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Trumpwatch: Deportation Priorities and Sanctuary Jurisdictions

On January 23, 2017, Donald Trump issued an executive order, “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States.”



The executive order does many things, and I will focus only on two of them. First, it declares that his administration will seek to…

Ensure that jurisdictions that fail to comply with applicable Federal law [concerning immigration–GC] do not receive Federal funds, except as mandated by law

Second, the order also sets guidelines for deportation priorities. The department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department are to prioritize for deportation those immigrants who…

(a) Have been convicted of any criminal offense;

(b) Have been charged with any criminal offense, where such charge has not been resolved;

(c) Have committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense;

(d) Have engaged in fraud or willful misrepresentation in connection with any official matter or application before a governmental agency;

(e) Have abused any program related to receipt of public benefits;

(f) Are subject to a final order of removal, but who have not complied with their legal obligation to depart the United States; or

(g) In the judgment of an immigration officer, otherwise pose a risk to public safety or national security.


My Thoughts

It is unclear to me what federal funds can actually be denied. What I would need to know is how federal funds are currently granted to local jurisdictions and under what conditions. I suspect Congress allocates such funds either by directly dispensing it, by creating agencies that dispense the funds through prescribed rules, or by granting the executive branch the discretion in certain cases to allocate funds to local jurisdictions. Funds dispensed the first two ways, I presume, are “mandated by law” while those dispensed the second way would fall under Mr. Trump’s discretion.

I would also need to know whether a local jurisdiction would be able to sue in court if funds typically allocated for reasons unrelated to immigration enforcement are denied because that local jurisdiction refuses to comply with that enforcement. There may be a 10th Amendment issue at stake. My non-lawyerly reading of NFIB v. Sebelius and of how the Supreme Court arrived at its decision in South Dakota v. Dole suggests the feds can go only so far in conditioning a local jurisdiction’s receipt of funds upon that jurisdiction performing certain actions.

I suppose if certain funds are allocated to enhance a jurisdiction’s enforcement of federal law, and especially federal immigration law, then it will be relatively easy to withhold funds. But the further the funds’ purpose strays from immigration enforcement, the harder it will be for the administration to deny the funds. In short, I think Mr. Trump probably has an uphill battle if he wants to deny even discretionary federal funding to “sanctuary jurisdictions.”

For deportation priorities, one thing I don’t know is how much the priorities are mandated by law and how much truly reside in the executive’s discretion. It seems to me that absent some legislative directive that the executive “shall” deport someone, the president has the discretion to decide against whom he wishes to act. If someone is in the US illegally, that fact in itself makes him or her a candidate for deportation.

I suspect–or hope–that deportation involves at least some due process. At the very least, the government should, in my opinion, have to prove that the person to be deported is in the US illegally. I’d also hope that the government must dot its i’s and make sure the paperwork is filled out correctly and that failure to do so would at least frustrate the government’s claim.

When it comes to the actual priorities stated in Mr. Trump’s executive order, they can be construed to subject anyone to deportation who is already eligible. Therefore, that portion of the executive order seems less like “priorities” and more like a statement that the executive will deport whomever it chooses, especially the statement singling out people who “[i]n the judgment of an immigration officer, otherwise pose a risk to public safety or national security.” The provision that someone who has “been charged with any criminal offense, where such charge has not been resolved” suggests to me that all any officer will have to do will be to accuse someone of a crime then that person will become a “priority.” Do “willful misrepresentation in connection with any official matter or application before a governmental agency” and abusing “any program related to receipt of public benefits” apply to registering one’s children for school or for such things like getting a fishing license?

Here’s what I don’t know. Perhaps the terms stated in the list of priorities have well-established meanings of which I’m ignorant. Perhaps what seems like the widest statement of discretion–the risk to public safety or national security–requires the immigration officer to jump through certain hoops or tests before he or she can invoke it. And perhaps even Mr. Obama had reserved that type of discretion for the immigration officer.


What I’d Like to See

I don’t have strong convictions on immigration. I’m not bothered by having to press “1” for English or about people speaking languages around me which I can’t understand. (When I was much younger I had such problems, but I don’t anymore.)

