WTF Community

Immigration: issues and policy

(David Bythewood) #395

The entire U.S. immigration system is about to shut down.

Exactly as Trump wants.

The Immigration System Is Set To Come To A Near Halt, And No One Is Paying Attention

“It essentially will shut down the immigration system — sort of the final nail in the coffin.”

Another Trump loss in the courts:


(David Bythewood) #396



They want to bar asylum seekers because of coronavirus, even if they caught the disease in a US detention center. This can’t be legal.

(David Bythewood) #398

What is really despicable is that WE caused many of those outbreaks. I have a whole thread on how we’ve been forcing Central American and Caribbean nations to take deportees or we deny them aid, but we’re sending them people who are infected, often packed in with those who are not, directly CAUSING the issues they need aid against! Several nations have refused to accept flights any longer.

(David Bythewood) #399

In looking up the issue above I found this:

New Proposed Asylum Regulations Would Endanger Women’s Lives

Women and girls fleeing forms of extreme abuse that mostly targets women—such as rape, female genital mutilation (FGM), forced and child marriage, human trafficking, and severe domestic violence—have always faced an uphill battle in securing asylum protection in the United States. After decades of strategic litigation, female asylum-seekers have made important legal gains. But new rules proposed by the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice would obliterate that progress.

The recently proposed regulations would eliminate legal protection for the vast majority of asylum-seekers fleeing persecution in their homelands and seeking protection in the United States. For women and girls fleeing gender-based persecution, these rules are problematic in two significant ways. First, they arbitrarily limit the ability of women to present claims based on gender-based persecution or gender-specific political opinion. Second, the regulations would also include procedural barriers for women presenting claims that involve gender-based persecution, which are already more difficult to present.

The rules appear designed to eliminate gender-based persecution claims. Under these new rules, for example, even a Yazidi survivor of rape perpetrated as part of the Islamic State’s genocidal attacks in Iraq would face significant hurdles to securing protection.

The 1951 Refugee Convention defines a refugee as “a person who, owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable, or owing to such fear is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country.” The drafters did not include “gender” as a protected ground, likely because the male drafters did not recognize the role of the state in sanctioning violence against women through state laws and policies. Yet today, the Guidelines on International Protection issued by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) recognize that women can constitute a “particular social group.”

Because gender was not included as a protected ground under the Refugee Convention, claims involving gender-based persecution are frequently presented under the category of “membership of a particular social group.” In 1985 in Matter of Acosta , the Board of Immigration Appeals defined a particular social group as having common and immutable characteristics that “members of the group either cannot change, or should not be required to change because it is fundamental to their individual identities or consciences.” Sex was among the examples provided—and so Matter of Acosta was a critical case for women fleeing gender persecution.

These legal developments continued after Matter of Acosta . In the 1996 case Matter of Kasinga . the Board of Immigration Appeals decided that a young woman from Togo who fled FGM qualified for asylum protection, writing that she was a member of a particular social group “consisting of young women of the Tchamba Kunsuntu Tribe who have not had FGM, as practiced by that tribe, and who oppose the practice.” The Kasinga case set precedent for gender-persecution claims countrywide.

But under the new asylum regulations proposed by the Trump administration, the asylum applicant in Kasinga would likely find her claim denied. Here’s why: under asylum law, a person must show that she was persecuted on account of one of the five protected grounds set out in the Refugee Convention, also called the “nexus requirement.” One of the proposed rules would significantly curtail gender as forming part of the nexus required to establish persecution on account of a protected ground. The proposed rule identifies “gender” as one of eight circumstances in which the secretary of homeland security and the attorney general will not favorably adjudicate asylum based on persecution, barring rare circumstances that are not defined. Therefore, Fauziya Kasinga could establish that she was a member of a particular social group “consisting of young women of the Tchamba Kunsuntu Tribe who have not had FGM, as practiced by that tribe, and who oppose the practice” but under the new rule would be unlikely to establish that she feared persecution on account of a protected ground, because the particular social group includes “women” or “gender.”

Coming back to the example of a Yazidi survivor of Islamic State captivity who was clearly targeted for sexual violence and enslavement based on her gender, this woman would be unable to qualify for asylum on account of membership in a particular social group that includes gender.

In 2018, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions constrained asylum claims based on severe domestic violence in the case of Matter of A-B- . In that case, Sessions used his authority over immigration courts to overrule Matter of A-R-C-G —a case where the Board of Immigration Appeals recognized domestic violence as a basis for asylum protection. The proposed regulations would codify this ill-advised decision and prevent women from stating claims involving domestic violence.

