Difference between revisions of "Immigration"

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==Recent Updates==
==Recent Updates==
5/9/2017 - Texas has passed legislation [http://immigrationforum.org/blog/5-things-to-know-about-texas-sb-4/ SB4] (Senate Bill 4) that requires local law enforcement to comply with ICE agents.
*5/19/17: 41,000 known or suspected undocumented immigrants have been arrested by ICE agents within Trump's first 100 days, and close to 400 suspected undocumented immigrants a day.[http://thehill.com/latino/333839-ice-immigration-arrests-climb-nearly-40-percent-under-trump]
5/9/2017 - Luis Vera has filed the first lawsuit against SB4 through League of United Latin American Citizens. [http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2017/05/09/lawsuits-begin-over-texas-sanctuary-city-law/#.WRG_jNdhscg.twitter]
== [[File:activelegislation.png | left | 50px | Actions Taken by the Federal Government | link= ]] Laws Proposed by Congress==
== [[File:activelegislation.png | left | 50px | Actions Taken by the Federal Government | link= ]] Laws Proposed by Congress==

Revision as of 09:45, 19 May 2017

This is a collaborative knowledge base; feel free to propose edits/additions that you believe are important for others to know. Contributions will be reviewed and approved based on quality and accuracy.

How You Can Resist
How You Can Resist

  • Call your Members of Congress by dialing tel:854-6-RESIST and tell them to support the positive legislation and oppose the harmful legislation below using congressional breakdown by districts on immigration.
  • Find out when your Senators and US Representative are holding town halls and other Upcoming Events/Opportunities. Show up and tell them to protect immigrants.
  • Connect people who are experiencing immigration issues and/or are at risk of deportation to Crisis Resources, which can help protect and assist them.
  • Click here to find an organization looking for volunteers.

Recent Updates

  • 5/19/17: 41,000 known or suspected undocumented immigrants have been arrested by ICE agents within Trump's first 100 days, and close to 400 suspected undocumented immigrants a day.[2]

Actions Taken by the Federal Government
Laws Proposed by Congress

Legislative Actions

Legislation that Supports Equity and Justice

  • Protect American Families Act (S 54) would prohibit the creation of an immigration-related registry program that classifies people on the basis of religion, race, age, gender, ethnicity, national origin, nationality, or citizenship.

Harmful Legislation

  • No Funding for Sanctuary Campuses Act (H.R.483) bill prohibits federal funding for student loans and grants to colleges and universities that adopt "sanctuary campus" policies and refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities. .

  • H.J.Res. 30 Amends the Constitution to decide the number of Congressional representative seats each state has according to the number of citizens rather than the total number of people living in the state.

  • Birthright Citizenship Act of 2017 (H.R. 140) To amend section 301 of the Immigration and Nationality Act to clarify those classes of individuals born in the United States who are nationals and citizens of the United States at birth.

See also the State and Local Pages for state-by-state legislative tracking.

Projected Impact
Projected Impact of Trump/GOP Immigration Executive Orders


  • In total, it is estimated that at least 8 million of the 11.1 million undocumented immigrants currently living in America are now considered priorities for deportation by Trump's administration.[3] These deportations would be accelerated by the hiring of new ICE agents. Trump proposed $1.5 billion to fund new detention facilities and the removal of undocumented immigrants.[4] The budget passed by the House an Senate provides $900 million toward these activities.[5]

The administration's priorities outlined in the "Enforcement of the Immigration Laws to Serve the National Interest" memo suggests that any undocumented immigrant living in the US who has been charged or convicted of any crime—and even those suspected of a crime—will now be an enforcement priority, including those arrested for shoplifting or minor traffic offenses.[6] DHS Secretary John Kelly finds marijuana possession to be grounds for deportation. DHS determines enforcement priorities not deportation priorities. This is in stark contrast to the Obama Administration's immigration policy, in which people who committed serious crimes were prioritized for deportation.[7]

These 38 law enforcement agencies currently participate in the 287(g) program.[1]

Trump's administration has also reinstated the 287(g) program, which allows states and local governments to sign up to give local law enforcement the power to act as immigration officers.[8] 38 jurisdictions in 16 states currently participate in the 287(g) program, a number which will likely expand under this administration.[9] From January 2006 through September 30, 2015, the 287(g) program identified more than 402,079 undocumented immigrants to potentially be deported—mostly at local jails.[10]

The memo on implementing the executive order also expands the use of expedited removals, where individuals are deported without the due process of a hearing.[11] In the expedited removal process, the immigration officer (ICE), rather than a judge, makes the decision about deportation and then enforces it.[12] This removes the opportunity for people, with the help of an attorney, to make the case to a judge about why they are entitled to stay in the country and increases the risk of wrongful deportations.[13] Under the Obama administration, expedited removal was used only within 100 miles of the border for people who had been in the country no more than 14 days. Now it will include those who have been in the country for up to two years, located anywhere in the nation.[14] Still, the use of expedited removals has been growing in recent years.[15] The broadening of what "crimes" can result in deportation under the new immigration standards will result in more people being held in detention centers.[16]

There is also a new policy that will allow immigrants to be deported to countries that are "contiguous" to or that border their country of origin, instead of actually being returned to their country of origin.[17]

Effects on the family and schools

In 1982, The Supreme Court ruled in Plyer v Doe that it is unconstitutional to deny undocumented students free public education. House Democrats have written a letter to Secretary of Education Betsy Devos and Attorney General Jeff Sessions regarding this ruling, fearing that students may be lost in the expedited deportations.[18]
A primer on expedited removal figure 1.png

The fear of being caught in an ICE raid has discouraged undocumented immigrants from seeking medical assistance and testifying in criminal cases. Parents who fear deportation are seeking other types of guardianships for their children.[19] Undocumented workers are afraid to pick up unpaid wages and are not confirming their addresses for fear of being deported.

The rise in the detention and deportations of undocumented parents, has a large effect on children emotionally and economically. Children are more likely to have mental health problems like depression, anxiety, and severe psychological distress if their parent is deported or held in detention. PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) is significantly higher in Latino children who have at least one parent detained/deported. The deportation of a parent or other household family member decreases the family income by 50% (in a study in 2015 by American Immigration Council). Other possible impacts include the child being placed in the child welfare system. Should the parent be deported, they must make the decision whether or not to bring the child with them.[20]

Secure Communities

The enforcement memo has determined Obama's Priority Enforcement Program (PEP) unsuitable and re-enforced the Secure Communities Program. The program began in 2008 during George W. Bush's presidency and allows ICE to be able to request fingerprints attained from individuals sent to jails and prisons. Should these individuals be considered a threat, they will be issued a detainer (a 48-hour hold in jail or prison).[21]. Unlike PEP, which sought repeat offenders, Secure Communities allows officials to "exercise prosecutorial discretion."[22]


Trump proposed that the Department of Justice spend $171 million on short-term holding facilities.[23] The budget bill approved by the House and Senate contains $1.5 billion in funding support for short-term detention.[24]

The administration has also outlined how it plans to put into effect Trump's executive order in its memo, "Implementing the President's Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements Policies". Trump's administration plans to nearly double the number of people held in immigration detention to 80,000 per day, including by building new detention centers.[25] Immigrants sent to detention are usually kept in private prisons.

ICE has issued more than 42,000 detainer requests this year, 35% higher than the year before. ICE described its actions as “routine” and lambasted those who labeled them as “raids” because nearly 1 in 4 of those arrested had no criminal records.[26]

Asylum Seekers

Based on the memo regarding implementation of the Executive Order, an asylum seeker may be held in detention if they are considered a threat once they have entered the country.[27]. People seeking asylum present themselves to government officials upon entering the United States and, just as in the past, asylum seekers are required to establish "credible fear" when entering the United States. However, based on the Executive Order, decisions made by ICE may now override the criteria originally set out by Congress to ensure that certain individuals would not be deported.[28]


