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IMMIGRATION POLICIES, ANALYSIS, AND RESOURCES

The Immigration Domain tracks and reports on policies that deal with illegal and legal immigration, refugee resettlement and sanctuary cities. This domain tracks policies emanating from the White House, the Justice Department, the Department of Homeland Security, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the US Border Patrol, and state and city government policies that respond to federal policies.

Latest Immigration Posts

 

Biden Pledges to Admit 125,000 Asylum Seekers Annually

Brief #116—Immigration
By Kathryn Baron
The Biden Administration has pledged to increase the annual refugee admissions cap to 125,000 and has already begun efforts to undo the effects of the Trump era ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy that left up to 20,000 in Mexican tent camps while they await their judicial proceedings in the US. Biden plans to enact this new process of bringing asylum seekers, particularly with active Migrant Protection Protocol (Remain in Mexico) cases in phases. Eligible migrants are to be registered and tested for COVID-19 before entering the US at three ports of entry. About 300 migrants may be admitted daily before the need to expand to other ports of entry.

read more

Biden Administration Seeks to Curb Unnecessary Arrests and Deportations

Brief #115—Immigration
By Kathryn Baron
This week, the Biden Administration issued new guidelines for ICE in attempts to curb arrests and deportations. Anyone unlawfully in the US is still subject to arrest, but ICE will no longer deport immigrants for crimes such as DUIs, simple assault, fraud, tax crimes, solicitation, money laundering and fraud, and charges without convictions. Biden announced he aims to focus more on national security threats and individuals with aggravated felony charges and/or convictions.

read more

Biden Signs Three Executive Orders to Reverse Xenophobic Policies

Brief #114—Immigration
By Kathryn Baron
Earlier this week, President Biden signed three Executive Orders to begin the lengthy process of undoing Trump-era immigration policies that have stained American foreign policy and international perception. The Senate had just confirmed Alejandro N. Mayorka as Secretary of Homeland Security – in which all but seven Republican voted no, which accurately depicts the divisions in the US government about American attitudes towards foreigners. Mayorka will be the first Latino-American of his position.

read more

Biden’s Administration Proposes Sweeping New Immigration Law and  Ends Separation of Children from Their Parents

Brief #114—Immigration
By Linda F. Hersey
The zero-tolerance program that defined the Trump Administration’s policy on immigration – separating hundreds of immigrant children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border – is officially over.

Acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson sent a letter  to all U.S. attorneys that rescinds the order, effectively erasing the policy that allowed for federally prosecuting undocumented parents and separating them from their children.

Although immigrants can still be deported if they do not have documents or protections to stay in the U.S., they typically are not charged in federal court and separated from their children. The Wilkinson letter – first reported by NBC News — encourages prosecutors to “use discretion” in prosecuting minor border offenses.

read more

Biden’s First Few Days in Office Address Immigration: Border Wall Funding Ceases and DACA is Reinstated

Brief #109—Immigration
By Kathryn Baron
Within President Biden’s first few days in office, he has signed two Executive Orders to begin mitigating and reversing the Trump Administration’s efforts to drastically alter immigration policies. First, Biden ended the national emergency declaration that effectively diverted $10 billion from the Defense Department towards Trump’s border wall. The proclamation also asserts that federal agencies must curate a plan of action within 60 days to redirect border wall funds.

read more
Biden Pledges to Admit 125,000 Asylum Seekers Annually

Biden Pledges to Admit 125,000 Asylum Seekers Annually

Policy Summary

 

The Biden Administration has pledged to increase the annual refugee admissions cap to 125,000 and has already begun efforts to undo the effects of the Trump era ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy that left up to 20,000 in Mexican tent camps while they await their judicial proceedings in the US. Biden plans to enact this new process of bringing asylum seekers, particularly with active Migrant Protection Protocol (Remain in Mexico) cases in phases. Eligible migrants are to be registered and tested for COVID-19 before entering the US at three ports of entry. About 300 migrants may be admitted daily before the need to expand to other ports of entry.

 

Analysis

 

Many migrants who are waiting for their hearings in Mexico have told reporters they are frustrated and weary about Biden’s promises. A concern commonly voiced was why the Trump Administration was able to make drastic changes that negatively impacted migrants on a daily basis, but the Biden Administration needs time to undo such policies. Justifiably, for those most impacted by Trump-era policies, it is torturous to continue waiting while the Biden Administration attempts to undo xenophobic measures over time, even though the impacts of the negative policies were felt almost immediately.

