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Immigration: issues and policy


The Trump administration has made the construction of an “impregnable” 2,000-mile wall across the length of the US-Mexico border a centerpiece of its executive orders on immigration and its broader immigration enforcement strategy. This initiative has been broadly criticized based on:

  • Escalating cost projections: an internal Department of Homeland Security (DHS) study recently set the cost at $21.6 billion over three and a half years

  • Its necessity given the many other enforcement tools — video surveillance, drones, ground sensors, and radar technologies — and Border Patrol personnel, that cover the US-Mexico border: former DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff and other experts have argued that a wall does not add enforcement value except in heavy crossing areas near towns, highways, or other “vanishing points” (Kerwin 2016);

  • Its cost-effectiveness given diminished Border Patrol apprehensions (to roughly one-fourth the level of historic highs) and reduced illegal entries (to roughly one-tenth the 2005 level according to an internal DHS study) (Martinez 2016);

  • Its efficacy as an enforcement tool: between FY 2010 and FY 2015, the current 654-mile pedestrian wall was breached 9,287 times (GAO 2017, 22);

  • Its inability to meet the administration’s goal of securing “operational control” of the border, defined as “the prevention of all unlawful entries to the United States” (White House 2017);

  • Its deleterious impact on bi-national border communities, the environment, and property rights (Heyman 2013); and

  • Opportunity costs in the form of foregone investments in addressing the conditions that drive large-scale migration, as well as in more effective national security and immigration enforcement strategies.

The Center for Migration Studies (CMS) has reported on the dramatic decline in the US undocumented population between 2008 and 2014 (Warren 2016). In addition, a growing percentage of border crossers in recent years have originated in the Northern Triangle states of Central America (CBP 2016). These migrants are fleeing pervasive violence, persecution, and poverty, and a large number do not seek to evade arrest, but present themselves to border officials and request political asylum. Many are de facto refugees, not illegal border crossers.

This report speaks to another reason to question the necessity and value of a 2,000-mile wall: It does not reflect the reality of how the large majority of persons now become undocumented. It finds that two-thirds of those who arrived in 2014 did not illegally cross a border, but were admitted (after screening) on non-immigrant (temporary) visas, and then overstayed their period of admission or otherwise violated the terms of their visas. Moreover, this trend in increasing percentages of visa overstays will likely continue into the foreseeable future.


U.S. Customs and Border Protection encountered only six immigrants at ports of entry on the U.S-Mexico border in the first half of fiscal year 2018 whose names were on a federal government list of known or suspected terrorists, according to CBP data provided to Congress in May 2018 and obtained by NBC News.

The low number contradicts statements by Trump administration officials, including White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, who said Friday that CBP stopped nearly 4,000 known or suspected terrorists from crossing the southern border in fiscal year 2018.


100% this :point_down: seriously have a listen! Spoiler: there is no crisis except the one Trump has created.

President Trump plans to address the nation tonight about what he calls “the humanitarian and national security crisis on our southern border.” But much of that chaos could be a result of the administration’s policies. Guest: Caitlin Dickerson, who covers immigration for The New York Times. For more information on today’s episode, visit


If we can’t figure this out, we deserve the administration we have in office.


Boom. From the Libertarian think tank the Cato Institute.

So far, there have been zero people murdered or injured in terror attacks committed by illegal border crossers on U.S. soil. This includes those who entered as illegal immigrants and those who entered illegally and then applied for asylum. Only seven terrorists from special interest countries, all of whom entered prior to the government putting those countries on a list, even entered the U.S. illegally by crossing a land border. Two of them were arrested within hours of doing so, two other received asylum, and none of them crossed the Mexican border.


The Trump administration separated thousands more migrant children from their parents at the U.S. border than has previously been made public, according to an investigative report released Thursday, but the federal tracking system has been so poor that the precise number is hazy.

