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



Published: Fri, 24 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0500

Last Build Date: Fri, 24 Nov 2017 16:18:58 -0500

 



Why Trump Deserves to Lose in Federal Court on Sanctuary Cities

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 16:45:00 -0500

(image) A federal judge has declared President Donald Trump's executive order denying federal funding to so-called sanctuary cities to be unconstitutional. The judge got it right.

In his opinion this week in County of Santa Clara v. Trump, and the related case of City and County of San Francisco v. Trump, Judge William Orrick of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California found the president's order to be in violation of the 10th Amendment, the Fifth Amendment, and the constitutional separation of powers.

"The Constitution vests the spending powers in Congress, not the President, so the Executive Order cannot constitutionally place new conditions on federal funds," Judge Orrick wrote. "Further, the Tenth Amendment requires that conditions on federal funds be unambiguous and timely made; that they bear some relation to the funds at issue; and that they not be unduly coercive. Federal funding that bears no meaningful relationship to immigration enforcement cannot be threatened merely because a jurisdiction chooses an immigration enforcement strategy of which the President disapproves."

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Sanctuary cities are protected by both the Constitution and Supreme Court precedent. For starters, as the late Justice Antonin Scalia explained in Printz v. United States (2007), "the Federal Government may neither issue directives requiring the States to address particular problems, nor command the States' officers, or those of their political subdivisions, to administer or enforce a federal regulatory program." Put simply, Trump's executive order flunks the 10th Amendment test that Scalia spelled out in Printz.

Trump's executive order also flunks the test set forth by the Supreme Court in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius (2012), which held that the federal government may not threaten to withhold existing funding from a state in an attempt to coerce that state into doing the feds' bidding. Such an effort would be an unconstitutional act of "economic dragooning."

Finally, Trump's executive order flunks the text of the Constitution itself, which, as Judge Orrick points out, "vests the spending powers in Congress, not the President." The limited and enumerated powers of the executive branch are spelled out in Article II; the federal spending power is located in Article I.

Related: Will Liberals Learn to Love the 10th Amendment?




How Trump's (and Obama's) Immigration Crackdowns Screw Over "Real" Americans: Podcast

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 14:00:00 -0500

As a candidate, President Donald Trump ran on a platform that called for the deportation of 11 million immigrants. In this, he was merely supercharging policies that had been put in place by his predecessors Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton, all of whom targeted illegals among us in various ways and to varying degrees.

In a powerful, richly reported piece in the latest issue of Reason, Shikha Dalmia traveled to Arizona to investigate how Trump's war on illegal immigration is causing all sorts of collateral damage in the lives of American citizens and businessmen. There is, she argues, no way to surgically remove millions of people—most of whom are law-abiding and productive members of society—without causing incredible pain to those of us who have every legal right to go about our lives without interference from immigration and border agents.

The war on immigration has taken a great toll on unauthorized aliens, its targets. But it is also badly affecting Americans themselves, its intended beneficiaries. Those who think they can escape the crossfire because they are authorized, naturalized, or native-born, with American ancestors going back generations, are simply fooling themselves.

In the newest Reason Podcast, Nick Gillespie talks with Dalmia about the unexamined toll of immigration crackdowns on legal residents. From illegal imprisonment to politically motivated audits to invasive internal checkpoints, we all suffer when immigration policies and realities are way out of whack.

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Thomas Massie on Tax Reform, Shikha Dalmia on Deporting Americans

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 08:37:00 -0500

(image) Today, the House of Representatives is expected to pass its long-awaited, short-gestated version of tax reform. Among the many questions associated with the bill is whether it will indeed add $1.7 trillion of new red ink to the national debt over the next decade (as per Congressional Budget Office guesstimates), or whether "dynamic scoring" and supply-side magic will whittle that figure down to insignificance; whether your average family of four will indeed save $1,182 on their next tax bill or whether the elimination of the State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction will hammer tens of millions; and perhaps above all whether the Senate will pay even one bit of attention to the House's exertions (and conversely, whether the House will demand a conference committee if the Senate ever passes its version, or simply fold like it did when the upper chamber passed a 10-year budget resolution with a $1.5 trillion deficit hole).

