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Eli Kantor is a labor, employment and immigration law attorney. He has been practicing labor, employment and immigration law for more than 36 years. He has been featured in articles about labor, employment and immigration law in the L.A. Times, Business Week.com and Daily Variety. He is a regular columnist for the Daily Journal. Telephone (310)274-8216; eli@elikantorlaw.com. For more information, visit beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com and and beverlyhillsemploymentlaw.com

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Friday, June 29, 2018

Protesters occupy U.S. Senate building, decry Trump immigration stance

Reuters 
By Makini Brice
June 28, 2018
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-immigration-protests/women-march-through-washington-against-trumps-immigration-policy-idUSKBN1JO173

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Some 600 protestors were arrested during a clangorous occupation of a U.S. Senate office building in Washington on Thursday, where they decried U.S. President Donald Trump’s “zero- tolerance” stance on illegal immigration.

The protesters, mostly women dressed in white, sat on the Hart Senate Office Building’s marbled floors and wrapped themselves in metallic silver blankets similar to those given to migrant children separated from their families by U.S. immigration officials.
Their chant “Say it loud, say it clear, immigrants are welcome here” echoed through the building, drawing scores of Senate staff to upper mezzanine floors from where they watched the commotion.
Capitol Police warned protestors that if they did not leave the building they would be arrested. Soon after, protesters were lined against a wall in small groups and police confiscated their blankets and signs.
It took police about 90 minutes to arrest them and end the demonstration. Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, a Democrat, sat with the protestors and was also arrested.
Capitol Police said in a statement that about 575 people were charged with unlawfully demonstrating and they would be processed at the scene and released. They said people who were charged and fined could pay 24 hours after their arrests, but it was not clear who had been fined and how much.
Democratic senators Mazie Hirono, Tammy Duckworth, Kirsten Gillibrand and Jeff Merkley, who have been critical of Trump’s immigration policies, spoke with some of the protesters. Gillibrand held a sign that read: “End Detentions Now.”
Women’s March, a movement that began in the United States when Trump was inaugurated in 2017 and spread around the world, had called on women to risk arrest at Thursday’s protest.
Organizers said in a statement that 630 women were arrested during the protest.
“We are rising up to demand an end to the criminalization of immigrants,” Linda Sarsour, one of the leaders of the Women’s March, said in the statement.
Before arriving at Capitol Hill, the protesters marched down Pennsylvania Avenue, pausing to chant “Shame! Shame! Shame!” at the Trump International Hotel.
The Women’s March demonstration is part of a wave of actions against Trump, whose administration began seeking in May to prosecute all adults who cross the border without authorization.
More than 2,000 children who arrived illegally in the United States with adult relatives were separated from them and placed in detention facilities or with foster families around the United States.
The policy led to intense criticism in the United States and abroad, and Trump signed an executive order that would let children stay with their parents as they moved through the legal system, drawing renewed criticism.
Loretta Fudoli took a bus to Washington from Conway, Arkansas, to join Thursday’s protest. She said she had been arrested at demonstrations three or four times since she became politically active after Trump’s election.
“Their parents shouldn’t even be locked up,” Fudoli said. “This is not a bad enough crime to lock them up and take their children away.”
Most of the children separated from their families before the order was signed have not yet been reunited with them.
The White House has said that the order was not a long-term solution and has called for Congress to pass immigration reform.
Larger protests are being planned for Saturday in Washington, D.C., and cities around the country under the banner of #FamiliesBelongTogether.
For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

Family separations push new activists into migrant protests

Associated Press 
By Gillian Flaccus and Amy Taxin
June 29, 2018
https://www.apnews.com/e0a15b4e4c8b41f097f4f198609d3f72/Family-separations-push-new-activists-into-migrant-protests

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Immigrants who have spent years fighting to change the country’s immigration system are getting newfound support from liberal activists, moms and first-time protesters motivated by a visceral narrative: President Donald Trump’s administration separating children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Groups that pulled off massive women’s marches the past two years and other left-leaning rallies are throwing their weight behind migrant families Saturday. More than 600 marches could draw hundreds of thousands of people nationwide, from immigrant-friendly cities like Los Angeles and New York City to conservative Appalachia and Wyoming.