According to a report issued Thursday by the Department of Health and Human Services’s inspector general, the separated children include 118 taken between July and early November — after the administration halted a short-lived family separation policy that provoked a political firestorm and public outrage. The report estimates that thousands more youngsters were taken into government custody starting early in the Trump administration and continuing until early last summer.

When immigration enforcement officials transferred those youngsters into HHS custody, they said the biggest reason was that their parents had criminal histories. But information on the parents’ criminal records often was so sketchy that it is unclear whether the separations were warranted or whether the children can be safely returned to their families, the report said.


And now the Times has confirmed the story.


Aeromexico is confronting people’s thoughts on Mexicans and themselves.
Check out their ad…it is pretty good.


Total disregard for those immigrants coming to the border…malicious, deadly and driven by getting rid of ‘other.’ A horrendous situation.

From the NYT Editorial board…

The Lost Children of the Trump Administration

Why can’t the government account for how many children it separated from their parents at the border?

The unfortunate reality,” wrote Judge Dana Sabraw in ordering a halt to President Trump’s policy of separating the children from their parents, “is that under the present system, migrant children are not accounted for with the same efficiency and accuracy as property.”

That was underscored on Thursday when the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services released a report revealing that thousands more children than previously disclosed may have been torn from their parents for months before the policy was even announced. The report confirmed that, as the number of families seeking asylum has soared, the true crisis on the border was a humanitarian one that the administration’s actions have made far worse.

The report said department officials who care for immigrant children seized at the border realized by August 2017 that the proportion of children separated from their parents was 10 times greater than had previously been the case, when families were usually broken up only if there were safety concerns for the children. It was not until the following April that the administration announced a zero-tolerance approach, under which families would be pulled apart because all adults crossing the border without authorization would be criminally charged and jailed.

The report describes department officials essentially grasping in the dark to come to terms with what had happened. “Because the tracking systems in use at that time were informal and designed for operational purposes,” according to the report, immigration officials were “unable to provide a more precise estimate or specific information about these children’s placements.”

Department officials had to search more than 60 databases “to identify indicators of possible separation, such as an adult and child with the same last name apprehended on the same day at the same location.” Officials also had to review 12,000 case files and contact the department’s shelters to find children who had been separated from their families.

Such dysfunction goes beyond mere incompetence. To have so little regard for the damage done to so many children, for the heartache caused to so many parents, is to indulge in callousness, if not deliberate cruelty. President Trump doesn’t need a wall. He needs a heart.


Very clever! The commercial unfolds with a sense of humor while really making you think. I admire Aeromexico for this campaign because it was risky to tackle a controversial subject – doing so can often backfire for a big corporation, but they really nailed this. :clap:


Separate the families and then deport the children in a different proceeding from their parents. Damn, that’s cold.

The document was circulated between high level officials at DHS and the Justice Department, at least one of whom was instrumental in writing the first iteration of the administration’s travel ban.

The plan, and the comments written in the margins, provide a window into the policy discussion thinking at the time, how far officials were willing to go to deter families seeking asylum and what they may still be considering.

In one comment, the Justice Department official suggests that Customs and Border Protection could see that children who have been separated from their parents would be denied an asylum hearing before an immigration judge, which is typically awarded to children who arrive at the border alone.

Instead, the entire family would be given an order of “expedited removal” and then separated, placing the child in the care of HHS in U.S. Marshall’s custody while both await deportation.

“If CBP issues an ER [expedited removal] for the entire family unit, places the parents in the custody of the U.S. Marshal, and then places the minors with HHS, it would seem that DHS could work with HHS to actually repatriate [deport] the minors then,” the official wrote.

“It would take coordination with the home countries, of course, but that doesn’t seem like too much of a cost to pay compared to the status quo.”

It is unclear from the official’s comment whether the government planned on reunifying children with their parents before they were deported.


Federal immigration officials are force-feeding six immigrants through plastic nasal tubes during a hunger strike that’s gone on for a month inside a Texas detention facility, The Associated Press has learned.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement says 11 detainees at the El Paso Processing Center have been refusing food, some for more than 30 days. Detainees who reached the AP, along with a relative and an attorney representing hunger strikers, said nearly 30 detainees from India and Cuba have been refusing to eat, and some are now so weak they cannot stand up or talk.