All of which can mean only one thing: Time to get #SassyWithMassie! Today in the first hour of my 9-12 a.m. ET stint guest-hosting Stand UP! with Pete Dominick on SiriusXM Insight (channel 121), I will have on Kentucky's libertarian Republican congressman, Thomas Massie, to see whether and why he still stands by his recent comments to CNN that "I am going to vote for this. This is a new experience for me to be excited about a bill." Later in the program I'll also have on National Review staffer Kevin Williamson, who initially characterized the GOP plan as "An Anti-Growth Tax Cut."

Also on the program:

* Reason's own Shikha Dalmia, to talk about her marvelous new magazine piece, "How Immigration Crackdowns Screw Up Americans' Lives: The war on immigration has taken a great toll on unauthorized aliens, its targets. But it is also badly affecting Americans themselves, its intended beneficiaries."

* Daniel Miller, founder of the Psychedelic Society of Brooklyn, to talk about the 79th birthday of acid, and why dosing (or micro-dosing) may well be good for you.

* Bethany Mandel of The Federalist, to talk about her New York Times op-ed from yesterday, "Roy Moore Reminds Me of My Rabbi."

As ever, please call in any old time, at 1-877-974-7487.




Brickbat: From the Farmhouse to the Outhouse

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 04:00:00 -0500

(image) Officials at Troy University, a state school in Alabama, have punished members of the FarmHouse fraternity for a skit in which frat members playing Donald Trump and Border Patrol agents chased a Mexican immigrant over a wall. Members of the fraternity were ordered to complete "education and training on the importance of unity, respect and diversity on campus" and perform "acts of service."




The Right's Retrograde Quest for a Homogeneous America

Mon, 13 Nov 2017 14:00:00 -0500

"Diversity is overrated." That argument against immigration—once confined to the alt-right gutter—has climbed its way into respectable right-wing circles in the Trump era. The idea is apparently that people have a natural desire to be around their own, so there is nothing wrong with limiting "mass" immigration, especially from non-European countries that are too dissimilar from America. And who does the right invoke when making its case? Not the Nazi philosopher Carl Schmitt, who famously argued that maintaining healthy polities requires treating cultural strangers like enemies. No, they are increasingly dusting off the work of liberal Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam, whose research purports to show the pitfalls of diversity. The trouble is that Putnam oversold his own research—and conservatives are overselling Putnam. Putnam, whose 1990 landmark Bowling Alone bemoaning the growing atomization of Americans became a household name, published a paper 10 years ago showing that ethnically diverse communities in America suffered a loss of what he called "social capital" or solidarity. He studied 30,000 Americans across 41 communities — ranging from declining inner cities like Detroit, rural areas like South Dakota, and bustling metropolises like San Francisco. He found that regardless of income level or crime rate, the more diverse the community, the less it trusted not just other ethnic groups but also, remarkably, its own. People don't riot in the streets, he found, they vacate them, retreating, turtle like, into their homes to watch TV rather than participate in community activities or neighborhood projects. To some extent, this makes sense. It is incontrovertible that people are more comfortable with those who share their way of life and cultural outlook. One doesn't have to harbor animus toward other groups to prefer one's own. Yet it becomes harder to cut through the multi-ethnic thicket in super diverse communities and find one's cultural kin, leaving us isolated — unable to reach out to our own and unable to connect with others. But just because one can find a plausible explanation for the finding doesn't mean it's the whole truth—or even the main truth. It is not easy to reduce complex cultural phenomena to measurable metrics. And even though Putnam's study is among the more thorough of its kind, his way of measuring trust— basically by asking people to rate on a three-point scale whether they would "say that most people can be trusted"—is arguably quite crude. Furthermore, George Mason University's Bryan Caplan notes, Putnam conveniently forgot to highlight that part of his research that showed that many other factors, particularly homeownership, correlate far more strongly with social trust than homogeneity. So why did Putnam bury them and highlight a less important factor instead? Essentially because it's more in line with his thesis in Bowling Alone. It's a classic case of "confirmation bias." Furthermore, as Putnam forthrightly acknowledges — but his right-wing appropriators ignore—the loss of trust due to increasing diversity is a short-term phenomenon. Over the long run, people reconstitute new identities and bonds based on other shared characteristics. Yesterday's "them" become tomorrow's "us." For example, Putnam notes, in the 1920s, Americans were acutely conscious of divisions among European sub-groups—the Irish, Italians, Germans, Eastern Europeans—and in the 1950s of various Protestant denominations—Methodists, Lutherans, Baptists. None of these distinctions matter anymore. Right-wing diversity critics argue that race is different. Unlike religion and nationality, it is an immutable fact of life and given the inherently tribal nature of humans, ignoring it to build a racially eclectic society means inviting conflict (which Putnam's study did not find, incidentally). In other words, the defining project of American liberalism to transcend the tribal ties of "blo[...]



