Pressure on US Sanctuary Jurisdictions

As a member of the HTIL Research Team, I just want to offer a short interpretative précis of an excellent MPI report by Muzaffar Chishti and Jessica Bolter. Trump Administration Ratchets up Pressure on “Sanctuary” Jurisdictions Migration Information Source February 22, 2018.

Displacement is a circumstance, not an identity. The circumstances of displaced people in the United States is constantly changing as a result of current political agendas.
Nearly two dozen cities, counties, and states in the US were given a deadline of the 23rd February ”to turn over all formal and informal documents relating to rules of communication between their employees and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)—or risk a Justice Department subpoena”.(Source MPI)

This demand can be interpreted as part of a ”targeting of jurisdictions that do not fully cooperate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the DHS agency responsible for enforcing immigration laws in the U.S. interior.”(Source MPI)

What are Sanctuary jurisdictions?

They can be interpreted as places that have enacted policies that limit local officials ‘involvement in the enforcement of federal immigration law. Places such as a city, county or state. There is ”no legal definition of “sanctuary jurisdictions,” the executive branch has used a federal statute, 8 U.S.C. § 1373, to attempt to identify them. Section 1373 bars state or local policies that prohibit entities or officials from sharing immigration status or citizenship information with ICE. The Trump administration is taking a more expansive view than its predecessors in interpreting Section 1373 … more rigorously using it as a vehicle to crack down on jurisdictions that limit their cooperation with ICE.”(Source MPI)

What is Section 1373 ?

It became law in 1996, part of ”the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA)”. (Source MPI) Section 1373 is open to interpretation. Being open to interpretation can place anything of this nature in an ambiguous place. It is important to consider how it is used, and by whom. ” Prior to the Trump administration, it was mostly interpreted strictly, according to its plain text—when it was enforced at all. Case law has established that the provision does not obligate jurisdictions to collect any information on immigration status or to share with federal officials any information they do not already have.”Source MPI While the current administration, the justice department, cities, counties, and states negotiate their interpretation of Section 1373. It is important to consider the effect of current immigration proposals.

The Senate ”voted down three immigration proposals on February 15 in a failed attempt to provide a pathway to citizenship for some unauthorized immigrants who were brought to the United States as children, known as DREAMers”. Source MPI Dreamers are people who are associated with the Development, Relief, 5 and Education for Alien Minors Act or DREAM ACT This legislation was introduced in 2001 as a bipartisan bill in the senate. Dreamers have ”received work permits and protection from deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, implemented by the Obama administration in 2012”.(Source MPI)

What is DACA ?

This federal government program was created in 2012 under Barack Obama. It was intended to be used to assist those brought to the United States illegally as children some temporary rights. These rights include the ability to live, study and work in the US. To be considered, applicants must pass a vetting process, if successful they qualify to have actions to deport them deferred for initially two years with the option to renew.

Who is the term dreamers talking about?

Dreamers is the term used to describe people protected by the DACA program, hundreds of thousands of people in the US currently benefit from how it has been implemented. In September 2017 ”the Trump administration announced it intended to phase out the program. All three DREAM proposals would have offered a pathway to citizenship for varying numbers of DREAMers”. Source MPI After announcing the start of phasing out the program the ”DHS stopped accepting new DACA applications on September 5, 2017”.(ibid)

On January 29th an announcement was made that DHS ”will once again accept refugee applications from nationals of 11 “high-risk” countries. While DHS has not formally named the countries, officials have said they are Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Mali, North Korea, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen”.(Source MPI)

Similar to Section 1373 the term ‘high risk’ being open to interpretation, placing people from these countries in an ambiguous place. A consequence of this being that the ”DHS could conduct an additional 90-day security review of screening procedures for these refugees. Even as applications from these 11 countries are being accepted again, DHS will vet these refugees even more stringently than those from other countries, likely extending this group’s already lengthy application process”.(Source MPI) Lengthy application processes place peoples lives on hold, directly affecting this vulnerable population.
click here to read the full original report


Source: Muzaffar Chishti and Jessica Bolter. Trump Administration Ratchets up Pressure on “Sanctuary” Jurisdictions. Migration Information Source. FEBRUARY 22, 2018. MPI

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