Ironically, in rules proposed in late 2019, the departments of Justice and Homeland Security proposed seven new asylum bars for those “who commit federal, state, tribal, or local domestic violence offence, or who are found by an adjudicator to have engaged in acts of battery or extreme cruelty in a domestic context, even if no convicted resulted ” (emphasis added). If both rules are adopted, asylum adjudicators could determine that someone perpetrated domestic violence to bar him from asylum and then turn around to deny asylum for a victim of domestic violence.

Also problematic is how the rule would seriously narrow the definition of “political opinion” to include only activities in “furtherance of political control of a state or unit thereof.” Political opinion has long been held to be expansive and encompass fighting against communism as well as China’s one-child policy. The rule would narrowly define political opinion within the realm of anti-state action. This would exclude cases where women hold or express a political opinion about women’s rights, including the view that men do not have the right to beat or rape their wives. If this rule is adopted, cases where women are persecuted because of their political beliefs about gendered structural inequalities may no longer succeed.

There are many proposed rules that change asylum procedures in ways that significantly impair access to protection. For reasons of expediency, the proposed rule would streamline cases that include asylum, withholding of removal, and withholding of removal under the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT). Asylum-seekers would be deprived of legal remedies that currently exist for individuals who are in removal proceedings pursuant to the Immigration and Nationality Act § 240 (8 U.S.C. § 1229a). This is important because, as people wait for their cases to move forward, changes can occur in their lives that would make them eligible for other forms of relief—such as the U nonimmigrant visa for victims of crime, the T nonimmigrant visa for victims of trafficking, or adjustment of status based on marriage.

The pretermit rule would allow a judge to make a legal determination of an asylum case based only on a written application, and the judge could deny an application if the applicant did not present a viable claim on paper. The rule permits a judge to ask for additional evidence, giving the asylum applicant “up to 10 days” to respond. This is insufficient time to respond to a request for information regardless of whether someone is represented by an attorney or files pro se. Once denied, the applicant is denied her day in court. It is hard to emphasize how detrimental this change would be to asylum-seekers, as testimony is generally the most compelling evidence in an asylum case. I have witnessed women and men convince adjudicators based on powerful and detailed in-person accounts of persecution.

Applying for asylum without a lawyer is incredibly difficult. The law is complicated, and it is virtually impossible for most people to use the proper legal language when articulating why they fear being sent back to their countries where they face persecution. It is important to remember that because asylum-seekers have often faced past persecution, they may suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder—which can inhibit their ability to remember traumatic events and cause them to appear to lack credibility. This can make it difficult for pro se asylum-seekers to clearly explain past persecution if they are limited to an application without the opportunity to testify.

These proposed rules lose sight of the purpose of asylum law in the U.S. and internationally: to protect individuals from persecution. A person who establishes she is a refugee is presumed to qualify for asylum protection. Yet these proposed regulations take an inverted approach that first seeks to exclude individuals even when they establish that they meet the definition of a refugee. The result will be that many individuals who would normally qualify for protection under the current law will be denied for peripheral reasons unrelated to the core elements of a prima facie asylum case. Once the rules are published and become law, the only recourse for asylum-seekers will be litigation.

Having represented women and girls filing asylum and refugee claims both in the U.S and overseas—and working with Yazidi women and young girls who were abducted and brutally trafficked by the Islamic State—I have seen firsthand the many barriers they face in achieving protection in their own countries. Persecuted people look to the U.S. and other countries to give them an opportunity to escape horrific violence and try to recover and rebuild their lives. While achieving refugee or asylum protection has always been difficult, the fact that it exists gives these women and those who help them hope. If the doors keep closing, many women will receive the message that their lives do not matter.


How the Trump administration is turning legal immigrants into undocumented ones

In mid-June, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ contract ended with the company that had been printing these documents. Production was slated to be insourced, but “the agency’s financial situation,” USCIS said Thursday, prompted a hiring freeze that required it to ratchet down printing.

Of the two facilities where these credentials were printed, one, in Corbin, Ky., shut down production three weeks ago. The other facility, in Lee’s Summit, Mo., appears to be operating at reduced capacity.

Some 50,000 green cards and 75,000 other employment authorization documents promised to immigrants haven’t been printed, USCIS said in a statement. The agency said it had planned to escalate printing but that it “cannot speculate on future projections of processing times.” In the event of furloughs — which the agency has threatened if it does not get a $1.2 billion loan from Congress — “all agency operations will be affected.”