The Right's Problematic Quest for an Immigrant-Free, Homogeneous America: New at Reason

Mon, 13 Nov 2017 14:00:00 -0500

The West lost its hankering for homogeneous societies after Nazi philosopher Carl Schmitt had his way in Germany. But now this desire that used(image) to be confined to the alt-right gutter is increasingly surfacing in respectable conservative circles. They consider diversity not America's strength but its weakness and insist that homogeneous societies are much more attuned to natural human desires. To advance their arguments, they rely on the work of Harvard University's Robert Putnam of the Bowling Alone fame.

Putnam's research purportedly shows that diverse societies have less "social trust" than homogeneous ones because their bonds tend to be looser. But Reason Foundation Senior Analyst Shikha Dalmia points out that Putnam is overselling his work and conservatives are overselling Putnam.




After Neighbor Gets Deported, Local Police Chief Rethinks Support for Immigration Crackdown

Mon, 13 Nov 2017 13:19:00 -0500

(image) A Washington State police chief who voted for Donald Trump because he wanted a president who would secure the border is now "in shock" after seeing federal immigration cops deport an illegal immigrant who had lived nearby for more than a decade.

Flint Wright, police chief in Long Beach, Washington, tells The Seattle Times he was rattled by the arrest and deportation of Mario Rodriguez, who had lived in the community for 12 years.

"He was real pro–law enforcement," Wright said of Rodriguez. "Shoot, anybody would like to have him as a neighbor."

Rodriguez had overstayed his visa and was swept up in the Trump administration's toughened immigration enforcement, which has seen Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) make 3,100 arrests this year across Oregon, Washington, and Alaska (the three states overseen by ICE's Seattle office).

There's a difference—a quite significant one, as Wright has learned—between the Trumpian rhetoric that presents illegal immigrants as a source of economic woes and criminality, and the reality of watching someone you know deported when he hasn't hurt anyone. "They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people," Trump famously said of illegal immigrants flowing into the country from Mexico. Turns out the feds have trouble telling the difference.

Even American citizens get caught up in the crackdown. Reason's Shikha Dalmia has detailed the plight of Lorenzo Palma, an American citizen who lacked an American birth certificate because he was born in Mexico. Palma lived in the United States for nearly his entire life, but after serving time for assault he was whisked away to an immigration detention center and narrowly avoided being deported.

"Indeed, if President Donald Trump keeps on his aggressive anti-immigration path, he will fundamentally shift the balance of power between the government and its citizens," Dalmia writes. "He may not be able to overcome the economic forces that bring unauthorized aliens to America's shores. But he will erode the economic and civil liberties of ordinary Americans, leaving few immune from the long tentacles of the immigration enforcement regime."

Zahrija Purovic, a 50-year-old woman with no criminal history, lived and paid taxes in the United States for 30 years. She was deported to Montenegro last week, MLive.com reports. She has no ties to her native country, which she left when she was just 19 years old. She will be banned from reentering the United States for 10 years.

Good people? Bad hombres? Immigration police don't worry about such distinctions. And the consequences are felt well beyond the immediate families and friends of those deported.

Back in Pacific County, Washington, the ICE raids and deportations are having a ripple effect on the seafood industry that represents the main economic activity in towns like Long Beach, according to The Seattle Times.

"We don't have Nike. We don't have Boeing. This is what we do down here," said Steve Gray, a seafood-cannery owner. "Take the main workforce out...you will lose whole industries."




Is Silicon Valley Building the Infrastructure for a Police State?

Fri, 10 Nov 2017 13:12:00 -0500

Silicon Valley firms are building surveillance and profiling tools to help government agents make sense of the massive amount of information available on social media and in publicly accessible data sets. Are they using cutting-edge technologies to keep Americans safe, or laying the groundwork for a police state? The Palo-Alto based Palantir is one of the biggest so-called threat intelligence firms, and it's primary backer is Peter Thiel, the PayPal founder, Facebook board member, and Trump supporter. Also an outspoken libertarian, Thiel told Fortune magazine he hopes Palantir's technology will help protect the civil liberties of Americans because, given the massive amounts of Americans' data the government takes in, "if we could help [agents] make sense of data, they could end indiscriminate surveillance." Thiel believes Palantir's technology will prove crucial in stopping future terrorist attacks. Some insiders credit Palantir for enabling the government to find Osama bin Laden's hideout in 2011. Edward Hasbrouck of the nonprofit Identity Project says this technology enables the government to violate civil liberties without necessary checks on its power. He compares it to the Berlin Wall. "By building checkpoints—by building the control mechanisms," Hasbrouck says, "we're already putting into place the infrastructure for those who will abuse them in the future." Paul Scharre, a policy analyst who studies artificial intelligence and defense at the Center for a New American Security, says the public shouldn't fear artificial intelligence tools just because they're new and unfamiliar. "There's no technology that's just inherently good or inherently bad," says Scharre. "It's about how we're using it, and to what ends." Watch the video above to learn more about artificial intelligence, its application in government, and what precautions we might take to preserve our civil liberties going forward. Produced by Zach Weissmueller. Camera by Alexis Garcia, Justin Monticello, and Mark McDaniel. "White Atlantis" by Sergey Cheremisinov is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License. "Glow in Space" by Sergey Cheremisinov is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License. "The Signals" by Sergey Cheremisinov is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License. "Clouds" by Sergey Cheremisinov is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License. "Comatose" by Kai Engel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License. Subscribe to our YouTube channel. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter. Subscribe to our podcast at iTunes.[...]



The Right's Incredibly Shallow Argument Against Immigration and Diversity

Wed, 08 Nov 2017 17:25:00 -0500

One Trump era argument against immigration that has climbed from the alt-right gutter to respectable conservative circles is that homogeneous societies are(image) much more "natural" than multi-ethnic diverse ones because people have a natural desire to be with their own. Interestingly, the academic whose work the right invokes to make its case isn't some Nazi nut job but Harvard University's Robert Putnam of the Bowling Alone fame.

Putnam's research purportedly shows that diverse societies have less "social trust" than homogeneous ones because their bonds tend to be looser. But I note in my column at The Week that Putnam has oversold his research and conservatives are overselling Putnam. The fact of the matter is that any the loss of trust due to increasing diversity is a short-term phenomenon. "Over the long run, people reconstitute new identities and bonds based on other shared characteristics. Yesterday's "them" become tomorrow's "us." For example, Putnam notes, in the 1920s, Americans were acutely conscious of divisions among European sub-groups — the Irish, Italians, Germans, Eastern Europeans — and in the 1950s of various Protestant denominations — Methodists, Lutherans, Baptists. None of these distinctions matter anymore."

That's not the only problem with the right's slams against diversity.

Go here to read about the others.




Murderers Slip Through the Screen

Wed, 08 Nov 2017 00:01:00 -0500

Last week Sayfullo Saipov, who was approved as an immigrant in 2010, used a pickup truck to murder eight people on a bike path in Manhattan. This week Devin Kelley, who was repeatedly approved as a gun buyer in recent years, used a rifle to murder 26 people at a church in a small Texas town. The deadliest terrorist attack in New York City since 9/11 and the deadliest mass shooting in Texas history illustrate the limits of screening as a defense against violence. We would like to think that the right combination of exclusion criteria and background checks can reliably prevent mass murder, but experience tells us otherwise. Responding to Saipov's attack, Donald Trump promised on Twitter that "the United States will be immediately implementing much tougher Extreme Vetting Procedures," because "the safety of our citizens comes first!" But it is hard to imagine what procedure could have predicted Saipov's seven-year journey from eager immigrant to Islamic terrorist. According to the Uzbek government, Saipov was raised in Tashkent by an affluent family and never had any trouble with the law or gave any indication of extremism. As the winner of a diversity lottery visa, he underwent background checks, security screening, and interviews before entering the United States. Saipov, who had worked as an accountant for a hotel in Tashkent, hoped to get a job in the hospitality industry despite his limited English skills. Instead he ended up working as a truck driver, moved around a lot, and became increasingly embittered and alienated over the years. Although Saipov was not very observant at first and did not know much about his religion (according to a local imam), he was drawn to Islamic extremism. The path he followed was shaped by his post-immigration experience, and he might never have been radicalized if he had landed the sort of job he wanted or if the trucking businesses he started had been more successful. Kelley, by contrast, showed clear signs of violent tendencies years before he opened fire on parishioners at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs. As an airman in 2012, he was convicted of beating his wife and son by a general court martial, which punished him with 12 months of confinement, a reduction in rank, and a bad conduct discharge. Under federal law, Kelley was triply disqualified from buying a gun: His assault on his wife was the equivalent of a misdemeanor involving domestic violence, his aggravated assault on his son was the equivalent of a felony, and his separation from the Air Force, since it was ordered by a general court martial, was the equivalent of a dishonorable discharge. But the Air Force did not report Kelley's convictions to the National Crime Information Center, so they did not show up in the FBI's background checks when he bought his weapons. The Air Force is investigating what went wrong in this case and promises to improve its reporting, which until now seems to have been limited almost entirely to dishonorable discharges. But even an improved database cannot be expected to have much of an impact on mass shootings, since the perpetrators of such crimes typically do not have disqualifying criminal or psychiatric records. The idea that screening can prevent mass shootings is nevertheless powerfully appealing. After the October 1 shooting that left 58 dead in Las Vegas, Sen. Christopher Murphy (D-Conn.), who argues that Congress is complicit in gun violence because of its failure to "do something," told CNN's Jake Tapper "the most important intervention is background checks." Murphy wants to require background checks for all gun transfers, not just those involving federally licensed dealers. But as Tapper pointed out, the Las Vegas shooter "passed his background checks" because "there didn't seem to be any reason to prevent him from purchasing fir[...]



