NPR’s Franco Ordoñez reports that Jared Kushner is trying to revive negotiations to overhaul the U.S. immigration system: “President Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law has been meeting with business leaders, immigration hard-liners and other interest groups important to Republicans with the goal of rolling out a new immigration plan once Trump's impeachment trial ended.”
If the Supreme Court rules in favor of the administration being able to rescind Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the Trump administration will have created the crisis they need to open a legislative window. Whether or not there are 278 votes across the House and Senate to use that window is an entirely different question.
CUOMO AND TRUMP – New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), who meets with President Trump today, appears willing to compromise on a Trump administration policy announced last week that would bar New Yorkers from federal Trusted Traveler Programs as a result of New York’s new driver’s license law for undocumented immigrants, Ted Hesson reports in Reuters. “Cuomo signaled he would allow federal immigration authorities to have limited access to a Department of Motor Vehicles database. Specifically, Cuomo said he would grant access to DMV records of residents who use ‘trusted traveler’ programs that allow faster security checks at airports and other ports of entry.”
SIXTY DAYS – The Trump administration “is reinforcing a tight deadline for immigration cases of unaccompanied migrant children in government custody in an effort to make quicker decisions about deportation,” Priscilla Alvarez reports for CNN. The Executive Office for Immigration Review, which oversees the nation’s immigration courts, sent an email last month “designed to apply pressure on immigration judges to wrap up such cases within a 60-day window that’s rarely met and falls in line with a broader effort by the administration to complete immigration cases at a faster speed.” 60 days to adjudicate an unaccompanied child case is 60 days to injustice.
MUST READ – After 30 years as police chief and public safety director in Storm Lake, Iowa — one of America’s most successful small towns — Mark Prosser headed south to the border at McAllen, Texas, as a volunteer for Catholic Charities helping refugees. He reflects on the trip in The Storm Lake Times: “My trip to the border caused me to sit quietly every night and process what I observed that day. People seeking safety and escaping from threats of harm or death. People seeking a better life for their families. People asking for help and consideration from the strongest, most wealthy, most prosperous nation in the world.”
“HEARTBREAKING” – Writing for Houston Public Media, Elizabeth Trovall looks at how the Nigerian community in Houston is reacting to the Trump administration’s expanded travel ban. Saheed, a 32-year-old U.S. citizen who married his wife Azeezat in Nigeria last year, now worries the couple won’t be able to move back to the U.S. together, as Azeezat’s visa has not yet been approved. “Going from something that was certain to something that is uncertain, and there’s a possibility that we may never be together in the United States — it is just heartbreaking,” Saheed said. Stuart Anderson laid out this point in Forbes a couple weeks back.
GOING DEEP – For a deep dive on how President Trump is reshaping American immigration, check out Isaac Chotiner’s interview with Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, policy counsel at the American Immigration Council, in the New Yorker. They discuss “why the security-based rationales for the travel ban aren’t sound, whether a Democratic President would be able to quickly reverse most of Trump’s changes, and the Remain in Mexico policy, which Reichlin-Melnick described as ‘a stain on the rule of law.’” Aaron and I covered some of these topics in a recent episode of “Only in America.”
CONSTRUCTION – The Trump administration’s immigration crackdown is contributing to a shortage of workers in the construction industry, reports David Nath in Fox News. A recent survey from the Associated General Contractors of America found that about 80% of construction firms are struggling to fill positions. “Skilled workers are especially in need, including bricklayers, installers, pipelayers, and carpenters,” Nath writes. “Real estate developers … say the majority of their workers are immigrants, and stricter policies by the Trump Administration are having a big impact on their labor pool.”
ELLIS ISLAND TO MALDEN – Diane Portnoy arrived on Ellis Island in 1949 – her parents were Polish Jews who survived the Holocaust by fleeing numerous cities, even becoming slave laborers in Siberia for a period. Meghan Sorensen in the Boston Globe writes that Portnoy, now 73, has been a champion of immigrant education, including through the creation of the Immigrant Learning Center in Malden, Massachusetts. “Only in America can a little girl — an immigrant — come here with nothing and succeed.”
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