The Week Ahead: June 5-9

Communications Associate

June 5, 2017


“There may be problems in the community we haven’t heard about because people are afraid to call and we don’t want that to happen.”

— Bellevue, Washington, Police Officer Seth Tyler, May 31


Congress to Hold Hearings on DHS, ICE Budgets

House and Senate committees are scheduled this week to hold hearings to consider the fiscal year 2018 budgets for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

These hearings will follow the Trump administration’s proposed budget, which heavily focuses on immigration enforcement, including additional funding for immigration detention, the hiring of immigration agents, and border security.

On the DHS budget, the Senate Homeland Security Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing Tuesday, and the House Homeland Security Committee is scheduled to hold its hearing Wednesday. The House Appropriations Committee is scheduled to consider the ICE budget at a Friday hearing.

With Travel, Refugee Bans Stuck in Courts, Stricter Visa Vetting Process Approved

Last week the Trump administration announced it will roll out a tougher screening process for U.S. visa applicants, contending that they need harsher national security vetting. The questions seek 15 years of biographical information from applicants, including all social media handles from the past five years.

Critics have asserted that the additions are overly burdensome and ineffectual and could lead to longer delays. The new questions were approved by the Office of Management and Budget on May 23.

The new vetting process has proceeded separately from the judicial consideration of the administration’s travel and refugee bans, which remain blocked by multiple federal courts.

The government filed a petition Thursday to the Supreme Court to review the lower court rulings on the executive order that included the bans, seeking a motion to allow the travel ban to take effect.

President Trump may have complicated the administration’s defense of the order this morning, characterizing the action as a “travel ban,” a term from which the administration previously had distanced itself, and criticizing the Department of Justice for proposing a “watered down” version of the original executive order barring travel from certain Muslim-majority countries to the United States.

Discussion on Culture, Values and Immigrants to Take Place in D.C., California

Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum, will speak Tuesday on a panel on identity at MCON, a conference held in Washington, D.C., that focuses on social change.

Noorani will speak Wednesday on communities grappling with the changing nature of American identity and new immigrants across the country at Books Inc. in Berkeley, California. The discussion will focus on the approach to the immigration debate in his book, “There Goes the Neighborhood: How Communities Overcome Prejudice and Meet the Challenge of American Immigration” (Prometheus Books, April 2017).


Summary of immigration legislation introduced and government reports on immigration:


DALLAS MORNING NEWS (Nixon Op-Ed): There are simple solutions to our complex immigration problem
By Dennis Nixon
June 1, 2017

The issue of immigration and border security is more complex than the political debate in Washington and on cable television would lead the public to believe. It is also easier and far less costly to solve than many of the plans introduced by leading politicians and pundits.

The current reality on the Texas-Mexican border, as well as much of the border outside of Texas, is that the flow of immigrants who illegally enter the United States has declined dramatically in recent decades, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data, from 1.6 million to about 400,000. Today, immigrants chasing the American dream are still a problem when they enter the U.S. illegally, mostly from Central America. These economic migrants are basically law-abiding people who are seeking work because their country of origin has not given them a chance to succeed.

While immigration is a national obsession, there’s a much greater and more real threat to American prosperity and national security. The U.S. birth rate is now at around 1.9 births per female, well below replacement level. And with 10,000 baby boomers retiring every day, the demographic outlook is bleak.

Read more:

WASHINGTON POST: Mexican migrant workers came to California to pick grapes. Now they own wineries.
By Dave McIntyre
May 30, 2017

Outside Robledo Family Winery, south of Sonoma, on a cool April Sunday, the U.S. and Mexican flags whipped a stiff salute in the wind blowing off the San Pablo Bay. A third banner bore the winery logo. The flags represent three themes central to the lives of Reynaldo Robledo and many other Mexican migrant workers who have helped shape California’s wine industry: heritage, opportunity and family.

Robledo is part of a small but growing community of Mexican American families who started as migrant workers and now have their own wineries. They have emerged from the invisible workforce of laborers who prune the vines in bitter winter cold and tend them under searing summer sun. We read about them when they collapse from heat exhaustion in California’s Central Valley or perish in a winery accident. But they rarely appear in the glossy magazines that extol the luxury wine lifestyle, except as cheerful extras in harvest photos.

Read more:

WALL STREET JOURNAL (Riley Column): To Grow the Economy, America Needs Immigrants
By Jason L. Riley
May 30, 2017

Although President Trump hasn’t yet walled off Mexico—and here’s hoping his promise to do so goes unfulfilled, since there are better ways to discourage illicit border crossings—his administration’s tougher stance on illegal immigration is manifesting itself in other ways.

In the final years of the Obama administration, undocumented immigrants without criminal records were left alone for the most part. Not anymore. Immigration and Customs Enforcement reported this month that people suspected of being in the country illegally are being arrested at significantly higher rates. In the first 100 days of Mr. Trump’s presidency, immigration officers arrested close to 42,000 people, compared with around 31,000 over the same period in 2016.

That’s a fraction of the estimated 11 million illegal aliens who live here, but coupled with continued tough rhetoric from the president and Attorney General Jeff Sessions —who lately has turned his attention to Central American gangs operating on New York’s Long Island—the message seems to be getting through that if you’re here illegally, start watching your back.

Read more: