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Immigration



All Reason.com articles with the "Immigration" tag.



Published: Tue, 25 Jul 2017 00:00:00 -0400

Last Build Date: Tue, 25 Jul 2017 19:46:02 -0400

 



Does the GOP Hate Immigrants More Than Big Government?: New at Reason

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 10:14:00 -0400

The chairman of the misnamed House Freedom Caucus Mark Meadows recently threatened to shut down the government in fall if the upcoming spending bill(image) failed to include adequate funding for the Great Wall of Trump. Meanwhile, Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, a rising star in the GOP, has launched an attack on legal immigration. He just authored the RAISE Act which would slash by half foreigners, even high skilled ones, who want to legally work and live in the country. Why? To protect Americans from competition.

Between the two of them, notes Reason Foundation Senior Analyst Shikha Dalmia, they show that the GOP now hates immigrants more than Big Government—or love the free market.

Go here to read the whole thing.




Sessions Problems, Real Medical Costs, LA 92 and O.J.'s Juice: The New Fifth Column

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 16:44:00 -0400

Last week on HBO's Vice News, former Reasoner and current Vice person Michael C. Moynihan, one-third of the weekly podcast (and Sirius XM radio show) The Fifth Column, let a series of doctors probe his sensitive areas while he attempted to ask them questions about costs, paperwork, and distortions in the medical market. The results are amusing and interesting, and you can watch them here:

src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/F-QftFQfJrE" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" width="560" height="340" frameborder="0">

We talk about that experience, in the context of Obamacare repeal's latest failures, on this week's episode of the podcast. Other topics include Vegas trips of yore, involving a singer named "Cheese."

* O.J. Simpson and his penis.

* Jeff Sessions and his many problems.

* Reflections on John McCain.

* An immigration report card six months in to Donald Trump's presidency.

* Advancements in and structural impediments to forensic science, and reforms thereof.

* The acclaimed new doc, LA 92.

Listen right here:

src="https://www.podbean.com/media/player/jqtq8-6d316a?from=site&vjs=1&skin=1&fonts=Helvetica&auto=0&download=0" width="100%" height="315" frameborder="0">

Reminder: Over the weekend you can listen to an hour-long version of The Fifth Column on Sirius XM POTUS (channel 124) Saturdays at 11 a.m. ET then Sundays at 1 a.m. and 3 p.m. And you can always find more Fifth Column at iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, wethefifth.com, @wethefifth, and Facebook.




It's Official: Republicans Hate Immigrants More Than Government Spending

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 10:41:00 -0400

In the Age of Trump, Republicans have taken to hating immigrants more than government spending. Or, for that matter, loving the market economy that(image) they've to date insisted Made America Great Once. And if you doubt that read my column in The Week this morning about the latest antics of Congressman Mark Meadows—the head of the Freedom Caucus—and Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, a rising star in the GOP.

Meadows recently threatened to shut down the government again in fall if the new spending bill did not set aside enough money to build the Great Wall of Trump. The Caucus is an ideologically diverse group that is united by a commitment to cut government spending. Meadows has tried to hijack that commitment in the past to advance his other agenda like when he colluded to depose John Boehner as Speaker of the House for his failure to strip federal aid to Planned Parenthood from the 2015 government-funding bill.

But using his perch to cut funds from projects he dislikes is one thing. To use it to actually demand more funding for his pet projects eviscerates the whole purpose for the existence of the Freedom Caucus. Especially, when that project is wasteful and futile and will breed the very problem it is trying to solve.

Meanwhile, Cotton is cottoning on to the RAISE Act that seeks to slash legal immigration by half by 2027 on the theory that reducing the pool of foreign workers will make the American worker rich again—not the free market, competition or the "Protestant work ethic," just naked protectionism.

Go here to read the whole thing.




DHS to American Citizens: Let Us Scan Your Faces, or No International Travel

Thu, 13 Jul 2017 12:30:00 -0400

Prepare to get your faces scanned whether you like it or not, U.S. citizens, if you want to fly to other countries. It won't be those other countries scanning your mug to make sure it's safe to let you in. These facial recognition and biometric systems, allegedly intended to track foreign travelers for immigration enforcement, will be foisted on you by your own government. Don't blame this on President Donald Trump's anti-immigration fearmongering. This pilot project was put into place a year ago by President Barack Obama's Department of Homeland Security (DHS). You might not have heard much about it yet, because Americans' participation in it is currently voluntary. But as the program expands next year, it may get more coercive. A new report from DHS claims that they have the authority to require citizens to let the government scan their faces as a condition of getting on an international flight. The report says early on, "Because crossing the border is considered voluntary, travelers are subject to the laws and rules enforced by" Customs and Border Protection (CBP). That logic may not exactly hold up to close scrutiny—speech is often voluntary, but that doesn't mean the government can regulate it—but the report rolls with it, arguing that the government's right to inspect travelers extends to biometric scans: [T]he only way for an individual to ensure he or she is not subject to collection of biometric information when traveling internationally is to refrain from traveling. Individuals seeking to travel internationally are subject to the laws and rules enforced by CBP and are subject to inspection. Another way to ensure citizens aren't subject to having their biometric information collected try to get the courts or lawmakers to stop it. The Associated Press notes that Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) thinks U.S. citizens should be able to opt out of the program. The report does mention the possibility that travelers will be allowed to opt out of the scans and prove their identity another way. But as this report and the AP coverage notes, there is a significant likelihood that such requests might not be honored in the future. The plan also calls for deleting all scans of U.S. citizens after 14 days and not using them for any other purposes. But a CBP representative told the AP that in the future, these images might be stored and then perhaps used for other purposes. None of this should come as a surprise. The government has been increasingly prone to profiling and tracking Americans as they travel, whether it's local police departments scanning license plates or the more than two dozen state departments of motor vehicles that add driver's license photos to facial recognition databases. We've already seen some of the ways this can be abused. Cities are sending threatening letters to car owners just for being parked in areas where prostitution is commonplace. New York City is implementing facial recognition software into its cashless toll road program in order to try to catch people who skip out on paying. There is absolutely no reason to trust that this program will never be more than a way to monitor the comings and goings of foreign travelers. Instead, Americans may find themselves in a permanent virtual police lineup.[...]



How to Make an Asylum-Seeker Request Her Own Deportation

Mon, 10 Jul 2017 16:00:00 -0400

As undocumented immigrants contend with a new directive from the upper echelons of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that calls for the apprehension of all immigrants without proper paperwork—not just those with criminal records—one detainee is hoping simply to stay alive as her case winds its way through the U.S. immigration system. Brenda Menjivar Guardado, a 21-year-old El Salvadoran national, asked a federal immigration judge to deport her last month. She doesn't actually want to go back to El Salvador, according to her attorney. In fact, when she was initially detained in May of this year by Customs and Border Protection, she requested asylum. But Guardado's priorities changed when Immigration and Customs Enforcement took away the insulin she'd been using to treat her type-1 diabetes. As her blood glucose skyrocketed, the U.S. suddenly became a more dangerous place than the country she fled. "Brenda is convinced she's going to die," Whitney Drake, her attorney, told me last week. "She's terrified." Guardado's ordeal began May 30, when she was detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. For the four days she was in CPB custody, she was allowed to keep the insulin medication she'd brought to the United States. Like all type-1 diabetics, Guardado was using a combination of fast-acting and long-acting insulin drugs to mimic a normal pancreas and manage her blood glucose levels. Without access to both formulations, it would be nearly impossible to keep her glucose from going too high, leading to a potentially fatal condition called diabetic ketoacidosis. The problems started when Guardado was transferred into the custody of ICE on June 3. "They threw out her medication," Drake says. She was processed at Laredo Processing Center, and then transferred to Hutto on June 8. After tossing her medication, someone at either Laredo or Hutto began giving Guardado a long-acting insulin, but not the short-acting formulation type-1 diabetics generally take before and after meals to counter whatever sugars are in their food. Drake, who works for an immigration nonprofit called American Gateways, visited Hutto, which exclusively houses immigration detainees, on June 22. Guardado approached her asking for help. By this point, her glucose was out of control. A healthy person's blood glucose floats between 75 and 100. Diabetic ketoacidosis can start with an elevated blood glucose level of 250. The day after she appealed to Drake for help, Guardado's blood glucose was in the upper 400s. Drake immediately began contacting medical professionals outside ICE, which provides medical care at Hutto, for advice. An endocrinologist she spoke to said Guardado was in mortal danger. So Drake request that ICE release Guardado. That request was denied. By June 29, which is the last time Drake spoke to Guadardo, the young woman had dropped her asylum request and asked her immigration judge to deport her. She didn't want to go home, but she also didn't want to die in a U.S. immigration detention facility. Hutto Detention Center and Laredo Processing Center are both operated by CoreCivic (formerly known as Corrections Corp of America). According to a spokesperson, CoreCivic doesn't provide medical care at Hutto; ICE Health Service Corps does. While CoreCivic does provide medical services at Laredo Processing Center, a CoreCivic spokesman told me to take my query to ICE. "[Ms. Guadardo] is receiving medical care that is consistent with the requisite standard of care for people with her condition," an ICE spokesperson told me via email on July 7. On July 8, an outside observer met with Guadardo in Laredo on Drake's behalf. "Brenda said she's being treated well and is starting to feel better," Drake told me on Sunday. "Brenda saw a nurse and doctor immediately upon arriving at the Laredo ICE facility. She's being given fruits and vegetables, and her blood-sugar levels are coming down. I do not have updated information on what type of i[...]



Trump's Narrow View of 'Civilization'

Thu, 06 Jul 2017 17:12:00 -0400

"I declare today for the world to hear that the West will never, ever be broken," President Donald Trump vowed near the end of his doctrine-defining speech today in Warsaw's Krasinski Square. "Our values will prevail, our people will thrive, and our civilization will triumph." Set rhetorically and physically against the backdrop of Poland's inspiring courage and perseverance in the face of long adversity, Trump's address, at turns apocalyptic and motivational, was an attempt to summon similar will to the shared project of defeating radical Islamic terrorism. "Together let us all fight like the Poles: for family, for freedom, for country, and for God," he said. But Trump's policy recommendations for this clash of civilizations were disproportionately inward-looking, borderline paranoid; and his depiction of what constitutes "Western" values was cramped and incomplete. The foundation of the modern "West" as applied to Europe is about more than just faith and family and NATO (the latter of which the president was careful to emphasize in this Russophobic, alliance-loving former satellite state). Free Europe as we know it was built upon free trade, and as Donald Trump will hear earfuls about over the coming days, his mercantilist, zero-sum views on international exchange threaten to inflict harm on the very civilization he aims to protect. To confront the "oppressive ideology" of expansionist Islam, the president today pointed largely to immigration policies, surely music to the ears of the Polish government, which, like those in Hungary and Austria, is currently taking flak from the European Union for refusing to admit relocated refugees. "While we will always welcome new citizens who share our values and love our people," Trump said to applause, "our borders will always be closed to terrorism and extremism of any kind…. We cannot accept those who reject our values and who use hatred to justify violence against the innocent." Trump then identified two other sources of trouble that threaten to erode western resolve: the "destabilizing activities" and "support for hostile regimes" by nearby Russia (which may or may not have been target of the immediately preceding paragraph, which covered "propaganda, financial crimes, and cyberwarfare"), and also…well, would you believe bureaucracy? Finally, on both sides of the Atlantic, our citizens are confronted by yet another danger—one firmly within our control. This danger is invisible to some but familiar to the Poles: the steady creep of government bureaucracy that drains the vitality and wealth of the people. The West became great not because of paperwork and regulations but because people were allowed to chase their dreams and pursue their destinies. This is where not just Trumpism, but a whole lot of libertarianism and conservatism, collides into a paradox. Trump is entirely right that the West became great in large part through "allowing every man to pursue his own interest his own way, upon the liberal plan of equality, liberty and justice," as Adam Smith put it in 1776, at the dawn of modern liberalism. This brilliant new idea in admittedly imperfect settings changed the world forever. "The boldness of commoners pursuing their own interests resulted in a Great Enrichment—a rise in Europe and the Anglosphere of real, inflation-corrected incomes per head, from 1800 to the present, by a factor, conservatively measured, of about 30," the economist Deirdre McCloskey wrote in these pages earlier this year. So what's the paradox? In an E.U. setting, that the transnational body itself has been the single most effective mechanism for reducing barriers to trade and movement throughout the bloc. Americans look at Brussels and imagine Bernie Sanders or Bill de Blasio, forever soaking the rich and telling farmers how to curve their bananas. But many Europeans recognize it as the body that dismantled state ownership of airlines and car factories, [...]



Photo

Sat, 01 Jul 2017 12:00:00 -0400

(image) Rev. Jim Rigby is arrested on the Capitol grounds in Austin, Texas, during May 1 protests against House Bill 4. The legislation, which had passed in the state House and Senate but was still awaiting the governor's signature, would outlaw sanctuary cities—essentially mandating that local police and sheriffs cooperate with Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.




GOP Pushes Bad, Punitive Anti-Federalist Immigration Bills Through the House

Fri, 30 Jun 2017 14:20:00 -0400

House Republicans overwhelmingly voted in favor of two bad immigration-focused bills yesterday that potentially punish those in the United States illegally with new harsh prison sentences and attempts to push cities into helping federal authorities deport people. The first bill, popularly known as "Kate's Law," adds new criminal penalties and federal prison sentences to any immigrant who returns to the United States after being deported for criminal behavior. But it also threatens up to 10 years in federal prison for illegal immigrants who repeatedly return to the United States after being deported, even if they've committed no other crimes. It also forbids the immigrant from challenging the legitimacy of any prior removal orders. The second bill, the "No Sanctuary for Criminals Act," attempts to push cities, particularly so-called "sanctuary cities," into cooperating with federal immigration officials to detain and eject those in the country illegally. President Donald Trump (and many, many other Republicans) made a big deal about fighting sanctuary cities—which generally don't ask residents or people who interact with government officials about their citizenship status—on the campaign trail. But after Trump took office, his Department of Justice was faced with an awkward truth: Most sanctuary cities are not defying federal laws at all, and there's not much the government can currently do about them. Federal laws do not require that cities and local law enforcement assist immigration officials by detaining people the feds want to deport. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) can ask cities to hold illegal immigrants for in "detainer orders." But they're requests. Cities have their own rules about when they'll comply with such orders (often requiring court orders or a warrant for cooperation). Ultimately after the Department of Justice started threatening federal grant money to sanctuary cities, they ended up discovering that really only a handful of governments (eight cities and one county) are behaving in a way that was even remotely in defiance of federal authority. What the "No Sanctuary for Criminals Act" does is forbid municipalities from stopping local law enforcement officials from helping federal immigration officials by complying with detainer orders. In areas of immigration enforcement, it overrules the ability of cities to control the behavior of their own law enforcement officers. The act also classifies specifically which grants the federal government would withhold from sanctuary cities that defy them. Previously the administration through executive order threaten to withhold all sorts of federal grants, but the courts have previously ruled such behavior unconstitutional. The grants have to be connected to enforcing the laws themselves. This act specifically defines which grants could be denied sanctuary cities. The votes fell mostly across party lines—Republicans in favor of the two bills and Democrats against them. More Democrats were willing to cross the aisle to vote in favor of harsher criminal sentences for illegal immigrants than to cut federal grants from sanctuary cities, so make of that what you will. Only one Republican voted against both bills, libertarian Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan. Amash tweeted his reasons why. He found both bills to significantly violate the Constitution and the concept of federalism: I voted no today on two bills that together violate the 1st, 4th, 5th, 10th, and 11th Amendments. I will always defend our Constitution. — Justin Amash (@justinamash) June 29, 2017 A spokesperson for Amash's office told Reason, "Rep. Amash supports securing our borders and has voted to defund sanctuary cities, but these bills go far beyond that and are unconstitutional." Though the legislation passed the House, it has a challenge getting through a Senate where Republicans hold just a slim[...]



To Save His Travel Ban at SCOTUS, Trump Is Citing This 1972 Precedent

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 17:05:00 -0400

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to review the legality of President Donald Trump's executive order banning travelers from six majority-Muslim countries. At the heart of the Trump administration's legal case is a 1972 Supreme Court decision that recognized sweeping executive authority over immigration. If Trump ultimately wins on the merits, it is likely to be because a majority of the Court shares his administration's interpretation of the precedent set in a case called Kleindienst v. Mandel. In 1969 a Belgian journalist and self-described "revolutionary Marxist" named Ernest Mandel applied for a nonimmigrant visa to the United States in order to give a speech at Stanford University. Mandel's application was denied because, under the terms of U.S. immigration law, "aliens shall be ineligible to receive visas and shall be excluded from admission to the United States" if they "write or publish" in support of "the economic, international and governmental doctrines of world communism." Federal law gave the attorney general the power to grant waivers from this restriction on a case-by-case basis, but no such waiver was given to Mandel. Mandel then joined with six U.S. citizens, all of them university professors, in a lawsuit filed in federal court. They argued the First Amendment protected the right of American scholars to "hear [Mandel's] views and engage him in a free and open academic exchange." The constitutional right to listen and speak to Mandel in person, the professors argued, trumped the government's power to keep Mandel out of the country. The Supreme Court, however, ruled for the government. "Plenary congressional power to make policies and rules for exclusion of aliens has long been firmly established," the Court observed. And Congress has delegated much of that power to the executive branch. "We hold that when the Executive exercises this power negatively on the basis of a facially legitimate and bona fide reason," the Court said in Kleindienst v. Mandel, "the courts will neither look behind the exercise of that discretion, nor test it by balancing its justification against the First Amendment interests of those who seek personal communication with the applicant." Writing in dissent, Justice Thurgood Marshall accused the majority of bending over backwards in favor of the government. "Even the briefest peek behind the Attorney General's reason for refusing a waiver in this case would reveal that it is a sham," Marshall wrote. Yet the majority "demands only 'facial' legitimacy and good faith" from the government, "by which it means that this Court will never 'look behind' any reason the Attorney General gives.No citation is given for this kind of unprecedented deference to the executive, nor can I imagine (nor am I told) the slightest justification for such a rule." As far as Marshall was concerned, "Americans cannot be denied the opportunity to hear Dr. Mandel's views in person because their Government disapproves of his ideas." The Mandel ruling is now at the center of the legal battle over Trump's travel ban. Specifically, it is at the center of the battle over whether the federal courts should take Trump's various comments, tweets, and campaign statements disparaging Muslims into consideration when weighing whether or not the travel ban was motivated by illegal anti-Muslim animus. According to the Trump administration, because the president took this executive action in the name of national security, his order is "legitimate and bona fide" and therefore fully satisfies Mandel. In fact, the administration insists, under Mandel the travel ban is owed extensive deference from the courts. By contrast, the parties challenging Trump's executive order insist that Mandel should be read more narrowly. They argue that the courts must "look behind" Trump's purported justifications and examine his history[...]



Trump's Travel Ban Is Headed to the Supreme Court

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 13:22:00 -0400

Today the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear consolidated oral arguments in the cases of Trump v. International Refugee Assistance Program (IRAP) and Trump v. Hawaii. At issue is whether President Donald Trump's controversial executive order banning travelers from six majority-Muslim countries violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment and/or exceeds the president's lawful powers under federal immigration law. The Supreme Court says it will schedule oral arguments "during the first session of the October Term 2017." These cases raise fundamental questions about the reach of executive power, the meaning of federal immigration law, the scope of the Establishment Clause, and about the role of the courts in policing the boundaries. According to the Trump administration, not only did Congress give the president vast leeway to control what happens at the border, the executive branch is entitled to overwhelming judicial deference in all matters dealing with national security. According to the state of Hawaii and to the International Refugee Assistance Program, Congress did not authorize Trump's approach and Trump should get no deference from the courts because he is using government power to heap disfavor on Muslims. Until now, the Trump administration has mostly lost on this matter in federal court. In May, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, in IRAP, issued an injunction blocking enforcement of the executive order on the grounds that the legal challengers were likely to prevail in their Establishment Clause challenge. Then in June, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, in Hawaii, issued an injunction blocking enforcement of the executive order on the grounds that Trump was exercising powers that federal law did not properly delegate to him. But today the Supreme Court partially lifted those injunctions, allowing the executive order to go into effect in certain limited circumstances. Specifically, in an unsigned per curiam opinion, the Court lifted the injunctions "with respect to foreign nationals who lack any bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States." That is a small victory for the Trump administration. However, the Court left the injunctions in place with respect to foreign nationals "who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States." The Court explained, "a foreign national who wishes to enter the United States to live with or visit a family member...clearly has such a relationship.... So too would a worker who has accepted an offer of employment from an American company or a lecturer invited to address an American audience." That is a sizable loss for the Trump administration. Notably, Justice Clarence Thomas, joined by Justice Samuel Alito and Justice Neil Gorsuch, wrote separately to argue that the injunctions should be lifted "in full." This suggests those three justices may be inclined to ultimately rule in favor of the Trump administration. After all, if they think they might rule against the executive order in October, why would they want to let the order go into full effect right now? It also raises the interesting possibility that Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy may be more inclined to ultimately rule against Trump. One thing is certain: This fall Donald Trump will face the first major test of his presidency before the U.S. Supreme Court.[...]



SCOTUS Says You Can't Lose Your Citizenship for Lying About Your Weight

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 09:15:00 -0400

Can a naturalized American lose his citizenship because he misrepresented his weight on his application form, neglected to mention that he once belonged to a Barry Manilow fan club, or failed to acknowledge the various occasions on which he exceeded the speed limit without being caught? The Justice Department, under Barack Obama as well as Donald Trump, said yes. Yesterday the Supreme Court unanimously disagreed. The issue in Maslenjak v. United States was the meaning of 18 USC 1425, which makes it a felony to "procure" citizenship "contrary to law." In addition to a prison term of up to 25 years, a conviction under that statute triggers automatic loss of citizenship. That is what happened to Divna Maslenjak, an ethnic Serb from Bosnia who became a citizen in 2007. Malenjak was convicted of violating 18 USC 1425 because she lied about her husband's military service while seeking refugee status in 1998 and did not acknowledge the lie when she applied for citizenship. Instead she swore under oath that she had never provided false information while seeking an immigration benefit or entry to the United States. That denial violated another law making it a crime for a naturalization applicant to knowingly make a false statement under oath. Whether Maslenjak's lie helped her obtain citizenship is a matter of dispute. But during her trial, the prosecution argued that it did not matter, and the judge agreed, telling the jurors they could convict Maslenjak of illegally procuring citizenship "even if you find that a false statement did not influence the decision to approve the defendant's naturalization." Last year the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit approved that interpretation of the law, opening the door to fishing expeditions that could strip people of their citizenship based on trivial misstatements made years ago. According to the Supreme Court, the interpretation approved by the 6th Circuit relies on an unnatural reading of the words Congress used. "The most natural understanding is that the illegal act must have somehow contributed to the obtaining of citizenship," writes Justice Elena Kagan in the majority opinion. "To get citizenship unlawfully, we understand, is to get it through an unlawful means—and that is just to say that an illegality played some role in its acquisition." She elucidates the point with an example: Suppose that an applicant for citizenship fills out the necessary paperwork in a government office with a knife tucked away in her handbag (but never mentioned or used). She has violated the law—specifically, a statute criminalizing the possession of a weapon in a federal building....And she has surely done so "in the course of " procuring citizenship. But would you say, using English as you ordinarily would, that she has "procure[d]" her citizenship "contrary to law" (or, as you would really speak, "illegally")? Once again, no. That is because the violation of law and the acquisition of citizenship are in that example merely coincidental: The one has no causal relation to the other. Kagan notes that the government's counterintuitive reading of the law leads to some strange results. People could lose their citizenship, for example, by lying about facts that would not have prevented their naturalization to begin with. "Lies told out of 'embarrassment, fear, or a desire for privacy' (rather than 'for the purpose of obtaining [immigration] benefits') are not generally disqualifying under the statutory requirement of 'good moral character,'" she writes. But those same lies, according to the government, are enough to revoke citizenship after it has been granted. The upshot, Kagan says, is that the government could "take away on one day what it was required to give the day before." Kagan also calls attention, as several justices[...]



As World Refugee Population Hits All-Time High, U.S. on Pace to Welcome Third-Lowest Percentage in Recorded History

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 13:05:00 -0400

Today, like every June 20 this century, is World Refugee Day. Yesterday, to get the grim occasion rolling, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) released its annual report on displaced people. The results? A record "65.6 million people were forcibly displaced worldwide at the end of 2016 – a total bigger than the population of the United Kingdom and about 300,000 more than last year." Also: "the total seeking safety across international borders as refugees topped 22.5 million, the highest number seen since UNHCR was founded in 1950 in the aftermath of the Second World War." Happy June 20! The refugee population has spiked alarmingly over the past half-decade, due to civil war and societal breakdown in countries such as Syria, Afghanistan, and South Sudan. As I detailed here after President Donald Trump's original travel ban executive order, the worldwide population of refugees (minus the 5.3 million registered with the UN Relief and Work Agency for Palestinians in the Near East), was stable between 2008-2012, at between 10.4 million and 10.6 million. But since then, according to the UNHCR, things have gone like this: 2013: 11.7 million 2014: 14.4 million 2015: 16.1 million 2016: 17.2 million That 64 percent jump since 2012 is the largest five-year increase since 1979-1983, a tumultuous period that saw southeast Asian boat people, exiles from the Iranian Revolution, Flordia Straits-crossers on the Mariel boatlift, and more. Back then, as the refugee population swelled from 6.3 million to 10.6 million, presidents Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter took in an average of 127,000 refugees per yer*, or approximately one out of every 71 worldwide, and assumed a global leadership role in tackling a devilishly complex issue. How does the Trump administration compare? Consider that in the first four full months of his presidency, during this historic spike in displaced people, the United States admitted a total of 13,955 refugees. Over a full year that would be just a tick under 56,000, or one out of every 307 worldwide at last year's refugee population. Trump's target is actually lower than that (50,000), and the number of refugees in 2017 is almost certain to be higher, due to the four famines expected this year in South Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia, and Yemen, in addition to ongoing wars and civil conflict. And though we inevitably and understandably see such crises through the lens of our domestic policies, the UNHCR report is careful to underline that "Developing regions hosted 84 per cent of the world's refugees," led by Turkey (2.9 million), Pakistan (1.4 million), Lebanon (1.0 million), Iran (979,400), Uganda (940,800), and Ethiopia (791,600). Plenty of other fascinating nuggets, including Germany doubling its refugee population in 2016 alone, in the full report. * The U.S. measures its refugee intake by fiscal year (October-September), while the UNHCR adheres to the calendar. Even so, fiscal 2017, which includes four generous months of Barack Obama's intake (with more than 32,000 admitted), is currently on pace to represent the third-lowest percentage of global refugees taken in by the United States, at 0.35 percent (based on the UN's 2016 baseline of 17.2 million refugees). The only more stingy years on a percentage basis were George W. Bush's 2002 (0.25) and 2003 (0.29). More refugee number-crunching in this post, including this from Reason TV: src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/6oezRXaRoB4" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" width="560" height="340" frameborder="0">[...]



Border Patrol Raids a Non-Profit Providing Medical Aid to Immigrants in the Arizona Desert

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 10:45:00 -0400

About 30 armed Border Patrol agents swarmed a small camp in a remote part of the Arizona desert last Thursday. From the intensity of the raid, you might think they were hitting a drug smuggling depot. Instead, it was a humanitarian relief station run by the nonprofit No More Deaths. There volunteers provide water and urgent medical services to migrants crossing the inhospitable region. Thursday's raid, in which four migrants were arrested, didn't just represent an escalation of interference with No More Deaths' work. It's part of a growing securitization of the southern border, a crackdown that is compelling immigrants to take increasingly hazardous and remote desert routes into the United States. At the beginning of the 21st century, the country's border security infrastructure was much smaller: The 1,954-mile frontier between the U.S. and Mexico had a mere 60 miles of fencing and about 8,500 immigratrion officials patrolling it. After 9/11, the border fence stretched to 700 miles and the number of border patrol agents exploded to over 17,000 stationed in the Southwest alone. The border also became a surveillance state, with 8,000 cameras, 11,000 motion sensors, and even drones watching out for unwanted immigrants. As Cato policy analyst David Bier pointed out in a recent Reason feature, "one byproduct of making it harder to enter is that people will choose to cross in increasingly dangerous points along the border." In 2000, the U.S. government arrested 1,643,679 illegal immigrants attempting to cross the southern border; at least 380 migrants died making the crossing. Last year, Border Patrol agents apprehended only 408,000 people for entering the country illegally, but the number of reported dead stayed roughly the same, at 322. In other words, in 2000 one migrant died on the U.S.'s southern border for every 4,325 migrants detained by the Border Patrol. In 2016, the ratio was one dead migrant for every 1,269 apprehended alive. The Office of the Medical Examiner in Pima County, Arizona—where the No More Deaths raid took place—recovers the remains of dead immigrants once every two to three days. The overwhelming cause of death is exposure to extreme temperatures and dehydration. Since 2000, 6,700 migrants have died in this way while traversing the American Southwest. No More Deaths was established to bring that number down to zero. For the past 13 years they have been operating a desert outpost in Arivaca, Arizona. From there volunteers carry water to remote foot trails known to be used by immigrants. Throughout that time, immigration officials have reportedly harassed the group. Volunteers have been charged with littering for leaving full jugs of water in the desert. Border patrol agents have also been caught on film pouring water jugs onto the ground. In 2013, however, the group reached an agreement with the Tucson branch of Border Patrol: The government would not interfere with the organization's medical and humanitarian work. That agreement was supposedly affirmed just two months ago. No More Deaths has released a statement calling last Thursday's raid a violation of that agreement, saying it "has deterred people from accessing critical humanitarian assistance in this period of hot and deadly weather." "People crossing the deadly and remote regions of the US–Mexico border," the statement added, "often avoid seeking urgent medical care for fear of deportation and incarceration." Being allowed to provide that care in a safe environment was crucial to that work. But with raids like this—and with the Trump administration escalating immigration arrests and looking to hire another 15,000 Border Patrol agents—that lifesaving help may become far more difficult.[...]



Trump Administration Rescinds Obama's DAPA Immigration Order

Fri, 16 Jun 2017 17:00:00 -0400

Late Thursday Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly announced he was rescinding an Obama-era immigration memorandum staying the deportation of undocumented immigrants whose children are American citizens. Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA, never went into effect but was a target of President Trump, who promised as a candidate to revoke it as part of his broader goal of cracking down on illegal immigration. DAPA spawned an intense legal controversy in the libertarian legal community as well as dividing the normal cast of immigration advocates and border hawks. President Barak Obama issued his memo in November 2014, promising temporary legal status to some 4 million undocumented immigrants to allow them to get work authorizations and state benefits. Almost immediately, 26 state attorneys general challenged DAPA, calling it an overreach of executive power and a dereliction of the president's constitutional duty to enforce laws passed by Congress. A Texas judge agreed with them, blocking the order from being implemented in February 2015, which ultimately sent the case to the Supreme Court. Cato constitutional scholar Ilya Shapiro argued in an April 2016 piece for Reason that DAPA directly contradicted current immigration statutes and should be struck down. "In our constitutional architecture, executive action based on Congress's resistance to the president's agenda has no place," Shapiro wrote. "Countermanding congressional enactments is the epitome of a violation of the president's constitutional duty to 'take care that the laws be faithfully executed.'" Another libertarian legal scholar, George Mason law professor Ilya Somin countered Shapiro in another Reason piece, contending the immigration statutes themselves were unconstitutional. "The detailed list of congressional powers in Article I of the Constitution does not include any general power to restrict migration," Somin wrote. "The Naturalization Clause gives Congress the power to establish a 'uniform Rule of Naturalization.' But it does not grant any authority over migration." Somin framed his argument as one of constitutional originalism. Without a specific grant, Congress lacks the power to regulate migration to the United States. Thus, DAPA's deferral of deportations merely prevents unconstitutional deportations from occurring in the first place. The Supreme Court was just as divided as the libertarian community on the question of DAPA, with a 4-4 split decision that kept the Texas injunction in place. Kelly's action effectively ends the policy limbo. Reactions from right and left have been fairly typical. Tom Jawetz, Vice President for Immigration Policy at the left-wing Center for American Progress, called the decision "disappointing" and representative of the administration's "misguided zeal to deport as many people as possible." On the right, Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch said on Twitter,"the restoration of our republican form of government advances" while he called on Trump to go further and "end lawless Dreamer amnesty for illegal alien children and adults." For a more in-depth look at the libertarian legal arguments for and against DAPA, check out this video, featuring the battling Ilyas. src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/lDTrpxyw4ZI" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0">[...]



More Immigration Does Not Mean Less Economic Freedom

Tue, 13 Jun 2017 10:15:00 -0400

It is not easy to maintain a society's commitment to freedom and limited government. The social consensus on which these values are based requires constant work. And many conservative intellectuals fear that large-scale immigration, especially from poor and unfree countries, makes this job much harder because immigrants bring with them the attitudes and beliefs of their home country that have an impact on their destination countries. However, new research shows that the fear that immigration undermines economic freedom may be overblown. Conservative pundit Victor Davis Hanson, expressing such anxieties, recently wrote that borders naturally arise to reflect common bonds of language, culture, habit, and tradition. And "when borders disappear" because there is no control over who comes in, these ties "become attenuated." Similarly, British scholar Paul Collier observes that "migrants are essentially escaping from countries with dysfunctional social models" that are the "primary cause of their poverty." Letting these migrants bring their culture and norms risks compromising their new countries' institutions. Even the famed Austrian-school economist Ludwig von Mises, who viewed free migration as an essential component of the (classical) liberal program, feared that in any country where the state already intervenes in the economy, migrants might exploit opportunities to further erode the economic freedom of the native-born. The main evidence for such fears has been offered by Harvard University's George Borjas. In a paper and a recent book he argues that estimates showing that opening up the borders would result in trillions of dollars in gains in global wealth assume that immigrants don't compromise the institutional environment of their destination that makes them prosperous. "What would happen to the institutions and social norms that govern economic exchanges in specific countries after the entry/exit of perhaps hundreds of millions of people?," he asks. He then proceeds to model the impact on national productivity given various levels of immigration and concludes that with enough immigration, productivity losses from negative "spill overs" become greater than economic gains. But he simply assumes the levels of negative spill overs that he models. He offers no evidence that such spill overs actually exist in the first place. A new strain of research, which I have contributed to, has examined the relationship between increased immigration and changes in the destination countries' economic freedom. It finds the exact opposite of what these critics contend. The first of these studies in 2015, which I co-authored, examined whether immigrants undermine economic institutions as measured by the Economic Freedom of the World Annual Report. This economic freedom index, which includes the size of government, the security of property rights, the integrity of the monetary system, the freedom to trade internationally, and the amount of government regulation, is a reasonable proxy for the type of institutions that conservatives worry immigration might destroy. Prior research has found a strong relationship between greater economic freedom and prosperity. Our study compared 110 countries to examine how immigration impacted their economic freedom from 1990 to 2011. We examined how the economic freedom of countries with a greater initial percentage – "stock" -- of immigrants in 1990 was impacted 20 years later. We also examined how economic freedom was impacted in countries that allowed a greater "flow" of immigrants between 1990 and 2011. We found that rather than decreasing economic freedom, there was a statistically significant positive correlation between m[...]