The Week Ahead: May 1-5

Communications Associate

May 1, 2017

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“It’s a constant challenge for us to reassure the community that the way we work has not changed and that the White House cannot dictate to us how to police. It affects all crimes across the board, but if you don’t have domestic victims coming forward, the reality is that they do not trust the police.”

— James Humphries, who oversees the special victims investigations division in Montgomery County, Maryland, April 30

SUMMARY

Congress Reaches Spending Deal through September without Wall Funding

Following weeks of discussion over government funding and after the Trump administration stepped back from its insistence that Congress include funding for a border wall, negotiators struck a deal Sunday to fund the government through the end of September.

While the agreement includes an additional $1.5 billion in spending for the Department of Homeland Security, none of the funds were allocated for building new barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border. Instead, the spending is intended for fixing the current infrastructure, enhancing technology at the border and funding immigration detention.

Political Appointments Raise Concerns for Naturalization, Law Enforcement

The Trump administration continues to consider appointments for immigration-related positions that do not require Senate confirmation. Candidates under consideration for key posts related to naturalization and outreach to state and local law enforcement have troubling records on those topics. In some cases, candidates’ track records suggest they may oppose central elements of the offices’ missions.

Julie Kirchner, who previously led the immigration restrictionist Federation for American Immigration Reform, is expected to be appointed as ombudsman for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The goal of the ombudsman’s office has been to improve the quality of citizenship and immigration services by providing case assistance and by making recommendations to improve how immigration benefits are administered.

Reports indicate that the White House is considering appointing Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke as assistant secretary for state and local law enforcement within the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Partnership and Engagement. Clarke has been a proponent of controversial immigration enforcement policies, including having state and local law enforcement take a more prominent role in enforcing federal immigration law.

‘There Goes the Neighborhood’ Goes to Chicago, Boston

At events this week into next, communities in Chicago and Boston will have the opportunity to learn how communities across the country are responding to immigrants and cultural change.

Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum and author of  “There Goes the Neighborhood: How Communities Overcome Prejudice and Meet the Challenge of American Immigration” (Prometheus Books, April 2017),, will discuss what he learned in interviews with nearly 60 faith, law enforcement and business leaders for his book.

Chicago events will include a Thursday panel at The Chicago Council on Global Affairs and a Friday conversation at The Book Cellar with WBEZ reporter Odette Yousef. Events in the Boston area will include a Saturday discussion at the Harvard Coop with Boston Globe columnist Adrian Walker and a Sunday synagogue event, followed by more events next week.

LEGISLATIVE BULLETIN

Summary of immigration legislation introduced and government reports on immigration:

http://immigrationforum.org/blog/legislative-bulletin-friday-april-28-2017/

MUST READS:

DALLAS MORNING NEWS (Pughes and Acevedo Op-Ed): Texas police chiefs: Do not burden local officers with federal immigration enforcement
By David Pughes and Art Acevedo
April 28, 2017

No one believes in the rule of law more than police officers. We work tirelessly to make our communities safer, within the confines of the constitution, by arresting those that commit criminal actions that threaten our communities. We target individuals committing violent crimes and arrest anyone who threatens the safety, regardless of their immigration status.

Members of the Texas Major Cities Chiefs, consisting of the police chiefs in Dallas, Houston, Austin, Arlington, Fort Worth and San Antonio, and the Texas Police Chiefs Association respectfully oppose Senate Bill 4, the so-called sanctuary cities bill. As amended by the Texas House, the bill would allow local law enforcement officers to ask people about their immigration status during an arrest or a lawful detention, like a routine traffic stop, putting local officers in the position of handling federal immigration issues.

Read more: https://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/commentary/2017/04/28/texas-police-chiefs-burden-local-officers-federal-immigration-enforcement

WASHINGTON POST: ICE data shows half of immigrants arrested in raids had traffic convictions or no record
By Maria Sacchetti and Ed O’Keefe
April 28, 2017

About half of the 675 immigrants picked up in roundups across the United States in the days after President Trump took office either had no criminal convictions or had committed traffic offenses, mostly drunken driving, as their most serious crimes, according to data obtained by The Washington Post.

Records provided by congressional aides Friday offered the most detailed look yet at the backgrounds of the individuals rounded up and targeted for deportation in early February by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents assigned to regional offices in Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, San Antonio and New York.

Two people had been convicted of homicide, 80 had been convicted of assault, and 57 had convictions for “dangerous drugs.” Many of the most serious criminals were given top billing in ICE news statements about the operation.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/social-issues/ice-data-shows-half-of-immigrants-arrested-in-raids-had-traffic-convictions-or-no-record/2017/04/28/81ff7284-2c59-11e7-b605-33413c691853_story.html

NEW YORK TIMES: Vetting Delays Snarl Path to Citizenship for Thousands in Military
By Frances Robles
April 29, 2017

MIAMI — Thousands of immigrants who joined the United States military with promises of a fast track to citizenship are stuck in limbo as new screening measures have taken far longer than expected, leaving some military members around the nation unable to become citizens or even go to basic training.

In the Army alone, about 4,300 people are awaiting the completion of their background checks, said Hank Minitrez, a spokesman for the Army. Until they are cleared, they cannot enter basic training or deploy overseas, leaving them stuck on bases if they are on active duty.

Immigrants must be in the United States legally in order to enlist. But the new vetting measures, begun in the waning months of the Obama administration, have taken so long that by November, the legal status of up to 1,500 people who enlisted in active duty or the Reserve had expired while they waited for clearance, the Army said.

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/29/us/united-states-citizenship-and-immigration-services-military-screening.html