The Week Ahead: August 24-28

Assistant Director of Communications

August 24, 2015

“For those conservatives who care about immigration policy, who believe it ought to be reformed  … birthright citizenship is not the hill you want to die on. There are 50 more feasible reforms you ought to deal with first, even if you are a hard-line conservative on the issue. And in the meantime taking this stand sends a message to every citizen born of an immigrant of dubious legality: that you do not believe they have a right to be an American. This is a powerful message, and not one that will be forgotten any time soon.”
     –    Ben Domenech, Publisher of The Federalist, Aug. 18


Judge Again Rules Against Family Detention
On Saturday, Judge Dolly Gee again ruled against the federal government regarding family detention. The decision states that children should be released within five days of being detained, preferably to a parent. The government must implement the ruling by Oct. 23.

Last month, Judge Gee ruled that the federal government has been directly violating the terms of a 1997 settlement agreement by detaining thousands of immigrant women and children in facilities throughout the United States. The government had responded, defending family detention practices.

Family detention is a failed immigration enforcement policy. Among other concerns, mothers and children have experienced psychological harm in detention. “The ongoing stress, despair, and uncertainty of detention … specifically compromises the children’s intellectual and cognitive development and contributes to the development of chronic illness in ways that may be irreversible,” Dr. Luis H. Zayas, dean of the School of Social Work at the University of Texas at Austin, wrote in 2014.

Now the federal government has a deadline for ending family detention. As it does so, it should pursue enforcement policies that prioritize detention for people who pose actual danger to the public.

Birthright Citizenship Becomes Campaign-Trail Obstacle
With Donald Trump calling for an end to birthright citizenship, in defiance of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, several members of the 2016 GOP field followed suit last week.

But pushback from conservatives is increasing. Last week the Niskanen Center and Cato Institute released posts on the economic failings of Trump’s immigration policy paper, while the U.S. Chamber of Commerce rebuked Trump’s claims regarding high-skilled immigration visas in a blog post. And the American Action Forum tallied up the costly effects of Trump’s proposals.

In a crowded field, many candidates are looking to grab headlines. And Congress will return in September to an agenda that includes consideration of enforcement-only legislation, which will not help.

But in the long run, candidates for president will have to focus on realistic and productive immigration proposals and show respect for immigrants in the process. That’s because winning the White House will be next to impossible without winning states with key Latino and Asian voters, including Colorado, Florida, Nevada and Virginia.

And for Republicans, that would mean formulating a message that does not drive such voters away.

All times Eastern unless noted.

Friday, August 28
•    9 a.m. CT. Chinese Community Center will host a Citizenship Information Fair/Forum in English, Chinese (Mandarin) and Vietnamese. Chinese Community Center, 9800 Town Park Drive, Houston.

Saturday, August 29
•    9 a.m. CT. Proyecto Inmigrante will host a Citizenship Assistance Workshop in English and Spanish. Christ’s Foundry United Methodist Mission, 3363 Park Ln., Dallas.
•    9 a.m. PT. Orange County Communities Organized For Responsible Development (OCCORD) and Public Law Center (PLC) will host a Citizenship Assistance Workshop in English, Spanish and Vietnamese. Santa Ana High School, 520 W. Walnut St., Santa Ana, CA.
•    10 a.m. PT. Cal-Pac NIC and Muscoy United Methodist Church host a Citizenship Clinic. Muscoy United Methodist Church, 3006 N. Macy St., San Bernardino, CA.
•    2:30 p.m. CT. Kyle Munson of the Des Moines Register hosts a #UniteIowa on Immigration Forum about immigration reform in Iowa. The event will feature leaders from across Iowa on all sides of the immigration issue. All presidential candidates have been invited to attend; Martin O’Malley and Lincoln Chafee are confirmed. Anderson Auditorium on the Buena Vista University Campus, Storm Lake, Iowa. Press credentials available via For more information contact Matt Hildreth, 712-266-3229.

Last week’s summary of immigration legislation introduced and government reports on immigration:


WASHINGTON POST (Will Column): Trump’s immigration plan could spell doom for the GOP
By George F. Will
Aug. 21, 2015
It has come to this: The GOP, formerly the party of Lincoln and ostensibly the party of liberty and limited government, is being defined by clamors for a mass roundup and deportation of millions of human beings. To will an end is to will the means for the end, so the Republican clamors are also for the requisite expansion of government’s size and coercive powers.
Most of Donald Trump’s normally loquacious rivals are swaggeringly eager to confront Vladimir Putin but are too invertebrate — Lindsey Graham is an honorable exception — to voice robust disgust with Trump and the spirit of, the police measures necessary for and the cruelties that would accompany his policy. The policy is: “They’ve got to go.”
“They,” the approximately 11.3 million illegal immigrants(down from 12.2 million in 2007), have these attributes:Eighty-eight percent have been here at least five years. Of the 62 percent who have been here at least 10 years, about 45 percent own their own homes. About half have children who were born here and hence are citizens. Dara Lind of Vox reports that at least 4.5 million children who are citizens have at least one parent who is an illegal immigrant.
Trump evidently plans to deport almost 10 percent of California’s workers and 13 percent of that state’s K-12 students. He is, however, at his most Republican when he honors family values: He proposes to deport intact families, including children who are citizens. “We have to keep the families together,” he says, “but they have to go.” Trump would deport everyone, then “have an expedited way of getting them [“the good ones”; “when somebody is terrific”] back.” Big Brother government will identify the “good” and “terrific” from among the wretched refuse of other teeming shores.
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THE FEDERALIST: Nothing Is More “Conservative” Than Birthright Citizenship
By Robert Tracinski
Aug. 20, 2015
Part of Donald Trump’s disastrous plan for a diplomatic and trade war with Mexico is to eliminate birthright citizenship, the policy that you become a citizen of the United States simply by virtue of being born here, even if your parents are not citizens. This is a proposal that enjoys wide support on the right and has since been picked up by several tag-along candidates in the Republican primaries.
It is also evidence that there are plenty of “conservatives” who want us to stick to the Constitution and time-worn legal traditions—so long as this supports the things they like. But if the Constitution and the thousand-year history of English common law get in the way of their nativist prejudices, then to heck with them.
Make no mistake, eliminating birthright citizenship would require an overthrow of established traditions. It implies a reckless urge to break down ancient legal principles without inquiring why those traditions existed in the first place. In short, it requires precisely the sort of thing conservatives are supposed to be against.
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FOX NEWS LATINO (Noorani Op-Ed): 2016 candidates need realistic immigration plans
By Ali Noorani
Aug. 20, 2015
“Donald Trump was right, all these illegals need to be deported.”
These are the words Scott Leader, a South Boston resident, allegedly told police Wednesday after he and his brother were arrested for ambushing a homeless man because he was Hispanic, according to the Boston Globe.
Donald Trump’s reported response was, “it would be a shame … I will say that people who are following me are very passionate. They love this country and they want this country to be great again. They are passionate.”
The result of hateful speech by presidential candidates is hateful actions by their followers. And Trump’s response is not acceptable. It is tacit endorsement of this horrific crime. Trump and all the candidates need to be aware of the possible consequences of what they say.
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