Migration News: January 15, 2021
Trump’s ‘zero tolerance’ border policy was pushed aggressively by Jeff Sessions, despite warnings, Justice Dept. review finds
Nick Miroff and Matt Zapotosky, Washington Post
The Trump administration and then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions barreled forward with their “zero tolerance” border crackdown in 2018 knowing that the policy would separate migrant children from their parents and despite warnings that the government was ill-prepared to deal with the consequences, according to a long-awaited report issued Thursday by the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General. The report called the Justice Department and the attorney general’s office a “driving force” in making sure the Department of Homeland Security aggressively prosecuted adults arriving with children, findings that cast doubt on statements made by Sessions that the government “never really intended” to separate families.
DC Judge Halts Trump's 15-Day Asylum Deadline
Craig Clough, Law360
A D.C. federal judge on Thursday halted the Trump administration's new restrictions on asylum, which imposed a 15-day deadline to apply from the first immigration court hearing instead of a full year after entering the U.S. In a brief order, U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton granted a preliminary injunction that a coalition of immigrants' rights groups had pushed for, preventing the rules from going into effect a week before the Biden administration is set to take the reins.
Ex-DHS chief attempts to skirt legal mess to keep Trump administration's immigration policies in place
Geneva Sands, CNN
Former acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf ratified his own policies and several controversial Trump immigration measures, in a last-ditch effort to overcome legal challenges that threatened his tenure. Wolf stepped down Monday amid legal turmoil over his authority to lead the department. Wolf's resignation from the acting secretary role meant Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Peter Gaynor is serving as acting secretary in the final days of the Trump administration. However, Wolf remained at the department in his Senate-confirmed undersecretary of policy role. Gaynor delegated authority to Wolf on Tuesday to ratify regulations and policies, which would allow Wolf to make the policies, rules and regulations he approved during his time as acting secretary the formal policy of the department in a way that gives the DHS more solid legal footing. Those policies included several asylum policies, a rejection of new Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals applications and a fee rule at US Citizenship and Immigration Services, as well as a memo regarding "First Amendment Protected Activities."
Study Says 69% of Undocumented Immigrant Workers Hold Essential Jobs to Fight COVID
Raymond G. Lahoud, The National Law Review
A new study released by the pro-immigrant reform group, FWD.us, shows that more than two-thirds of undocumented immigrant workers have frontline jobs considered essential to the U.S. fight against COVID-19. According to the 2019 American Community Survey by the Census Bureau, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that 69% of undocumented immigrant workers hold jobs that are deemed essential.
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The Christian Science Monitor