The Week Ahead: July 10-14
July 10, 2017
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“This is not like sending Canadians back to Canada. There is no homeland for the Christians in Iraq because of the ongoing persecution. Almost all of the people they picked up have contributed to the economy. We contribute almost 11 billion annually in the state of Michigan.”
— Martin Manna, President, Chaldean Community Foundation, July 6
ICE Continues to Target Noncriminals
A leaked internal U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) memo instructs ICE officers to take enforcement action against all undocumented immigrants they encounter in carrying out their duties.
This directive applies to all individuals they encounter who lack authorization and does not prioritize those with criminal backgrounds or those who otherwise threaten community safety. Since its issuance in February, the memo has paved the way for increased immigration enforcement across the country, as reflected in several recent deportation efforts.
The memo reinforces the message that everyone is a target for enforcement and raises questions as to whether the administration is directing limited personnel and detention resources toward nonthreats, effectively deprioritizing people with existing criminal convictions.
Chaldean Deportations to Iraq Remain Stayed
A federal judge in Michigan who issued a stay of deportations of Iraqis has extended the stay two additional weeks, through July 24.
More than 1,000 Chaldean Christians had been arrested by ICE agents and were being processed for removal to Iraq. However, faith leaders have been urging the government to continue the stay of their removals because of the threats Chaldean Christians face in Iraq, where they may face persecution and death.
Chaldeans, many of whom are longtime residents in the U.S., have contributed for decades to their communities in Michigan, California and elsewhere. Many have no significant remaining connections to Iraq.
In Michigan, Gov. Rick Snyder is weighing pardon requests from Chaldeans set for removal who are hoping he will prevent their deportations by forgiving criminal offenses, many of which are decades-old or minor in nature.
House to Consider Amendments that Would Affect Immigrants in the Military
The House is scheduled to vote on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on Wednesday.
About 400 amendments to the bill were proposed, including some that would affect the Military Accessions Vital to National Interest (MAVNI) program. Some of these amendments would limit the ability of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients to enlist in MAVNI, while another would prohibit the defense secretary from ending the program. Launched by the Defense Department in 2009, MAVNI focuses on recruiting noncitizens who have certain skills vital to the national interest, such as specialized medical or language skills.
Other amendments would ensure that noncitizens in the military have information about naturalization services or encourage naturalization of service members, veterans and their families.
Summary of immigration legislation introduced and government reports on immigration:
SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS (Reyes and Branson Op-Ed): Protect young undocumented immigrants
By Gus Reyes and Steve Branson
July 9, 2017
President Donald Trump has sent mixed messages regarding young undocumented immigrants who were brought here as children. But our message is clear: We must find a way forward for these young people, who are American in everything but paperwork.
Last month, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton led a group of officials from 10 states in threatening to challenge in court a program that protects these young people temporarily unless the Trump administration revokes the program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.
This Department of Homeland Security policy temporarily protects young immigrants from deportation, and allows them to study and work in the United States. Everyone granted deferred action under DACA has passed a background check and paid fees.
Since the program’s inception in 2012, more than 785,000 young people have benefited, including more than 140,000 from Texas, according to government statistics. That puts us second in the nation, behind only California.
THE MONITOR (Texas) (Gonzales Op-Ed): Help to shepherd the DREAMers ‘important thing is they get to stay’
By Rev. Mark Gonzales
July 9, 2017
Immigration is on everyone’s minds these days, and with good reason. The Trump Administration is following through on many of its campaign promises, including an initiative to temporarily limit travel to the United States from six Muslim-majority countries, as well as increased enforcement of immigration laws and deportation of undocumented residents with criminal records. Thus far, however, the Trump Administration has not taken action in regards to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which allows undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children to delay deportation and provides them with legal residency status, so they can openly work and study.
As Christians, Hispanics and conservatives, we feel we have a unique and important perspective on this issue. We strongly believe our faith and our conservative values call us to support DACA participants and advocate for them to stay in what in many cases is the only country they know. We applaud President Donald Trump’s restraint on DACA thus far and we are encouraged that he continues to reiterate his compassionate sentiment towards the DREAMers, acknowledging that DACA needs to be dealt with “heart.”
Last week, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and officials from nine other states urged the Trump Administration to end DACA. In a letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff sessions, Paxton urged the White House to rescind the 2012 program, which was begun under the Obama Administration.
NPR: Christians Seeking Refuge May Get Caught Up In Trump’s Deportations
By Tom Gjelten
July 7, 2017
Efforts by the Trump administration to deport immigrants who have come to the U.S. illegally is likely to impact Christian refugees who face persecution in their home countries.
MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:
Here’s a conflict for President Trump. On the one hand he’s pledged to support Christians around the world who suffer for their beliefs. But the president has also said he intends to deport people who are in the U.S. illegally. And some of the immigrants now facing deportation are Christians who were persecuted in their homelands and could be in danger if they’re sent back. Here’s NPR’s Tom Gjelten.
TOM GJELTEN, BYLINE: President Obama was often criticized for not showing enough concern for the condition of Christians in Muslim-majority countries. President Trump came into office promising to do better, such as when he proposed preferential treatment for Christian refugees. Vice President Pence reiterated Trump’s views in May, speaking at the World Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians.