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In a mild but significant break with the president, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stated on the Joe Scarborough TV show that presidential actions, including Trump's January 27 Muslim ban order (which is properly called a "Muslim ban" since all of the seven countries mentioned in the order are overwhelmingly Muslim in population, including, for example, Yemen, which Wikipedia lists as 99.99 per cent Muslim), are not above judicial review.
According to POLITICO, McConnell said that the power of judges to review the actions of other branches of government for legality applies to:
"Yes, all of us, both Congress and president..."
This is in direct contrast to White House aide Stephen Miller, who has been claiming that, with regard to the Muslim and refugee ban:
"the president's powers here are beyond question."
McConnell also said that he disagrees with the president's attacks against the federal district and appellate judges who have temporarily blocked his Muslim and refugee ban order.
The above is a stark reminder of what is really involved in the issues surrounding the president's January 27 executive order.
Beyond the question of whether some 200 million people living in seven countries (and by extension, potentially, citizens of other, or all, Muslim countries, around the world) can be barred from the United States because of their religion, lies the question of who will have ultimate power in America during the Trump years - the three co-equal branches of government, as provided by our laws and Constitution, or one man - Donald J. Trump.
The POLITICO story is at:
Attorney at Law
Updated 02-15-2017 at 03:07 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
There are no reports that I am aware of indicating that Donald Trump's disgraced former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, had any conversations about attitudes toward Muslim immigrants during his discussions with Russian officials which led to his downfall and resignation.
But if that subject had come up during his discussions, Flynn (and his boss Donald Trump) might have been able to learn a great deal about acceptance of Muslims and Muslim immigrants in Russia that would sharply conflict with what the Washington Post, in a February 15 column by Ishaan Tharoor, describes, with a good deal of justification, as Flynn's Islamophobia.
Flynn's ties to Russia are a problem. But what about his Islamophobia?
(Sorry, I do not have a link. Please go to Google.)
In contrast to Flynn's wild statements about Muslims and their religion as being (in effect) the root of all evil, which are detailed in the above WP article, and which I will not dignify by repeating here, Putin's attitudes to Russia's large Muslim population, including Muslim immigrants are, while far from meeting the standards of democratic country, still a great deal more nuanced and realistic.
An exhaustive, in depth discussion of Vladimir Putin's approach toward Muslims, and Muslim immigrants in particular, in Russia is contained in an article (in English) by a research organization in Spain called Grupo De Estudios En Seguridad Internacional (GESI) entitled:
Islam in Russia: Challenge or Opportunity?
In introducing its subject, including an explanation about why Russia needs Muslim immigrants and welcomes them - up to a point - GESI states:
"Russian authorities have elaborated three parallel discourses on Islam to appear both 'Islamophile' and fighting radical Islam."
The article goes on to describe Putin's warm relationship with Muslim leaders whom he regards as supportive of the state, while at the same time taking harsh action against those he suspects of radical tendencies or of other opposition to his regime.
This is a far cry from regarding all Muslims around the world as inherently dangerous or as being in a "War of Civilizations" with the West, as we have been hearing, not only from Flynn, but from Stephen Bannon, another top presidential adviser who reportedly had a major role in developing Trump's disastrous January 27 Muslim travel ban order, which has been put on hold in large part by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
While Flynn's brief role in the Trump White House is now part of America's immigration history, Bannon remains very much at the center of power in Washington.
I will return to the subject of Muslim immigrants in Putin's Russia in a future comment.
Attorney at Law
Updated 02-15-2017 at 12:45 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
The latest immigration news in Donald Trump's America is that raids and arrests of unauthorized immigrant "criminal aliens", at least some of whom have never been convicted of a crime and therefore are not criminals under the laws of this country, are continuing to strike fear in immigrant communities throughout America. and may be heading in the direction of full police state operations against Latino and other minority immigrants.
How long will it be before American citizens who have any connection al all with unauthorized immigrants start to fall into the dragnet of a very broad statute, INA Section 274, which makes it a felony to "assist" anyone who is present in the US without permission?
In another development, General Michael Flynn, who achieved notoriety for calling Islam a "cancer" rather than a religion, has resigned as a top national security advisor to the president because of an unrelated imbroglio over his connections with Russia, whose dictator, Vladimir Putin, is Trump's strong supporter.
Will the White House's remaining top Islamophobe, Stephen Bannon, who was reportedly instrumental in preparing Trump's Muslim ban executive order fiasco, be the next to go? No sign of this, but it would not be such a bad idea for those who care about religious freedom and equal rights in America.
Putin, incidentally, has been reported as planning to build a gulag of 83 prison camps, one in or near each major Russian city, for unauthorized immigrants in his country. Will this be an inspiration for his ardent admirer, America's new president?
Attorney at Law
Updated 02-14-2017 at 11:56 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
The good people at Syracuse University's TRAC Immigration have done it again. They just released a primer on ICE immigration raids.
From the primer:
According to ICE, 65,332 individuals apprehended by ICE officers were removed during FY 2016. This works out to roughly 1,250 per week.
However, only a small part of this weekly average of 1,250 apprehensions and removals last year represented ICE arrests of individuals who were picked up directly from the community in which they lived. For simplicity, we refer to this kind of arrest as "community arrests." They are arrests made through ICE raids, or when ICE agents knock on someone's door seeking to arrest the person that lives there.
Most ICE apprehensions were not these kinds of community arrests. Instead, most of these estimated weekly 1,250 ICE apprehensions happened when ICE assumed custody of individuals held by another law enforcement agency. Many of these apprehensions occurred when ICE took individuals into custody from the prison or jail facility where they had been serving time for their criminal conviction. This was coordinated through ICE's Criminal Alien Program (CAP).
Still others were transferred to ICE CAP custody after they were picked up and fingerprinted by local law enforcement agencies on a non-immigration matter. ICE became aware of these arrests since all fingerprints local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies submit to the FBI are now automatically passed along to ICE. ICE checks these against its records to see if the individual may be deportable.
Click here to read the rest of the primer.
Updated 02-14-2017 at 10:45 AM by MKolken
Syracuse University's TRAC Immigration explains "Just because a person was taken into ICE custody also didn't automatically mean the individual was ordered deported and removed from the country." The moral of the story is hire a good deportation defense lawyer, and remember, you get what you pay for.
From their latest report:
Large-scale use of ICE detainers is a relatively recent phenomenon. Detainers were infrequently used during the first five and half years of former President George W. Bush's Administration. However, during the last two years under Bush, detainer usage increased rapidly and continued to grow when President Barack Obama assumed office.
Examining what detainers actually achieved and did not achieve during the Obama and Bush years is important because under the Trump Administration's recent flurry of immigration executive orders it appears that the use of detainers is likely to surge. It also should be observed that very recent changes in the agency's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) policies indicate that transparency about this and other ICE activities has been sharply reduced.
The data indicate that the growth in the use of detainers under Bush and Obama was surprisingly short lived. The preparation of ICE detainers peaked in August 2011 when 27,755 were recorded. And the number of these detainers that were followed by ICE taking the individual into custody peaked even earlier, during
March 2010. In that month 16,713 of the detainers, according to ICE records, were followed by the individual being taken into custody. This peak in March of 2010 was barely a year after President Obama assumed office. Detainer usage fell off after this.
Click here to view the entire report.