Immigration update

“A $25 billion boondoggle is not only an outlandish waste of taxpayers’ money, but is also not a smart investment in border security or what families and communities in New Mexico want or need.”New Mexico senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich

“It’s tough. I want to say yes to getting more protection. But I can’t. A wall would ruin this community.”Abraham Diaz, 24, a Texas resident who came to the U.S. from Mexico at age 8

Three Dreamer bills fail in the Senate. What’s next?

On February 15, the U.S. Senate considered three bills to protect Dreamers (immigrants brought to the U.S. as children) and all three failed to pass. MCC supported the bipartisan Coons-McCain USA Act but opposed a second bipartisan bill by Senators Collins, Rounds and King which included $25 billion for border security. (See how your senators voted.) Many Dreamers opposed the Collins bill, unwilling to trade protections for more walls and militarization in border communities. President Trump, who once said he would sign any bill that passed, threatened to veto even the Collins bill.

The next steps in the Senate are unclear but may include a short-term extension of the DACA program combined with border security. Meanwhile, in the House, Speaker Ryan has committed to take up a bill by the end of March but the only legislation being considered thus far is an anti-immigrant bill from Rep. Goodlatte (R-Va.) which may not have the votes to pass. Currently, two federal judges are preventing the Trump administration from ending the DACA program on March 5, but the Supreme Court could overrule that decision.

Local stories, events and resources

Florida: Immigrant advocacy groups have issued a travel warning for the state due to increased collaboration between local law enforcement and federal immigration officials.

Illinois (Chicago): ICE detains man at traffic court after DACA status expires, then frees him after outcry

Indiana: Immigrants are a blessing, not a burden, op-ed by MCC U.S. executive director Ron Byler

Kansas: A chemistry professor in the country for 30 years was arrested by ICE. Op-ed: How is this man a danger?

New Jersey: Three Indonesian immigrants leave church sanctuary after judge blocks deportation

New York: MCC story: Providing a “pathway to dignity” for TPS recipients | Ravi freed, joins lawsuit alleging ICE is targeting immigration activists

Texas: Some Christian leaders say deportations would jeopardize their churches

Action alerts

Updates & news

DACA/Dream: In addition to Trump’s veto threat, the Department of Homeland Security publicly criticized the Collins proposal, drawing a sharp rebuke from Republican senator Lindsey Graham. KRWG (New Mexico), the Washington Post, and America’s Voiceexplain why trading protections for Dreamers for more border wall is merely trading one set of injustices for another.

Border: Unauthorized border crossings have decreased but border deaths have risen(IOM reportNo More Deaths report). Meanwhile, volunteers are being arrested for leaving water for border crossers. The White House has asked for $29 billion for border security and immigration enforcement in its fiscal year 2019 budget request.

The wall: Hundreds turned out for a rally opposing the construction of border walls through the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, which has been called the “crown jewel of the national wildlife system.” Especially popular with birders, the refuge hosts about 165,000 visitors each year. The Trump administration is also looking to build walls in New Mexico and has taken steps to waive environmental laws there.

100-mile border-zone: Border patrol agents have boarded buses to ask for proof of immigration status in places like Miami and Portland, MaineNBC News and the National Review discuss the civil liberties implications for the two-thirds of U.S. residents who live within 100 miles of a border. ACLU: Know your rights | graphics

Family migration and diversity lottery: Read about one man’s experience coming to the U.S. on a Diversity Visa, what family-based immigration meant to this former White House official, why Laura Wides-Muñoz thinks “family-based immigration has ‘merit,’ too,” and why these two advocates argue that talking about family migration is important to the immigration debate. MCC article: Give me your healthy, your wealthy, your huddled college graduates.

Asylum seekers: President Trump has indicated his intentions to roll back protections for asylum seekers, likely in violation of U.S. treaty obligations and U.S. law. Immigration officials announced they will now review newer asylum cases first, ostensibly to deter fraud, but more likely to deter asylum seekers (Myth v. fact: Asylum seekers in the United States). A piece in the New Yorker explains why these are life and death issues for many. The Daily Beast reports the story of an Iraqi man who came to the U.S. for safety but was abused in detention.

Enforcement: The Trump administration continues to ramp up immigration enforcement, announcing that it considers enforcement in the interior of the country part of its border security mission, clarifying when arrests will be made at courthouses and planning to track license plates across the U.S. Reports of sexual abuse in detention centers continue. A man who called the police to report a trespasser was put into deportation proceedings.

Temporary Protected Status: The Trump administration extended TPS for Syrians for 18 months but will not accept applications from new Syrian arrivals.

Refugees: Refugee arrivals are well behind projected numbers even with a record-low goal of 45,000 refugees to be resettled in the U.S. this fiscal year.

“Public charge” rule: proposed regulation could force immigrants to choose between needed services for their children or gaining legal permanent residence.

Upcoming events

April 1-7, 2018: Borderlands learning tour

April 20-23, 2018: Ecumenical Advocacy Days: A world uprooted

May 23-27, 2018: Borderlands learning tour

June 4-8, 2018: Immigration law training

New resources

MCC articles

DACA/Dream Act

Border

Family migration, diversity visa lottery

Asylum

Enforcement/detention

Sanctuary

Temporary Protected Status

General

  • World Relief: I was a stranger: Evangelical women reading Matthew 25:31-46 (video, study guide)

Update created February 26, 2018, by Tammy Alexander, Senior Legislative Associate for Domestic Affairs.

Did you receive this update from a friend? Sign up for immigration action alerts and updates from the MCC U.S. Washington Office here.

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