Senate Immigration Bill Fails
Despite a long build-up to a debate on an immigration bill in the United States Senate this week, negotiations for comprehensive legislation, as well as a law to help protect DACA recipients, gained no traction in Congress, leaving the future of immigration entirely uncertain.
President Trump’s four-point plan – focusing on protecting DACA, a wall for the Southwest border with Mexico, limiting family-based immigration, and ending the diversity visa program – garnered only 39 votes in the U.S. Senate, falling well short of the necessary 60. Meanwhile, a more bipartisan plan to save DACA and increase border funding got much more support – 54 votes – but still short of the necessary 60 after the White House pushed heavily for its defeat.
In addition to uncertainty over the future of border security and family-based immigration, the lack of any movement whatsoever on immigration legislation creates much confusion for the 800,000 DACA “Dreamers” who came to the United States at a young age and have become a focal point of the immigration debate. Yesterday, a group of DACA recipients began a 14-day, 250-mile walk from New York City to Washington, D.C., to raise awareness for this issue.
The NMM Immigration Blog will continue to cover this issue as it develops.
Immigration Arrests in Los Angeles
After raids conducted between Sunday and Thursday of this week, ICE officials announced they had arrested and detained more than 100 people without documentation in the Los Angeles area and intended to enforce immigration laws to their fullest extent: ICE spokesperson Jennifer D. Elzea stated: “ICE no longer exempts classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement. All of those in violation of the immigration laws may be subject to immigration arrest, detention and, if found removable by final order, removal from the United States.” Elzea further noted that ICE opposes sanctuary cities, such as Los Angeles, which do not volunteer information to federal immigration authorities or detain individuals at the ICE’s request. She said that “uncooperative jurisdictions” force ICE to “conduct at-large arrests in the community, putting officers, the general public and the aliens at greater risk, and increasing the incidence of collateral arrests.”
Local LA officials defend their policies regarding communication with federal authorities on immigration. Police Chief Charlie Beck wrote last December that Los Angeles police officers are “neither authorized nor responsible for the enforcement of civil immigration laws or regulations.” Moreover, Mayor Eric Garcetti said last year, “we absolutely are a city that not only does provide sanctuary to immigrants, but we defend them.”
Deportation Halted for Chemistry Professor
On Thursday, an immigration judge granted a temporary stay of deportation for a chemistry professor from Bangladesh, Syed Jamal, who had been arrested outside his home in Kansas last month as he was getting his daughter ready for school. His teenage daughter later reported that the ICE officer told her mother that she could be arrested for interfering with the investigation if she tried to hug Jamal goodbye.
Jamal originally came to the United States more than 30 years ago on a student visa, eventually earning graduate degrees in pharmaceutical engineering and molecular biosciences. He went on to work in the United States on a temporary work visa for skilled professionals before obtaining another student visa to complete a doctorate program. He overstayed his final student visa and was asked to voluntarily depart the United States in 2011. Because he did not depart, he was issued an automatic order of removal. However, until last month, the Department of Homeland Security has allowed him to stay under orders of supervision, which require regular reporting visits to an ICE officer.
Jamal is fighting his deportation and is appealing his case to the Board of Immigration Appeals. He lives with his wife and three United States Citizen children, ages 14, 12, and 7.