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Westlake Legal Group > Immigration and Emigration

Kevin McAleenan Is Out as Acting Homeland Security Secretary

Westlake Legal Group 21dc-dhs-facebookJumbo Kevin McAleenan Is Out as Acting Homeland Security Secretary United States Politics and Government United States Trump, Donald J Mexico McAleenan, Kevin K Immigration and Emigration Immigration and Customs Enforcement (US) Illegal Immigration Homeland Security Department Customs and Border Protection (US)

WASHINGTON — President Trump announced on Friday the departure of Kevin K. McAleenan, the acting secretary for the Department of Homeland Security who spent his six-month tenure trying to curb a surge of asylum seekers at the southwestern border while managing a turbulent relationship with a president intent on restricting immigration.

Noting that they have “worked well together with Border Crossings being way down,” Mr. Trump said on Twitter that Mr. McAleenan wanted “to spend more time with his family and go to the private sector.”

Mr. McAleenan’s exit from the White House came after he tried publicly to embrace the president’s increasingly aggressive assault on legal and illegal immigration even as he privately resisted some of Mr. Trump’s most extreme ideas.

In an interview last week with The Washington Post, Mr. McAleenan complained about what he called the “tone, the message, the public face and approach” of immigration policy — a not-so-subtle reproach of the president’s own language about the border.

The comments enraged some of the president’s staunch allies, who called it an unforgivable public statement about his boss.

At the same time, Mr. McAleenan drew furious criticism from Democrats and immigration activists, who blamed him for going along with the president’s efforts to separate families at the border, block asylum seekers and deny green cards to poor immigrants.

On Monday, Mr. McAleenan was forced off the stage at Georgetown Law School, where he was scheduled to participate in an immigration forum. Protesters held signs that said “Stand with immigrants” and “Hate is not normal.” They chanted until he left the stage.

In his announcement, the president said that he would name a new acting secretary next week, but it was not immediately clear who would succeed Mr. McAleenan.

Mr. McAleenan, the president’s fourth homeland security secretary, appeared to be on his way out almost from the moment he replaced Kirstjen Nielsen, who was fired in April by Mr. Trump in a purge of several top immigration officials in the administration.

The president never nominated Mr. McAleenan to permanently assume the position and sometimes offered weak praise for the job he was doing. For the last several months, Mr. McAleenan, a career law enforcement official, has watched as the White House surrounded him with immigration hard-liners to oversee parts of his jurisdiction.

Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, who once advocated an end to birthright citizenship, was installed to lead the agency that manages legal immigration. Mark Morgan, who once said he could determine future gang members by looking at detained migrant children, was selected to oversee Immigration and Customs Enforcement. And Thomas D. Homan, who has supported the president’s separation of families in appearances on Fox News, was mentioned as a possible border czar to coordinate border policy.

Under the Vacancies Act, which stipulates that the position must go to certain ranked officials in the department, none of those hard-liners can immediately succeed Mr. McAleenan. Mr. Cuccinelli would face strong opposition from the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, for his political efforts to back insurgent Senate candidates, including one challenging Mr. McConnell.

Mr. McAleenan, a former lawyer who once served in the Obama administration, oversaw homeland security as it grappled with the highest number of crossings at the southwestern border in more than a decade, prompting the White House to issue aggressive policies against one of its closest allies.

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Trump Celebrates Nationalism in U.N. Speech and Plays Down Iran Crisis

President Trump delivered a sharp nationalist message and assailed “globalists” in remarks to the world’s leading international body on Tuesday, while taking a notably moderate line on Iranian aggression in the Middle East.

“If you want freedom, hold on to your sovereignty, and if you want peace, love your nation,” Mr. Trump said, as he called for stronger borders and new controls on migration. “The future does not belong to globalists. The future belongs to patriots. The future belongs to sovereign and independent nations.”

The United Nations was founded in 1945 to foster international cooperation and understanding after the nationalist fervor that had plunged the globe into World War II. But Mr. Trump, who spoke in a flat monotone, stressed the value of national identity and argued that governments must defend their “history, culture and heritage.”

“The free world must embrace its national foundations,” Mr. Trump said. “It must not attempt to erase them or replace them.”

Just as notable as his challenge to many of the world body’s principles was what Mr. Trump did not say. Before an audience that had been primed for him to focus on attacks on Saudi oil facilities that the United States has said Iran was behind, Mr. Trump said relatively little about the Sept. 14 strikes. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo labeled the attacks, which rattled global energy markets, “an act of war.”

Likely to the relief of his audience, which included European leaders who have been scrambling to find a way to avert conflict with Iran over its nuclear program, Mr. Trump did not repeat that bellicose phrase. Instead, he reiterated the distaste for military conflict he has demonstrated since he first ran for president. “Many of our friends today were once our greatest foes,” Mr. Trump said. “The United States has never believed in permanent enemies. America knows that while anyone can make war, only the most courageous can choose peace.”

“America’s goal is not to go with these endless wars, wars that never end,” he added.

Mr. Trump offered the world leaders and diplomats gathered before him little in the way of a clear path forward on how to deal with Iran, and largely repeated prior broad-stroke complaints about Iran’s “menacing behavior.”

He was rewarded with respectful applause when he finished, but none at all during the speech itself.

Mr. Trump’s speech also restated his hope that diplomacy can denuclearize North Korea; he vowed to seek peace in Afghanistan even as America continues to fight the Taliban; and he again condemned the “socialist” dictatorship in Venezuela.

But his strikingly pat language on Iran appeared to be part of an effort to tamp down expectations of a strong American response in defense of the Saudis, a key Middle East ally.

Instead, Mr. Trump called on Iran to give freedom to its people and engage in new talks with the United States.

Overall, the speech reaffirmed Mr. Trump’s belief in the ideas of nationalism and sovereignty that have fueled the rise of populist leaders across the world. It also bore the hallmarks of his policy adviser and speechwriter Stephen Miller, who has helped to push cultural and racial themes to the front of Mr. Trump’s agenda.

At a body that has been a champion of refugees and migrants, Mr. Trump offered a firm defense of strong borders at home and abroad.

“Many of the countries here today are coping with the challenges of uncontrolled migration,” he said. “Each of you has the absolute right to protect your borders. And so, of course, does our country.”

Mr. Trump also took explicit aim at the power of the United Nations, noting with pride that he has refused to ratify an international arms trade treaty sponsored by the body. “There’s no circumstance under which the United States will allow international entities to trample on the rights of our citizens, including the right to self-defense,” Mr. Trump said.

He assailed another international body, the World Trade Organization, saying that it had failed to check what he described as abusive Chinese economic practices for years. And he complained that a network of global elites had turned a blind eye to China’s behavior.

“For years, these abuses were tolerated, ignored or even encouraged,” Mr. Trump said. “Globalism exerted a religious pull over past leaders, causing them to ignore their own national interests. But as far as America is concerned, those days are over.”

Mr. Trump’s language about efforts to “replace” the foundations of national cultures bore echoes of the “great replacement” theory propounded by the French writer Renaud Camus, who has warned that European culture is being diluted by migrants from places like the Middle East and North Africa. The phrase “great replacement” has been adopted by many in the white nationalist movement, although it is unclear whether Mr. Trump intended such an allusion.

Just a week ago, it seemed certain that Mr. Trump would make the attack on the Saudis the central element of his United Nations speech. Not only did Mr. Pompeo call the attack an “act of war,” but military officials were at one point in the Situation Room offering military and cyberattack options to respond. Mr. Trump made no reference to any of those, and did not seek any kind of endorsement for the need for a response beyond a tightening of sanctions.

Earlier this week, Richard Fontaine, the chief executive of the Center for a New American Security and longtime Republican foreign policy aide, noted: “Not so long ago, a devastating attack on Saudi oil supplies would almost certainly have elicited an American military response. Ensuring the continued flow of energy from the Middle East was widely seen as crucial, one of the vital American interests that nearly all policymakers believed worth defending.”

But he noted that “fracking and reduced U.S. dependence on Middle East oil, the exhaustion and caution borne by two decades of American wars, a new focus on great-power competition, and the complexities of recent diplomacy with Iran have changed all this to a degree.”

Iran has denied responsibility for the attack, and Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who are armed by Iran, have taken credit. But Trump officials say they are certain that Iran was responsible.

In the days since that attack, Mr. Trump has alternated between threats of fierce military action and calls for patience and restraint.

An American military response could escalate the conflict with potentially devastating consequences for the global economy, which is powered by a Middle Eastern oil flow that Iran can easily disrupt.

Speaking to reporters shortly before his remarks, Mr. Trump projected confidence about the standoff with Tehran, saying that “Iran is coming along very well. We’re in very good shape with respect to Iran.”

As Trump Takes the U.N. Stage, an Eye on Troubles Back Home

Sept. 24, 2019

Westlake Legal Group 24dc-prexy-sub-threeByTwoSmallAt2X-v2 Trump Celebrates Nationalism in U.N. Speech and Plays Down Iran Crisis United States International Relations United Nations Trump, Donald J Saudi Arabia Iran International Relations Immigration and Emigration Defense and Military Forces
What’s Happened So Far at the U.N. General Assembly

Sept. 24, 2019

Westlake Legal Group 24UNGA-Promo4-threeByTwoSmallAt2X-v2 Trump Celebrates Nationalism in U.N. Speech and Plays Down Iran Crisis United States International Relations United Nations Trump, Donald J Saudi Arabia Iran International Relations Immigration and Emigration Defense and Military Forces

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U.S. Agreement With El Salvador Seeks to Divert Asylum Seekers

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WASHINGTON — The Trump administration signed an agreement with the government of El Salvador on Friday that could force Central American migrants traveling through El Salvador to seek refuge in that violent and dangerous country instead of in the United States.

The agreement is a win for President Trump and his hard-line immigration policies, and it gives him another ally in Central America as he tries to block migrants from seeking asylum at the southwestern border. Washington has signed a similar agreement with Guatemala.

But details on the agreement with El Salvador remain vague, including what steps need to be taken to carry it out.

After signing the accord with Alexandra Hill, El Salvador’s foreign minister, the acting secretary of homeland security, Kevin K. McAleenan, promoted the deal as a broader collaboration that included United States investment into El Salvador’s asylum system. He provided few details.

“Individuals crossing through El Salvador should be able to seek protections there, and we want to enforce the integrity of that process throughout the region but with the broader part of our partnership for addressing migration flows,” Mr. McAleenan said.

Mr. McAleenan has prioritized such agreements to slow the flow of migrants fleeing corruption and persecution in their home countries by forcing them to seek protection elsewhere. Fewer migrants cross through El Salvador, however, compared with Guatemala.

Even without the buy-in of other nations, the Trump administration has taken perhaps the most significant step to curb asylum seeking at the United States border by forbidding applications from would-be asylum seekers who have traveled through another country on their way to America. Under that action, only those already denied asylum in a third country can appeal for it from the United States.

The Supreme Court allowed the administration to enforce policy, but it is still being challenged.

And while Mr. McAleenan and Mr. Trump have discussed the accords with Central American countries as crucial factors in the reduction of apprehensions at the border, they have yet to actually be put in place.

When the United States signed its “safe-third country” agreement with Guatemala, Trump administration officials said migrants would start being returned to that country in August under the agreement. Officials from both countries have walked that label back because it carries a stigma, calling the label a “cooperative agreement” instead.

Guatemala’s Constitutional Court ruled that lawmakers in the capital, Guatemala City, needed to approve the policy before it could be carried out, and that has yet to happen. The administration has also failed to get Mexico to sign such an agreement.

Human rights advocates say it makes no sense to ask migrants to seek protection in countries like El Salvador and Guatemala, which are among the most dangerous, gang-ridden places in the world.

Tens of thousands of Salvadorans have been displaced from their homes, and the number of disappearances suggests that the official homicide rate may be considerably higher than the numbers reported by the police.

In 2018, about 46,800 Salvadorans sought asylum worldwide, ranking the country sixth in the world for new asylum seekers. In addition, according to a government study supported by the United Nations high commissioner for refugees, at least 71,500 Salvadorans have been internally displaced by violence. Overall, about 150,000 Salvadorans have become refugees or sought asylum in recent years.

“All these rules, agreements and procedural hurdles are creating a paper wall on the southern border, one that is just as inhumane, immoral, and illegal as one made of metal or bricks,” said Eric Schwartz, the president of Refugees International, an advocacy organization. “When history looks back on this period in the United States, the judgment will be harsh and unsparing.”

Since taking office in June, President Nayib Bukele of El Salvador has moved quickly to try to bring down the country’s homicide rate, sending the military into its most violent areas.

Although it had already begun to fall since 2017, when it was the highest in the world, according to the United Nations office on drugs and crime, the first three months of Mr. Bukele’s presidency showed a continued drop. According to Roberto Valencia, a Salvadoran reporter who analyzes homicide statistics released by the National Civil Police, the homicide rate in August was the lowest since 2013.

In 2017, there were 10.8 homicide a day in El Salvador, which has a population of about 6.5 million. In July, there were five homicides each day, and 4.2 in August, according to Mr. Valencia.

Still, Ms. Hill acknowledged the dire conditions.

“This is El Salvador’s responsibility because El Salvador has not been able to give our people enough security or opportunities so that they can stay and thrive in El Salvador,” Ms. Hill said.

She also emphasized that the Bukele administration sought to prevent Salvadorans from making the dangerous trip to the United States, referring to a photograph of a father and daughter from El Salvador who drowned in June in the Rio Grande.

“That hit El Salvador in the heart,” Ms. Hill said. “And it hit the United States in the heart. And that’s what we’re trying to avoid.”

Mr. McAleenan committed to helping El Salvador build its system with the United Nations high commissioner for refugees.

The commissioner was not consulted on this latest agreement, and Giovanni Bassu, the regional representative for Central America and Cuba, said he had not seen the agreement.

He also said El Salvador’s “very small” asylum office does not have any dedicated staff. Only 30 people applied for asylum in the country last year; 18 of those applications are still pending.

“My main message is that they have other priorities that the state should be investing in,” Mr. Bassu said. “I think rightfully the Salvadoran government is investing its resources where there is a need,” including managing internal displacement and addressing the root causes of migration.

It also remains unclear what El Salvador will receive from the United States. For the agreement with Guatemala, the United States agreed to invest $40 million in aid through commissioner to help build the country’s asylum system. Ms. Hill said the El Salvador government would need help combating gangs, as well as more economic opportunities.

Mr. Bukele has previously lobbied the United States to provide the 200,000 Salvadorans living in the United States with temporary protected status for 20 years. The Trump administration’s attempts to remove those protections have been blocked in court, but that status will expire in January.

On Friday, Ms. Hill again said those Salvadorans needed help, but neither her nor Mr. McAleenan said it was part of the agreement.

“The T.P.S. is temporary,” she said. “But there are also other measures that we are working on to find a permanent solution to this issue.”

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United States to Sign Asylum Agreement With El Salvador, Official Says

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WASHINGTON — The United States is expected Friday to sign an asylum agreement with the government of El Salvador to prevent certain migrants who pass through the violent and dangerous country from seeking refuge in the United States, according to an administration official.

The agreement is similar to one that President Trump’s administration negotiated with Guatemala in an ongoing effort to prevent migrants from crossing the border with Mexico and seeking asylum in the United States.

Kevin McAleenan, the acting secretary of homeland security, will announce the agreement at a news conference on Friday afternoon, according to the official, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the agreement before it is formally announced.

Mr. McAleenan has said that such agreements will help to slow the flow into the United States of migrants fleeing corruption and persecution in their home countries because it will force them to seek protection elsewhere.

But critics have said it makes no sense to ask the migrants to seek protection in those countries, because they are among the most dangerous, gang-ridden places in the world. The agreement with Guatemala requires migrants who pass through there to apply for asylum — and be rejected — before they are eligible to apply for asylum in the United States.

Immigrant advocacy organizations, who say the policies are orchestrated by Stephen Miller, the president’s top immigration architect, and are driven by ill will toward immigrants, have taken legal action to stop them.

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‘People Actively Hate Us’: Inside the Border Patrol’s Morale Crisis

One Border Patrol agent in Tucson said he had been called a “sellout” and a “kid killer.” In El Paso, an agent said he and his colleagues in uniform had avoided eating lunch together except at certain “BP friendly” restaurants because “there’s always the possibility of them spitting in your food.” An agent in Arizona quit last year out of frustration. “Caging people for a nonviolent activity,” he said, “started to eat away at me.”

For decades, the Border Patrol was a largely invisible security force. Along the southwestern border, its work was dusty and lonely. Between adrenaline-fueled chases, the shells of sunflower seeds piled up outside the windows of their idling pickup trucks. Agents called their slow-motion specialty “laying in” — hiding in the desert and brush for hours, to wait and watch, and watch and wait.

Two years ago, when President Trump entered the White House with a pledge to close the door on illegal immigration, all that changed. The nearly 20,000 agents of the Border Patrol became the leading edge of one of the most aggressive immigration crackdowns ever imposed in the United States.

No longer were they a quasi-military organization tasked primarily with intercepting drug runners and chasing smugglers. Their new focus was to block and detain hundreds of thousands of migrant families fleeing violence and extreme poverty — herding people into tents and cages, seizing children and sending their parents to jail, trying to spot those too sick to survive in the densely packed processing facilities along the border.

Ten migrants have died since September in the custody of the Border Patrol and its parent agency, Customs and Border Protection.

In recent months, the extreme overcrowding on the border has begun to ease, with migrants turned away and made to wait in Mexico while their asylum claims are processed. Last week, the Supreme Court allowed the administration to close the door further, at least for now, by requiring migrants from countries outside Mexico to show they have already been denied refuge in another country before applying for asylum.

The Border Patrol, whose agents have gone from having one of the most obscure jobs in law enforcement to one of the most hated, is suffering a crisis in both mission and morale. Earlier this year, the disclosure of a private Facebook group where agents posted sexist and callous references to migrants and the politicians who support them reinforced the perception that agents often view the vulnerable people in their care with frustration and contempt.

Interviews with 25 current and former agents in Texas, California and Arizona — some conducted on the condition of anonymity so the agents could speak more candidly — paint a portrait of an agency in a political and operational quagmire. Overwhelmed through the spring and early summer by desperate migrants, many agents have grown defensive, insular and bitter.

The president of the agents’ union said he had received death threats. An agent in South Texas said some colleagues he knew were looking for other federal law enforcement jobs. One agent in El Paso told a retired agent he was so disgusted by scandals in which the Border Patrol has been accused of neglecting or mistreating migrants that he wanted the motto emblazoned on its green-and-white vehicles — “Honor First” — scratched off.

“To have gone from where people didn’t know much about us to where people actively hate us, it’s difficult,” said Chris Harris, who was an agent for 21 years and a Border Patrol union official until he retired in June 2018. “There’s no doubt morale has been poor in the past, and it’s abysmal now. I know a lot of guys just want to leave.”

EDUARDO JACOBO, AN AGENT IN CALIFORNIA’S EL CENTRO SECTOR:

The difference between doing the job now and when I started is like night and day. Before, it was a rush of adrenaline when you caught people with drugs. You were doing more police stuff. Now it’s humanitarian work. If you ask anybody about being in Border Patrol, they’re playing a movie scene in their head, jumping into a burning building and saving people. Now, it means taking care of kids and giving them baby formula.

By and large, the agency has been a willing enforcer of the Trump administration’s harshest immigration policies. In videos released last year, Border Patrol agents could be seen destroying water jugs left in a section of the Arizona desert where large numbers of migrants have been found dead.

Some of those who worked at the agency in earlier years said that it had changed over the past decade, and that an attitude of contempt toward migrants — the view that they are opportunists who brought on their own troubles and are undeserving of a warm welcome — is now the rule, not the exception.

“The intense criticism that is being directed at the Border Patrol is necessary and important because I do think that there’s a culture of cruelty or callousness,” said Francisco Cantú, a former agent who is the author of “The Line Becomes a River,” a memoir about his time in the agency from 2008 to 2012. “There’s a lack of oversight. There is a lot of impunity.”

The Border Patrol was established in 1924. Early agents were recruited from the Texas Rangers and local sheriff’s offices. They focused largely on Prohibition-era whiskey bootleggers, often supplying their own horses and saddles. Though horseback units still exist, the culture of the agency bears little resemblance to its past.

It has become a sprawling arm of Customs and Border Protection, the country’s largest federal law enforcement agency, which is responsible for 7,000 miles of America’s northern and southern borders, 95,000 miles of shoreline and 328 ports of entry. On a practical level, the Border Patrol’s hubs along the Mexican border, known as sectors, operate in some ways as fiefs.

In border cities, sector chiefs become household names, delivering annual State of the Border speeches. In the 1990s, an El Paso sector chief, Silvestre Reyes, used his popularity to win a seat in Congress.

In El Paso and other border communities, becoming an agent has long been viewed as a ticket to the middle class. A starting agent with a high school diploma and no experience can expect to earn $55,800, including overtime, climbing to $100,000 in as few as four years.

“We as agents are living the crisis,” said Anthony Garcia, who has served as a Border Patrol agent in Southern California since 2003. “It has become a more stressful job,” said Susan Zepeda, an agent in the Border Patrol’s El Centro Sector in California. “Our resources are exhausted. Our manpower has been low.”

But given the long, solitary work, often in punishing heat and far-flung locations, and a growing workload, the agency has had difficulty recruiting: It remains about 1,800 agents short of its earlier hiring targets.

Some trace the increasing bitterness and frustration among agents to 2014, when large numbers of migrant families, as well as unaccompanied children, began arriving at the border. Many agents said they weren’t given the money or infrastructure to handle the emerging crisis. Desperate mothers and sick children had to be herded into fenced enclosures because there was nowhere else to put them.

Some agents blamed migrant parents for bringing their children into the mess. Their anger began building under President Barack Obama. Then, with Mr. Trump’s election, it found a voice in the White House.

Mr. Trump “said it to us, he said it in public, ‘I’m going to consider you guys, the union, the subject-matter experts on how we secure the border,’” said Mr. Harris, the former agent and Border Patrol union official from Southern California who retired last year. “We had never heard that from anyone before.”

The private Facebook group, which was created in 2016 and had more than 9,000 members, became a forum for agents to vent about the increasingly thankless nature of their jobs and the failure of successive administrations to fully secure the border.

Some agents who were members of the group said the tone of the posts shifted after Mr. Trump’s election, becoming raunchier and more politically tinged. A post mocked the death of a 16-year-old migrant while in custody at a Border Patrol station in Weslaco, Tex., with an image reading “Oh well.” A member used an expletive to propose throwing burritos at two Latina congresswomen.

AN AGENT IN SOUTH TEXAS:

What really pisses me off is that the agency knew about this group for a while. Those stories are true. There were patrol agents in charge on there. They knew it was wrong.

Most agents interviewed said a minority of those in the Facebook group were responsible for the most offensive posts.

BRANDON JUDD, PRESIDENT OF THE NATIONAL BORDER PATROL COUNCIL, THE AGENTs’ UNION:

We have been pointed at with this broad brush and there are certain segments trying to make this out that all agents are bad and ‘Here’s the proof, look at these Facebook posts,’ when really the vast majority of our agents are very good people.

In some ways, though, the posts reflected a culture that was long apparent in parts of the agency. For years, the Border Patrol has quietly tolerated racist terminology. Some agents refer to migrants as “wets,” a shortened version of “wetbacks.” Others call them “toncs.”

Jenn Budd, a former agent of six years who is now an outspoken critic, said a supervisor at her Border Patrol station in California had explained the term “tonc” to her: “He said, ‘It’s the sound a flashlight makes when you hit a migrant in the head with it.’”

Josh Childress, a former agent in Arizona who quit in 2018 because the job had begun to wear him down, said the Facebook posts hinted at a deeper, darker problem in the agency’s culture. “The jokes are not the problem,” he said. “Treating people as if they aren’t people is the problem.”

Calexico, Calif., 120 miles east of San Diego in Southern California’s agrarian Imperial Valley, offers a glimpse of the relationship between a border community and the agents. Hemmed in by rugged mountains, desolate desert and the Colorado River, the valley has an economy that revolves around seasonal farm jobs and government work. Temperatures top 110 degrees during the parched summer months.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_157824327_10d6054d-ac88-4bdb-8a93-8ed7d2e46d32-articleLarge ‘People Actively Hate Us’: Inside the Border Patrol’s Morale Crisis Texas National Border Patrol Council Immigration and Emigration Border Patrol (US)

The border at Calexico, Calif.

About 800 Border Patrol agents work in the vast El Centro Sector, which runs about 70 miles across the Valley. They patrol on bikes and in their white vehicles in Calexico, whose downtown sits up against the rust-colored bollards that separate the United States and Mexico.

When Mr. Trump visited the city in April to tout 2.3 miles of a new border barrier — a row of 30-foot-tall, slender steel slats with pointed edges — Angel Esparza organized a binational unity march that drew 200 people. But he said the march was to protest Mr. Trump, not the Border Patrol.

Mr. Esparza has featured Border Patrol agents on the covers of two issues of Mi Calexico, a magazine that he produces and distributes sporadically in this town of 40,000.

“The Border Patrol agents are part of the community,” he said.

NATALIA NUNEZ, A COLLEGE STUDENT IN CALEXICO, CALIF.

Being in the Border Patrol is a normal thing around here. I have three cousins who are agents. I have friends whose parents are agents. They aren’t supposed to talk about it. I wonder how they can sleep at night if they have to lock up kids in cages like animals.

David Kim, the El Centro Sector’s assistant chief patrol agent, is the son of a South Korean immigrant who worked for the Postal Service. He has been with the Border Patrol since 2000.

Asked about the agency’s relationship with the community, he recalled the government shutdown that began in December 2018, when Mr. Trump was locked in a standoff with Congress over funding for an expanded border wall. Border Patrol agents, who were working without pay, were offered food vouchers by restaurants. Jujitsu academies and gyms offered free passes. Mr. Kim’s chiropractor waived his co-pay.

“The agents feel very demoralized by politicians and the media,” said David Kim, the assistant chief patrol agent for the El Centro Sector. “I would be lying if I said that those perceptions do not have an impact other than negatively on us.” “The difference between doing the job now and when I started is like night and day,” said Eduardo Jacobo, who has been an agent in the El Centro Sector for about a decade.

Mr. Kim, seated in the sector headquarters building, went silent for about a minute as he talked about it. Tears rolled down his face. “The community,” he said finally, “stepped up for the Border Patrol when we were furloughed.”

But with the fraught atmosphere across the country over immigration policy, hostility can emerge even within agents’ own families.

BRANDON JUDD, PRESIDENT OF THE NATIONAL BORDER PATROL COUNCIL:

I just had a relative four days ago send me one of the nastiest emails I’ve ever had in my life. How bad of people we are. How taxpayer dollars should not be used to abuse individuals.

Operating in communities that are often heavily Hispanic and quietly hostile to Mr. Trump’s immigration agenda, the Border Patrol has become more openly political than at any time in its history.

Agents have nurtured a strong loyalty to the president, whom many of them see as the first chief executive who is serious about border security. The union endorsed Mr. Trump in 2016, a move that gave the Border Patrol a line of communication to the White House but has also created friction in Democrat-dominated border communities.

A 10-YEAR VETERAN AGENT IN SOUTH TEXAS:

I have personally not come across any agents that do not like Trump’s positions on border security, on immigration. Hispanic, Latino, black, white — it doesn’t matter the origin of the agents, they all have a strong border-security mentality. So they love what Trump brings to the table. What they hate, what is detrimental, is the complete opposite feeling from the Democratic side.

Democratic lawmakers flocked to the Texas border throughout the spring, many holding news conferences to criticize the filthy, crowded conditions in which migrants, including children, were being held — some with unchanged diapers, little access to showers and little or no hot food.

Agents said they had done the best they could — some bought toys for the children in their care — but were overwhelmed by the number of new arrivals.

AN AGENT IN THE EL PASO SECTOR:

‘Oh, that kid’s cute’ turned into, ‘Oh, there’s another one, there’s another one.’ We’ve done more for these aliens than these senators and congressmen that come down here. They make this big scene but then the next day they get on a plane to go back home. They didn’t take any of them with them, right? They’re going home to their running water, to their nice, comfortable bed, and meantime, we’re here dealing with them.

The Border Patrol’s culture is unabashedly self-reliant and male-dominated. Agents operate largely alone in the desert and brush, using neither body cameras nor dashboard cameras.

About 5 percent of agents are women. Some interviewed spoke highly of the agency and their male colleagues. Others described a culture in which women were demeaned, passed over for promotions and assaulted by co-workers. A supervisor in Chula Vista, Calif., pleaded guilty in 2015 to seven counts of video voyeurism, admitting that he had placed a camera in a drain in a women’s restroom.

In a written account of her time at the agency, Ms. Budd described women being forced to perform oral sex on fellow agents and subjected to humiliating labels. “I never, ever met a female agent that was not targeted by the male agents,” she said.

The job has taken a psychological toll on men and women alike.

From 2007 to 2018, more than 100 Customs and Border Protection employees, many of whom had worked as Border Patrol agents, killed themselves. Ross Davidson, who retired in 2017 after 21 years with the agency, said he was certain that stress from the job has been a factor.

“The repetitive monotony of doing the same thing over and over and seeing no outcome, seeing no end to it and nothing changing,” he said. “It’s just going deeper and deeper, and getting worse and worse.”

SERGIO TINOCO, AN AGENT IN THE RIO GRANDE VALLEY OF TEXAS:

Now, with all this rhetoric, I actually have to go home where I want to unwind, and hear my wife tell me the comments she was told, and my kids tell me the comments they’re told. So at what point do I relax? The only time I relax is when my eyes are closed and I’m dead asleep.

Nicholas Kulish, Mitchell Ferman and Erin Coulehan contributed reporting.

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Is Trump’s America Tougher on Asylum Than Other Western Countries?

BERLIN — The Supreme Court this week allowed the Trump administration to move forward with a plan to bar most migrants, particularly Central Americans, from seeking asylum in the United States.

Under President Trump’s plan, migrants cannot apply for asylum unless they have already tried — and failed — to receive it in one of the countries they passed through on their way to the United States. Guatemalans would be sent back to Mexico, for example, while people from El Salvador and Honduras would be returned to Guatemala.

Given how unsafe those countries can be for their own citizens — much less for migrants — the move has been portrayed by critics as another deviation from global rights standards under Mr. Trump. It follows his frequent attempts to expand barriers along the United States-Mexico border, as well as a deterioration in the treatment of migrants after they reach America.

But Mr. Trump’s plan is also in keeping with a wider international trend of curtailing the right to asylum, as Western nations try to curb migration from the global south, where the overwhelming majority of displaced people live.

To stifle record levels of migration to Europe in 2015 and 2016, the continent’s big powers reached deals with neighboring countries like Turkey to keep migrants from European shores. Australia, determined to stop maritime migration from Indonesia, now deports asylum seekers to its neighbors in the Pacific Ocean. Israel tried to send African migrants to Rwanda.

“It is currently the objective of most countries of the global north to prevent migrants” from entering their territory, said François Crépeau, a former United Nations Special Rapporteur on migrant rights and an expert on international refugee law at McGill University.

“Probably the U.S. are taking actions a bit further from what the Europeans are doing,” said Mr. Crépeau. “But the Europeans have also been very good at getting neighboring countries to do their dirty work.”

The United Nations refugee convention of 1951 provides the basis for American asylum laws. Unlike the Trump plan, it does not prevent refugees from traveling through several countries before landing in the United States and seeking asylum.

But it does ban signatories to the convention, like the United States, from deporting asylum seekers to countries where their safety is at risk, a process formally known as “refoulement.”

Most Western countries have usually interpreted this in a broad sense — refusing to deport people to countries that may not be at war, but still do not provide refugees with most of the protections required by the 1951 convention. Countries like Guatemala and Mexico, where homicide rates are high and migrants are often especially vulnerable to extortion, kidnapping and violence, could fall into that category, some experts say.

