The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

By Brian Bennett and Kate Linthicum, Tribune Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — More than half a million young immigrants who were granted temporary deportation waivers can apply for a two-year extension, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said Thursday, in what may be a template for more sweeping White House action before the midterm elections.

Under a program that President Barack Obama announced in 2012, some 560,000 people who were brought to the country illegally as children have been granted temporary work permits and two-year deportation deferrals. The first permits will expire in September.

“Despite the acrimony and partisanship that now exists in Washington, almost all of us agree that a child who crossed our border illegally with a parent, or in search of a parent or a better life, was not making an adult choice to break our laws,” Johnson said.

The renewal of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals comes as Obama has urged House Republicans to pass a Senate-approved overhaul of immigration laws, including allowing permanent legal status to most of the estimated 11 million immigrants who are in the country illegally because they sneaked across the border or overstayed a visa.

Latino voters were energized by the creation of DACA and turned out in record numbers to re-elect Obama in 2012. If the House fails to act this summer, the White House is considering several actions that could be announced before the November elections.

They include halting deportations of parents with children born in the U.S. or slowing the expulsion of immigrants who have violated immigration laws but don’t endanger public safety, according to officials who asked not to be identified in order to describe internal deliberations.

Republicans criticized the DACA extension, saying immigration officials will be pulled from reviewing applications of people trying to come to the country lawfully in order to process a surge in forms from those here illegally.

“The program is a haven for loopholes and mischief,” Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a statement.

In California, immigrant-rights groups used Spanish-language media Thursday to urge DACA recipients to reapply.

“It’s expensive, it’s invasive and it’s time-consuming, but it’s also one of the few rays of sunshine for the many, many millions of people who are living in the shadows but want to fully contribute to our society,” Jorge-Mario Cabrera, spokesman for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, told a news conference.

Sean Tan, a 21-year-old rising senior at the University of California, Berkeley, said DACA “has changed my life and my family’s trajectory.”

He and his two brothers were born in the Philippines. They came to the United States with their parents in 2005 on tourist visas and never left.

Under DACA, his older brother, Kjell, 23, has found work as a registered nurse and his younger brother, Euan, 18, was allowed into a work study program at UC San Diego. The three brothers no longer worry about being deported.

“It’s a completely different perspective now,” he said. “It’s been a relief.”

Under orders by Obama to make the deportation process more “humane” by keeping families together when possible, Johnson has led a review of deportation procedures. His report was expected this week, but Obama told Johnson to hold off on issuing recommendations to give the House time to act before it goes on August recess.

The reform bill that passed the Senate last year would boost spending on border security by $46 billion over 10 years, and create a 13-year path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who could pass a background check and pay a fine.

Proposals being considered in the House would likely spend less money, require new enforcement measures before the legalization process begins, and allow fewer people to gain legal status.

Officials say a growing number of minors have tried to sneak across the southwest border on their own during the Obama administration. Officials said 60,000 unaccompanied children may be apprehended this year, triple the total from 2009.

Although minors who entered in the last seven years are not eligible for deportation waivers, critics say the flood of recent arrivals is the result of easing immigration policies.

Obama and his aides “announced to the world that they will not enforce America’s immigration laws, and have emphasized in particular that foreign youth will be exempted from these laws,” said Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL).

The deferrals are available to immigrants under age 31, who have lived here since June 15, 2007, and who arrived before they were 16. Those convicted of a felony, three or more misdemeanors, or who pose a threat to public safety are ineligible. The program remains open to first-time applicants.

Photo: Anunska Sampredo via Flickr

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Mark Levin

Politico reported Friday that John Eastman, the disgraced ex-law professor who formulated many of former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, was also apparently in communication with Fox News host Mark Levin. The story gets even more interesting from there, revealing the shell game that right-wing media personalities engage in while doubling as political operatives.

A legal filing by Eastman’s attorneys reveals that, among the messages Eastman is still attempting to conceal from the House January 6 committee are 12 pieces of correspondence with an individual matching Levin’s description as “a radio talk show host, is also an attorney, former long-time President (and current board chairman) of a public interest law firm, and also a former fellow at The Claremont Institute.” Other details, including a sloppy attempt to redact an email address, also connect to Levin, who did not respond to Politico’s requests for comment.

Keep reading... Show less

Sen. Wendy Rogers

Youtube Screenshot

There have been powerful indicators of the full-bore radicalization of the Republican Party in the past year: the 100-plus extremist candidates it fielded this year, the apparent takeover of the party apparatus in Oregon, the appearance of Republican officials at white nationalist gatherings. All of those are mostly rough gauges or anecdotal evidence, however; it’s been difficult to get a clear picture of just how deeply the extremism has penetrated the party.

Using social media as a kind of proxy for their real-world outreach—a reasonable approach, since there are few politicians now who don’t use social media—the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights decided to get a clearer picture of the reach of extremist influences in official halls of power by examining how many elected officials participate in extremist Facebook groups. What it found was deeply troubling: 875 legislators in all 50 states, constituting nearly 22% of all elected GOP lawmakers, identified as participating members of extremist Facebook groups.

Keep reading... Show less
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}