As Congress and the White House have struggled to reach a deal on immigration reform, a D.C. think tank released a study Wednesday estimating that about 33,000 more illegal immigrants than previously thought were graduating from U.S. high schools every year.
The study, released on Wednesday by the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), reached a 98,000 figure after applying public school graduation rates, among subgroups, to the estimated total number of illegal immigrants who reached high school graduation age (125,000). A previous estimate from 2003 put the number of illegal-immigrant high school graduates at 65,000.
MPI, which describes itself as a “nonpartisan, nonprofit think tank,” reported that California and Texas graduated the most illegal immigrant students with 27,000 and 17,000 respectively. Those two states represented 44 percent of the graduates while Florida, New York, New Jersey, and Illinois graduated at least 4,000 each — 5,000 in Florida’s case.
Many, if not all, of those 98,000 students likely won’t obtain protection under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program — which protects around 680,000 who came to the U.S. as minors — as the administration has refused to accept requests from individuals who never held protected status.
DACA likely will be a part of any immigration deal that Congress passes since Democrats repeatedly have demanded the president address that through legislation.
The number of graduates could be higher given that MPI used Census data to inform its study. Noting that illegal immigrants had an incentive to stay undetected, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) professor looked at the issue but bypassed population surveys and looked at data including border apprehensions and visa overstays.
The joint study, released in 2018 with Yale University, estimated that about 22.1 million illegal immigrants lived in the United States — roughly double the 11.3 million figure that MPI cited in its research.
MPI’s estimate came as the Trump administration has pressed Congress to address the growing crisis at the southern border. As unprecedented numbers of migrants have tried crossing the border, law enforcement agencies have faced limits over how long they could detain migrants — and ultimately had to release some into the United States and Mexico.
The study also came amid questions over how much tax money U.S. citizens have paid in support of services for illegal immigrants — an issue that President Trump and many others have highlighted during his administration.
Trump’s Commerce Department appeared to address the issue in 2018 when it announced it would add a question about citizenship to the 2020 Census. Democrats blasted the administration for depriving states and localities of data used to provide government services.
A 2017 study found that illegal immigrants consumed at least $100 billion a year in taxpayer benefits — including from federal programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program.
Although Trump has threatened to shut down asylum entry, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) appeared to focus on building a southern border wall and fortifying ports of entry. Describing the department’s “robust relationship” with the military, Acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan told Fox News’ Dana Perino that even without Congress’ assistance, he expected substantial progress on a border wall in 2019.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, meanwhile, indicated she wanted to address economic issues before tackling immigration in Congress.
“Our view of how we go forward is if we can change people’s financial security … if we can give people confidence, end some of their insecurities about their own economic situation, there will be a better atmosphere among some who are opposed to immigration in the country,” she said earlier in April.
The California Democrat also pushed back on the president’s rhetoric, accusing him of engaging in “tantrums.” “We all know we need to secure the border,” she said at a party retreat in April.
“We don’t need a lecture or tantrums from the president on that score,” she added. “But, we do want to work together for comprehensive immigration reform, and I am pleased to see it reported that [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell is ready to talk about that because we have a symptom at the border.”
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) reportedly started drafting immigration legislation to propose after the House addresses DACA and the Temporary Protected Status program. Although legislation has been introduced to address those issues, they awaited action in the House Judiciary Committee.
Source: Fox News National
Newton District Court Judge Shelley M. Richmond Joseph, 51, appeared in U.S. District Court in Boston on Thursday, where she was arraigned on obstruction of justice stemming from an incident that allegedly took place on April 2, 2018.
Prosecutors claimed in court documents earlier Thursday that Joseph, along with 56-year-old court officer Wesley MacGregor, helped Jose Medina-Perez, a twice-deported illegal immigrant with a fugitive warrant for drunk driving in Pennsylvania, sneak out a back door after he appeared in court to be arraigned on drug charges, according to MassLive.com.
Authorities alleged that Joseph asked an immigration agent who was in the courtroom to leave, and said Medina-Perez would be released into the courthouse lobby. But after the hearing, MacGregor led him downstairs to the lockup and out a back door, U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts Andrew Lelling said.
Medina-Perez, who had been barred from entering the U.S. until 2027, was caught by immigration officials about a month after the hearing, Lelling said, and is now in immigration proceedings.
