Judge Suspends DACA Program But Allows Dreamers To Stay In US

(stock image via Depositphotos)

From HuffPost:

A federal judge in Texas ruled Friday that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program ― a policy that lets undocumented immigrants who were brought into the U.S. as minors stay in the country ― is illegal and must be suspended.

In his ruling, Judge Andrew Hanen ordered President Joe Biden’s administration to stop approving new DACA requests from such immigrants, referred to as “Dreamers,” once again upending the Obama-era policy Biden had just revived in January.

The decision by Hanen, an appointee of former President George W. Bush known for his harsh rulings on immigration matters, does not have any bearing on current DACA recipients, nor does it affect their ability to renew their DACA grants.

Hanen made a point of saying the presence of DACA recipients “contributes to a more competitive labor market, which makes it more difficult for legal residents of Texas to obtain work.”

But in 2017, NPR fact-checked that idea and said it’s not true. Not only do DACA recipients tend to be well-educated, making the economy that much more productive, they also contribute to the U.S. as consumers.

It’s important to remember that DACA recipients are young people who were brought to the U.S. as small children. They didn’t make a choice to break any laws. And the idea of deporting a 14-year-old to, say, Mexico, when they might have been brought here as a baby is ridiculous.

Also – a Pew survey conducted last year showed almost three-quarters of respondents, including majorities of Democrats and Republicans, support finding a pathway to permanent legal status for Dreamers.

Read more at HuffPost.

Biden To Announce Major Overhaul Of Immigration Laws

Joe Biden will introduce a massive overhaul of immigration laws on the first day of his administration
President-elect Joe Biden (screen capture)

On Day One of his administration, President-elect Joe Biden will announce an ambitious, extensive overhaul of immigration laws that will aim to provide a path to citizenship for nearly 11 million people living in the U.S. without legal status.

From HuffPost:

Under the legislation, those living in the U.S. as of Jan. 1, 2021, without legal status would have a five-year path to temporary legal status, or a green card, if they pass background checks, pay taxes and fulfill other basic requirements. From there, it’s a three-year path to naturalization, if they decide to pursue citizenship.

For some immigrants, the process would be quicker. So-called Dreamers, the young people who arrived in the U.S. illegally as children, as well as agricultural workers and people under temporary protective status could qualify more immediately for green cards if they are working, are in school or meet other requirements.

Under Donald Trump, immigration laws have been curtailed to be harsh and restrictive and included massive deportations.

Supreme Court Blocks Trump Administration’s Plan To End DACA

Donald Trump rants that media spent too much time on Hurricane Ida and not his "great agreement" with the Taliban

In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the Trump administration cannot move forward with plans to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which has enabled an estimated 800,000 young people, known as ‘Dreamers,’ to remain in the United States.

The decision represents a huge rebuke of Donald Trump’s immigration policy, which has been central to his presidency since he announced his run for office in 2015.

According to the majority opinion, the administration failed to give an adequate justification for ending the federal program.

From the New York Times:

The court’s ruling was a blow to one of President Trump’s central campaign promises — that as president he would “immediately terminate” an executive order by former President Barack Obama that Mr. Trump had called an illegal executive amnesty for hundreds of thousands of young immigrants.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote the majority opinion, joined by the court’s four more liberal members in upholding the program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.

“We do not decide whether DACA or its rescission are sound policies,” the chief justice wrote. “We address only whether the agency complied with the procedural requirement that it provide a reasoned explanation for its action.”

As the ruling notes, the decision didn’t rule on the legality of ending DACA, just that the Trump administration hadn’t followed proper procedures. Several pundits have shared the ruling could be used as a ‘road map’ for Trump to re-submit his executive order with more success.

Trump has since announced he plans to do exactly that.

This is the second ruling this week from the high court that decided against the Trump administration.

On Monday, SCOTUS ruled that LGBTQ people are protected in the workplace by existing federal civil rights laws. It’s notable that Chief Justice Roberts voted in the majority in that decision as well.

The Trumpster was, of course, not happy.

News Round-Up: August 30, 2019

Some news items you might have missed:

InstaHunks: From Ricky Martin – “I’m joining my friend @AlejandroSanz on this great initiative to support the #Dreamers in the US. By purchasing this t-shirt www.CharityStars.com/Alejandro you can be part of our #DreamerTeam too. Because #WeAllDream. We all belong. We are all one. And EVERYONE matters.”

The Advocate: “The Country Music Awards nominated the track from Lil Nas X featuring Billy Ray Cyrus in the category of Musical Event of the Year. … Lil Nas X is now the first out gay man to be nominated at the CMAs”

Courthouse News: After announcing the children born to U.S. service members while overseas would not automatically have U.S. citizenship, Immigration Director Ken Cuccinelli had to issue a statement clarifying the new rules will affect children of military service members and government workers who are legal U.S. permanent residents but not citizens. They can also affect U.S. citizens who can’t show evidence they lived in the U.S. for a sufficient amount of time.

Buzzfeed News: Steven Canals, co-creator of FX’s POSE, shares how his Bronx upbringing helped inspire the most important show on television.

CNET: Apple sent invitations to the media on Thursday for its next big product launch. On September 10, the tech company will unveil the 11 series iPhones. The devices likely will include better cameras, faster processors and iOS 13. They come at a time of malaise in the smartphone market, with people holding onto their devices longer than before.

New Music: Since I’m on a Ricky Martin tangent today, he has teamed up with Madonna collaborator Maluma for a new duet, “No Se Me Quita.” Check out a sample below.

Immigration Official: Statue Of Liberty Should Only Welcome Those Who Can “Stand On Their Own Two Feet”

Ken Cuccinelli

Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (and descendant of Irish/Italian immigrants) says the immigrant tradition that has made America great for centuries should be revised to welcome into the U.S. only those who can “stand on their own two feet.”

From CNN:

Ken Cuccinelli tweaked the famous poem from Emma Lazarus — whose words, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” are long associated with immigration to the US and the nation’s history as a haven — as part of a case for strict new measures pushed Monday by the Trump administration that could dramatically change the legal immigration system.

“Would you also agree that Emma Lazarus’s words etched on the Statue of Liberty, ‘Give me your tired, give me your poor,’ are also a part of the American ethos?” NPR’s Rachel Martin asked Cuccinelli on “Morning Edition” in an interview published Tuesday.

“They certainly are: ‘Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge,'” he replied. “That plaque was put on the Statue of Liberty at almost the same time as the first public charge was passed — very interesting timing.”

On Monday, the Trump administration announced a regulation that makes it easier to reject green card and visa applications. The new rule means many green card and visa applicants could be turned down if they have low incomes or little education, and have used benefits such as most forms of Medicaid, food stamps, and housing vouchers, because they’d be deemed more likely to need government assistance in the future.

Dallas-Born U.S. Citizen Held In Immigration Detention For Nearly A Month

On June 27, an 18-year-old U.S. citizen was detained at a border Patrol checkpoint for almost a month, reports Buzzfeed News.
(Francisco Galicia via Facebook)

An 18-year-old U.S. citizen was detained at a border Patrol checkpoint for almost a month, reports Buzzfeed News.

Francisco Galicia was stopped while driving to a soccer recruiting event from his home in the border town of Edinburg on June 27. Even though he had his Texas ID and his birth certificate, he was held in custody for 26 days.

“The officers were just telling him they didn’t believe he was a US citizen, he was Mexican and should go back to Mexico,” attorney Claudia Galan told BuzzFeed News. “He said that it was inhumane, the worst experience ever. He doesn’t wish that to anybody.”

While held in immigration detention, Francisco slept on the floor of a cell crowded with 60 men. He was denied access to a phone to call his mother or lawyer. During that time, he lost 20 pounds from a lack of food.

Francisco told the Dallas Morning News he was also unable to shower for 23 days while in custody.

The conditions were so terrible, Francisco considered signing the paperwork that would deport him to Mexico just to get out.

The high school student was born in Dallas in December 2000, according to his birth certificate.

While in custody, officers ran Francisco’s name and discovered an old travel visa.

The visa had been applied for by his mother when he was a child. Because she didn’t enter the country legally, she had used a different name on his birth certificate and didn’t believe she could get him a US passport.

Because of the “conflicting reports,” ICE and CBP say they had taken appropriate steps.

“Situations including conflicting reports from the individual and multiple birth certificates can, and should, take more time to verify,” the agencies said. “While we continue to research the facts of the situation, the individual has been released from ICE custody.”

Note – “Take more time to verify?” He was in custody for 26 days and had an American birth certificate.

You can almost understand taking a few hours. MAYBE a day?

But he’s in the system as an American who was born in Dallas.

Look out, folks. Don’t think it can’t happen to you.

In January, a US-born Marine veteran who served in Afghanistan had his US passport, had a REAL ID driver’s license, had his military ID card, and his US Marine Corps dog tags with him when he was arrested in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He was held for three days before he was released.

Obama Takes Veiled Swipe At Trump Immigration Policy On ‘World Refugee Day’

President Barack Obama

In observing World Refugee Day, former President Obama took a not-so-veiled swipe at Donald Trump’s hideous policy of separating families at the southern U.S. border.

From Obama’s Facebook page:

Today is World Refugee Day.

If you’ve been fortunate enough to have been born in America, imagine for a moment if circumstance had placed you somewhere else. Imagine if you’d been born in a country where you grew up fearing for your life, and eventually the lives of your children. A place where you finally found yourself so desperate to flee persecution, violence, and suffering that you’d be willing to travel thousands of miles under cover of darkness, enduring dangerous conditions, propelled forward by that very human impulse to create for our kids a better life.

That’s the reality for so many of the families whose plights we see and heart-rending cries we hear. And to watch those families broken apart in real time puts to us a very simple question: are we a nation that accepts the cruelty of ripping children from their parents’ arms, or are we a nation that values families, and works to keep them together? Do we look away, or do we choose to see something of ourselves and our children?

Our ability to imagine ourselves in the shoes of others, to say “there but for the grace of God go I,” is part of what makes us human. And to find a way to welcome the refugee and the immigrant – to be big enough and wise enough to uphold our laws and honor our values at the same time – is part of what makes us American. After all, almost all of us were strangers once, too. Whether our families crossed the Atlantic, the Pacific, or the Rio Grande, we’re only here because this country welcomed them in, and taught them that to be an American is about something more than what we look like, how our last names sound, or the way we worship. To be an American is to have a shared commitment to an ideal – that all of us are created equal, and all of us deserve the chance to become something better.

That’s the legacy our parents and grandparents and generations before created for us, and it’s something we have to protect for the generations to come. But we have to do more than say “this isn’t who we are.” We have to prove it – through our policies, our laws, our actions, and our votes.

Trump Demands $18 Billion For Mexico Wall In Exchange For Saving DACA Recipients

After a bipartisan panel of five U.S. Senators have spent months hashing out an immigration deal that would tighter national security while also giving DACA recipients protection from deportation, Donald Trump has upended the game board issuing a list of demands including $18 billion to begin building a wall on the U.S./Mexican border before he will grant young immigrants protection.

From The New York Times:

The request, which totals $33 billion over a period of 10 years for border security measures including the wall, could jeopardize bipartisan talks aimed at getting an immigration deal. Among the items on Mr. Trump’s immigration wish-list: money to hire 10,000 additional immigration officers, tougher laws for those seeking asylum, and denial of federal grants to so-called “sanctuary cities.”

The list, delivered to Senator Richard J. Durbin, the Illinois Democrat who has been leading the talks related to young immigrants without documentation, is identical to one Democrats declared a non-starter when the White House issued it in October.

“President Trump has said he may need a good government shutdown to get his wall,” a furious Mr. Durbin said in an emailed statement Friday afternoon. “With this demand, he seems to be heading in that direction.’’

A poll in September (above) shows 62% of all Americans oppose building a wall along the U.S./Mexico border. Only 27% “strongly support” the idea of a wall.

President Obama On DACA Recission: “To Target These Young People Is Wrong”

President Barack Obama issued this statement in response to Donald Trump’s decision to rescind the DACA program.

During his presidential campaign, Trump promised to end DACA. But after the election, Obama urged him not to, both in public and private statements.

In his final press conference as president, Obama promised to speak out if Trump targeted Dreamers “who have grown up here and for all practical purposes are American kids and send them someplace else when they love this country.”

Here’s what a real president looks like.

Via Facebook:

Immigration can be a controversial topic. We all want safe, secure borders and a dynamic economy, and people of goodwill can have legitimate disagreements about how to fix our immigration system so that everybody plays by the rules.

