It´s becoming obvious.
As each day passes the Trump administration sets in motion a series of events that lead to crisis and more hardship for the most vulnerable in society. His “art of the deal” methods play out predictably; enact a major piece of legislation in the form of Executive Order, wait for the public outcry, try to pass smaller pieces of reform on this issue, and fail to fix even a part of the problem. The measures that are enacted are invariably and especially punitive. They don´t necessarily hit the news cycles.
This administration´s experiment with DACA clearly shows this method of “deal-making”. DACA was needlessly terminated in September 2017 by an Executive Order. Without a plan for Congressional bipartisan negotiations to remedy the situation in the form of new laws, thousands of individuals whose only home has been the United States, are in crisis regarding their status and their futures. When Congressional leaders realized bringing this action to vote would not pass political muster either in the House or Senate, as public opinion was and is overwhelmingly in favor of those under DACA remaining in the US. President Trump then proposed two unacceptable extremes. He first “solution” was to place limits on legal immigration and abolish the family reunification policy. His second grand idea was to “trade” the DACA recipients for full border wall funding. No one seriously supported either option in this false-false choice. He promised a solution with “heart”, a middle ground. Given his actions, that statement is hard to believe.
We can all agree the country needs thoughtful and systematic immigration reform. Nothing sensible or sensitive comes out of negotiation from the context of a self-created crisis. This administration seems to believe that they can offer haphazardly created proposals laced with “false-false” choices and achieve a quick solution. This is not serious thinking. Nor is it a serious negotiation. But, in many cases, legislative change emerges from this muck and mire.
I will share morsels of news you may have missed. Many of these legislative measures were enacted quietly. For our immigrant communities, all are of importance and will have grave impact on their lives. All are in line with the Trump administration´s efforts to change the conversation about migration, reduce immigration and increase deportations.
o The future of the DACA program is held together today by the appellate court process. A recent ruling on August 31st, 2018 ruled against an injunction sought by the state of Texas arguing the DACA program was unlawful. The ruling in favor of the DACA program recognized that although the case for the creation of the program may have been unlawful, a termination would render harmful consequences to 690,000 registered DACA holders.
o The Trump administration announced on September 17th the US will admit up to 30,000 refugees in fiscal year 2019, down from 45,000 this year, and a near 65% decrease from 2016. It will be the lowest refugee cap since the passage of the Refugee Act of 1980.
o Announced on Friday: The Trump administration wants to limit Green Cards for immigrants needing public aid. Those eligible for residency or work visas are now in jeopardy if any family member has received aid such as SNAP (a nutritional assistance program) or Medicaid. Families who are already vulnerable may forgo these lifesaving programs in order to unite their family in the U.S.
o The targets of the Trump administration now include students. All students studying in the US from abroad risk a status violation if they stay in the U.S. without satisfying certain conditions. Before August 9, 2018, the government would notify the students with a warning if those conditions were not being met. The student could then go through the process of fixing their “unlawful presence”. Thanks to the administration, all of that is gone. Therefore, a student may learn long after the fact that he or she has already accrued months of unlawful presence. If a student accrues 180 –365 days of “unlawful presence”, he or she faces the possibility of deportation and a 3-year ban to readmittance to the U.S. An accrual of I year or more bans the student from the U.S. for 10 years. The failure to maintain lawful presence also results in a finding of unlawful presence for dependent family members over the age of 18 years. Therefore, the dependent family member can suffer significant consequences through no fault of his or her own. The reentry bar will trigger immediate deportation proceedings.
o Multiple reliable sources reported President Donald Trump´s remark to CEOs on August 9th that students from China studying in the US are “spies”. Now the US State Department has instituted a restrictive policy on Chinese graduate students in the areas of science. Chinese students account for 32.5 percent of total overseas students in the U.S., more than any other country for eight consecutive years. More than 350,000 Chinese students studied in the U.S. last year, a 6.8 percent year on year growth. The Trump administration´s war on immigrants now invades academia, targeting specific groups and specific fields. These are areas of study are where progress occurs, and innovation takes hold.
Folks, NONE of these acts of legislation HAVE BEEN APPROVED BY CONGRESS.
The White House and allies own this.
In a sharp break from the long-standing bipartisan consensus that immigration is a net positive for society and the economy, the Trump administration and its allies continue to frame immigrants, legal or unauthorized, as a threat to our economy and national security. The President´s words and deeds signify a fundamental shift in immigration policy and will affect our future for decades in ways unforeseen today.
Words that best describe this unfolding tragedy we are witnessing were penned in a letter to our NC elected representatives on August 15th, signed by more than forty rabbis, objecting to the drastically reduced refugee limit. I conclude with those aptly stated words; “We see in the rhetoric and policies of this administration the idolatry of nationalism and unjustifiable hatred towards the immigrant.” We have witnessed this dangerous posture repeatedly in our world´s history. We must be aware. We must take heed. We must rise against.