Though many are seasoned anti-Trump demonstrators, others are new to immigration activism, including parents who say they feel compelled to show up after heart-wrenching accounts of children forcibly taken from their families as they crossed the border illegally. In Portland, Oregon, for example, several stay-at-home moms are organizing their first rally while caring for young kids.

“I’m not a radical, and I’m not an activist,” said Kate Sharaf, a co-organizer in Portland’s event. “I just reached a point where I felt I had to do more.”

She and her co-organizers are undaunted after nearly 600 women wearing white and railing against the now-abandoned separation policy were arrested Thursday in Washington, D.C. With demonstrations emerging nationwide, immigrant advocacy groups say they’re thrilled — and surprised — to see the issue gaining traction among those not tied to immigration.

“Honestly, I am blown away. I have literally never seen Americans show up for immigrants like this,” said Jess Morales Rocketto, political director at the National Domestic Workers Alliance, which represents nannies, housekeepers and caregivers, many of whom are immigrants. “We just kept hearing over and over again, if it was my child, I would want someone to do something.”

Saturday’s rallies are getting funding and support from the American Civil Liberties Union, MoveOn.org, the National Domestic Workers Alliance and The Leadership Conference. But local organizers are shouldering on-the-ground planning, many of them women relying on informal networks established during worldwide women’s marches on Trump’s inauguration and its anniversary.

Tyler Houlton, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, welcomed interest in the immigration system and said only Congress has the power to change the law.

“We appreciate that these individuals have expressed an interest in and concern with the critical issue of securing our nation’s borders and enforcing our immigration laws,” Houlton said. “As we have indicated before, the department is disappointed and frustrated by our nation’s disastrous immigration laws and supports action.”

White House spokesman Hogan Gidley did not respond to a request for comment.

In Portland, Sharaf and other mothers are working to organize a march expected to attract 5,000 people — all while they change diapers, nurse babies and prepare snacks. They have marched for women’s rights but have never spearheaded a political rally.

Portland’s weekend rally is not related to an 11-day vigil at the city’s U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement headquarters by a group of protesters who want the federal agency out of the city. Federal police raided the sit-in Thursday and arrested nine people.

Sharaf and three other women recently fired up their laptops and cellphones at her dining room table — one mother breastfeeding her son as she worked. A toddler wolfed down pasta in a high chair and two 5-year-olds and a 4-year-old careened around the house.

“I’m a mom, and I think everyone I know that I’ve talked to about this issue has had a very visceral reaction,” Sharaf said. “Because as moms, we know how important it is to be with your child and how critical attachment is to a child. It’s just heartbreaking for me to see.”

Sharaf and co-organizer Erin Conroy are coordinating their efforts with immigrant advocacy groups.

“This is not my wheelhouse,” Conroy said. “As far as I’m concerned, this is a national emergency that we all need to be focused on right now.”

That passion is heartening for the broader anti-Trump coalition, which hopes the weekend marches will attract people who have otherwise been on the sidelines, said David S. Meyer, a political science professor at the University of California, Irvine, who has authored books on U.S. political protest.

“There are people who have all kinds of other grievances or gripes with the Trump administration and they’re quite happy to use this one as the most productive and salient for the moment,” he said.

The groups planning the so-called Families Belong Together rallies have carefully framed them as peaceful and family-friendly — another draw for those looking to jump into their first protest, Meyer said.

That’s in contrast to the sit-in in the nation’s capital Thursday, where participants knew they might be arrested.

