Things That Matter

This Man Created The Policy To Separate Families And Now He Might Be The Head Of DHS

There is news out of Washington that the White House is strongly looking at the possibility of appointing Chad Wolf, the current acting undersecretary for strategy at the Department of Homeland Security and former chief of staff to then-Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, to head DHS. Wolf is among two other candidates being considered for the position, along with Director of the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli and Customs and Border Protection chief Mark Morgan. 

It has become apparent that neither of them would likely get the position. This is due to information from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel that concluded that the two aren’t eligible to take the role because they had yet to serve at least 90 days under the last Senate-confirmed Homeland Security secretary, Nielsen. 

Since Kevin McAleenan announced his resignation over a week ago, becoming the fourth secretary to serve under the Trump administration, there have been many questions about who will fill the role. During McAleenan’s short tenure, which started in April, there were a handful of controversies including a spike in US-Mexico border apprehensions. This in return led to overcrowding and long stays for migrants under US Border Patrol custody at the southern border.

Now with an opening at the head position, Wolf looks to be the front runner as of now but there are many questions and concerns about his track record. 

Who is Chad Wolf and why are so many eyebrows being raised about the possibility of him taking the reins as the head of the Department of Homeland Security?

Credit: @Senjeffmerkley / Twitter

The possible appointment of Wolf has come with some concerns, mainly because of his central role in the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy that led to thousands of children being separated from their parents at the border last year. During his time as acting chief of staff to Secretary Nielsen, Wolf created a list of 16 options that would help deter the number of undocumented immigrants coming to the U.S. border to Gene Hamilton, counselor to then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, to overlook. The second suggestion on that list was the plan to “separate family units.” 

The controversial family separation policy ended after President Trump exercised executive action in June due to mounting backlash over the immigration deterrence plan. Wolf, who was acting chief of staff to Secretary Nielsen when the policy was in place, would later be questioned about that during his Senate confirmation hearing for his current undersecretary role

“My job wasn’t to determine whether it was the right or wrong policy. My job, at the time, was to ensure that the secretary had all the information,” Wolf said at the confirmation. 

While there is some support in the White House to appoint Wolf, there are still some doubts that he can lead the department to the approval of President Trump.

Credit: @MHackman / Twitter

The role of leading DHS is one that comes with a lot of scrutiny, from in and outside the White House. According to NBC News, there is uncertainty among some in the administration that Wolf will be able to lead DHS with the “tough” stance mentality to win over President Trump.

“There’s been no one more committed to the DHS mission and the president’s agenda than Chad, who’s helped implement the policies credited to addressing record levels of illegal crossings at the border,” the senior DHS official told NBC News. “He’s mainly a process guy and played that part to a T as chief of staff to Nielsen,” the official said. “Substantively, he’s an aviation security type with some high-tech related immigration experience. His experience that lines up with [Trump’s] agenda, particularly on border issues, was cobbled together from working for Nielsen.”

Wolf’s beginnings in DHS came at it’s inception shortly after 9/11 when he worked for the Transportation Security Administration and again joined the department after Trump took office in 2016. He has also spent years advocating for “cheap foreign tech workers” as a lobbyist for the National Association of Software and Service Companies, which speaks for Indian and U.S. companies that seek to hire foreign workers with advanced degrees in the H-1B visa program. 

“Going with a career official or someone who once lobbied to replace American workers with cheap foreign labor sends the wrong signal right before an election year,” RJ Hauman, government relations director at the Federation for American Immigration Reform, told Politico. “President Trump can choose to be on the side of his base and American workers, or throw in his lot with the swamp.”

READ: Veteran Sues Police Department After He Called For Help Only To Have Cops Put Him On A Psych Hold

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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

Things That Matter

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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