Immigration

Immigration

U.S. Homeland Security not targeting Dreamers: Kelly

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Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly speaks at an event entitled
Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly speaks at an event entitled "Home and Away: Threats to America and the DHS Response" at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., U.S. April 18, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein

By Valerie Volcovici

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Department of Homeland Security will not target immigrants brought to the United States as children for deportation, despite conflicting statements within the Trump administration, its secretary John Kelly said on Sunday.

Kelly, asked on Sunday morning talk shows to clarify the department’s position on the status of these illegal immigrants protected under an Obama-era program, said the agency is focused on deporting only dangerous criminals.

“My organization has not targeted these so-called Dreamers,” Kelly told CNN, referring to the name given to those granted protections under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program created by Democratic President Barack Obama and extended by Republican President Donald Trump.

“We have many, many more important criminals to go after,” he said.

Trump has said Dreamers “have nothing to worry about,” but Attorney General Jeff Sessions last week said immigrants who arrived in the United States as children were “subject to being deported.”

On Sunday, Sessions walked back his earlier statement.

“I believe that everyone that enters the country unlawfully is subject to being deported; however, we’ve got — we don’t have the ability to round up everybody and there’s no plans to do that,” Sessions said on ABC. “But we’re going to focus first, as the president has directed us, on the criminal element.”

On Feb. 17, Juan Manuel Montes, 23, who had lived in the United States since he was 9, was deported from the border city of Calexico, California, after being questioned by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer.

That was the first documented deportation of a Dreamer.

Kelly said in another Sunday interview on CBS that while Dreamers are not being targeted, several of them end up detained by immigration officers as they round up criminals.

“People fall into our hands incidentally that we have no choice in most cases but to go ahead and put in the system,” he said.

(Reporting By Valerie Volcovici; additional reporting by DOina Chiacu; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)

New sheriff in Arizona to close controversial ‘Tent City’ jail

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An inmate serving a jail sentence stands in the yard at Maricopa County's Tent City jail in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S. on July 30, 2010. REUTERS/Joshua Lott/File Photo
An inmate serving a jail sentence stands in the yard at Maricopa County's Tent City jail in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S. on July 30, 2010. REUTERS/Joshua Lott/File Photo

By David Schwartz

PHOENIX (Reuters) – A controversial outdoor tent jail in Arizona that became one of the signature tough-on-crime projects of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio will be shut down, his replacement for the job said on Tuesday.

The canvas compound known as “Tent City” in southwest Phoenix, long branded inhumane by civil rights groups, was no longer needed to handle the inmate population, new Maricopa Sheriff Paul Penzone said.

“This facility is not a crime deterrent, it is not cost efficient and it is not tough on criminals,” said Penzone, who took office in January after beating Arpaio in last year’s election. He projected $4.5 million savings from closing Tent City.

Inmates serving a jail sentence walk back to the yard at Maricopa County's Tent City jail in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S. on July 30, 2010. REUTERS/Joshua Lott/File Photo
Inmates serving a jail sentence walk back to the yard at Maricopa County’s Tent City jail in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S. on July 30, 2010. REUTERS/Joshua Lott/File Photo

Penzone said the jail had become a circus that inmates preferred, rather than a prudent law enforcement tool to house law-breakers.

“Starting today that circus ends and these tents come down,” he told reporters at a news conference, adding that inmate transfers would begin in 45 to 60 days. “We’re going to give these criminals what they don’t want.”

The decision comes after Penzone appointed a committee in January to determine the fate of the outdoor facility, which opened in August 1993 with surplus military tents.

Billed as a cost-saver, the more than 2,000-bed facility was intended to help relieve an over-crowded jail system and quickly became one of Arpaio’s most high-profile acts during his six terms in office.

A string of politicians and visitors from across the world have toured the sun-scorched facility erected adjacent to a brick-and-mortar jail.

An inmate serving a jail sentence rests on his bed at Maricopa County's Tent City jail in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S. on July 30, 2010. REUTERS/Joshua Lott/File Photo
An inmate serving a jail sentence rests on his bed at Maricopa County’s Tent City jail in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S. on July 30, 2010. REUTERS/Joshua Lott/File Photo

Arpaio, who became known for his anti-illegal immigration stance and jail practices such as making inmates wear pink underwear and eat green bologna, vowed the jail would never close under his watch.

Alessandra Soler, executive director of the ACLU of Arizona, called the closure a “good step forward” but that still more work was needed.

“Maricopa County’s jails are plagued by the mistreatment of pre-trial detainees and remain under federal court oversight because of the ongoing abuse of people with mental health problems,” said Soler, in a statement. The dollars saved by the closure should be used for programs and services that address these and other problems, she added.

Arpaio, 84, was ousted in November after serving 24 years as sheriff. He faces a criminal contempt trial on April 25 for violating the orders of a federal judge in a racial profiling case.

Arpaio declined to comment for this story.

(Reporting by David Schwartz in Phoenix; Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Andrew Hay)

Treehouses and mansions: in the shadow of the fence

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Joaquin, 36, a chef from Guatemala who says he was deported from the United States, poses for a photograph while leaning on a section of the border fence separating Mexico and the United States, in Tijuana, Mexico, February 26, 2017.
Joaquin, 36, a chef from Guatemala who says he was deported from the United States, poses for a photograph while leaning on a section of the border fence separating Mexico and the United States, in Tijuana, Mexico, February 26, 2017. "I've tried to cross so many times that the (U.S.) border guards even got to know me, but I never made it back," said Joaquin, who makes a living by collecting trash in Tijuana that he tries to sell to a local recycling plant. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido SEARCH "FENCE GARRIDO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.

The rust-red U.S. fence along the Mexican border has inspired various quirky architectural structures, from a frontier-themed mansion to a humble treehouse with uninterrupted views across the Californian scrubland.

Carlos Torres, an architect in the northern Mexican city of Tijuana, has lived in a house in the shadow of the U.S. border for three decades, and the fence that U.S. President Donald Trump has vowed to expand begins at the end of his garden.

Yet far from seeing the metal wall as an eyesore, he chose to make it a central piece of the design aesthetic of his lavish home, which he has named “The First House in Northwest Mexico.”

A specially erected viewpoint provides a panoramic vista into the United States, while his garden is littered with border paraphernalia, such as a signpost indicating the start of U.S. territory.

Although Torres has embraced his little section of wall, he doubted the larger fence that Trump envisages will work.

“Walls won’t halt immigration,” he said from his viewing balcony, which also looks out onto the Pacific Ocean. Trump, he said, “doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Here at this fence, people keep crossing every week.”

The wall also dominates Pedro and Carmen Hernandez’s garden, but unlike Torres, they don’t have the means to turn it into a design feature. Instead, they use the corrugated metal that looms over their modest home to hang their clothes to dry.

“Sometimes, we’ve had people in our gardens who are trying to cross over,” Carmen said. “This area has been dangerous for years. We’ve had murders and kidnappings. But one learns to live with it.”

A few kilometers east of Torres’ mansion, Guatemalan chef Joaquin set up a much simpler home in the branches of a tree, just meters from the border.

Deported from the United States a few years ago and with little money to spend, Joaquin – who did not want his last name used so he would not be identified – hoisted a scruffy mattress into the heart of the tree and spends his nights staring up through the leaves into the heavens. During the day, he often spots dozens of migrants trying to sneak into the United States.

“I’ve tried to cross so many times that the (U.S.) border guards even got to know me, but I never made it back,” said Joaquin, who makes a living by collecting trash in Tijuana that he tries to sell to a local recycling plant.

In Trump era, some Mexican migrants head north – to Canada

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Mexican deportee Nico talks to his family at Our Lady of Guadalupe migrant shelter in Reynosa, Mexico March 14, 2017. REUTERS/Daniel Becerril

By Gabriel Stargardter, Lizbeth Diaz and Anna Mehler Paperny

REYNOSA, Mexico/TORONTO (Reuters) – Shortly after crossing the Rio Grande into the gang-infested border city of Reynosa, dozens of Mexicans deported during U.S President Donald Trump’s first days in office said they would soon try to head north again – but this time to Canada.

In a Reynosa migrant shelter, just yards from the U.S. border, 26-year-old Cenobio Rita said he had earned about $3,000 a month installing playgrounds in Richmond, Virginia, before he was deported on Feb. 15 after police found marijuana in his car.

Having left Mexico as a 14-year-old, he fretted about returning to his violent home state of Michoacan. With Trump taking a tough stance on undocumented immigrants, he ruled out a common path for many deportees – back into the United States.

“I want to go to Canada with my passport,” he said. “For those without documents, I think (the United States) is over. Now it’s Canada’s turn.”

As Trump seeks to crack down on undocumented immigrants in the United States, about half of whom are Mexican, there are some nascent signs that more Mexican migrants see a future in Canada, which in December eased travel for visitors from Mexico.

Canadian government data shows a tripling of Mexicans seeking to travel to Canada in the three months since the visa requirement was shelved.

It is not a firm indicator as many people could be genuine tourists. But tie it to a surge in calls and emails to immigration lawyers from recently arrived Mexicans looking for work permits, as well as the accounts of deportees like Rita and Mexicans already in Canada, and it suggests a new migration pattern may be emerging.

Seven immigration lawyers, consultants and activists told Reuters that requests for legal advice from Mexicans who had entered Canada since Dec. 1 had roughly tripled compared with the same period in 2015-2016, while Mexico’s Canadian consulates are also receiving more requests for help.

Between December and late February, Canada has granted more than 61,500 eTAs (Electronic Travel Authorization forms) to Mexicans, about triple the number of quarterly tourist applications received in the year before the visa requirement was scrapped, official Canadian data shows. The true scale of Mexican immigration will only become fully apparent in June, when early arrivals on these eTAs are due to leave.

Flight bookings from Mexico to Canada also swelled 90 percent in January and February versus the same period in 2016, according to travel analysis company ForwardKeys, which reviews all major travel agency bookings. It is unclear what percentage of those bookings were made by people looking to work illegally in Canada.

Marcela Gonzalez’s telephone and Facebook page may be a good indicator. The immigration paralegal in Toronto used to receive four calls a month from Mexicans in Canada, before Trump’s election and the new visa-free travel.

“Now I get four in less than 10 minutes,” from people wanting to know how to get work permits and permanent residency, she said.

Gonzalez said 200 Mexicans looking for immigration advice wrote to her on Facebook on a recent day, including parents already in Canada asking her how to enroll their children in local schools.

Mexico’s foreign ministry said it, too, had noticed an uptick.

“Between January and March 2017, our consulates in Canada received more requests for assistance and protection than were seen in the same period of the previous year,” it said.

The ministry, which estimated 90,000 Mexicans live in Canada, said it did not think Trump’s election win was driving the surge, adding it was too early to detect a definitive trend.

Canada is closely monitoring “migration trends regarding Mexican travelers to Canada, including asylum claim rates,” said Camielle Edwards, spokeswoman for Immigration and Refugee Minister Ahmed Hussen.

Reuters spoke to about 30 Mexicans in Reynosa who had been deported the previous night. More than half said they wanted to head to Canada. While it is unclear how many will succeed, almost nobody envisaged a future in the United States.

But tough border checks, hard-to-find jobs and fine-tuned enforcement policies mean it can be hard to enter and harder to stay.

In 2015, Victor Avila, a 37-year-old architect from Oaxaca, returned home voluntarily from the United States after five years working illegally in Freehold, New Jersey. Shocked by the low wages in Mexico and traumatized by the local murder of his brother, he applied for an eTA.

Avila arrived in Toronto a few weeks ago and found work in a restaurant. He was in the process of applying for a work visa, but said he would stay on illegally for a year if it wasn’t granted.

“I think for many of us in Canada, there’s no other option but to stay and work illegally,” he said.

CAUTIONARY TALE

Many Mexicans believe the eTA is all they need to set up in Canada, but in almost all cases they are wrong, immigration lawyers said. The eTA does not even guarantee entry.

Even if they get past the airport, many low-skilled Mexicans hoping to work illegally are likely to be disappointed, lawyers said, noting that it’s difficult for those entering on tourist visas to get work permits without an employer’s sponsorship.

Some Mexican visitors told Reuters that Canadian immigration officials went through their phones and asked tough questions designed to trip up those seeking to stay and work illegally. While some got through, others were sent home.

Canada says those convicted of crimes, as well as gang members, are inadmissible, making it hard for criminally convicted Mexicans deported from the United States to enter.

Some 313 Mexicans with eTAs were denied access to Canada in January, according to official Canadian data obtained by Reuters, more than the total number rejected each year in 2012, 2013 and 2014. (For a graphic on the number of Mexicans blocked from entering Canada see http://tmsnrt.rs/2n5egvh)

Alejandro Becerra’s experience is a cautionary tale for Mexicans dreaming of a new life in Canada.

The 30-year-old former bankteller from Mexico City got a job offer to work in construction in Toronto and flew to the city on Feb. 7 on an eTA.

Becerra told a border official at the airport that he was coming as a tourist and showed him his return flight. The official didn’t believe him and examined his phone, where he found messages discussing Becerra’s job in Toronto.

Becerra spent the night in a detention center, and the next morning he was taken in handcuffs to a plane that would return him to Mexico.

($1 = 19.6240 Mexican pesos)

(Writing by Gabriel Stargardter; Additional reporting by Jeffrey Dastin in San Francisco; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel and Ross Colvin)

Trump signs new travel ban order, Iraq left off: officials

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U.S. President Donald Trump delivers his first address to a joint session of Congress from the floor of the House of Representatives iin Washington, U.S., February 28, 2017. REUTERS/Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool
U.S. President Donald Trump delivers his first address to a joint session of Congress from the floor of the House of Representatives iin Washington, U.S., February 28, 2017. REUTERS/Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool

By Steve Holland and Julia Edwards Ainsley

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump signed a revised executive order for a U.S. travel ban on Monday, leaving Iraq off the list of targeted countries, after his controversial first attempt was blocked in the courts, senior administration officials said.

The new order, which the White House said Trump had signed, will keep a 90-day ban on travel to the United States by citizens of six Muslim-majority nations – Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, the officials said.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders had said earlier on Monday that the new order would take effect on March 16. The new directive delays implementation to limit the disruption that created havoc for some travelers when Trump issued his original order.

