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Thread: Looming debate over DACA program spurs federal lawsuit

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  1. #1
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Looming debate over DACA program spurs federal lawsuit

    Looming debate over DACA program spurs federal lawsuit

    Alan Gomez, USA TODAY
    Published 3:53 p.m. ET July 17, 2018

    (Photo: Jacquelyn Martin, AP)

    While much of the nation's attention has been focused of late on the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy that led to thousands of separated families along the southern border with Mexico, a lawsuit filed in federal court on Tuesday is a reminder of another looming immigration battle.

    The Center for Immigration Studies, a group that has advised the Trump administration on immigration policy and advocates for lower levels of legal and illegal immigration, filed suit in the District of Columbia to force the government to turn over data on people enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA.

    That Obama-era program has shielded from deportation 800,000 undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children, but President Donald Trump announced last year he would terminate it. A federal judge ordered the program to remain active, and the Supreme Court is expected to ultimately decide its fate later this year.

    That delay has allowed Congress to put DACA on the back burner for months, but Tuesday's lawsuit shows how contentious the battle over those "Dreamers" will get if the Supreme Court strikes the program down and Congress must decide whether to spare it.

    In its lawsuit, the center asked a judge to force the government to release reams of data from applications filed by DACA applicants. The suit is not requesting personal information, only a tally of how applicants answered certain questions.

    Those questions include where the applicants were born, what U.S. zip codes they're currently living in, and whether they'd ever been deported. Much of the data the group is seeking focuses on any possible criminal history that the applicants listed, including any arrests, charges or convictions on a wide variety of crimes.

    Jessica Vaughan, policy director for the Center for Immigration Studies, said the data is needed because little is publicly known about the group and a thorough analysis is needed before Congress takes any steps to grant them long-term deportation protections or legal U.S. residency.

    "This will enable policymakers and the public to assess the impact of this controversial program on American communities," Vaughan said. "Congress should not be making legislation based on advocacy group press releases and social media memes; it needs accurate information, ideally from the federal government's own records."

    Sanaa Abrar, advocacy director for United We Dream, an organization made up of young undocumented immigrants, said it was clear that the Center for Immigration Studies is simply trying to paint DACA recipients in the worst possible light. For example, the lawsuit does not ask the government to compile data on answers detailing military service, or graduation from colleges or universities.

    "What they're seeking is a very criminalizing, singular portrayal of immigrant youth," Abrar said. "I'm not surprised given the track record and history of that center."

    The Center for Immigration Studies has served as the research arm of a group of organizations that advocate for lower levels of immigration. Its officials have regularly testified before Congress on immigration legislation, and one of its fellows, Ronald Mortensen, was nominated in May by Trump to head the State Department's refugee and migration program.

    But the group has also come under fire for its positions, most notably by the Southern Poverty Law Center which labeled it a "hate group" last year. The center has fought back against that accusation, arguing it's irresponsible to liken a group that carefully crafts policy positions for less immigration with violent groups that truly preach hatred like the Klu Klux Klan.

    "(The Southern Poverty Law Center) allegations are false and malicious, and intended to smear out organization, apparently because this once-reputable group does not agree with our policy recommendations," Vaughan said.

    Abrar said her organization plans to fill in the gaps in the center's research, as it did last year when it teamed up with several immigration advocacy groups to survey thousands of DACA recipients. The survey showed the economic and educational benefits that DACA recipients enjoyed, due in large part to the work permits that come with acceptance into the program.

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  2. #2
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    That Obama-era program has shielded from deportation 800,000 undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children, but President Donald Trump announced last year he would terminate it. A federal judge ordered the program to remain active, and the Supreme Court is expected to ultimately decide its fate later this year.
    DACA is not a law. How can a judge say a mere executive order is binding on future presidents????

    And BTW - 800,000 is the figure obama gave us and bad as it is, the correct number of DACA parasites is likely 10 times that.
    Beezer likes this.

  3. #3
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    Think Tank Sues Gov’t for Information on DACA Program

    Center for Immigration Studies seeks important application details on these illegal immigrants

    By Brendan Kirby | Wednesday, July 18, 2018

    How many Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) applicants admitted have been placed in deportation proceedings or received a final order to leave the United States? How many had a Social Security number? Federal officials have all of this information and more — but refuse to make it public.

    An immigration think tank announced Tuesday it is suing the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Jessica Vaughan, the director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), argued that the information — which comes from the application form for the DACA program — is important.

    “It takes an inordinate amount of time to get basic information from government records,” she said. “We don’t always resort to lawsuits.” But in this case, Vaughan said, a lawsuit is justified. All of the information sought comes from questions the government has asked DACA applicants.

    A USCIS representative declined to comment, citing agency policy on pending litigation.

    Vaughn’s group, which favors lower levels of immigration, requested the information under FOIA in October. The USCIS acknowledged receipt of the request October 16 but did not respond to it within the 20-day deadline specified in the law.

    Former President Barack Obama created DACA in 2012 through executive action. It shields from deportation qualifying illegal immigrants whose parents brought them to the United States as children. Beneficiaries also receive renewable permits allowing them to work legally in the United States.

    More than 20,000 new DACA applicants have been accepted since a federal judge earlier this year ordered President Donald Trump to restart the program, which the president had ordered closed. There now are more than 700,000 DACA recipients — the vast majority from Mexico.

    Vaughan noted that Congress has debated granting amnesty to the illegal immigrants who enrolled in DACA.

    “Yet we know very, very little about this population … It’s really surprising that more lawmakers aren’t interested in it,” she said.

    Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) last month obtained some data from USCIS, including the fact that two-thirds of DACA applicants with criminal records received work permits.

    Said Vaughan: “If there is to be an amnesty, it would be better to have a screening process and eligibility rules that apply to green cards.”

    But Vaughan said her interests are broader.

    “I’ve been very frustrated that there is so little information about people with DACA because we’re talking about granting a path to citizenship,” she said.

    Up to now, Vaughan said, scholarship on DACA recipients has been limited to surveys with small samples and studies that make guesses about the DACA population by using census data to identify immigrants with similar demographic characteristics.

    Countries such as Australia fund detailed studies of their immigrant populations to determine how newcomers do over time, how much they pay in taxes, and much they cost in government services, Vaughan said.

    More robust information would also be useful for research purposes beyond DACA, Vaughan said. One of the requests she made in the FOIA request is information that breaks down DACA by the city — and not just the country — from which applicants came.

    Vaughan said that information would give researchers insight into illegal immigration patterns beyond merely DACA, assuming DACA applicants are representative of illegal immigrants generally in a given year.

    Perhaps, Vaughan said, researchers could see patterns indicating where illegal immigrants come from and what motivates them.

    The attorney handling the FOIA lawsuit is Julia Axelrod, who recently left the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) to take the newly created position of litigation counsel at Center for Immigration Studies. Vaughan said the think tank intends to become more aggressive in prying information from the government.

    To name just one example, Vaughan said she has been waiting for a year and a half for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency to comply with a request to provide a report that the agency produces weekly. She said she wanted that report from four different dates in order to track changes over time.

    “All they had to do is Xerox them and put them in an envelope,” she said.
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