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Tag: immigration

Sen. Bernie Sanders Calls for Dismantling ICE, CBP And Pausing Deportations

Sen. Bernie Sanders at a Detroit rally. Photo by Steve Neavling.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders unveiled his immigration plans Thursday, calling for a moratorium on deportations and an end to ICE raids and President Trump’s “racist and ineffective” wall at the U.S.-Mexico border.

The long-anticipated plan, entitled “A Welcoming and Safe America for All,” pushes for a pathway to citizenship and says “Trump has manufactured” a humanitarian crisis at the border.

Sanders also wants to dismantle ICE and CBP and “redistribute their functions to their proper authorities.” To do so, Sanders is calling for the restructuring of the Department of Homeland Security, an agency that the Vermont senator voted against in 2002.

Under the plan, the Justice Department would once again handled deportation, enforcement and border authority. The Treasury Department would take over customs. And the State Department would handle naturalization and citizenship authority.

If elected, Sanders says he will “end the barbaric practice of ripping children from their parents and locking children in cages” on his first day in office.

Sanders also pledges to end Trump’s “racist and disgusting Muslim ban and instruct DOJ to drop any litigation or funding restrictions relating to sanctuary cities.”

Trump Plans to Name Chad Wolf As Fifth Homeland Security Secretary in Less Than 3 Years

Chad Wolf

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

President Trump plans to name Chad Wolf as the next acting Homeland Security secretary, Politico reports.

Wolf, the acting undersecretary for strategy at Homeland Security and former chief of staff to then-Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, would replace Kevin McAleenan, who was scheduled to resign Thursday but agreed to stay on to create a smooth transition in leadership.

That would make Wolf the fifth Homeland Security secretary in less than three years under Trump.

The White House was trying to find a loophole in a federal law to appoint immigration hardliner Ken Cuccinelli. But Republican senators warned the president against making the appointment.

Officials told Politico that Trump has some concerns about Wolf, including that he’s not strong enough on immigration. But Wolf was involved in the migrant family separation policy at the border.

Still, a senior administration official told Politico that Wolf would be “an outstanding pick by the President.”

“Chad is uniquely qualified to lead the Department and he’s widely respected within DHS and the interagency community for his experience and vision,” the official said.

Republican Senators to Trump: Don’t Appoint Immigration Hardliner to Lead Homeland Security

Ken Cuccinelli

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Republican senators are warning President Trump not to exploit a potential loophole in a federal law to appoint an immigration hardliner to lead Homeland Security.

As Tickle the Wire reported Wednesday, the White House is looking for ways to bypass the Federal Vacancies Act that limits who can take over cabinet-level positions. Trump and immigration hardliners appear to favor Ken Cuccinelli to become the fifth Homeland Security director in less than three years.

As acting head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Cuccinelli would not be eligible unless the administration found a loophole that involves appointing him to assistant secretary of Homeland Security. Doing so would risk a protracted legal battle at a time when Homeland Security needs a permanent leader.

“The White House would be well advised to consult with the Senate and senators before they take any decisive action that might be embarrassing to Mr. Cuccinelli or to the White House itself,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), according to Politico.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also said he does not like the idea.

Cuccinelli, one of the president’s top lieutenants as an immigration hardliner, has not won over Republicans because he once led the Senate Conservatives Fund, a group that was critical of the GOP establishment.

On Wednesday, Cuccinelli told lawmakers he ended a program that temporarily protected immigrants from deportation if they’re battling life-threatening illnesses in the U.S.

Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan is scheduled to resign today.

White House Explores Loophole to Appoint Immigration Hardliner to Acting Secretary of Homeland Security

Ken Cuccinelli

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Immigration hardliners have been gunning for Ken Cuccinelli as acting secretary of Homeland Security, but a federal law appeared to make the appointment impossible.

The White House may have found a way to bypass the federal Vacancies Act, which limits who can take over cabinet-level positions.

Under the law, the acting official is required to be the next in the line of succession, have served 90 days under the previous secretary or receive Senate approval.

As acting head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Cuccinelli would not be eligible.

One possible loophole is for Trump to appoint Cuccinelli to the vacant position of assistant secretary of the Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office and then tap him to be the acting secretary of Homeland Security, The New York Times reports.

Trump’s fourth acting Homeland Security secretary in less than three years is Kevin K. McAleenan, who is retiring at the end of the month.

Trump has demanded loyalty from that position, and he’s desired a secretary whose man focus is on immigration, not terrorism.

