Posts Tagged ‘Donald Trump’

Daily Dispatch 5/9/2019


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Daily Dispatch

May 9, 2019


National Call-in Day: Block Trump Money Grab (From Detention Watch Network)

On Wednesday last week, the Trump Administration sent a $4.5 billion request for a supplemental funding package that includes billions for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Despite being cloaked in the language of humanitarian aid, the funding sought for ICE and CBP would instead increase human suffering by ensuring more people are detained in inhumane conditions, blocked from accessing due process, and criminalized through politically motivated prosecutions.

Don’t be fooled—this isn’t really for humanitarian aid!

The Trump administration, under guidance from white nationalist Stephen Miller, demonstrates daily that its approach to migration is rooted in hate and cruelty.

The Trump administration is co-opting “humanitarian crisis” to pay for more human suffering. This is an attempt to fast-track even more funding to fuel Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda and to expand an already massive and inhumane immigrant detention system, all deceptively cloaked in the language of humanitarian response.

Today, May 9th, is the National Call-in Day to stop Trump’s harmful money grab! Join organizations across the country making calls to Congress to stop the supplemental funding request.

Call your member of Congress!

  • Dial 1-844-332-6361 and enter your zip code.
  • Once you’re connected, use this script: “Hello, my name is [first and last name]. I’m calling as part of the Defund Hate campaign. I’m calling to ask [Member of Congress] to publicly oppose Trump’s supplemental funding request. This request will only give billions to Trump’s agenda to maximize harm to those arriving at the border by building and expanding deadly immigration detention jails. More people behind bars is not a humanitarian response. [Member of Congress] should publicly speak out and urge leadership to reject the White House supplemental budget request. Thank you.”

ICE Blocking Legal Services in Texas Facility

RAICES has filed a formal complaint with the Trump administration over tactics employed at the Karnes Detention facility that is blocking immigrant access to free legal services:

An immigration legal group has filed a formal complaint against the Trump administration saying it is blocking detained immigrants from free legal services.

The complaint filed Wednesday by RAICES, a nonprofit immigrant legal services group, accuses Immigration and Customs Enforcement of creating barriers for people held at the Karnes, Texas, immigration detention facility to meet with legal teams.

The complaints are many and include such things as ICE failing to make space available for private meetings with clients, setting new requirements for lawyers to meet with clients, so that fewer people can meet with attorneys, and eliminating a “walk-in” signup list.

Read more on the story here.

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Daily Dispatch 8/21/18

A new series in which we (will aspire to) offer a sampling of today’s headlines on immigration, race, and related stories.

August 21, 2018

Top Stories:

Today begins what is intended to be a 19 day strike by prison inmates across the nation, demanding an “end to prison slavery.” In prisons and immigrant detention centers, prisoners are made to work for as little as $1 a day, sometimes in life-threatening work – fighting wildfires or working kill lines. The strike, set to end on the anniversary of the Attica uprising, is largely organized by prisoners themselves in response to recent deadly riots in a South Carolina facility. Jailhouse Lawyers Speak issued a list of “national demands,” including the rescinding of recent prison reform laws, fair pay standards, and restoration of voting rights. 

The Policies:

There seems to be a theme here: first DHS began using kids as bait to lure undocumented sponsors for deportation. Then CBP and ICE began taking kids away from their parents as a punishment/deterrent for crossing the border. Now the Department of State is getting in on the hurt-the-kids-to-hurt-the-parents trend, making changes to the Foreign Affairs manual to expand the definition of “public charge” to include government benefits (including CHIP, Earned Income Credit, Obamacare subsidies) received by US citizen children if one of their parents is a legal immigrant, rendering that parent ineligible for a green card. This isn’t exactly breaking news, but a couple of articles today are worth a mention. Check out Salon’s “Trump’s immigrant family separation strategy 2.0 targets children as they return to school” and this segment from All Things Considered.

Immigration policy takes center stage at the VMAs, as Logic builds a human wall.

An exploration of the many Stephen Millers of American history.

Examining Trump’s immigration policies from the POV of an immigration restrictionist.

The New York Time’s “The Daily” podcast begins a three-part series on family separations. Today’s installment examines how it all started (also available via Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and RadioPublic).

The Courts:

29 parents who were separated from their children and denied asylum have filed suit against the government for violation of due process.

From the Salt Lake Tribune: Warrantless genital inspections at baggage claim by Customs and Border Protection. These stories recounted in great detail in multiple lawsuits against the agency are very disturbing.