Some of the missing green cards are for immigrants newly approved for legal permanent residency. Others are for existing permanent residents who periodically must renew their identity cards, which expire every 10 years but sometimes must be replaced sooner (for example, if lost). These immigrants have completed every interview, required biometric assessment, cleared other hurdles — and often waited years for these critical credentials.

Refusing to even print the green cards… that’s not legal guys.


An investigative report from the NYT and The Marshall Project about how ICE transported Covid-19 positive immigrants back to their respective countries on commercial airlines, and no masks provided, but temperatures were taken. Over 40K immigrants were sent back in this time period to 11 different countries.

All followed CDC guidelines they said…:scream:

An investigation by The New York Times in collaboration with The Marshall Project reveals how unsafe conditions and scattershot testing helped turn ICE into a domestic and global spreader of the virus — and how pressure from the Trump administration led countries to take in sick deportees.

We spoke to more than 30 immigrant detainees who described cramped and unsanitary detention centers where social distancing was near impossible and protective gear almost nonexistent. It was like a time bomb,” said Yudanys, a Cuban immigrant held in Louisiana.

At least four deportees interviewed by The Times, from India, Haiti, Guatemala and El Salvador, tested positive for the virus shortly after arriving from the United States.

So far, ICE has confirmed at least 3,000 coronavirus-positive detainees in its detention centers, though testing has been limited.

We tracked over 750 domestic ICE flights since March, carrying thousands of detainees to different centers, including some who said they were sick. Kanate, a refugee from Kyrgyzstan, was moved from the Pike County Correctional Facility in Pennsylvania to the Prairieland Detention Facility in Texas despite showing Covid-19 symptoms. He was confirmed to have the virus just a few days later.

“I was panicking,” he said. “I thought that I will die here in this prison.”

We also tracked over 200 deportation flights carrying migrants, some of them ill with coronavirus, to other countries from March through June. Under pressure from the Trump administration and with promises of humanitarian aid, some countries have fully cooperated with deportations.

El Salvador and Honduras have accepted more than 6,000 deportees since March. In April, President Trump praised the presidents of both countries for their cooperation and said he would send ventilators to help treat the sickest of their coronavirus patients.

So far, the governments of 11 countries have confirmed that deportees returned home with Covid-19.

(David Bythewood) #402

ICE Offering ‘Citizens Academy’ Course with Training on Arresting Immigrants

Imagine hundreds of entitled, angry, racist George Zimmermans unleashed and empowered by Stephen Miller and Donald Trump’s new gestapo.


This is bad, very very bad. Like another step towards genocide bad. At this point the Administration doesn’t want to kill immigrants but sure don’t seem to care if they live either.

(David Bythewood) #404

Indeed. It’s like Trump watched Police Academy: Citizens on Patrol and thought, “how can I apply this in real life, but with more racism and death and fearmongering and less comedy and zany antics and Steve Guttenberg?”


~10,000 children were stolen from their families by our government, some have died in custody and yet the media has to constantly debunk conspiracy theories about online cabinets for sale and pizza parlors. People can’t even see what’s happening before their very eyes.

This is how genocide happens.


(David Bythewood) #407

Despite the SCOTUS ruling, the Trump regime was refusing new DACA applications. A judge has ruled that it must accept them.

Judge orders Trump administration to accept new DACA applications

Federal Court Orders Trump Administration to Accept New DACA Applications

Decision ends weeks of uncertainty for undocumented immigrants brought to U.S. as children after Supreme Court ruling in June

Trump administration must accept new DACA applications, judge orders


Looks like there was pushback against Homeland Security when they tried to eliminate a Trusted Traveller program (fast tracks people through security) and relates to NYS not allowing access to Driver’s license information to HHS. Cuomo called it 'extortion," and seems like it was another ruse to get at immigrant information.

NY won this fast tracking Travellers program back in the courts today.

The court filing offered an explanation for the Department of Homeland Security’s unexpected announcement on Thursday that it was allowing New Yorkers back into what is officially known as the Trusted Traveler Program.

The announcement came nearly six months after the department barred state residents from Global Entry and other programs because of the state’s passage of the so-called Green Light law.

Unlike its counterparts in other states, the New York law restricted immigration authorities from gaining access to state Department of Motor Vehicles records without a court order.

When the government moved to block state residents from the travel programs because of the driver’s license law, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo condemned the action as “a form of extortion.”

