Posts Tagged ‘Trump’

Daily Dispatch 7/26/2019

Expansion of expedited removal to begin

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Daily Dispatch

July 26, 2019

The Trump administration is expanding the use of expedited removal procedures to cover the entire country. We discussed a Senate plan to fast track asylum proceedings yesterday. The expansion of expedited removal is a different initiative that would allow officials to deport someone who cannot prove s/he has been in the country for at least two years immediately – literally within hours of being detained. From NPR:

Currently, undocumented immigrants who cross into the U.S. by land can be deported without an immigration hearing if they are arrested within 100 miles of the border during the first 14 days after their arrival. Those who arrive by sea can be deported without legal proceedings if they are unable to prove they have been living in the U.S. for two years or more.

But under the latest proposal, all geographical limitations would be lifted and rapid removal proceedings would be applied to all undocumented immigrants who have been in the country for less than two years.

The expansion of expedited removal will be challenged in court. 

“We plan on challenging the change … speedily,” Anand Balakrishnan, Senior Staff Attorney for the ACLU’s Immigrant Rights Project told NPR.

Balakrishnan called the policy shift “extremely sweeping,” and said it authorizes any Customs and Border Protection officer to determine whether a person has been in the U.S. the requisite amount of time to trigger legal proceedings.

“The only way out of that is for the person to affirmatively prove that they’ve been here for two years or more. To have that evidence on them at all times,” he said. “It puts the burden on every noncitizen to prove their continuous presence.”

He noted, deportations could happen within hours of a person’s arrest.

“From what we know about the way expedited removals have been administered in the past, it’s been rife with errors,” Balakrishnan said. “U.S. citizens have been ordered deported” and in other cases, people who have lived in the country for more than a decade have also been ejected, he said.

U.S. Citizen Detained for 26 Days

An 18 year-old high school student, Francisco Erwim Galicia, born in Dallas, TX, was detained for over three weeks by Customs and Border Protection and then Immigration and Customs Enforcement, despite having proof of his citizenship on him when stopped at an immigation checkpoint.

Galicia, 18, was in a van with his brother Marlon and three other high school friends on June 27. They were on their way to Houston for a recruitment event when they were stopped at a border patrol checkpoint in Falfurrias, Texas — about 50 miles from home and within the corridor of the Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol Sector.

Officials wanted to know their legal status. Their answers varied.

Two of them were immediately cleared but Galicia’s 17-year-old brother and another boy, were in the country illegally. They were detained.

When officials questioned Galicia, he told them he was born in Dallas. He also produced a Texas ID, a social security card and a copy of a wallet-sized birth certificate.

It was not enough. The boys were held overnight and then transferred to the CBP. Galicia’s younger brother, though a minor, signed a deportation order to get out of detention with no contact with his mother. He is now in Mexico living with his grandmother. The conditions in the facility were so bad that Galicia almost agreed to sign an order just to get out.

Over the next few weeks, Galicia said he was kept filthy, hungry and in a constant state of anxiety. He was placed in a crowded room with about 60 other men and one open toilet. He was denied access to a shower for more than three weeks and he said he was fed one sandwich three times a day. His lawyer estimates he lost about 20 pounds. 

Galicia’s mother was able to secure assistance from an attorney, who was able to obtain his release by providing original birth certificates and other documentation. Had she not been able to secure an attorney, her son would have likely been deported. In Galicia’s case, there was confusion about a tourist visa he had been issued after the family had moved back to Mexico for a time. It is hard to believe, however, that it would take 26 days to confirm his birth record.

Do we really want to trust agencies that take 26 days to confirm the birth certificate of a U.S. citizen- and then only under pressure from an attorney, which most people detained do not have – to oversee a fair process of expedited removal?


Take Action to secure release of Jesus Alberto Lopez Gutierrez 

We are asking folks to join in a call to action to help secure the release of an activist and longtime Chicago resident, Jesus Alberto Lopez Gutierrez. Some background below. You can sign a petition here.

