Congress

Why Trump must end DACA

The Hill

By opinion contributor Dale Wilcox

Published January 29, 2017

The rule of law is all about deterrence. So when we fail to follow it, we squander its deterring effects. With President Obama’s DACA program apparently still up and running (handing out amnesty, work permits, etc.), it’s sincerely hoped this most basic of principles hasn’t fallen victim to the left’s emotional blackmail campaign.

Ending DACA and turning off the amnesty-magnet is now more important than ever.

Obama created DACA in reaction to Congress’s “gridlock” over the DREAM Act, an amnesty bill for illegal aliens under 30 rejected no less than 24 times since 2001.

DACA replicated the main elements and criteria of the insipidly titled act, from its sentimental focus on “children” to the requirement that applicants have a GED.

While the DREAM Act granted “legal status” or permanent legalization, DACA purports to offer “legal presence”, or “temporary” legalization. The distinction’s without a difference. Obama’s strategy with the program, to use a phrase from George W. Bush about Israel’s West Bank settlements, was to create “facts on the ground” and make it as difficult as possible to reverse course in future.

When you reward bad behavior, you get more of it. Following Obama’s DACA announcement, radio and print ads began appearing south of the border selling the services of cartel-controlled “coyotes” to teenaged would-be illegal aliens. In a matter of months, the thousand or so apprehensions of unaccompanied juveniles we’d previously been seeing every year surged into the tens of thousands.

A year later, the surge reached the hundreds of thousands (not including an equal jump in “family units”). Despite Obama’s efforts to divert the flood by creating a program to fly alien minors straight from their home countries, the level of illegal entries failed to taper off and it remains at record highs today.

Now, thanks to DACA, taxpayers spend hundreds of millions annually to reunite the (mostly) uneducated minors with their (mostly) illegal alien parents in the U.S. That’s money that should have gone to support schools, hospitals, and job-training for American youth.

Should the new administration signal that it too is unwilling to enforce our immigration laws fairly, equally, and without an ageist-bent, the flood over our borders will become a torrent.

Take Mexico’s poor economic prospects. Average wages in that country are a mere 10 percent of American levels, a gap that’s likely set to jump. Why? Mexico’s rapidly dwindling Cantarell oil field, traditionally the source of 30 percent of the country’s total government expenditures. Once classified as a ‘supergiant’ alongside Saudi Arabia’s Ghawar deposit, the Cantarell field, and the well-paid union jobs it supported, is credited with finally establishing a Mexican middle-class.

But with production declining from 2.5 million to 400,000 barrels per day over the last decade or so, Mexico’s biggest GDP-contributor is no longer oil exports, but US-based remittances.

Assuming the economic effects to Mexico of Trump’s promised NAFTA readjustments turn out to be banal (some critics say it’s actually been a net negative to Mexico’s poor), the drawdown of Mexican oil revenues will almost certainly push up its levels of illegal economic migration.

As for the main source countries for “unaccompanied alien minors” — El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras — development economists have all but given up on understanding why they can’t even come close to the achievements of neighboring Nicaragua, Belize, Costa Rica, and Panama. Without shutting off the magnet of amnesty, their mass illegal entries will also stay at flood-levels. 

Instead of demanding that the federal government assist these countries with better tailored aid and grants conditioned on rooting out corruption, open-borders activists simply call for more amnesty and more illegal alien “rights.” Their lack of systematic analysis is stupefying.

While “protecting” illegal aliens from the consequences of breaking the law may make them feel good and virtuous, if they get their way on DACA the incentives for further law-breaking at our border will only increase. Economists call this the “moral hazard” problem.

Given the economic and social pressures here and across the border, we need to ensure against amnesty and the moral hazard it creates, now more than ever.

Dale Wilcox is executive director and general counsel for the Immigration Reform Law Institute, a public interest law firm working to defend the rights and interests of the American people from the negative and predatory effects of unlawful immigration and ungoverned legal immigration.

Read the full article and comments.

President Trump moves to build border wall, block funding to ‘sanctuary cities’

WASHINGTON — President Trump moved aggressively to tighten the nation’s immigration policies Wednesday, signing executive actions to jumpstart construction of a U.S.-Mexico border wall and block federal grants from immigrant-protecting “sanctuary cities.”

