The Week Ahead: March 12-16

Communications Assistant

March 12, 2018



Omnibus Bill, Possible This Week, Could Include Major Immigration Components

The fiscal year (FY) 2018 omnibus spending package, for which Congress has a March 23 deadline, could be introduced in the House as early as this week. After  striking down multiple bipartisan proposals last month, Democratic and Republican leaders have said they do not expect Dreamer legislation to be part of the spending package, and a more general fight over immigration-related spending priorities is likely.

President Trump is insisting that any agreement include the border wall funding. In addition to a physical wall, Trump has called for increased funding for immigration enforcement including hiring thousands of additional immigration enforcement personnel, border patrol agents and immigration judges, and mandating filling thousands of additional beds in immigration detention facilities.

Additionally, House Freedom Caucus Chair Rep. Mark Meadows (R-North Carolina) called for Congress to add a provision to the omnibus that would cut off funding for so-called “sanctuary” cities. In contrast, Democrats are calling for reductions in immigration enforcement personnel and detention beds.

Justice Department Sues California over ‘Sanctuary’ Policies

Attorney General Jeff Sessions sued the state of California last week over three state laws, including one that limits the role of local law enforcement in federal immigration responsibilities. Sessions cited a 2012 Supreme Court ruling that states “may not pursue policies that undermine federal law.”

Further escalating an increasingly political legal battle over so-called “sanctuary” jurisdictions, the lawsuit impacts local law enforcement’s ability to do their jobs. In response to the suit, the California State Sheriff’s Association issued a statement describing how a lack of clarity from state and national officials has left local sheriffs “caught in the middle of this challenging issue.” Sheriffs “do not wish to act as immigration police, nor are they, and we protect EVERYONE in our communities regardless of immigration status,” the statement reads.

In the lawsuit, the administration asks a federal judge to issue a statewide preliminary injunction and does not seek a nationwide ruling. However, the case is likely to reach the Supreme Court, for a consequential decision on the scope of states’ autonomy and responsibility on immigration policy.


Summary of immigration legislation introduced and government reports on immigration:


TIME: ‘No One Is Safe.’ How Trump’s Immigration Policy Is Splitting Families Apart
By Haley Sweetland Edwards
March 8, 2018

Just before 7:30 one Friday morning last March, Alejandro said goodbye to his wife Maria and his two small daughters and headed off to work. He didn’t make it far. Four blocks from his home near Bakersfield, Calif., two unmarked vehicles, a white Honda and a green Mazda pickup truck, pulled up behind him at a stop sign. Plain-clothes Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents spilled out. They wore vests emblazoned with the word POLICE.
Alejandro dialed Maria from his cell phone and told her what was happening. Her heart dropped. She said later that she knew it wouldn’t matter that Alejandro had no criminal record, not even a speeding ticket. Or that he’d driven these same roads every day for the past decade, picking grapes, pistachios and oranges in California’s Central Valley. Since 2006, when Alejandro overstayed his visa, he had been considered a “fugitive alien,” in ICE parlance, and therefore subject to immediate deportation to Mexico. Now he was arrested on the spot.

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WASHINGTON POST: Deported, and Sticking Out: ‘This Ain’t Home. America’s My Home.’
By Hannah Beech
March 11, 2018

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — It was fish for breakfast and fish for lunch and fish for dinner.
“I hate fish,” Khan Hin said.
What Mr. Hin wanted was a burger. Maybe a bowl of Cap’n Crunch. Or some Tater Tots. “I’m feisty,” he said, “for my Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.”
Mr. Hin’s palate is American. His vernacular, slang from the streets of Stockton, Calif., is American.
And his family’s experience is all too American. His older sister was at school in Stockton in 1989 when a man sprayed gunfire on the schoolyard. Five children ages 6 to 9, all of Cambodian or Vietnamese heritage, were killed. Nearly 30 others, including Mr. Hin’s sister, were injured. The killer had repeatedly spewed hatred of Asian immigrants.
At the hospital, Mr. Hin’s sister got to meet Michael Jackson, which was an American dream of sorts, although it wasn’t worth two bullets in her body.

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SYDNEY MORNING HERALD: The immigrant teachers coming to US schools under Trump’s nose
By Rachel Olding
March 10, 2018 

San Francisco: Anna Joy Mariano’s first few months on the job have been tough.
As a special needs teacher at El Gabilan Elementary School in California’s Salinas City, she has had chairs and desks thrown at her and grappled with severe behavioural issues in her classroom.
Then there were the stresses of moving from the Philippines, where she had 16 years’ experience as a teacher specialising in handicapped children, to pursue the new job opportunity in the United States. She left her family behind, bunked with other teachers in a foreign country and moved between two Californian cities as school resources shifted.
“There were two or three days when I just cried,” she said. “It has tested my patience and my personality. When you see your students laughing at the same time that you’re being hurt, that has probably been the most difficult part.”

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WALL STREET JOURNAL: Visas Issued to Foreign Students Fall, Partly Due to Trump Immigration Policy
By Laura Meckler and Melissa Korn
March 11, 2018

WASHINGTON—The number of visas issued to foreign students fell markedly last year amid stricter immigration policies, State Department data show, exacerbating financial challenges for some U.S. colleges and universities.
Some of the slide can be attributed to stepped-up competition from schools in other countries and less support for foreign study by some governments. But immigration attorneys and school officials say Trump administration policies are making the U.S. a tougher destination for foreigners and point to stricter scrutiny of those who do apply.
In the year ended Sept. 30, 2017, the State Department issued 393,573 student visas, known as F-1s. That was down 17% from the previous fiscal year and nearly 40% below the 2015 peak. The drop-off was particularly dramatic among Indian students this year, with a 28% decline in visas from the second-biggest feeder of foreign students at U.S. colleges.

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PACIFIC STANDARD: How Immigration Crackdowns are Hurting America’s Poorest Schools
By Francie Diep
March 9, 2018

Lupita Hightower is the superintendent of a school district outside Phoenix, Arizona, that’s 82 percent Latino and where 89 percent of kids qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. The Tolleson Elementary School District doesn’t ask families their immigration status, but judging from the concerned calls from teachers and principals, there’s a good number that include undocumented members. Hightower’s staff know that she herself was once undocumented—her parents brought her to the United States when she was in 7th grade—and often ask for her help whenever a student is having a crisis. “I think, a lot of times, the principal feels that I’ll be able to understand and give them hope,” she says.
The day after Donald Trump‘s election, Hightower got on the phone with a 7th-grade boy, an American citizen, who was crying inconsolably because the president’s rhetoric made him think his undocumented parents would be deported.

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