On May 21, 2019, beloved OCAD staff Miguel Lopez received a call alerting him that his youngest brother, Jesus Alberto Lopez Gutierrez (A-204588492), a long time resident of Chicago, was turned into Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody after being detained by a local Iowa police officer on his way home from a camping trip.

Jesus Alberto came to the United States when he was nine years old and has lived in Chicago since 2005. He graduated from Solorio Academy High School in June 2014 and began working to support his family that same year. During the fall in 2012, Jesus Alberto applied for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and, in February 2013, his application was approved by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Before his detention, Jesus Alberto was in the process of renewing his DACA, but he is unable to move forward with his application unless ICE releases him from detention.

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Daily Dispatch 4/26/2019

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Daily Dispatch

April 26, 2019

Prison Policy Initiative Releases New Numbers

The Prison Policy Initiative tracks the number of people incarcerated in the United States and their condition of incarceration. The numbers for 2018 were released in March, and they are staggering:

This report offers some much needed clarity by piecing together this country’s disparate systems of confinement. The American criminal justice system holds almost 2.3 million people in 1,719 state prisons, 109 federal prisons, 1,772 juvenile correctional facilities, 3,163 local jails, and 80 Indian Country jails as well as in military prisons, immigration detention facilities, civil commitment centers, state psychiatric hospitals, and prisons in the U.S. territories.

Another 3.6 million people are on probation, and 840,000 on parole – bringing the total number of people under state carceral supervision to over 6.7 million.

The section on immigrant incarceration includes details on different means of confinement. The total is 74,400 to 86,000 (see note below in passage) – this would be a daily average – and the number will certainly increase as Trump seeks additional funding for detention and ways around the Flores Settlement mandate that children be detained for no more than 20 days.

Turning to the people who are locked up criminally and civilly for immigration-related reasons, we find that 13,000 people are in federal prisons for criminal convictions of immigration offenses, and 10,600 more are held pretrial by U.S. Marshals. The vast majority of people incarcerated for criminal immigration offenses are accused of illegal entry or illegal re-entry – in other words, for no more serious offense than crossing the border without permission.

Another 49,000 [editor note: new numbers indicate this as high as 61,000] people are civilly detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) not for any crime, but simply for their undocumented immigrant status. ICE detainees are physically confined in federally-run or privately-run immigration detention facilities, or in local jails under contract with ICE. An additional 11,800 unaccompanied children are held in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), awaiting placement with parents, family members, or friends. While these children are not held for any criminal or delinquent offense, most are held in shelters or even juvenile placement facilities under detention-like conditions.

Another section of the report confronts different myths about mass incarceration, and this is well worth a review. One area where immigrant detention stands apart from the overall mass incarceration picture is the role of private prisons. While only 8% of those incarcerated are held in private prisons, this number is 75% for immigrant detention facilities – or well over half of all immigrants detained through all means of confinement.

Activist Spotlight: Yes, the Trump administration is surveilling attorneys, reporters and immigration activists

Opposing the Trump administration’s policies on immigration, or simply working to help immigrants receive due process at the border, has resulted in people being placed on watch lists, harassed at the border, and even monitored while working in Mexico by the Mexican government. Lauren Carasik writes in the Boston Review this week about the administration’s efforts to monitor the activity of activists, reporters and attorneys. The article details actions taken against attorneys working with Al Otro Lado and activists with Pueblo Sin Fronteras, and also points to filings with UN Special Rapporteurs that include 37 instances of harassment of activists and attorneys at the border. The monitoring seems to go beyond groups working at the border, as activists have been detained and hassled throughout the U.S.  

She concludes:

For those working to illuminate the plight of migrants and to protect their rights, being singled out takes an undeniable toll. Since her codirectors were denied entry, Ramos has only left Mexico twice, but remains fiercely committed to her work: “Far from breaking the law, we are seeking to ensure that the U.S. government follows the law in its immigration practices—an effort the U.S. government appears to want to make harder by its surveillance and harassment of lawyers, media, and other imagined ‘instigators’.” The harassment of immigration activists, attorneys, and journalists warrants a congressional investigation and corrective action. Otherwise, democratic accountability and First Amendment freedoms may be yet further casualties of Trump’s war on migrants.


