Immigration judge removed from cases after perceived criticism of Sessions

The Justice Department plans to take dozens of cases away from an immigration judge who has delayed deportation orders, in part for perceived criticism of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the union representing immigration judges said Wednesday.

CNN reported Tuesday that the Justice Department replaced Philadelphia Immigration Judge Steven Morley with an assistant chief immigration judge last month to hear a single case on his docket, which resulted in a young undocumented immigrant, Reynaldo Castro-Tum, being ordered deported.

Assistant Chief Immigration Judge Jack Weil told Morley that comments in the Castro-Tum case were perceived as “criticism” of the Board of Immigration Appeals and attorney general’s decisions and that they were “unprofessional,” according to the grievance filed by the National Association of Immigration Judges. The cases all involve young undocumented immigrants and whether they got adequate notice from the government about hearings at which they failed to appear. Weil also told Morley that he himself should have either ordered Castro-Tum deported or terminated the case altogether.

It’s the most public fight yet between the union that represents the nation’s roughly 350 immigration judges and Sessions, who has intently focused on the immigration courts under his purview. The immigration judges have long bemoaned their structure under the Justice Department, but have taken particular issue with many of the moves pursued by the Trump administration that they say interfere with their ability to conduct fair and impartial court proceedings.

Unlike federal judges, immigration judges are employees of the Justice Department and the attorney general has the authority to hire them, manage their performance measures and even rule on cases with binding authority over how the judges must decide similar issues.

The judge’s union says DOJ broke the collective bargaining agreement by violating Morley’s independent decision-making authority.

Morley denied those comments were unprofessional and reiterated he made the proper decisions in the case based on the facts and due process, the grievance said.

“He’s being targeted for what is perceived to be criticism of the attorney general when it is in fact just a judge doing his job, raising concerns about due process,” Judge Ashley Tabaddor said Wednesday on behalf of the National Association of Immigration Judges.

[CNN]

Reality

The removal of Judge Steven Morley subverted the judicial process, undermined his independence, and impugned his competence and integrity, all to obtain a particular outcome in the case, according to the judges’ union and its labor complaint.

Trump threatens government shutdown over border security

President Trump warned on Sunday that he would be willing to “shut down” the government over border security.

“I would be willing to ‘shut down’ government if the Democrats do not give us the votes for Border Security, which includes the Wall! Must get rid of Lottery, Catch & Release etc. and finally go to system of Immigration based on MERIT!” he said in a morning tweet.

“We need great people coming into our Country!” he added.

The president in an earlier tweet on Sunday morning said “many” border crossers are using children for “sinister purposes.” He also blasted existing U.S. immigration laws and urged followers to vote for Republicans.

“Please understand, there are consequences when people cross our Border illegally, whether they have children or not – and many are just using children for their own sinister purposes. Congress must act on fixing the DUMBEST & WORST immigration laws anywhere in the world! Vote ‘R,’ ” he said.

[The Hill]

Trump Dismisses Missed Deadline for Reuniting Migrant Families: The Solution is Come Here Legally

The Federal government is all but certain to miss Tuesday’s court-imposed deadline for reuniting migrant families (via Vox). But President Donald Trump is downplaying the blown deadline — and, in fact, pinning the blame on migrants.

Speaking outside the White House prior to leaving for the NATO summit in Brussels, the president sounded off against illegal immigration when asked about the missed deadline.

“I have a solution,” Trump said. “Tell people not to come to our country illegally. That’s the solution. Don’t come to our country illegally. Come like other people do, come legally.”

He added, “I’m saying this, very simply. We have laws. We have borders. Don’t come to our country illegally. It’s not a good thing.”

The president went on to again make the baseless, erroneous assertion that Democrats are advocating for open borders.

“Democrats want open borders and they don’t mind crime,” Trump said. “We want no crime and we want borders where borders mean something. All right? And, remember this, without borders, you do not have a country.”

[Mediaite]

Army discharging some immigrant recruits

The U.S. Army has begun quietly discharging some immigrant members, a move that could put those member’s immigration status at risk, The Associated Press reported Thursday.

Immigration attorneys told the AP that they knew of more than 40 immigrant recruits and reservists who had been discharged from their service or whose status is now at question.

Some of the military members told the AP that they did not know why they were discharged. Others said they were told they were labeled a “security risk” because of relatives abroad and or because their background checks were incomplete.

Spokespeople for the Pentagon and the Army told the news outlet that they could not comment on the discharges or say if there have been any policy changes due to pending litigation.

The Defense Department told the AP in a statement that “[a]ll service members (i.e. contracted recruits, active duty, Guard and Reserve) and those with an honorable discharge are protected from deportation.”

The immigration attorneys told the AP that many of the immigrants received an “uncharacterized discharge,” putting into question their ability to remain in the U.S.