 

Engagement Resources

  • The National Immigration Law Center: an organization that exclusively dedicates itself to defending and furthering the rights of low income immigrants and strives to educate decision makers on the impacts and effects of their policies on this overlooked part of the population.
  • The ACLU: a non-profit with a longstanding commitment to preserving and protecting the individual rights and liberties the Constitution and US laws guarantee all its citizens. You can also donate monthly to counter Trump’s attacks on people’s rights. Recently, the ACLU has filed a lawsuit challenging the separation of families at the border.
  • Center for Disease Control: the CDC provides updated information surrounding COVID-19 and the US responses

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA): Through the Department of Homeland Security’s website, this link provides additional information regarding the Obama era program.

Biden Administration Seeks to Curb Unnecessary Arrests and Deportations

Biden Administration Seeks to Curb Unnecessary Arrests and Deportations

Brief #115 – Immigration

By Kathryn Baron

Biden Administration Seeks to Curb Unnecessary Arrests and Deportations

Policy Summary
This week, the Biden Administration issued new guidelines for ICE in attempts to curb arrests and deportations. Anyone unlawfully in the US is still subject to arrest, but ICE will no longer deport immigrants for crimes such as DUIs, simple assault, fraud, tax crimes, solicitation, money laundering and fraud, and charges without convictions. Biden announced he aims to focus more on national security threats and individuals with aggravated felony charges and/or convictions.

Analysis
Biden announced he believed measuring ICE’s performance according to the number of arrests and deportation – as the Trump Administration did – is not sound law enforcement, but rather a method of hiking up statistics with low-hanging fruit and at the expense of migrants for minor infractions. Rather than operating with the mindset of looking for a reason to detain, arrest, and deport migrants, the Biden Administration will maintain migrants’ dignity and innocence until proven otherwise.

Engagement Resources

  • The National Immigration Law Center: an organization that exclusively dedicates itself to defending and furthering the rights of low income immigrants and strives to educate decision makers on the impacts and effects of their policies on this overlooked part of the population.
  • The ACLU: a non-profit with a longstanding commitment to preserving and protecting the individual rights and liberties the Constitution and US laws guarantee all its citizens. You can also donate monthly to counter Trump’s attacks on people’s rights. Recently, the ACLU has filed a lawsuit challenging the separation of families at the border.
  • Center for Disease Control: the CDC provides updated information surrounding COVID-19 and the US responses
  • Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA): Through the Department of Homeland Security’s website, this link provides additional information regarding the Obama era program.
Biden Signs Three Executive Orders to Reverse Xenophobic Policies

Biden Signs Three Executive Orders to Reverse Xenophobic Policies

Brief # 114 – Immigration

Biden Signs Three Executive Orders to Reverse Xenophobic Policies 

By Kathryn Baron

February 8, 2021

Policy Summary

Earlier this week, President Biden signed three Executive Orders to begin the lengthy process of undoing Trump-era immigration policies that have stained American foreign policy and international perception. The Senate had just confirmed Alejandro N. Mayorka as Secretary of Homeland Security – in which all but seven Republican voted no, which accurately depicts the divisions in the US government about American attitudes towards foreigners. Mayorka will be the first Latino-American of his position.

Two of the Executive Orders call for reviews and of Trump’s policies that limited asylum, stopped funding to certain foreign countries, slowed down legal immigration, and made it more difficult to obtain green cards. One of these demands a review of the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP – ‘Remain in Mexico’) that ordered 65,000 Asylum Seekers to wait in Mexico for their US court hearings. These reviews could trigger policy changes in the coming weeks following a thorough examination of the policies Trump put in place. The third Executive Order established a task force to reunite migrant families who were separated at the US-Mexico border as a result of Trump’s 2018 Zero Tolerance policy.

Analysis

President Biden stated he is “not making new law” but rather he is “eliminating bad policy.” All the necessary reversals of Trump-era immigration policies cannot be done properly and effectively in a short time-frame. The Executive Orders signed at the beginning of this week provide an avenue for thorough investigation and action to re-track American immigration and foreign policy measures to ensure the principles and values that defined the US throughout history are upheld and restored.

