Things That Matter

The Bernie Sanders Campaign Did The Right Thing By Letting DACA Recipients Write His Immigration Policy

Democratic candidates are in full spring when it comes to releasing their policies and platforms on issues like gun control, climate change and health care, ahead of the 2020 election. One of the most divisive issues in the country right now is immigration and the legal battle over DACA. 

Many Democratic candidates have already released immigration policy plans that would allow  Dreamers, undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally by their guardians, a legal pathway to citizenship.  Just this week, we got a preview of what Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and his campaign team will be rolling in terms of immigration policy. 

Here’s what we know so far about the Sanders immigration plan that will be released “soon.”

In an interview with Hill TV, Belén Sisa, the campaign press secretary, made an announcement that the senator’s 2020 campaign will be releasing an immigration plan in the near future. The policy will be shaped by herself and two other staffers who are undocumented immigrants and recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. 

“We know that we can do better and I think that’s the greatest part of all, is that we have people who are experiencing these struggles that are taking part in that plan,” Sisa told Hill TV about the staffers and people outside the organization that are having input on the plan. 

Sisa, who is a DACA recipient, has been vocal about the expired program and other issues important to the immigrant community. She graduated from Arizona State University in 2018 where she was involved in multiple protests in favor of DACA and abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). 

It’s this commitment and well-documented track record in sticking up for immigrant rights from campaign staffers that Sisa says makes the Sanders campaign stand out from other candidates. 

Credit: @belensisaw / Twitter

According to Sisa, the campaign is going above and beyond when it comes to recruiting volunteers and senior-level staffers that come from the Latino community in the U.S. These recruitment efforts are being conducted through Spanish webinars for those people who are interested in being part of the campaign but can’t speak English. 

“It’s not just about ads, it’s not just about trying to knock on their door right before the primary,” Sisa said. “It’s about putting people who look like them on the campaign, it’s about making them feel like they’re capable.”

While we might not know too much about the entire Sanders’ immigration policy plan, a campaign page for the senator does give some clues. The page indicates that Sanders would grant amnesty to DACA recipients. His campaign would also look to create “a humane policy for those seeking asylum.” 

“Today, we say to the American people that instead of demonizing the undocumented immigrants in this country, we’re going to pass comprehensive immigration reform and provide a path toward citizenship. We’re going to provide legal status to the 1.8 million young people eligible for the DACA program and develop a humane border policy for those who seek asylum. No more snatching babies from the arms of their mothers.” the page reads.

Sanders would also plan to close down all migrant holding centers because of the “barbaric practice of family separation and detention of children in cages.” He also says that proper “independent oversight of relevant agencies within DHS” would be implemented. 

As we await the Sanders campaign immigration plan, we are also looking toward this fall where the Supreme Court is set to decide the future of DACA. 

Credit: @realdonaldtrump / Twitter

The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments this fall that will effectively decide the future of the Obama-era program. The Trump administration has made the argument that the program is unlawful and has questioned the overall legality of it.  

On Friday morning, President Trump tweeted about DACA and the pending case with the Supreme Court that will surely have an effect on the 2020 election. He hinted that if the Supreme Court does indeed end the program, a bipartisan deal would be made between Democrats and Republicans.  

“DACA will be going before the Supreme Court. It is a document that even President Obama didn’t feel he had the legal right to sign – he signed it anyway! Rest assured that if the SC does what all say it must, based on the law, a bipartisan deal will be made to the benefit of all!” Trump tweeted

As more polices are rolled out by presidential candidates, we can only wait and see what unfolds between now and November when it comes to DACA and immigration.  

READ: Arizona’s Republican Governor Applauds New Rule Giving DACA Students Discount On College Tuition

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A Federal Court Just Ended Temporary Protected Status For More Than 300,000 Immigrants, Here’s What You Need To Know

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A Federal Court Just Ended Temporary Protected Status For More Than 300,000 Immigrants, Here’s What You Need To Know

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

A federal court just handed a huge ‘victory’ to the Trump administration, which has been eager to restart mass deportations. Despite a global health pandemic, the administration has been pressing forward with plans to deport hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants.

Until now, many of these migrants were safe from deportation thanks to Temporary Protected Status, which shields some immigrants from deportation under humanitarian claims. However, the recent court decision – in San Francisco’s 9th Circuit – gives Trump exactly what he wants right before the elections.

But how will it affect immigrant communities across the country? Here’s everything you need to know about this major decision.

The 9th Circuit Court just ended TPS for more than 300,000 undocumented immigrants.

A California appeals court on Monday gave the Trump Administration permission to end Temporary Protected Status for immigrants from El Salvador, Nicaragua, Haiti, and Sudan, clearing the way for officials to force more than 300,000 immigrants out of the country.

The decision affects people from all walks of life, many of whom have lived in the U.S. for decades, have U.S.-born children and have been considered essential workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

This week’s ruling from the circuit court comes after a district court (also in California) temporarily halted Trump’s plan to end TPS in late 2018 after a group of lawyers sued, arguing that Trump was motivated by racial discrimination.

“The president’s vile statements about TPS holders made perfectly clear that his administration acted out of racial animus,”Ahilan Arulanantham, a lawyer for the ACLU of Southern California, wrote in a statement. “The Constitution does not permit policy to be driven by racism. We will seek further review of the court’s decision.”

But today’s 2-1 decision reversed the district court’s temporary order and allowed the federal government to take away TPS protections while the court case continues.

ICE and DHS has promised to wait several months before taking away TPS status if the agency won in court. As a result, the ACLU told NPR that it expects the protections to start ending no sooner than March, meaning that Joe Biden could reverse the administration’s decision if he wins in November, though the organization plans to fight back in the meantime.

Temporary Protected Status was created to protect people in the U.S. from being sent back to dangerous places – and it’s saved lives.

Credit: Daniel Ortega / Getty Images

The TPS program was first introduced in 1990, and it has protected immigrants from more than 20 countries at various points since then. More than 300,000 people from 10 different nations currently use the program, some of whom have lived and worked in the United States for decades.

Trump has sharply criticized the program, sometimes along racial lines, and in one infamous and widely criticized incident two years ago, the president reportedly referred to the program’s beneficiaries as “people from shithole countries.”

TPS provides protection for short periods of up to 18 months, but the federal government has continuously extended it for the countries mentioned in the lawsuit “based on repeated findings that it remains unsafe to return.” 

As a result, it said, most TPS holders have been living in the U.S. for more than a decade, contributing to their communities and raising their families. Many of the more than 200,000 U.S.-citizen children of TPS holders have never been to the country their parents are from and would have to choose between their families and their homes.

The ruling will have a major impact on migrant families and communities across the U.S.

Credit: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Immigration advocacy groups are slamming the court’s ruling, noting it will impact hundreds of thousands of TPS holders as well as their families and communities. In a statement, Beth Werlin, executive director of the American Immigration Council, said the decision will “plunge their lives into further turmoil at a time when we all need greater certainty.” 

As the global pandemic stretches on, immigrants with protected status make up a large portion of the country’s front-line workers. More than 130,000 TPS recipients are essential workers, according to the Center for American Progress. 

“TPS recipients have deep economic and social roots in communities across the nation,” said Ali Noorani, president and CEO of the National Immigration Forum. “And, as the U.S. responds to the COVID-19 pandemic, TPS recipients are standing shoulder to shoulder with Americans and doing essential work.”

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Nearly 9,000 Unaccompanied Child Migrants Have Been Expelled From the U.S. Under Trump’s COVID-19 Restrictions

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Nearly 9,000 Unaccompanied Child Migrants Have Been Expelled From the U.S. Under Trump’s COVID-19 Restrictions

On Friday, previously undisclosed court documents revealed that almost 9,000 unaccompanied migrant children seeking refuge were denied access to the U.S. and subsequently expelled from U.S. soil. None of these children were given a chance in court.

According to reporting done by CBS News, U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials have “suspended humanitarian protections” for most migrants crossing the border, on the grounds that “public health law overrides asylum, immigration and anti-trafficking safeguards” in the era of COVID-19.

CBS news made the shocking discovery when investigating the problematic and increased practice of holding and detaining minors in unregulated, privately contracted hotel rooms.

The government is arguing that the practice is keeping the American public safe from possibly COVID-19 exposure from unauthorized migrants.

“What we’re trying to do…is remove all individuals, regardless of whether they’re children — minors — or they’re adults,” Customs and Border Patrol official Mark Morgan said in an August media briefing.

He continued: “We’re trying to remove [the migrants] as fast as we can, to not put them in our congregate settings, to not put them into our system, to not have them remain in the United States for a long period of time, therefore increasing the exposure risk of everybody they come in contact with.”

via Getty Images

But critics are claiming that the Trump Administration is using COVID-19 as an excuse to unlawfully expel as many migrants as possible–regardless of their age.

On Friday, federal Judge Dolly M. Gee ordered the administration to put an end to the practice of detaining children in hotel rooms, saying that hotels do not “adequately account for the vulnerability of unaccompanied minors in detention”. She asked the government to put an end to the practice by September 15th.

It is in the court documents regarding the above case that 8,800 expelled migrant children number was revealed.

“The numbers are stunning,” said executive director of the Immigrant Defenders Law Center, Lindsay Toczylowski, to CBS News. “…To find out that our government has literally taken children who are seeking protection and sent them back to the very places they fled in such high numbers really took my breath away.”

via Getty Images

US Border Patrol Deputy Chief Raul Ortiz has defended the unsafe hotel detainment and speedy expulsion of migrant children, saying that stopping the practice would increase risk of exposure to health and customs officials alike.

But even if the practice comes to an end, the staggering number of unaccompanied migrant and refugee children left to their own devices is sitting heavy on the soul of advocates and activists.

“It’s just completely contrary, not only to all child protection norms and standards, but also just completely contrary to our values as a nation around protecting the most vulnerable,” said vice president for international programs at Kids in Need of Defense Lisa Frydman to CNN. “Because we are just wholesale shipping them out without making sure that it’s safe for them to go.”

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