“Agents with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in Arizona have been “fighting” human trafficking by sending federal immigration agents to coerce suspected victims into paid sex acts. These acts were later used by authorities to justify arresting women who agreed to them, seizing their assets, and telling the press it was these women who were the real predators.”
“Absurd and horrifying? Obviously. But also a scenario that is far from an isolated incident.”
“In a recent short video for PragerU, Anna Paulina Luna, a Republican running for Congress in Florida, suggested that one third of the immigrant kids coming over our southern border are being sex trafficked.
She said it in a kind of garbled way—conflating the fact that some kids aren’t related to their smugglers, with the fact that “sex trafficking exists”—but her conclusion was clear: Separating kids from the adults bringing them over the border is for their own protection, because otherwise they are being sold into prostitution.
This notion is preposterous”
“in 2018, the government started doing DNA tests on a limited group of people crossing the border who had aroused particular suspicion. “It wasn’t a random sample of people coming over the border,” she says.
Indeed, many of them were not related to the people they said were their relatives. But that was only a small subset of migrants, and the results were neither surprising nor damning. Unrelated groups often cross the border together, because many times the biological parent is already in the U.S. They left their child behind to be raised by an aunt or grandma until the child was old enough to come over, or the parent was well-established enough to provide them a decent home. The parent then pays for the child’s passage north. Maybe the child is accompanied by an aunt, or even a neighbor who is also migrating. This person might lie about their relationship to the child, but that doesn’t mean their true purpose is sex trafficking.”
“In any case, the government has currently come up with a new excuse for separating children and sending them back across the border: COVID-19. The New York Times reported Wednesday that the feds are deporting hundreds of migrant kids and teens without any chance to plead their case. The government is citing a 1944 law that lists disease-prevention as a reason to bar foreigners from entering the country, but many of these kids were already here when the pandemic began.”
“Immigration has come nearly to a standstill over the past two months. The Trump administration has shuttered USCIS offices, closed consulates abroad, shut down the borders with Canada and Mexico and imposed a 60-day ban on the issuance of new green cards. Asylum processing at the southern border has also practically stopped, as Trump administration officials implemented a program to rapidly return migrants to Mexico without so much as a health exam.
While brought on by the pandemic, this kind of decrease in legal immigration is what Trump has long sought. He has railed against what he calls “chain migration,” referring to US citizens or permanent residents who sponsor their immigrant family members for visas and green cards. And he has sought to keep poor immigrants out by proposing to reject those who don’t have health insurance or who might use public benefits in the future. (Courts have blocked the restrictions on immigrants without health insurance from going into effect for now, but the policy affecting immigrants who might go on public benefits went into effect in February.)”
“Unlike other federal agencies, USCIS receives almost no taxpayer dollars, and is dependent on fees associated with filing applications for green cards, visas, work permits, US citizenship, and humanitarian benefits such as asylum. The pandemic has already brought on a “dramatic decrease” in its revenue that is only likely to worsen as applications are estimated to drop by about 61 percent through September, an agency spokesperson said. President Donald Trump’s restrictions on immigration, other countries’ restrictions on travel and the fact that necessary government offices aren’t open to process applications have all contributed to this decline.
To mitigate the budget shortfall, USCIS is planning to implement an additional 10 percent surcharge on all applications and sought Congress’s help on Friday, Buzzfeed’s Hamed Aleaziz first reported. The agency has also already limited spending to salary and mission-critical activities, but “without congressional intervention, USCIS will have to take drastic actions to keep the agency afloat,” the spokesperson said.”
“The Trump administration has started forcibly collecting DNA samples from immigrants in detention and sending that information to an FBI criminal database called the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) for permanent storage. Officials say this is a crime-fighting move. In reality, it is mass surveillance.
In 2005, Congress passed the DNA Fingerprint Act, requiring genetic testing of anyone arrested for a federal crime, regardless of whether they’re eventually charged and convicted. The Supreme Court approved this gross invasion of individual privacy in Maryland v. King (2013), ruling 5–4 that the law did not violate constitutional protections against illegal searches and seizures because the original arrest had required probable cause.
The DNA Fingerprint Act gave the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) latitude to exempt noncitizens from being sampled. There’s a very good reason for that: The vast majority of these folks are detained not because they have committed serious crimes with actual victims but because a harsh Clinton-era enforcement law vastly increased detentions for nonviolent immigration-related offenses. The Obama administration used this latitude to exempt immigrants from DNA sampling unless they were charged with another crime or were awaiting deportation proceedings. DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano pointed out at the time that taking DNA from the 30,000 immigrants who were then detained would pose “severe organizational, resource and financial challenges”—not to mention distract from actual crime-fighting.
The detained population has grown larger still, yet the Trump administration is arguing that these logistical concerns are outdated because the collection of DNA samples has become easier and cheaper. Customs and Border Patrol has gone ahead and launched pilot programs at several immigration centers around the country. Government estimates suggest that once the program is fully implemented, such centers will be sending 748,000 DNA profiles to CODIS every year. That’s more than the entire state of New York has contributed in more than 20 years”
“Trump launched his first presidential bid by denouncing Mexicans as “rapists” and “criminals” and pledged to build a “big, beautiful” wall on the southern border. But what began as a slam on unauthorized immigration morphed into an all-out assault on legal immigration as soon as he walked into the White House.