Trump had said the restrictive order is necessary to ensure domestic security. His secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, told reporters on Monday, “As threats to our security continue to evolve and change, common sense dictates that we continually re-evaluate and reassess the systems we rely upon to protect our country.”

Iraq was taken off the list in the original order, which was issued on Jan. 27, because the Iraqi government has imposed new vetting procedures, such as heightened visa screening and data sharing, and because of its work with the United States in countering Islamic State militants, a senior White House official said.

“There’s going to be a very orderly process,” a senior official from the Department of Homeland Security said. “You should not see any chaos so to speak, or alleged chaos at airports. There aren’t going to be folks stopped tonight from coming into the country because of this executive order.”

Thousands of Iraqis have fought alongside U.S. troops for years or worked as translators since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. Many have resettled in the United States after being threatened for working with U.S. troops.

The White House official said the new executive order also ensures that tens of thousands of legal permanent residents in the United States – or green card holders – from the listed countries would not be affected by the travel ban.

More than two dozen lawsuits were filed in U.S. courts against the original travel ban and the state of Washington succeeded in having it suspended by the 9th Circuit court of Appeals by arguing that it violated constitutional protections against religious discrimination.

Trump publicly criticized judges who ruled against him and vowed to fight the case in the Supreme Court, but then decided to draw up a new order with changes aimed at making it easier to defend in the courts.

Refugees who are “in transit” and already have been approved would be able to travel to the United States.

Trump’s original order barred travelers from the seven nations from entering for 90 days and all refugees for 120 days. Refugees from Syria were to be banned indefinitely but under the new order they are not given separate treatment.

“This executive order has scrapped that division and the indefinite suspension and has collapsed them into a single category of a 120-day suspension,” the White House official said.

(Additional reporting by Julia Edwards Ainsley, Patricia Zengerle, Doina Chiacu and Mica Rosenberg; Editing by Bill Trott and Nick Tattersall)

Parents fearing deportation pick guardians for U.S. children

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U.S. Border patrol agents stand at an open gate on the fence along the Mexico border to allow Luis Eduardo Hernandez-Bautista hug Ty'Jahnae Williams and his father Eduardo Hernandez (not in view), as part of Universal Children's Day at the Border Field State Park, California, U.S. on November 19, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo
U.S. Border patrol agents stand at an open gate on the fence along the Mexico border to allow Luis Eduardo Hernandez-Bautista hug Ty'Jahnae Williams and his father Eduardo Hernandez (not in view), as part of Universal Children's Day at the Border Field State Park, California, U.S. on November 19, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

By Kristina Cooke and Mica Rosenberg

SAN FRANCISCO/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Parents who immigrated illegally to the United States and now fear deportation under the Trump administration are inundating immigration advocates with requests for help in securing care for their children in the event they are expelled from the country.

The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) advocacy group has been receiving about 10 requests a day from parents who want to put in place temporary guardianships for their children, said spokesman Jorge-Mario Cabrera. Last year, the group said it received about two requests a month for guardianship letters and notarization services.

At the request of a nonprofit organization, the National Lawyers Guild in Washington D.C. put out a call this week for volunteer attorneys to help immigrants fill out forms granting friends or relatives the right to make legal and financial decisions in their absence.

In New Jersey, immigration attorney Helen Ramirez said she is getting about six phone calls a day from parents. Last year, she said, she had no such calls.

“Their biggest fear is that their kids will end up in foster care,” Ramirez said.

President Donald Trump’s administration has issued directives to agents to more aggressively enforce immigration laws and more immigrants are coming under scrutiny by the authorities.

For parents of U.S. citizens who are ordered removed, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency “accommodates, to the extent practicable, the parents’ efforts to make provisions” for their children, said ICE spokeswoman Sarah Rodriguez. She said that might include access to a lawyer, consular officials and relatives for detained parents to execute powers of attorney or apply for passports and buy airline tickets if the parents decide whether or not to take the children with them.

Randy Capps of the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), a Washington-based non-profit that analyzes the movement of people worldwide, said that while putting contingency plans in place is a good idea, he does not think the level of fear is justified.

During the previous administration of President Barack Obama, a Democrat, the likelihood of both parents being deported was slim, Capps said.

He doubts there will be a huge shift under Republican Trump toward deporting both parents.

“The odds are still very low but not as low as they were – and this is just the beginning of the administration,” he said.

About five million children under the age of 18 are living with at least one parent who is in the country illegally, according to a 2016 study by MPI. Most of the children, 79 percent, were U.S. citizens, the study found.

In the second half of 2015, ICE removed 15,422 parents who said they have at least one U.S.-born child, according to ICE data.

Obama was criticized for being the “deporter in chief” after he expelled more than 400,000 people in 2012, the most by any president in a single year. In 2014, the Obama administration began focusing on a narrower slice of immigrants, those who had recently entered the country or committed serious felonies. Trump has said he would still prioritize criminals for deportation.

