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 administration tells ACLU to find deported parents

The Trump administration on Thursday informed a federal judge that it isn’t responsible for locating deported parents separated forcibly from their children at the southern border.

DOJ said in a court filing that the American Civil Liberties Union, which represents plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit over family separations, should instead take the lead in reunifying deported parents with their children.

“Plaintiffs’ counsel should use their considerable resources and their network of law firms, NGOs, volunteers, and others, together with the information that defendants have provided (or will soon provide), to establish contact with possible class members in foreign countries,” DOJ said.

The administration suggested that the ACLU find out whether the deported parents wish to be reconnected with their children, or whether they waive that option.

An administration official said Thursday evening that the filing “simply asks the court to require the ACLU to determine the wishes of and fulfill their obligations to their clients, as they have repeatedly represented in court that they would.“

DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen has statedrepeatedly that no parents were deported without first being given the option to take their children with them. But a Trump administration official told POLITICO on July 25 that an estimated three-quarters of the parents who left the country alone left no record behind that they ever consented to leave their children in the U.S. “We don’t see it in the documentation,” the official said.

At a Senate hearing earlier this week, Matthew Albence, executive associate director for Enforcement and Removal Operations at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, repeatedly dodged questions about whether DHS could document that it secured deportee parents’ consent to leave their children behind.

[Politico]

Update

A federal judge has said the Trump administration is 100% responsible to find the lost parents.

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 Goes on Anti-Immigrant Rant: They’re ‘Changing The Culture’ of Europe

President Donald Trump, whose family once immigrated to the United States from Germany and Scotland, slammed immigrants coming into Europe for changing the continent’s “culture.”

Times editor Francis Elliott asked Trump about his remarks to The Sunthat Europe is “losing [its] culture” because of immigration.

“I think you are losing your culture. Look around. You go through certain areas that didn’t exist ten or 15 years ago,” he told The Sun, the last remark presumably referring to the fabled “no-go zones” of London dreamt up by Breitbart bloggers.

In the presser with Theresa May, Trump doubled down, stating immigration has “been very bad for Europe.”

“You see the same terror attacks that I do,” he said. “I just think it’s changing the culture. It’s a very negative thing for Europe.”

“It’s not politically not necessarily correct to say that, but I’ll say it, and I’ll say it loud,” he continued. “I think they better watch themselves because you are changing culture. You are changing a lot of things.”

Theresa May, the UK prime minister, had a different response to the question.

“The UK has a proud history of welcoming people who are fleeing persecution to our country,” she said. “We have a proud history of welcoming people who want to come to our country to contribute to our economy and contribute to our society. And over the years, overall immigration has been good for the UK. It’s brought people with different backgrounds, different outlooks here to the UK.”

“Of course what is important is that we have control of our borders, what is important is we have a set of rules that enable us to determine who comes into our country,” she added. “And of course that is what, as a government, we have been doing for a number of years and will continue to do in the future.”

[Mediaite]

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.

White House Twitter Goes Full Trump, Targets Sen. Kamala Harris For ‘Supporting the Animals of MS-13’

The White House has often strained to contain President Donald Trump‘s brash rhetoric on his own personal Twitter feed, but every so often the vitriol bleeds into official channels that in previous administrations avoided trolling.

On Monday, the White House’s verified Twitter account took a page out of Trump’s book, directly targeting Democratic senators, falsely accusing them of “supporting” violent gangs.

The account typically posts statements on Trump’s achievements as president. On Monday, however, the account began by spreading positive stories about the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency — which is facing calls for its abolition by Democrats — before taking aim at lawmakers themselves.

Addressing Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), the account tweeted, “why are you supporting criminals moving weapons, drugs, and victims across our nation’s borders?”

“You must not know what ICE really does,” it added, linking to the Border Enforcement Security Task Force page of ICE’s website.

The account also targeted Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), asking “why are you supporting the animals of MS-13?”

Harris and Warren both called to abolish ICE last week, amidst outrage over the separation of migrant children from their parents at the southern border.

Meanwhile, Trump has frequently used the term “animals” to refer to MS-13 gang members, ever since his use of the term first drew outrage in May.

The president faced criticism from Democrats after he was accused of referring to undocumented immigrants as “animals” in vague comments at a televised roundtable. He later explained that he was referring to MS-13, and has exploited the confusion surrounding his comments to accuse Democrats of supporting the violent gang.

Harris later responded to the White House:

[Mediaite]

Trump on Democrats’ Calls to Abolish ICE: ‘They’re Going to Get Beaten So Badly’ in Elections

In a Fox News interview that aired Sunday, President Donald Trump bashed amplified calls from the left to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement, predicting they would lead to a major triumph for the right in the midterm elections.

“I hope they keep thinking about it because they’re going to get beaten so badly,” he told host Maria Bartiromo. “These are the guys that go in and take MS-13 and they take them out because they are much tougher than MS-13 like by a factor of 10… You get rid of ICE, you’re going to have a country that you’re going to be afraid to walk out of your house. I love that issue if they’re actually going to do that.”

As more Democrats continue demanding the dissolution of ICE, Trump believes the fallout of such an action would be an invitation for chaos.

“You are going to have a country that’s crime ridden,” he said, adding that ICE and border patrol are “incredible patriots” and “the job they have is so dangerous.”

Trump also claimed that Democrats are advocating for open borders, a line he routinely repeats to link the party to that platform despite the fact that it does not hold that position.

“That’s going to be their platform,” he said. “Open borders which equals crime. I think they will never win another election.”

[Mediaite]

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]

1 2 3 14