The Week Ahead: Sept. 18-22
September 18, 2017
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“If all of a sudden [immigrants are] no longer feeling comfortable in calling the police to report when they’re a crime victim or when they might need help, that might have devastating impacts. We need the public’s help. We need the public to be our eyes and ears. We need the public to be able to trust in us.”
— Police Chief Mike Tupper of Marshalltown, Iowa, Sept. 13
Senate Version of RAC Act Expected to be Introduced
Sen. Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina) is expected to introduce a version of the Recognizing America’s Children (RAC) Act this week, following its House introduction on March 9.
The bill would permit Dreamers — young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children — to gain legal status and stay in the U.S. if they meet certain requirements.
The RAC Act is one of a few potential legislative solutions for Dreamers. Another that provides a permanent legislative fix is the bipartisan DREAM Act.
Sen. Tillis is among the many conservative lawmakers who have expressed support for these young people and a strong desire to find such a solution. Faith, law enforcement and business leaders have expressed similar sentiments.
Sen. Tillis will discuss this and other immigration-related topics as the keynote speaker at the National Immigration Forum’s convening, Leading the Way, on Oct. 5 (more information below).
SB 54 Passes in California
California lawmakers approved Senate Bill 54 (SB 54), the California Values Act, on Saturday, and Gov. Jerry Brown is expected to sign it. The bill would prohibit law enforcement officials from asking about a person’s immigration status or holding a person for an immigration violation.
Though SB 54 has been called a “sanctuary state” bill, there is no such jurisdiction, legally speaking. SB 54 does not limit partnerships between local and federal law enforcement; its main objectives are to encourage trust and cooperation between law enforcement and immigrant members of the community, while preventing the allocation of local law enforcement’s limited resources to enforcing federal immigration laws.
“While not perfect, SB 54 kept intact our ability to maintain partnerships with federal law enforcement officials who help us in the fight against gangs, drugs and human trafficking,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell said in a statement. “It also retains the controlled access that the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement has to our jails.”
A similar bill is now law in Illinois, where Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) signed the Trust Act Aug. 28.
Forum to Host ‘Leading the Way’ Oct. 5
Faith, law enforcement, business and other leaders will meet in Washington, D.C., Oct. 5 for a constructive conversation on immigration policy solutions that serve American workers and families.
Leading the Way: A New Approach to American Immigration will answer a key question: How can we ensure that America and American workers continue to benefit from immigration, and that immigrants themselves become fully integrated into our society?
Notable speakers include keynote speaker Sen. Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina); Frances Townsend, former Homeland Security Advisor to President George W. Bush; and Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas), among others.
Summary of legislation introduced and government reports on immigration: http://immigrationforum.org/blog/legislative-bulletin-friday-september-15-2017/
FORBES: RAISE Act Is DACA Poison Pill
By Stuart Anderson
Sept. 18, 2017
In the odd world of anti-immigration politics, where success seems measured by how many people are denied the opportunity to live in America, those who advocate including the RAISE Act in any bill that provides legal status to DACA recipients hope for a Super Bowl-size victory.
On September 5, 2017, citing legal concerns, the Trump administration announced it would end DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program established to prevent the deportation of individuals who came to America as minors (16 or younger). Without Congressional action, approximately 800,000 young people with DACA could be deported to countries they barely know.
After meeting with Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, both Democrats, it appeared Donald Trump had struck a deal to provide lawful permanent residence to “Dreamers,” as DACA recipients are often called, in exchange for more border security. Since then, some loud voices who want to deport the Dreamers have argued Republicans should include in any DACA relief bill measures that fundamentally change and dramatically reduce legal immigration to the United States.
By design, including the RAISE Act (S. 354) would be a poison pill that would kill any chance of passing legislation on DACA. It is a dreadful, economically harmful piece of legislation.
WASHINGTON POST: Border security is tougher than ever, DHS report finds
By Nick Miroff
Sept. 18, 2017
Sneaking across the U.S. border from Mexico is tougher than ever before, and U.S. agents are catching or stopping the majority of those who attempt to do so, according to a new report by the Department of Homeland Security.