Engagement Resources

  • The National Immigration Law Center: an organization that exclusively dedicates itself to defending and furthering the rights of low income immigrants and strives to educate decision makers on the impacts and effects of their policies on this overlooked part of the population.
  • The ACLU: a non-profit with a longstanding commitment to preserving and protecting the individual rights and liberties the Constitution and US laws guarantee all its citizens. You can also donate monthly to counter Trump’s attacks on people’s rights. Recently, the ACLU has filed a lawsuit challenging the separation of families at the border.
  • Center for Disease Control: the CDC provides updated information surrounding COVID-19 and the US responses
  • Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA): Through the Department of Homeland Security’s website, this link provides additional information regarding the Obama era program.
Biden’s Administration Proposes Sweeping New Immigration Law and  Ends Separation of Children from Their Parents

Biden’s Administration Proposes Sweeping New Immigration Law and  Ends Separation of Children from Their Parents

Brief # 114 Immigration Policy

Biden’s Administration Proposes Sweeping New Immigration Law and  Ends  Separation of Children from Their Parents

By Linda F. Hersey

January 28, 2021

The zero-tolerance program that defined the Trump Administration’s policy on immigration – separating hundreds of immigrant children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border – is officially over.

Acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson sent a letter  to all U.S. attorneys that rescinds the order, effectively erasing the policy that allowed for federally prosecuting undocumented parents and separating them from their children.

Although immigrants can still be deported if they do not have documents or protections to stay in the U.S., they typically are not charged in federal court and separated from their children. The Wilkinson letter – first reported by NBC News — encourages prosecutors to “use discretion” in prosecuting minor border offenses.

Although the Trump administration stopped separating families at the U.S.-Mexican border in 2018, after public outcry and negative publicity, the federal law had not been officially rescinded. This meant the law technically could be applied by federal prosecutors in court cases against families arriving in the U.S. illegally. That guidance is now gone from the criminal code.

President Joe Biden, meanwhile, has yet to sign an executive order for reuniting families separated from their children, as he pledged during his campaign. But the American Civil Liberties Union stated that the Wilkinson directive is a good first step to ending “criminal penalties for illegal entry.”

‘Rescinding the Zero-Tolerance Policy’

The letter by Wilkinson is titled the “Rescinding the Zero-Tolerance Policy for Offenses Under 8 USC 1235.” Wilkinson’s letter follows the Biden Administration’s proposals for sweeping immigration reforms that will require passage in Congress. Biden unveiled the proposals in his first day of office.

“The bill proposes changes to reimagine diverse areas of immigration from employment- and family-based immigration to asylum, refugee, and other humanitarian protections, as well as border security,” according to an article in the National Law Review.

Those reforms include a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants, expanded refugee resettlement and more technology at the border for monitoring and surveillance.

Under the Biden Administration’s U.S. Citizens Act of 2021, the reforms:

  • Create a more efficient pathway to citizenship for so-called “dreamers,” millions of undocumented people who arrived in the U.S. as children. The bill would place them on a fast-track to citizenship. Up to 11 million immigrants could be affected.
  • Enable children from Central America to apply for refugee and asylum in their home countries, instead of traveling to the border on foot and often alone, placing them in danger of violence and exploitation.
  • Hire more immigration judges to handle a backlog of asylum cases.
  • Establish new language in immigration laws that changes the term “alien” to “noncitizen.” The bill pledges to improve the tone of the immigration system by “restor[ing” humanity and American values to our immigration system,” according to the National Law Review.
  • Prohibit presidential immigration bans based on religion.

Migrant Children Detained in Metal Cages

Coupled with the Biden immigration reform package, the Wilkinson directive formally ends a disturbing chapter in U.S. immigration policy and punitive attitudes toward migrants by U.S. leadership.

Under Trump, 3,000 families were separated in 2017-2018 at the U.S.-Mexico border, with some children sent thousands of miles away to holding facilities in other states. The practice was abruptly halted, after photos were published of young children forcibly removed from their parents by border agents, and later detained in metal cages, made of fencing, at detention facilities referred to as “child prisons.”

Trump’s zero-tolerance policy enabled prosecutors to charge undocumented parents in federal court on misdemeanors, such as crossing the border illegally.

While advocates continue to work toward reuniting migrant children living in the U.S. with deported parents, largely in Central America, the parents of more than 600 children have yet to be found. Most of those children are now living with court-approved sponsors in the U.S.

The ACLU is arguing a class-action lawsuit seeking damages for parents and their children who were separated at the U.S. border.

Lee Gelernt, the lead ACLU attorney in the class action case, said that while Wilkinson’s letter is a start to ending “criminal penalties for illegal entry,” Congress needs to repeal laws that federally prosecuted parents for illegal entry, which allowed for border agents to separate families.

Engagement Resources

ACLUS’s Immigrants’ Rights Project works to expand and enforce the civil liberties and rights of immigrants.

U.S. Citizens’ Act of 2021: Fact Sheet outlines a sweeping immigration reform bill under the Biden Administration that would provide a pathway to citizenship for up to 11 million immigrants.

National Law Review examines Biden’s proposed immigration law changes under the U.S. Citizens’ Act of 2021.

Biden’s First Few Days in Office Address Immigration: Border Wall Funding Ceases and DACA is Reinstated

Biden’s First Few Days in Office Address Immigration: Border Wall Funding Ceases and DACA is Reinstated

Brief #109 – Immigration

By Kathryn Baron

Biden’s First Few Days in Office Address Immigration: Border Wall Funding Ceases and DACA is Reinstated

January 26, 2021

Policy Summary

Within President Biden’s first few days in office, he has signed two Executive Orders to begin mitigating and reversing the Trump Administration’s efforts to drastically alter immigration policies. First, Biden ended the national emergency declaration that effectively diverted $10 billion from the Defense Department towards Trump’s border wall. The proclamation also asserts that federal agencies must curate a plan of action within 60 days to redirect border wall funds.

Simultaneously, Biden issued another Executive Order calling on the Secretary of Homeland Security to take necessary measures in preserving and reinstating DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, signed under Barack Obama in 2012). The program was under consistent scrutiny during the Trump Administration and defending the program served as a major campaign promise for Biden.

Analysis

As so much of Biden’s campaign centered around bolstering the American people and its core values while undoing the detrimental actions by an incompetent presiden., His quick action towards making good on his promises surrounding immigration bode well for the Administration. In addition to the most recent Executive Orders, Biden also seeks to eradicate the Remain in Mexico policy that Trump established and to ensure undocumented immigrants are included in census counts and therefore enjoy representation by their government officials.

Engagement Resources

  • The National Immigration Law Center: an organization that exclusively dedicates itself to defending and furthering the rights of low income immigrants and strives to educate decision makers on the impacts and effects of their policies on this overlooked part of the population.
  • The ACLU: a non-profit with a longstanding commitment to preserving and protecting the individual rights and liberties the Constitution and US laws guarantee all its citizens. You can also donate monthly to counter Trump’s attacks on people’s rights. Recently, the ACLU has filed a lawsuit challenging the separation of families at the border.
  • Center for Disease Control: the CDC provides updated information surrounding COVID-19 and the US responses
  • Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA): Through the Department of Homeland Security’s website, this link provides additional information regarding the Obama era program.
Trump’s Final Days in Office – the Beloved Wall

Trump’s Final Days in Office – the Beloved Wall

Brief #113 – Immigration

By Kathryn Baron 

Trump’s Final Days in Office – the Beloved Wall  

January 18, 2021

Policy Summary

Shortly after the events at the Capitol earlier this month, President Trump traveled to Texas to observe the border wall that defined his presidential campaign. Rather than celebrate his ‘accomplishments,’ as defined by his support base, during his term – such as tax cuts, rolling back federal regulations, and transforming federal courts with the appointment of Conservative judges – he is harping on his border wall. Trump was advised to highlight his ‘successes’ in his final days of office but to no avail.

Analysis

President Trump has attempted to shift the blame for inciting the insurrection that occurred last week, but even Senior Republicans have turned on him. Chad Wolf, the former Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security resigned within a week of the events at the Capitol and will not be accompanying Trump to Texas. His frivolous trip to the border will only further fuel the violence and lead to more harm.

Engagement Resources

  • The National Immigration Law Center: an organization that exclusively dedicates itself to defending and furthering the rights of low income immigrants and strives to educate decision makers on the impacts and effects of their policies on this overlooked part of the population.
  • Border Network for Human Rights: network to engage education, organization and participation of border communities to defend human rights and work towards a society where everyone is equal in rights and dignity.
  • The ACLU: a non-profit with a longstanding commitment to preserving and protecting the individual rights and liberties the Constitution and US laws guarantee all its citizens. You can also donate monthly to counter Trump’s attacks on people’s rights. Recently, the ACLU has filed a lawsuit challenging the separation of families at the border.
  • Center for Disease Control: the CDC provides updated information surrounding COVID-19 and the US responses.
Remote Learning Projected to Increase Inequality in Education Achievement

