The Week Ahead: May 23-27

Communications Associate

May 23, 2016


“I can’t even begin to picture how we would deport 11 million people in a few years where we don’t have a police state, where the police can’t break down your door at will and take you away without a warrant. Unless you suspend the Constitution and instruct the police to behave as if we live in North Korea, it ain’t happening.”

–         Michael Chertoff, Secretary of Homeland Security under President George W. Bush, May 19


More States Attempt to Address Immigration
Amid congressional inaction on immigration, states continue to address opportunities for new Americans.

As a result of legislation signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown last fall, thousands of undocumented children in California are now eligible for government-issued health care. On May 16, the California Department of Health Care Services began enrolling all children into Medi-Cal, the state’s Medicaid program for low-income residents, regardless of their immigration status.

California is the most populous state to extend health coverage for undocumented children, following Illinois, Massachusetts, Washington state and Washington, D.C.

In New York, a state licensing board endorsed a proposal Tuesday allowing otherwise-qualified recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) to receive licenses to teach or practice medicine. The new policy, which reverses an earlier bar, is designed to provide new opportunities to thousands of DACA recipients who have federal work authorization and meet the educational requirements necessary for obtaining professional licenses.

Citizenship Applications Reach Highest Levels in Four Years
A recent analysis by the Pew Research Center shows that the number of legal permanent residents applying for U.S. citizenship has reached the highest level in four years. The increase is not necessarily a reaction to the 2016 presidential election, as some have suggested.

According to the analysis, an announcement of a pending fee increase has presaged bigger percentage increases in applications in the past. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services made such an announcement earlier this month.

Summary of immigration legislation introduced and government reports on immigration:


TALKING POINTS MEMO: Hill Republicans Don’t Buy Trump’s Mass Deportation Promise
By Lauren Fox
May 19, 2016
During his primary, Donald Trump swore he could deport an estimated 11 million immigrants living in the country, illegally. In fact, with “really good management,” he vowed to get it done in two years. Then, he’d call on Mexico and get them to build a beautiful wall.
But now that Trump is the presumptive nominee, many Republicans in Congress are keeping their distance from what has become their nominee’s signature campaign issue and instead dismissed it as little more than stump speech bravado.
“Logistically that is an impossibility,” Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC), who has endorsed Trump and is facing a primary challenge from her right in June, told TPM. “It would cost the taxpayers of America. We would never get there… It would be an endless pursuit.”
Ellmers point was echoed by many experts and commentators when Trump first introduced his plan last summer. How would a Trump administration track down millions of people who were in the country illegally? Where would the estimated billions it would cost to deport them come from? And who would be tasked with carrying out such a massive deportation? Not to mention the moral and legal questions.
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VOX: Politicians are afraid of refugees. But their citizens are much more welcoming.
By Dara Lind
May 20, 2016
The world is facing a refugee crisis unlike any it’s seen in 70 years, and possibly ever. Millions of people have fled their home countries due to war or persecution. But in many of the rich countries that could help, attempts to take in refugees are politically controversial at best. Often, the fear of a populist backlash leads officials to limit, or outright abandon, the refugees they could help.
But what if that fear of backlash is overblown? What if people in these countries are actually more supportive of refugees than their politicians are?
That’s the implication of a survey conducted by the pro-refugee human rights group Amnesty International, released this week. Amnesty surveyed people in 27 countries — 27,000 people overall — about how they felt about refugees and how comfortable they’d be with refugees settling near them. The results make it pretty clear: Some people are inhospitable to refugees, but a lot more are interested in doing more to help them.
At the core of the Amnesty survey was a question about how closely respondents would be willing to take in refugees: in their country, their town, their neighborhood, or inside their home. If you’re used to months of debate about whether to accept refugees at all — in countries from the US to the UK and Germany to Australia — the results are pretty darn surprising.
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