The report, published last week by the agency’s Office of Immigration Statistics, estimates that 55 to 85 percent of attempted illegal border crossings are unsuccessful, up from 35 to 70 percent a decade ago. In one telling sign of the difficulty, the number of illegal migrants and deportees who make repeated attempts to get in has also fallen dramatically, because so many would-be migrants are giving up.
The report’s findings challenge depictions of the U.S. border as a place where American law enforcement is overwhelmed and ineffective. President Trump has ordered DHS to make preparations for the construction of a wall between the United States and Mexico, and last week he met with Democratic Party leaders to negotiate additional border security improvements.
The new DHS report indicates the agency has already made significant progress in its ability to stop people from sneaking in or consider trying. Arrests along the Mexico border fell to historic lows during the Obama presidency, then dropped further after Trump took office vowing a crackdown.
Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/border-security-is-tougher-than-ever-dhs-report-finds/2017/09/18/5d198328-9a46-11e7-a527-3573bd073e02_story.html?utm_term=.2bec4d422dce
WASHINGTON POST: U.S. Army kills contracts for hundreds of immigrant recruits. Some face deportation.
By Alex Horton
Sept. 15, 2017
U.S. Army recruiters have abruptly canceled enlistment contracts for hundreds of foreign-born military recruits since last week, upending their lives and potentially exposing many to deportation, according to several affected recruits and former military officials familiar with their situation.
Many of these enlistees have waited years to join a troubled recruitment program designed to attract highly skilled immigrants into the service in exchange for fast-track citizenship.
Now recruits and experts say that recruiters are shedding their contracts to free themselves from an onerous enlistment process, which includes extensive background investigations, to focus on individuals who can more quickly enlist and thus satisfy strict recruitment targets.
Margaret Stock, a retired Army officer who led creation of the immigration recruitment program, told The Washington Post that she has received dozens of frantic messages from recruits this week, with many more reporting similar action in Facebook groups. She said hundreds could be affected.
WASHINGTON POST (Chertoff Opinion): Cutting refugee admissions hurts Americans. Here’s how.
By Michael Chertoff
Sept. 14, 2017
Michael Chertoff, U.S. homeland security secretary from 2005 to 2009, is executive chairman of the Chertoff Group, a security and risk-management advisory firm.
President Trump will make another decision this month that will affect thousands of people: How many refugees will the United States admit in fiscal year 2018?
The president already cut refugee admissions by more than half this year, from more than 100,000 down to 50,000. By way of comparison, the highest ceiling under President Ronald Reagan was 140,000. The president has also signaled, through his executive orders and in his budget proposal, that these cuts will carry over to next year. And in fact, some in his administration are trying to convince him to cut even further.
This would be a mistake. Cutting refugee admittances would not only be a moral failure but also damage our national interest abroad and our economy.
BLOOMBERG (Postrel Opinion): Why Evangelicals Want Immigration Reform
By Virginia Postrel
Sept. 11, 2017
When Donald Trump reversed the Obama-era executive order giving legal status to undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, he got pushback from religious leaders. Their response illustrates the ways, expected and unexpected, in which immigrants are changing American Christianity.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the go-to religious group for reporters seeking official comment, called the decision “reprehensible.” At least a third of U.S. Catholics are Latino, and one study of Catholic parishes put the number at 40 percent.
Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, who wants to restrict immigration, charges that bishops were merely acting in their own self-interest. “They need illegal aliens to fill the churches,” Bannon declared in a 60 Minutes interview that aired Sunday, adding, “They have an economic interest in unlimited immigration, unlimited illegal immigration.” Bannon, himself a Catholic, paints a picture of a church in decline that needs a steady flow of newcomers simply to replace its losses.
He’s not wrong about the decline. Despite the large influx of Catholic immigrants, the number of Americans who call themselves Catholics is falling, as is their percentage of the population. The church is losing adherents among Latinos, including immigrants and their children. A quarter of all U.S. Latinos are former Catholics, reports the Pew Center. In its 2016 survey, the Public Religion Research Institute, found that 48 percent of all U.S. Hispanics identified themselves as Catholic, down from 53 percent in 2013; among Latino immigrants, the proportion of Catholics dropped from 63 percent to 59 percent.