About Me

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Beverly Hills, California, United States
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


Monday, February 27, 2017

Immigration Agents Discover New Freedom to Deport Under Trump

New York Times
By Nicholas Kulish, Caitlin Dickerson and Ron Nixon
February 25, 2017

In Virginia, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents waited outside a church shelter where undocumented immigrants had gone to stay warm. In Texas and in Colorado, agents went into courthouses, looking for foreigners who had arrived for hearings on other matters.

At Kennedy International Airport in New York, passengers arriving after a five-hour flight from San Francisco were asked to show their documents before they were allowed to get off the plane.

The Trump administration’s far-reaching plan to arrest and deport vast numbers of undocumented immigrants has been introduced in dramatic fashion over the past month. And much of that task has fallen to thousands of ICE officers who are newly emboldened, newly empowered and already getting to work.

Gone are the Obama-era rules that required them to focus only on serious criminals. In Southern California, in one of the first major roundups during the Trump administration, officers detained 161 people with a wide range of felony and misdemeanor convictions, and 10 who had no criminal history at all.

“Before, we used to be told, ‘You can’t arrest those people,’ and we’d be disciplined for being insubordinate if we did,” said a 10-year veteran of the agency who took part in the operation. “Now those people are priorities again. And there are a lot of them here.”

Interviews with 17 agents and officials across the country, including in Florida, Alabama, Texas, Arizona, Washington and California, demonstrated how quickly a new atmosphere in the agency had taken hold. Since they are forbidden to talk to the press, they requested anonymity out of concern for losing their jobs.

The White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, said on Tuesday that the president wanted to “take the shackles off” of agents, an expression the officers themselves used time and again in interviews to describe their newfound freedom.

“Morale amongst our agents and officers has increased exponentially since the signing of the orders,” the unions representing ICE and Border Patrol agents said in a joint statement after President Trump issued the executive orders on immigration late last month.

Two memos released this past week by the Department of Homeland Security, the parent agency of ICE and the Border Patrol, provided more details about how it would carry out its plan, which includes Mr. Trump’s signature campaign pledge — a wall along the entire southern border — as well as speedier deportations and greater reliance on local police officers.

But for those with ICE badges, perhaps the biggest change was the erasing of the Obama administration’s hierarchy of priorities, which forced agents to concentrate on deporting gang members and other violent and serious criminals, and mostly leave everyone else alone.

A whirlwind of activity has overtaken ICE headquarters in Washington in recent weeks, with employees attending back-to-back meetings about how to quickly carry out President Trump’s plans. “Some people are like: ‘This is great. Let’s give them all the tools they need,’” said a senior staff member at headquarters, who joined the department under the administration of George W. Bush.

But, the official added, “other people are a little bit more hesitant and fearful about how quickly things are moving.”

Two officials in Washington said that the shift — and the new enthusiasm that has come with it — seems to have encouraged pro-Trump political comments and banter that struck the officials as brazen or gung-ho, like remarks about their jobs becoming “fun.” Those who take less of a hard line on unauthorized immigrants feel silenced, the officials said.

ICE has more than 20,000 employees, spread across 400 offices in the United States and 46 foreign countries, and the Trump administration has called for the hiring of 10,000 more. ICE officers see themselves as protecting the country and enforcing its laws, but also, several agents said, defending the legal immigration system, with its yearslong waits to enter the country, from people who skip the line.

John F. Kelly, the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, said in a statement after the first large-scale roundups of the Trump administration: “President Trump has been clear in affirming the critical mission of D.H.S. in protecting the nation.”

“There is no greater calling than to serve and protect our nation,” he added, “a mission that the men and women of ICE perform with professionalism and courage every single day.”

Agents are, in fact, predominantly male and have often served in the military, with a police department or both. New agents take a five-week Spanish language program as well as firearms training; they also learn driving maneuvers and have to pass seven written examinations and a physical-fitness test that includes an obstacle course.

The element of surprise is central to their work, and the sight of even a single white van emblazoned with the words Department of Homeland Security can create fear and cause people to flee. To minimize public contact, the arrests are frequently made in the early morning hours.

A supervisor in Northern California described a typical operation, with teams of at least five members rising before dawn, meeting as early as 4 a.m. to make arrests before their targets depart for work. To avoid distressing families and children, the agents prefer to apprehend people outside their homes, approaching them as soon as they step onto a public sidewalk and, once identified, placing them in handcuffs.