Immigrant military members can obtain citizenship if they receive an honorable discharge. The AP reported that basic training has been delayed for discharged immigrant soldiers, which means they can’t become naturalized citizens.

Recruits must have legal status in the U.S. before enlisting in the Army. About 10,000 immigrants are currently serving in the military, with most going to the Army, according to the outlet.

The reports comes amid a Trump administration crackdown on immigration, including a “zero tolerance” policy mandating that all undocumented immigrants caught at the border face prosecution.

[The Hill]

Trump slams Dems for call to abolish ICE

President Trump on Tuesday accused Democrats of “demeaning” U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, suggesting that the criticism of the agency by some liberals could hurt the Democrats in the 2018 midterm elections.

“When we have an ‘infestation’ of MS-13 GANGS in certain parts of our country, who do we send to get them out? ICE! They are tougher and smarter than these rough criminal elelments [sic] that bad immigration laws allow into our country. Dems do not appreciate the great job they do! Nov.” he tweeted in an apparent reference to the November elections.

“How can the Democrats, who are weak on the Border and weak on Crime, do well in November,” the president asked in a second tweet. “The people of our Country want and demand Safety and Security, while the Democrats are more interested in ripping apart and demeaning (and not properly funding) our great Law Enforcement!”

Trump’s tweets came as some Democrats have started to call for ICE to be abolished amid an intensifying controversy over the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy prioritizing the prosecution of people who cross into the U.S. illegally through Mexico.

That policy has caused thousands of migrant children to be separated from their parents at the border. Protesters gathered in cities across the U.S. over the weekend to demand an end to the practice.

While Trump signed an executive order last month intended to allow children to be detained with their parents, it remains unclear how the government expects to enforce it. A 1997 consent decree bars law enforcement from holding minors for longer than 20 days — a limit that does not apply to adults.

Days after that order was signed, a federal judge in San Diego ordered the government to work quickly to reunite migrant families that had been separated under the policy. However, it is not clear how officials plan to meet the deadlines imposed by the court.

[The Hill]

Reality

U.S. Customs and Border Protection numbers show that they captured about 180 MS-13 members who crossed the border last year out of 187,000 illegal immigrants, this makes up 0.096% of those entering the U.S. illegally.

MS-13 is a threat, but Donald Trump is hyping their numbers and conflating vicious gangs with a typical immigrant to scare his supporters into fearing Hispanics.

Trump falsely claims he never told House Republicans to vote for immigration bill

President Donald Trump falsely claimed on Saturday that he never encouraged House Republicans to vote for an immigration bill, despite tweeting such an encouragement three days earlier.

“I never pushed the Republicans in the House to vote for the Immigration Bill, either GOODLATTE 1 or 2, because it could never have gotten enough Democrats as long as there is the 60 vote threshold,” the president wrote on Twitter. “I released many prior to the vote knowing we need more Republicans to win in Nov.”

Trump explicitly called for Republicans to support Virginia Rep. Bob Goodlatte‘s bill on Wednesday with an all-caps Twitter endorsement.

“HOUSE REPUBLICANS SHOULD PASS THE STRONG BUT FAIR IMMIGRATION BILL, KNOWN AS GOODLATTE II, IN THEIR AFTERNOON VOTE TODAY, EVEN THOUGH THE DEMS WON’T LET IT PASS IN THE SENATE,” Trump wrote on Twitter before the Wednesday vote. “PASSAGE WILL SHOW THAT WE WANT STRONG BORDERS & SECURITY WHILE THE DEMS WANT OPEN BORDERS = CRIME. WIN!”

At the time, House Republicans were trying to gather votes to pass a compromise bill that they were hoping would draw support from both conservatives and moderates in their conference. The proposal was expected to fail beforehand and did so by an overwhelming 121-301 vote.

Trump‘s position on the bill wavered several times before it even came to a vote, with the president at one point saying he wouldn’t sign the bill. He also said last week that the Republicans’ bill wouldn’t pass the Senate. By Wednesday he had tweeted his support.

The president’s reversal Saturday comes as he has sent a number of tweets during his weekend in New Jersey, ranging from news about his Supreme Court appointment to thoughts on progressive outrage over the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency and even encouragement to buy former White House press secretary Sean Spicer’s new book.

Trump is in Bedminster for the weekend with his family, although he may mix in some work with possible interviews with people on his shortlist for Supreme Court seat.

[Politico]

President Donald Trump: ‘Our Laws are the Dumbest Anywhere in the World’

On the same day as immigration protests and marches were held throughout the nation, President Donald Trump called for those entering the country without proper paperwork to be immediately escorted “back out.”

“When people come into our Country illegally, we must IMMEDIATELY escort them back out without going through years of legal maneuvering,” Trump opined in a midafternoon tweet.

He then added this about U.S. law: “Our laws are the dumbest anywhere in the world. Republicans want Strong Borders and no Crime. Dems want Open Borders and are weak on Crime!”