‘WORRIED ALL THE TIME’

In rural New Jersey, Seidy Martinez and her husband Jose Gomez have begun the difficult conversations with their 10-year-old daughter about what would happen if her parents were deported.

Martinez, a house cleaner, and Gomez, who works on a horse farm, are both from Honduras. They entered the United States illegally, and do not have papers, unlike their daughter, who has been granted asylum, and their 3-year-old son, a U.S. citizen.

“Now we are worried all the time. We don’t have anything that would allow us to stay here,” said Martinez. “Our main concern is what will happen to our children.”

She has told her daughter that she could live with her aunt in Miami and is considering drafting paperwork that would give her relative some legal rights if she and her husband are deported. The 10-year old tries to comfort her mother. “She tells me, ‘Mami, tranquila. Don’t be afraid, I am scared too but don’t worry everything will be OK.'”

U.S. Border patrol agents stand watch at an open gate on the fence along the Mexico border to allow Delia Valdovinos-Sanchez to embrace Ramona Vargas, as part of Universal Children's Day at the Border Field State Park, California, U.S. on November 19, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo
U.S. Border patrol agents stand watch at an open gate on the fence along the Mexico border to allow Delia Valdovinos-Sanchez to embrace Ramona Vargas, as part of Universal Children’s Day at the Border Field State Park, California, U.S. on November 19, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

‘IF MOM DOESN’T COME HOME’

Rebecca Kitson, an immigration attorney in Albuquerque, New Mexico, says she advises her increasingly nervous clients to have the kind of conversations Martinez and her husband are having with their children.

She said she urges parents to be specific in their instructions. “If Mom doesn’t come home by a specific time, who do [the kids] call?” said Kitson.

Immigration groups are offering low-cost services. CHIRLA, for example, offers a free sample letter and help filling it out, which then must be notarized at a cost of about $10. But some parents here illegally say they have had trouble finding affordable help.

Melvin Arias, 39, a New Jersey landscaper from Costa Rica who entered the United States illegally 13 years ago, said he decided after hearing news of stepped-up immigration enforcement to take legal precautions for his five-year-old son and six-month old daughter, who are both U.S. citizens.

But when he asked for help from two different lawyers, Arias was told preparing legal documents would cost him between $700 and $1,250. He is looking for a cheaper way to obtain the paperwork he needs.

“If there comes a time when both of us have a problem, I want there to be a responsible person who can come and get [the children] for us, to take them to wherever we might be,” Arias said.

U.S. Border patrol agents stand at an open gate on the fence along the Mexico border to allow Edith Hernandez and her daughter Yvette hug Maria Plata-Colin, as part of Universal Children's Day at Border Field State Park, California, U.S. on November 19, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo
U.S. Border patrol agents stand at an open gate on the fence along the Mexico border to allow Edith Hernandez and her daughter Yvette hug Maria Plata-Colin, as part of Universal Children’s Day at Border Field State Park, California, U.S. on November 19, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

(Reporting By Kristina Cooke in San Francisco and Mica Rosenberg in New York; Editing by Sue Horton and Grant McCool)

Texas Sheriff cuts ties with ICE program over immigration detentions & more news

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Another U.S. sheriff ends a controversial partnership with federal immigration authorities – Full Story (Houston Chronicle)

 

Cook County sheriff’s office has “no interest” in joining federal immigration efforts

Mexico will not accept Trump’s immigration plans

Major elements of Trump’s new immigration policies

A cartoon on 3 different types of ‘dreamers’

Community organizations mobilize to inform immigrants about new immigration guidelines

U.S. judges limit Trump immigration order; some officials ignore rulings

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Activists gather at the US Capitol to protest President Donald Trump's executive actions on immigration in Washington January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
Activists gather at the US Capitol to protest President Donald Trump's executive actions on immigration in Washington January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein

By Mica Rosenberg and Jonathan Stempel

(Reuters) – U.S. judges in at least five states blocked federal authorities from enforcing President Donald Trump’s executive order restricting immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries.

However, lawyers representing people covered by the order said some authorities were unwilling on Sunday to follow the judges’ rulings.

Judges in California, Massachusetts, Virginia and Washington state, each home to international airports, issued their rulings after a similar order was issued on Saturday night by U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly in New York’s Brooklyn borough.

Donnelly had ruled in a lawsuit by two men from Iraq being held at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

While none of the rulings struck down Friday’s executive order by the new Republican president, the growing number of them could complicate the administration’s effort to enforce it.

The rulings add to questions about the constitutionality of the order, said Andrew Pincus, a Mayer Brown partner representing two Yemeni men who were denied U.S. entry from an overseas flight despite being legal permanent residents.

“People have gone through processes to obtain legal permanent resident status, or visas,” Pincus said. “There are serious questions about whether those rights, which were created by statute, can be unilaterally taken away without process.”

Trump’s order halted travel by people with passports from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days, and stopped the resettlement of refugees for 120 days.

He said these actions were needed “to protect the American people from terrorist attacks by foreign nationals admitted to the United States.”

The order sparked a global backlash, including from U.S. allies that view the actions as discriminatory and divisive.

Attorneys general from California, New York, 13 other states and Washington, D.C., meanwhile, in a statement condemned and pledged to fight what they called Trump’s “dangerous” and “unconstitutional” order.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security on Sunday said it “will comply with judicial orders,” while enforcing Trump’s order in a manner that ensures those entering the United States “do not pose a threat to our country or the American people.”

SAFE, NOT SORRY

Striking that balance has caused confusion, according to lawyers who worked overnight and on Sunday to help travelers at JFK Airport, Washington Dulles International Airport in northern Virginia, and elsewhere.

Immigration lawyer Sharifa Abbasi said some Border Patrol agents at Dulles refused to let lawyers talk with detainees, even after being shown an order from U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema requiring such access.

Abbasi said the agents instead told the lawyers to call their agency’s office, where no one was answering.

“There is really no method to this madness,” Becca Heller, director of the New York-based International Refugee Assistance Project organization, told reporters on a conference call.

Supporters of Trump’s order said authorities acted properly in swiftly taking steps to enforce it.

“It is better (to) be safe than sorry,” said Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the conservative Center for Immigration Studies in Washington.

Lawsuits on behalf of more than 100 individual travelers have been filed nationwide, activists and lawyers estimated.

Some have come from large corporate firms including Mayer Brown, Kirkland & Ellis, and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton.

CURBS ON TRUMP’S ORDER

In Boston, U.S. District Judge Allison Burroughs on Sunday temporarily blocked the removal of two Iranians who have taught at the University of Massachusetts, and had been detained at the city’s Logan International Airport.

Burroughs’ ruling appeared to go further than Donnelly’s by barring the detention, as well as the removal, of approved refugees, visa holders and permanent U.S. residents entering from the seven countries. Donnelly’s order forbade only removal.

Matthew Segal, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, in a statement called Burroughs’ ruling “a huge victory for justice” in the face of what he called Trump’s “unconstitutional ban on Muslims.”

The U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment guarantees the free exercise of religion. Trump’s order sought to prioritize refugees fleeing religious persecution, which the president said was aimed at helping Christians in Syria.

Burroughs’ ruling also prompted some Trump critics to urge holders of green cards, which allow foreign nationals to live and work permanently in the United States, to fly into Boston, to lessen the risk of detainment.

White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said several times on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that Trump’s order does not affect green card holders “moving forward” or “going forward.”

In a ruling on Sunday, U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee in Los Angeles directed the return to the United States of Ali Khoshbakhti Vayeghan, who authorities had sent back to his native Iran following Trump’s order.

The ruling from Brinkema, in Alexandria, Virginia, barred the Homeland Security agency from removing an estimated 50 to 60 legal permanent residents who had been detained at Dulles.

In Seattle, U.S. District Judge Thomas Zilly barred the government from removing two people, who were not named in court papers. He scheduled a Feb. 3 hearing on whether to lift that stay.

(Reporting by Nate Raymond and Mica Rosenberg and Jonathan Stempel in New York; Additional reporting by Andrew Chung, Dan Levine and Yeganeh Torbati; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Mary Milliken)

Tens of thousands in U.S. cities protest Trump immigration order

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Demonstrators yell slogans during protest against the travel ban imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order, at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California, U.S., January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Ted Soqui
Demonstrators yell slogans during protest against the travel ban imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order, at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California, U.S., January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Ted Soqui

By Frank McGurty and Nathan Frandino

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Tens of thousands of people rallied in U.S. cities and at airports on Sunday to voice outrage over President Donald Trump’s executive order restricting entry into the country for travelers from seven Muslim-majority nations.

In New York, Washington and Boston, a second wave of demonstrations followed spontaneous rallies that broke out at U.S. airports on Saturday as U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents began enforcing Trump’s directive. The protests spread westward as the day progressed.

The order, which bars admission of Syrian refugees and suspends travel to the United States from Syria, Iraq, Iran and four other countries on national security grounds, has led to the detention or deportation of hundreds of people arriving at U.S. airports.

One of the largest of Sunday’s protests took place at Battery Park in lower Manhattan, within sight of the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor, long a symbol of welcome to U.S. shores.

Democratic Senator Charles Schumer of New York told the crowd that Trump’s order was un-American and ran counter to the country’s core values.

“What we are talking about here is life and death for so many people,” the Senate Democratic leader said. “I will not rest until these horrible orders are repealed.”

The march, estimated to have grown to about 10,000 people, later began heading to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection office in lower Manhattan.

In Washington, thousands rallied at Lafayette Square across from the White House, chanting: “No hate, no fear, refugees are welcome here.”

It was the second straight weekend that Washington was the scene of protests. Last Saturday, hundreds of thousands of women participated in an anti-Trump rally and march, one of dozens staged across the country.

On Sunday, many of the protesters left the White House area and marched along Pennsylvania Avenue, stopping at the Trump International Hotel where they shouted: “Shame, shame, shame.”

A crowd that police estimated at 8,000 people eventually arrived at the steps of the U.S. Capitol, where a line of uniformed officers stood guard.

As the crowd passed the Canadian Embassy en route to the Capitol, protesters chanted: “Hey hey, ho ho, I wish our leader was Trudeau.” It was a reference to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Saturday Twitter message affirming his country’s welcoming policy toward refugees.

Trump defended the executive order in a statement on Sunday, saying the United States would resume issuing visas to all countries once secure policies were put in place over the next 90 days.

“To be clear, this is not a Muslim ban, as the media is falsely reporting,” Trump said. “This is not about religion – this is about terror and keeping our country safe.”

‘NEVER AGAIN MEANS NEVER’

Aria Grabowski, 30, of Washington, was carrying a sign that read: “Never again means never again for everyone.”

Above the slogan was a photograph of Jewish refugees who fled Germany in 1939 on a ship that was turned away from Havana, Cuba, and forced to return to Europe. More than 250 people aboard the ship were eventually killed by the Nazis.

About 200 protesters chanted on Sunday afternoon at Washington Dulles International Airport in northern Virginia near the U.S. capital.

About the same number gathered at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, where anxious families awaited relatives detained for hours after flights from countries affected by the presidential order.

At Los Angeles International Airport, hundreds of people had gathered to protest Trump’s order, as chants of “refugees are welcome here” echoed through the arrivals hall.

Organizers estimated that more than 10,000 people packed Boston’s Copley Square to hear Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a vocal critic of Trump and a leader of the Democratic Party’s liberal wing, and other speakers.

During the protests, dozens of Muslims, some of them kneeling on protest signs, bowed in prayer on rugs laid out on a grassy patch of ground in the square.

In Houston, which was already filling up with visitors for next Sunday’s Super Bowl, about 500 people marched through the downtown.

Jennifer Fagen, 47, a sociology professor at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, said she hoped she did not lose her job for protesting.

“I’m Jewish, and it’s supposed to be ‘never again,'” Fagen said, referring to the Holocaust. “Jews should be the first ones to defend Muslims, considering what has happened to us, and it seems it’s being repeated under Trump.”

At Detroit Metropolitan Airport, police cordoned off sections of terminal as up to 3,000 demonstrators chanted, “No hate, no fear, refugees are welcome here.”

Among the demonstrators were Wail Aljirafi and his wife, Samyeh Zindani of Ann Arbor, Michigan, and their three children.

“We want them to feel that they’re always included,” Zindani, a Yemeni-American, told Reuters.

In the Detroit suburb of Hamtramck, Michigan, home to a large number of Yemeni immigrant families and the nation’s first Muslim-majority city council, at least 600 people rallied outside City Hall.

Rama Alhoussaini, 23, a Syrian immigrant who lives in nearby Dearborn, said she and her family emigrated to Michigan in 1999 when she was 6 years old.

“Now for us to see this kind of hatred and bigotry, it breaks my heart,” she said. “It makes me feel like I am not wanted here.”

(Additional reporting by Susan Corwall, Ian Simpson and Lesley Wroughton in Washington, Brian Snyder in Boston, Ruthy Munoz in Houston, Chris Francescani in New York, and Serena Maria Daniels in Detroit; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Jonathan Oatis)

Trump moves ahead with wall, puts stamp on U.S. immigration, security policy

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A boy looks at U.S. workers building a section of the U.S.-Mexico border wall at Sunland Park, U.S. opposite the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, September 9, 2016. Picture taken from the Mexico side of the U.S.-Mexico border. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez/File Photo
A boy looks at U.S. workers building a section of the U.S.-Mexico border wall at Sunland Park, U.S. opposite the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, September 9, 2016. Picture taken from the Mexico side of the U.S.-Mexico border. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez/File Photo

By Julia Edwards Ainsley

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump on Wednesday ordered construction of a U.S.-Mexican border wall and punishment for cities shielding illegal immigrants while mulling restoring a CIA secret detention program as he launched broad but divisive plans to reshape U.S. immigration and national security policy.

A draft executive order seen by Reuters that Trump is expected to sign in the coming days would block the entry of refugees from war-torn Syria and suspend the entry of any immigrants from Muslim-majority Middle Eastern and African countries Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Iran, Libya and Yemen while permanent rules are studied.