In El Paso, Texas, immigrant advocacy groups are partnering with religious leaders and women’s march organizers Saturday to try to shut down the bridge connecting El Paso and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

Immigration attorney Linda Rivas said groups have met with U.S. authorities, congressional representatives and other leaders to discuss an escalating immigration crackdown that they say began decades ago. But the family separation policy has been a watershed for attracting a broader spectrum of demonstrators, she said.

“To finally have people on board wanting to take action, marching, taking to the streets, it’s been motivating for us as advocates because we have to keep going,” Rivas said.

In Los Angeles, Angelica Salas said she has been marching to fix the immigration system for nearly two decades. The executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights said she would often tell people about how immigration enforcement was splitting up families and non-immigrants couldn’t believe it.

Now, she said, they do.
___

Taxin reported from Los Angeles. Associated Press reporter Susan Montoya Bryan in Albuquerque, New Mexico, contributed to this report. 

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

ICE contract protest disrupts meeting; 7 arrested afterward

Associated Press 
June 28, 2018
https://www.apnews.com/8d70080cd6d44a33af79e70ef2cafc02/ICE-contract-protest-disrupts-meeting;-7-arrested-afterward


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — About 100 people protesting a contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to house detainees at a jail in western Michigan shut down a government meeting and police say seven were arrested for blocking traffic afterward.

The Grand Rapids Press reports Karla Barberi raised the issue at Thursday’s Kent County Board of Commissioners meeting. She’s a volunteer organizer with immigrant rights group Movimiento Cosecha GR.

Board Chairman Jim Saalfeld called for deputies to remove Barberi after she refused to sit, but she wasn’t removed. The meeting was suspended. Police blocked traffic as protesters marched, but those arrested refused to eventually clear the streets.

The contract, signed in 2012 and renewed in 2017, includes allowing the county jail to charge ICE for each day it holds a person with a detainment request.

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

Hundreds protest Trump immigration policy at Senate offices

Associated Press 
June 28, 2018
https://www.apnews.com/bde50e41e89d4b6d91a001b558769835/Hundreds-protest-Trump-immigration-policy-at-Senate-offices

WASHINGTON (AP) — Capitol Police arrested nearly 600 people Thursday after hundreds of loudly chanting women demonstrated inside a Senate office building against President Donald Trump’s treatment of migrant families. Among them were a Washington state congresswoman, the lawmaker said on Twitter.

The protests came as demonstrations occurred around the country over the Trump administration’s policy of separating immigrant families. They offered a glimpse of what might happen on Saturday when rallies are planned coast to coast.

Amid unrelenting daily images of distraught immigrant children separated from parents and herded into fenced enclosures, women sat on the floor of the Senate Hart Office building’s 90-foot-high atrium. Seated around Alexander Calder’s black metallic “Mountain and Clouds” sculpture, they shouted slogans and cheered for a handful of fist-pumping lawmakers — all Democrats — who waded into the crowd.

“What do we want? Free families!” and “This is what democracy looks like” were among their cries.

Many wore foil blankets similar to those given to migrants housed at U.S. detention facilities.

The sit-in of protesting women was organized by two liberal groups, Women’s March and the Center for Popular Democracy Action. The action lasted more than two hours.

In a written statement, the Capitol Police said around 575 people were charged with unlawfully demonstrating inside the office building. The police said those arrested were being released after they were processed.

Winnie Wong, political adviser for the Women’s March, said the crowd’s fervor will translate into “the energy we will need to see to at the ballot box in November,” when congressional control will be at stake.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., said she was arrested during the protest. Jayapal, who was born in India, tweeted a video of herself in which she said she was proud to be arrested to protest Trump’s zero-tolerance policy.

“We’re here to fight for our families to be free, to fight for the ability of our kids to be with their parents — not in cages, not in prison, but able to live their lives free, safe and secure,” Jayapal said.

Democratic Sens. Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Edward Markey of Massachusetts also appeared before the crowd. “These folks are out here fighting for the core principles of our nation, and I applaud them for it,” Merkley said in an interview.