I don’t hold much of a personal grudge against people who are in the US illegally. I get a little testy at the many discussions of “the dreamers” that ignore completely the role their parents played in putting them in their situation. But that testiness doesn’t affect my belief that the humane and necessary thing to do is to accommodate them and regularize their status. I would leave DACA in place, as Mr. Trump, I understand, has decided to do for the time being. I believe that certain people are in the short term facing labor market competition with immigrants and that their suffering ought to be acknowledged. But I believe that in the long term and in the aggregate, immigrants contribute more than they take.

I do have a philosophical view that having borders implies restricting access somehow. I believe that there are more and less humane ways to do it and that we ought to opt for the more humane. But I also believe that any form of restriction, no matter how fair or how humane, is going to catch some good, decent people in a bind they don’t personally deserve.

When it comes to denying funds to “sanctuary jurisdictions,” I don’t have a problem with, say, denying immigration enforcement funds to local jurisdictions that refuse to comply with immigration laws. I’d have a much greater problem the further one goes from “immigration enforcement” to funds for other purposes. Even if I’m right that the president will face an uphill battle in an attempt to deny such funds, it’s likely that there will be a battle and a number of years of uncertainty. And while I suspect my prognosis is probably right, I’m not certain. And even if I am mostly right, perhaps the battle will move the needle. Trump might not be able to deny a whole loaf to sanctuary jurisdictions, but he might be able to deny a much bigger portion than I’ll have anticipated.

When it comes to the priorities, I’d set them differently. My highest priority would be, in descending order of priority, the following:

  • Those convicted of, or who confess to, violent felonies
  • Those convicted of, or who confess to, violent misdemeanors
  • Those convicted of, or who confess to, felonies
  • Those convicted of a conspiracy to commit a violent crime

I would also want to reaffirm certain due process guarantees that I believe people in the US illegally should already have, as I noted above. I would also expand asylum options and admit more Syrian refugees.

Photo credit: Trump, by IoSonoUnaFotoCamera. License: Creative Commons Attribution Share alike 2.0 Generic.

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Gabriel Conroy [pseudonym] is an ex-graduate student. He is happily married with no children and has about a million nieces and nephews. The views expressed by Gabriel are his alone and do not necessarily reflect those of his spouse or employer. ...more →

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100 thoughts on “Trumpwatch: Deportation Priorities and Sanctuary Jurisdictions

  1. I don’t care about “pushing 1” either. In the hell that is automated phone systems, that’s a minor annoyance. And rankly, my immigration views aren’t because I’m mean. Go through the legal process dammit. We should reward cheaters…and that’s what illegals are.

    So for some of your points:

    Dreamers? Send them and their families home. I don’t care if you’re 99 years old and your parents dragged you kicking and screaming across the border at 1 year of age. Go back home. OR Apply the “normal” way and wait like everyone else….outside our country.

    DACA? Gone. Done. See above.

    Sanctuary Cities: I’m not sure what can be done, but anyone who doesn’t choose to fall in line should bear the consequences. Squeeze them with zero mercy. What those might be I don’t know, but I’m sure someone’s clever enough to noodle it out.

    Asylum: Turn it around. Stop supporting actions that create the refugees in the first place….like supporting ISIS and the anti Syrian rebels. Let in every dude that helped us in our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Call it done.

    Then we can set up a guest worker program to let in follks we want/need to come in to do the work “the Americans won’t”.

    Edited to add: Marc Razzanda has some interesting comments on Sanc Cities.



    • I haven’t read the Randazza piece (but might, if I have time).

      Here is where I think I differ from your view.

      First, I believe local jurisdictions should have some prerogative not to cooperate with the federal government. That flies in the face of my other preferences, of course. I would have had no problem, for example, in conditioning receipt of future Medicaid funds on states’ accepting the Medicaid expansion. But I do believe it’s acceptable for a state or city to decline to enforce federal laws and to make the feds do it themselves. I know that’s not all of what makes something a “sanctuary” jurisdiction, but it’s a part of it. I’d go further and say I don’t have a problem with a city or state accepting matriculas consulares (i.d.’s granted by the Mexican consulate) to run official business. I’m not sure, however, exactly how far I’d go.

