Posts Tagged ‘United States’

Pentagon May Deport Immigrants Who Have Served in the Military

Viernes, julio 21st, 2017
Pentagon May Deport Immigrants Who Have Served in the Military

Written by Melissa Cruz

The Pentagon is considering halting a program that allows immigrants with urgently needed skills to serve in the military, putting the thousands of soldiers promised expedited citizenship in exchange for their service at risk for deportation.

According to an undated Defense Department memo, the Pentagon may terminate the Military Accessions Vital to National Interest program (MAVNI), an initiative that has allowed noncitizens with specialized linguistic and medical skills to enlist in the military and receive fast-tracked citizenship. Since the program’s launch in 2009, these immigrant troops have filled in the gaps for jobs deemed critical to the military’s operation, but are in short supply in American-born troops.

The memo, however, cites the “potential threat” posed by these immigrant troops, referencing their “higher risk of connections to Foreign Intelligence Services.” Officials have now assigned threat level tiers to the 10,000 troops in the MAVNI program—the majority of whom serve in the Army—despite the rigorous vetting they endured to enter the military in the first place.

Attorney and Retired Lieutenant Coronel Margaret Stock, the founder of the MAVNI program, told NPR that these security concerns were exaggerated: “If you were a bad guy who wanted to infiltrate the Army, you wouldn’t risk the many levels of vetting required in this program.”

Other immigrants would not even be able to reach basic training—ending the MAVNI program would also cancel the contracts of recruits in the delay-entry program, a holding pool of recruits awaiting their assigned training date.

As a result, 1,800 enlistment contracts for immigrant recruits would be cancelled, putting roughly 1,000 at risk for deportation. Those recruits’ visas expired while waiting for the military’s travel orders. An additional 2,400 part-time troops would also be removed from service.

The Pentagon also plans to subject roughly 4,100 service members—most of whom are already naturalized citizens and have been deployed around the world—to “enhanced screening,” though the memo acknowledges the “significant legal constraints” of “continuous monitoring” of citizens without cause.

Stock said the Pentagon’s proposal may violate the U.S. Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause.

“They’re subjecting this whole entire group of people to this extreme vetting, and it’s not based on any individual suspicion of any of these people,” the former lieutenant colonel said. “They’ve passed all kinds of security checks already. That in itself is unconstitutional.”

Though the program itself may have been an Obama-era initiative, immigrant troops have aided the U.S. military for centuries, dating all the way back to the Revolutionary War. To cut this essential program now—particularly as the Trump administration calls for a heightened military presence around the globe—may not only be unconstitutional, it is a disservice to centuries of American military tradition that has relied on the skills of foreign-born service members.

Photo by MarineCorps NewYork

Publication Date: July 21 2017

The Government Continues to Ignore the Rights of Children in Detention, Court Finds

Jueves, julio 13th, 2017
 The Government Continues to Ignore the Rights of Children in Detention, Court Finds

Written by Karolina Walters

Despite being among some of the most vulnerable, children seeking asylum in the United States often fare the worst. Upon entering the United States, children are often detained for extended periods in violation of a long-standing agreement known as the Flores settlement.

The Flores agreement essentially acts as a contract between the government and children held in immigration custody. On Tuesday, a federal district court judge ruled once again that the government is failing to meet its obligations to children held in immigration custody.

The court found a number of violations, including holding children too long in detention, in substandard conditions, and in non-licensed facilities. In addition, the court ruled that the government is required to look at each child’s case individually to determine whether release from custody is appropriate—the government may not rely on any blanket standard to avoid the responsibility of assessing each case individually.

The Flores agreement is a nationwide settlement reached in 1997. In this settlement, the government agreed that children taken into immigration custody would be placed in the “least restrictive setting appropriate to [their] age and special needs” and would be released “without unnecessary delay,” preferably to a parent. The settlement also requires that if a child is not released to a parent, adult relative, or an appropriate guardian, children must be placed in non-secure facilities licensed for the care of dependent children within five days of apprehension.

Two years ago, the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law (CHRCL), on behalf of immigrant children, brought suit to enforce the Flores settlement. In July and August of 2015, U.S. District Court Judge Dolly M. Gee said the government must apply the settlement to all minors, including those detained with family members. Tuesday’s order from Judge Gee outlines the particular ways in which the government is in breach of the Flores settlement and how the court seeks to ensure compliance going forward.

For example, the settlement requires that children be released “without unnecessary delay,” subject to certain exceptions in the settlement agreement, including “in the event of an emergency influx of minors into the United States.” In her August 2015 Order, Judge Gee ruled that, based on extenuating circumstances, if at the current time “20 days is as fast as [the government], in good faith and in the exercise of due diligence, can possibly go” that time frame may be in line with the Flores agreement.

However, in Tuesday’s order, the court found that even if the court makes allowances for an “emergency influx,” the government is still not complying with the Flores agreement, because many children were being held even beyond the 20-day period.

To correct this and the other violations, the court ordered that the government identify a Juvenile Coordinator within 30 days of the order, to monitor compliance, as provided for under the Flores agreement itself. After a year, if the court determines that the government is still not substantially complying with the agreement, the court will consider appointing an independent monitor.

Judge Gee’s order makes clear that the government is not honoring its contract and must be held accountable. As put most succinctly by Judge Gee: “Defendants entered into the Flores Agreement and now they do not want to perform—but want this Court to bless the breach. That is not how contracts work.”

It remains to be seen how the government will respond and whether it will honor its commitments under the Flores agreement, but the order is a long-sought victory for the fair treatment of some of the most vulnerable among us—children held in immigration custody.

Photo by European Commission DG ECHO

Publication Date: July 13 2017

It’s Not up for Debate: Immigrants Invigorate the Economy

Lunes, abril 3rd, 2017
It’s Not up for Debate: Immigrants Invigorate the Economy

Written by Walter Ewing MARCH 30, 2017 in Immigration

As any reputable economist will tell you, immigrants contribute to the U.S. economy in many ways. Yet the often subtle complexities of immigration economics are largely absent from a March 24 opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal authored by Mark Krikorian, Executive Director of the anti-immigrant Center for Immigration Studies.

To begin with, immigrants are responsible for most labor force growth in this country now that the Baby Boom generation is aging into retirement. And immigrants add value to the economy through the goods and services which they produce through their labor. Immigrants (and their families) also spend money in U.S. businesses, which creates jobs for the people who work in those businesses. In addition, they also pay taxes to federal, state, and local governments, funding essential services and sustaining the salaries of government employees. Moreover, the businesses that immigrants so often create sustain the jobs of even more workers.

However, Krikorian negates the economic contributions of less-skilled, lower-paid immigrant workers. Specifically, he states that the notion of immigrants “doing jobs Americans won’t do” is false because, even in less-skilled occupations, at least half of all workers are native-born.

He fails to address the economic value of immigrant workers in those occupations. It would be more accurate to say that immigrants do jobs for which too few native-born workers are available. In other words, immigrant workers supplement the native-born workforce, expanding the labor force in certain occupations to a level it would otherwise be unable to attain.

Consider healthcare. Demand for workers is strong at both the high-skilled and less-skilled ends of the occupational spectrum. Immigrants comprise 25 percent of all medical doctors and 20 percent of home health aides in the United States. These shares are even higher in some rural parts of the country where native-born healthcare workers are particularly scarce. And demand is set to grow even higher as the native-born population ages and needs more and more medical care. Immigrants will inevitably play even more important roles in all sorts of healthcare occupations in the coming years.

More than just supplementing the native-born workforce, immigrants also “complement” native-born workers. For one thing, they bring their own special skill sets derived from work they did in their home countries—skill sets which don’t simply duplicate the skills of natives, but add something new. In addition, new immigrants are likely to fill different kinds of jobs than natives because they are not yet proficient in English. This, in turn, leaves natives to fill those jobs that do require mastery of English. The point is, immigrants and natives don’t simply substitute for one another. But you wouldn’t know this from reading Krikorian’s analysis, since he often conflates the two.

Krikorian also mischaracterizes the forces that drive migration. His analysis suggests that half the world is poised to migrate to the United States and would do so if U.S. immigration limits were lifted, flooding the country with mostly less-skilled immigrants who would steal American jobs, drive down wages, and bankrupt the welfare state. What this demographic doomsday scenario overlooks is the crucial role played by labor demand in drawing immigrants to the United States. When the economy is booming, more immigrants come. When the economy slips into recession, fewer come. People tend not to migrate solely because they are dissatisfied with their home countries, but because the economic prospects of another are reasonably good.

Perhaps Krikorian’s selective economics is a product of the ideological lens through which he views immigrants. Krikorian ultimately veers into xenophobic terrain when he states that we need more stringent limits on immigration to slow the growth of groups that do not sufficiently “assimilate” into American society —like those immigrants and children of immigrants who identify with “pan-racial” terms such as “Hispanic” or “Asian.” But who gets to define what it means to be “American”? Krikorian does not address that thorny issue.

At the end of his piece, Krikorian reveals what is perhaps his biggest fear when it comes to immigration: a fear of “ethnic diversity” that might “overload” U.S. society. However, the United States has survived for centuries with very high levels of diversity. It has also survived periodic revivals of nativism in which some native-born Americans reject anyone who looks or sounds different than they do.

Última Actualización: April 03 2017