I realize that is has been a while since I’ve created new content for the site. Life happened. But that has not stopped immigration law from pressing on — and boy has it.
At present, we are in the midst of the family separation / family detention saga. Normally, I’d say you’d have to have been living under a rock to not be aware of this situation, but I think even cave people are in the know.
Despite all the rallying cries and protests over the years regarding the deportation machine, DACA, DAPA, etc., nothing has captured the public’s attention like this, and rightfully so. I’m not going to go into exactly what’s going on right now, as there are a million news articles you can find on it: here, here, here, here. But, there’s a bigger picture that a lot of people do not see — except immigration attorneys.
This family separation crisis is absolutely terrible and a black stain on the USA, but it’s only a symptom of a larger play by the Trump Administration to restrict lawful immigration. For example, AG Jeff Sessions has been referring Board of Immigration Appeals’ cases to himself, which allows him to rewrite precedent. He’s used this power already to essentially gut administrative closure and the ability of domestic violence victims to gain asylum. But he hasn’t stopped there. He’s been selectively picking cases that have allowed him to shape the law in broad strokes. Former Immigration Judge Jeffrey Chase has a great blog post on this. It is absolutely must-read if you want to understand what’s going on here.
Another issue is the call for a single staging area to reunite families. Oddly, it’s created a rift between old guard immigration practitioners and the newly invigorated public. From an outsider’s perspective, it seems like a single staging area makes sense as the fastest way to reunify families. But, immigration practitioners having been fighting against “family detention” for years, and many see a single staging area as a euphemism for family detention. Their cry is release, represent, reunify. I understand both perspectives, and I don’t know that either is the “right” answer, if there is one. But, I do think that immigration practitioners have not done the best job explaining to the public exactly why they oppose the single staging area idea. And on the flip side, I’d rather be detained indefinitely with my child than spend even a minute apart — and some of the separated parents have said the same thing.
If I had to pick sides, I’d just move to Canada. Seriously, though, if the immigration attorneys can file a few lawsuits and get some expedited judicial action, then that path would be the preferred path. But the longer this drags on, the harder it is going to be to reunify these families — which should be everyone’s number one goal.
Long story short, things are a mess. I didn’t even get into the leaked DOJ regulation to restrict asylum even further. That’s a post for another day. I have a feeling that as crazy as these last few weeks have been, it’s not over by a long shot.