      Second, I do believe it’s important to go by the rules. But I’m very conflicted, for two reasons. 1. The rules seem unfair. To me, the ability to move from one location to another for better opportunity is, if not a right, then at least something that’s more than a privilege. Therefore, I’m uneasy with restricting such movement even though, as I say in the OP, I accept that having borders implies some restrictions. 2. The rules are indeed the rules, but when I see the people up close who are affected by them, I’m inclined to have some mercy. I know a few people who might be undocumented, and I’d hate to see their lives uprooted. And as for dreamers, despite my frustrations with some of the discussions about their situation, I just think it’s cruel to forcibly remove them.


      • As to rules being unfair…well…it’s unfair that the state decides to make the posted speed limit below the 85% percentile. Using that argument in traffic court gets you a “tough shit” look from the judge. Dems the rules. Don’t like them, change them. And I’m all for changing the rules. As I said, we need a better guest worker program. That’s how we do things.

        Frankly, regardless of any expose to “possible illegals” I may have had, and I’ve had quite a bit, that doesn’t alter my opinion. Sure it’s cruel, but why should we bear the impact of the dreamer’s parents decisions? If anyone’s to blame it’s them. The US has some of the most liberal immigration laws vs the rest of the world. Everyone already benefits from that. But if you want to come here, do it legally the right way.


        • I see a disanalogy between immigration policy and speed limits. Being compelled to go a slower speed or being compelled to pay a ticket for violating the speed limit is not nearly as disruptive as being compelled to decamp the country.

          As to whether we have among the most liberal immigration laws….I’m not an expert in comparative immigration policy, so I’ll take your word for it.


        • I haven’t really answered your point about guest worker programs. I’d need to see the specifics of the program. At first blush, talk of “guest worker” programs evoke visions of how unsuccessful they seem to have been in Germany in the 1980s and 1990s, how the bracero program in the US ended with “operation wetback,” and how the whole idea of program seems like welfare for business owners to ensure cheap labor.

          But I do admit that short of admitting someone as eligible to citizenship, we are probably creating a category of people here contingently, and that’s going to shake out in ways no one will like completely. So I don’t know the answer.


    • The vast Majority of Syrian rebels are fleeing the Russian/syrian bombing campaign. The Syrian government attacked it’s own people, and ISIS was able exploit the chaos.


      • And who started the destabilization of Syria? Who supported the rebels hmm? We and our allies did. How did Syria, who helped us in the “war on terror” suddenly turn into a bad guy hmm?


        • The Syrian government put down the Arab spring protests with extreme violence, leading to an armed revolt.

          What would you have us do, help them bomb and gas their own civilians?

          In short, Syria turned into a bad guy when it opened fire on peaceful protesters demanding democratic reform and the release of political prisoners.


          • Please explain why it was any of our business to interfere with a sovereign state on and entirely domestic matter. (it’s pretty much a civil war)

            And why you’re at it. Justify why Russia should not intervene in a similar internal US events, say Kent State? Or maybe Britain during our Civil War.


            • You said we created this civil war and refugee crisis, we didn’t.

              Kent state wasn’t bombing and gassing our own citizens, and sometimes a difference in degree becomes a difference in kind. It’s also a matter of power politics.

              Let me ask you a question. If nazi Germany doesn’t invade, and is just rounding up and gassing its own citizens, does anyone have a right to meddle with their sovereign state?


                • Other people may be (are) more knowledgeable than me on this issue, but I thought Roosevelt was waiting for the right type of attack on US assets, and Pearl Harbor presented a perfect opportunity.

                  So, even absent another Japanese attack (which may have come because of the oil embargo issue), we likely would have found some provocation from Germany to enter the war.


                  • Now answer the question that I asked.

                    “How did Syria, who helped us in the “war on terror” suddenly turn into a bad guy hmm?”

                    Just like Qaddafi did. (technically he was a bad guy, then a good guy, then a bad guy)


                      • If you change your official title to “Brotherly Leader and Guide of the First of September Great Revolution of the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya” and surround yourself with elite female bodyguards/models you are officially a cartoon villain.


        • We did not start the destabilization of Syria.

          But that aside, I’ve always found it particularly odd when libertarians start arguing about how we should butt out of attempting to resolve illiberal states.

          Like, I get that statists should argue our state before anybody else’s. But I’ve never understood libertarians arguing that illiberal states are a null priority.


          • Patrick,
            I’m not a libertarian. My whole series of comments on the EO re immigration should be a clue to that. Then there’s the comments I’ve made about me not being a libertarian. I depart from libertarianism on immigration and I lean towards isolationism. Frankly, what other countries do within their own borders bothers me not and i sure as hell don’t want the US meddling with the internal affairs of countries.


      • Err because they aren’t a citizen or have a valid permit to stay here?

        “my parents brought me and this is all I know” is kinda like the dog ate my homework. You are encourage to learn about your home country….as you parents take you back…


        • But if they came here as young children, their official country of origin isn’t really their country. If they return there, they’ll be moving to a strange land they know little about. If you want to take this legalistic stance that blames children for the (venal) sins of their parents, that’s fine I guess. But can we not agree that doing so will impose an immense hardship on these people?


          • “But if they came here as young children, their official country of origin isn’t really their country.”

            False. Of course it is. That’s where they were born. The fact that the don’t know the country of their birth is irrelevant.

            “If you want to take this legalistic stance that blames children for the (venal) sins of their parents, that’s fine I guess. ” I’m not blaming the children. They just came along with their parents. I blame the parents. That’s why the parents and the children need to be deported.

            “But can we not agree that doing so will impose an immense hardship on these people?” Nope. Irrelevant.


              • Out of curiosity, how novel is this interpretation of citizenship?

                It’s not clear what ” interpretation of citizenship” you are asking about.

                If you are talking of Jus Soli (you are a citizen of the country you are born into), and thus children of foreigners are citizens of the state too, it’s fairly old. It started in Athens. Jus Sanguini (you have the citizenship of your parents), instead, is a newer development, from the mid XIX century.


                    • Cute.

                      But my main argument is that we’re, suddenly, discovering that the way we want to do things (that, honestly, haven’t been done that way in the past) are, suddenly, the only reasonable moral position to take.

                      And it always weirds me out when some novel interpretation of the way we ought to do things are the only reasonable moral position.


                      • The past is a big country. It covers everything from the brontosaurus to Obama. There are things we didn’t do in the past because there were no ways to do it like that in the past.

                        When the big migrations to the USA took place in the 1860-1920, for almost everybody, it was a one way ticket. The cost -and risk- of crossing the Atlantic made it very difficult, almost impossible to go back and forth, and belong to two countries.

                        Are you sure, are you positive, that no forefather of yours came to America as a toddler, brought by their parents? Did all these toddlers have immigrant visas! What do you think happened when those toddlers grew up?

                        Are you sure that the way we did it in the past is, definitely, not the way the Dream Act is conceived? Or could it be that kicking the Dreamers out is the novelty?


                        • So our comparison is to Ellis Island days?

                          Are there any steps you’re leaving out?

                          For the record, my position is that green cards ought to be stapled to college degrees for young Dreamers.

                          But it’s based in vulgar utilitarianism rather than any appeal to a higher morality.


                        • To give a couple of examples from family history. One of my great grandfathers came to the us and arrived in New Orleans in April 1861 (which if you were going to Indiana as they were was the height of bad timing). He was about 5 but it turns out he never bothered to take out the papers making him a citizen. Since he was from Germany in 1917 a list of aliens from Germany was published in the local paper and my great grandfathers door was painted yellow.
                          Another Great Grandfather came over in 1871 less than 10 years old, but my Grandmother on that side did not say a lot about his situation, implying perhaps that he had also never applied for citizenship (No records were found of it in the two appropriate cities when my parents went looking for them in a genealogy search. However in contrast to the other great grandfather, he had moved from where he grew up, so that the records were to complex to trace in 1917. Interestingly in the 1920 census he listed his birthplace in the us while in 1910 he listed germany as his birthplace.


                      • Isn’t that how things typically proceed? Do you think the emancipation proclamation would have weirded you out. Womens Sufferage? Apartheid? the prohibition of female genital mutilation? Didn’t things we’d always done all of the sudden become moral issues to which there was only one right answer?

                        If those wouldn’t have weirded you out, why not? And if it did, is that being weirded out evidence that any of those changes might not have been a good idea?


                        • From what I understand, at the time of the emancipation proclamation, slavery had been banned in the civilized world for decades.

                          Women’s Suffrage had been around for more than a century by the time that the 19th Amendment got ratified.