Remote Learning Projected to Increase Inequality in Education Achievement

Brief #104

Remote Learning Projected to Increase Inequality in Education Achievement

Rosalind Gottfried        

Education, Inequality, Stimulus Relief

January 2, 2021

Policy

Demographic inequities characteristic of American society continue to  grow in different sectors. In education the widespread shift to remote learning will have a dramatic impact on students,  long after the virus has been controlled and students returned to the classroom.   Young students are more likely to suffer setbacks from remote learning, especially in reading, which is a challenging subject to learn even in the classroom. It becomes even more difficult after third grade when education shifts from learning to read to reading to learn.

The first comprehensive study on the impact of remote learning was released in December and showed that disadvantaged students are significantly more at risk from remote learning as well as more likely to be learning exclusively, or primarily, remotely.  Remote learning only schools affected  36% of white students; 51% for Black students; 60% for Latino students; and 64% for Asian students.   Overall, two thirds of the students of color live in districts where remote only education is occurring.  Large cities, generally clustered in more Democratic voting states, tended to have more schools closed (opting for remote learning only) and to educate a greater proportion of at-risk students.  Rural schools, especially in less densely populated states serving a greater proportion of white students were more likely to have “mostly open” campuses.

Lower income students suffer on multiple fronts.  They are more likely to have parents facing unemployment; increased poverty rates; increased food insecurity; lack of internet access; lack of space for study; and less access to parental or tutor support.  The long term harm is difficult to assess but predicted to be extensive.  Some dire predictions of achievement drops from last spring were assessed as better than anticipated.  In one early study, reading scores did not drop and math scores dropped less than predicted, about 14%.  However, the fear is that many students at risk did not take the tests resulting in skewed outcomes.

Parental surveys indicate that low income children are ten times more likely to be lacking in attendance at remote learning than children of parents making over 100,000 dollars.  Fifteen million children have unreliable internet access. Only two thirds of students have access to broadband internet.  Two thirds to three quarters of teachers report their students are less engaged in their remote learning than when in the classroom and that levels fell further as the semester progressed.  Low income and non-white students are reportedly less likely to engage in remote learning regularly. On the plus side, some small number of students report benefits from online learning.  These re most likely “atypical learners” and “self-starters” who enjoy the lack of peer distraction and gain focus when they can manage their own time.

Research indicates that low income teens spend more time in on screen activities, an average of 8 hours and 7 minutes compared to 5 hours and 42 minutes among higher income teens.  Screen time is associated with negative outcomes in education and mental health and may indicate a significant detriment to students who depend on it for too much of the day.  In some affluent areas, such as Silicon Valley, there is a growing trend to remove screens from children and teens during school day and return to more exclusively human interactive classrooms and play based preschools.  At the same time, some publically funded initiatives are promoting online preschool in more rural states such as Utah, Wyoming, North and South Dakota, Idaho, and Montana.  Some technology companies, such as Apple and Google, actively solicit business from school districts in the hope that gaining a foothold with young children will garner lifelong brand loyalty.

Analysis

There are myriad fixes to stem the repercussions of remote learning.  These would include supporting low income parents by providing paid parental leave; increase internet access; increase distribution of computers; pair students with college students and graduates for tutoring; establish learning pods and publically funded learning hubs; assure adequate food access; increase SNAP access; and develop a more defined federal program for stemming the pandemic.  The December stimulus bill makes some strides in this direction but not nearly enough.  It does include 54 billion dollars for school aid, four times more than in the March 2019 CARES program.  However, the cost of funding the system has increased because of reduced tax revenues from business losses and decreases in student enrollment.   The stimulus included seven billion for broadband internet access and school meal programs but provided no money for state and local governments to help with corona virus costs.  Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell justified this lack by stating that to aid localities would be to bailout “fiscally irresponsible states.”

Estimates suggest a 200 billion dollar loss of education funding.An estimated 6% of public school students are not attending school and private and charter schools are further siphoning money from mainstream public schools as their enrollments increase.  So far the direst consequences of these losses have been avoided due to consistent property tax revenues and reserves that states utilized.  Some states are moving to increase capital gains taxes and taxes on insurers to promote greater revenue.  Additionally, to preserve school funding some jurisdictions are using pre-pandemic student numbers to inform their budgets for the 2021-22 school year. The next year’s financial viability promises to be more in jeopardy as local and state budgets suffer from the lack of federal aid.  President elect Biden has set a goal of opening schools in his first 100 days in office but such a move would require federal relief and his ability to gain that from Congress is tenuous, at best.  Something should be done, policy wise, or the country will suffer the future costs related to under education, such as reduced income tax; unemployment; poor health outcomes; and decreased life expectancy.