“There’s a lot of evidence to suggest that the countries of the Northern Triangle and Mexico itself are not safe, and that the people passing through those countries are at risk of human rights violations,” said Jeff Crisp, an expert on migration at Chatham House, a London-based research group, referring to the Central American nations of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.

“Returning people to those countries could be considered in violation of the non-refoulement principle,” Dr. Crisp added.

Even so, there is no international court or authority that can overrule Mr. Trump’s plan. The Supreme Court’s ruling is provisional, and it is expected to take up the case again. But that will take many months.

The Trump administration is also pushing Mexico and Central American countries to agree to accept migrants. Guatemala has, but the plan must still be ratified by the Guatemalan Congress.

Mexico, by contrast, has said it won’t sign a so-called safe third country agreement with the United States to accept asylum claims from migrants who arrive on its soil, even if they are hoping to reach the United States.

“The court’s decision is astonishing,” Mexico’s foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrard, said Thursday about the Supreme Court ruling.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_114968270_fdd7b984-a0f2-4b3b-8fb2-5882dd053269-articleLarge Is Trump’s America Tougher on Asylum Than Other Western Countries? United States United Nations Trump, Donald J Supreme Court (US) Spain Refugees and Displaced Persons Politics and Government Morocco Immigration and Emigration Illegal Immigration European Union Europe Australia Asylum, Right of Africa

One of the compounds of the Offshore Processing Center on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea.CreditAshley Gilbertson for The New York Times

Since 2012, most asylum seekers arriving in Australia by boat have been deported to processing centers in the nearby countries of Nauru and Papua New Guinea, where they are held while their asylum applications are assessed.

Rights groups like Amnesty International say that asylum seekers at these centers face severe abuse. And even if granted asylum, the migrants are still barred from resettlement in Australia. Instead, they must live in Nauru, Papua New Guinea or, in a few cases, Cambodia.

Last year, Israel was forced to cancel a comparable deal with Rwanda, in which African asylum seekers would be deported from Tel Aviv to Kigali, after a public backlash.

The concept was pioneered in 1990s by Presidents George Bush and his successor, President Clinton, who authorized American Coast Guard vessels to intercept boats loaded with Haitian refugees and take them to Guantánamo Bay for processing.

Afghan migrants among the makeshift tents just outside Moria in the Greek Island of Lesbos.CreditMauricio Lima for The New York Times

European politicians have often spoken of sending migrants for processing in non-European countries, but the plan has never been successfully enacted.

In 2015 and 2016, more than one million migrants reached Greece from Turkey, most of them making their way to wealthier countries like Germany.

To stop this, the European Union pledged more than $6 billion to Turkey. In return, Turkey tightened up its border restrictions — and agreed to take back every migrant who subsequently landed in Greece.

Turkey did cut migration flows to Europe drastically, but only a small proportion of migrants who continued to land in Greece have been sent back. Migrants still have the opportunity to apply for asylum in Greece, or for relocation to other European countries, and many do so successfully. The Greek asylum system operates independently and is not beholden to the political agreement between the European Union and Turkey.

Meanwhile, migrants reaching Italy from Libya, another major gateway to Europe, are not returned because the country is still at war and does not recognize the 1951 convention.

People trying to reach Spain through its enclaves in North Africa are often forced back to Morocco without being given the chance to apply for asylum. But those who manage to cross the border into the enclaves undetected are usually allowed to lodge an asylum claim in Spain, though they are often sent back once their applications are rejected months later.

In theory, migrants are supposed to lodge an asylum claim as soon as they reach one of the 28 member states of the European Union. Those who don’t are liable to be returned to the country where they first entered the bloc — usually Greece, Italy or Spain — because European Union members theoretically trust one another to uphold the 1951 convention and treat refugees fairly.

But again, the system doesn’t quite work like that in reality. Sometimes it’s hard to prove that applicants passed through Greece on their way to, say, Germany. And in recent years, countries like Germany and Sweden have suspended returns to some members of the European Union, like Hungary and Greece, because of concerns about the fairness of their asylum systems.

Asylum seekers at the United Nations compound in Niamey, Niger.CreditDmitry Kostyukov for The New York Times

If migrants reach Europe from Libya, they are allowed to lodge an asylum claim on European soil. But some people who haven’t left Libya yet have been encouraged to fly instead to Niger, where they can apply for asylum in Europe from a country of relative safety. A similar arrangement was recently brokered with Rwanda, but has yet to formally begin.

The process is ostensibly a humanitarian one: It aims to help migrants escape war-torn Libya, where they are often prey to kidnapping, conscription, air raids, abuse and forced labor, without needing to brave the dangerous sea crossing to Italy.

But critics argue that few of them will in practice be ever resettled in Europe.

Like Mr. Trump, European governments have also sought to curb migration by building physical barriers along their borders. Greece has a fence lining its border with Turkey. Spain has several on its enclaves’ borders with Morocco. And Hungary built one on its border with Serbia.

In addition to its deal with Turkey, the European Union and its members have often paid third parties with checkered rights records to stop migrants from reaching Europe. The bloc pays Niger to throttle migration. Spain has a deal with Morocco. And Italy enlisted Libyan militias to stifle migration across the Mediterranean.

Asylum seekers in Greece and Hungary are also mostly confined in squalid facilities. On the Greek island of Lesbos, over 10,000 people are housed in a camp built for 3,100. In Hungary, officials have repeatedly denied food for several days to dozens of asylum seekers, including children.

One notable difference between Mr. Trump and his European counterparts is the way they speak publicly about migrants. With the exception of Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary and Matteo Salvini, Italy’s former interior minister, European government officials have largely avoided using provocative language to stir xenophobia — while still trying to block migrants from European territory.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Is Trump’s America Tougher on Asylum Than Other Western Countries?

BERLIN — The Supreme Court this week allowed the Trump administration to move forward with a plan to bar most migrants, particularly Central Americans, from seeking asylum in the United States.

Under President Trump’s plan, migrants cannot apply for asylum unless they have already tried — and failed — to receive it in one of the countries they passed through on their way to the United States. Guatemalans would be sent back to Mexico, for example, while people from El Salvador and Honduras would be returned to Guatemala.

Given how unsafe those countries can be for their own citizens — much less for migrants — the move has been portrayed by critics as another deviation from global rights standards under Mr. Trump. It follows his frequent attempts to expand barriers along the United States-Mexico border, as well as a deterioration in the treatment of migrants after they reach America.

But Mr. Trump’s plan is also in keeping with a wider international trend of curtailing the right to asylum, as Western nations try to curb migration from the global south, where the overwhelming majority of displaced people live.

To stifle record levels of migration to Europe in 2015 and 2016, the continent’s big powers reached deals with neighboring countries like Turkey to keep migrants from European shores. Australia, determined to stop maritime migration from Indonesia, now deports asylum seekers to its neighbors in the Pacific Ocean. Israel tried to send African migrants to Rwanda.

“It is currently the objective of most countries of the global north to prevent migrants” from entering their territory, said François Crépeau, a former United Nations Special Rapporteur on migrant rights and an expert on international refugee law at McGill University.

“Probably the U.S. are taking actions a bit further from what the Europeans are doing,” said Mr. Crépeau. “But the Europeans have also been very good at getting neighboring countries to do their dirty work.”

The United Nations refugee convention of 1951 provides the basis for American asylum laws. Unlike the Trump plan, it does not prevent refugees from traveling through several countries before landing in the United States and seeking asylum.

But it does ban signatories to the convention, like the United States, from deporting asylum seekers to countries where their safety is at risk, a process formally known as “refoulement.”

Most Western countries have usually interpreted this in a broad sense — refusing to deport people to countries that may not be at war, but still do not provide refugees with most of the protections required by the 1951 convention. Countries like Guatemala and Mexico, where homicide rates are high and migrants are often especially vulnerable to extortion, kidnapping and violence, could fall into that category, some experts say.

“There’s a lot of evidence to suggest that the countries of the Northern Triangle and Mexico itself are not safe, and that the people passing through those countries are at risk of human rights violations,” said Jeff Crisp, an expert on migration at Chatham House, a London-based research group, referring to the Central American nations of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.