Another four detainees are on hunger strikes in the agency’s Miami, Phoenix, San Diego and San Francisco areas of responsibility, said ICE spokeswoman Leticia Zamarripa on Wednesday.

The men say they stopped eating to protest verbal abuse and threats of deportation from guards. They are also upset about lengthy lock ups while awaiting legal proceedings.


Some in-your-face-T showing for the SOTU address…a recently fired undocumented (fake social security card) worker from T’s Bedminister Golf Club.

I’m not scared to show my face,” she said, speaking in Spanish. “I am not speaking for me, I’m speaking on behalf of millions of undocumented immigrants who live in the United States.”

The congresswoman, Bonnie Watson Coleman, represents the New Jersey district in which Ms. Morales lives. The news that Ms. Morales had been invited to attend Tuesday’s State of the Union address as Ms. Watson Coleman’s guest was reported by The Washington Post on Wednesday.

“Immigrants by and large are hardworking, trustworthy and skilled people who simply want to work and build better lives here,” Ms. Watson Coleman said in a statement. “For years these kinds of people were loyal and dedicated enough to be Trump Organization employees. I hope that in his State of the Union address, Donald Trump will finally acknowledge the real face of immigrants in this country — women and children fleeing violence; law-abiding, taxpaying people who would do almost anything to be Americans. And if he can’t, I’ve invited Victorina so that he may look her in her eyes to tell his lies to a familiar face.”

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday evening.


[Judge’s speech at new citizen swearing in ceremony, Portland, Oregon](

The speech made by this judge at a swearing in ceremony of new American citizens is well done. I found it on the website of my favorite little orchestra Pink Martini, headquartered in Portland. The band had performed at the ceremony for the new citizens. Several years ago the band assisted a non-profit I’m a member of the BOD of when we needed public donations (cash) to stabilize our financial situation. I say that here because I want to give them credit for helping us. I found this judge’s comments a breath of fresh air at a time when immigration and immigrants receive so much negative attention.


Obviously this is horrible. Who will stand up for their rights?

Thousands of migrant children who crossed the southern border into the U.S. have reported they were sexually assaulted while in government custody, according to Department of Health and Human Services documents released Tuesday by Rep. Ted Deutch’s office.

In the past four years, 4,556 children said they were sexually assaulted while in the care of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement, which takes custody of unaccompanied minors who cross the southern border alone and those who are separated from their families.

Allegations go back to 2015, meaning the reported assaults started under the Obama administration. But the allegations have increased in the past two years after the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy that led to at least 2,800 family separations flooding the department with additional children.


This post is relevant to both Immigration and Who’s driving the Narrative.


I try to keep an eye on what’s going on with immigration, but with all the other fuckery I lose track. At least 4 activists have been detained in similar circumstances.

(David Bythewood) #95

I actually have three stories related to this: it seems to be an ongoing, developing issue. I find the NYC protester issue, which Matt has up on WTF, feels related to this harassment at the border:

ICE Has Kept Tabs on ‘Anti-Trump’ Protestors in New York City

Documents reveal that the immigration enforcement agency has been keenly attuned to left-leaning protests in the city.

U.S. officials made list of reporters, lawyers, activists to “question” at border

Several people on the list told NBC News they were questioned at the border as part of what U.S. border agents called a “national security investigation.”

The US Compiled A Secret List Of Journalists, Attorneys, & Activists To Question At The Border

“It starts to smack of dictatorship or the persecution of actors & press during the red scare,” a senior ICE official not involved in the matter said.


@Windthin Hey, I moved your post. Trying to consolidate similar threads.

(David Bythewood) #97

Oh, neat. Sorry, I am a bit new here and I tend to collect stories. It’s one of my things. If you want the big long read of them, I have a running mega-thread here: