AG Jeff Sessions Goes Directly to SCOTUS for Clarification of Travel Ban Ruling
Attorney General Jeff Sessions went directly to the Supreme Court on Friday, asking for clarification of its June 26 travel ban decision and an immediate stay of U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson’s July 13 ruling that modified his original injunction that stopped Executive Order 13780, which placed a temporary ban on all refugees and a temporary travel ban on residents of six Middle Eastern countries.
That original injunction was largely overturned in the Court’s June 26 decision. Watson’s July 13 ruling significantly scaled back President Trump’s Supreme Court victory.
Late Friday, Acting Solicitor General Ken Wall filed a motion at the Supreme Court asking for the justices to clarify who qualifies as a close family member. If the Court is unwilling to go there, Wall alternatively asked the Court at minimum to stay Watson’s ruling while the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) appeals his latest decision.
“The district court’s interpretation of this Court’s June 26, 2017, stay ruling distorts this Court’s decision and upends the equitable balance this Court struck,” the DOJ said in its motion, citing two particular errors in Watson’s decision.
First, “The district court’s categorical holding that the Order may not be applied to any refugee applicant as to whom the Department of State has obtained a contractual commitment from a resettlement agency — which includes every refugee permitted to enter the United States — effectively eviscerates this Court’s ruling partially staying the injunction as to Sections 6(a) and 6(b),” the DOJ argued.
Second, “the district court’s sweeping interpretation of ‘close familial relationship’ to encompass a wide range of distant relatives — including cousins, uncles, and siblings-in-law — effectively eliminates the ‘close’ requirement and has no basis in this Court’s ruling or the INA,” the DOJ continued.
Sessions also played it safe by appealing Watson’s July 13 ruling modifying his injunction.
“Out of an abundance of caution, to ensure that there is no impediment to this Court’s prompt resolution of this issue, the government has also filed today a notice of appeal of the district court’s decision modifying its injunction,” the motion stated.
By going directly to the Supreme Court for clarification, Sessions outmaneuvered both Watson, the federal judge in Hawaii, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which had given Watson a “roadmap” for his July 13 decision when it ruled earlier this month against his previous decision that requested clarification from the Supreme Court.
Now, Attorney General Sessions is asking the Supreme Court for that clarification.
Sessions’ move surprised most legal observers, who expected him to first appeal Watson’s July 13 decision to the Ninth Circuit, which would probably have affirmed Watson, and then appealed that decision to the Supreme Court.
Instead, Sessions is asking the Supreme Court to do what the Ninth Circuit ruled Judge Watson could not ask the Supreme Court to do: Clarify its decision.
“Nearly three weeks ago, this Court issued its per curiam decision partially staying the injunctions” issued by Judge Watson stopping the implementation of Executive Order 13780, the Department of Justice’s motion began.
“Since that time, the government has faithfully implemented Executive Order No. 13,780 consistent with the terms of the Court’s stay,” the DOJ motion continued.
However, “respondents [plaintiffs in the case, the state of Hawaii and Dr. Elksheik] pressed further in an effort to strip this Court’s stay of significant practical consequence. The district court [in Hawaii presided over by Judge Watson] adopted both of respondents’ arguments, and denied the government’s request for a stay pending this Court’s review. The government therefore is left to seek this Court’s immediate intervention,” the motion added:
“First, for aliens abroad who seek admission as refugees, this Court held that the suspension in Section 6(a) of the Order and the annual cap in Section 6(b) ‘may not be enforced against an individual * * * who can credibly claim a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States,’” the DOJ said: (emphasis added)
Respondents do not contend that the government has applied Sections 6(a) and 6(b) to refugees who themselves have developed actual, bona fide relationships with U.S. entities. Rather, respondents object that, for every refugee who is likely to enter the United States while Sections 6(a) and 6(b) are in effect, the government has contracted with a resettlement agency to provide assistance to the alien once he eventually arrives in the United States, and the alien has a qualifying bona fide relationship on this basis.
Prior to the refugee’s arrival, however, the relationship is solely between the government and the agency, not between the agency and the refugee. Indeed, the agency typically has no contact with the refugee before his admission.
Because the fact of an assurance does not itself create a relationship between a refugee and a resettlement agency, the government has not treated that fact alone
as sufficient to trigger the injunctions.