One of his first acts was to ban travel from several predominantly Muslim countries. He also slashed America’s refugee program in less than half and is failing to admit even the number he allowed. But these and other moves were just baby steps toward a much more ambitious agenda to slash and radically revamp America’s legal immigration program.
He demanded that Congress cut family-based immigration in half in exchange for reinstating the legal status of “Dreamers,” which he himself had scrapped. (Dreamers are folks who were brought to this country without authorization as minors, who have grown up as Americans and often have little connection with their birthlands.) But when Congress demurred, he went to town to achieve through administrative means what he couldn’t through legislative ones—the kind of thing that Republicans used to vociferously condemn when Trump’s predecessor attempted it.
Trump scrapped the Obama-era program handing work authorization to the spouses of foreign techies enduring a decades long wait for their already approved green cards. His “Buy American and Hire American” executive order smothered the high-tech H-1B visa program in red tape, vastly increasing the processing time and doubling the rejection rate. As if that’s not enough, he recently implemented something called the public charge rule, which makes it exceedingly difficult for immigrants to upgrade their immigration status—for example, guest worker visas to green cards and green cards to naturalization—if they or their American family members collect or are likely to collect even the smallest amount of some means-tested cash or non-cash public benefits. This, along with other measures, will result in a 30 percent reduction in legal immigration next year, according to a National Foundation for American Policy study.
The coronavirus crisis has been manna from heaven for Trump’s restrictionist agenda.
The only visas that were still being entertained at all—albeit at an extremely scaled-back level—were long-term visas for jobs, visas for studying in the United States, and green cards sponsored either by American employers or American family. This long-term program is what Trump’s unprecedented executive order is now purportedly going after.
Trump claims that the ban will last 60 days after which he may review and renew it for another 60 or so. But his travel ban was supposed to last 90 days. It is now on day 1,181 and covers even more countries.”
“the vast exemptions that Trump is planning to carve in the virtual wall he’s constructing to seal off America from the world are a tacit admission that immigrants are indispensable for vital sectors of the American economy, not a threat to American jobs.
The purpose of Trump’s executive order, then, must be to rally his restrictionist base and ensure that it makes the schlep to the polls this November. It’s pure political posturing that’ll do not an iota of good for America.”
“Right now, the biggest worry is whether the medical system has enough ventilators and protective equipment to treat patients with Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
But another troubling shortage is on the horizon: doctors, nurses, and other health care personnel.
As patient demand continues to ramp up nationwide and more health care workers are unable to show up for work, either because they contract the virus or because they have to self-quarantine, doctor shortages are a real possibility”
“One solution is to make it easier to bring in doctors and nurses from abroad.”
“even before the current crisis, the immigration system made it difficult for foreign doctors and nurses to work in the US and go where they’re needed. Doctors may face long wait times for green cards, restrictions on where they can settle geographically, and limitations on where they can practice while they’re waiting for a green card. Nurses, meanwhile, also face long waits for green cards and can’t come to the US under temporary skilled worker visas.
The implications of a shortage would be devastating, both to overworked personnel and to the patients for whom receiving medical attention could be a life-or-death matter. But it’s a problem that more immigration could easily fix”
“Not only does the current system make it exceedingly difficult for doctors to stay in the US long-term, but it also severely restricts where in the US they can go.”
“A rule that creates new barriers to low-income immigrants seeking to enter the US went into effect on Monday, bringing to fruition the kind of vast restrictions on legal immigration that President Donald Trump has long sought.
The so-called “public charge” rule, published in August by the Department of Homeland Security, establishes a test to determine whether an immigrant applying to enter the US, extend their visa, or convert their temporary immigration status into a green card is likely to end up relying on public benefits in the future.
Immigration officials will now have more leeway to turn away those who are “likely to be a public charge” based on an evaluation of 20 factors, ranging from the use of certain public benefits programs — including food stamps, Section 8 housing vouchers, and Medicaid — to English language proficiency.”
“Trump has justified the rule as a means of ensuring that immigrants are “financially self-sufficient” and has argued it will “protect benefits for American citizens.””
“The rule, which has been anticipated for more than a year, has had a chilling effect already: Noncitizens have been needlessly dropping their public benefits out of fear that they will face immigration consequences. It’s difficult to quantify just how many immigrants have unenrolled already, but one survey suggested that about one in seven had done so as of 2018.
Many immigrants aren’t eligible for public benefits unless they have green cards or certain humanitarian protections — and not all public benefits are available to noncitizens.”
“It also makes getting into the US much harder for immigrants sponsored by family members, the phenomenon Trump has excoriated as “chain migration.”
The rule is only one of several policies the Trump administration has pursued to dramatically shift which immigrants are legally able to come to the United States. Under Trump, the legal immigration system increasingly rewards skills and wealth over family ties to the US, while shutting out a growing number of people from low-income backgrounds.”
“With the public charge regulation, Trump is painting immigrants as abusing public benefits. But they are actually “less likely to consume welfare benefits and, when they do, they generally consume a lower dollar value of benefits than native-born Americans,” according to the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank.”
“few immigrants would end up being penalized, under the final version of the rule, for using public assistance. But the rule has already been effective in dissuading many immigrants from continuing to access the public benefits they need.”