, and the president appropriately has noted that we need to elevate the threshold standard of proof in credible fear interviews.”

Sessions, for his part, was resolute in supporting the administration’s proposed changes.

“What we cannot do—what we must not do—is continue to let our generosity be abused,” he said. “We cannot capitulate to lawlessness and allow the very foundation of law upon which our country depends to be further undermined.”

FULL MEASURE: September 17, 2017 – The Wall

September 18, 2017

FULL MEASURE: September 17, 2017 – The Wall via YouTube, September 18, 2017

 

The blurb beneath the video states,

One of the first things President Trump did in office was to sign an executive order on January 25th to begin building the border wall. But a new wall between the U.S. and Mexico remains both myth and metaphor because to date there’s no funding to pay for it. We went down to the border between Texas and Mexico to hear how people there feel.

Report: Kelly Is Blocking Negative Amnesty Coverage From Trump

September 15, 2017

Report: Kelly Is Blocking Negative Amnesty Coverage From Trump, Daily CallerAlex Pfeiffer, September 15, 2017

WASHINGTON, DC – Trump and Kelly. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Axios’ Friday report noted: “Instead of being able to march into the Oval Office and hand Trump the latest Breitbart headline or printouts of tweets showing how badly his amnesty drive is playing with his fiercest nationalist supporters, aides opposing the decision would now have to go through the Kelly process, which would involve submitting an official, documented, request to meet with the president.”

White House staff secretary Rob Porter, who used to work for Trump critic Sen. Mike Lee, manages Trump’s news clips and briefing materials, according to the Axios report.

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President Donald Trump’s embrace of amnesty is in part due to White House chief of staff John Kelly blocking negative coverage from the president, according to a Friday report from Axios.

Trump has reversed his stance from the campaign trail and asked Congress last week to “legalize” the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) amnesty program that protects roughly 800,000 illegal immigrants. The reaction has been negative from conservative commentators and news outlets.

Trump has paid attention to outlets like Breitbart and The Daily Caller in office, which have been highlighting Trump’s flip-flop, two sources who speak with the president told The Daily Caller. However, a recent report from The New York Times said that Kelly has started to take TheDC and Breitbart stories out of Trump’s pile of media reports.

This is part of Kelly’s new regime in which there is more control over the flow of information to Trump. Axios’ Friday report noted: “Instead of being able to march into the Oval Office and hand Trump the latest Breitbart headline or printouts of tweets showing how badly his amnesty drive is playing with his fiercest nationalist supporters, aides opposing the decision would now have to go through the Kelly process, which would involve submitting an official, documented, request to meet with the president.”

White House staff secretary Rob Porter, who used to work for Trump critic Sen. Mike Lee, manages Trump’s news clips and briefing materials, according to the Axios report.

Homeland Security issues waivers to ramp up improved border fencing

September 12, 2017

Homeland Security issues waivers to ramp up improved border fencing, BreitbartUPI, September 12, 2017

(The district courts in the 9th Circus Circuit will be busy with this for a long time. — DM)

Sept. 12 (UPI) — The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced Tuesday it has issued waivers of environmental and historical preservation laws to speed construction of fencing between California and Mexico.

The waivers protect border barriers near Calexico, Calif., from federal regulations such as Endangered Species Act and the National Historic Preservation Act, the department said in a news release.

The department described it as “an area of high illegal entry” that is a “critical sector for border security.” In fiscal year 2016, the United States Border Patrol “apprehended more than 19,400 illegal aliens and seized approximately 2,899 pounds of marijuana and approximately 126 pounds of cocaine in the El Centro Sector,” according to Homeland Security.

This project is approximately a three-mile segment that starts at the Calexico West port of entry and extends westward, replacing approximately two miles of the existing primary pedestrian fence with a new “bollard wall,” the department said.

The Border Patrol plans to build 18-to-25-foot fencing that replaces the existing 14-foot fencing built in the 1990s, The Hill reported. The waiver also allows improvement of Border Patrol service roads.

DHS Acting Secretary Elaine Duke published the waiver in the Federal Register.

According to the notice, “The Secretary of Homeland Security has determined, pursuant to law, that it is necessary to waive certain laws, regulations and other legal requirements in order to ensure the expeditious construction of barriers and roads in the vicinity of the international land border of the United States near the city of Calexico in the state of California.”

Existing budget appropriations cover some repairs and improvements to existing fencing, including the prototypes.

The White House requested $1.6 billion for 2018 to begin new construction for the wall between the United States and Mexico, which was a campaign promise by President Donald Trump.

“The Department is implementing President Trump’s Executive Order 13767, Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements, and continues to take steps to immediately plan, design and construct a physical wall along the southern border, using appropriate materials and technology to most effectively achieve complete operational control of the southern border” according to the release.