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Trump’s War on Immigrants has Many Fronts

The Trump administration is waging a war on immigrants with many fronts, including: Adopting “zero tolerance” policies at the border, expanding detention, seeking ways to limit legal immigration, making it harder for people to become permanent residents and citizens, and launching a massive review of people who have become naturalized citizens. On all fronts, Trump’s war is being waged using existing policy instruments and institutions. We must acknowledge this reality – as the entire system is deeply flawed. At the same time, Trump has gone to extraordinary lengths to generate fear and make an inhumane system even more intolerable.

Family Separation

As we reported last week, the Trump administration declared that it was unable to locate the parents of over 500 children separated from their families at the border, and suggested that the ACLU would be better placed to find them. U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw said that this was unacceptable:

“Many of these parents were removed from the country without their child,” Sabraw said. “All of this is the result of the government’s separation and then inability and failure to track and reunite. And the reality is that for every parent who is not located there will be a permanently orphaned child. And that is 100 percent the responsibility of the administration.”

Sabraw [also] said the government must identify a person or team to oversee the remaining reunification process, potentially from the State Department or the Department of Health and Human Services, and produce a plan as to how reunification would be accomplished.

Contrary to Trump’s assertion that family separation was simply a by-product of enforcement of federal law – it now seems clear (not that we ever doubted it) that the administration sought to target families for enforcement. The organization Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) has issued a new report, Death by a Thousand Cuts, which documents step by step the policy changes employed by the Trump administration to target children and families for enforcement.

All of this was done intentionally to spread fear and to discourage migration to the United States, and the administration is not done yet, as it seeks to alter the Flores Agreement in order to detain children and families longer. From Newsweek:

The Trump administration had argued last month that in order for it to end its family separation policy, it would need to be able to detain children with their families longer than the 20-day maximum period outlined in the Flores agreement.

The administration’s bid to modify the decades-old deal was shot down by Judge Dolly M. Gee of the Federal District Court in Los Angeles, however, with the judge saying there was no basis for changing the agreement and that it was an issue the legislative branch would have to solve.

“They are claiming that much of this is a deterrent, to deter future immigration,” [KIND spokesperson] McKenna said. “But, we see it as, if it’s a matter of life or death, they are going to come anyway—and for many of the children we represent, it really is a matter of life or death.”

Legal immigrants under fire

As reported by NBC News, the Trump administration is expected to issue an order that would make it more difficult for people to become permanent residents and then citizens.

The Trump administration is expected to issue a proposal in coming weeks that would make it harder for legal immigrants to become citizens or get green cards if they have ever used a range of popular public welfare programs, including Obamacare, four sources with knowledge of the plan told NBC News.

The move, which would not need congressional approval, is part of White House senior adviser Stephen Miller’s plan to limit the number of migrants who obtain legal status in the U.S. each year.

The plan will move to the Federal Register soon – where some period of public comment should be available. Until then, you can call the White House and let them know that this is wrong! White House comment line: 202-456-1111.


Just in case we thought creating a dragnet at the border, separating children from their families as a matter of policy, and seeking to block legal immigrants from obtaining green cards and or seeking citizenship is not enough, the Trump administration is also launching a “de-naturalization” task force that could potentially strip people of their citizenship. The announcement was made several weeks ago. Vox created an informative background piece on denaturalization, its history, and what the current mandate is (or at least, what it is supposed to be).

On the current mandate of the taskforce, it is really limited to reviewing fingerprint records on some 300,000 + applications, to check if anyone had applied for citizenship under a false name. As explained by Vox:

The denaturalization task force that USCIS is assembling now is the next phase of something that, under the Obama administration, was called “Operation Janus” — and that stretches all the way back to the Bush era.