LEARN MORE

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/24/us/remote-learning-student-income.html?campaign_id=45&emc=edit_nk_20210102&instance_id=25593&nl=nicholas-kristof&regi_id=56728292&segment_id=48235&te=1&user_id=21f09ddec1cb7d394a657d123c5ed4dc

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/22/us/public-schools-enrollment-stimulus.html?action=click&pgtype=Article&state=default&module=styln-coronavirus-schools-reopening&region=MAIN_CONTENT_3&context=storyline_keepup_recirc

https://www.brookings.edu/blog/how-we-rise/2020/09/23/students-of-color-most-likely-to-be-learning-online-districts-must-work-even-harder-on-race-equity/

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/06/nyregion/nyc-remote-learning.html?action=click&module=RelatedLinks&pgtype=Article

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/09/11/magazine/covid-school-reopenings.html?action=click&module=RelatedLinks&pgtype=Article

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/20/nyregion/coronavirus-students-schools.html?action=click&module=RelatedLinks&pgtype=Article

Trump Administration Impedes Search for Migrant Children’s Parents ACLU Tells USRESIST NEWS

Trump Administration Impedes Search for Migrant Children’s Parents ACLU Tells USRESIST NEWS

Immigration Brief # 112

Trump Administration Impedes Search for Migrant Children’s Parents ACLU Tells USRESIST NEWS

By Linda F. Hersey

December 18, 2020

The Trump administration withheld key contact information for locating the deported parents of 666 immigrant children detained in the U.S., according to an attorney with the ACLU, which is representing the separated families in a class action lawsuit against U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Daniel Galindo, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, accuses the Trump administration of “obstructive” activities that impede searches and hinder efforts to reunite families and put them on a path to citizenship.

“What people are rightly asking and wondering is, how were these circumstances inflicted on these families, and why isn’t the federal government doing right by them?” said Galindo, in an interview with U.S. Resist News.

Advocates with the ACLU have located relatives for 168 of the 666 children, though the family member often is not the parent. Galindo said the outreach involves trust-building with the children’s relatives.

“We have the beginning of an answer in many of the cases,” Galindo said. Parents, fearful of arrest by the U.S. or violence in their home country, often are difficult to locate. “We may be able to reach a parent’s brother who explains the family situation and that the parent is in hiding,” he said, which complicates the situation and delays court efforts to reunite the families.

The ACLU and other civil rights groups argue that the Trump administration has engaged in misinformation to justify anti-immigration policies that violate due process and federal law protecting asylum seekers.

The ACLU lawsuit focuses on the experience of a parent fleeing violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, who was forcibly separated from her 7-year-old daughter in the U.S. They were detained 2,000 miles apart.

While the mother and child were reunited, the ACLU case, filed in 2018, has advanced as a class action lawsuit for 666 children that U.S. border agents separated from their parents.

Misinformation Campaign Waged to ‘Criminalize Immigrants’

The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA), which provides legal help to immigrants, argues that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under Trump has waged an “image campaign to criminalize immigrants” that the administration “made the centerpiece of its narrative.”

“We must rethink immigration enforcement,” the California-based coalition urges on its website. “The point should not be maximizing suffering and tearing apart immigrant families.”

The coalition also criticized the level of funding increases that Homeland Security received under Trump for tracking, arresting and detaining undocumented individuals. The DHS budget for immigration enforcement has nearly doubled to $30 billion in five years, the coalition reported.

Damages Sought for Forced Separations

The ACLU is seeking damages for the anguish that 666 children identified as plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit suffered by the forced separations. The ACLU also is seeking a legal path to citizenship for the children and their parents.

Most of the families are from South and Central America and were detained as they entered the U.S. from Mexico. The task now, according to the ACLU, is to find the parents separated from their children and deported by U.S. border agents.

Under Trump’s zero tolerance policy, hundreds of children – including some as young as infants and toddlers — were taken from undocumented parents, in 2017 and 2018, and held in detention centers, sometimes for months and often under harsh conditions. Many of those children were not reunited with their parents. They were placed with court-approved sponsors, in cities across the U.S., who were not always a relative or parent.

Galindo said that the Trump administration deliberately withheld information that ICE collected on the parents’ whereabouts, which only now is being discovered during court arguments in the class action lawsuit.

Biden Expected to Provide Path to Legal Status

He described the federal government’s data on the deported adults and their children as “haphazardly collected.”

The government, for example, may have originally provided searchers with the address of a U.S. detention facility where an undocumented parent was held, when it had more up-to-date information on the parent post-release but withheld it.

“The Trump Administration has persistently not provided information that would be useful,” Galindo noted. “The latest example is of the government now coming forward with data from court proceedings that will prove useful but should have been turned over quite some time ago.”

Delays and incomplete information have an impact, making it harder for advocates to connect children with families and slow down asylum proceedings in the U.S.

Galindo said the incoming Biden administration has said publicly it will take a different approach toward immigration but has yet to define it.

“We are advocating that they pursue enduring ways to do right by these families,” Galindo said, “including a pathway to legal status and returning families that want to return.”

Engagement Resources

Trump’s Final Attempts at a Border Wall

Trump’s Final Attempts at a Border Wall

Brief #111 – Immigration

By Kathryn Baron 

Trump’s Final Attempts at a Border Wall

December 15,2020

Policy Summary

President Trump has barely kept his campaign promise of building a wall along the US Southern Border but has successfully constructed 415 miles of border wall. The Administration is expected to reach 450 miles by the end of the year, working at insane speeds. Allegedly, an illegal dirt road was built to speed up the operation and prevent any disruption in the flow of construction.

Additionally, two whistleblowers accused contractors building Trump’s border wall of smuggling armed Mexican security teams into the US to guard construction sites as Trump attempts to finish his border wall before leaving office.

Analysis

The motive behind building this wall remains to deter drug traffickers, human smugglers, and criminal organizations despite proven statistics showing a substantial amount of drugs trafficked into the US are through legal ports of entry. This frantic effort to make “good” on the Trump Administration’s principal promise is a desperate attempt to cling to its xenophobic values and maintain the support of Trump’s bigoted support base.

Engagement Resources

  • The National Immigration Law Center: an organization that exclusively dedicates itself to defending and furthering the rights of low income immigrants and strives to educate decision makers on the impacts and effects of their policies on this overlooked part of the population.
  • Border Network for Human Rights: network to engage education, organization and participation of border communities to defend human rights and work towards a society where everyone is equal in rights and dignity.
  • The ACLU: a non-profit with a longstanding commitment to preserving and protecting the individual rights and liberties the Constitution and US laws guarantee all its citizens. You can also donate monthly to counter Trump’s attacks on people’s rights. Recently, the ACLU has filed a lawsuit challenging the separation of families at the border.
  • Center for Disease Control: the CDC provides updated information surrounding COVID-19 and the US responses
Victory for Dreamers Amidst Presidential Turnover

Victory for Dreamers Amidst Presidential Turnover

December 15, 2020

Policy Summary

Following Brief #108, a Federal Judge recently ordered the Trump Administration to fully restore DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). The Administration is supposed to allow newly eligible immigrants to file new applications for protections under DACA and reverse the memorandum issued unlawfully by Chad Wolf earlier in the summer. As many as 300,000 new applicants might now be eligible in light of the newest ruling. The Judge also asserted the government must find a way to inform all eligible immigrants of this change.

Analysis

This ruling poses a significant legal setback to President Trump’s long-standing attempts to terminate the Obama-era program. If the order still stands by the time Joe Biden takes office, it will be easier for him to reinstate DACA, as he has promised in his campaign.

Engagement Resources

  • The National Immigration Law Center: an organization that exclusively dedicates itself to defending and furthering the rights of low income immigrants and strives to educate decision makers on the impacts and effects of their policies on this overlooked part of the population.
  • Border Network for Human Rights: network to engage education, organization and participation of border communities to defend human rights and work towards a society where everyone is equal in rights and dignity.
  • The ACLU: a non-profit with a longstanding commitment to preserving and protecting the individual rights and liberties the Constitution and US laws guarantee all its citizens. You can also donate monthly to counter Trump’s attacks on people’s rights. Recently, the ACLU has filed a lawsuit challenging the separation of families at the border.
  • Center for Disease Control: the CDC provides updated information surrounding COVID-19 and the US responses
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