Sunday, July 31, 2016

This immigrant became an American just to defeat Donald Trump: “I want to vote because I want to make sure that crazy man doesn’t (become president of the United States)”

Will Donald Trump's harsh rhetoric about immigration and immigrants lead to a spike in naturalization rates among immigrants?  California's 1994 immigration landmark, Proposition 187, and later immigration and welfare and immigration reform in 1996, led to a rise in naturalization rates.  Some observers are seeing naturalization rates on the rise.

Sacramento Bee columnist Marcos Breton writes about how Trump convinced one reluctant 77 year old immigrant from Ecuador to take ng hand as he took the oath of citizenship in Sacramento last week, along with 1,000 people from 76 countries who also became citizens.  Washington Espinoza, who was named after George Washington, had lived in the United States for 30 years and had resisted the suggestions of his children to become an American citizen.  He abruptly changed his mind in the last year. Donald Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, had scared Washington Espinoza into becoming an American. “I want to vote because I want to make sure that crazy man doesn’t (become president of the United States),” said Espinoza.

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Photo courtesy of the Sacramento Bee

July 31, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

A Fallen Immigrant Soldier Dominates the Early Days of Campaign 2016

 

Earlier this week, Khizr Kahn, father of a U.S. soldier killed in Iraq in combat, offered a passionate speech at the Democratic National Convention.  His son, Humayun Khan, a Muslim American, sacrificed his life to save the lives of soldiers under his command. His parents emphasized their patriotism and loyalty to America and attacked Donald Trump's hateful rhetoric directed toward all Muslims.

Khizr works as a legal consultant in Charlottesville, Virginia. He is married to Ghazala Kahn. Khizr was born in Pakistan. In 1980, the Khan family moved from the United Arab Emirates to Boston, Massachusetts so that Khizr could attend a masters in law program at Harvard. The family then moved to Maryland, where Humayun Khan attended high school.

Khizr Kahn's speech continues to reverberate nationally. Trump lashed out at Khan over his speech at the Democratic Convention, expressing doubt over whether he prepared his own remarks and firing off questions over his wife Ghazala's silence on stage.  The Hill reports that Donald Trump is experiencing a backlash for attacking Khan. A spokeswoman for Speaker of the House Paul Ryan yesterday responded to Trump's comments, reaffirming the Speaker's distaste for Trump's rhetoric about Muslims. "The speaker has made clear many times that he rejects this idea, and himself has talked about how Muslim Americans have made the ultimate sacrifice for this country," AshLee Strong said in a statement to CBS News.

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KJ

July 31, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

Saturday, July 30, 2016

How the Democratic Party Platform Addresses Immigration

DC Circuit Rules for Production of IJs Names in Misconduct Cases

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E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse and William B. Bryant Annex

Josh Gerstein on Politico.com reports that  in a Freedom of Information Act case involving records of misconduct allegations leveled at immigration judges.  Here is the opinion.

The panel held that the identities of immigration judges accused of misconduct could not be categorically deleted from records made public under the Freedom of Information Act. The court also ruled that when producing email chains and similar records under FOIA, agencies cannot redact information solely on the basis that it appears to be nonresponsive to the subject of a request.

The finding that rejects across-the-board privacy deletions could make it easier to expose information about inappropriate actions by federal employees or perhaps even by people outside government.

Judge Sri Srinivasan said the blanket redaction of names ignored the fact that there might be good reasons for striking the transparency-privacy balance differently in different instances.

“Variations in the privacy and public interests at stake leave us unable to find, at least as a blanket matter, that the ... balance tips in favor of withholding immigration judges’ names in all circumstances,” Srinivasan wrote in an opinion joined by judges Karen Henderson and Patricia Millett. “That is not to say, necessarily, that [the Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review] could not ultimately support redacting identifying information in all cases if its justifications for doing so were framed in a more targeted manner. That question is not before us, however. Because EOIR here sought to justify its withholding of immigration judges’ names in purely categorical, across-the-board terms, it has not carried its burden.”

The decision came on a lawsuit brought by the American Immigration Lawyers Association, which is investigating the system of discipline for immigration judges. In response to a FOIA request, the Justice Department turned over records regarding complaints and their resolution but removed the names of judges and substituted a code number.

Srinivasan said that action sold short the public's interest in knowing how the judges were discharging their duties.

“Given the variety in types of complaints and circumstances of individual immigration judges, not every judge has the same privacy interests at stake and not every complaint would equally enlighten the public about ‘what their government is up to,’” Srinivasan wrote.

“The public interest likely would be more pronounced in the case of a sitting immigration judge, who continues to make decisions as an employee of the Department of Justice, than in the case of a former judge. Additionally, disclosing the name of an immigration judge subject to numerous and/or serious substantiated complaints might shed considerable light on matters of public interest, whereas disclosing the name of an immigration judge subject to a single, unsubstantiated complaint might not,” the appeals court judge added.

The second key aspect of Friday's decision could help the public understand more about the context of government actions, but it could also slow down FOIA processing even further by pulling more extraneous issues into a request.

“Once an agency itself identifies a particular document or collection of material — such as a chain of emails — as a responsive ‘record,’ the only information the agency may redact from that record is that falling within one of the statutory exemptions,” Srinivasan wrote.

The judge acknowledged that it’s sometimes difficult to say what qualifies as an individual record, but he said immigration officials had not struck the right balance when they deemed individual sentences in a single email to be “nonresponsive.”

“We find it difficult to believe that any reasonable understanding of a ‘record’ would permit withholding an individual sentence within a paragraph within an email on the ground that the sentence alone could be conceived of as a distinct, non-responsive ‘record,’” Srinivasan wrote.

KJ



Read more: http://www.politico.com/blogs/under-the-radar/2016/07/freedom-of-information-immigration-judges-226437#ixzz4FtSFL8Va
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July 30, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

2016 World Day against Trafficking in Persons

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In 2013, the United Nations General Assembly designated the 30th of July as the World Day against Trafficking in Persons to raise awareness about the severity of human rights violations that trafficking victims endure and acknowledge that human trafficking is a crime that affects all countries in the world.

On the 2016 World Day against Trafficking in Persons, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime seeks to promote a better understanding and a greater engagement throughout the international community on the vulnerabilities that lie behind every case of human trafficking and the exploitation suffered by every victim of this crime. Vulnerability, in all its different forms, is central to how trafficking is understood and to how it can be tackled.

Show your solidarity with victims of human trafficking: download the 'how to' for more details on getting involved, support the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Human Trafficking and participate in the activities on 30 July, marking the World Day throughout the globe.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM), which has announced a campaign against human trafficking, has developed a global database to identify trends related to migration and human trafficking. IOM’s global data on human trafficking suggests that all countries are – to different degrees – countries of destination, transit and origin. It also shows that human trafficking is characterized by super-diversity, very much as recent global migration patterns are considered to be. This brings numerous challenges but also a common goal for countries to cooperate in a pragmatic way to fight human trafficking.

IOM is the lead agency in the protection and provision of assistance to victims of trafficking. It has the world’s largest database on victims of human trafficking. The data recorded by IOM is based on its direct assistance of victims by IOM missions working in the field globally. In the past year, IOM has improved its capacity to collect more and better victim data and it aims to provide wider, appropriate public access to information on human trafficking.  

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U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has been tasked with policing human trafficking in the United States

KJ

July 30, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 29, 2016

Call for Papers for January 2017 AALS Annual Meeting Program: “Asylum from Persecution by Non-State Actors: Upholding and Updating Refugee Protection”

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The Association of American Law Schools (AALS) Section on Immigration Law invites the submission of papers to select one or two speakers for the program on Thursday, January 5, 2017, 1:30 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. at the AALS annual meeting in San Francisco. The program description follows:

 The rise of the non-state persecutor is one of the most significant developments in refugee and asylum law in recent years.  We see the impact of the non-state persecutor all around the world, with the rise of ISIS and other non-state militant movements in the Middle East, the proliferation of criminal gang and drug cartel attacks in Central America and Mexico, and the brutal spread of domestic violence everywhere.  How has refugee and asylum law responded?  How should the law respond?  For example, is the traditional distinction between asylum seekers and internally displaced persons still relevant when our concepts of statehood are changing?  When the persecutor is an abusive spouse or a neighborhood gang, are you a refugee or merely a migrant?  And is the rise of asylum fatigue connected to the shifting identify of persecutors?  This panel explores the impact of the non-state persecutor on refugee protection.

Submission Deadline and Procedures: Deadline is August 1, 2016. Papers and abstracts should be submitted by email to Professor Huyen Pham, Texas A&M School of Law, hpham@law.tamu.edu.

Proposal Requirements: There is no formal requirement as to the form or length of proposals, although preference will be given to proposals that are substantially complete. A paper may have already been accepted for publication as long as it will not have been published prior to the Annual Meeting.

KJ

July 29, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

EOIR Proposes Regulations re Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

The Executive Office for Immigration Review has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, for which it seeks public comment, on Motions to Reopen Removal, Deportation or Exclusion Proceedings Based Upon a Claim of Ineffective Assistance of Counsel.  The proposed rule would create federal regulations that establish procedures and set standards for the filing of motions to reopen based on ineffective assistance of counsel, and comes as a response to the Attorney General's directive in Matter of Compean, Bangaly & J-E-C-, 25 I&N Dec. 1 (A.G. 2009) (also known as "Compean II") for EOIR to develop such regulations. 

Immigration law is notorious for having its fair share of attorneys whose level of practice falls far below acceptable levels of advocacy.  To be fair, a number of stellar immigration lawyers advocate zealously for their clients by engaging in deep fact investigation, remaining abreast of changes in the law, keeping their clients fully informed of their cases, and charging reasonable rates.  Many private immigration lawyers practice at the cutting edge of immigration law's greatest complexities, and see the government's coercive power at its height through their clients' stories, leading them to pursue broader change in the immigration laws.  But there unfortunately exist a number of lawyers who instead file boilerplate forms, fail to anticipate applicable bars to relief or anticipate the need for relevant waivers, don't spend the time needed to develop detailed factual claims or identify forms of relief, don't return their client's phone calls, improperly delegate work to non-lawyer professionals, miss filing deadlines and even miss court dates -- all while charging clients exorbitant fees.  Many clients who are undocumented are afraid to report even the most egregious attorneys for unethical practice to the relevant state bar or law enforcement authorities.   Also, given immigration law's complex nature, many well-intentioned and ethical lawyers may find themselves doing what all lawyers are prone to doing -- making mistakes.  

For years, the standards governing ineffective assistance-based claims had been established in Matter of Lozada, 19 I&N Dec. 637 (BIA 1988).  But in early 2009, then-Attorney General Mukasey issued the first Matter of Compean decision, 24 I&N Dec. 710 (A.G. 2009), which stated that "there is no Fifth Amendment right to effective counsel in removal proceedings," and provided for motions to reopen based on ineffective assistance of counsel to continue only as a matter of "administrative grace."  Several months later, Attorney General Holder issued the Compean II decision, which vacated Compean I, and reinstituted the Lozada standard until the EOIR could develop regulations.  One of the downsides of Lozada, as the Federal Register announcement emphasizes, is that the various circuits have at times "adopted varying interpretations for determining compliance with Lozada requirements, establishing prejudice, and applying equitable tolling to the filing deadlines" for such motions to reopen, and have also adopted "varying standards for prejudice."

 Comments are due September 26, 2016 and may be submitted electronically here.

-JKoh

July 29, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Immigration & Hillary Clinton's DNC Speech

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Last night, Hillary Rodham Clinton took the stage at the Democratic National Convention to formally accept her nomination to be that party's presidential candidate.

Her speech included only a few lines about immigration:

Comprehensive immigration reform will grow our economy and keep families together - and it's the right thing to do.

And later:

I refuse to believe we can't find common ground here. We have to heal the divides in our country. Not just on guns. But on race. Immigration. And more.

-KitJ

July 29, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Spotlight on Yusra Mardini: Syrian Refugee and Olympic Swimmer

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Photo via the Daily Mail

Today, the BBC has an in-depth story on Olympic swimmer Yusra Mardini.

A few years ago, Mardini was a "typical teenager" in Syria. Then came war.

Mardini toughed it out during the Syrian war for more than four years. Until she and her family realized that to remain in Syria was to remain without hope, "almost dead."

Mardini and her eldest sister left Syria with extended family and other refugees.

One leg of Mardini's harrowing escape from Syria involved crossing open water on a dinghy meant for 6 but holding 20. The engine stopped and the lives of everyone on the boat were in jeopardy. Mardini, her sister, and one other refugee, the only swimmers aboard, jumped off the dinghy and began to tow it towards land. They swam and towed for more than three hours, eventually making it to Lesbos and relative safety.

Mardini and her sister continued on to Germany - the final stop in their 25 day flight from Syria.

In Syria, Mardini had been a swimmer. Her father was a swim coach, and she'd once been competitive swimmer supported by the Syrian Olympic Committee. In Germany, she swam again. And caught the eye of important coaches. 

She is now training for the Olympics. Marini will compete this summer in Rio as part of the Refugee Olympic Team.

-KitJ

July 29, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

Constitutional Implications of U.S. v. Texas by Carrie Severino

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On Morning Consult, Carrie Severino, is chief counsel and policy director of the Judicial Crisis Network and a former law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. discusses the implications of the Supreme Court's recent non-decision in the case in which President Obama's proposed expanded deferred action program was at stake.  Severino is not a fan of the proposed program:

"[T]he Supreme Court’s 4-4 decision in United States v. Texas is only a half-win. We now know that fewer than half of the sitting justices are willing to stand up to an ambitiously lawless president. Adding a tie-breaking vote for a virtually omnipotent president would only encourage future presidents to attempt bigger and bolder acts of lawlessness, further deepening the constitutional crisis.

The solution is to elect presidents who will appoint Supreme Court justices committed to upholding the Constitution, not smuggling a political agenda into their judicial decisions. What course will we choose?"

KJ

 

July 29, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Call for Papers: Analysis and Comment on United States v. Texas and the Constitutionality of Laws Surrounding Immigration

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The Syracuse Law Review seeks manuscripts that address the constitutionality of laws surrounding immigration and how the Supreme Court’s decision of United States v. Texas has and will continue to affect the landscape. A book of Volume 67 of the Law Review will be dedicated to addressing constitutional themes that emerged from last year’s Supreme Court term, and we would like to include an article on immigration in the conversation. The article’s subject was left intentionally broad so as to leave room for authors to choose individual, specific topics within the field. Article submissions should be approximately 10,000 words (flexible) and must be submitted to the Law Review no later than October 1, 2016. If you are interested in submitting or if you have any questions, please contact Lead Articles Editors Hillary Anderson at haanders@syr.edu and Matthew Petrone at mlpetron@syr.edu.