In 2008, a Customs and Border Protection agent discovered that more than 200 people from four countries had become US citizens despite having past deportation orders — something that should have, legally, disqualified them from naturalization — because the deportation order was under one name and identity and the citizenship had been granted to another. The identity fraud hadn’t been caught because the fraudsters’ fingerprints hadn’t been digitized, and so they hadn’t turned up matches in an existing DHS database.

DHS subsequently launched a task force to figure out just how many fingerprint records it was missing from people who should be barred from citizenship. In 2011, it calculated that the answer was 315,000: people who’d been convicted of crimes or were fugitives, or who had been ordered deported from the US since 1990. About half of the 315,000 print sets ultimately got digitized, but the department ran out of money before it could finish the job.

This does not mean that there are hundreds of thousands of fraudulently naturalized citizens out there. It just means that any one set of missing fingerprints might theoretically match to someone who had become naturalized under a different identity.

In late 2016, the government started accelerating its Operation Janus efforts again. In September 2017, the DOJ filed its first three civil denaturalization suits under Operation Janus. (The first successful denaturalization order under the operation was issued in January.)

In June 2018, the director of USCIS, Cissna, announced that he was hiring a team of attorneys for a separate office in California for the purpose of investigating the remaining Operation Janus cases and making the necessary referrals to the Department of Justice for prosecution.

Every week seems to bring some new horror, some new step intended to make life harder for people who have migrated to this country. The Trump administration’s war on immigration has laid bare the inequities in our immigration system. It must be taken apart and rebuilt with a new set of principles at its heart; principles that recognize the fundamental rights of all people, wherever they are born, to live free of violence, intimidation and economic degradation.

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The other Q

I first learned about QAnon a few months ago when Amazon suggested I buy a “Q” t-shirt.

QAnon is the conspiracy theory-of-everything that incorporates all of the classics (the Illuminati, the Elders of Zion, the Rothschilds, J.P. Morgan and the sinking of the Titanic, etc.) as well as the more recent (Birtherism, Pizzagate, etc.).

“Q” alleges him-or-her-but-probably-him-self to be a high-level government agent who has been moved to reveal details of a “deep state” conspiracy – though only in small, cryptic posts that followers must decode.

According to QAnon, Trump was recruited by the U.S. military to dismantle a decades-long occupation of the U.S. government by an elite cabal of globalists who kidnap children by the thousands as part of their international (indeed, interplanetary) pedophile ring (it should be noted here that the only one who has been kidnapping children by the thousands is Homeland Security, taking them from their parents at the U.S./Mexico border). This countercoup (“the Storm”) is led by none other Robert Mueller himself, whose Russia investigation is actually a front for his sting operation against the “deep state.”

Trump speaks to followers in code in order to prophesy the imminent purge of these politicians (e.g. the Clintons, John McCain) and the exposure of complicit celebrities (e.g. Tom Hanks, John Legend).1 “Q” then drops “breadcrumbs” to help “bakers” interpret this complex code. It’s like Pokémon Go for the alt-right, but rather than collecting Pokémon, they’re scouring the deserts of the southwest for pedophiles as part of the coming purge. After this “storm” is over, there will be a new Christian golden age.

Of course, like every eschatological prediction so far, Q’s dates have been wrong (November 2017 was expected to bring hundreds of arrests, staged riots, marshal law, and Emergency Broadcast System messages with instructions for followers) and, also like every eschatological prediction so far, Q’s believers have nevertheless grown more entrenched in their faith.

So, why concern ourselves with some dark, musty corner of crazy-town-banana-pants idolatry? Because of this:







QAnon is not a community that lives solely online, but is becoming increasingly active IRL. As Will Sommer noted last month:

In April, hundreds of QAnon believers staged a march in downtown Washington, D.C. with a vague demand for “transparency” from the Justice Department. “Q” shirts have become frequent sites at Trump rallies, with one QAnon believer scoring VIP access. In June, an armed man in an homemade armored truck shut down a highway near the Hoover Dam and held up signs referencing QAnon. And celebrities like comedian Roseanne Barr and former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling have signed on.

