The UnitedWeStay.org weekly newsletter focused on
Immigration news, stories and advocacy.
DHS Secretary Wolf’s Orders on DACA Taken without Legal Authority
In June of this year, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the Trump Administrations decisions and orders to wind down President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) were legally flawed. This past week a U.S. District Court Judge in New York ruled that several of the bureaucratic and legal maneuvers that the administration undertook to install Chad Wolf as the acting secretary of the DHS without Senate confirmation were unlawful and invalid. The judge stated, “Therefore, the actions taken by purported acting secretaries, who were not properly in their roles according to the lawful order of succession, were taken without legal authority.” This has several implications starting with immigrants who are eligible for DACA, but did not apply before the Trump administration cut off applications in September 2017, may be eligible to apply again. Travel permits for Dreamers, also known as "advanced parole," allowing them to leave the country and return without losing their quasi-legal status and work permits, may also be restored. New York Attorney General Letitia James, whose office led one of the two suits addressed under Garaufis’ ruling Saturday, hailed the decision, “Time and time again, this outgoing administration attempted to use young immigrants as political scapegoats…Our coalition will not hesitate to use every tool at our disposal to continue to protect these young people in every way possible. Si se puede!”
Short-Term Biden Immigration Priorities Come into Focus
Washington Post columnist Greg Sargent noted that President-Elect Biden will have a great deal of space to begin erasing the stain of Stephen Miller, undoing the heinous immigration legacy of President Trump’s senior adviser. He is basing his opinion on an advanced report acquired by CBS News that outlined some of the actions planned by Biden immediately following his inauguration. First: rescind Trump’s ban on travel from a dozen mostly majority-Muslim countries. Second: implement a 100-day freeze on deportations while looking at ways to deprioritize the removals of undocumented immigrants who aren’t violent criminals. Third: fully restore the program that protects hundreds of thousands of “Dreamers,” young people brought here illegally as children, from deportation and provides them with work permits. Fourth: withdraw from agreements Trump reached with Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador that permitted the U.S. to shift rejected asylum-seekers to those countries. We would be well advised to be aware that any executive actions taken by Biden will likely face many challenges, particularly if the balance of power in the Senate remains the same after Senate race runoffs in Georgia. Executive orders from the current administration brought much of the unprecedented crackdown against immigrants and Biden can use the same tool to renounce his predecessor.
545 Grows to 666: Separated Children Taken at the Border Still without Their Parents
According to an email obtained by NBC News last week, “Lawyers working to reunite migrant families separated by the Trump administration before and during its zero-tolerance policy at the border now believe the number of separated children for whom they have not been able to find parents is 666," higher than they told a federal judge last month. Steven Herzog, the attorney leading efforts to reunite the families, explains that the number is higher because the new group includes those "for whom the government did not provide any phone numbers." The challenge now is to get the government to provide information that may be helpful in identifying and contacting these parents. And just when we start to think that this story can’t get any more outrageous, we also learn that 129 of the children were under five at the time of the separation, many were infants.