But that’s not what the action that the White House took today is about. This is about young people who grew up in America – kids who study in our schools, young adults who are starting careers, patriots who pledge allegiance to our flag. These Dreamers are Americans in their hearts, in their minds, in every single way but one: on paper. They were brought to this country by their parents, sometimes even as infants. They may not know a country besides ours. They may not even know a language besides English. They often have no idea they’re undocumented until they apply for a job, or college, or a driver’s license.

Over the years, politicians of both parties have worked together to write legislation that would have told these young people – our young people – that if your parents brought you here as a child, if you’ve been here a certain number of years, and if you’re willing to go to college or serve in our military, then you’ll get a chance to stay and earn your citizenship. And for years while I was President, I asked Congress to send me such a bill.

That bill never came. And because it made no sense to expel talented, driven, patriotic young people from the only country they know solely because of the actions of their parents, my administration acted to lift the shadow of deportation from these young people, so that they could continue to contribute to our communities and our country. We did so based on the well-established legal principle of prosecutorial discretion, deployed by Democratic and Republican presidents alike, because our immigration enforcement agencies have limited resources, and it makes sense to focus those resources on those who come illegally to this country to do us harm. Deportations of criminals went up. Some 800,000 young people stepped forward, met rigorous requirements, and went through background checks. And America grew stronger as a result.

But today, that shadow has been cast over some of our best and brightest young people once again. To target these young people is wrong – because they have done nothing wrong. It is self-defeating – because they want to start new businesses, staff our labs, serve in our military, and otherwise contribute to the country we love. And it is cruel. What if our kid’s science teacher, or our friendly neighbor turns out to be a Dreamer? Where are we supposed to send her? To a country she doesn’t know or remember, with a language she may not even speak?

Let’s be clear: the action taken today isn’t required legally. It’s a political decision, and a moral question. Whatever concerns or complaints Americans may have about immigration in general, we shouldn’t threaten the future of this group of young people who are here through no fault of their own, who pose no threat, who are not taking away anything from the rest of us. They are that pitcher on our kid’s softball team, that first responder who helps out his community after a disaster, that cadet in ROTC who wants nothing more than to wear the uniform of the country that gave him a chance. Kicking them out won’t lower the unemployment rate, or lighten anyone’s taxes, or raise anybody’s wages.

It is precisely because this action is contrary to our spirit, and to common sense, that business leaders, faith leaders, economists, and Americans of all political stripes called on the administration not to do what it did today. And now that the White House has shifted its responsibility for these young people to Congress, it’s up to Members of Congress to protect these young people and our future. I’m heartened by those who’ve suggested that they should. And I join my voice with the majority of Americans who hope they step up and do it with a sense of moral urgency that matches the urgency these young people feel.

Ultimately, this is about basic decency. This is about whether we are a people who kick hopeful young strivers out of America, or whether we treat them the way we’d want our own kids to be treated. It’s about who we are as a people – and who we want to be.

What makes us American is not a question of what we look like, or where our names come from, or the way we pray. What makes us American is our fidelity to a set of ideals – that all of us are created equal; that all of us deserve the chance to make of our lives what we will; that all of us share an obligation to stand up, speak out, and secure our most cherished values for the next generation. That’s how America has traveled this far. That’s how, if we keep at it, we will ultimately reach that more perfect union.

Paul Ryan “Hopes” Congress Can Help Those “Who Have Done Nothing Wrong”

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has issued a statement regarding Donald Trump’s rescission of DACA.

Via press release:

However well-intentioned, President Obama’s DACA program was a clear abuse of executive authority, an attempt to create law out of thin air. Just as the courts have already struck down similar Obama policy, this was never a viable long-term solution to this challenge.

Congress writes laws, not the president, and ending this program fulfills a promise that President Trump made to restore the proper role of the executive and legislative branches.

But now there is more to do, and the president has called on Congress to act. The president’s announcement does not revoke permits immediately, and it is important that those affected have clarity on how this interim period will be carried out.

At the heart of this issue are young people who came to this country through no fault of their own, and for many of them it’s the only country they know. Their status is one of many immigration issues, such as border security and interior enforcement, which Congress has failed to adequately address over the years.

It is my hope that the House and Senate, with the president’s leadership, will be able to find consensus on a permanent legislative solution that includes ensuring that those who have done nothing wrong can still contribute as a valued part of this great country.

Don’t hold your breath, folks. Republicans have blocked such reforms for over a decade.