“To do so (as the district court did) would render the refugee portion of this Court’s decision effectively meaningless,” DOJ maintained.
“Second, for aliens abroad who seek a visa, this Court similarly held that the suspension in Section 2(c) of the Order may not be enforced against an individual with a credible claim of a bona fide relationship to a U.S. person or entity, including “a close familial relationship” with a U.S. individual,” the DOJ argued: (emphasis added)
In interpreting what degree of closeness is required, the government looked to the waiver provision of Section 3(c)(iv) of the Order, which allows waivers for aliens who seek “to visit or reside with a close family member (e.g., a spouse, child, or parent)” in the United States.
That waiver provision in turn reflected the provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. 1101 et seq., governing eligibility for family-based immigrant visas, which are limited to spouses, children, parents, and siblings.
In light of related INA provisions and this Court’s stay decision, the government has further interpreted the phrase “close familial relationship” to include fiancé(e)s and parents- and children-in law.
At respondents’ urging, however, the district court interpreted that phrase also to include grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, and
siblings-in-law. Again, that interpretation empties the Court’s decision of meaning, as it encompasses not just “close” family members, but virtually all family members. Treating all of these relationships as “close familial relationship[s]” reads the term “close” out of the Court’s decision. Moreover, by divorcing the Court’s language from its context — namely, the Order’s waiver provision and the immigration provisions on which it was based — the district court adopted an expansive definition untethered to relevant legislative enactments or Executive action.
The government asked for the following relief:
The Court should clarify its June 26 stay ruling as set forth above. In the alternative, the Court may construe this motion as a petition for a writ of certiorari before judgment or as a petition for a writ of mandamus and should grant the petition and vacate the district court’s modified injunction. If the Court would prefer that the government pursue review in the court of appeals in the first instance, the Court should stay the district court’s injunction pending disposition of that appeal. In all events, the Court should grant a temporary administrative stay of the modified injunction pending disposition of this motion.
The government’s argument was particularly persuasive in dealing with the issue of what the court meant by “bona fide relationship” with a “close family member.”
“Respondents in this case (No. 16-1540) are the State of Hawaii and Dr. Ismail Elshikh, a U.S. citizen, who is married to a U.S. citizen, and whose Syrian mother-in-law seeks a visa to enter the United States,” the DOJ noted.
“The specific lines the government has drawn in implementing this Court’s ruling –- like the definition of ‘close family member’ in Section 3(c)(iv) of the Executive Order — are derived from the INA,” the DOJ argued:
Section 201 of the INA defines “immediate relatives” — the “most favored” family-based immigrant visa category, as “the children, spouses, and parents” of U.S. citizens. Step-relationships are included in the INA’s definitions of “child” and “parent.” . . .
In contrast, the district court relied on a strained analogy to cases involving local housing ordinances and grandparents petitioning for visitation rights. In Moore v. City of East Cleveland, 431 U.S. 494 (1977), for example, the Court invalidated limitations on living arrangements of people in the United States, all of whom indisputably had due-process rights.
That hardly supports the proposition that such distant family members have a cognizable stake in whether their alien relatives abroad can enter the country. . .
[T]he government’s definition of close family members is consistent with the factual context for this Court’s stay ruling. . .
Although the Court did not catalogue exhaustively which “close familial relationships” are sufficient to exempt an alien from the Order, the Court left the injunction in place only for persons “similarly situated” to John Doe #1 and Dr. Elshikh.
The Court also explained that “[t]he facts of these cases illustrate the sort of relationship that qualifies,” citing Doe #1’s wife and Dr. Elshikh’s mother-in-law (who is also the mother of Elshikh’s U.S.-citizen wife).
Those types of immediate relationships reflect the reason why the Court determined that certain ties to family members in the United States weigh in favor of leaving the injunction in effect as to such persons: the U.S. relative “can legitimately claim concrete hardship if that person is excluded.”
On Friday, July 14, the first full day after Judge Watson’s decision, no refugees arrived in the United States, according to the Department of State’s interactive website.
The outcome of the DOJ’s motion now awaits a response from the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, the DOJ’s appeal of Judge Watson’s July 13 modified injunction will go before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
POLAND’S MOST POWERFUL POLITICIAN SAYS NO MORE MIGRANTS
Eastern Europe resisting EU takeover
July 15, 2017 by Jon Anthony
As the migrant crisis intensifies all across Europe, many politicians have refused to acknowledge the increase in crime that accompanies mass migration.
From Sweden’s Prime Minister, Stefan Löfven, to Germany’s Angela Merkel, it seems that the vast majority of European politicians are pandering to the onslaught of migrants, opening up their borders to everyone and anyone, while simultaneously betraying their very own people.
One European politician, however, has taken a firm stance against mass immigration.
Poland’s former Prime Minister, Jarosław Kaczyński, recently gave an impassioned speech at a party convention 60 miles south of Warsaw, firmly exclaiming that Poland has a right to refuse any and all refugees for the sake of protecting and preserving its own people.
Mr. Kaczyński, a longtime critic of the European Union, is often cited as Poland’s most powerful politician, due to his position as head of the Law and Justice party, abbreviated as PiS.
PiS is Poland’s equivalent to the United States’ far right – they’re a right-wing populist, national-conservative, Christian democrat party, which advocates for the prioritization of Poland’s citizens before anyone else. Some have compared them to the “Alt-right,” a group which advocates for European-only migrants, in order to preserve Western culture, while others have said that they’re merely concerned with self-preservation.
“We have not exploited the countries from which these refugees are coming,” Mr. Kaczyński said at a party convention in Przysucha. “We have a full moral right to say no!” the ex-Prime Minister proclaimed, to which the crowd erupted in applause.
Some of the more left-leaning parties have criticized the former Prime Minister for being overly callous, claiming that he’s ignoring the masses of impoverished and uneducated asylum-seekers reigning from North Africa and the Middle East. They accuse him of taking the European Union’s funds, without following its orders.
Mr. Kaczyński, however, disagrees – while he is thankful for the EU’s funding, he believes that Poland must prioritize its own people above all else. “The fact that we appreciate [the funds that the EU gives us],” he said, “does not mean that we have lost the right to various assessments, including those regarding the historical context.”
While there are certain many Poles that disagree with the far-right leader, an overwhelming majority of Poland’s citizens have chosen to side with the former Prime Minister.
Until now, many Americans have worried that Europe has surrendered to the masses of Islamic refugees fleeing their war-torn home countries, but with The Czech Republic and Poland taking a firm stance against “refugees,” many believe that Europe now has a fighting chance to survive.
Senior Italian government figures are threatening to issue European Union visas to 200,000 migrants, granting them unrestricted access to the bloc’s borderless Schengen Zone.
Deputy Foreign Minister Mario Giro and Senator Luigi Manconi told The Times that the government was discussing issuing migrants with temporary visas which would allow them to leave Italy and move freely through the bloc’s 26 Schengen countries.
Mr. Giro and others from the ruling Democratic Party believe Italy can exploit the little-known European Council Directive 2001/55, drafted after the Balkans conflict, to give temporary EU entry permits to ‘displaced people’ – triggering another wave of mass migration into Northern Europe.
“Letting migrants travel once they reach Italy would create a real problem for our EU neighbours. But I hope it would force France to confront the migrant problem head on,” the government minister said.
In 2015, at the height of the migrant crisis, the EU pledged to redistribute 160,000 African and Middle Eastern migrants based in Italy and Greece to other EU member-states signed up to the bloc’s common asylum policy – but as of June 9th, 2017, only 6,896 migrants have been relocated from Italy.
Mattia Toaldo, a senior analyst at the European Council on Foreign Relations, said: “If migrants continue to arrive and Italy decides to give them papers to cross borders and leave Italy it would be a nuclear option. Italians have lost any hope of getting help from the EU and may say, ‘If you won’t make it a common challenge, we will’.”
Giro told the newspaper: “We’d rather not use unilateral methods though, because the resulting dispute could wreck the Schengen treaty.”
Directive 55 offers EU member-states “exceptional” measures to offer “immediate temporary protection” in the EU to ‘displaced people’, but requires approval from other members and is likely to face opposition.
However, the foreign minister said the Italian government was discussing a second option last used by then-Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi at the beginning of the Arab Spring.
In 2011, Italy invoked Article 20 of its Bossi-Fini law which allowed it to hand temporary “humanitarian” visas to the thousands of Tunisians who illegally crossed the sea to Italy.
More than 100,000 migrants crossed the Mediterranean Sea in the first six months of 2017. Italy has overtaken Greece to become the main point of entry to Europe in the ongoing migrant crisis, with welcome centres in a state of near-collapse after 13,500 arrived in a 48-hour period at the end of June.
In response to Italy’s mounting crisis, the EU is planning to transport migrants to Europe directly from North Africa and for EU members to resettle them. Brussels expects the United Kingdom to engage in the programme and “volunteer” to accept a quota migrants, despite its vote to leave the bloc in June 2016.
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TRUMP ADMINISTRATION WEIGHS EXPANDING THE EXPEDITED DEPORTATION POWERS OF DHS
The new guidelines, if enacted, would represent a major expansion of the agency’s authority
July 15, 2017
The Trump administration is weighing a new policy to dramatically expand the Department of Homeland Security’s powers to expedite the deportations of some illegal immigrants.
Since 2004, the agency has been authorized to bypass immigration courts only for immigrants who had been living in the country illegally for less than two weeks and were apprehended within 100 miles of the border.
Under the proposal, the agency would be empowered to seek the expedited removal of illegal immigrants apprehended anywhere in the United States who cannot prove they have lived in the country continuously for more than 90 days, according to a 13-page internal agency memo obtained by The Washington Post.
The new guidelines, if enacted, would represent a major expansion of the agency’s authority to speed up deportations under President Trump, who has made border security a top priority.
2.1 Million Illegals Panic as Trump DHS Sec Issues Shock Announcement
July 15, 2017 by Kristy Jane
When then-candidate Donald Trump was running for office, he promised to overturn former President Barack Obama’s 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals “amnesty” program, but post-election, President Trump seemed to be backing off from that promise, suggesting that DACA enrollees had nothing to fear.
From Conservative Tribune
However, some of the estimated 800,000 illegal immigrants — USA Today suggests potentially as many as 2.1 million — who were brought into the country as children and were enrolled in Obama’s program may be on the verge of panic now. Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly just informed members of Congress that the administration may not defend the controversial program from future legal challenges, according to The Washington Post.
Speaking in a closed-door meeting with members of the predominately Democrat Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Kelly informed them that if they wanted to ensure the amnesty program survived, they’d have to engage with Republicans in a bipartisan compromise immigration bill to protect the illegals legislatively.
“This is what he’s being told by different attorneys, that if it goes to court it might not survive,” DHS spokesman David Lapan said regarding Kelly’s remarks. Should Congress not pass a bill protecting the program, “they’re leaving it in the hands of the courts to make a decision.”
That was simply too much for a “visibly shaken” Illinois Rep. Luis Gutierrez, who dramatically proclaimed in both English and Spanish of the attorney general, “Jeff Sessions is going to say, ‘Deport them.’ If you’re going to count on Jeff Sessions to save DACA, then DACA is ended.”
“It’s not a pretty picture,” New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez told reporters, according to Politico. “The legal authorities that he’s spoken to suggest that DACA cannot be sustained legally. We have a different view.”
Kelly told the congressional members that, despite his own personal support for the program and Trump’s prior statements placing DACA enrollees at ease, an impending legal challenge by Texas and nine other Republican-led states would likely prevail in court and bring an end to the amnesty program, leaving it up to Congress to save the program.
While there are no doubt plenty of innocent people enrolled in the program who were brought to the country illegally as a child through no choice of their own — people Congress should figure out how to deal with humanely — some illegals have abused the program and many criminals and gang members have been protected by their “DREAMer” status.
In fact, Breitbart reported that since DACA was first rolled out, more than 1,500 of those enrolled have seen their status revoked due to gang affiliations or other criminal activities. Furthermore, several gang members caught in a recent roundup were found to have illegally entered the country as minors, and were potentially eligible for enrolling in the program.
Common sense and past experience suggests that the real number of illegals enrolled in DACA and involved in criminal or gang activity is much, much higher than just those who have been caught.
Obama never should have implemented DACA via executive action, and only did so because Congress had reached an impasse on a compromise. If Congress wants Obama’s amnesty program to remain intact and in effect, they better get to work crafting legislation that says as much, because as it stands right now, the program won’t hold up under legal challenge and the Trump administration won’t be wasting time defending it.