KJ

July 28, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

Report: "Unsafe" and on the Margins: Canada's Response to Mexico's Mistreatment of Sexual Minorities and People Living with HIV

Immigration Article of the Day: The Place of Persecution and Non-State Action in Refugee Protection by Matthew J. Lister

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The Place of Persecution and Non-State Action in Refugee Protection by Matthew J. Lister, University of Pennsylvania - Legal Studies Department July 13, 2016 The Ethics and Politics of Immigration: Core Issues and Emerging Trends. Alex Sager, ed., Rowman & Littlefield, 2016

Abstract: Crises of forced migration are, unfortunately, nothing new. At the time of the writing of this paper, at least two such crises were in full swing – mass movements from the Middle East and parts of Africa to the E.U., and major movements from Central America to the Southern U.S. border, including movements by large numbers of families and unaccompanied minors. These movements are complex, with multiple causes, and it is always risky to attempt to craft either general policy or philosophical positions in response to salient crises. However, both of these instances do bring to the foreground important questions about the proper purpose and extent of refugee protection as a means of dealing with crises of forced migration. In particular, both of these instances force us to consider what role persecution on the basis of a protected ground – race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion – ought to play in granting refugee protection, and whether our response to those in danger should change if the agents of persecution are non-state actors. This paper is not primarily about the problems arising from Syria or Central America. In a way similar to how hard cases make bad law, I contend that a too central focus on salient crises tends to lead to bad theory and often to bad general policy. However, if I am successful in my goal of clarifying the place of persecution and non-state action in refugee protection, then we may in turn be better able to think clearly about our current crisis situations.

In this paper I will first draw on my previous work on the normative logic of the refugee convention to argue that, while persecution should play an important, and even central, role in our thinking about refugees, this importance is shallow and pragmatic rather than deep and fundamental. Next, I will show how this conclusion supports the claim that harms amounting to persecution by non-state actors may ground an asylum claim, at least in some cases, both when the state is unwilling and when it is unable to protect its members. I consider two cases: first, instances where the authority and power of the state has been usurped by another power, and second, when the state has (implicitly or explicitly) delegated its power or authority to non-state actors. I will show how this leads to extending asylum to a broader range of people than traditional accounts would.

KJ

July 28, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Democratic Convention Speaker: Child of undocumented parents: I am American

A Colloquy about the Disappearing Equal Protection Rights of Immigrants

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Professor Jenny-Brooke Condon

 Jenny-Brooke Condon’s recent article The Preempting of Equal Protection for Immigrants? analyzes important issues surrounding the constitutional rights of immigrants. Professor Condon in essence contends that the current legislative, executive, and scholarly focus on the distribution of immigration power between the state and federal governments has undermined the Equal Protection rights of legal immigrants in the United States. Despite the contentious national debates over immigration reform, immigrants’ rights have generally been of secondary concern in contemporary immigration scholarship, which is now dominated by analysis of immigration federalism. 

I comment on Professor Condon's article in Washington & Lee Law Review On-Line.  In my estimation, Professor Condon undoubtedly is correct that we should not lose sight of the rights of immigrants through a myopic focus on federalism concerns. Courts should be vigilant to protect noncitizens from the excesses of all governmental exercises of power, including discrimination against immigrants by the federal government.

Professor Condon undoubtedly is correct that we should not lose sight of the rights of immigrants through a myopic focus on federalism concerns. Courts should be vigilant to protect noncitizens from the excesses of all governmental exercises of power, including discrimination against immigrants by the federal government.

This essay identifies two areas for future inquiry that build on The Preempting of Equal Protection for Immigrants? First, Professor Condon questions the arbitrary line-drawing between the standards of review of state and federal alienage classifications. But, she herself draws a questionable line by advocating for greater protection of the constitutional rights of legal immigrants, while stopping short of calling for the extension of rights to undocumented immigrants. However, all immigrants are disenfranchised, lack direct political power, and frequently suffer the disfavor of the majority in the political process. That status militates in favor of strict scrutiny review of laws targeting undocumented as well as lawful immigrants.

Second, if Professor Condon’s call for greater attention to the Equal Protection rights of noncitizens is taken seriously, we must examine the continuing vitality of the plenary power doctrine. That exceptional doctrine shields from judicial review invidious classifications under the U.S. immigration laws, including discrimination that would be patently unconstitutional if applied to U.S. citizens; those laws historically have discriminated against noncitizens who are racial minorities, poor, disabled, women, political dissidents, and others. Dismantling what is known as “immigration exceptionalism” has long puzzled immigration law scholars. Professor Condon reminds us of the need to reconsider the constitutional immunity for immigrant admissions and removal criteria.

KJ

July 28, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Haitian/DR Crisis Reveals Rift in Catholic Church

We've all been watching the migration crisis in the Dominican Republic as that country seeks to remove individuals of Haitian descent. What you may not have know is that there is a division within the Catholic Church in Hispaniola over that migration crisis. 

As the BBC reports, Father Luc Leandre is a Catholic priest who is helping Haitian "returnees" from the DR. He calls the deportation of Haitians a "grave crisis" and does what he can to resettle those returned.

But Father Leandre notes, "The cardinal in Santo Domingo [Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez] is personally very vocal in his support for the deportations. He supported sending all the Haitians back to their country."

-KitJ

July 27, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Lena Dunham And America Ferrera Slam Trump At Democratic Convention

 

At the Democratic Convention yesterday, Hillary Clinton was nominated for President.  In one of the speeches in support of Clinton, Lena Dunham And America Ferrera slammed Donald Trump.  For what it is worth, Ferrara was born in Los Angeles and her parents are from Honduras.

Best line of the speech:  "Look," America said, "Donald's not making America great again. He's making America hate again. And the vast majority of us, we cannot afford to see his vision of America come to be." 

KJ

July 27, 2016 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Long and Winding Road Followed by an Undocumented Immigrant: To Law School and Legal Status

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Photo courtesy of the Boston Globe

Remember Sergio Garcia, the undocumented immigrant who persevered and obtained his law license in California.  The Boston Globe tells another "feel good" immigration story.  Antonio Massa Viana was a star law student at Roger Williams University School of Law. He was also undocumented.  Viana in 2014 became the first known unauthorized immigrant to be admitted to the bar in Massachusetts.

Viana is now here legally — he said he received a green card last year through his wife, a naturalized US citizen from Argentina.  His long and complicated immigration history began when his mother came to America as a teenager in 1962 to marry a US citizen. They had two American children and she received a green card, but it lapsed after she and her husband split up. She returned to Brazil and had two more children, including Viana. The family returned to America when Viana was 12. His mother tried to get Viana a green card but filled out the wrong form and he had to go back to Brazil. When he was 19 he came back as his family settled in New York and tried again, but he had missed the age cutoff by one year.

Over the next two decades, Viana tried to get a green card through family and work. Most of his relatives are US citizens, including his mother. He disclosed his legal status to Rhode Island officials and was allowed to take the exam, though he was not allowed to get a law license until he was a legal permanent resident or a citizen, as the state requires. Viana said he called Massachusetts officials and discovered that the state had no such requirement for people taking the bar exam. He passed both bar exams on the first try. Massachusetts issued his law license in 2014 and ironically. Court officials had no comment.

Until 1973, Massachusetts required lawyers to be US citizens, but that year the US Supreme Court struck down a similar law in Connecticut because it discriminated against non-citizens. After the Supreme Court ruling, Massachusetts courts started to admit noncitizens to the bar, but the state never clarified whether undocumented immigrants could apply.

KJ

July 27, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

U.S. Expands Initiatives to Address Central American Migration Challenges

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Yesterday, the Department of Homeland Security issued the following announcement:

Over the past year, the United States has taken a series of steps to address the ongoing humanitarian challenges in Central America, particularly for the many vulnerable individuals attempting to leave the region and come to the United States, while also promoting safe and orderly migration and border security. As part of this ongoing effort, the United States is announcing the following initiatives to help vulnerable families and individuals from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

Today, the Government of Costa Rica has announced that they have agreed to enter into a protection transfer arrangement (PTA) with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to help address this regional migration challenge. This announcement is an important step forward for this program and the United States applauds Costa Rica’s consistent leadership on human rights and demonstrated capacity as a capable partner in addressing this regional migration challenge.

