Immigration: issues and policy


They are now using the children as bait to arrest more undocumented immigrants.

Federal officers have arrested dozens of undocumented immigrants who came forward to take care of undocumented immigrant children in government custody, and the Trump administration is pledging to go after more.

The news will serve as confirmation of the worst fears of immigrants and their advocates: that a recent move by President Donald Trump’s administration to more fully vet people who come forward to care for undocumented immigrant children who are alone in the US has been a way for the administration to track down and arrest more undocumented immigrants.

On Tuesday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement senior official Matthew Albence testified to Congress that, after Health and Human Services and ICE signed a memorandum of agreement to background-check and fingerprint potential “sponsors” of immigrant children, ICE arrested 41 people who came forward.



The letter was first reported by Yahoo News.

In the letter, Azar said his agency is reallocating up to $186 million from other pots of HHS money and up to $80 million from refugee programs that are being little used as the administration slashes the yearly number of refugees admitted to the country.

The Department of Homeland Security similarly reprogrammed more than $200 million to cover immigrant detention this month, including $10 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The documents show a plan to take money from a variety of places, including $16.7 million from the child benefits program Head Start**, $3.8 million from HIV programs as part of a bigger $16.7 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, $9.8 million from Medicare and Medicaid program operations, $2.2 million from maternal and child health programs, $5.8 million from the Ryan White HIV/AIDS program, $13.3 million from the National Cancer Institute and $87.3 million overall from the National Institutes of Health.**



Looks like Trump is planning to kick up a big PR storm over immigration to energize his base in the final weeks leading up to the mid-terms. No surprise here, but it will be interesting to see what stunts he comes up with. Of course his base always loves it when he crows about his mythical Wall so I’m sure that will figure in somehow.

And speaking of the Wall, check out the last three paragraphs. If you were harboring one remaining shred of a doubt that Trump is a sociopath, you can now rid yourself of that – there is no doubt whatsoever.

The president said he remains hopeful he can deliver on a border wall and that he found inspiration for the project while speaking at the Sept. 11 memorial in Pennsylvania.

“They built this gorgeous wall where the plane went down in Pennsylvania, Shanksville. And I was there. I made the speech. And it’s sort of beautiful, what they did is incredible,” he said. “They have a series of walls, I’m saying, it’s like perfect. So, so, we are pushing very hard.”

The Flight 93 National Memorial, two miles north of Shanksville in southwestern Pennsylvania, is the site where United Airlines Flight 93 crashed after being hijacked by four al Qaida terrorists on 9/11. Forty passengers and crew died in the crash.

Trump spins the tragic death of a plane full of people into a promotion for his border wall. Astounding – yet quite consistent with sociopathic behavior.

(A nod to @ddale8 for drawing attention to these paragraphs.)


Looks like there was a FOIA to get at some documents for the Immigration’s issue harshest program, Zero Tolerance. Despite denials from DHS Sec K Nielsen that she claims she had no part in this, but it appears that she did sign off on the policies, allowing for the detention and separation of families.

Note: The signatures have been redacted…and this Open the Government group wants to get the documents unredacted.


We do not have a policy of separating families at the border. Period.
2:52 PM - 17 Jun 2018


This misreporting by Members, press & advocacy groups must stop. It is irresponsible and unproductive. As I have said many times before, if you are seeking asylum for your family, there is no reason to break the law and illegally cross between ports of entry.
2:51 PM - 17 Jun 2018

Open the Government

Newly released memo obtained by OTG & POGO through FOIA reveals secretary of homeland security signed off on family separation policy

Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen previously denied existence of policy

Open the Government and the Project On Government Oversight have obtained documents through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request that provides new insights into internal decision-making behind the separation of thousands of parents from their children at the border earlier this year.

The biggest revelation in the documents is a memo dated April 23, in which top Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials urged criminal prosecution of parents crossing the border with children—the policy that led to the crisis that continues today. The memo, first reported on by the Washington Post on April 26, but never previously published, provides evidence that Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen signed off on a policy of family separation despite her repeated claims denying that there was such a policy. The Post appears to have obtained a copy of the memo prior to its signature.

The memo states that DHS could “permissibly direct the separation of parents or legal guardians and minors held in immigration detention so that the parent or legal guardian can be prosecuted.” It outlines three options for implementing “zero tolerance,” the policy of increased prosecution of immigration violations. Of these, it recommends “Option 3,” referring for prosecution all adults crossing the border without authorization, “including those presenting with a family unit,” as the “most effective.”

The last page of the memo contains a signature approving Option 3, but the signature—almost certainly Nielsen’s, given that the memo is addressed to her—was blacked out by FOIA officers on privacy grounds. FOIA officials also appear to have redacted the date of the signature indicating approval.

Open the Government and the Project On Government Oversight intend to appeal the redaction of the memo. The Secretary of Homeland Security is a high-level public official; using privacy exemptions to hide her role in major policy decisions is unacceptable.





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This is an opinion piece from 2007, back when we were still discussing immigration in a rational manner. The CADO Institute is a Libertarian Policy Think Tank, much like the Brookings Institute but on the other side of the aisle. Give this a read and comment if you feel like these a reasonable respectable policies that Democrats would be happy to agree with and co-sponsor legislation.



The Trump administration is considering charging immigrants a fee to apply for asylum protection in the United States, according to sources close to the administration.

The proposal, included in a not-yet-finalized draft regulation, would charge applicants, if they are already residing in the US, $50 to apply for asylum. Currently, there is no fee to enter an “affirmative asylum” application. The fee would not apply to those who claim a fear of persecution at ports of entry or those who apply for the protections while in deportation proceedings. There would be no waiver of the fee for those who cannot afford to pay the $50.

More than 300,000 such cases are pending with US Citizenship and Immigration Services, which oversees the process. Last year, more than 100,000 people applied for asylum protections through USCIS.

The proposed move, if instituted, would be the latest change in the asylum process pushed by the administration, which has long been critical of a process it says is too often abused. Advocates have said that the administration’s changes to asylum, including restricting who qualifies for asylum and a proposed ban on anyone who crossed the border without authorization from receiving it, are illegal and inhumane.

The vast majority of countries across the globe do not charge a fee for asylum applications.