“Returning people to those countries could be considered in violation of the non-refoulement principle,” Dr. Crisp added.

Even so, there is no international court or authority that can overrule Mr. Trump’s plan. The Supreme Court’s ruling is provisional, and it is expected to take up the case again. But that will take many months.

The Trump administration is also pushing Mexico and Central American countries to agree to accept migrants. Guatemala has, but the plan must still be ratified by the Guatemalan Congress.

Mexico, by contrast, has said it won’t sign a so-called safe third country agreement with the United States to accept asylum claims from migrants who arrive on its soil, even if they are hoping to reach the United States.

“The court’s decision is astonishing,” Mexico’s foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrard, said Thursday about the Supreme Court ruling.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_114968270_fdd7b984-a0f2-4b3b-8fb2-5882dd053269-articleLarge Is Trump’s America Tougher on Asylum Than Other Western Countries? United States United Nations Trump, Donald J Supreme Court (US) Spain Refugees and Displaced Persons Politics and Government Morocco Immigration and Emigration Illegal Immigration European Union Europe Australia Asylum, Right of Africa

One of the compounds of the Offshore Processing Center on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea.CreditAshley Gilbertson for The New York Times

Since 2012, most asylum seekers arriving in Australia by boat have been deported to processing centers in the nearby countries of Nauru and Papua New Guinea, where they are held while their asylum applications are assessed.

Rights groups like Amnesty International say that asylum seekers at these centers face severe abuse. And even if granted asylum, the migrants are still barred from resettlement in Australia. Instead, they must live in Nauru, Papua New Guinea or, in a few cases, Cambodia.

Last year, Israel was forced to cancel a comparable deal with Rwanda, in which African asylum seekers would be deported from Tel Aviv to Kigali, after a public backlash.

The concept was pioneered in 1990s by Presidents George Bush and his successor, President Clinton, who authorized American Coast Guard vessels to intercept boats loaded with Haitian refugees and take them to Guantánamo Bay for processing.

Afghan migrants among the makeshift tents just outside Moria in the Greek Island of Lesbos.CreditMauricio Lima for The New York Times

European politicians have often spoken of sending migrants for processing in non-European countries, but the plan has never been successfully enacted.

In 2015 and 2016, more than one million migrants reached Greece from Turkey, most of them making their way to wealthier countries like Germany.

To stop this, the European Union pledged more than $6 billion to Turkey. In return, Turkey tightened up its border restrictions — and agreed to take back every migrant who subsequently landed in Greece.

Turkey did cut migration flows to Europe drastically, but only a small proportion of migrants who continued to land in Greece have been sent back. Migrants still have the opportunity to apply for asylum in Greece, or for relocation to other European countries, and many do so successfully. The Greek asylum system operates independently and is not beholden to the political agreement between the European Union and Turkey.

Meanwhile, migrants reaching Italy from Libya, another major gateway to Europe, are not returned because the country is still at war and does not recognize the 1951 convention.

People trying to reach Spain through its enclaves in North Africa are often forced back to Morocco without being given the chance to apply for asylum. But those who manage to cross the border into the enclaves undetected are usually allowed to lodge an asylum claim in Spain, though they are often sent back once their applications are rejected months later.

In theory, migrants are supposed to lodge an asylum claim as soon as they reach one of the 28 member states of the European Union. Those who don’t are liable to be returned to the country where they first entered the bloc — usually Greece, Italy or Spain — because European Union members theoretically trust one another to uphold the 1951 convention and treat refugees fairly.

But again, the system doesn’t quite work like that in reality. Sometimes it’s hard to prove that applicants passed through Greece on their way to, say, Germany. And in recent years, countries like Germany and Sweden have suspended returns to some members of the European Union, like Hungary and Greece, because of concerns about the fairness of their asylum systems.

Asylum seekers at the United Nations compound in Niamey, Niger.CreditDmitry Kostyukov for The New York Times

If migrants reach Europe from Libya, they are allowed to lodge an asylum claim on European soil. But some people who haven’t left Libya yet have been encouraged to fly instead to Niger, where they can apply for asylum in Europe from a country of relative safety. A similar arrangement was recently brokered with Rwanda, but has yet to formally begin.

The process is ostensibly a humanitarian one: It aims to help migrants escape war-torn Libya, where they are often prey to kidnapping, conscription, air raids, abuse and forced labor, without needing to brave the dangerous sea crossing to Italy.

But critics argue that few of them will in practice be ever resettled in Europe.

Like Mr. Trump, European governments have also sought to curb migration by building physical barriers along their borders. Greece has a fence lining its border with Turkey. Spain has several on its enclaves’ borders with Morocco. And Hungary built one on its border with Serbia.

In addition to its deal with Turkey, the European Union and its members have often paid third parties with checkered rights records to stop migrants from reaching Europe. The bloc pays Niger to throttle migration. Spain has a deal with Morocco. And Italy enlisted Libyan militias to stifle migration across the Mediterranean.

Asylum seekers in Greece and Hungary are also mostly confined in squalid facilities. On the Greek island of Lesbos, over 10,000 people are housed in a camp built for 3,100. In Hungary, officials have repeatedly denied food for several days to dozens of asylum seekers, including children.

One notable difference between Mr. Trump and his European counterparts is the way they speak publicly about migrants. With the exception of Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary and Matteo Salvini, Italy’s former interior minister, European government officials have largely avoided using provocative language to stir xenophobia — while still trying to block migrants from European territory.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Salvadorans, Washington’s Builders, Face Expulsion Under Trump

A few minutes before going to work deep beneath Washington’s streets, the Salvadoran construction workers checked off the projects they had built for the city’s residents: storm water tunnels, new Metro lines and train stations, and shuttles at Dulles International Airport.

Now these workers are at risk of losing their jobs and being removed from the United States. They are among 400,000 immigrants from six nations whose legal immigration status, based on violence or environmental disaster in their native lands, was revoked last year by the Trump administration, which argues that conditions there have improved enough for them to return.

The administration’s decision will cause economic ripples in other cities, but few will feel it more directly than Washington. Roughly a fifth of the capital’s construction workers are in the United States because of the program, known as temporary protected status.

Already facing labor shortages, contractors warn that projects will face delays and that costs could rise if the workers are sent home or end up staying illegally. Most are from El Salvador, with smaller numbers from Honduras and Nicaragua.

“If we lose them, it’s not going to be easy to replace them,” said Rick DiGeronimo, a vice president at Independence Excavating, a construction firm based in Cleveland that has several projects in the Washington area. About one-third of its workers have temporary protected status. “We’d struggle to finish some of our jobs because there aren’t workers of this quality out there,” he said.

Construction appealed to new arrivals from El Salvador because the jobs did not require special skills or knowledge of English, said Abel Núñez, the executive director of Carecen, a social services organization for Latino immigrants. “The construction industry was booming and these people wanted to work,” he said.

Temporary protected status does not provide a path to citizenship, but most of these workers never thought they would face deportation. They have been in the United States legally, for nearly two decades in many cases. Some have bought homes and cars and have settled into middle-class lives. Many have children who are American citizens.

There are nearly 46,000 people under the program in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia, according to the Center for American Progress, a liberal group that opposes the Trump administration’s move. Over all, the Washington area is home to nearly 200,000 Salvadorans, the largest group of foreign-born residents in the region.

“It doesn’t make any sense,” said Alexander Garray, who has temporary protected status and spends his days 120 feet below Washington, boring a huge tunnel for water and sewage that will result in cleaner rivers in the region. “I pay taxes, I’ve never had a problem with the law, and I own a home. I don’t understand why they are trying to kick us out.”

Construction is not the only industry that relies heavily on immigrants with a tenuous foothold in the United States. They make up much of the work force in chicken processing, meatpacking, garment manufacturing and food services. In August, federal immigration enforcement agents raided several poultry plants in Mississippi, arresting nearly 700 people on the suspicion that they were undocumented.

The decision to deport workers who have been in the country legally with temporary protected status strikes Dennis Desmond, a union official, as ironic because some of them have been hired to work at sensitive locations like Fort Meade, Md., the headquarters of the National Security Agency.

