Nel's New Day

February 23, 2020

‘Zero’ Immigration Hurts Economy

“We are desperate” for immigrants was part of the message by Mick Mulvaney, the acting chief of staff for Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), in a speech at Oxford Union while Mulvaney was in England. (That was after he said that Republicans care only about huge deficits when there is a Democratic president. Mulvaney and DDT have managed to increase the national deficit by $3 trillion in three years.)  About the U.S. need for immigrants, Mulvaney said:

“We are running out of people to fuel the economic growth that we’ve had in our nation over the last four years. We need more immigrants.”

Immigrants contributed 15 percent of U.S. economic growth between 1990 and 2014. They provide taxes to support domestic programs for U.S. children and seniors as well as tending to be better educated. They founded 30 percent of U.S. firms that have gone public and more than 50 percent of startups valued at over $1 billion that have yet to go public. They generally do not speak English as well as native-born citizens so they don’t compete for jobs in communication, concentrating more on scientific and technical employment. Others work in fields sometimes rejected by native-born citizens; immigrants comprise 36 percent of workers in the farming, fishing, forestry, building and grounds cleaning, and maintenance workers; 27 percent of hotel workers; and 21 percent of home health care industry workers. Their mobility fills in gaps for labor market efficiency.

As DDT does in the U.S., Britain’s prime minister Boris Johnson (nicknamed BoJo), with the help of his home secretary Priti Patel, is imposing a rigid points-based system to deny most immigrants the right to live and work in Britain. They get their points by proving they speak English, are educated, and have a job offer paying a middle-class wage. BoJo hopes his white nationalism will appeal to older and wealthier conservative voters.  Like in the United States, BoJo’s system will result in a massive shortage of workers in healthcare, home care, lodgings, restaurants, farming, and other areas relying on low-paid employees. The government estimates that 70 percent of immigrants from the EU since 2004 would not have qualified.

DDT is going to be more desperate to find immigrants after his conservative Supreme Court ruled to lift stays on the wealth test—that immigrants even on the path to citizenship will be deported if they receive public benefits for 12 of 36 months. Justice Sonia Sotomayor stated the court was violating its own rules about when to step into the legal process. Until DDT’s election, the Court did not typically grant stays while cases were in the lower courts. Sotomayor pointed out that this “extraordinary act” now seems to be the “new normal.” Of the 23+ applications for “extraordinary” stays since DDT’s inauguration, 12 were this year compared to a total of eight requests during the 16 years of George W. Bush and Barack Obama. DDT’s government also wins two-thirds of the requests, showing that his Supreme Court bends the law in his favor.

“It is hard to say what is more troubling: that the government would seek this extraordinary relief seemingly as a matter of course, or that the court would grant it.”

Sotomayor also argued that “this Court is partly to blame for the breakdown in the appellate process … because the Court … been all too quick to grant the Government’s ‘reflexiv[e]’ requests.”

Immigrants already in the U.S. use public benefit programs less than U.S.-born citizens. In 2013, 32.5 percent of the latter received SNAP benefits compared to 25.4 percent of naturalized citizens and 29 percent of noncitizens. Immigrants also receive lower benefit values. Having jobs such as child care, home care, and fast food employment doesn’t keep people from needing these benefits

The Supreme Court decision impacts millions of immigrants; at least 69 percent of the over 5 million people receiving green cards during the past five years have at least one “negative” factor that could deport them. Even applying for a green card is counted against applicants. Other factors counting against applicants:

  • Not having an income that is 250% of the poverty line ($76,700 for a family of five).
  • Being unemployed.
  • Dropping out of high school.
  • Lacking English fluency.
  • Being older than 61 or younger than 18.
  • Having medical issues, especially if uninsured.
  • Not having private health insurance.
  • Having a mortgage, car loan, or credit card debt.

A missing piece in DDT’s budget, however, seems to reinforce the hiring of undocumented immigrants, perhaps again at his own businesses. The use of E-Verify, a program that checks new hires for undocumented immigrants, is no longer mandatory although it was part of his campaign promises. Jared Kushner, DDT’s son-in-law and adviser, has been working on a 600-page immigration proposal that makes immigration more business friendly, and the budget cuts $3.7 million from E-Verify’s funding.

Big employers don’t use E-Verify “Because I don’t have to,” according to their interviews with Jessica Vaughan, policy studies director at the Center for Immigration Studies.  The Trump Organization didn’t use E-Verify until a scandal about DDT’s undocumented workers erupted over two years after his inauguration. In May 2019, DDT told Fox that his business tried to use E-Verify while building his hotel in Washington, D.C. but the program blocked them from hiring “qualified” people. Florida’s biggest businesses—including agriculture, tourism, and construction—opposed the mandatory use of E-Verify because it was a threat to their workforce. Twenty-four states, including Florida, require E-Verify only for some government employers, but only eight states mandate the program’s use for all businesses.

The shortage of immigrants comes from far-right, racist, anti-immigrant Stephen Miller who persuaded DDT that a white country is a good country. In The New Yorker, Jonathan Blitzer wrote a profile of Miller and his steps to turn the United States white.  

After 9/11, Congress created the Department of Homeland Security, the third largest federal department with a $50 billion budget and a staff of about 200,000 employees, combined a number of protective agencies for disaster recovery, cybersecurity, infrastructure, the Coast Guard, and immigration. Miller’s focus was only on the last one: he ignored policy-making and requires lower-level officials to answer directly to him without the knowledge of their high-up’s.

Under the auspices of Director of Domestic Policy Council, Miller eliminated decades of immigration policies and precedent while using law to reduce legal immigration. His ten-point list includes an “end to catch and release,” “zero tolerance for criminal aliens,” penalties for sanctuary cities, a vow to reverse Obama’s executive orders, and a “big-picture” vision for reforming the immigration system “to serve the best interests of America and its workers”—meaning no one but white. Because of Miller, DDT revoked DACA to rid the U.S. of a “foreign-born” workforce before Miller guaranteed that Congress wouldn’t find a bipartisan solution for its reinstatement.  

Miller led a meeting with DOJ officials to push them into prosecuting border crossers as criminals so that families could be separated. Parents received criminal charges; children were considered unaccompanied minors. DHS wasn’t ready to implement the program and had no system for reuniting families, but Miller forced the agency into taking 2,500 children, including 102 under the age of five, from their parents. Hundreds of parents were deported without their children.  

Almost a year ago, DHS began the great DHS purge, beginning with firing Kristjen Nielsen and moving on to dumping the head of ICE and the DHS top lawyer. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said that DDT “pulling the rug out from the very people that are trying to help him accomplish his goal.” Miller moved in his own loyalists such as Matthew Albence as head of ICE who compared detention facilities to “summer camp.” But Kevin McAleenan, DHS fourth DHS head under DDT quit. He said:

“What I don’t have control over is the tone, the message, the public face and approach of the department in an increasingly polarized time.”

Miller refused to accept the resignation, but McAleenan left anyway. His replacement, Chad Wolf, is another acting appointee not confirmed by the Senate for that position. To get Wolf into that position, DDT pushed him through as Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Strategy, Policy, and Plans. Wolf could not be an agency director without being Senate-confirmed for another agency position.

Although he denied involvement in the “zero tolerance” immigration policy, Wolf helped develop the concept of separating families at the southern border as punishment and said, “My job wasn’t to determine whether it was the right or wrong policy.” He is also architect of the “Remain in Mexico” policy which forces almost 50,000 migrants caught in dangerous conditions while awaiting refugee asylum.

Last fall, hundreds of Miller’s emails exchanged between 2015 and 2016 with Breitbart were made public. They included links to articles on the white-supremacist Web site vdare, as well as an enthusiastic reference to The Camp of Saints, a racist anti-immigration French novel. One email forwards an article arguing that the U.S. should deport immigrants on trains “to scare out the people who want to undo our country.” Miller’s policies have almost completely sealed the southern border and has moved on to ordering DHS to send armed agents from Border Patrol swat teams to so-called “sanctuary cities” such as New York, Chicago, and San Francisco. He also wans ICE officers to pull children out of school. A senior DHS official told Blitzer that “there’s no one left at DHS to say ‘No’ to Miller anymore.” With Miller, DDT and the United States won’t have the workers they need to grow the economy.

September 15, 2019

Immigration in the U.S.: The Center of Cruelty

Public opinion—aka outrage—about deporting approximately 1,000 seriously ill migrants, primarily children, by denying them any deferred status drew attention before Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) moved Hurricane Dorian to Alabama. Families who must renew their medical deferred status every two years were notified in August that they would be automatically forced to leave the country within 33 days. After a backlash, DDT said he would reconsider the new policy that sends all these migrants to their certain death because they would lack health care, but he hasn’t provided a resolution.

Ken Cuccinelli, acting director for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, failed to appear for an emergency House hearing about the travesty, and Daniel Renaud, the associate director for field operations, said that he just follows orders. USCIS, formerly responsible for processing the deferral requests, handed all non-military requests over to ICE. ICE said it knew nothing about the change, and recipients of the deportation letters were not notified. Now ICE won’t address deferral requests until the subjects have an order of removal. The most recent information comes from American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Those people aren’t the only ones who DDT is killing. Last Thursday, ICE rushed the deportation to Cuba of Yoel Alonso Leal, an asylum-seeker with several serious medical conditions including a lung tumor. Over 100 physicians argued that he stay in the U.S. and warned that he might not even survive the flight. No matter—ICE refused to release him to his U.S. citizen wife and family for more tests and treatment. Leal said that Cuban authorities detained and assaulted him in 2016 and 2018 before he sought asylum. 

DDT already killed a man born in Greece 41 years ago, who legally came to the U.S. at less than a year of age, by deporting him to Iraq where he died without insulin for his diabetes. Jimmy Aldaoud never learned Arabic and was part of Detroit’s Chaldean Catholic community, targeted in Iraq by extremists. He was sent to Iraq because Greece doesn’t recognize birthright citizenship. Other Chaldeans, a conservative group, are also targeted for deportation, one of them for a years-old marijuana conviction that was dropped from his criminal record.

ICE also plans to kill detain immigrants by not vaccinating children for the flu. Despite the claim that detainees are held for only 72 hours, they can remain in detention for over a month. At least three people in government “care” have already died of the flu.

DDT also wants to terminate a program protecting undocumented family members of active-duty troops from deportation. Currently the program allows military family members illegally entering the U.S.—for example, overstaying a visa—who cannot adjust their immigration status to temporarily stay in the U.S. The program avoids distractions coming from worries about a spouse being deported and allows the spouse to apply for a green card. Already ICE doesn’t follow its own policies by deporting former service members and breaking the tradition of giving a path to citizenships for those who serve in the military—almost 130,000 since 2001. Last year, the Pentagon discharged immigrants with special skills recruited under George W. Bush’s program.

A lawsuit against Cuccinelli purports that all his directives are “invalid” because he “lacks the authority to serve as acting director.” Cuccinelli is also unqualified to serve in this position because he describes immigrants as rats although his job is to facilitate legal immigration. His new policies include fast-tracking initial screenings of asylum-seekers from 48 hours to a “full calendar day,” blocking them from preparing for interviews of seeing legal help. Cuccinelli is serving as “acting director” because GOP senators have doubted his appointment.

In another cruel form of current government bureaucracy, 37 asylum seekers accused of illegal entry were all processed at one time and expected to answer questions in unison. Public defendants had under two hours to talk with 41 defendants in one case. Unlike other courts under the judicial branch, immigration courts are under the control of DOJ AG Bill Barr. [Right: “Justice” under the reign of Barr and DDT.]

New tent courts recently established at the southern border will hear thousands of cases for asylum-seekers in closed hearings with no court observers unlike open immigration court proceedings. Attorneys are not allowed to participate although most asylum-seekers can’t get legal representation. Over 42,000 asylum-seekers are forced to wait in Mexico where they have been assaulted, kidnapped, and extorted. Others have let Mexico bus them to the middle of the country or the border of Guatemala. The hearings in the tent court facilities are via video teleconference, a serious problem from faulty equipment with poor video and sound quality that prevent due process. 

Last week, people believing in justice breathed a sigh of relief when a federal judge ruled that DDT cannot require asylum seekers to ask another country for shelter before seeking refuge in the U.S. According to DDT’s coerced agreement with Guatemala, people coming from Central America into Mexico must try and fail to obtain asylum in Guatemala before moving on to go through the same process in Mexico before seeking asylum in the U.S. Mexico had refused DDT’s negotiations, but he still forces the “third-country” asylum rule on that country. A 9th Circuit Court ruling against DDT’s new restriction had been only for the ten states in its jurisdiction, but Jon S. Tigar made that ruling consistent for the entire country to prevent “uneven enforcement.”

The relief ended when DDT’s U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay to that judge’s ruling until the courts settled the cases, a process taking and leaving the Supreme Court as the final decider—or “fixer” for DDT. The lower courts determined that DDT’s policy conflicts with existing immigration statutes, violates the requirements of administrative rulemaking, and completely blocks all asylum for people on the southern border unless they come from Mexico. The decision was not explained.

Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginzberg submitted a dissent stating that lower court decisions should be respected and a stay overturning a lower court is “extraordinary.” The Supreme Court should not be used for the government to ignore lower court litigation. DDT’s administration has made an “extraordinary” number of requests—20—to bypass normal procedures or lower court actions. In addition to procedural anomalies, the dissent pointed out that the goal of DDT’s asylum policy is acting in bad faith. Facts do not support their arguments and illustrated that the policy puts untold numbers of people in serious danger—which DDT and his co-authors know. The decision overturns a longstanding offer of safe refuge to the persecuted with no input before DDT loses on the case’s merits. The lower court determined that DDT’s new policy broke government rules, violated the law, and lacks justification by being arbitrary and capricious.

One group of immigrants that DDT wants to protect are Venezuelans. He thinks that it might help him win the state of Florida in the 2020 election.

Perhaps the worst part of immigration court is control by the DOJ instead of the judicial branch. DDT’s fixer AG, Bill Barr, promoted the six judges with higher rates of denying immigrants’ asylum to the immigration appeals court that can overturn lower court decisions. Two of them came from courts drawing complaints of unfair proceedings from attorneys and advocates, and a third denies asylum to domestic violence victims. The six comprise over one-fourth of the appellate board, and four are on the DDT-created Board of Immigration Appeals. Barr established a regulation giving himself the ability to make any appellate decision binding. DOJ sent an email to all immigration court employees with a link to an article from the white nationalist website VDare that “directly attacks sitting immigration judges with racial and ethnically tinged slurs.”

The DOJ also filed a petition to decertify the union of immigration judges with the claim that they are “management officials.” The Federal Labor Relations Authority refused this tactic over 20 years ago, but the new FLRA members mostly belong to DDT. Last year, the union fought the new DOJ quota system of completing 700 cases a year and “efficiency” procedures that could damage due process in court. DDT has appointed at least 43 percent of the 440 immigration judges; changing them to “management” would allow him to fire them at his whim.

While DDT torments and kills migrants, the asylum law is now at the center of his immigration battle. The law says: “Any alien who is physically present in the United States or who arrives in the United States, whether or not at a designated port of arrival … may apply for asylum.”

Not satisfied with detaining only immigrants, DDT wants to incarcerate the homeless in a federal facility, starting his roundup in California to rile up his base for the 2020 election.

At his speech in Baltimore, DDT used a favorite term, “goddamn,” which the evangelical community hates. Texas megachurch leader and DDT supporter Rev. Robert Jeffress said, “I can take just about everything else, except [taking the Lord’s name in vain.” For evangelicals, cruelty, corruption, killing, abuse, lying, racism all okay, but “goddamn” crosses the line.

June 23, 2015

‘Roe v. Wade’ May Survive

The Supreme Court may have already made a decision about the closure of women’s clinics across the state of Texas in a little-watched case, Los Angeles v. Patel, about hotels. That case concerns a city ordinance requiring hotel operators to keep records, such as names and addresses of guests, and make these records “available to any officer of the Los Angeles Police Department for inspection.” Refusal could give hotel operators up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. A 5-4 decision, including the four more liberal justices joined by Kenney, determined that the ordinance violates the Fourth Amendment’s safeguards against unreasonable searches and seizures because it does not afford these hotel operators “an opportunity to obtain precompliance review before a neutral decisionmaker.”

Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote that the plaintiffs may bring a “facial” challenge to the Los Angeles ordinance. These challenges seek to totally invalidate a law whereas “as-applied” challenges seek a decision about whether a law is applied only to a specific plaintiff or plaintiffs. The court’s precedents were not clear before Patel about the appropriateness of facial challenges, and one case indicated that “the challenger must establish that no set of circumstances exists under which the Act would be valid.”

Sotomayor explained that in the court’s assessment of a facial challenge, it “considered only applications of the statute in which it actually authorizes or prohibits conduct.” In the major abortion case Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the court struck down the part of Pennsylvania’s law requiring a woman to notify her husband before getting an abortion. Supporters of the law argued that facial relief was wrong because most women tell their husbands if they are getting an abortion. That means the law does not impose an undue burden on these women. The court disagreed because constitutional law should be considered by its impact on people who it affects. “The proper focus of the constitutional inquiry is the group for whom the law is a restriction, not the group for whom the law is irrelevant.”

This statement can also be used as a rebuttal to the decision about closing women’s clinics in Texas by three George W. Bush-appointed judges on the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. The panel ruled that facial challenges can almost never be brought against anti-abortion laws. Although 900,000 women of reproductive age would have to travel more than 150 miles for an abortion, the lower court reasoned that these 900,000 women are only 17 percent of the 5.4 million women of reproductive age in the state. To these three men, 17 percent isn’t enough to allow a facial challenge because it doesn’t provide a sufficient burden to most of the women in Texas.

Justice Sotomayor’s opinion in Patel repudiates this analysis by the 5th Circuit. If “[t]he proper focus of the constitutional inquiry is the group for whom the law is a restriction, not the group for whom the law is irrelevant,” as the Court held in Patel, then the Fifth Circuit erred by focusing on how certain aspects of Texas’s law would influence women that they do not impact.

Although the Patel case did not have a unanimous vote, the position on facial challenge apparently did. Even Justice Antonin Scalia’s dissent in Patel agrees that a litigant’s “self-description” of his lawsuit as a “facial” challenge provides no “independent reason to reject it, unless we [are] to delegate to litigants our duty to say what the law is” (invoking Marbury v. Madison without citing it). In a separate dissent Justice Samuel Alito, joined by Justice Clarence Thomas, notes that he sees “serious arguments” that the fact-specific Fourth Amendment is “inconsistent with facial challenges” and so he proceeds only by “assuming” that “such facial challenges ever make sense conceptually.”

Roe v. Wade is still at risk across the country, but Patel is a good beginning. Perhaps a majority of the Supreme Court won’t be as restrictive as the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. Patel’s decision may also be the foundation for overturning the decision from the 5th Circuit to highly restrict the reproductive rights of women in Texas and other states.

Last Friday, the 5th Circuit refused, by two to one, to delay its June 9 ruling closing many of the women’s clinics although it modified it by giving a clinic in McAllen more time to adapt to new restrictions. Ten of the remaining 19 clinics in Texas are still required to close on July with some of them never reopening. The case has been appealed to the Supreme Court through Scalia who handles emergency legal filings from the 5th Circuit.  He can act on his own or consult with the other justices. The Supreme Court is currently considering whether to review a Mississippi case to replace a state abortion law that would close the last clinic in the state.

In Texas, the issues are whether clinics performing abortions must have facilities equal to those in surgical centers and whether doctors performing abortions must have patient-admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. These limitations will reduce Texas abortion facilities by 75 percent in just two years, causing “a severe shortage of safe and legal abortion services.” Clinics and doctors argue that the two provisions are not medically necessary at women’s clinics. The state had 41 abortion clinics before the new law began taking effect. A temporary Supreme Court order putting limits on the state law allowed some clinics to reopen last October. Ten of the remaining 19 clinics were closed by the 5th Circuit decision.

Abortions are a minor part of women’s clinics, and Gov. Greg Abbott is creating more health risks for low-income women. He just signed a budget proposal ousting Planned Parenthood from Texas’ Breast and Cervical Cancer Services program, which provides cancer screenings for uninsured, low-income women. Any clinics affiliated with abortion providers will no longer receive funding for cancer screening services.

drone_2813285b

As more and more states close women’s clinics, the United States is rapidly becoming a Third World country for women’s reproductive rights. Drones might help solve the problem. In Poland, Women on Waves, the Dutch group advising women in countries where abortion is illegal on how to safely terminate their own pregnancies, is dropping medication-abortion packets for women’s groups to distribute to those who want abortions. In Europe, only Poland, Ireland, and Malta fail to have legalized abortions.

Telemedicine abortion is an easy way to safely end abortions early in a pregnancy as shown in Iowa, but 16 states have outlawed the practice. In states that have not yet outlawed the method, Utah has a mandatory face-to-face meeting with a doctor, followed by a 72-hour wait, but lacks any prohibition on doing a medication abortion without a doctor present.

Six states have just one legal abortion clinic each. Louisiana is following Texas in a fight to close down most of the women’s clinics. Four states have three-day waiting periods. Texas and Louisiana are in the courts fighting to close most of their clinics down. In the United States, women can technically legally end their own pregnancy legally as long as they do it well before viability. If this sounds medically dangerous, think about how much worse illegal abortions can be because safe and clean women’s clinics are gradually closed throughout the United States.

Mind-Cast

Rethinking Before Restarting

the way of improvement leads home

reflections at the intersection of American history, religion, politics, and academic life

© blogfactory

Genuine news

Civil Rights Advocacy

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. -- Margaret Mead

AGR Daily News

Transformational News; What Works For Seven Future Generations Without Causing Harm?

JONATHAN TURLEY

Res ipsa loquitur - The thing itself speaks

Jennifer Hofmann

Inspiration for soul-divers, seekers, and activists.

Occupy Democrats

Progressive political commentary/book reviews for youth and adults

V e t P o l i t i c s

politics from a liberal veteran's perspective

Margaret and Helen

Best Friends for Sixty Years and Counting...

Rainbow round table news

Official News Outlet for the Rainbow Round Table of the American Library Association

The Extinction Protocol

Geologic and Earthchange News events

Social Justice For All

Working towards global equity and equality

Over the Rainbow Books

A Book List from Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table of the American Library Association

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

%d bloggers like this: