Department of Homeland Security
The Trump administration’s hard-line stance on undocumented immigrants is polarizing: People have responded with either “throw the bums out” or “have a heart.” But the question of whether faith communities can legally offer the undocumented physical sanctuary — sheltering them in churches, synagogues, and mosques to keep them from immigration authorities — is not so cut and dry.
On March 16, the Trump administration released President Donald Trump’s proposal for the 2018 federal budget, revealing a list of significant cuts to various federal agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, the State Department, and the Department of Education.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott made good this week on his threats to restrict funding from any cities offering protection to immigrants who are undocumented, reports CBS News. On Wednesday, Abbott witheld $1.5 million in grant funds from Travis County, which includes Texas' capital city of Austin. The reason for Abbott's action was apparently Travis County sheriff Sally Hernandez' refusal to enforce federal immigration orders.
At least 16 Jewish community centers received bomb threats on Jan. 9, in an apparent attempt to rattle American Jews, who have seen a spike in anti-Semitism incidents in the past year.
The threats — some by live callers, some by robocall — were made to JCCs in Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, Tennessee, South Carolina, and at least four other states.
When you turn on the faucet in Flint, Mich. you don’t just get water — you also get the potent neurotoxin lead. And without a driver’s license, Flint residents are being refused bottled water from the city, so undocumented people have to search elsewhere for clean water, reports America magazine. Deacon Omar Odette of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Flint says that members of his parish have been arrested by immigration authorities for not having documentation.
A "crisis management" report shows that a Baltimore cybersecurity startup, ZeroFox, singled out members of the Black Lives Matter movement as "threat actors" during the protests and rioting around Freddie Gray's death in April, Mother Jones reports. The report highlights two Black Lives Matter organizers, DeRay McKesson and Johnetta Elzie, terming their threat level "high" and "physical," urging "continuous monitoring." It also identifies Baltimore officials and law enforcement agencies for "asset protection."
This follows on reports in late July that the Department of Homeland Security has been comprehensively monitoring Black Lives Matter activities in Ferguson, Mo., Baltimore, Md., Washington, D.C., and New York, N.Y since August 2014.
In November, President Obama issued an executive action that would protect nearly five million undocumented immigrants in the United States. Yet, since Congress returned in January, many questions linger regarding the implementation of executive action and the status of comprehensive immigration reform.
Last week, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs hosted a hearing regarding “Deferred Action on Immigration: Implications and Unanswered Questions.” The purpose of the hearing according to Chairman Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) was to “obtain a more complete understanding of the logistical, financial, and national security implications of these [executive action] policies.” Yet, many questions still remain.
Among other things, Obama’s November action expanded the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and provided legal reprieve to the undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents who have resided in the country for at least five years. It protects a small number of the 11 million aspiring Americans who are living and working in the United States without documentation. At it is root, Obama’s executive action considers the people, not the politics that create division.
The GOP majority in Congress is attempting to oppose executive action by threatening to defund the Department of Homeland Security.
The Sikh Coalition is updating a mobile app that allows travelers to report complaints about the Transportation Security Administration from the airport.
The coalition created the FlyRights app in April 2012 because of concerns that TSA officers profiled travelers for their appearance — and Sikhs in particular because of their turbans.
The TSA insists it doesn’t profile travelers. Civil rights complaints are investigated and “immediate action” is taken if substantiated, the agency said.
The original FlyRights app, created in coordination with the TSA, allowed a traveler to submit a complaint at the same time to the coalition and to the TSA for investigation.
Muslim-American groups are mounting a growing campaign to quash the potential nomination of New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly as the next secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.
Muslims say that as head of the nation’s biggest police force, the commissioner oversaw a spying program that targeted Muslims based solely on their religion, showed poor judgment by participating in a virulently anti-Islamic film, and approved a report on terrorism that equated innocuous behavior such as quitting smoking with signs of radicalization.
Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano announced she is resigning in September to become president of the University of California system.
“Mr. Kelly might be very happy where he is, but if he’s not, I’d want to know about it, because obviously he’d be very well qualified for the job,” President Barack Obama said in a July 16 interview with Univision.
Muslims are particularly indignant because Obama said on numerous occasions that he would work to end profiling.
After serving four years as Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary, Janet Napolitano is set to resign on Friday. The Los Angeles Times reports Napolitano will become president of the University Of California system.
“While some may consider her to be an unconventional choice, Secretary Napolitano is without a doubt the right person at the right time to lead this incredible university," Sherry Lansing, the regent and former film industry executive who headed the search committee, said in a statement being released Friday. "She will bring fresh eyes and a new sensibility -- not only to UC, but to all of California. She will stand as a vigorous advocate for faculty, students and staff at a time when great changes in our state, and across the globe, are presenting as many opportunities as challenges.”
Read more here.
An estimated one million undoumented immigrants with American citizens as immediate relatives will now be separated from their families for shortened amounts of time while they apply to become legal residents. The Los Angeles Times reports:
Beginning Mar. 4, illegal immigrants who can demonstrate that time apart from an American spouse, child, or parent would create "extreme hardship" can apply for a visa without leaving the United States. Once approved, applicants would be required to leave briefly in order to return to their native country and pick up their visa.
Read more here.
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Sojourners statement regarding "No More Deaths" report on U.S. Border Patrol abuses: "As a Christian organization, Sojourners believe that all people, regardless of national origin, are made in the "image of God" and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. We also believe that immigrants are our neighbors and that all life is a sacred gift from God. No More Deaths' report on abuse of immigrants in short-term custody is a chilling reminder that we have a long way to go to affirm a consistent ethic of life in our nation. The overcrowding, physical and psychological abuse, exposure to unsanitary conditions, and denial of food and water to immigrants held in custody of the U.S. Border Patrol must end. As Christians, we insist that all immigrants should be treated fairly and with respect, no matter what side of the border they live on. There are no excuses for such practices to continue, and we call on the Obama Administration to seek accountability for every documented case of abuse by the Border Patrol. The United States should lead by example in all measures of human rights. These numbers offer a stark contrast between the nation we claim to be, built and made better by immigrants, and the nation we are."
I admit it: A few years back, when I first heard about the E-Verify program, I thought it sounded reasonable. The program was described to me as a way for employers to voluntarily verify the U.S. citizenship of their employees by cross-checking their information with the online databases of the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security administration. I knew that there were flaws in the system, which sometimes misidentified workers as undocumented even when they were not. However, I thought, what employer doesn't deserve the right to check the employment eligibility of his or her workers?