ImageWestlake Legal Group 00construction1-articleLarge Salvadorans, Washington’s Builders, Face Expulsion Under Trump washington dc Trump, Donald J Labor and Jobs Immigration and Emigration Homeland Security Department Foreign Workers El Salvador Building (Construction)

“I don’t understand why they are trying to kick us out,” said Alexander Garray, who has made more than $80,000 a year for the past several years as a construction worker in the Washington area.CreditJustin T. Gellerson for The New York Times

“They’ve been allowed to work on these critical projects but now it’s like they are not fit to remain in the country,” said Mr. Desmond, the business manager of Local 11 of the Laborers’ International Union of North America. He estimated that 20 percent of his union’s members were in the United States under the temporary protected status program.

The origins of the program can be traced to American support for El Salvador’s right-wing government during the country’s civil war in the 1980s, said Representative Jim McGovern, Democrat of Massachusetts.

A congressional staff member at the time, he helped to draw up the legislation that created the program as part of the Immigration Act of 1990. “We were supporting a government and a military responsible for much of the violence,” Mr. McGovern said. “There was a feeling we weren’t doing enough to help the people caught in the middle.”

With the end of the civil war in 1992, protected status expired, but it was renewed after a series of devastating earthquakes hit El Salvador in 2001.

Natives of the Central American country now constitute 60 percent of beneficiaries of temporary protected status, according to the Congressional Research Service.

El Salvador was the first, but the program was eventually extended to citizens of 10 countries, mostly in Central America, the Middle East or East Africa. Applicants have to be in the United States to qualify when people from their countries are designated for protected status.

The program was extended periodically by Republican and Democratic administrations, and those who had temporary protected status typically renewed it every 18 months.

But last year, the Trump administration moved to end protected status for immigrants from six of the countries — El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua and Sudan — arguing that it was never meant to provide a permanent haven. In the case of El Salvador, the Department of Homeland Security concluded in January 2018 that the conditions that prevailed starting in 2001 “no longer exist.”

“Many reconstruction projects have now been completed,” the department said. “Schools and hospitals damaged by the earthquakes have been reconstructed and repaired, homes have been rebuilt, and money has been provided for water and sanitation.”

The workers, however, say that it is unthinkable for them and their children to leave for El Salvador, which is mired in poverty and gang violence, and the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Day Laborer Organizing Network persuaded a federal judge in San Francisco to issue a preliminary injunction in October blocking their deportation.

The Trump administration has appealed the ruling, and legal experts say the issue could end up before the Supreme Court. At a federal appellate-court hearing last month, protected-status holders packed a courtroom in Pasadena, Calif., and judges had tough questions for both sides.

For now, any action by the government to deport the protected workers can’t happen before next year.

“The statute is clear that the administration has the authority” to end temporary protected status, said Tom Jawetz, vice president for immigration policy at the Center for American Progress. “But it is also clear what factors must be considered in making those determinations. The plaintiffs have made a strong argument that this administration is looking for a predetermined outcome.”

Lorenzo Flores, a construction worker, could be deported after the Trump administration moved to end Salvadorans’ eligibility for temporary protected status.CreditJustin T. Gellerson for The New York Times

In June, the House approved legislation that would allow those already covered by the program to apply for permanent residency, but the bill is unlikely to advance in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Ever Guardado, 38, came to the United States from El Salvador illegally through Mexico in 2000 after he was unable to find work at home. When the government offered protected status for Salvadorans the next year, he signed up.

Mr. Guardado said the administration’s decision to end his protected status had put his life in limbo. “I never thought they would take it away,” he said. “Now I’m scared every day.”

Although he had no experience in construction — he had worked on farms back home — other Salvadoran immigrants helped him find jobs on building sites. “I could see I could make money,” Mr. Guardado said.

“I thought I would be secure forever,” he said. He earns nearly $30 an hour working on transportation projects, owns a home in Sterling, Va., and has three children, who are United States citizens.

Nationally, construction is the second-largest employer of those in the program, employing some 44,000 people. Only companies that do building-and-grounds maintenance have more.

Brian Turmail, a spokesman for the Associated General Contractors of America, said that construction in Houston, another center of Salvadoran immigration, would also be threatened if the program were terminated. Nationally, he said, more than three-quarters of construction firms say they cannot find enough workers.

“We don’t want our children to work in construction, but we don’t want people to come from overseas and do it either,” he said. “You can’t have it both ways.”

Mr. Garray, the tunnel worker, came from El Salvador in 2000 on a tourist visa to visit his sister and mother. There were few job opportunities to go home to, and he soon found work in construction in Washington.

When Salvadorans became eligible for temporary protected status the next year, Mr. Garray signed up. Since then, he has worked his way up from laborer to equipment operator, and he now earns $32 an hour.

With overtime and double shifts, he has made more than $80,000 a year for the last several years, enough to buy a home and help raise his two daughters, both United States citizens.

By contrast, his mother, an American citizen, earns $8.50 as a housekeeper at a Virginia hotel. Unlike him, she does not face deportation, a prospect that gnaws at him.

“I think about it all the time,” Mr. Garray said before heading back into the tunnel. “Morning, noon and night. Even in my dreams.”

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Supreme Court Says Trump Can Bar Asylum Seekers While Legal Fight Continues

Westlake Legal Group 12Mexico-Migrants-03-facebookJumbo Supreme Court Says Trump Can Bar Asylum Seekers While Legal Fight Continues United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Supreme Court (US) Sotomayor, Sonia Immigration and Emigration Ginsburg, Ruth Bader Decisions and Verdicts Asylum, Right of

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed the Trump administration to bar most Central American migrants from seeking asylum in the United States. The court said the administration may enforce new rules that generally forbid asylum applications from people who had traveled through another country on their way to the United States without being denied asylum in that country.

The court’s order was a major victory for the administration, allowing it to enforce a policy that will achieve one of its central goals: effectively barring most migration across the nation’s southwestern border by Hondurans, Salvadorans, Guatemalans and others. Mexican migrants, who need not travel through another country to reach the United States, are not affected by the new policy.

A federal appeals court had largely blocked the policy, but the justices, in a brief, unsigned order, allowed it to go into effect while legal challenges move forward. Justice Sonia Sotomayor, joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, dissented, saying the court’s action will “upend longstanding practices regarding refugees who seek shelter from persecution.”

This was the second time in recent months that the Supreme Court backed a major Trump administration immigration initiative. In July, the court allowed the administration to begin using $2.5 billion in Pentagon money for the construction of a barrier along the Mexican border. Last year, the court upheld President Trump’s ban on travel from several predominantly Muslim countries.

Lee Gelernt, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union, which represents the challengers in the new case, stressed that the Supreme Court’s action was provisional. “This is just a temporary step,” he said, “and we’re hopeful we’ll prevail at the end of the day. The lives of thousands of families are at stake.”

The case will almost certainly return to the Supreme Court after an appeals court rules, but that will take many months.

Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, the acting director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, pledged on Wednesday night to “commence implementing the asylum rule ASAP.”

“While congress continues to do nothing,” he wrote on Twitter, “@realDonaldTrump’s administration uses every tool in the toolbox to try and solve the crisis at our southern border.”

In a Supreme Court brief in the case, the solicitor general, Noel J. Francisco, representing the administration, said the new policy was needed to address “an unprecedented surge in the number of aliens who enter the country unlawfully across the southern border and, if apprehended, claim asylum and remain in the country while their claims are adjudicated.”

Under the policy, which was announced July 15, only immigrants who have been denied asylum in another country or who have been victims of “severe” human trafficking are permitted to apply in the United States. “The rule thus screens out asylum seekers who declined to request protection at the first opportunity,” Mr. Francisco wrote.

Under the rules, Hondurans and Salvadorans must seek and be denied asylum in Guatemala or Mexico before they can apply in the United States. Guatemalans must seek and be denied asylum in Mexico.

Migrants from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala have made up the vast majority of asylum seekers who have tried to enter the United States in record numbers this year. The Border Patrol has arrested 419,831 migrant family members from those three countries at the southwest border so far this fiscal year, compared with just 4,312 Mexican family members.

The rules reversed longstanding asylum policies that allowed people to seek haven no matter how they got to the United States.

