October 16, 2018

President Trump tweeted Tuesday night that the United States has sent a message to several Central American countries regarding immigration.

"We have today informed Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador that if they allow their citizens, or others, to journey through their borders and up to the United States, with the intention of entering our country illegally, all payments made to them will STOP (END)!" He didn't STOP (END) there, adding in a follow-up tweet, "Anybody entering the United States illegally will be arrested and detained, prior to being sent back to their country!"

There is a caravan of about 2,000 migrants headed to the United States from Honduras, and earlier in the day, Trump tweeted that if those people do not turn around and go back, "no more money or aid will be given to Honduras, effective immediately!" During the 2016 fiscal year, the U.S. gave Honduras $127.4 million in aid, the United States Agency for International Development says. Many people who migrate from Honduras are fleeing drug and gang violence and poverty, which would all likely grow exponentially if aid is cut off. Catherine Garcia

October 6, 2018

A federal judge on Friday ruled against the Department of Justice in a case against California concerning sanctuary cities.

At issue was Attorney General Jeff Sessions' policy of making public safety grants dependent on cities' compliance with his department's demand for cooperation of local police forces with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) efforts to crack down on illegal immigration. Sessions required grant recipient cities to share information as well as prison and jail access with ICE.

This is one of several similar losses the Trump administration has taken at court over its sanctuary city opposition. Last fall, U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick permanently blocked President Trump's executive order to cut funding to the cities, calling it "unconstitutional on its face." And in April, a federal judge likewise sided with Los Angeles against the DOJ, ruling the agency can't dole out federal funding based on whether jurisdictions follow sanctuary city policies.

Sanctuary cities limit cooperation with federal immigration agents, arguing immigrants will be discouraged from reporting crime if they are worried about deportation. Read more about sanctuary cities and how they work here at The Week. Bonnie Kristian

October 3, 2018

On Wednesday, a federal judge temporarily blocked the Trump administration from ending legal protections for more than 300,000 immigrants.

The immigrants, from El Salvador, Nicaragua, Sudan, and Haiti, have Temporary Protected Status (TPS), given to people who flee their home countries due to natural disasters and conflicts. The Trump administration claimed that the conditions that forced them to leave their home countries are no longer present, but U.S. District Court Judge Edward Chen ruled that the recipients and their children will "indisputably" suffer if they lose their status.

Many of the recipients have lived in the United States for decades, and if they have children who were born in the U.S., they would be forced to choose between leaving them or "tearing them away from the only country and community they have known," Chen wrote. El Salvador has the most TPS beneficiaries, and they were scheduled to lose their designation in September 2019, while 1,000 people from Sudan were supposed to be dropped from the program in less than a month. Catherine Garcia

September 23, 2018

The Trump administration on Saturday proposed a rule change that would make it more difficult for immigrants to receive visas and green cards if they are deemed likely to use public assistance programs.

"Under long-standing federal law, those seeking to immigrate to the United States must show they can support themselves financially," said Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen in a statement arguing the rule would "promote immigrant self-sufficiency and protect finite resources by ensuring that they are not likely to become burdens on American taxpayers."

The proposal will define a threshold for a total amount of assistance from programs like public housing and food stamps, and using assistance above that line will be "a heavily weighed negative factor" in the consideration of immigration status change applications, DHS said. The new rules could take effect before the end of the year.

Critics say the proposal is less about frugality than restricting immigration, and legal challenge is expected. "Today's announcement by the Trump administration is a backdoor, administrative end-run to substantially reduce legal immigration that, if implemented, will hurt our entire country," Todd Schulte of FWD.us told CNN. "This policy will cost the United States in the long run by limiting the contributions of hardworking immigrants who could become legal residents, and no one is better off because of it." Bonnie Kristian

August 9, 2018

First lady Melania Trump's parents, Viktor and Amalija Knavs, became U.S. citizens on Thursday, taking advantage of a program that President Trump has long railed against.

Their ceremony was private for "security reasons," attorney Michael Wildes said. Trump has decried "chain migration," where adult U.S. citizens can obtain residency for their relatives. On Nov. 1, 2017, for example, he tweeted: "CHAIN MIGRATION must end now! Some people come in, and they bring their whole family with them, who can be truly evil. NOT ACCEPTABLE!" Wildes told The New York Times "I suppose" the Knavses obtained citizenship through chain migration, but called the term a "dirtier" way of describing family-based immigration, "a bedrock of our immigration process when it comes to family reunification."

The Knavses are from Slovenia, but they now divide their time between New York City, Palm Beach, and Washington, D.C., where they stay with the Trumps in the White House. Wildes said the first lady sponsored her parents for their green cards, and once eligible, they applied for citizenship. To apply for U.S. citizenship, a person must have a green card for at least five years, plus meet the character, residency, and civic knowledge requirements. It's unclear when the Knavses obtained permanent residency in the U.S., the Times reports, but Wildes said they met the five-year requirement.

Melania Trump became a citizen in 2006, five years after she gained permanent residency by obtaining a so-called "Einstein visa," for "individuals of extraordinary ability." She began dating Donald Trump in 1998. Catherine Garcia

August 4, 2018

A federal judge on Friday ordered the Trump administration to fully revive the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which protects from deportation young immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children.

U.S. District Judge John Bates decided the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has failed to adequately "explain its view that DACA is unlawful." "The court has already once given DHS the opportunity to remedy these deficiencies — either by providing a coherent explanation of its legal opinion or by reissuing its decision for bona fide policy reasons that would preclude judicial review," he said. "So it will not do so again."

The restart is set to begin Aug. 23, though the administration can appeal the ruling in the meantime. DACA was started by the Obama administration via executive order. Trump rescinded it in September and has since taken conflicting positions on possible congressional responses. Bonnie Kristian

July 20, 2018

On Thursday, the Trump administration said it has reunited 364 of more than 2,500 migrant children ages five and older with their families, after they were separated from their parents along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The government has a court-ordered deadline of July 26 to reunite the children with their parents, and in a court filing, the Trump administration said of the 1,607 parents eligible for reunification, 719 have final orders of deportation. "That's a pretty horrifying statistic," Lindsay Toczylowski, executive director of Immigrant Defenders Law Center, told NBC News. "We have had such limited communication with parents it was difficult to know where they were in their case."

The parents will need to decide if they will take their children back with them to their native countries, or leave them in the care of the government or relatives in the United States so they can seek asylum. Catherine Garcia

July 3, 2018

On Monday, a federal judge ruled that the Department of Homeland Security has been ignoring its own 2009 directive requiring that asylum seekers receive individualized reviews of their cases, instead making blanket detention decisions.

District Judge James Boasberg of the District of Columbia issued a nationwide preliminary injunction that necessitates the Department of Homeland Security follow the directive. "To mandate that ICE provide these baseline procedures to those entering our country — individuals who have often fled violence and persecution to seek safety on our shores — is no great judicial leap," he said.

Before the Trump administration, most people seeking asylum were granted release in the U.S. to await their final hearing in front of an immigration judge, unless they were deemed threats to public safety. In March, nine asylum seekers — including an ethics teacher from Haiti who was attacked after teaching students about government corruption and a gay man from Honduras who was threatened by a gunman — sued, with all saying they had been held for several months, and in one case more than two years, with no explanation as to why they were still in custody. Catherine Garcia

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