Jeh Johnson: Trump’s Obsession with Immigration Is Undermining Homeland Security’s Focus

Former Homeland Security Director Jeh Johnson.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Few people understand the threats facing the U.S. better than Jeh Johnson, who served as secretary of Homeland Security from December 2013 to January 2017.

After his departure, President Trump has been unable to hold onto a Homeland Security secretary. His fourth secretary, Kevin McAleenan, is resigning at the end of the month.

In op-ed in the Washington Post, Johnson says there are two threats that “would keep him up at night:” The resurgence of ISIS is Syria, and Russia’s ongoing campaign to meddle in U.S. elections.

“Particularly in the current threat environment, our nation cannot afford a continued string of temporary, acting secretaries promoted from within the ranks of DHS to, as some would have it, simply receive and transmit orders from the White House,” Johnson wrote. “The job is one of the most complex and critical in the U.S. government.”

In Johnson’s view, Trump’s Homeland Security secretaries have been an “instrument for hammering the administration’s hard-line views on immigration,” while losing focus on “counterterrorism, cybersecurity, aviation security, maritime security, port security, the physical protection of our national leaders and U.S. government buildings, the detection of chemical, biological and nuclear threats to the homeland and the response to natural disasters.”

On Tuesday, former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen complained that Trump wanted things his way – and he could not take no for an answer.

Immigration hardliners were hoping Trump would appoint Mark Morgan, acting CBP commissioner, or Ken Cuccinelli, acting head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Turns out, they are ineligible by a federal law governing agency succession.

“The president should resist the temptation to nominate a pronounced hard-liner on immigration who will be a lightning rod to lead a Cabinet department already in the thick of political storms,” Johnson wrote.

His advice: “Fill the job with someone well qualified, and fill it soon, Mr. President. A president who leaves the job vacant for too long is neglecting his own duty to defend the homeland and keep the American people safe.”

Trump Administration Wants to Collect DNA of Migrants for Massive FBI Database

Border Patrol agent makes an arrest. Photo via Border Patrol.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Trump administration wants to begin collecting DNA from asylum-seekers and other migrants detained near the Mexican border in an effort to compile a massive FBI database.

The Justice Department on Monday issued amended regulations that would require DNA collection for most migrants stopped by immigration officials near the border, NPR reports.

Under the proposed regulation, immigration officials would collect DNA information on nearly 750,000 migrants a year.

The new rule is subject to a 20-day comment period.

The idea is to add the biometric data to the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System.

“The proposed rule change would help to save lives and bring criminals to justice by restoring the authority of the Attorney General to authorize and direct the collection of DNA from non-United States persons detained at the border and the interior by DHS, with the ultimate goal of reducing victimization of innocent citizens,” Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen said in a statement Monday.

Immigration rights groups criticized the proposal.

“It’s hard for me to believe that a woman who is on a journey of 1,000 miles in broken flip-flops with a two-year-old on her hip, doing everything she can and sacrificing everything … is going to be deterred by DNA collection,” said Henry Sias, a Philadelphia-based civil rights lawyer who represents asylum-seekers.

Former ICE Agent Pleads Guilty to Impersonating Immigration Official to Free Man from Jail

Andrew J. Pleviak

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A former ICE agent accused of trying to help an inmate escape from a Kansas jail by impersonating an immigration officer has pleaded guilty.

Andrew J. Pleviak, 42, is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 20 after pleading guilty in Kingman County District Court on Wednesday to making false information and attempted aiding escape to another in custody.

Pleviak also was indicted by a grand jury last week on one count of false impersonation of a federal officer, prosecutors said in a news release.

Pleviak falsely claimed he was an ICE supervisor in a failed attempt to get jail officials to release Juan Diego Tapia-Alfaro, who was arrested Aug. 2 for allegedly obtaining a driver’s license fraudulently.

Pleviak faces up to three years in federal prison on the additional charge.

Immigration-Rights Group Offers to Find ICE Agents Jobs If They Quit Their Jobs

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Activists are offering to help ICE agents find new jobs if they quit working for the agency.

The immigration-rights group Never Again Action held a jobs program for ICE agents on Monday, and organizers said two ICE agents asked for help finding new employment.

“A lot of the protesters were chanting ‘quit your job,’” Baselt told The Daily Beast. “I saw an interaction between one protester and a relatively young DHS [Department of Homeland Security] agent who was standing outside the building […] The protester was asking him whether he was OK with what was happening at the border, if he was OK with kids in cages.”

The recruitment effort comes amid a period of low parole for immigration employees, some of whom reportedly committed suicide.