The administration made the unilateral move after months of pushing Guatemala and Mexico to commit to going along with the plan. Mr. Trump went as far to threaten both countries with tariffs unless they did more to halt the migration.

The administration struck such a deal with Guatemala in July, which would force the country to absorb Central American migrants. But Guatemala’s Constitutional Court has ruled that the deal needs further approval, and the countries are still working on an implementation plan for the deal.

The Mexican government, however, has pushed back against the so-called safe-third-country agreement, which would force Mexico to absorb Guatemalan asylum seekers.

Instead of agreeing to the deal, Mexico deployed thousands of security personnel to its southern border and agreed to collaborate with the United States on a program that returns migrants to Mexico to wait out their cases.

Two federal trial judges had issued conflicting rulings on whether the new plan was lawful.

In July, Judge Timothy J. Kelly of the Federal District Court in Washington, who was appointed by President Trump, refused to block the administration’s rules.

That same day, Judge Jon S. Tigar of the Federal District Court in San Francisco, who was appointed by President Barack Obama, blocked the new rules, saying they were put in place without following the required legal procedures.

In her dissent, Justice Sotomayor said Judge Tigar’s ruling “warrants respect.”

“The rule the government promulgated,” she wrote, “topples decades of settled asylum practices and affects some of the most vulnerable people in the Western Hemisphere — without affording the public a chance to weigh in.”

The two other members of the court’s liberal wing, Justices Stephen G. Breyer and Elena Kagan, had dissented in earlier cases on Trump administration immigration policies. They did not note dissents from Wednesday’s order.

Judge Tigar ordered the administration to continue accepting applications from all otherwise eligible migrants, even if they had not sought asylum elsewhere on their journey north.

Judge Tigar said his ruling applied across the nation. Such nationwide injunctions have been the subject of much criticism, but the Supreme Court has never issued a definitive ruling on whether and when they are proper.

In August, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, narrowed the geographic scope of Judge Tigar’s more recent ruling while it considered the administration’s appeal, saying it should apply only in the territorial jurisdiction of the Ninth Circuit, which includes two border states, California and Arizona. (Two other border states, Texas and New Mexico, are in the jurisdictions of other federal appeals courts.)

On Monday, however, Judge Tigar again imposed a nationwide injunction, saying he had been presented with additional evidence justifying one. “Anything but a nationwide injunction,” he wrote, “will create major administrability issues.” On Tuesday, the Ninth Circuit temporarily blocked the new injunction and ordered the two sides to submit briefs on whether it should issue a stay.

In an emergency application to the Supreme Court last month seeking a stay of Judge Tigar’s initial ruling while the case moved forward, Mr. Francisco argued that the administration was entitled to skip ordinary notice and comment requirements for new regulations because foreign affairs were at issue and because a delay after the announcement of the procedures “may prompt an additional surge of asylum seekers.”

In any event, Mr. Francisco wrote, the Ninth Circuit’s narrower injunction, covering only the states in its jurisdiction, was still too broad. At most, he wrote, the injunction should cover only clients of the four groups challenging the new policy — East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, Al Otro Lado, Innovation Law Lab and Central American Resource Center in Los Angeles.

In response, the American Civil Liberties Union, which represents the groups along with the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Southern Poverty Law Center, said the administration was trying to rewrite a federal immigration law enacted in 1980. There was no reason, the A.C.L.U. said, to alter “the 40-year-long status quo while this case is heard on an expedited basis in the court of appeals.”

“The current ban would eliminate virtually all asylum at the southern border, even at ports of entry, for everyone except Mexicans (who do not need to transit through a third country to reach the United States),” the A.C.L.U.’s brief said. “The court should not permit such a tectonic change to U.S. asylum law.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Supreme Court Backs New Trump Asylum Restrictions

Westlake Legal Group 12Mexico-Migrants-03-facebookJumbo Supreme Court Backs New Trump Asylum Restrictions United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Supreme Court (US) Sotomayor, Sonia Immigration and Emigration Ginsburg, Ruth Bader Decisions and Verdicts Asylum, Right of

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed the Trump administration to bar many Central American migrants from seeking asylum in the United States. The court said the administration may enforce new rules that generally forbid asylum applications from people who had traveled through another country on their way to the United States without being denied asylum in that country.

A federal appeals court had largely blocked the new policy, but the justices, in a brief, unsigned order, allowed it to go into effect while legal challenges move forward. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented.

In a Supreme Court brief, the solicitor general, Noel J. Francisco, representing the administration, said the new policy was needed to address “an unprecedented surge in the number of aliens who enter the country unlawfully across the southern border and, if apprehended, claim asylum and remain in the country while their claims are adjudicated.”

Under the policy, which was announced July 15, only immigrants who have been denied asylum in another country or who have been victims of “severe” human trafficking are permitted to apply in the United States. “The rule thus screens out asylum seekers who declined to request protection at the first opportunity,” Mr. Francisco wrote.

Under the rules, Hondurans and Salvadorans must seek and be denied asylum in Guatemala or Mexico before they can apply in the United States. Guatemalans must seek and be denied asylum in Mexico.

The rules reversed longstanding asylum policies that allowed people to seek haven no matter how they got to the United States.

Two federal trial judges had issued conflicting rulings on whether the new plan was lawful.

In July, Judge Timothy J. Kelly of the Federal District Court in Washington, who was appointed by President Trump, refused to block the administration’s rules.

That same day, Judge Jon S. Tigar of the Federal District Court in San Francisco, who was appointed by President Barack Obama, blocked the new rules, saying they were put in place without following the required legal procedures.

He ordered the administration to continue accepting applications from all otherwise eligible migrants, even if they had not sought asylum elsewhere on their journey north.

Judge Tigar said his ruling applied across the nation. Such nationwide injunctions have been the subject of much criticism, but the Supreme Court has never issued a definitive ruling on whether and when they are proper.

When Judge Tigar blocked a different aspect of the administration’s asylum policies in November, Mr. Trump criticized the ruling, saying it had been issued by an “Obama judge.” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. issued a rare rebuke to Mr. Trump.

“We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges,” the chief justice said, adding that an “independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for.”

When Judge Tigar’s earlier ruling reached the Supreme Court in December, the court refused to issue a stay by a 5-to-4 vote. Chief Justice Roberts joined the court’s four-member liberal wing to form a majority.

In August, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, narrowed the geographic scope of Judge Tigar’s more recent ruling while it considered the administration’s appeal, saying it should apply only in the territorial jurisdiction of the Ninth Circuit, which includes two border states, California and Arizona. (Two other border states, Texas and New Mexico, are in the jurisdictions of other federal appeals courts.)

On Monday, however, Judge Tigar again imposed a nationwide injunction, saying he had been presented with additional evidence justifying one. “Anything but a nationwide injunction,” he wrote, “will create major administrability issues.” On Tuesday, the Ninth Circuit temporarily blocked the new injunction and ordered the two sides to submit briefs on whether it should issue a stay.

In an emergency application to the Supreme Court last month seeking a stay of Judge Tigar’s initial ruling while the case moved forward, Mr. Francisco argued that the administration was entitled to skip ordinary notice and comment requirements for new regulations because foreign affairs were at issue and because a delay after the announcement of the procedures “may prompt an additional surge of asylum seekers.”

In any event, Mr. Francisco wrote, the Ninth Circuit’s narrower injunction, covering only the western states in its territorial jurisdiction, was still too broad. At most, he wrote, the injunction should cover only clients of the four groups challenging the new policy — East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, Al Otro Lado, Innovation Law Lab and Central American Resource Center in Los Angeles.

In response, the American Civil Liberties Union, which represents the groups along with the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Southern Poverty Law Center, said the administration was trying to rewrite a federal immigration law enacted in 1980. There was no reason, the A.C.L.U. said, to alter “the 40-year-long status quo while this case is heard on an expedited basis in the court of appeals.”

“The current ban would eliminate virtually all asylum at the southern border, even at ports of entry, for everyone except Mexicans (who do not need to transit through a third country to reach the United States),” the A.C.L.U.’s brief said. “The court should not permit such a tectonic change to U.S. asylum law.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com