Proposed immigration regulations – comment period

Cross-posted with permission from Shari Lane (original post to the OWLS listserve on October 10, 2018). There is still time to file comments!

Two new proposed regulations have been promulgated, and I encourage everyone to comment:

  1. Allows the federal government to detain children indefinitely (overturning the Flores Settlement Agreement), and allows waiver of the existing requirement of state agency oversight over facilities housing children.

    Enter DHS Docket No. ICEB-2018-0002 for Proposed Rule (“PR”) titled “Apprehension, Processing, Care, and Custody of Alien Minors and Unaccompanied Alien Children.” Comment period ends 11/6/18

    There’s so much that could be said about this, but I’ll say only this: the FSA ensures children are not warehoused in detention forever, and the state agencies are currently charged with ensuring child detainees are provided with education, health care, and other minimum standards of care are met. This regulation would eliminate both protections.

  2. Interprets existing “public charge” laws and regulations as likely to disqualify an applicant for citizenship, permanent status, or extension of temporary protected status if the applicant has ever received public benefits. Benefits that will be disqualifying include SNAP (food stamps), WIC (aid to Women, Infants, and Children), and Medicaid.

    Enter DHS Docket No. USCIS-2010-0012 for the Proposed Rule (PR) labelled “Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds.” Comment period ends 12/10/18

    This rule applies even if the applicant only received benefits for a short period of time, right after arriving in the country with nothing, having fled natural disaster or violence, and having followed the proper procedures for authorized entry.

    Some healthcare providers are already reporting that, based on the announcement last month that the rule was going to be proposed, even immigrants who are here legally with applications pending or whose status is up for renewal have been refraining from seeking medical care until the situation is dire, for fear it will result in denial of their application.

Sample language for making the comments can be provided by one of the many, many organizations opposing these regulations. . . . The most important action is to reference the PR number and state your opinion. It only takes a few minutes.

And from a follow-up email:

I did find out that the final version of the proposed “public charge” regulation exempts refugees, and it sounds like it won’t include WIC.

An Embarrassing “Tradition”

Last week, The Washington Post published a perspective article on The American tradition of caging children, by Lalitha Vasudevan. The article traces the history of youth incarcerations dating back to the country’s first juvenile court in 1899 and draws comparisons in treatment between truant children caught in the juvenile justice system and those now being detained at the border.

While some Americans have been angered and terrified by the government’s actions at the border, and some have been moved to act to help the children, we have yet to see an enriched national conversation about how we punish children and how we decide what children are worthy of our empathy.
. . .
Let the collective outrage extend into the ongoing conversation about criminal justice reform, another area that is vulnerable to draconian actions in the name of so-called positive change. The shelters in which the 12,000 migrant children are being held currently charge $750 per day per child. Consider how else those funds could be allocated to support the flourishing, rather than detention, of young people.

Two upcoming events in October

Next Thursday, October 11, join a Livestream conversation with the American Immigration Council regarding Children and the Long-Term Effects of Family Separation. Click here for more information and to register.

On Monday, October 29 and Tuesday, October 30 in Portland, join the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) in partnership with Catholic Charities’ Center for Immigration Defense, for a two-day Introduction to Removal Defense course which will include basics of asylum law, withholding, CAT, bond proceedings, removal proceedings and cancellation of removal. CLE credit is being applied for. Click here for more information and to register.

Detained moms write letters; you can help free them in this campaign

CNN has this powerful story and video about a group of mothers separated from their children, and the letters they have written from detention.

‘I wouldn’t wish it even on my worst enemy’: Reunited immigrant moms write letters from detention

Immigration Justice Campaign and the Dilley Pro Bono Project invite you to join their social media campaign to free the 39 families who have endured months of detention with no end in sight. Here’s what you can do:

1. Spread the word on social media using the hashtag #FreetheFamilies.
2. Read the letters in their entirety on the Immigration Justice Campaign website.
3. Stay tuned for opportunities to send your comments to the government on the administration’s proposed Flores regulations, which if implemented could result in the indefinite detention of thousands more immigrant children.