Last week, DHS announced prototypes for a wall in the San Diego sector, west of El Centro.

Jeh Johnson: Trump’s ‘Rhetoric’ Has ‘Scared Off’ Illegal Immigrants

July 20, 2017

Jeh Johnson: Trump’s ‘Rhetoric’ Has ‘Scared Off’ Illegal Immigrants, Newsmax, Mark Swanson, July 20, 2017

(Good! — DM)

Former head of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson said President Donald Trump’s “rhetoric” has led to a decrease of “illegal migration on our southern border.”

Trump has “scared off” a lot of illegal immigrants, Johnson told CNN’s “New Day” morning program.

“Basically because, through his rhetoric he’s scared off a lot of women and children in central America who would rather stay in their desperate circumstances or just migrate to Mexico and stop there,” Johnson said.

Though Johnson worked for a president many called the “deporter-in-chief,” he said Trump and his administration should bring more compassion to fighting illegal immigration.

“We have to enforce our immigration laws consistent with our values and consistent with humanity,” Johnson told CNN.

“At the end of the day, when you enforce immigration laws, you have to be able to look yourself in the mirror, look your own family in the eye, recall the women and children who are desperate, to say, ‘I did my best to enforce the law consistent with our priorities and consistent with our values,'” Johnson said.

“And I hope that the current administration does not lose sight of that.”

Congressman Warns of Terrorist Attacks If Trump Signs Sanctuary City Bill

June 30, 2017

Congressman Warns of Terrorist Attacks If Trump Signs Sanctuary City Bill, PJ MediaNicholas Ballasy, June 29, 2017

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly speaks at House Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) weekly news conference in the Capitol on June 29, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

WASHINGTON – Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.) warned that the sanctuary city bill passed in the House of Representatives could cause a terrorist attack to occur in New York City.

Espaillat joined other members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) to express opposition to the “No Sanctuary for Criminals Act” (H.R. 3003), which would crack down on localities that do not fully cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and “Kate’s Law” (H.R. 3004), which would penalize migrants who attempt to re-enter the U.S. illegally after being deported with up to 20 years in prison. Both bills passed the House today.

According to the White House, H.R. 3003 would “restrict” the “eligibility to receive certain Department of Justice or Department of Homeland Security grants” for cities and states “determined to be in violation of federal law.”

Espaillat predicted that H.R. 3003 would have a “chilling effect” in local communities if it became law.

“People will go into hiding. People will not come forward to report crimes, and if we begin to deny funding to cities across the United States, a city like New York, who experienced 9/11, which has been the safest biggest city in the country since 9/11 because of the federal funding that we got to combat terrorism, providing for training, equipment, overtime pay for law enforcement, we will be allowing terrorists to come in and attack us again,” Espaillat said at a press conference today on Capitol Hill.

“So this is a travesty. This is a lie. We’ve been hijacked and bamboozled by Donald Trump and we should all stand up against this,” he added.

Espaillat described sanctuary cities as places that allow families to stay together regardless of immigration status without “fear” rather than places that harbor illegal immigrants with criminal records.

“It is a safety net for people that are part of our family – they take care of our children, they wash our dishes, they take care of our elderly, they pick our crops,” he said.

Espaillat argued that both bills are an example of the GOP “misguiding” the nation.

“I’m not saying all of his followers are racist, but all of the racists in the country follow him and they have peddled this erroneous vision that immigrants are criminals,” he said. “We all oppose any violent criminals not being arrested. We want them to be arrested and do their time in jail and go back to wherever they came from.”

Rep. Nanette Barragán (D-Calif.) echoed Espaillat’s comments, arguing that H.R. 3003 would put Americans in danger by stripping federal funding from sanctuary cities like Los Angeles.

“You’re talking about taking away funding from cities that rely on these funds to protect our country from terrorism, and you think about incidents like 9/11,” she said.

“These big cities, like mine in Los Angeles, and New York are targets. Imagine taking away their funding because they don’t want to become immigration officers and what that does – that puts us in a lot more harm than what we are looking at,” she added.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) argued that “Kate’s Law” would have done “absolutely nothing” to prevent the death of Kate Steinle; the man accused of shooting her, who is still awaiting trial, was living illegally in San Francisco after multiple previous deportations. A few months before the shooting, the San Francisco Police Department had released her suspected killer, Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, despite a request from ICE to keep him in custody for re-entering the country illegally.

Gutierrez said he opposes “Kate’s Law” because it would punish migrants who try to cross the border illegally to reunite with family members.

“Hundreds of thousands of moms and dads have been deported and separated from their American citizen children, and now when they come back to their American citizen children and come back after being deported, guess what this bill does? It says send them to jail for 20 years for trying to come back and raise their children,” he said.