And the Southern Poverty Law Center has taken note, tracking use of the #qanon on their Hate Tracker, writing that “the surprising rapidity at which ‘The Storm’ has spread is testament to the extent to which such claims gain real life and become widely believed.”

The visibility of the Q crowd at last night’s rally in Tampa was accompanied by an increasingly vicious hostility toward journalists covering the event. CNN’s Jim Acosta, a favorite target of Trump crowds, posted the following warning along with a video of what reporters experienced last night. The video is disturbing and Costa’s fear is justified:


WaPo’s Jennifer Rubin reacted this morning to Acosta’s video with this:

… this is the behavior Trump incites and amplifies with his attacks on the free press. When he says the media is the “enemy of the people” or the worst people or the most dishonest people, his followers take it as license to treat members of the media as something less than human. Trump has defined the press as part of “the other,” and his cult responds with the kind of venom used to keep a foreign body at bay …

Rubin recommends that we stop “infantilizing” the “Trump cultists” and “treating them as hapless victims of forces beyond their control.” Indeed, treating them as such is just another form of other-ing – making them alien to us and removing their agency. The Quixote Center will soon be launching a new program aimed at countering these kinds of “othering” tactics – especially in relation to immigration, but the principle extends in both directions.

Last week, Trump said to a crowd of veterans, “just remember: what you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.” Such is the Orwellian fever-dream in which we now live. When our social media is infiltrated by foreign actors to spread disinformation and fan the flames on already divisive issues and is an outlet for the President’s frequent rants about “witch hunts” and “fake news,” the conditions are ripe for the proliferation and escalation of hate speech and dangerous conspiracy theories, whether they target politicians, the media, minorities, or immigrants.

We’ve been here before. We know that this is how fascism/totalitarianism/despotism (and the accompanying atrocities) begins. We have to be vigilant about what we believe, check our sources, do our research, and take responsibility for the ideas and information that we ourselves choose to share.

We don’t have to let history repeat itself.



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Take Action: Tell Homeland Security to Stop Using Children As Bait

Since publicly announcing the tactic of separating children from their parents when detained by ICE (including asylum seekers), the government has seen an increase in the number of unaccompanied children they need to house. 

Now, the Department of Homeland Security has issued a public system of records notice (SORN) detailing its intent to modify its system to allow greater sharing between DHS and Health and Human Services, which oversees the placement of unaccompanied children into foster care. Frequently, relatives come forward as sponsors but this measure will discourage family members from doing so. This seemingly dull and bureaucratic measure masks the intention of serving as an immigration check on the sponsor and all members of the sponsor’s household.

Let’s say Johnny has an aunt in the U.S. who is a citizen, but she lives with her sister who is undocumented. Johnny’s aunt knows that if she comes forward as a sponsor for her nephew, her sister will likely be detained and deported. She therefore chooses not to come forward and Johnny remains in a group home…or on a military base.

In short, DHS, HHS, and ICE are using children as bait.

The public comment period on this notice will remain open until June 7. We urge you to comment on the notice and perhaps to politely tell DHS where to shove it.  

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This Week in Immigration

Just to give a sense of the unrelenting and multi-pronged attack on immigrants being led by the executive branch and likeminded members of Congress, we decided to bring together some stories just from the past few days. It’s dizzying, so I tried to keep commentary to a minimum and let the volume of stories speak for itself.


Jeff Sessions ruled that immigration judges can no longer close cases, opening the door to re-opening 350,000 closed cases, which could “result in the imprisonment and deportation of immigrants who now have a clear path toward legal immigration status,” says Dan Werner of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Steve King (R-IA, the pride of my home state of Iowa) has introduced a Bill to jail sanctuary cities officials (HR 5884) called the Libby Schaaf Act, named after the mayor of Oakland who alerted residents to pending ICE raids.

California is considering extending Medicaid to all adults regardless of immigration status, further flouting Trump’s ongoing attacks against sanctuary cities.