“We’ve been talking about this right from the beginning,” Trump said during a brief signing ceremony at the Department of Homeland Security.

...Trump cast his actions as fulfillment of his campaign pledge to enact hard-line immigration measures, including construction of a wall paid for by Mexico.

While Trump has repeatedly said the border structure will be a wall, his spokesman Sean Spicer said more generally Wednesday the president was ordering construction of a “large physical barrier.”

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, who has insisted his country will not pay for a wall, is to meet with Trump at the White House next week.

The orders Trump signed Wednesday also increase the number of border patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to be hired. And the president ordered the end of what Republicans have labeled a catch-and-release system at the border...

Later in the week, Trump is expected to sign orders restricting the flow of refugees into the United States...

Trump campaigned on pledges to tighten U.S. immigration policies, including strengthening border security and stemming the flow of refugees. His call for a border wall was among his most popular proposals with supporters, who often broke out in chants of “build that wall” during rallies.

In response to terrorism concerns, Trump controversially called for halting entry to the U.S. from Muslim countries. He later turned to a focus on “extreme vetting” for those coming from countries with terrorism ties.

To build the wall, the president may rely on a 2006 law that authorized several hundred miles of fencing along the 2,000-mile frontier. That bill led to the construction of about 700 miles of various kinds of fencing designed to block both vehicles and pedestrians.

The Secure Fence Act was signed by then-President George W. Bush, and the majority of that fencing in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California was built before he left office. The last remnants were completed after President Obama took office in 2009.

The Trump administration also must adhere to a decades-old border treaty with Mexico...

Trump’s order to crack down on sanctuary cities — locales that don’t cooperate with immigration authorities — could cost individual jurisdictions millions of dollars....

It appeared as though the refugee restrictions were still being finalized. ...

There is also likely to be an exception for those fleeing religious persecution if their religion is a minority in their country. That exception could cover Christians fleeing Muslim-majority nations.

As president, Trump can use an executive order to halt refugee processing. Bush used that same power in the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks. Refugee security vetting was reviewed and the process was restarted several months later.

———

Zoll reported from New York. AP writer Alicia Caldwell in Washington contributed to this report.

Sen. Wyden and state representatives pledge to protect undocumented immigrants at Oregon capitol

Around 600 Oregon protesters rallied around the state capitol in Salem on Jan. 14, showing support for elected representatives and organizers vowing to protect undocumented immigrants and their families.

Residents from across Oregon filled the Oregon State Capitol fountain grounds at 2:00 p.m. They cheered to speeches from U.S. Senator Wyden, state and district representatives, along with immigrant’s rights advocates. The leaders expressed defiance to President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign promises, which includes to overturn Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and deport 11 million undocumented immigrants.

“[Trump]’s policies lack empathy, lack compassion. They lack the understanding that undocumented workers and their families are key components of the American economy — and that they are Americans,” U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden said to the crowd, alongside a Spanish translator. Wyden told the Emerald that he will support the Bridge Act, a bipartisan legislation introduced to U.S. Senate last month to allow those receiving DACA to remain in the United States. DACA protects young undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children from deportation, and provides them with temporary work permits.

Jeff Stone, Executive Director of Oregon Association of Nurseries, cited a report his group, along with business and civic leaders, released. According to the report, immigrants make up 10 percent of Oregon’s population and contributed $24.4 billion in taxes and earn 9 percent of state earnings.

“You are important,” Stone said. “In America, every immigrant class has come to our country and made it better. And one of our most enduring symbols — the statue of liberty — embodies the great torch of freedom that welcomes the world to our shores.”

The crowd became especially animated when newly-elected Oregon House of Representatives leader Teresa Alonso Leon was introduced. She became the first immigrant Latina to be elected to Oregon State Legislature.

The daughter of migrant workers, Leon described picking berries during summers to support her family. She eventually became the first person in her family to graduate from college, which she said was due to her hard-work, but not without the “kindness of dedicated educators.” One of Leon’s campaign goals was for increased college affordability.

“I remember years ago standing on these same steps as a young girl for the first time. When I was here then, I didn’t see anyone who looked like me,” Leon said in front of the capitol building. “Now, just days ago, my young niece Emma, was able to watch her tia be sworn in as state representative, and it brought tears to my eyes.” She said that Emma now aspires to be the first Latina president of the United States.

Fatima Preciado was the last speaker. Preciado is a DACA recipient, who was brought to America from Apatzingan, Mexico.

“As a four-year-old crossing the border, I did not understand the complexity, risk and sacrifice my parents were making by bringing me to this country,” Preciado said. “But now that I understand, I am not ashamed.”

Preciado was named 2016 Oregon Youth of the Year by Oregon’s Boys & Girls Clubs in her senior year, and then became the first in her family to attend a four-year university. But that could be taken away from her, if President-elect Trump follows through with his talk of repealing DACA.

“The threat is real and we need our state leaders to protect us from Trump’s dangerous and inhumane policies,” Preciado said.

The crowd then marched around the capitol — where two protestors held a banner with an image of the Statue of Liberty. It read “No Human Being is Illegal.”

Around 600 people from across Oregon rallied at the Oregon State Capitol, before marching around it. (Andrew Field / Emerald)

Oregon Illegal Immigrants to Protest Ahead of Trump Inauguration

Hundreds of illegal immigrants living in Oregon are expected to protest at the State Capitol against expected tighter immigration enforcement under President-Elect Donald Trump, just days before his Inaugural Address.

Over 500 Oregon residents and illegal immigrants are expected to attend the event, according to the Portland Tribune. U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) will also be in attendance at the rally.

The open borders organization One Oregon asked residents to “denounce Trump’s agenda of hate and exclusion” by joining the protest.

“We must unite to stop Trump’s first 100 days of hate,” One Oregon officials wrote in a news release. “We call on Oregonians, community organizations, and our local elected leaders to join us.”

The group objects to Trump’s immigration plans, which includes building a border wall along the U.S.-Mexico southern border, reducing legal immigration levels, and deporting criminal illegal immigrants.

During a recent news conference, Trump said the building of the border wall would “start immediately” after he takes office on January 20, Breitbart News reported.

I could wait about a year and a half until we finish our negotiations with Mexico, which will start immediately after we get into office,” Trump said during his recent news conference. “But I don’t want to wait. Mike Pence is leading an effort to get final approvals through various agencies and through Congress for the wall to begin.”

“I don’t feel like waiting a year or year and a half,” Trump continued. “We’re going to start building,”

In California, one of Oregon’s neighboring states, open border allies like Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom have already concocted plans that attempt to halt the border wall, though the plans seem unlikely to change anything, Breitbart Texas reported.

“There are all kinds of obstructions as it relates to just getting zoning approval and getting building permits,” Newsom said of trying to stop the border wall while being interviewed on a local podcast. “All those things could be made very, very challenging for the administration.”

John Binder is a contributor for Breitbart Texas. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.

Sessions-led DOJ will reform immigration law to put Americans first

BY IAN SMITH & MICHAEL HETHMON, OPINION CONTRIBUTORS

In the lead-up to today’s confirmation hearing for Attorney General-designate Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), open-borders activists have been pushing back hard in their public advocacy campaigns against his potential appointment.

The Justice department, of course, does have plenty of jurisdiction over immigration. Should Sessions clear committee and get the necessary votes for the post, immigration policies reflecting the senator’s enforcement-first approach will surely top DOJ’s agenda.

Much to the open-borders lobby’s horror, patriotic immigration reform will likely be a point of emphasis for a Sessions-led DOJ.

First, the agency must send a formal request to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that all Notice-To-Appear (NTA) documents be actually filed with DOJ’s immigration courts.

NTAs, the charging document that starts the removal-hearing process, are supposed to be issued by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents to every illegal alien apprehended in the country.

In 2014, however, agents began receiving orders not to issue NTAs for aliens who claim to have been in the country before January of that year. This so-called ‘catch-and-release’ or ‘notice-to-disappear’ policy quickly sparked complaints from agents when the number of apprehended aliens making such claims skyrocketed.

Border Patrol Union President Brandon Judd relayed to Congress that the motive behind the change was to suppress the rates at which illegal aliens fail to appear for their removal hearings, a figure that’s dramatically increased during the Obama years.

Until a NTA has been filed with an immigration court, an alien is not in removal proceedings under current regulation. This creates a major loophole in the deportation system.

Without a NTA being logged into the system, those aliens refusing to show up in court can’t be recorded as no-shows. By ensuring that all NTAs are filed and posted on public dockets on the DOJ website, future administrations won’t be able to hide behind this kind of smoke-and-mirrors data reporting. 

The Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer (OCAHO) is a DOJ sub-agency that adjudicates cases of illegal-alien hiring. With American wages averaging around ten times those of Mexico, the magnet behind the illegal immigration numbers and the legal immigration backlog appears to be job opportunities.

Unfortunately, while we finally made it unlawful for employers to hire illegal aliens in 1986 with the Immigration Reform and Control Act, we never got the promised enforcement.

The current state of OCAHO is testament to that. Despite its importance, the court, at present, is completely neutered — only two judges currently sit on its panel and months occasionally pass without any permanent judges.

As we’ve advocated elsewhere, a return of worksite enforcement actions on the part of ICE, which were discontinued in 2007, must be made. Those actions should be supported by rejuvenated courts and far greater penalties.

Fines proposed by ICE and levied by OCAHO are not only too low (making the practice of hiring illegal aliens simply a cost of doing business), they’re almost always reduced by the court. OCAHO regulations must be amended to curb this mitigation process.  

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) also prohibits employers from discriminating against American citizens based on their citizenship-status, a practice employees in the tech industry have been well-acquainted with for years.

But, at the urging of the immigration attorneys lobby, OCAHO has refused to protect U.S. workers from employer-retaliation when they complain about an illegal alien.

The new administration’s promise to protect American workers cannot be realized unless OCAHO regulations are first amended to clarify that it is a prohibited act of immigration-related employment discrimination for an employer to prohibit or retaliate against a U.S. citizen for complaining about the employment of illegal aliens or the use of illegal alien contract workers. 

DOJ must also issue a legal opinion confirming that section 274A(a)(h)(3) of the INA does not give the executive branch unlimited authority to grant work permits to any alien, regardless of their legal status. 

When the president got angry with Congress for rejecting the ‘DREAM Act’ for the 24th time, he ordered DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) to take a "fresh, new look" at the INA and conjure up the legal authority he sought to bypass Congress.

OLC Assistant Attorney General Karl R. Thompson's reinterpretation of section 274A(a)(h)(3) describes a super-doctrine of executive discretion whereby the outgoing president could claim almost monarchical powers to issue work permits as well as amnesty en masse

But, section 274A(a)(h)(3) only provides a list of limited exceptions to the general rule that it is unlawful “to hire, or to recruit or refer for a fee, for employment in the United States an alien knowing the alien is an unauthorized alien.”

The INA defines “unauthorized alien” as any alien not “lawfully admitted for permanent residence” or an alien not “authorized to be so employed by this chapter or by theAttorney General."

Despite the INA’s general rule against employing illegal workers, OLC attorneys claimed that the phrase “by the Attorney General” allows the attorney general (now the DHS secretary) to give himself unfettered discretion in granting work permits to any category of illegal aliens he chooses.

We offered up this corrected interpretation in a friend-of-the-court brief to the Fifth Circuit, which ultimately took it up and closely tracked in their eventual decision to maintain the injunction against Obama’s Deferred Actions for Parents of Americans (DAPA) amnesty program. DOJ must formally adopt this interpretation. 

Numerous other immigration reforms that put the national interest first can be implemented by DOJ under existing statutes, once Obama’s memos and decrees on discretion are rescinded. And no doubt they will be with an "America First" attorney general, like Sessions, at the helm. 

Ian Smith is an investigative associate at the Immigration Reform Law Institute, a public interest law firm working to defend the rights and interests of the American people from the negative effects of mass migration. Hethmon is the senior counsel for IRLI.


http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/the-administration/313533-sessions-led-doj-will-reform-immigration-law-to-put

OFIR meeting - this Saturday, Jan. 14 at 2:00pm

Alert date: 
January 8, 2017
Alert body: 

Alot has happened since OFIR's last meeting.  We have reason to be optimistic for what the future may hold regarding enforcement of our immigration laws.

Plan to attend OFIR"s meeting this Saturday, January 14 at from 2 - 4pm. 

We will talk about the 2016 election results and how they will impact us nationally and here in Oregon.

The Oregon Legislature will open their 2017 session next month.  We'll talk about the new legislation OFIR is proposing and also the likely oppositions  legislation we will be tracking.

OFIR President, Cynthia Kendoll will share photos and experiences about her week long exploration of the northeast US / Canadian border with Center for Immigration Studies.

We have a packed agenda!  Invite a friend and learn what you can do to get involved in 2017!

Attendance is free and there is plenty of free parking!


 

Trump team seeks agency records on border barriers, surveillance

...President-elect Donald Trump's transition team asked the Department of Homeland Security last month to assess all assets available for border wall and barrier construction.

The team also asked about the department's capacity for expanding immigrant detention and about an aerial surveillance program...

The requests were made in a Dec. 5 meeting between Trump's transition team and Department of Homeland Security officials...  for securing the U.S. borders and reversing polices put in place by the Obama administration. 

Trump's transition team did not comment in response to Reuters inquiries. A spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Protection declined to comment.

In response to the transition team request, U.S. Customs and Border Protection staffers identified more than 400 miles along the U.S.-Mexico border, and about the same distance along the U.S.-Canada border, where new fencing could be erected, according to a document seen by Reuters.

Reuters could not determine whether the Trump team is considering a northern border barrier. During the campaign, Trump pledged to build a wall and expand fencing on parts of the U.S.-Mexico border but said he sees no need to build a wall on the border with Canada.

One program the transition team asked about, according to the email summary, was Operation Phalanx, an aerial surveillance program that authorizes 1,200 Army National Guard airmen to monitor the southern border for drug trafficking and illegal migration.

The program once deployed 6,000 airmen under President George W. Bush but was downsized by Barack Obama...

POLICY SHIFT

The transition team also asked for copies of every executive order and directive sent to immigration agents since Obama took office in 2009, according to the memo summarizing the meeting.

Trump has said he intends to undo Obama's executive actions on immigration, including a 2012 order to allow children brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents to remain in the country on temporary authorizations that allow them to attend college and work.

The program, known as DACA, collected information including participants' addresses that could theoretically be used to locate and deport them if the policy is reversed. Another request of the transition team was for information about whether any migrant records have been changed for any reason, including for civil rights or civil liberties concerns, according to the internal memo seen by Reuters.

A Department of Homeland Security official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the agency interpreted the request to mean the transition team wanted to make sure that federal workers were not tampering with information to protect DACA recipients and other migrants from deportation.

On the campaign trail, Trump vowed to deport more undocumented immigrants...

The internal memo summarizing the meeting between Trump's transition team and U.S. Customs and Border protection said the team had requested a comprehensive picture of border security as well as resources available for walls and barriers...

Reuters reviewed a copy of the report, which estimated the cost of building fencing along the northern border fence would be $3.3 billion and cover 452 miles along border of Canada and the states of Washington, Idaho, Montana, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

Adding 413 miles of fencing on the southwest border would be more expensive, according to the estimate of $11.37 billion, because it would be aimed at keeping pedestrians as well as vehicles from crossing.

Pedestrian fences require more staff and would cost $11.2 million per mile versus $4.1 million per mile to build to build, according to the report.

In fiscal year 2015, the latest year for which data is available, border patrol agents apprehended 2,626 illegal migrants on the U.S.-Canada border compared to 331,333 apprehended on the U.S.-Mexico border.

True test for sanctuary yet to come

Some of the dust has started to settle from the rush late last year for various local entities to declare their jurisdictions as sanctuaries.

In short order after the election of Donald Trump, Oregon State University, Benton County, the city of Corvallis and the Corvallis School District all adopted resolutions or issued statements in which they embraced, at least to some extent, the idea that they will not assist with federal government efforts to deport people who are not U.S. citizens.

We don't mean to underestimate the importance of these declarations, especially as they recognize and try to ease the fears among some people that they might be targeted by the actions of a Trump administration. That in itself makes these declarations worthwhile.

But let's not fool ourselves: We are hard-pressed to find, in any of the declarations, anything that wasn't already a matter of policy in these governmental jurisdictions, although the declarations might serve a useful purpose by clarifying existing policies.

Again, there is importance in that, especially if the goal is to quell fear and, even better, to reassure immigrants that they won't have to stand alone through uncertain times.

But we shouldn't be fooled into thinking that these sanctuary declarations, in this community, at this time, are acts of great courage. And let's remember this: It might be unwise to assume that approving the declarations marks the end of the story.