Gutierrez also said he advised an 11-year-old student not to open the front door of his family’s home if an ICE officer knocks.

“Last Monday, I was at Nixon Elementary School. This little boy, a fifth-grader, 11 years old, asked, he said, ‘Congressman, if immigration knocks on my door, do I have to open the door because my Dad doesn’t have papers?’ I told him, ‘no, you don’t have to open up the door unless he has a warrant.’ And then I got into a conversation with 11-year-old fifth-graders about what constitutes a warrant – that’s where we’re at in America,” he said at the Hispanic Caucus press conference.

“And what do they want to do today? They want to make sure that my Chicago police, the L.A. police, every police and every jurisdiction that says we don’t want to be immigration agents and we don’t want to be knocking on those doors of fifth-graders across this country to take away their moms and dads and make them into enforcement agents, and it’s wrong,” he added.

Rep. Joaquin Castro (R-Texas) said both bills are “anti-immigrant” measures. He speculated that Republicans are pushing the legislation through Congress to distract from the healthcare and tax reform debates.

“They’ve failed to do healthcare. They’ve failed to do tax reform,” he said.

House passes Kate’s Law, as part of illegal immigrant crackdown

June 29, 2017

House passes Kate’s Law, as part of illegal immigrant crackdown, Fox News, June 29, 2017

(What’s the problem in the Senate? — DM)

While gaining support in the Senate for similar legislation will be a tough road, Trump called for Congress to act quickly.

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House Republicans took action Thursday to crack down on illegal immigrants and the cities that shelter them.

One bill passed by the House would deny federal grants to sanctuary cities and another, Kate’s Law, would increase the penalties for deported aliens who try to return to the United States.

Kate’s Law, which would increase the penalties for deported aliens who try to return to the United States and caught, passed with a vote of 257 to 157, with one Republican voting no and 24 Democrats voting yes.

Kate’s Law is named for Kate Steinle, a San Francisco woman killed by an illegal immigrant who was in the U.S. despite multiple deportations. The two-year anniversary of her death is on Saturday.

“He should not have been here, and she should not have died,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said Thursday, in a final push for Kate’s Law, an earlier version of which was blocked in the Senate last year.

“Our job here is to make sure that those professionals have the tools that they need and the resources that they need to carry out their work and to protect our communities. That is what these measures are all about,” added Ryan.

The other bill, which would deny federal grants to sanctuary cities, passed with a vote of 228-195 with 3 Democrats voting yes and 7 Republicans voting no.

The brutal murder of Steinle catapulted the issue of illegal criminal aliens into the national spotlight. Alleged shooter Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez had been deported five times and had seven felony convictions.

On Wednesday, President Trump highlighted other cases during a White House meeting with more than a dozen families of people who had been victimized by illegal immigrants, including Jamiel Shaw Sr.

Shaw’s 17-year-old son Jamiel was shot and killed by an illegal immigrant in California in March 2008..

“He was living the dream,” Shaw said during the meeting. “That was squashed out.”

The second measure, “No Sanctuary for Criminals Act,” would cut federal grants to states and “sanctuary cities” that refuse to cooperate with law enforcement carrying out immigration enforcement activities.

“The word ‘sanctuary’ calls to mind someplace safe, but too often for families and victims affected by illegal immigrant crime, sanctuary cities are anything but safe,” Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly asserted in the pre-vote press conference.

“It is beyond my comprehension why federal state and local officials … would actively discourage or outright prevent law enforcement agencies from upholding the laws of the United States,” he added.

While gaining support in the Senate for similar legislation will be a tough road, Trump called for Congress to act quickly.

Trump called on the House and the Senate to “to honor grieving American families” by approving a “package of truly key immigration enforcement bills” so that he could sign them into law.

“I promise you, it will be done quickly.  You don’t have to wait the mandatory period. It will be very quick,” promised Trump.

Earlier on Wednesday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Thomas D. Homan and U.S. Attorney for Utah John W. Huber made their case for the bills during the White House press briefing.

Huber said 40 percent of Utah’s current felony caseload involves criminal alien prosecutions and the number is increasing.

The bills, Huber asserted, would “advance the ball for law enforcement in keeping our communities safe” and “would give officers and prosecutors more tools to protect the public.

Many immigration rights groups have characterized efforts to crack down on sanctuary cities as “anti-immigrant,” but Attorney General Jeff Sessions says it is not sound policy to allow sanctuary cities to flout federal immigration laws.

According to Homan, ICE already has arrested nearly 66,000 individuals this year that were either known or suspected to be in the country illegally. Of those arrested, 48,000 were convicted criminal aliens.

“The practices of these jurisdictions are not only contrary to sound policy; they’re contrary to the law enforcement cooperation that is carried out every day in our country and is essential to public safety,” Sessions wrote in a Fox News op-ed backing the bills.