The dispute escalated over the course of a week, until Mr. Cuomo met with President Trump at the White House in February in hopes of working out a compromise.

The agreement that was reached, which was enshrined in a state budget bill in April, gives the federal authorities access to the motor vehicle records of those applying for trusted-traveler status.

Mr. Cuomo and federal officials said on Thursday that it was the compromise that had paved the way for the announcement that New Yorkers were being allowed to enroll in the travel programs again.

“I am glad that this issue has finally been resolved for all New Yorkers,” the governor said in a statement.

In his own statement, Chad F. Wolf, the acting Homeland Security secretary, said that “we appreciate the information sharing” that enabled the department “to move forward and begin once again processing New York residents” in Trusted Traveler Programs.

Neither man mentioned the court filing and the admissions it contained.

(David Bythewood) #409

ICE really allowed themselves to be filmed thinking they’d come off as the GOOD guys? What morons!

Video in tweet:

(David Bythewood) #410

Trump admin makes Supreme Court defiance official, says it won’t accept first-time DACA applicants

(David Bythewood) #411

Judge blocks administration from implementing ‘public charge’ rule for immigrants during pandemic



(David Bythewood) #413

There’s Been A Major Increase In The Use Of Force Against Immigrants At ICE Detention Centers During The Pandemic

“We are numbers to them. We are not people.”

Jail guards pepper-sprayed the unit as immigrants lay down on the ground, screaming and coughing. The officers shot pepper ball rounds that ricocheted off jail tables, broken pieces striking a detainee’s eye. Fumes lingered in the air and made it hard for the detainees to breathe.

Immigrants who spoke with BuzzFeed News described the scene at the Adelanto ICE Processing Facility in Southern California on June 12 when private prison guards contracted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement pepper-sprayed and shot pepper balls against more than 150 detainees following a protest. Four detainees were taken to the hospital afterward.

Alejandro Ramirez said he and fellow immigrants were protesting rolling lockdowns of the jail in advance of a planned demonstration outside the facility by refusing the guards’ orders to return to their cells. In the weeks prior, demonstrators had broken a window and injured an Adelanto employee, according to the Victorville Press.

As a result of their protest, the detainees were pepper-sprayed. Another immigrant who spoke with BuzzFeed News said he saw multiple detainees pass out. A Los Angeles Times report described a detainee having a seizure, and another being hit by rubber bullets “as he told them he had leukemia.”

One of the pepper balls used struck a table, Ramirez said, and a broken piece cut his eye.

Ramirez told BuzzFeed News in July he couldn’t see out of one of his eyes for three days.

“We are numbers to them," he said. "We are not people. They are not going to listen to us. They are going to follow their rules. There is nothing we can do.”

He was later deported to Mexico.

The force used in Adelanto, which ICE said was needed to “preserve order” after multiple unsuccessful attempts to de-escalate, is the latest in a series of similar incidents since the beginning of the pandemic.

ICE officials do not proactively report these cases unless media outlets request the information, and the agency does not compile data from use-of-force incidents within detention centers nationwide. BuzzFeed News, however, reviewed internal government reports and has found that there has been a substantial increase in uses of force during the coronavirus pandemic.

Since the end of March through the beginning of July, guards at detention centers across the country deployed force — pepper spray, pepper balls, pepper spray grenades — in incidents involving more than 10 immigrants at a time on a dozen occasions, according to a review of internal reports.

In total, more than 600 detainees have been subjected to these group uses of force. Other reports obtained by BuzzFeed News do not list how many detainees were affected. In one event, detention guards pepper-sprayed underneath a door after some detainees protested being isolated due to potential COVID-19 exposure, according to an internal report.

The recent figures stand in contrast to the period before the pandemic. In the six months prior to the health emergency — from September to March — there were two use-of-force incidents against more than 10 detainees, according to a review of the documents BuzzFeed News obtained.

ICE officials acknowledged the recent uptick, which they attributed to disruptive detainees.

“During the pandemic, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has seen more incidents where groups of detainees become confrontational with staff, sometimes acting in ways that are unsafe for the general population,” said Danielle Bennett, a spokesperson for the agency. “When such incidents occur, and staff is unable to deescalate the situation through other means, the use of OC spray is permitted and consistent with agency protocols, as described in the detention standards, to preserve order and maintain a safe environment.”

Medical experts, however, said the increased use of pepper spray during the pandemic in a closed space was concerning.