Less than a week into his presidency, Trump has moved aggressively to put his stamp on a range of policies, including steps to gut the healthcare system devised by his predecessor, and make clear that as president he is not turning toward more moderate positions than he took as a candidate.

His directives on Wednesday signaled a tough action toward the roughly 11 million illegal immigrants already in the United States, most from Latin America, whom he already has threatened to deport.

In a move critics called a slight to the integrity of American democracy, Trump also said on Wednesday he would seek a “major investigation” into what he believes was voter fraud in the November election, despite overwhelming consensus among state officials, election experts and politicians that it is rare in the United States.

“We are going to restore the rule of law in the United States,” Trump told an audience that included relatives of people killed by illegal immigrants at the Department of Homeland Security after signing two executive orders.

The directives ordered the construction of a multibillion-dollar wall along the roughly 2,000-mile (3,200-km) U.S.-Mexico border, moved to strip federal funding from “sanctuary” states and cities that harbor illegal immigrants, and expanded the force of American immigration agents.

His plans prompted an outcry from immigrant advocates and Democratic lawmakers who said Trump was jeopardizing the rights and freedoms of millions of people while treating Mexico as an enemy, not an ally, and soiling America’s historic reputation as a welcoming place for immigrants of all stripes.

“The border wall is about political theater at the expense of civil liberties,” said Christian Ramirez, director of the Southern Border Communities Coalition immigrant advocacy group.

“It is not national security policy. Border communities are among the safest in the nation, and patrolling them with tens of thousands of heavily armed, poorly trained, unaccountable agents puts lives at risks. This will turn these communities into de facto military zones,” Ramirez said.

The White House said the wall would stem the flow of drugs, crime and illegal immigration into the United States.

“We are in the middle of a crisis on our southern border: The unprecedented surge of illegal migrants from Central America is harming both Mexico and the United States,” Trump said, adding: “A nation without borders is not a nation.”

The immigration crackdown has sparked fear among so-called “dreamers,” whose parents brought them to the United States illegally and who received temporary deportation relief and work permits from President Barack Obama.

Trump said the dreamers should not fear deportation.

“They shouldn’t be very worried,” Trump told ABC News in an interview broadcast on Wednesday..

“Where you have great people that are here that have done a good job, they should be far less worried,” he said, adding: “We’ll be coming out with policy on that over the next period of four weeks.”

House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan also said the “dreamers” should not be worried. “We’re focused on physical security of the border, we’re focused on those who are coming to do us harm from terrorist states and things like that,” he told MSNBC.

TENSION WITH MEXICO

Trump is also expected to order a review that could lead to bringing back a CIA program for holding terrorism suspects in secret overseas “black site” prisons where interrogation techniques often condemned as torture were used during former Republican President George W. Bush’s administration, two U.S. officials said.

Trump’s actions could further test relations with Mexico.

The wall plan has infuriated Mexicans. Trump’s policies, including his demand that the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada be renegotiated or scrapped, have put Mexico’s government on the defensive. Trump and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto are due to meet next week.

Pena Nieto said on Wednesday night that he “regrets and disapproves” of the push by Trump to build a new wall along the border.

Officials in cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, Denver, Washington, San Francisco and Seattle offer some forms of protection to illegal immigrants. Billions of dollars in federal aid to those cities, often governed by Democrats, could be at risk under Trump’s move.

In the ABC News interview, Trump said construction on the wall would start within months, with planning starting immediately, and that Mexico would pay back to the United States “100 percent” of the costs. Mexican officials have said they will not pay for the wall.

The White House said Trump’s goal was to get the wall started as quickly as possible using existing government funds and then work with the Republican-led Congress on further appropriations.

Trump made cracking down on illegal immigration a key element of his presidential campaign, with supporters at his rallies often chanting: “Build the wall.”

The cost, nature and extent of the wall remain unclear. Trump last year put the cost at “probably $8 billion,” although other estimates are higher, and he said the wall would span 1,000 miles (1,600 km) because of the terrain of the border.

END OF ‘CATCH AND RELEASE’

Trump’s directives would end the practice known by critics as “catch and release” in which authorities apprehend illegal immigrants on U.S. territory but do not immediately detain or deport them.

The directives also include hiring 5,000 more U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents used to apprehend people seeking to slip across the border and tripling the number of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents used to arrest and deport immigrants living in the United States illegally.

They also create more detention space for illegal immigrants along the southern border to make it easier to detain and deport them.

The intent of the proposals regarding refugees and immigrants from the seven Muslim-majority nations is to head off Islamist violence in the United States.

The draft directive on immigration also suspends the U.S. refugee program for four months while determining whether permanent changes to the system are needed.

(Additional reporting by Mica Rosenberg, Roberta Rampton, Jonathan Landay, Mark Hosenball, Doina Chiacu, Andy Sullivan, Mohammad Zargham, Eric Beech and Susan Heavey)

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