“Through the Central American Minors program, the U.S. government offers an alternative, safe, and legal path to the United States for children seeking protection from harm or persecution in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson.  “Today, we are expanding these resettlement opportunities to additional vulnerable individuals within the region.  This will increase the number of individuals to whom we are able to provide humanitarian protection while combating human smuggling operations."

Through coordination with UNHCR and IOM, the United States government will pre-screen vulnerable applicants from the region seeking protection. After pre-screening, this arrangement will allow UNHCR and IOM to transfer applicants most in need of immediate protection to Costa Rica, where they will undergo refugee processing before being resettled to the United States or another third country.

Additionally, for cases not requiring immediate transfer to Costa Rica, the United States is establishing an in-country referral program to enable vulnerable residents in this region to be considered for refugee protection in the United States after being screened and interviewed by Department of Homeland Security officers in their countries of origin.

The United States is also pleased to announce an expansion of our existing Central American Minors program, which currently provides children in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras with a safe and orderly alternative to the dangerous, irregular journey that some children are currently undertaking to reach the United States. As of today, the United States has received more than 9,500 applications for this program, which allows a lawfully-present parent within the United States to request refugee status for their children located in one of these three countries. When accompanied by a qualified child, the following additional categories of applicants may also be considered under this program:

  • sons and daughters of a U.S.-based lawfully-present parent who are over 21 years old;
  • the in-country biological parent of the qualified children;
  • caregivers of qualified children who are also related to the U.S.-based lawfully present parents.

As the United States has made clear in the past, we are committed to protecting Central Americans at risk and expanding resettlement opportunities in the region. The steps taken today, and over the past year, are another example of the creative solutions being taken across the federal government to make progress on this issue. Today’s actions will not solve this challenge alone, but are steps in the right direction and are a further example of the United States’ continued commitment to this ongoing situation.

Please go to https://www.uscis.gov/CAM

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For details and analysis click here and here. The move is intended to bring refugee families together, Obama officials said. But it could prove another partisan lightning rod in the debate over immigration in the U.S. presidential campaign.  The rule changes appear more modest than some of President Obama’s controversial deferred action programs. 

KJ

July 27, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Homeland Security chief seeks help from American Muslims — with a searing personal story

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Brian Bennett in the Los Angeles Times tells a fascinating story about Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.   His grandfather Charles S. Johnson was a distinguished sociologist who was president of Fisk University after World War II, when it was a haven for black intellectuals.

While in Nashville on business, Johnson visited his grandfather's grave in Greenwood Cemetery, a nearly all-black burial ground that remains a vestige of the city’s color line.

According to the story, Johnson's grandfather "has become a powerful personal touchstone for him as he juggles competing demands for national security and personal privacy, for government surveillance and civil liberties. Johnson’s grandfather was a target of the communist witch hunts of the postwar era. In 1949 he was called before the House Un-American Activities Committee, which investigated allegations of disloyalty and subversive activities. The black college president was asked if he was then or had ever been a member of the Communist Party. He wasn’t and he hadn’t. The FBI investigated him but found nothing. The family kept silent for decades about how the humiliations of the Red Scare touched them. Jeh Johnson only learned of his grandfather's tribulation last fall while researching a speech." “Basically in the late ’40s and early ’50s, if you were a black intellectual with a PhD, you were also suspected of being a communist,” Johnson said.

ohnson sees uncomfortable parallels to the animus and distrust that many Muslim Americans face for the terrorist actions of a few. “We always risk a fundamental misunderstanding of who is an individual of suspicion and who should be subject to government surveillance,” Johnson said. Donald Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, has made suspicion of Muslims a centerpiece of his campaign.

Johnson regularly meets Muslim leaders around the country. He asks them to help authorities identify potential threats in their communities, and he often describes his grandfather’s torment to show he understands how innocent people can be harmed when fear, fueled by politics, sweeps the nation.

KJ

July 27, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)