                          With regards to Apartheid, I assume you’re talking about South Africa, and the very concept of Apartheid had been tackled and abolished in, yes, the rest of the civilized world for decades. (Formal Apartheid, anyway.)

                          The prohibition of female genital mutilation is one of those things that, from my understanding of American/European culture, we didn’t do.

                          Didn’t things we’d always done all of the sudden become moral issues to which there was only one right answer?

                          Two issues with that: should (insert other country here) have open borders? Is it a human rights crisis that (aforementioned country) not have open borders?

                          If those wouldn’t have weirded you out, why not? And if it did, is that being weirded out evidence that any of those changes might not have been a good idea?

                          My attitude toward immigration is something to the effect of “if someone has the gumption to move here and get a job and buy a house and pay taxes, we shouldn’t get in their way”.

                          Which, I understand, is a fairly unfortunate position because it overlooks the people who are gumption-challenged, unable to work, destitute, or otherwise unable to get here in the first place.

                          And, overnight, this position toward immigration that no other country in the world has (or, it seems, is expected to have) is suddenly the only reasonable moral position.


                          • The point is Jaybird, that a lot of things that were once completely acceptable become moral abominations. If you squint hard enough, and change levels of abstraction, and frame what was always done just so, then you can make it sound like those things were already moral abominations when we, the US, finally came around. Two points remain, however. First, it wasn’t a moral abomination to us, or at least wasn’t a significant enough one to change it, until we did. And second, that doesn’t change the fact that at one point in time having slaves was not an abomination. Then it became one. I call that progress. Even if if happened 500 years before the emancipation proclamation. Extending your argument leaves me with the impression that that would call that being weirded out. If not in the US at the time of emancipation proclamation, then at whatever time you want to peg as the moment World Culture changed from thinking keeping slaves is ok to thinking its not. So all I’m pushing back on here is the usefulness of your “And it always weirds me out when some novel interpretation of the way we ought to do things are the only reasonable moral position.”
                            And for the record, I haven’t noticed anyone here arguing for open borders. I thought this particular thread was about illegal immigrants who came here with their parents before they old enough to make decisions on their own.
                            So even if I grant your premise that this is some sudden and novel interpretation (that children brought her at a young age should not be sent back to a country they don’t know filled with people they may not know), wasn’t the idea of freeing slaves at one point novel. Wasn’t the idea of letting women be free novel at some point? Even if I was incorrect on when the tipping point was, there was a tipping point. And what was accepted was then rejected. So I am asking, would that have weirded you out?
                            And while again, I am certainly not, and I didn’t notice anyone else arguing for open borders, I do believe that, with respect to the children affected, it would be a human rights violation for any country to remove a child that was brought there at a young age, that knows little to nothing of the country of their birth, and who may not have any family in that country, or even a legal right to be there.


                            • The point is Jaybird, that a lot of things that were once completely acceptable become moral abominations.

                              So every other country on the planet’s immigration policy is a moral abomination?

                              All of them?

                              This strikes me as… novel.


                              • They may or may not be. I don’t know. I am not arguing either point here. The minor point I am making is that your “this weirds me out” deal, its accuracy notwithstanding, is useless when it comes to figuring out whether a stance is moral or not.

                                Because there must have been a civilisation that was first to say “Keeping slaves is a moral abomination”. Even while no other civilizations agreed. Their idea, you might say, was “novel”. Which would have, according to you, weirded you out. So what does your being weirded out by a civilization’s novel choice to change their stance to one that says “keeping slaves is an abomination” tell us?


                                • Is this one of those things where we’re using the term “moral abomination” differently where I use it to mean that it applies pretty much universally and you’re using it in a way that sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t, depending on your culture?


                                  • With respect to the point i am trying to make, change it to immoral.

                                    And again, my only point is, yeah, when morals flip like this, of course a good hard look is warranted. But your original response to JA, which included: “And it always weirds me out when some novel interpretation of the way we ought to do things are the only reasonable moral position”, seemed to be an argument against rather than a reason to take a hard look. And I don’t buy that.


                                • To take a different tack, how much of the world has come to the conclusion that drugs should be legalized. I’d say very little, particularly if, like you seem to be doing, were judging based on the laws of other countries. So do people who argue that we should legalize drugs, particularly as a moral issue, weird you out? If not, why not?