Under Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy, the government has begun prosecuting all migrants caught entering the country without authorization. Trump has halted his policy of taking children from their detained parents under public pressure but around 2,000 of them are still being held, with many families saying they’ve not known how to locate them.

The sit-in came two days after another show of liberal political energy in which 28-year-old political neophyte Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez ousted 10-term Rep. Joe Crowley in a Democratic primary for his House seat in New York.

Hundreds of people gathered at a rally outside a federal courthouse in Brownsville, Texas, near the U.S.-Mexico border in the Rio Grande Valley.

Dozens of people shut down a government meeting in Michigan in protest of a contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to house detainees at a local jail. And eight people were arrested outside an ICE building in Portland, Oregon, that has been closed because of a round-the-clock demonstration.

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

Melania Trump returns to border state amid separation outcry

Associated Press 
By LAURIE KELLMAN
June 28, 2018

PHOENIX (AP) — First lady Melania Trump made a second visit to a border state Thursday, meeting face to face with people directly affected by her husband’s hard-line immigration policies. This time, she chose less controversial apparel than her last trip, which was overshadowed by a jacket.

“I’m here to support you and give my help, whatever I can” on “behalf of children and the families,” Mrs. Trump said as she sat down with officials at a U.S. Border Patrol facility in Tucson, Arizona, the first stop of her trip. She later traveled to Phoenix, where she visited a complex that is housing dozens of migrant children separated from their parents.

It was the first lady’s second trip to a border state amid an ongoing outcry over President Donald Trump’s now-suspended policy of separating migrant children from their families when they cross the border illegally. Many were placed hundreds of miles away from one another and have been struggling to be reunited.

“She cares about children deeply and when the news started to hit, I think she was very concerned and wanted to make sure the kids are being well taken care of,” Mrs. Trump’s spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, said on the flight to Arizona. “She doesn’t like to see parents and kids separated.”

Mrs. Trump made the trip in a risk-averse ensemble of a black sweater and white slacks.

The first lady’s first trip to the region, a week ago Thursday, had been overshadowed by a jacket she wore to and from the border town of McAllen, Texas, that had a baffling message on the back: “I really don’t care, do u?”

The choice ignited the internet and spawned a slew of memes about what the first lady, a former model, may have meant. Her spokeswoman said it was just a jacket, with no hidden message. But the first lady’s husband undercut the no-message message by tweeting that she was saying she really doesn’t care about the “fake news” media.

On Thursday, Mrs. Trump visited what officials described as a short-term holding center for migrant children in Tucson and then traveled to Phoenix, where she visited Southwest Key Campbell, which receives grant money from the Department of Health and Human Services. A total of 121 children are being held at the facility, including 81 who had been separated from their parents.


Mrs. Trump visited three classrooms, including one day care room with nine babies or toddlers. Another classroom had five cribs lined up against a wall.

A staffer at the facility said the children had been there, on average, 48 days.

Grisham said the first lady wanted to learn about the border processes making news around the world.

Asked whether the first lady agrees with her husband’s polices, Grisham said, “She definitely believes in strong border laws,” and wants Congress to strengthen immigration policies. But she also believes in “governing with heart,” Grisham said.

Protesters spent Thursday morning outside a facility for detained children in Tucson that’s operated by the nonprofit Southwest Key. But Mrs. Trump instead met with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the agency that oversees the Border Patrol and customs officers.

Anticipating a trip to Phoenix, protesters also gathered outside the Southwest Key facility in the city’s west side. A few dozen protesters ran along the first lady’s motorcade as it departed.

Maria Castro, a community organizer with Puente Arizona, an advocacy group, said Mrs. Trump was not welcome in Phoenix and accused the first lady of having made a mockery of the situation with her jacket last week.

Castro said her group was pushing for the immediate reunification of separated families, for an end to Trump’s immigration policies and for the abolishing of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency in charge of deportations.

“Migration is a human right. We are here to defend those rights,” Castro said

More than 2,300 children have been separated from their parents at the border in recent weeks, and some were placed in government-contracted shelters hundreds of miles away from their parents.

The president last week signed an executive order to halt the separation of families at the border, at least for a few weeks, but the order did not address the reunification of families already separated.

A federal judge on Tuesday ordered that thousands of migrant children and parents be reunited within 30 days — and sooner if the youngster is under 5. The order poses logistical problems for the administration, and it was unclear how it would meet the deadline.

Associated Press writers Jill Colvin in Washington and Astrid Galvan in Phoenix contributed to this report.

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

US judge orders immediate release of detained Brazilian boy

Associated Press
By MARTHA IRVINE and MICHAEL TARM
June 28, 2018

CHICAGO (AP) — A Brazilian mother and 9-year-old son separated at the U.S.-Mexico border were together again Thursday after a federal judge in Chicago ordered the U.S. government to release the boy, in one of the first examples of an urgent petition for court intervention successfully reuniting parent and child.

Facing reporters together just hours after the reunion, Lidia Karine Souza and her son, Diogo, wrapped their arms around each other. Diogo frequently looked up at his mom and smiled.

Asked if she had a message for President Donald Trump about her ordeal and his zero-tolerance policy that separated hundreds of children from their parents, the mother responded through a translator, “Don’t do this to the children.”

Under Trump’s policy, the government has begun prosecuting all migrants caught entering the country without authorization. Trump has halted his policy of taking children from their detained parents under public pressure but around 2,000 of them are still being held, with many families saying they’ve not known how to locate them.

Jesse Bless, an attorney for Souza and her son who stood with them at their news conference, described the ruling by U.S. District Judge Manish Shah as unique, adding he hoped it would “open the door” for others to do the same and help hasten a resolution to the crisis.

When asked about advice she’d give to others facing similar challenges in getting their kids back, Souza said: “Don’t give up, be persistent.”

She turned herself and her son into U.S. authorities at the Texas border and requested asylum, arguing her life was in danger in her native Brazil. She hasn’t said how. U.S. officials detained her in Texas and took her son on May 30 without telling her where he would be.

When she was released June 9, she said, another detained mother who had also been separated from her child told her to check a Chicago shelter, and there she found Diogo. They were allowed no more than weekly 20-minute phone calls, in which he begged her to get them reunited.

Shah, the son of immigrants from India, mulled his decision for just four hours before ordering the government to immediately turn the boy over to his mom. Diogo had spent four weeks at the government-contracted shelter.

The boy appeared relaxed fielding questions before dozens of TV cameras and reporters at their lawyers’ office in a Chicago high-rise building. But he said the days and weeks after he was separated from his mom were difficult.

“I cried almost every day I wasn’t with my mother,” he said, also speaking through a translator.

The reunion occurred as the White House is under increasing pressure to bring families back together after another judge’s order this week ordered federal officials to do so in 30 days for many parents and children. Critics say the government has no clear plan to reunite them.

White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters told reporters on Air Force One that various federal agencies “are continuing to work through ensuring that remaining children are reunified with their parents.” When asked if the Health and Human Services Department —the agency that’s in charge of reuniting families— will be able to comply with the 30-day deadline, she called on Congress to reform the nation’s immigration system.

Police arrested nearly 600 people Thursday in Washington, D.C., after hundreds of loudly chanting women demonstrated inside a Senate office building against Trump’s immigration policy. Among those arrested was Rep. Pramila Jayapal, the Democrat from Washington state said on Twitter.

Meanwhile, first lady Melania Trump spent time with children at a complex in Phoenix where dozens of migrant children separated from their parents at the border are being held.

After her release from an immigrant detention facility in Texas early this month, Souza lived with relatives outside Boston, where she planned to return with Diogo.

Shah, who heard arguments Thursday morning, wrote in his ruling: “Continued separation of ... (the) nine year-old child, and Souza irreparably harms them both.”

The fitness of the mother in this case isn’t questioned, Shah said, so dragging out processing “only serves to interfere in the family’s integrity with little to no benefit to the government’s interests.”

During much of his time at the shelter, Souza’s son was alone in a room, quarantined with chickenpox. He spent his ninth birthday on Monday without his mom.

Souza has said Diogo would beg her through tears to do everything in her power to get him back to her. The 27-year-old woman searched for weeks to find Diogo after their separation in May. When she was released, she filled out nearly 40 pages of documents that U.S. officials told her were required to regain custody.

Then they told her that the rules had changed and that she needed any family members living with her in the United States to be fingerprinted and still more documents.

Shah wrote in his three-page ruling that he understood that the paperwork, filings and forms normally required before the government can release a child in its custody are intended to ensure the child’s well-being. But, he said, “the government’s interests in completing certain procedures to be sure that (Souza’s child) is placed in a safe environment and in managing the response to ongoing class litigation do not outweigh the family’s interest in reuniting.”

Government attorney Craig Oswald told Shah that U.S. officials have been “raked over the coals ... before” for not being thorough about such background checks, which he said are meant to ensure a child’s safety.

Souza was seeking safety by coming to the U.S. but she told The Associated Press in an interview on Wednesday that “this ... is a nightmare.” On Thursday, though, she told reporters the court ruling restored her faith that the welfare of children was important to many Americans.

For days and weeks now, some of the hundreds of parents separated from their children at the Mexican border by the Trump administration have been battling one of the world’s most complex immigration systems to find their youngsters and get them back.

For many, it has been a lopsided battle, and a frustrating and heartbreaking one. Most do not speak English. Many know nothing about their children’s whereabouts. And some say their calls to the government’s 1-800 information hotline have gone unanswered.

Children have been sent to shelters all over the United States, thousands of miles from the border. And perhaps hundreds of parents have already been deported from the U.S. without their children.

After tracking down her son, Souza was told the soonest he could be released would be in late July. She visited Diogo for the first time since May on Tuesday and they embraced.

She kissed him several times on the head and face, then grabbed his cheeks gently with her hands as they both cried.

“I missed you so much,” she said in Portuguese.

Their visit lasted an hour. Then he returned to U.S. government custody.

On Thursday, Souza said she had reason to worry her son wasn’t eating well and could lose weight.

“But he’s good,” she said. “At first, he said the food was really bad — but it doesn’t look like it.”

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

Where are the children? And what's taking so long?


CNN
Thursday, June 28th 2018, 8:13 pm EDT
By Catherine E. Shoichet CNN
https://www.cnn.com/2018/06/28/us/separated-families-reunions-protests/index.html

(CNN) -- Where are the children? And what's taking so long?

That was the rallying cry at protests across the United States on Thursday as a growing chorus of activists and attorneys accused the Trump administration of taking too long to reunite immigrant families.

It's been more than a week since President Donald Trump signed an executive order claiming he'd put a stop to separating families at the border, and days since a judge ordered officials to halt the practice and reunite families that had been divided.

But since then, only a handful of children have been released from custody, according to the latest available statistics.

Devastated parents are still searching for their kids. Officials are pointing fingers over who's responsible and have yet to release details about how families will be reunited.

Immigration attorneys and rights groups say that's because officials still don't have a plan to solve a crisis the government created.

"All we get is bureaucratic doublespeak, indifference and excuse-making," said Frank Sharry, executive director of the immigration advocacy group America's Voice.
Deadlines loom
As of Monday, 2,047 immigrant children who had been separated from their parents remained in government custody, according to the latest figures released by the Department of Health & Human Services.
An agency spokesman declined to provide an updated figure on Thursday, saying officials would only provide the total number of immigrant children in custody. That figure, 11,869, includes both children who crossed the border alone and kids who were separated from their parents.
On Tuesday, HHS officials told reporters they were working on reunifying children and parents as soon as practicable.
"We have always known where the children are," said Commander Jonathan White, assistant secretary of preparedness and response. Officials are working on facilitating communication between parents and kids, he said, and linking records between different government systems.
The clock is ticking. A judge's ruling Tuesday laid out a series of deadlines the government must meet:
• Within 10 days (by July 6), officials must make sure every separated parent has a way to contact their child.
• Within 14 days (by July 10), children under 5 must be reunited with their parents
• Within 30 days (by July 26), all children must be reunited with their parents.
"The United States government has more than enough resources to get this job done as long as it treats it as an urgent priority," said Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU's immigrant rights' project.
And in most cases, Gelernt said, the reunifications should be able to happen before the deadline.
"Up until now, the reason the reunifications haven't occurred swiftly is because there was no plan or intention to do so," he said. "We'll see how long it takes now that the court has ordered them to do it."
Gelernt, the lead attorney in the ACLU's lawsuit over family separations, says the reason it's urgent is clear:
"There are little children who are being traumatized every day they're separated from their parents, crying themselves to sleep, wondering whether they're ever going to see their parents again," he said.
Moving the goalposts
Several parents in immigration custody told CNN this week that they're frantically searching for their children and unsure of where to turn.
Speaking in a phone interview from the Cibola County Correctional Center in New Mexico, Diego Pascual Andres said Thursday that he has no idea where his 13-year-old son is.
"I'm very sad. ... I want to know where he is and if he's doing all right. I'm worried about him," Pascual said before the phone call cut off.
Across the country, advocacy organizations and lawyers are sharing stories of other parents who are desperately trying to find, reach and reunite with their children.
"It's a nightmare scenario," said Michelle Lapointe, acting deputy legal director for the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The organization is working to help about 20 men held at the Stewart Detention Center in southern Georgia reunite with their children.
"Some have had no communication and don't even know where their children are," she said.
Others have phone numbers of social workers and have been able to make some contact. But each call gets met with a different response, Lapointe said.
"There's just no system. There's no one standard way of getting this information about their children to men who remain in ICE custody," she said. "It's incredibly difficult and it's incredibly demoralizing for them, and I can't even imagine for the children."
Even parents who've tracked down their kids are having trouble getting officials to release them, some attorneys allege, claiming the process isn't clear and rules keep changing.
"It's a seemingly constantly moving goalpost," attorney Britt Miller told reporters in Chicago on Thursday morning, standing beside a client who sued the government to reunite with her 9-year-old son. "When she first came into the country, it was you're going to be released, and here's the 800-number to find your child. The 800-number got her nowhere. She independently found out and discovered where her child was, because the 800-number that they gave her, no one answered."
'I cried almost every day'
On Thursday afternoon, a federal judge ordered the boy's release from custody. And by Thursday evening, mother and son spoke about their experience as TV cameras rolled.
Lidia Souza, who said she fled Brazil and is seeking asylum, told reporters it was terrible to be separated from her son, Diogo. The boy spent a month in government custody at a Chicago shelter.
"I cried almost every day when I wasn't with my mother," Diogo said.
He described eating meals at the facility, playing with other children in a classroom and spending some time quarantined when he had chicken pox.
A roomful of reporters peppered him with questions.
What was it like spending your birthday there?
"Very sad," he said.
And what about the other children?
"The other children," he said, "are suffering a lot."
CNN's Tal Kopan, Claudia Morales and Christina Zdanowicz contributed to this report.
For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

Thursday, June 28, 2018

How, Exactly, Does This Travel Ban Keep Us Safe, Mr. President?

New York Times (Opinion)
By Bret Stephens
June 27, 2018

Congratulations, Mr. President: The Supreme Court has ruled that your third attempt at a travel ban is within the scope of your constitutional prerogatives. To nobody’s surprise, you trumpeted the court’s decision as “a moment of profound vindication following months of hysterical commentary from the media and Democratic politicians who refuse to do what it takes to secure our border and our country.”

All right, then: The ostensible purpose of your ban is to keep Americans safe from terrorists by barring visitors, refugees and immigrants from Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen. So let’s consider, nonhysterically, what such a ban might have accomplished had it come into force in recent years.

It would not have barred Ramzi Yousef, the Kuwait-born Pakistani who helped mastermind the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

It would have been irrelevant in the case of Terry Nichols and Timothy McVeigh, the American perpetrators of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing in which 168 people were murdered.

It would have been irrelevant in the case of Eric Rudolph, the Christian terrorist who killed one person at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and later bombed abortion clinics and a gay bar.

It would not have barred Mohamed Atta, ringleader of the 9/11 hijackers. Atta was an Egyptian citizen who arrived in the U.S. on a visa issued by the American Embassy in Berlin in May 2000.

It would not have barred Atta’s accomplices, all in the United States on legal visas. Fifteen of them were from Saudi Arabia, two from the United Arab Emirates and another from Lebanon.

It would have been irrelevant in the case of the 2001 anthrax attacks, in which five people were killed. The attacks are widely believed (without conclusive proof) to have been the work of the late Bruce Ivins, an American microbiologist.

It would not have barred Richard Reid, who tried to blow up a Miami-bound airliner in 2001 with explosives hidden in his shoes. Reid was a London-born Briton who converted to Islam as an adult.

It would have been irrelevant in the case of Nidal Malik Hasan, the Virginia-born Army officer of Palestinian descent who killed 13 soldiers and civilians (including a pregnant woman) at Fort Hood, Tex., in November 2009.

It would not have barred Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian man who tried to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day, 2009, with explosives hidden in his underwear.

It would have been irrelevant in the case of the 2010 Times Square car bombing attempt. The perpetrator, Pakistan-born Faisal Shahzad, was a U.S. citizen at the time of the attack.

It would have been irrelevant in the case of Wade Michael Page, the white supremacist who murdered six people at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin in 2012.

It would not have barred Boston Marathon bombers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, both of Chechen background, who arrived in the United States as children.

It would not have barred Tashfeen Malik, the Pakistani woman who arrived in the United States on a so-called “fiancĂ©e visa” after extensive screening from American consular officials. Malik and her Chicago-born husband murdered 14 people in San Bernardino in 2015.

It would have been irrelevant in the case of American-born Omar Mateen, who murdered 49 patrons of Orlando’s Pulse nightclub in June 2016.

It would not have barred Sayfullo Saipov, the legal immigrant from Uzbekistan who murdered eight people when he drove a pickup down a New York City bike path.

I have just listed the 14 most significant terrorist attacks (or attempts) in the U.S. in the last quarter-century. Your travel ban would have done nothing to prevent any of them.

Nor would it do anything to prevent future attacks, even if it were widely expanded. A blanket prohibition on Muslim immigrants of the sort you proposed during the campaign might be more effective, but it surely would be ruled unconstitutional. A blanket prohibition on immigrants from every majority-Muslim country might conceivably pass constitutional muster, but it would be feckless: Not all terrorism is Islamist, and not all Islamists come from Muslim-majority states.

In other words, the policy you celebrate offers, at most, the illusion of security, purchased at an exorbitant cost to America’s moral reputation. In a different era, your travel ban would have kept out everyone from supermodel Iman to Steve Jobs’s biological father to the great scholar Vartan Gregorian.

We can only guess who (or whose child) is being excluded now, but we know what is being excluded: the idea of America as a refuge to the persecuted; an inspiration to the oppressed; a rebuke to the fearful and intolerant. As was written 228 years ago:

“The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for giving to Mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy: a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that mere toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights. For happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection, should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.”

The author, the first of your predecessors and your opposite in every other respect, must be turning in his grave.

For more information, go to: www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com