In March, President Trump decreased the number of refugees admitted to the United States to 50,000 for the year rather than the 110,000 that were admitted under President Obama.[29] As of March, almost 37,000 refugees had already been admitted to the United States since the fiscal year began in October.[30] Refugee vetting time normally takes 18 to 24 months after people apply to the UN for placement as a refugee. Vetting currently involves eight federal agencies, six databases, five separate background checks, four fingerprint and biometric checks, three in-person interviews, and two interagency checks. Another screening occurs in the airport before embarking and after arrival in the US airport. If the refugee is allowed in, the State Department assigns the refugee to an NGO to help them find work or housing.[31]

In 2014, the United States set up a special program to offer refugee status or special admission to Central American children, particularly those traveling alone.[32] More than 11,000 people have applied to the program and as of February 22nd just 2,400 have been admitted.[33] President Trump's executive order in March will freeze new applications to the program for 120 days.[34]

In May 2017, immigration officials are looking into the criminal records of the 50,000 Haitian refugees in the United States. The refugees are currently in the country from the aftermath of the 2010 earthquakes. It is also reported that they are looking at who is receiving welfare benefits since they are not eligible for them.[35]

Border Wall

The budget agreed to by the Senate and House of Representatives contains no funding for a border wall, and the budget limits how money can be spent on border security.[36]

  • Trump may have a hard time convincing Congress to pay for a wall in the future, given that there are currently more people leaving the United States for Mexico than entering the United States from Mexico.[37] This difficulty might be reinforced by the fact that even on Election Day, most voters polled opposed the wall, and more than 70% of voters polled said they supported a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.[38]
  • US Customs and Border Protection said that it plans to start awarding contracts by mid-April for the border wall.[39]
  • Homeland Security has estimated that the border wall will cost $21.6 billion and take about 3.5 years to build.[40]
  • The Government Accountability Office estimates that it would cost on average $6.5 million per mile for a fence to keep out people who try to enter on foot and $1.8 million per mile for vehicle barriers.[41]
  • Republican leaders in Congress have said that Trump's wall would cost between $12 billion and $15 billion.[42]
  • Trump's executive order on the wall also requested a report on aid to Mexico. It is possible that aid to Mexico will be cut or changed as a way to incentivize Mexico to pay for the wall.[43]

International Impact

The European Parliament has voted to end Americans' visa-free travel to the EU. This comes after the US government denied visa-free travel to citizens from five EU countries—Poland, Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania, and Cyprus.[44]

Mexico has opened immigrant defense centers at their 50 embassies and consulate locations in the United States. About 170 million pesos ($54 million) of the Mexican government's budget has been allocated for the cause. This is exclusively for Mexicans who are seeking legal guidance and assistance from lawyers who specialize in immigration. The centers will also start to produce birth certificates for those who do not have one.[45]

Asylum seekers have been migrating towards Canada and crossing through unofficial entrances. As part of the Canada-United States Safe Third Country Agreement , if they cross before apprehended they cannot be turned back to U.S. soilTheir government officials allocated financial aid to Manitoba where 200 crossings this year have been recorded.[46] On the other hand, over concerns with the travel ban Toronto schools will not be allowing students and staff to visit the U.S.[47]

New Programs

In addition to the new enforcement priorities, the Department of Homeland Security will be creating a new program, Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE ), which will work with victims of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants.[48] This is despite the fact that crimes committed by undocumented immigrants have decreased over time and are now less frequent than crimes committed by native-born Americans.[49] The memo also stated that constitutional privacy protections will no longer apply to those who are not US citizens or lawful permanent residents, when not mandated by law.[50]

Vulnerabilities in Their Strategy
Vulnerabilities in Their Strategy


Expedited removals will rush undocumented immigrants through a process they barely understand, without the right to an attorney and few options to appeal their deportation.[51] Using expedited removals for deportations may result in lawsuits, because such removals limit people's rights.[52]

Seattle, WA and Richmond, VA joined 33 other cities in the country to file lawsuits against Trump's executive order that would strip funding from 'sanctuary cities.' Cities included are San Francisco, CA, Oakland, CA, San Clemente, CA and others. Lawsuits have been filed since February 1, 2017.[53]

Trump's expansion of immigration detention policies will most likely run into more lawsuits. Past U.S. presidents have been involved in class action suits pursued by pro bono lawyers, such as American Baptist Churches v. Thornburgh which led to Temporary Protected Status being passed by congress.