“It’s a bad idea. Pepper spray is an irritant of the respiratory system and often causes people to cough, and we know that cough increases the spread of virus,” said Marc Stern, a public health expert and faculty member at the University of Washington. “It comes with an additional risk that did not exist in pre-COVID times.”

Stern said guards should weigh whether using pepper spray could increase the risk of spreading the disease through the use of pepper spray inside the jails.

The incidents often follow a similar pattern, with force being used after detainees refuse commands from guards. Some incidents have been directly tied to the pandemic: detainees protesting conditions, resisting being quarantined, or being moved within the facility. ICE officials say that detainees involved were disruptive, disregarded orders, and in some cases were violent.

Immigrants and their advocates, however, believe the use of force is unjustified and excessive.

“The lack of transparency into these facilities have allowed guards to use force —including pepper spray, rubber bullets, and physical force — with impunity. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, this has only grown worse, due in part to the fear of people in detention as the virus continues to spread in facilities, sickening and killing people,” said Eunice Cho, a senior staff attorney at the ACLU.

Laura Rivera, the director of Southern Poverty Law Center’s Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative, said that detainees are advocating for “freedom” during the pandemic due to fears they will contract the disease in custody.

“In return, ICE routinely retaliates with ruthless force. Clad in riot gear, guards deploy pepper spray, pepper-ball ammunitions, and physical force,” she said.

Medical experts and immigrant advocates have warned that the highly contagious disease puts everyone in detention at risk. They’ve pointed out that detention centers have a lack of necessary space to accommodate proper social distancing guidelines. ICE has countered that the agency has ramped up testing and released many detainees who are medically vulnerable. As of late July, nearly 1,000 detainees had tested positive for COVID-19 and almost 4,000 had gotten the disease in custody.

In one incident, ICE medical officials held a meeting about COVID-19 at a detention center in Louisiana, according to a government document obtained by BuzzFeed News. During the class, a group of detainees began protesting and ignored the guards’ orders. Pepper spray was soon used to keep a group of detainees from escaping an area of the jail, the report stated.

In March, Mother Jones reported that an attorney representing a woman in the detention center said that she was told that "the women were coughing, crying, and that some fainted throughout the approximately one hour that they were locked in the room with tear gas.”

Later, in May, the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office used pepper spray on 25 detainees after they refused to be tested for COVID-19. Sheriff’s officials said that the immigrants “rushed violently” at correctional officers and broke windows in the facility. Advocate groups have denied the allegations. The ACLU has since sued to get video footage from the incident.

Rev. Annie Gonzalez Milliken, a minister at the First Parish in Bedford, said she got a call from one detainee the night the incident occurred.

He told her that the sheriff’s officials had grabbed him, and that the detainees had been sprayed in the face and in the mouth.

"They want to take us to the other unit to be tested, we don’t want to go on the other unit for cross-contamination, we want to be tested, but not moved,” she said the detainee told her.

The most recent incident came on July 1 at the Immigration Center of America in Farmville, Virginia, where more than 40 detainees were pepper-sprayed after they refused to return to their cells for a day population count. The detention center’s warden said in a federal court filing that the detainees had congregated in the center’s day room instead.

“Several officers and supervisors spoke with them and attempted to persuade them to return to their bunks in Dorm 7 on their own,” he said in the affidavit filed in federal court as part of a lawsuit filed by Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights (CAIR) Coalition over the conditions in center. “After about thirty minutes, I authorized the use of pepper spray. Four of the detainees picked up chairs and used them as weapons against the officers. A total of 11 detainees became violent and are now isolated from the rest of Dorm 7 for disciplinary and safety reasons.”

The incident came as the detention center has seen an uptick in COVID-19 cases. As of early July, there were more than 250 detainees with the disease. Advocates have called the situation an “outbreak” and a “human rights crisis.”

In June, the detention center received 74 detainees from Arizona and Florida, 51 of whom tested positive for the disease.

“There’s no doubt in my mind this egregious use of force had to do with the erupting COVID-19 outbreak that resulted from the ICE transfers. Our clients described feeling scared and sick, not getting adequate food or medical attention, people passing out in the dorms — they were simply trying to get answers and to be treated with dignity and respect,” said Sirine Shebaya, head of the National Immigration Project. “Instead, the guards attacked them with pepper spray and escalated a disastrous situation of their own making."

(David Bythewood) #414

ICE and GEO can’t be bothered with little issues like having to quarantine infected immigrants away from healthy ones, so they’ve adopted Trump’s tactic: just don’t test at all. No cases then, right?