This is a roundup of immigration news from various sources that covers the past few days, including some quiet moves by the administration to make further changes in immigration policy. This is a straight survey of the news minus my opinion.
Delay of Deportations: On Monday, a federal judge ordered a one-week delay to deportations of reunited immigrant families to allow the government time to file its objections to an ACLU request provide parents with one week to decide whether to pursue asylum. The ACLU said that there are “persistent rumors of mass deportations” planned by the government after the families are reunited, and they would like their clients to have adequate time to consider whether to apply for asylum or not.
Progress in Reuniting Families: In the meantime, the government is flying children from all over the country to El Paso and other locations to reunite families in an attempt to comply with the July 26th deadline to reunite 2,551 children aged 5 to 17 with their families. This is after the government was forced to submit a revised unification plan when a federal judge questioned on Friday whether the government was acting in good faith. The judge felt the plan submitted Friday was inadequate.
Filthy Conditions for Children: In Los Angeles, immigration advocates say that immigrant children are being given poor food such as frozen sandwiches and that they are kept in filthy conditions. Attorneys are pushing for a court-appointed monitor to oversee government compliance with the Flores decision and other court decisions and laws that affect how immigrant children are treated.
Tightening of the Border: All of this is drawing the country’s attention from a careful tightening of immigration policy with a plan to lock families up indefinitely, expand detention space, and skirt the rules that protect immigrants and asylum seekers. They plan to provide families with a choice to stay together in detention or parents may release their children to a government program for immigrant youth. The government has requested 12,000 beds for family detention with 2,000 available immediately at military bases in the United States. The Defense Department received a request to house up to 20,000 unaccompanied minors.
End of the CAM Program: Also, the government has quietly ended the Central American Minors (CAM) program started in 2014 that allows immigrants who were lawfully present in the country to apply for refugee status or humanitarian parole on behalf of their children under 21. A class-action lawsuit alleges that the program was ended in January 2017 and not announced until August, violating the rule of law and due process. 2,000 CAM interviews were cancelled and 2,700 young people had their conditional approvals rescinded, yet the government continued to accept applicants’ funds while knowing the program had ended, including $400 for DNA tests, $100 for medical exams, and $1,400 for a plane ticket for each child.
Invented Crisis: Doris Meissner who is the former commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) under President Clinton said that the president has manufactured this “immigration crisis” which represents “the real desire…to change the character of the country.” This is in line with comments the president made while in Europe, including his claims that policies over there have destroyed European culture.
This is the news as of noon on July 17th. We shall see what else is said to the press or tweeted out to the public and update accordingly.