But arrests can appear dramatic, as agents arrive in large numbers, armed with semiautomatic handguns and wearing dark bulletproof vests with ICE in bright white letters on them. When they do have to enter a home, officers knock loudly and announce themselves as the police, a term they can legally use. Many times, children are awakened in the process, and watch as a parent is taken away.

Some of the more visible ICE operations in recent weeks have ricocheted around the internet, and sometimes drawn a backlash. At Kennedy Airport, Customs and Border Protection agents checked documents of passengers getting off a flight from San Francisco because ICE, a sister agency, thought a person with a deportation order might be on the plane. They did not find the person they were looking for.

After the arrests outside the church in Alexandria, Va., Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, wrote a letter to Mr. Kelly, saying the action “raises a concern that, unlike previous actions, ICE agents are detaining Virginia residents without cause or specific allegations of criminal activity.”

Bystanders are now being taken in if they are suspected to be undocumented, even if they have committed no crime, known within the agency as “collateral” arrests. While these arrests occurred under the Obama administration, they were officially discouraged, to the frustration of many agents. “Which part of illegal don’t people understand?” an agent in Arizona asked.

But officers said their work had become more political than ever, and they bristled at what they considered stereotypes of indiscriminate enforcers who want to sweep grandmothers off the street or separate families.

Perhaps their biggest challenge, said the supervisor in California, is the agency’s steadily deteriorating relationship with other law enforcement agencies, especially in liberal-leaning cities that have vowed to protect immigrants from deportation, known as sanctuary cities.

In one city alone, the supervisor said, the police once transferred 35 undocumented immigrants a day into federal custody, compared with roughly five per week during the final years of the Obama presidency.

On Thursday, Los Angeles, a sanctuary city, asked that ICE agents stop calling themselves police officers, saying it was damaging residents’ trust of the city’s own police officers.

Although all of the agents interviewed felt the old priorities had kept them from doing their jobs, John Sandweg, an acting director of ICE in the Obama administration, defended the rules as making the best use of limited resources. Without them, he said, fewer dangerous people might get deported. “There are 10 seats on the bus, they go to the first 10 you grab,” Mr. Sandweg said. “It diminishes the chances that it’s a violent offender.”

He said that he had spent a lot of time on the road, speaking at town halls where he heard a great deal from the rank-and-file agents about the priorities. “Certainly they were not terribly popular,” he said. “They wanted unfettered discretion.”

Agents said that even with the added freedom, they would still go after the people who presented the greatest danger to the public. And what Mr. Sandweg called unfettered discretion, they called enforcing the law.

“The discretion has come back to us; it’s up to us to make decisions in the field,” a 15-year veteran in California said. “We’re trusted again.”

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

He’s a Local Pillar in a Trump Town. Now He Could Be Deported.

New York Times: 
By Monica Davey
February 27, 2017

WEST FRANKFORT, Ill. — Ask residents of this coal-mining crossroads about President Trump’s decision to crack down on undocumented immigrants and most offer no protest. Mr. Trump, who easily won this mostly white southern Illinois county, is doing what he promised, they say. As Terry Chambers, a barber on Main Street, put it, the president simply wants “to get rid of the bad eggs.”

But then they took Carlos.

Juan Carlos Hernandez Pacheco — just Carlos to the people of West Frankfort — has been the manager of La Fiesta, a Mexican restaurant in this city of 8,000, for a decade. Yes, he always greeted people warmly at the cheerfully decorated restaurant, known for its beef and chicken fajitas. And, yes, he knew their children by name. But people here tick off more things they know Carlos for.

How one night last fall, when the Fire Department was battling a two-alarm blaze, Mr. Hernandez suddenly appeared with meals for the firefighters. How he hosted a Law Enforcement Appreciation Day at the restaurant last summer as police officers were facing criticism around the country. How he took part in just about every community committee or charity effort — the Rotary Club, cancer fund-raisers, cleanup days, even scholarships for the Redbirds, the high school sports teams, which are the pride of this city.

“I think people need to do things the right way, follow the rules and obey the laws, and I firmly believe in that,” said Lori Barron, the owner of Lori’s Hair A’Fairs, a beauty salon. “But in the case of Carlos, I think he may have done more for the people here than this place has ever given him. I think it’s absolutely terrible that he could be taken away.”