The lawyers of Juan Manuel Montes, a DACA recipient, have sued the government for withholding information related to his deportation, despite a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request. This is the first known case of a DACA recipient being deported and due to the complicated nature of Monte's case, transparency is required.[54]

Hiring New ICE Agents

It would take an act of Congress to appropriate additional funding to dramatically increase the number of ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) officers employed by the federal government. Trump proposed $314 million to go toward hiring and training 500 new Border Patrol agents and 1,000 Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel next year.[55] Even with this funding, officials have indicated that it would take at least two years to hire eligible candidates because of the difficulty of finding those who can pass the training and the lie-detector test. In February 2008, when polygraphs were first implemented, half of the candidates applying for jobs did not pass, many because they had been convicted of serious felonies (e.g., smuggling, bribery, or drug trafficking).[56][57]

A former senior official at Custom and Border Protection stated that the heightened number of security officials on the border will not effectively weed out individuals charged with drug-related crimes. Adding shortcuts to the hiring process will increase the likeliness of corruption among ICE officials. American Immigration Council released a report April 2017, detailing the corruption in the past, other proposed ideas besides hiring a large group of new ICE agents and Border Patrol officers. Since 2004, 197 CBP employees, including border patrol agents, have been arrested for, or charged with, corruption. Experts say that corrupt agents make it easier for criminals to take advantage of relaxed security on the border.[58]

Administration officials have admitted to preliminary plans for speeding the hiring of new agents by possibly ending polygraph and physical fitness tests, and opening 33,000 detention beds to house undocumented immigrants.[59]

International Law

DHS Secretary John Kelly has confirmed that the Trump administration does indeed intend to deport non–Mexican citizens to Mexico.[60] However, in order to deport people to contiguous (bordering) countries rather than to their country of origin, those countries would have to be willing to accept these immigrants.[61] For example, it will likely not be possible to send those seeking asylum in the United States to Mexico without an agreement with the Mexican government.[62] Furthermore, pushing undocumented immigrants back and forth over the border will create instability on the border and thus security issues.[63] Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray, who is leading negotiations with the Trump administration, has stated that Mexico will not take in individuals deported from the US.[64]


As more people are detained, the courts will have a larger backlog than what is usually in place—1,800 cases.[65] By January 2017, there were an estimated 540,000 cases pending in immigration courts, including 20,856 pending detained cases.[66] The federal freeze on hiring that Trump has proposed would also delay deportation times longer than the current five-year delay, because the number of immigration court judges would be limited. Trump has said the hiring freeze would not apply to immigration judges in cases of national security.[67]

The new budget bill provides $20 million to fund new teams of immigration judges. This will not ease the backlog, let alone make it possible to deport more people.[68] Courts would need about 520 immigration judges in order to come close to catching up with backlog of cases. There are 301 sitting judges and 50 awaiting hiring (in a process that takes a year to complete), with 374 vacancies.[69]

As of March 2017, there is a possible plan to reshuffle federal immigration judges to 12 U.S. cities to speed up deportations. Between the cities included, there are 18,013 pending immigration cases that involve undocumented immigrants. Cities targeted are: New York; Los Angeles; Miami; New Orleans; San Francisco; Baltimore; Bloomington, Minnesota; El Paso, Texas; Harlingen, Texas; Imperial, California; Omaha, Nebraska; and, Phoenix, Arizona. The DOJ has not provided information whether the cases to be reviewed involve those awaiting trial or those who are already convicted.[70]


The case Jennings v. Rodriguez, which will be decided by the Supreme Court within the next few months, will determine whether it is constitutional to detain people without bail hearings prior to deportation proceedings.[71]

If the DHS began separating women and children crossing the US border illegally, this would impose psychological trauma. The current policy, put in place by the Obama administration, does not allow women and children to be detained for longer than 21 days.[72] Concerns have risen over the database DHS-VINE including the names of children and infants listed in immigration custody or as unaccompanied minors.

Sexual abuse complaints in immigration detention centers are found to not be investigated. Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement (CIVIC),reviewed the federal data and found only 225 out of 33,126 complaints were investigated.[73]

State and Local Government Resistance

The 287(g) law, which allows the federal government to enter into agreements with local and state law enforcement so that they can act on the federal government's behalf in enforcing immigration laws, is limited because it is costly for local police departments to take on this additional work. Since participating in 287(g) agreements is voluntary for cities, local residents and activists can pressure their city council members, mayors, and county commissioners to prevent their cities and counties from participating.[74]

Cutting DOJ funding from sanctuary jurisdictions won't have a substantial impact on their budgets.
The term "sanctuary cities" generally refers to local governments that limit their cooperation with ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), a federal agency, by not handing over undocumented immigrants for deportation. Local law enforcement is not legally required to comply with federal agents' requests to detain people. Some county jails do comply with detainer requests if the individual has multiple prior felony convictions. Counties that do not decline ICE agents' requests run the risk of losing the trust of undocumented immigrants who might need assistance.[75] However, sanctuary city policies do not prevent federal law enforcement from identifying and detaining undocumented immigrants.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced in March 2017 that the Department of Justice would go through withholding $4.1 billion [76] in federal grants from the publicly identified 118 jurisdictions. These grants comprise fewer than 1% of the budget of most jurisdictions and therefore may not contain enough money to force states/local governments to follow the immigration policy. He cited crimes committed by undocumented immigrants as the reason for being more concerned about citizens' safety.[77] There have been many vocal protests, such as 300 legal experts who have called Session's stance, unconstitutional, under the spending clause and Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.[78]


Increased immigration enforcement could cause an economic recession.[79] This would have an impact across the country.

The agriculture, construction, rural doctors and hospitality industries would be devastated by an immigration crackdown.[80]

  • The technology sector would limit their ability to recruit highly skilled workers: Foreign workers are employed by tech companies largely for remote work, administrative jobs, and tech support. Executives and engineers believe that businesses will be very limited in talent if foreigners are restricted from US employment. Silicon Valley companies and other startups have relied heavily on foreign workers who have attained H-1Bs or green cards.

The H-1B visa has been granted to 65,000 high-skilled workers.[81] Due to the rhetoric from Trump's immigration policies of "America First" applications for the visa have dropped with only 199,000 this year, dropping from 236,000 last year. [82]

  • According to the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), immigrants made up 51% of the dairy farmers in 2014. If deported, the U.S. would lose about $32 billion and 208,000 jobs nationwide. Local help, as reported, is not dependeable.[83] NMPF is in favor of lawmakers resolving immigration laws rather than enforcing deportation. [84]

The taxes paid by undocumented immigrants contribute heavily to the economy, which deportation would risk losing.

  • Undocumented immigrants paid an estimated $11.64 billion in state and local taxes in 2016 and $100 billion in payroll taxes, which goes to Medicare and the Social Security Trust Fund.[85][86]
  • If Trump were to deport all 11.5 million undocumented immigrants, it would cost an estimated $400 to $600 billion and reduce the US GDP by $1.7 trillion—more than 5%.[87]
  • A recent study put out by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy found that undocumented immigrants pay more than $11 billion a year in state and local taxes.[88]
  • Nationwide, it is found that undocumented immigrants pay 8% of their income, whereas the top 1% pay 5.4% of their incomes.[89]

The travel ban of six Muslim countries could affect the $250 billion travel sector.

The Center for American Progress released an interactive map recording the share of the GDP that would be lost if undocumented workers were deported.