As The Atlantic noted in a recent story on sanctuary campuses, Trump promised on the campaign trail that sanctuary cities (and, presumably, other entities that receive federal money) would "not receive taxpayer dollars."

So, potentially what's at stake here are the millions of federal dollars that flow to entities such as OSU, the city, the county and the school district.

In theory at least, Trump can't do that by himself. It would require approval from Congress, and it could very well be that the entire pool of federal funds is not at risk: The Atlantic story noted that the reason for withholding federal funds from governments likely would have to be somehow linked to the proposed use for the money.

In the past, Democrats have stopped attempts by Republicans to strip away federal funding, but guess what: Republicans are running Congress these days, and the early indications are that GOP senators and representatives are going to give Trump wide sway, at least initially.

Now, that could change as members of Congress get bombarded by calls of protest from cities, counties and universities in their district that stand to lose millions in funding. Members of Congress, regardless of political affiliation, like to be able to bring federal bucks back to their districts, and that could prove more potent than even a series of nasty tweets from the president.

It also could be that there's safety in numbers: For example, some 400 universities, including OSU, have signed onto a petition supporting the idea of sanctuary campuses. And other communities in Oregon and across the nation have embraced the notion of sanctuary.

It could also be that Trump didn't mean what he said during the campaign about immigration. But that seems like a long shot.

So it's not at all out of the question that the administration, with assistance from a compliant Congress, will start to push on this issue. It could be, in fact, that local entities have put millions of dollars at risk by taking this stand.

In short, the time for great courage on the issue of sanctuary may yet come. It's worth asking these questions now: If that time comes, where we will stand — and what are we prepared to sacrifice? (mm)

How Attorney General Jeff Sessions could make it easier to deport immigrants

The Department of Justice hired 59 immigration judges in 2016.

There are more immigration judges now – 296 – than at any point in the agency’s history. Given the 500,000-case backlog in the immigration court system, that current hiring spree is not expected to change.

But something that is expected to change is the person who decides who future immigration judges will be. Immigration judges are employees of the Department of Justice and, as head of that agency, the incoming attorney general will have a say in who is hired.

“Whoever is ultimately confirmed to head the Department of Justice is hugely significant,” said Cesar Cuauhtemoc Garcia Hernandez, law professor at the University of Denver who runs a website that follows developments in immigration law and detainment policies.

For attorney general, President-Elect Donald Trump plans to nominate Jeff Sessions, a Republican Senator from Alabama who has made a name for himself as one of the most anti-immigrant voices in Washington.

The National Review, a conservative news magazine, credited Sessions with single-handedly destroying immigration reform attempts in 2004 and 2014. He is strongly opposed to illegal immigration and is also in favor of limiting legal immigration because he believes it harms domestic workers.

Sessions, or whoever the head of the Department of Justice is, can hire judges who will decide deportation, asylum and all immigration cases over the next four years.

During 2016's hiring spree, immigration judges were hired at courts throughout the country. However, since January 2015, the court in Imperial County has not had a sitting judge. It is the only immigration court in the country to have a vacant bench.

The case backlog in Imperial County is so large that hearings are being scheduled for 2019 and 2020.

Julio Cesar Mendez, 42, has been fighting a deportation case in Imperial County since 2009.

“I’ve been waiting all those years,” he said. “It is very difficult, very stressful and frustrating. I don’t have a criminal charge.”

Mendez hasn’t had a court hearing since 2009. His next hearing is currently scheduled for Dec. 2017 but Mendez suspects that it will get pushed back.

While he waits, Mendez can stay in the country and pay $600 each year to apply for an annual work permit. He would like to buy a house, but the bank wants him to pay 30 percent upfront because of his status, which he cannot afford from the money he makes installing and repairing air conditioning units.

Mendez, who has one son at UCLA and another in high school who has been accepted to California State University, Fullerton, has thought of trying to move the case to immigration courts in San Diego or Los Angeles, but the motion costs $1,000 to file and there is no guarantee a judge will grant it.

Sessions could push current immigration judges, who do not share his politics, into early retirement by transferring them to undesirable locations like the Imperial courthouse.

“Short of firing, life can be made difficult or unpleasant for employees,” Garcia Hernandez said. “Superiors can increase workloads or transfer them to unattractive locations. These are highly qualified professionals with deep ties to a particular community so the prospect of being transferred may be enough for them to say, 'You know what, I might just do something else.'”

There is precedent for attorney generals pushing people out of the Department of Justice.

In 2003, then-Attorney General John Ashcroft asked five members of the Board of Immigration Appeals – a panel that reviews the decisions of immigration judges – to find new jobs. Critics saw it as a purge of their most pro-immigration members while the Department of Justice defended the move as a way to streamline the appeals process, according to media reports at the time.

If confirmed by Congress, Sessions will play a key role in realizing Trump’s campaign promises of deporting millions of immigrants and securing the U.S. borders.

As attorney general, he would not only be in charge of who he hires but also how immigration judges are trained. One way he could influence what kind of judges are hired is by prioritizing those with previous experience as prosecutors for the Department of Homeland Security who work deportation cases, Garcia Hernandez said.

“Immigration judges are employees of the justice department,” Garcia Hernandez said. “Just like any other employee of the Justice Department, they answer to the AG.”

Fix Immigration. It’s What Voters Want.

An excellent opinion piece by Republican Senator from Arkansas - Tom Cotton

New York Times

Donald J. Trump smashed many orthodoxies on his way to victory, but immigration was the defining issue separating him from his primary opponents and Hillary Clinton. President-elect Trump now has a clear mandate not only to stop illegal immigration, but also to finally cut the generation-long influx of low-skilled immigrants that undermines American workers.

Yet many powerful industries benefit from such immigration. They’re arguing that immigration controls are creating a low-skilled labor shortage.

“We’re pretty much begging for workers,” Tom Nassif, the chief executive of Western Growers, a trade organization that represents farmers, said on CNN. A fast-food chain founder warned, “Our industry can’t survive without Mexican workers.”

These same industries contend that stricter immigration enforcement will further shrink the pool of workers and raise their wages. They argue that closing our borders to inexpensive foreign labor will force employers to add benefits and improve workplace conditions to attract and keep workers already here.

I have an answer to these charges: Exactly.

Higher wages, better benefits and more security for American workers are features, not bugs, of sound immigration reform...

Photo

 

A day laborer from Honduras waiting for work in Kansas City. Credit Todd Heisler/The New York Times

It’s been a quarter-century since Congress substantially reformed the immigration system. In that time, the population of people who are in this country illegally has nearly tripled...

Some people contend that low-skilled immigration doesn’t depress wages. In his final State of the Union address, President Obama argued that immigrants aren’t the “principal reason wages haven’t gone up; those decisions are made in the boardrooms that too often put quarterly earnings over long-term returns.” Yet those decisions are possible only in the context of a labor surplus caused by low-skilled immigration. In a tight labor market, bosses cannot set low wages and still attract workers.

After all, the law of supply and demand is not magically suspended in the labor market. As immigrant labor has flooded the country, working-class wages have collapsed...

No doubt automation and globalization have also affected wages, but mass immigration accelerates these trends with surplus labor, which of course decreases wages. Little wonder, then, that these Americans voted for the candidate who promised higher wages and less immigration...

America has always offered a basic deal: If you’re willing to work hard and play by the rules, you can make a better life for yourself and your kids. But without good wages, this deal seems impossible...

Yet, as if Mr. Trump’s campaign never happened, companies in labor-intensive industries want to sustain or even increase current immigration flows....

Our country, like any country, needs borders and must decide who and how many can cross those borders...

This policy would resemble the immigration systems of Canada and Australia, countries with similar advanced economies. While our system gives priority to reuniting extended families and low-skilled labor, their systems prize nuclear-family reunification and attributes like language skills, education and work experience. A similar system here would allow in immigrants like doctors to work in rural areas while not pushing down working-class wages.

In some quarters, proposals like these invoke cries of “nativism” and “xenophobia.” But recent immigrants are the very Americans who have to compete with new immigrants for jobs. Far from being anti-immigrant, this proposal would give recent arrivals a better shot at higher wages, stable work and assimilation.

We have an immigration policy today that few Americans support or voted for. It’s allowed legal and illegal immigration at levels divorced from what our economy needs. That has undermined the earning power of those Americans least able to afford it.

But in this election, Americans finally demanded an end to this unthinking immigration system. President-elect Trump and Congress should take that mandate and act on it promptly in the new year.

Read the New York Times full article and comments here.

 

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