On Feb. 9, Mr. Hernandez, 38, was arrested by federal immigration agents near his home, not far from La Fiesta, and taken to a detention facility in Missouri. The federal authorities confirmed that he remained in custody, but would not comment on the precise reason for or timing of his arrest.

Immigration officials noted that Mr. Hernandez had two drunken-driving convictions from 2007, a circumstance that could make him a higher priority for deportation. Friends of his say he crossed into the United States from Mexico in the late 1990s and had started but never completed efforts to legalize his status.

As Victor Arana, a lawyer for Mr. Hernandez, began pressing in court to seek release for Mr. Hernandez on bond until his case can be heard, the community has rallied around him, writing pleas for leniency to the officials who will decide his fate.

Tom Jordan, the mayor of West Frankfort, wrote that Mr. Hernandez was a “great asset” to the city who “doesn’t ask for anything in return.” The fire chief described him as “a man of great character.”

The letters have piled up — from the county prosecutor, the former postmaster, the car dealer, the Rotary Club president. In his note, Richard Glodich, the athletic director at Frankfort Community High School, wrote, “As a grandson of immigrants, I am all for immigration reform, but this time you have arrested a GOOD MAN that should be used as a role model for other immigrants.”

This is an uncomfortable stance for a place like West Frankfort. This county, Franklin, backed Mr. Trump with 70 percent of the vote, largely on hopes, people here say, that he could jump-start the coal industry, which has receded painfully here over decades. Illegal immigration was by no means the most pressing issue for this overwhelmingly white area, residents say.

Still, many say they concur in principle with Mr. Trump’s wish to be more aggressive in blocking those who seek to sneak across the border. Things grew more tangled when principle met West Frankfort’s particular reality, in the form of Carlos.

Many people said they had no idea Mr. Hernandez lacked legal status until word of his arrest began spreading.

“I knew he was Mexican, but he’s been here so long, he’s just one of us,” said Debra Johnson, a resident. She said she saw a distinction between “people who come over and use the system and people who actually come and help.”

Not everyone feels Mr. Hernandez should be treated unlike anyone else without permission to be here. As friends have gathered words of support for him through an email address — istandwithcarlos@gmail.com — other messages have arrived there, too. “Carlos is probably a nice man, but he broke our country’s law,” one email read. Some critics point to the two drunken-driving cases. (His friends say he quit drinking after that.)

Asked about Mr. Hernandez, a spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement released a statement that read, in part: “Every day, as part of routine operations, ICE officers target and arrest criminal aliens and other individuals who are in violation of our nation’s immigration laws.”

After a report of his detention appeared in a local newspaper, The Southern Illinoisan, some comments were pointed:

“No U.S. citizen is above the U.S. law! If a U.S. citizen breaks a law they go to jail or prison! No illegal alien is above the U.S. law!”

And: “I get that this man has been here for years and years and has contributed to society, but he isn’t LEGAL, therefore the U.S. has every right to throw him out.”

Mr. Hernandez with his wife, Elizabeth, in a photo provided by her.
And: “A couple thousand down, millions to go.”

Around West Frankfort, some people grow quiet when asked whether some undocumented people should be granted exceptions.

“With everything that’s gone on — we’ve had years of unemployment rates that are skyrocketing — I would like to see some of the people that I know go back to work before I worry about people from other countries coming here and making a better life for themselves,” said Audrey Loftus, 38, a bartender at the local Veterans of Foreign Wars post.

But Mr. Hernandez, Ms. Loftus said, has left her “on the fence” about what should happen now. “I hate to use the word rednecks, but this is southern Illinois.” she said. “This is the definition of a good old boys’ club, and you don’t have a lot of people of different ethnicities that are in this area.

“And then there’s Carlos,” she continued. “You will not find a single person that has anything bad to say about him.”

Mr. Hernandez’s lawyer said that a hearing was expected in his case on Wednesday and that he was hoping Mr. Hernandez might be released on bond as any legal action went forward.

His wife, Elizabeth Hernandez, who attained United States citizenship late last year, according to Mr. Arana, said she was struggling to sleep, since her husband was detained. The couple has three sons, the youngest 2.

“What I’m really worrying about,” she said in a telephone interview, “is what am I going to tell my three boys if he can’t stay here?”

Tim Grigsby, who owns a local printing shop and considers Mr. Hernandez one of his closest friends, has been helping to lead the efforts to bring Mr. Hernandez back to West Frankfort. He said he had always known that Mr. Hernandez did a lot around town. But he said that even he did not grasp the scope of it all until the letters started flowing in.

There was the pastor who described Mr. Hernandez helping at a funeral, the family that remembered him raising hundreds of dollars for its son’s hearing aid, the businessman who said that he was mostly a private person but that Mr. Hernandez was one of the few people he invites over for dinner.

Mr. Grigsby said he still would vote for Mr. Trump. One never agrees with everything a politician does, “but maybe this should all be more on a per-case basis,” he said. “It’s hard to be black and white on this because there may be people like Carlos.”

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

Trump's quick deportation plan may be illegal, past immigration chiefs say

USA Today
By Alan Gomez
February 24, 2017

Former immigration enforcement chiefs are questioning the legality of President Trump's plan to ramp up a program that allows federal agents to quickly deport suspected undocumented immigrants without appearing before a judge.

"Expedited removals" have been in force for 20 years but have only been used against people caught within 100 miles of the U.S.-Mexican border and who are alleged to have entered the country within the previous two weeks.

Now, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly has ordered an expansion of the program to apply nationwide and for anyone who entered the country within the previous two years.

That expansion threatens the constitutional rights of undocumented immigrants who may get mistakenly deported, warned John Sandweg, who headed Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) under President Obama.

"The Supreme Court has consistently held that even undocumented immigrants are entitled to due process," he said.

Sandweg added that expedited removals have been a valuable tool for immigration agents working near the border when they are dealing with clear-cut cases of illegal entry.

Julie Myers Wood, who headed ICE under President George W. Bush, agreed. She said her team considered expanding expedited removals, but decided against it because of legal concerns. She said other aspects of Trump's tougher immigration enforcement plan also may run afoul of the law.

"Many of these authorities have never been used that way," Wood said. "The administration is really testing the parameters of what's acceptable. There is some litigation risk there."

Trump laid out his planon Jan. 25, and Kelly issued orders for implementing it Tuesday..

Congress created "expedited removals" in 1996. It allows federal agents to interview each subject to determine if the person should be deported. The agent reviews any documents the person has to establish how long they've been in the country.

If the undocumented immigrant claims fear of persecution or torture if returned to their home country, the agent is supposed to turn them over to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to determine if the detainee has a "credible fear" and should be allowed to apply for political asylum.

The law allows for removal of undocumented immigrants who entered the country within the previous two years. But the Clinton administration limited its use to people caught at ports of entry who had arrived in the previous 14 days. The Bush administration expanded that to people caught within 100 miles of the border and President Obama maintained that guideline.

Kelly's order said an expansion is necessary because immigration courts are so backlogged it can take up to five years to deport people brought before a judge, creating a "national security vulnerability."

Critics say that approach will rush undocumented immigrants through a process they barely understand without the right to an attorney and few options to appeal their deportation.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, an independent commission created by Congress, concluded in a 2016 report that those fears are well grounded. Researchers observed expedited removal proceedings in several states and found that immigration officers frequently skipped legally required steps, which it called an "alarming" trend.

In some cases, agents failed to fully advise detainees of their rights and did not let them review documents they were forced to sign. The commission also found that some agents disregarded immigrants' political asylum claims.

In one case, a man from El Salvador showed an immigration agent a letter from a police officer in his hometown saying he had been threatened by gang members. But the report found that the agent simply kept the letter, which was not used to determine if he should be allowed to seek asylum.

That's why Sandweg and Wood both said it's important for ICE to provide updated training to provide clear guidance on the kinds of documents agents can use to establish how long a person has been in the country. In a statement, ICE said all new deportation officers already undergo a 20-week training course that includes training on expedited removals.

It's unclear how many people could be deported immediately under Trump's plan. The Pew Research Center estimates that 1.5 million undocumented immigrants have been in the U.S. for fewer than five years, but it does not have data on those in the country fewer than two years.

Homeland Security has not yet formally expanded the expedited removal process. It must first publish its new plan in the Federal Register.

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

Indian Workers in U.S. Fear Trump H-1B Visa Crackdown

Wall Street Journal
By Newley Purnell
February 27, 2017

NEW DELHI—Santosh Pillai was wooed to work in the U.S. for his coding skills more than a decade ago and has built a good life in Cupertino, Calif. He considers it home and is awaiting approval for his green card—but is now worried his family could be forced leave.

As President Donald Trump follows through on his campaign promises to tighten America’s borders, Mr. Pillai fears he, his wife and two children may have to return to India.

“It’s like getting kicked in the stomach,” said the 51-year-old, who works for an American computer-chip maker that he declined to name, fearful of added scrutiny. “The future is very uncertain.”

A draft of an executive order for Mr. Trump’s consideration calls for the government to re-examine a range of visa programs to ensure they protect “the jobs, wages and well-being of United States workers.” This includes the H-1B visa program, which provides visas for highly skilled foreign workers.

Adding to the unease, two Indian nationals who worked as engineers at technology company Garmin Ltd. were shot Wednesday at a bar in suburban Kansas by a man who witnesses say used racial slurs before opening fire. One of the Indian men died.

Critics say the H-1B program, which is supposed to be used to bring in workers with skills that are scarce in the U.S., is too often used to bring in tech workers—largely from India—who are willing to work for less than Americans.

Three of the top five H-1B employers in 2014, the latest year for which data is available, were outsourcing firms from India, according to Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services data analyzed by Ron Hira, an associate professor of public policy at Howard University.

Between them, Tata Consultancy Services Ltd., Infosys Ltd. and Wipro Ltd. brought in more than 12,000 new H-1B workers that year. By comparison, large U.S. consumer-technology firms Microsoft Corp., Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Apple Inc. brought in about 2,000 such workers in all.

Demand is so high for H-1B visas that for the last four years the number of applications has surpassed the entire fiscal year’s 85,000 supply in under one week, triggering a lottery.

On the campaign trail, Mr. Trump vowed to “end forever the use of the H-1B as a cheap labor program.”

U.S. tech companies are wary of new restrictions.

“It is the enlightened immigration policy of this country that even made it possible for me to come here in the first place, and gave me all this opportunity,” Microsoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella, who was born in India, told employees last month, according to a transcript posted on the company’s website. A Microsoft spokeswoman declined to comment on the company’s use of the H-1B program.

Blake Irving, chief executive of GoDaddy Inc., said in a LinkedIn post earlier this month that there are “currently more than half a million high-skill IT and computer science jobs sitting unfilled in the U.S. today,” and that the executive order, if signed, “risks serious consequences for US-based tech companies’ ability to hire elite global talent.”

Google and Apple declined to comment when queried about their use of the visa program.

Anticipating policy changes, foreign tech workers are putting life plans on hold and questioning career decisions, while companies that have grown to depend on them are wondering if they have to change their business models.

Some H-1B visa holders are putting off travel and starting to formulate backup plans in the event of a crackdown. Most were unwilling to be named in this article, concerned they could be targeted if they spoke out.

H-1B visas are valid for three years and can be renewed for another three years. After that, workers can apply for green cards, though the wait often takes years, during which they continue working on H-1Bs.

The looming crackdown is causing rifts between Silicon Valley firms and Indian outsourcers, with some U.S. technology firms eager to close loopholes in the program that can be abused by outsourcers. Several bills in Congress call for raising the minimum salary of H-1B visa recipients, a move perceived to be targeting outsourcing companies.

India’s $108 billion outsourcing industry would be hard-hit by a clampdown, as their business model depends on sending armies of engineers to the U.S. to work. The National Association of Software and Services Companies, an Indian trade group, cut its growth forecast for the sector following Mr. Trump’s election.

Infosys Chief Executive Vishal Sikka said it was unfair to suggest Indian companies were taking jobs from Americans. But in an interview last month, he noted that outsourcers likely would have to adjust. Infosys and others may have to “train and hire more locally,” he said, “and use the visa as necessary and as permitted.”

TCS and Wipro declined to comment.

Sankalp Modi, a 38-year-old Ph.D. and H-1B holder who has lived in the U.S. for close to a decade, helps build software used by engineers and scientists for MathWorks, a Natick, Mass.-based computing software maker.

While he is sympathetic to Americans who might have lost their jobs to outsourcers abusing the visa program, he is certain he is “playing by the rules,” and hasn’t put any American out of work. His backup plans include moving to Canada or Australia, and he is about to take the English-language test required for visas to those countries—just in case.

To keep more cash at hand, Mr. Modi cut back his retirement savings and put off sending his daughter to preschool, and his wife canceled her plans to launch her own tech startup.

Kapil Potdar, 38, an Indian citizen on an H-1B visa who develops e-commerce software for a New Jersey firm, said he and his wife are concerned about traveling outside the country at the same time. If one of them was to be blocked from re-entering the country due to sudden changes in policy, the other would need to be present in the U.S. to sell their home, he said.

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

Santa Cruz and federal agents in war of words over whether a gang sweep was really a secret immigration raid

Los Angeles Times: 
By Richard Winton and James Queally
February 23, 2017

Northern California raid ostensibly targeting violent gang members triggered a dispute Thursday, with Santa Cruz’s police chief angrily accusing the Homeland Security Department of turning it into a secret immigration sweep.

Chief Kevin Vogel accused Homeland Security officials of lying about the scope of the raids conducted jointly between his department and federal agents this month aimed at apprehending MS-13 gang members.

“The Department of Homeland Security, unbeknownst to us at the Santa Cruz Police Department, had acted outside the scope of this operation and had detained and removed a number of individuals from locations based upon their immigration status,” Vogel said at a news conference. “The community has an absolute right to be angry over this. This has violated the trust of the community, and we cannot tell you how disappointed we are by the betrayal of the Department of Homeland Security.”

Federal officials denied that they acted to deceive local authorities, and said police knew others besides the gang members would be held briefly to ascertain their identities and histories. The department said it detained 10 gang members and 11 others for immigration violations. All but one of those detained for the immigration violations were released, federal officials said.

The controversy comes as tensions over immigration policy under the Trump administration have increased, with many civil rights advocates asserting that federal agents are more emboldened in their actions.

In a statement, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman James Schwab said that a multiagency operation conducted on Feb. 13 served warrants at 11 locations in Santa Cruz, Daly City and Watsonville as part of an operation to arrest members of the MS-13 criminal organization.

In addition, Schwab said, 11 people in the U.S. illegally were detained for immigration violations because of their association with the suspected gang members. Schwab said the one person still being held had a “criminal history and possible ties to the ongoing criminal investigation.”

“We worked closely with the Santa Cruz Police Department over the last five years on this case,” Schwab said. “Allegations that the agency secretly planned an immigration enforcement action in hopes there would be new political leadership that would allow for an alleged ‘secret’ operation to take place are completely false, reckless and disturbing.”

Schwab said the special agent in charge of the operation notified the police chief that “any non-targeted foreign nationals” at the raid locations would be held briefly to determine their identities and histories, and it was agreed none would be brought to the police facility or placed in police cars.

Ryan L. Spradlin, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agent in charge in San Francisco, added in a statement: “It’s unfortunate when politics get intertwined with a well planned and executed public safety operation. When politics undermine law and order, the only winners are the criminals.”

The 10 suspected MS-13 gang members detained were responsible for at least four murders, authorities said.

At his news conference, Vogel said he had been repeatedly assured the raids would target only violent gang members under indictment after a five-year investigation.

Santa Cruz designated itself a sanctuary city more than three decades ago, initially as a refuge for undocumented people fleeing violence in Central America. Under the designation, city officials don’t use immigration status for law enforcement actions.

Vogel said the department first learned of a possible immigration sweep on Feb. 14 from residents at a City Council meeting. He said immigration officials eventually admitted that some detentions were made based on immigration status.

Santa Cruz Mayor Cynthia Chase said the action by federal authorities was disturbing and a violation of the city’s sanctuary status.

“We understand and recognize the anger and fear that are circulating throughout the community,” Chase said.

Jennie Pasquarella, a senior staff attorney and director of the immigrants' rights project at the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, said the complaints levied by Santa Cruz police were emblematic of the increasingly aggressive stance taken by Immigration and Customs Enforcement since President Trump's most recent executive orders.

“ICE is completely unhinged from any of the prior policies that governed their enforcement actions,” Pasquarella said. “They’re going after everybody that they find including collateral arrests. It signals a dramatic shift in the way that ICE is doing their work.”

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

Donald Trump Rejects Intelligence Report on Travel Ban

Wall Street Journal
By Shane Harris
February 24, 2017

An intelligence report by the Department of Homeland Security contradicts the White House’s assertion that immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries pose a particular risk of being terrorists and should be blocked from entering the U.S.

The report is the latest volley in a struggle between intelligence officials and the Trump administration that has rippled across several agencies. Some officials have critiqued administration policies, while the president and senior members of his staff have accused officials of leaking information to undermine his administration and the legitimacy of his election.

The report, reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, came from Homeland Security’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis. It said that its staff “assesses that country of citizenship is unlikely to be a reliable indicator of potential terrorist activity.” The White House on Friday dismissed it as politically motivated and poorly researched.

The compilation and disclosure of an intelligence report so directly at odds with top White House priorities marks an unusually sharp rupture between the administration and career public servants. It also underscores the difficulty President Donald Trump has had in converting his confrontational and bombastic campaign rhetoric into public policy.

The Trump administration is seeking to enforce an executive order blocking immigrants from the seven countries, which it has portrayed as based on nationality and security factors, and not religion. Mr. Trump is expected to issue a new order next week after federal courts blocked his first attempt to temporarily halt immigration and prohibit refugees from entering the country.

The DHS report was prepared in response to the White House request for intelligence assessments of terrorist threats posed by migration. Current and former officials with direct knowledge of the Homeland Security report said it was compiled on short notice, but that it relied on information that analysts routinely collect and examine in order to guide counterterrorism policies. The report was shared with agencies outside DHS.

Trump administration officials said the assessment ignored available information that supports the immigration ban and the report they requested has yet to be presented.

“The president asked for an intelligence assessment. This is not the intelligence assessment the president asked for,” a senior administration official said. The official said intelligence is already available on the countries included in Mr. Trump’s ban and just needs to be compiled.

“The intelligence community is combining resources to put together a comprehensive report using all available sources which is driven by data and intelligence and not politics," said White House spokesman Michael Short.

A spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security also took issue with the quality of the report, describing it as “commentary” based on public sources rather than “an official, robust document with thorough interagency sourcing.”

“It is clear on its face that it is an incomplete product that fails to find evidence of terrorism by simply refusing to look at all the available evidence,” said Gillian M. Christensen, the department’s acting press secretary.

“Any suggestion by opponents of the president’s policies that senior [homeland security] intelligence officials would politicize this process or a report’s final conclusions is absurd and not factually accurate. The dispute with this product was over sources and quality, not politics,” Ms. Christensen said.

It was not the first time this week that DHS officials were at odds with White House policies and statements. On Thursday, DHS Secretary John Kelly, on a trip to Mexico, assured officials there that the U.S. would not undertake “mass deportations” of illegal immigrants and that the U.S. military would not play a role in immigration enforcement.

The reassurance on military involvement apparently contradicted a statement by Mr. Trump earlier that day, in which he described enforcement as a “military operation.” White House officials later clarified that Mr. Trump was referring to “military precision,” not actual military actions.

The new DHS report, which is not classified, states that its findings are based on public statistics and reports from the Department of Justice and the State Department as well as an annual report on global threats produced by U.S. intelligence agencies. CNN reported Thursday that the intelligence office had compiled a report that was at odds with the administration’s views.

Mr. Trump has defended the immigration ban, noting that the seven countries were identified by the Obama administration as “sources of terror,” and that two of them, Iraq and Syria, are home bases to members of the self-proclaimed Islamic State, who conceivably could enter the U.S. posing as immigrants or refugees.

But the Homeland Security report found that in the past six years, foreign-born people in the United States who were “inspired” to participate in terrorist acts came from 26 different countries.

In all, analysts found 82 individuals who were “primarily” based in the U.S. who had either died trying to engage in terrorism or were convicted on charges. Of those, “slightly more than half” were native born U.S. citizens, the report found.

Only two of the seven countries targeted by Mr. Trump—Iraq and Somalia—are among the top origins countries for foreign-born individuals who engaged in terrorism in the United States, the report found. Those countries, in order, are Pakistan, Somalia, Bangladesh, Cuba, Ethiopia, Iraq and Uzbekistan.

The findings track similar studies by think tanks and news organization. The Wall Street Journal in January found that of 180 people charged with jihadist terrorism-related crimes or who died before being charged, 11 were identified as being from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Yemen, Sudan or Somalia, the countries specified in Mr. Trump’s order. No Americans were killed in any of the attacks by those 11 individuals.

The DHS report found that countries targeted in Mr. Trump’s immigration order already accounted for a small portion of total visas issued in the fiscal year 2015, with no country accounting for more than 7% of visas granted in the Middle East, North Africa or Sub Saharan Africa, the report found. The country accounting for the largest percentage of visas issued in those regions was Iran, the report found, which the U.S. designated a state sponsor of terrorism in 1984.

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