More Restrictive Immigration Policies Proposed

More Restrictive Immigration Policies Proposed

By: Reuben S. Seguritan


President Trump has been busy these past few months making sweeping changes to the immigration system. Trump declared in a message posted on his Twitter page that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA was “dead.” DACA was a program started by former President Obama for illegal immigrants, also known as ‘Dreamers’, who were brought into the United States as children. Under DACA, these Dreamers could remain in the United States and even get work permits, as long as they met certain criteria. President Trump blames this death on the Democrats by stating that “Democrats didn’t care or act.”


In response, Democrats have stated that the President is the one who ended DACA by refusing a bipartisan solution and not them. Senator Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey) posted a message on Twitter saying, “Mr. President, these are children’s lives you are playing with here. Stop the bogus claims to excuse your anti-immigrant agenda. Instead, you could reinstate DACA immediately. That’s right, YOU ended DACA and YOU could bring it back.”


Representative Raul Grijalva (D-Arizona) also posted a message on Twitter saying, “Immigrants who enter the US today would not even qualify for #DACA. Trump is telling blatant lies to support his anti-immigrant narrative and justifying his heartless decision to end the program in the first place. #ProtectDreamers”. Currently, DACA continues for those who have already been granted benefits. However, no new benefits will be granted and no new applications will be accepted.


In another aspect of the immigration system, specifically in the immigration courts, the Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR), which is part of the Department of Justice (DOJ), imposed strict quotas on immigration judges. Immigration judges are now required to complete 700 cases each year. The DOJ justified the strict quota by stating that this new system will speed deportation decisions and eliminate backlogs. The failure of an immigration judge to meet the quota could mean dismissal from the bench because the quota requirement is part of their individual performance evaluation.


Critics have warned that the imposition of the strict quota could lead judges to not give enough time to study cases in order to meet the quota and ensure they will keep their jobs. Furthermore, the strict quota could mean that parties before the immigration courts will not be given due process and enough time to find a lawyer or prove their case in court.


The last aspect of the immigration system that the Trump administration is trying to limit is the protection granted to asylum seekers at the borders of the United States. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has stated that there is a need to curb the protection granted to asylum seekers because there is rampant fraud in the system and this will prevent terrorists and criminals from entering the United States. This action of the Attorney General is in line with President Trump’s policy which he reiterated through a message on his Twitter page stating, “Border Patrol Agents are not allowed to properly do their job at the Border because of ridiculous liberal (Democrat) laws like Catch & Release. Getting more dangerous. “Caravans” coming.”  The “catch and release” that President Trump is referring to is the practice of allowing people who are detained arriving illegally in the US to be released from custody while awaiting a decision on whether they can stay. President Trump wants to eliminate this practice because he wants them to be promptly removed from the United States.


Furthermore, asylum seekers must prove at the border that there is a “credible fear” about returning to their home countries. Absent such proof at the border, these asylum seekers can now be refused entry into the United States at the border.