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam will allow the ban on sanctuary cities to become law without his signature (despite law enforcement’s opposition to the bill), saying “it’s time to move on.”

Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn) proposed a bill to crowdfund the border wall (Border Wall Trust Fund Act).



Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education, was asked in a hearing with the House Committee on Education and the Workforce whether teachers should report undocumented students. Devos responded with a resounding “I think that’s a school decision,” leading civil rights groups to say, “um… no.”

The House Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security held a hearing they called Stopping the Daily Border Caravan: Time to Build a Policy Wall. The policy in question was asylum, which Republican lawmakers described as a “loophole.” Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ) complained that asylum seekers get all the breaks but frequently fail to appear at their asylum hearings “most likely because their claim was unfounded in the first place” (not because they never received their Notice to Appear, or they’re afraid of deportation, or they reunited with family members elsewhere in the country…). Echoing Trump, she characterized minors as “vulnerable to gang recruitment.” Capitol Police were called on to remove peaceful protestors from the room. You can learn more by clicking the link, where you’ll find full video and transcripts.



The Senate Subcommittee on Border Security and Immigration held a hearing called TVPRA (Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act) and Exploited Loopholes Affecting Unaccompanied Alien Children. This hearing also addressed MS-13 gang recruitment. Video and transcripts are available here.

The House voted on a prison reform bill cooked up by Jared Kushner, which threatens to make prison slave labor the norm, but prohibits pregnant women from being shackled, unless guards determine that they really, really need to be. 

Trump talked immigration on Long Island, doubling down on his use of the word “animals” to describe MS-13 gang members and suggesting that foreign aid be denied to those countries that allow criminal immigrants to come here (a policy that would likely make worse some of the problems that cause people to leave). In this same photo-op, Trump said the following about children crossing the border: “They look so innocent. They are not innocent.”

Also, in a post-game interview with FOX, Trump seemed to suggest that NFL players who kneeled during the anthem be deported…? Or leave voluntarily? It wasn’t clear.

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What could possibly go wrong?

More on this tomorrow, but…today, on the National Day of Prayer, Trump ushered into being a White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative to attend to “poverty, religious liberty, education, strengthening the family, helping prisoners, mental health and human trafficking.” 

I’m sure they’ll do a great job. 


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Farmworker Awareness Week Day Three: Take Action to Ban Chlorpyrifos

“We started around four [4:00] to four thirty [4:30] in the morning,” one worker reported. “I heard someone say ‘it’s raining,’ I didn’t feel anything but I could smell it. I could smell a chemical smell like a garden product. I heard a plane or helicopter I never saw it but I heard it. I did have symptoms, my head was hurting, and my eyes were itchy and really watery.”

Farmworkers, like the man quoted above in this Mother Jones report, are routinely exposed to pesticides. In the incident above, men working a field were hit with doses of chlorpyrifos from a crop-duster spraying an adjoining field and Vapam, which had been injected in heavy doses at a nearby potato farm that produces for Tasteful Selections. As a result of this incident, Tasteful Selections and the pesticide company that sprayed chlorpyrifos were both fined for failing to disclose the presence of the pesticides. Pat Trowers of the Pesticide Action Network, is quoted in the Mother Jones story, saying “The fines levied against these companies amount to little more than pocket change for large-scale growers….It’s simple—the punishment should fit the crime. Higher fines and larger no-spray zones around workers would be a much more effective deterrent to pesticide drift problems.”

Today is Day Three of Farmworker Awareness Week. The theme for the day is Life, and the action is to call on Congress to institute a ban on chlorpyrifos. You can join in the action by connecting to the Pesticide Action Network here.

As reported in the Guardian last May:

Chlorpyrifos is widely used in US agriculture, sprayed on crops such as corn, wheat and citrus. However, growing evidence of its impact upon human health led the EPA to agree with the chemical industry more than a decade ago that the product should not be used indoors to get rid of household bugs.

The pesticide has been linked to developmental problems in children such as lower birth weight, reduced IQ and attention disorders. Large doses of the chemical can cause convulsions and sometimes even death. People are exposed through spray drift, residues on food and water contamination.

Chlorpyrifos, which is produced by Dow Chemicals, can still be used for agricultural purposes but after a legal challenge by environmental groups, EPA scientists stated that the pesticide was not safe for any use and proposed widening the ban.

A subsequent ban of chlorpyrifos was rejected, however, under the new Trump administration. Scott Pruitt, administrator of the EPA, said he denied the ban to provide “regulatory certainty to the thousands of American farms that rely on chlorpyrifos”. The EPA said there were “serious scientific concerns and substantive process gaps” in the plan to banish chlorpyrifos. The next review of the chemical isn’t scheduled until 2022.

Farmworkers cannot wait until 2022. Join the call to action! Contact your legislators!

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Fear as Strategy: Trump Administration Using Cruelty as Deterrence

Several articles in the past week have focused on the ways the Trump administration is employing fear tactics as means to punish migrants. To some degree deterrence has always been a part of U.S. policies aimed at limiting migration. Yet, the current administration seems intent on reaching a new level of cruelty that is both immoral—and illegal. By targeting asylum seekers, separating children and families, and using enforcement in a campaign to silence dissent among immigration activists, Trump’s team is reaching new lows.

Julianne Hing, writing for the Nation, underscores the ways Trump is using the exagerated threat of gang violence from Central America to justify crackdowns:

Without needing to change any laws, the White House has used the threat of gang violence and the need to protect national security as pretexts for draconian immigration policies. Yet the real aim has always been something else: to inflict maximum suffering as a means of pushing out unwanted newcomers as well as those whose extended presence in the country may threaten white supremacy.

She also notes the escalating attacks on immigrant rights activists:

In addition to ICE agents staking out courthouses, school drop-off corners, and even hospitals—violating the agency’s own guidelines about not making arrests in “sensitive locations”—agents have also arrested or deported at least four outspoken immigrant-rights leaders in what activists call a calculated stroke of political retaliation. Recently, ICE arrested another, activist Alejandra Pablos, at a regular Tucson, Arizona, check-in on March 7.

John Burnett of NPR has also covered the increasing arrests of activists:

Activists across the country say they are being targeted by federal immigration authorities for speaking out at protests and accusing the government of heavy-handed tactics. The Trump administration has warned that anyone in the country illegally could be arrested and deported under tough new enforcement rules. And federal officials deny allegations of retaliation. But the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups say they have documented two dozen cases of immigrant activists and volunteers who say they have been arrested or face fines for their work. They say many of the activists who are undocumented don’t have criminal records and only came to the attention of Immigration and Customs Enforcement because of their activism.

The ACLU, Human Rights First, and the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies have filed a suit against the Department of Homeland Security regarding the Administration’s use of a deterrence strategy targeting asylum seekers and other. The practices violate U.S. law. From their filing on deterrence strategy:

Detaining asylum seekers to deter others, without even considering whether individuals are flight risks or dangers to the community, violates the Parole Directive (which generally bars the detention of asylum seekers who pose neither a flight risk nor a danger to the community), the Immigration and Naturalization Act (“INA”), regulations promulgated thereunder, and the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment. Indeed, even if DHS’s current parole policy were not based on deterrence, it would be unlawful for DHS to engage in virtually blanket detention of asylum seekers without individualized determinations of flight risk or danger to the community. The fact that the Policy is based on general deterrence—which cannot be a basis for civil detention—makes it even clearer that the Policy is unlawful. See R.I.L-R., 80 F. Supp. at 189.

Read the full articles:

Julienne Hing, “For Trump, Cruelty is the Point” The Nation, March 15, 2018

John Burnett, “Immigration Advocates Warn ICE is Retaliating for Activism”, NPR, March 16, 2018

Class Action Suit Against DHS filed by the ACLU, Human Rights First, Center for Gender and Refugee Studies.

You can also read our recent blog, Torture by Another Name: Immigrant Detention in the United States evaluating abusive tactics employed by the administration in violation of international human rights.

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