Would Extremer Vetting Have Stopped This Week's Attack in Manhattan?

Fri, 03 Nov 2017 12:50:00 -0400

In response to this week's terrorist attack in New York City, Donald Trump promised that "the United States will be immediately implementing much tougher Extreme Vetting Procedures," because "the safety of our citizens comes first!" But the more we learn about Sayfullo Saipov, the Uzbek immigrant accused of running down pedestrians and bicyclists with a pickup truck in Manhattan on Tuesday, the harder it is to see how extreme vetting, extremer vetting, or even extremest vetting could have stopped him. Last night ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, and Saipov has said the group inspired him. But so far there is no evidence that he was directly recruited or instructed by ISIS, contacts that might have offered an opportunity to catch him before he carried out his plan. More to the point, when Saipov immigrated to the United States in 2010, there was no reason to think he would one day murder eight innocent people in the name of Islam. The New York Times, citing the Uzbek government, reports that Saipov "grew up in a well-off family who practiced traditional Islam and never embraced extremism." The government said he never did anything that raised his neighbors' suspicions and never had trouble with the police. When he entered the United States after winning a diversity-lottery visa, Saipov, who had worked as an accountant at a hotel in Tashkent, hoped to get a job in the hospitality industry, despite his limited English skills. Instead he ended up working as a truck driver, moved around a lot, and became increasingly embittered, alienated, and angry over the years. Although he was not very observant to begin with and did not know much about his religion (according to a local imam), he was drawn to Islamic extremism. In particular, Saipov cited a video in which ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi asked what Muslims in the United States were doing in response to the killing of their coreligionists in Iraq. Investigators found several other ISIS videos on Saipov's phone, and he made an effort to closely follow the group's published guidelines for terrorist attacks. Contrary to White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders' claim that recipients of diversity visas come to this country with "no screening," Saipov would have been interviewed and undergone background checks before entering the United States. One can always argue that screening should be more thorough, but it is hard to imagine what procedure or criterion could have identified Saipov as a future terrorist seven years before the fact. How could anyone have predicted the path he would follow between then and now, which was contingent not only on his personality but on his post-immigration experience? For all we know, Saipov never would have turned violent if he had landed the sort of job he wanted or if the trucking businesses he started had been more successful. I do not know what Trump means by "much tougher Extreme Vetting Procedures." I am not sure he knows. But unless those procedures involve psychics or time travel, they cannot rule out the possibility that seemingly moderate and eager immigrants will become radicalized years after arriving in the United States.[...]



While Politicians Call for Restricting Freedom After NYC Attack, This Immigrant Has Been Fighting For Yours

Fri, 03 Nov 2017 08:00:00 -0400

Since Tuesday's attack in New York City, our politicians have mostly bickered about who was most responsible for failing to end the Diversity Visa Lottery program that allowed alleged rental truck killer Sayfullo Saipov into the country. President Donald Trump blamed Sen. Chuck Schumer (D–N.Y.)—who had initially proposed diversity visas back in 1990—calling the Diversity Visa Lottery a "Schumer beauty." Schumer and others have scrambled, saying they tried to end the program years ago. "It's obviously reactionary to just immediately say, 'OK, so we should end this program',"Carla Gericke says. The Diversity Lottery Program gives opportunities to hundreds of thousands of people like her to "come and contribute to the American economy." Gericke is a former president of New Hampshire's Free State Project, a long-time libertarian activist (who has been interviewed by Reason more than a few times) and a Diversity Lottery winner. Her perspective on the lottery is shaped by her politics and her personal experience. Gericke used the lottery to come to the United States from her native South Africa in 1996. She first applied when she was a 20-year old law student in Pretoria. "I remember I got home from school, and there was this giant envelope on my front mat," she tells Reason, "I opened it up and it was like, 'You have won the lottery'." Nearly 10 million people enter this visa lottery every year. Of those, somewhere between 100,000 and 150,000 are then given permission to apply for a visa like Gericke. All applicants must go through a vetting process, which includes submitting required documentation (birth certificates, medical examinations, court records), followed by in-person interviews at a U.S. consulate, and a background check. The process took Gericke two years, and one intense grilling by State Department staff at the U.S. Consulate in Johannesburg. In 1996, she and her husband emigrated to California. "We were excited to be here," says Gericke, who found work as a lawyer for Silicon Valley tech firms. At the time, says Gericke, she was not much one for economics or politics, apart from what she describes as "small-time anti-Apartheid" activism in her youth. But then, the Dot-com bubble burst and Gericke and her husband lost their jobs. "Being naturally curious, I asked what happened? How was there this bubble, then this giant implosion," says Gericke. "That led me to Austrian economics, the Free State Project, and then Ron Paul, and life in New Hampshire." Gericke is no nativist's boogeyman. She has worked tirelessly to expand the libertarian movement. While serving as Free State president, she helped the annual Porcupine Freedom Festival to grow. She was even the plaintiff in a landmark First Amendment case that affirmed the right to film police officers. Terrible attack aside, statistics show that typical immigrants are much more Gericke than Saipov. According to the academic literature, immigrants commit fewer crimes than native-born Americans, are incarcerated at a lower rate, and actually help to increase the wages of Americans. Though most are not fire-breathing libertarians, their political views are mostly indistinguishable from those whose families have lived in the country for generations. Indeed, if we are really concerned about protecting American freedoms, we might want to put fewer restrictions on immigrants and more on native-born politicians. In the wake of Tuesday's attack, President Trump has advocated for eliminating the Diversity Visa Program and more "extreme vetting" of immigrants. Sen. Lindsay Graham (R–S.C.) has been throwing a fit about Saipov not being immediately shipped off to Guantanamo Bay, far away from a lawyer or due process rights. And Schumer, for his part, has demanded more anti-[...]



Trump Judicial Nominees Oppose the Trump Administration on Civil Asset Forfeiture and Birthright Citizenship

Thu, 02 Nov 2017 15:15:00 -0400

(image) President Donald Trump recently nominated Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett and former Texas Solicitor General James Ho to fill two vacancies on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, the federal appellate court whose jurisdiction covers federal districts in Texas, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

They are both eminently qualified and highly respected in legal circles. They are superb judicial nominees.

There's something else worth noting about them. They have both taken legal positions that are directly at odds with positions taken by the Trump administration.

Let's start with Don Willett. He is perhaps known for his libertarian-leaning views on economic rights and state regulation. He also happens to be a sharp critic of civil asset forfeiture.

Civil asset forfeiture is the controversial practice that allows law enforcement agencies to take property from innocent people who have not been charged or convicted of any underlying crime.

Trump's attorney general, Jeff Sessions, loves civil asset forfeiture. He has called it a "key tool" and is currently pushing for its aggressive use nationwide.

5th Circuit nominee Willett, by contrast, questions whether civil asset forfeiture is even lawful in the first place. "Does our Constitution have anything to say about a 'presumed guilty' proceeding in which citizens are not arrested or tried, much less convicted, but are nonetheless punished, losing everything they've worked for?" Willett complained in the 2014 case Zaher El-Ali v. Texas.

James Ho, Willett's fellow 5th Circuit nominee, stands opposed to the Trump administration on a different legal issue: birthright citizenship. A former clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas, Ho is the author of a 2006 law review article defending the constitutionality of birthright citizenship for the U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrant parents. "Birthright citizenship is guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment," Ho wrote. "That birthright is protected no less for children of undocumented persons than for descendants of Mayflower passengers."

Trump holds the opposite view. In an August 2015 immigration white paper, for example, presidential candidate Trump vowed to "end birthright citizenship," calling it the "biggest magnet for illegal immigration." In an interview with Fox News host Bill O'Reilly, Trump said, "I don't think they have American citizenship," referring to the U.S.-born children of undocumented parents. "It's not going to hold up in court."

We'll have to see about that. I, for one, look forward to watching the Trump administration lose a birthright citizenship case before Judge Ho and then lose an asset forfeiture case before Judge Willett.




What is the Diversity Visa Lottery Donald Trump is Blaming for Yesterday's NYC Attack?

Wed, 01 Nov 2017 12:15:00 -0400

Reports that Sayfullo Saipov—the Uzbek-born terror suspect in yesterday's attack in New York City that killed 8 people and wounded 11 others—entered the country thanks the State Department's Diversity Visa Lottery have set off a wildfire controversy about the little-known program. President Donald Trump in a tweet quickly pinned the blame for the attack on the visa program and demanded "merit based immigration." The terrorist came into our country through what is called the "Diversity Visa Lottery Program," a Chuck Schumer beauty. I want merit based. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 1, 2017 Others, like Sen. Jeff Flake (R–Ariz.), have hit back, pointing out Schumer supported getting rid of the Diversity Visa Lottery as part of a 2013 immigration reform effort. Actually, the Gang of 8, including @SenSchumer, did away with the Diversity Visa Program as part of broader reforms. I know, I was there https://t.co/QQFJzPyRzC — Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) November 1, 2017 Missing from this political Twitter-based tit-for-tat an explanation of what exactly the Diversity Lottery Program is. The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program was created by the 1990 Immigration Act, and signed into law by President George H. W. Bush. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D–N.Y.) did sponsor the original proposal to create a "diversity visa" as a way of increasing immigration from countries that send comparatively few migrants to the United States through other channels. Schumer's proposal was later rolled into the 1990 bill. The program has been controversial. Bills to undo the Diversity Immigration Visas were introduced in 2005, 2007, 2009. The 2013 "Gang of 8" immigration reform bill, which would have allowed for greater immigration in many instances, included a provision eliminating the program, as does the restrictionist 2017 RAISE Act. Conservatives have long opined that the program allows low-skill immigrants into the United States, and that the program is susceptible to fraud. Every year, 50,000 visas are made available through a lottery to "low admission" countries, defined as those that have sent fewer than 50,000 people to the United States in the past five years. The Attorney General is responsible for determining which countries count as low admission. Those hoping to gain admission under the program must have a high school education (or its equivalent), or have worked for two years in a job that requires a further two years of experience or training. Migrants that meet these qualifications submit their names each year into an electronic lottery run by the U.S. State Department, which then selects winners. Nearly 10 million qualified entrants entered the lottery for the 2015 draw (the last year for which statistics were available), and 125,514 were selected to apply for a Diversity Immigration Visa. The visa application process includes an in-person interview with State Department staff at a consulate or embassy. Visa applicants must provide a birth certificate, records of a medical examination, as well as any court, police, or deportation records that might exist for the applicant. State Department staff then confirm this documentation, and issue visas to the 50,000 to lucky winners. Family members of winners are allowed access to the United States as well. The diversity lotteries began in 1995, meaning roughly 1.1 million have entered the country since through the program. As a result yesterday's grisly attack in New York City by a lottery recipient, and the president's finger-pointing at the program, calls to eliminate the Diversity Visa Lottery will only grow louder.[...]



No Country for Smart Kids: New at Reason

Mon, 30 Oct 2017 10:10:00 -0400

Donald Trump stoked anti-undocumented alien animus to reach the White House. But since he got there, he has mounted a wide-ranging assault on all(image) immigration starting with refugees, travel from Muslim countries and now even high-skilled immigrants. He has endorsed Sen. Tom Cotton's (R-AR) RAISE Act that would cut legal immigration by 50 percent over the next decade.

That bill has little chance of passing. So the president, under the influence of his nativist aides, is taking administrative steps to make it difficult for American companies to hire high-skilled immigrants including foreign STEM graduates. National Foundation for American Policy's Stuart Anderson reports on one Bush-era program called STEM-OPT, popular both with these graduates and American companies, that the administration is preparing to scrap. But eliminating this program would fly in the face of the administration's own claim that it wants to make America's immigration system more "merit-based," he points out. "If high-skilled foreign nationals trained in STEM fields in America can't qualify for visas, then who can?"