American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) head discusses new national campaign and associated resolution to establish an Article I immigration court system. Another AILA representative also published an opinion piece.

After two years in ICE custody, court confirms US citizen’s status as US citizen.

A DOJ employee who joined a group of activists protesting DHS Sec Kirstjen Nielsen at a DC restaurant and criticized family separation online has not violated the Hatch Act, according to the US Office of Special Counsel, which is “closing this matter without further action.”

95 year old Nazi war criminal deported to Germany – which is, frankly, a little surprising.

The Circus:

Trump salutes ICE and… Canadian public radio?  Reading from a teleprompter, Trump refers to Customs and Border Protection as CBC eight out of eight times. It’s CBP. (Full video of the ceremony with transcript.)

And then this happened:

 

 

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Guidance for Jeff Sessions and other news

Yesterday, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services released a Policy Memorandum offering guidance for border officers in dealing with asylum cases, in accordance with Jeff Sessions’ ruling that domestic violence and gang violence will no longer constitute credible fears for asylum applications. The memo can be read here, the ruling here, and some news coverage here.

A couple of weeks ago, Sessions recounted some of the ugly crimes committed by MS-13 members while defending the family separation not-exactly-policy-but-definitely-not-law. Trump invokes them nearly every day to stoke the fires of his base and create straw-men for politicians and journalists. The problem with this tactic is that it shines a spotlight on the administration’s (a) lack of logical consistency and/or (b) blatant race-based hypocrisy. Trump and Sessions want to revel in the heinousness of the crimes in order to demonize the very people seeking asylum to escape those crimes.

Is the gang violence bad? Yes? Then asylum is a legitimate claim. Is asylum from gang violence legitimate? No? Then the violence must not be that bad. In case he is a more visual learner, I have created this helpful flowchart that Sessions might want to consult in order to understand that he cannot have it both ways.

By denying asylum to those fleeing gang violence, Sessions is telling us that Central American parents should just accept the fact that their children will either likely be recruited to commit such crimes or be killed in a manner he deems unacceptable – at least for (non-Central) Americans.

Frankly, the only framework in which Sessions’ argument is coherent is one that sees Central Americans as a virus to be subjected to quarantine until it dies out and children from these countries as less deserving of the protections we seek for kids in the United States; in other words, a racist framework. (Laura Bush wrote an op-ed comparing family separation and detention to FDR’s Japanese American internment camps during WWII.)

In other news:

  • CLINIC and ASAP released a study on In Absentia removal of asylum seekers.

  • Alex Azar, Health and Human Services Secretary, stated that the facilities for kids who have been taken from their parents by the government are “one of the great acts of American generosity and charity.”

  • Paula White, Trump’s “spiritual advisor,” said:

“I think so many people have taken Biblical Scriptures out of context on this, to say stuff like, ‘Well, Jesus was a refugee.’ Yes, he did live in Egypt for three-and-a-half years. But it was not illegal. If he had broken the law, then he would have been sinful and he would not have been our Messiah.”

Setting aside the significant historical and theological problems with her statement, we are still left to ask: Is she suggesting that babies can be criminals? And is this part of her “spiritual advice” to Trump?

  • And finally, ICYMI, Sessions doesn’t mind joking about family separation:

 

 

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"Animals" – just another day in the Trumpian Hellscape

In a meeting with California officials to discuss Sanctuary Cities, Trump uttered the following: “We have people coming into the country, or trying to come in — and we’re stopping a lot of them — but we’re taking people out of the country. You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people. These are animals.”

News outlets tended to cover this in “Trump calls immigrants animals” fashion. I’m a fan of the mainstream media and the Deep State, but as the National Review rightly points out, Trump’s use of the word “animal” was in direct response to a question about MS-13 asked by the Sheriff of Fresno County, where MS-13 gang members have been convicted of murder and gun charges.

Fine, context is important.

But the context doesn’t really make it better. Recently, one of our contributors wrote a piece on MS-13 and the cycle of dehumanization that leads to violence. (I’ll give you a minute to read it before I continue…ready?)

One could argue that the press is in the wrong here because calling Trump out for dehumanizing immigrants (which he does regularly) without specifying which particular group of immigrants he happens to be dehumanizing today actually does his work for him – contributing to the lumping together of undocumented immigrants with the small percentage of those who have committed violent crimes.

In any case, calling a particular group of people “animals” is simply an explicit articulation of his dehumanizing policies on immigration, which have a much more concrete and immediate impact on people’s daily lives. For example:

  • Stripping people of TPS and shipping them back to their “shithole countries” (which actually contributes to gang violence, thus increasing the number of people seeking asylum).
  • Dehumanizing children by treating that as contraband to be confiscated at the border and storing them in military installations (distorting a law, that, whatever you think of it, was originally intended to protect children from human trafficking – and turning them into mere leverage) and referring to bringing one’s own child across the border as “smuggling.”
  • Dehumanizing the youth who get caught up in gang violence – “they’re not people” – by taking a lock-em-up-and-throw-away-the-key approach to a criminal justice that essentially does throw away the key (storing inmates in solitary confinement for years at a time, for example).
  • Doing the same in federal detention centers filled not only with undocumented immigrants who have committed no other crime than existing within the borders of the United States without the right paperwork – but also with asylum seekers who have committed no crimes whatsoever (since it’s not illegal to enter the country if you’re seeking asylum).
  • Forcing detainees to work for $1 a day and then requiring them to use that little bit of money to purchase food, linens, and phone calls to family, friends, lawyers – threatening them with criminal prosecution or “the sensory and psychological deprivation of their humanity resulting from solitary confinement” if they refuse (incidentally, this is pretty much the definition of human trafficking, hence SPLC’s lawsuit against CoreCivic).

When corporations become “persons,” there is a financial incentive for treating people like animals and animals like machines. If we can start to think of criminals as “animals,” the next step is to criminalize whomever we perceive as undesirable or inconvenient so that we can hand them over to the private prison industry and store them away like so much clutter. Hence the criminalization of immigration, poverty, compassion, and so on.

Justice must be re-humanized.

 

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Trump Unhinged

Over the last few days Trump has been tweeting and fuming over a caravan of migrants crossing through Mexico. Some, not all, may try to gain access to the United States, seeking asylum from economic marginalization and political violence in Central America. Nearly 80% of the 1,200 caravan participants are from Honduras.

Caravans have been common in recent years, as people travel in larger groups to avoid trouble with gangs in Central America and Mexico. Until this year, these caravans gained little notice in the United States. But Trump is in trouble with scandals and desperate for a legislative victory. In this environment, he seems to be turning to what got him to the White House: Exaggerate, mislead, and outright lie about some facet of immigration law, or immigrants themselves, to rally support. Referencing the caravan, Trump is renewing calls for border wall funding, and has declared there will be no deal on DACA. In a tweet Sunday, Trump declared:

Border Patrol Agents are not allowed to properly do their job at the Border because of ridiculous liberal (Democrat) laws like Catch & Release. Getting more dangerous. “Caravans” coming. Republicans must go to Nuclear Option to pass tough laws NOW. NO MORE DACA DEAL!

Yesterday, Trump went even further, declaring that the U.S. would begin using the military to police the border. Quoted in the New York Times, Trump said:

We have very bad laws for our border, and we are going to be doing some things — I’ve been speaking with General Mattis — we’re going to be doing things militarily…Until we can have a wall and proper security, we’re going to be guarding our border with the military. That’s a big step. We really haven’t done that before, or certainly not very much before.

Trump’s latest tirade is political theater of the sort we’ve come to expect. Bombastic declarations that clutter the political space for compromise, all with the aim of getting a “deal.”  Withdrawing the U.S. from NAFTA, sending troops to the border, and refusing to bargain on DACA – when it was just a few weeks ago he encouraged such a bargain in exchange for funding for the wall and other reductions in immigration – are all on the surface losing propositions. Clearly he is trying to shake things up to force the hands of congress, while giving red meat to his Fox-News-watching supporters.

Along the southern border, crossings are at a near 40 year low. The last four administrations have built a legal framework on immigration that has granted enormous authority to ICE to arrest, detain, and deport millions of people. Far from being hamstrung, ICE has been given near free rein along the border. Federal prosecutors and judges are now forced to spend half of their caseloads prosecuting illegal entry and reentry violations, in an unnecessary dragnet that violates the most basic tenets of due process.

The only crisis in immigration right now is the inhumane treatment being meted out against people fleeing violence and economic collapse. While Trump’s rhetoric is theatrical, the results of his ongoing war on migrants is very real. We are facing a human rights crisis in this country of enormous proportions. Trump wants to make it worse. Congress will likely go along in some measure. We need to stop them.

 

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