Trump’s tweet follows an earlier tweet where he claimed, “I never pushed the Republicans in the House to vote for the Immigration Bill.” Just a few days ago, however, he said just that.

[Mediaite]

Sarah Sanders: ‘Just Because You Aren’t Seeing a Judge Doesn’t Mean You Aren’t Getting Due Process’

Sarah Huckabee Sanders offered an intriguing defense of Donald Trump on Monday when asked about his apparent call for the country to disregard due process when dealing with illegal immigrants.

It’s been over a week since the last White House press briefing, so Sanders was buried under an avalanche of questions regarding the president’s rescinded policy of taking migrant children away from their parents at the U.S. southern border. As Trump railed against immigration laws and people “[invading] the country” over the weekend, he tweeted at one point that immigrants need to be sent back where they came from “with no Judges or Court Cases” involved.

When CNN’s Jeff Zelany asked Sanders if Trump was saying illegal immigrants have no right to due process, she defended the president by saying that current laws allow for the deportation of illegal aliens without having to go through court.

“Thousands of illegal aliens are removed every month without seeing an immigration judge as a result of procedures in current law including voluntary removal and expedited removal. Just because you don’t see a judge doesn’t mean you aren’t receiving due process. The president is focused on securing our borders and reforming our immigration system to prevent the crisis at the border from betting worse.”

Zeleny continued to press Sanders by asking her if immigrants who are deported this way don’t get a chance to appeal for asylum or make their case before a judge.

[Mediaite]

Reality

On one hand we have the Constitution, which makes it very clear due process applies to anyone on American soil.

This was reaffirmed in the 2001 Supreme Court decision Zadvydas v. David (533 US 678): “the Due Process Clause applies to all persons within the United States, including aliens, whether their presence here is lawful or unlawful.”

But on the other hand we have expedited removal where a person does not see the inside of a courtroom and a low-level immigration officer simply deports a person without any due process. Expedited removal is only allowed to be applied to undocumented immigrants without any documentation, not on asylum seekers which we are mostly seeing today, and has historically been used only on individuals who are repeat offenders.

But the law has been used more and more over the past several years, for example 44 percent of all removals from the United States were conducted through expedited removal in 2013.

Media

Trump amplifies push to end due process for illegal immigrants

President Donald Trump on Monday doubled-down on his position that due process for illegal border crossers is too time consuming, advocating instead for a border security system that prevents undocumented immigrants from entering the U.S. illegally in the first place.

“Hiring manythousands [sic] of judges, and going through a long and complicated legal process, is not the way to go – will always be dysfunctional [sic]. People must simply be stopped at the Border and told they cannot come into the U.S. illegally. Children brought back to their country,” the president wrote on Twitter, splitting his message into two posts. “If this is done, illegal immigration will be stopped in it’s [sic] tracks – and at very little, by comparison, cost. This is the only real answer – and we must continue to BUILD THE WALL!”

Trump’s border security and immigration policy has been the subject of significant criticism in recent days as outcry grew over the administration’s “zero tolerance” policy that led to the separation more than 2,000 children from parents who brought them illegally into the U.S. The president signed an executive order last week aimed at keeping families together but has continued to press for tougher border security, blaming Democrats unwilling to accede to his immigration and security proposals for issues at the border.

In his efforts to point the finger at the minority party in both houses of Congress, Trump has gone so far as to undercut his own party’s efforts at passing immigration reform legislation, writing on Twitter that House Republicans are wasting their time trying to pass such a measure when it is unlikely to pass in the Senate.

The president’s Monday derision of a legal process by which undocumented immigrants are removed from the country without judicial proceedings or review was an extension of an argument he put forward over the weekend, when he wrote that “when somebody comes in, we must immediately, with no Judges or Court Cases, bring them back from where they came.”

“We cannot allow all of these people to invade our Country,” he wrote. “Our system is a mockery to good immigration policy and Law and Order. Most children come without parents.”

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/06/25/trump-due-process-immigrants-669334

Trump calls for deporting migrants ‘immediately’ without a trial

President Donald Trump tweeted Sunday morning that the U.S. “Cannot accept all of the people trying to break into our Country” and called for migrants to be “immediately” deported without a trial.

“When somebody comes in, we must immediately, with no Judges or Court Cases, bring them back from where they came,” he said. His tweet did not mention people coming to the U.S. to seek asylum, which is legal to do.

Our system is a mockery to good immigration policy and Law and Order,” he said, adding in another tweet that legal entry to the country should be based on “merit.”

Immigration advocates pushed back on the comments. “What President Trump has suggested here is both illegal and unconstitutional. Any official who has sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution and laws should disavow it unequivocally,” said Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project.

Late Saturday night, the Trump administration released a “fact sheet” noting more than 2,000 children have yet to be reunited with their parents and revealing some details about the reunification process.

[NBC News]

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