Both Joseph and MacGregor were charged with obstruction of justice, aiding and abetting; obstruction of a federal proceeding, aiding and abetting and conspiracy to obstruct justice. MacGregor was also charged with perjury before a federal grand jury.
MacGregor also pleaded not guilty to all counts in court on Thursday.
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said in a statement that the indictment “is a radical and politically-motivated attack on our state and the independence of our courts.”
“It is a bedrock principle of our constitutional system that federal prosecutors should not recklessly interfere with the operation of state courts and their administration of justice,” she continued. “This matter could have been appropriately handled by the Commission on Judicial Conduct and the Trial Court. I am deeply disappointed by U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling’s misuse of prosecutorial resources and the chilling effect his actions will have.”
Lelling said the charges were not meant to send a message about immigration policy. He said he’s “heard the occasional gasp of dismay or outrage at the notion of holding a judge accountable for violating federal law … but if the law is not applied equally it cannot credibly be applied to anyone.”
Both Joseph, who has been suspended without pay, and MacGregor were released after the hearing on Thursday. No date has been set for their next court appearance.
Fox News’ Katherine Lam and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News National
Democratic presidential contender Beto O’Rourke criticized both the Obama and Trump administrations for their immigration practices Wednesday at the “She The People Forum” at Texas Southern University in Houston.
O’Rourke, 46, was asked if the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) should be disbanded. An audience member was heard replying, “Yes, come on.”
“I hear you on this,” the former congressman replied. “The practices under this president, the practices under the last president where families were broken up. Where you had internal enforcement I think in one year alone in the previous administration 400,000 deportations from inside the United States.”
O’Rourke was referring to 2012 where U.S. deportations reached 409,849 people, according to ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations report. In 2015 and 2016, the numbers fell to 235,413 and 240,255, respectively.
The 2020 candidate continued to say: “Some people who had been here for decades who posed no threat to their families, to their communities to this country in fact in any way that you can measure are contributing fare more than they are taking.”
O’Rourke said he believed that “we don’t need those internal roundups and deportations and enforcement.”
“We do need to make sure that whoever threatens the lives of our fellow Americans or has used violence that there is accountability,” he continued.
He concluded his remarks by saying that the internal operations by ICE “is not the way to do it.”
When pressed on whether ICE would exist if he was president, O’Rourke replied, “Yes.”
“But it will not employ those practices we’ve seen not just under this administration but under the previous administration,” he said.
ICE has become a topic for debate for presidential candidates. During the midterm elections, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., who is also running for president, said ICE should be disbanded and rebuilt.
“I believe that it has become a deportation force. And I think you should separate out the criminal justice from the immigration issues,” she told CNN’s Chris Cuomo. “I think you should reimagine ICE under a new agency, with a very different mission, and take those two missions out. So we believe that we should protect families that need our help, and that is not what ICE is doing today.”
In June 2018, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., also called on replacing ICE “with something that reflects our morality and that works,” according to The Hill. Warren is also part of the crowded field of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates.
Source: Fox News Politics
MCALLEN, Texas — The issues on the U.S.-Mexico border could soon start impacting the price of fruits and vegetables.
For fresh produce, time is of the essence. Now that wait times have increased on border crossings — because of a shift in personnel to address the border crisis — it’s been tougher for U.S. companies to bring fresh fruits and vegetables from Mexico.
And experts say that will impact prices.
Fruit and vegetable distributors that stock the shelves of grocery stores throughout America, including tomatoes, onions, jalapeños, carrots, pineapples, among others —rely on farms in Mexico for that produce. Forty-three percent of all U.S. fruit and vegetables come from Mexico, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“(The) Mexican border, it’s one of the most important crossings to the United States,” said Joshua Duran, Amore Produce sales representative.
But over the past three weeks, distributor Amore Produce truck drivers carrying that produce have seen up to three times the wait at the border, stuck in sometimes 15 hours of log-jam traffic to cross into the U.S. as they carry produce in their trucks. Duran said truck drivers are seeing only one or two gates open at the border.
“Now we are having a lot of problems in the border,” Duran said. “So, let’s say we used to have like five hours. We’re getting 10 or 15 hours to pass that truck to the United States…one or two (gates) are not enough to get all the entire trucks coming from Mexico and not only for produce, for all the products that people here in the United States get from Mexico.”
It’s caused the McAllen produce distributor, located just 20 minutes from the border, to have less produce than usual. Duran said the company is not able to deliver the fresh produce to the 10 states they distribute to, including Florida, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Colorado—because their truck drivers are waiting longer which gives more time for the produce to rot quicker and not make it fresh to the consumer.
“We couldn’t get it here and we couldn’t send it to the customers in the north,” Duran said.
Marabella Produce owner Alejandro Knight has to throw produce out because by the time it gets to him, he notices they will spoil when they’re delivered to the customer and hit grocery store shelves. Knight said his fridge warehouse is almost always full, even with the floor covered in pallets. It hasn’t been like that recently, as floors have been bare and some parts of the facility have been empty.
“We cannot deliver a fresh product anymore if we have to wait for each load to cross, five to six days, it’s impossible to work like this,” Knight said.
Knight said the Mexican growers are now “afraid” to send the fruit (and veggies) because of the border wait time, so they keep the produce in Mexico.
Marabella Produce normally sends seven to 10 loads with 1,800 cases of produce per week. But now, it just has three to seven loads a week. The company usually distributes to Chicago, North Carolina, Maryland, Atlanta—but lately, has had to limit the shipments to Texas.
“They won’t get fresh produce in their houses, they won’t get fresh tomatoes or pineapples, or they will have very ripe fruit in their stores, so it’s not the same,” Knight said.
If this keeps up, it could lead to everyday American consumers finding produce more expensive with the supply drying up. University of Texas Rio Grande Valley economist, Salavador Contreras, said Americans are likely to feel the effects of these longer wait times.
“It’s going to be felt at the grocery stores when we start paying more for limes and our avocados at the grocery store,” Contreras said.
U.S. Customs and Border Patrol temporarily reassigned 545 CBP officers from ports around the nation’s border to help Border Patrol in the surge of apprehensions of family units and unaccompanied minors from Central America that have “overwhelmed Border Patrol capabilities and facilities.”
“Facilitation of legitimate trade and travel remains a priority for CBP at its 328 ports of entry nationwide,” a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol spokesperson said. “While the current southwest border security and humanitarian crisis is impacting CBP operations, we are working to mitigate the effects as much as possible…Travelers are urged to plan accordingly and check the CBP wait times page for the most up-to-date border crossing information.”
U.S. Customs and Border Patrol said the long wait times vary from location and time of day. They update their data hourly.
CBP anticipated this and advised border communities late March of the changes: “There will be impacts to traffic at the border. There will be a slowdown in the processing of trade, there will be wait time increases in our pedestrian and passenger vehicle lanes.”
Contreras said reducing the number of customs agents at the border has an economic impact on the U.S. economy.
“It’s been estimated that staffing one to three additional booths increases U.S. GDP by $2 million and adds roughly 33 additional jobs,” Contreras said. “So, trade flows are very important for the U.S. economy. They have a big impact on the U.S. economy. And if we reduce the number of agents at customs and increase the wait times, then that would have the opposite effect of reducing U.S. GDP and then reducing U.S. jobs.”
Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., and Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, introduced bipartisan legislation early this month to address the border personnel shortages by hiring officers until 2020 “until the agency’s staffing needs are met.”
In the meantime, produce distributors are hopeful things will turn around quickly.
“I hope the authorities open their eyes and notice that this is affecting not only in economic terms but also in every family,” Knight said. “The United States, all the people should be served the best produce on the tables. They won’t get it like this.”
Source: Fox News National
SAN FRANCISCO – Another Trump administration immigration control effort went before the critical eye of the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Wednesday — and appears likely to suffer a similar fate as previous government programs that the court’s judges have struck down.
Wednesday’s case before a three-judge panel examined the legality of the Department of Homeland Security’s Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), an initiative announced in December to address what the feds called the “dramatically escalating burdens of unauthorized migration, which is causing irreparable harm.”
The idea: for Central American migrants who’ve crossed the U.S. border asking for asylum to be returned to Mexico temporarily. MPP was designed to provide relief to overburdened U.S. detention facilities by targeting people who were unlikely to make successful asylum claims.
Judge Paul Watford took issue with how the migrants have been processed and whether the government was giving them a fair opportunity to express their concerns about returning to Mexico – even if on a temporary basis.
“I don’t understand how that’s not arbitrary and capricious,” Watford said about current protocols which do not demand government border agents ask about fears migrants might have about staying in Mexico.
Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain, a Reagan appointee who seemed favorably disposed to the government’s case, asked the lawyer representing migrants held in Mexico why her clients would rather be in detention in the United States than have freedom of movement in Mexico. “We don’t want to be in Mexico. We’d rather be in the United States,” Judy Rabinovitz of the ACLU replied.
Outside the courthouse after the hearing, Rabinovitz, who said she was cautiously optimistic for a favorable ruling, went on further to say, “we have… heard of people who are kidnapped and given death threats – didn’t matter – they were returned to Mexico.”
Judge William Fletcher criticized the government’s legal justification for the migrants it’s placed in Mexico under existing laws that appear to have given separate classifications for different types of asylum seekers.
“We’ve got dogs and cats who go to the pound but that doesn’t turn a dog into a cat or vice versa,” Fletcher, who was appointed by President Clinton, analogized. President Obama appointed Watford.
Earlier this month, a lower court judge determined the Trump administration’s policy violated existing federal law and failed to give adequate protection to migrants who feared for their safety in Mexico.
Judge Richard Seeborg issued a nationwide injunction immediately stopping immigration authorities from placing migrants in Mexico. President Trump blasted the decision, tweeting: “A 9th Circuit Judge just ruled that Mexico is too dangerous for migrants. So unfair to the U.S. OUT OF CONTROL!”
But, several days later, Seeborg’s injunction was stayed temporarily to allow each side to present Wednesday’s arguments. That prompted another presidential tweet, “Finally, great news at the Border!”
Over the past couple of years, the 9th Circuit has ruled against the Trump administration’s travel ban and attempt to end protections for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients. It also has ruled in favor of “sanctuary” laws giving protection to illegal immigrants.
The judges gave the packed third-floor courtroom no guidance on when a decision would be announced. The tenor of the arguments suggested the stay would be lifted but it wasn’t clear whether the underlying injunction would be preserved in full or modified in a way that would keep MPP in place under an altered state.
If the judges decide to reinstate the injunction, the government has asked for a one-week delay to file an emergency appeal with the Supreme Court.
Source: Fox News Politics
SUNLAND PARK, New Mexico – Authorities have distanced themselves from an armed civilian group that detains asylum-seeking families at the U.S.-Mexico border. But the United Constitutional Patriots have never been shy about saying they work with Border Patrol agents.
After its activities drew widespread criticism, the group was thrown out of its camp this week for trespassing in Sunland Park, New Mexico, a suburb of El Paso, Texas.
Frequent social media posts show masked men in combat fatigues chasing migrants and ordering them to stay put until border agents arrive.
Jim Benvie is a spokesman for the group. In Facebook video, he has encouraged others to join and says the effort works with the Border Patrol.
Customs and Border Protection says it does not condone private organizations that take law enforcement into their own hands.
Source: Fox News National
Former Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) acting director and Fox News contributor Tom Homan called on Wednesday for the Trump administration to pursue a national law-enforcement operation that would illegal immigrants remaining in the United States after a judge ordered them out of the country.
“We need to do operationally what Congress is failing to do legislatively,” Homan said after blasting congressional Democrats for inaction. A national operation, Homan indicated while appearing on “Your World with Neil Cavuto,” would help deter illegal border crossings.
“I ran an operation like that three-and-a-half years ago, and the results were, the border numbers went down significantly,” Homan told Neil Cavuto.
Under President Trump, ICE has continually made headlines for carrying out large raids that often resulted in hundreds of arrests each. The agency, under Homan’s leadership, carried out at-large arrests as a way to mitigate the effects of state and local governments refusing to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement.
Homan also called on ICE to work more within Mexico, casting doubt on the Mexican government’s cooperation with immigration enforcement.
“I appreciate what Mexico is doing right now but my concern is this,” he said. “Is it a dog and pony show just to appease the president for a short time or are they actually going to sustain [an] operation that’s going to result in the arrest and removal of Central Americans back to their home country?”
Both Homan and acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan have pointed to Mexican cooperation as an important factor in halting the migration crisis. “Any solution we’re going to have to reduce the flow is going to rely on Mexican authorities to take stronger action,” he told Fox News’ Dana Perino on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, the president praised Border Patrol’s efforts and blasted both Mexico and congressional Democrats for their handling of the issue.
“Can anyone comprehend what a GREAT job Border Patrol and Law Enforcement is doing on our Southern Border,” he tweeted. “So far this year they have APPREHENDED 418,000 plus illegal immigrants, way up from last year. Mexico is doing very little for us. DEMS IN CONGRESS MUST ACT NOW!”
Source: Fox News Politics
LAS CRUCES, N.M. – Authorities say the leader of a civilian group that has detained asylum-speaking migrants along the U.S.-Mexico border was injured while he was jailed in New Mexico, after being arrested on federal weapons charges.
The Dona Ana County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday in a statement that 69-year-old Larry Hopkins was transferred Tuesday out of the county jail after suffering non-life threatening injuries Monday night.
The statement did not provide specifics on the “alleged battery” in which Hopkins was injured in Las Cruces, but Hopkins’ lawyer, Kelly O’Connell, told the Albuquerque Journal that his client was hospitalized for rib injuries following an altercation.
The FBI arrested Hopkins on a federal complaint accusing him of being a felon in illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.
O’Connell has said Hopkins will plead not guilty.
Source: Fox News National
A 3-year-old migrant boy found in a field at the Mexico-Texas border Tuesday morning — with his name and a phone number scrawled on his shoe — had likely been abandoned in the dark, desolate space by smugglers, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents said.
The CBP said Tuesday officials were working to contact the toddler’s family.
NBC News reported the boy was crying and in distress when agents discovered him near Brownsville, which is at the eastern edge of the U.S.-Mexico border in South Texas’ Rio Grande Valley.
CBP said the boy will likely be sent to a facility for unaccompanied minors that is operated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Rudy Karish, who is the chief agent in the Rio Grande Valley, said the boy was most likely left in the field by smugglers who took off after spotting border agents. Karish said the boy was “in good spirits.”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection apprehended nearly 9,000 unaccompanied minors just in March and more than 20,000 since January, as border crossings surged compared to recent levels. The agency said Wednesday that it could not provide a breakdown by age. The number of people in families — parents and children — who were reported to have crossed the border last month reached 53,077, NBC News reported.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News National
President Trump has an unlikely new ally — one of The New York Times’ most liberal and well-known voices.
Thomas Friedman, a long-time member of The New York Times and columnist for the newspaper since 1995, has been scathing in his criticism of President Trump. In a column last February, the award-winning writer described Trump as the “biggest threat to the integrity of our democracy today.”
During a CNN interview, the Pulitzer Prize winner also called Trump “disturbed,” adding that if Hillary Clinton were president and “done one of the things Donald Trump” was accused of doing, she would have been impeached.
Yet, Friedman now finds himself standing on the same side as Trump on one of the president’s signature issues — the border wall.
The veteran scribe’s latest column begins by detailing a recent trip he took to parts of the southern border.
“On April 12, I toured the busiest border crossing between America and Mexico — the San Ysidro Port of Entry, in San Diego — and the walls being built around it,” the piece reads.
“Guided by a U.S. Border Patrol team, I also traveled along the border right down to where the newest 18-foot-high slatted steel barrier ends and the wide-open hills and craggy valleys beckoning drug smugglers, asylum seekers and illegal immigrants begin.
“It’s a very troubling scene.”
Friedman continued: “The whole day left me more certain than ever that we have a real immigration crisis and that the solution is a high wall with a big gate — but a smart gate.”
“Without a high wall, too many Americans will lack confidence that we can control our borders, and they therefore will oppose the steady immigration we need.”
The piece continued to discuss how he believes the wall needed a “smart and compassionate” gate, and the country must welcome immigrants and asylum seekers “at a rate at which they can be properly absorbed into our society and work force.”
The column is in stark contrast to a piece published in February by the Times’ Editorial Board, titled, “Phony Wall, Phony Emergency.”
The column, published in the wake of President Trump’s national emergency declaration, charged: “In reality, the wall is not a done deal, and Mr. Trump has spent the past few months — the past two years, really — failing to convince either Congress or Mexico to pay for it. This week’s bipartisan spending bill, which contained no more wall money than the one over which Mr. Trump shut down the government in December, was a particularly humiliating defeat.”
“Desperate to save face, the president and his team cooked up a nonemergency emergency with the aim of seizing funds already appropriated for other purposes. Currently, the plan is to pull $2.5 billion from the military’s drug interdiction program, $3.6 billion from its construction budget and $600 million from the Treasury Department’s drug forfeiture fund. The White House plans to “backfill” the money it is taking from the Pentagon in future budgets.
“And so, in a breathtaking display of executive disregard for the separation of powers, the White House is thumbing its nose at Congress, the Constitution and the will of the American people, the majority of whom oppose a border wall.”
Source: Fox News Politics