                                  Do you think it moral for us to take a 20 year old, who was brought here before her first birthday, who has grown up here and established a community here, who has no friends or family in her country of birth, and send her home to a country she may not be legally entitled to be a citizen? IF you don’t, does it become more moral because the world at large hasn’t passed laws similar to the ones DACA supporters support? I wouldn’t think so, but YMMV.


                                  • Yes, there are people who actually disagree on whether drugs should be legal or illegal and, get this, this argument has been around for decades.

                                    If someone said “we should legalize marijuana”, I certainly wouldn’t feel like I was hearing a particularly novel argument.

                                    Here’s an example of Japan doing the exact thing that you’re talking about.

                                    Now, if you’re asking me “do I agree with that, personally, because I am a person who feels things” then, no. I don’t agree with that. As a person who feels things, that makes me feel bad.

                                    But that doesn’t mean that the argument that anybody should be able to live anywhere (heck, assuming they’re not a criminal or anything) isn’t novel.


                                    • Again, the question wasn’t “should anyone be allowed to live anywhere?” Its is it OK, or moral, to send a non-citizen who was brought here at a young age back to the country of their birth?

                                      And when the burden was on me to establish non-novelty, i was asked to find a country that allows it, or rather it was implied that because i couldn’t, I must believe all the other countries are moral abominations (changed to immoral to facilitate discussion). When you have the burden of proving non-novelty, you rely on the fact that you wouldn’t feel like you were hearing a particularly novel argument.

                                      So lets do this, Again. Imagine a time, Jaybird, when legalizing drugs was a novel argument. There was such a time, no? At that time, would that argument’s novelty have affected your judgement of its morality? If it would have, should it have?


                                      • Its is it OK, or moral, to send a non-citizen who was brought here at a young age back to the country of their birth?

                                        Do you need me to find you examples of other countries doing this sort of thing?

                                        So lets do this, Again. Imagine a time, Jaybird, when legalizing drugs was a novel argument. There was such a time, no?

                                        Looking at history, it’s far more likely for me to find examples of governments making stuff like “drinking alcohol” or “doing drugs” *ILLEGAL*, rather than legalizing them.

                                        For example, the temperance movement was trying to do something *NOVEL* when they made alcohol illegal.

                                        And, quite honestly, if I had said “huh… this seems screwy”, it seems to me that I would have been right.

                                        I mean, when it comes to alcohol, it’s something that has been around for millennia and, indeed, drinking to excess has been around for millennia and while I can find examples of society pooh-poohing excessive drunkenness, the whole “Prohibition” thing was novel.

                                        And, if I recall correctly, ended in tears.

                                        Same for the War on Drugs.


                                        • I’ll say it one more time.

                                          Your original position was that u get weirded out when something goes from being moral to immoral. In this case, sending children brought here at a young age back to their country of birth.

                                          My response pointed out that many practices have gone from commonly accepted and moral to immoral, and that those had a tipping point. That there was, at some point prior to that tipping point, people or groups arguing for change that would have necessarily been making a novel argument. Do you disagree with either of those two propositions?

                                          Let’s use slavery, or assigning women inferior status. Go back as far as you need to go to get to where that argument was novel. At that point, would it have weirded you out? If it would have, what does that tell us about the usefulness of your test? If it wouldn’t have, I’d be curious to understand why.
                                          It would be nice if you’d answer that question. I’ll even answer yours.

                                          Do you need me to find you examples of other countries doing this sort of thing (sending non-citizen brought here at a young age home?
                                          No, I don’t. I freelty admit that is the usual practice. Just like owning slaves and keeping women was, at one point, a disgustingly usual practice.

                                          If you have any others, just let me know.


                • Even the idea of citizenship is new-ish. In some ways, it also goes back to Greece and the polis and to Rome, but our ideas of it as membership with an interest in the well-being of the country, and as distinct from an older idea of “subjecthood,” is in some ways a product of the late 18th century and afterward.


            • How far should this “go back to your own country” policy go?

              Third generation gastarbaiter should be returned to Turkey?

              Damon should be returned to whatever European country his forefathers came from? I’m sure your ancestors didn’t have an Immigrant Visa issued by the appropriate Iroquois or Cherokee consulate, did they?


              • Aw it’s cute how you conflate someone born outside of the country who’s currently illegal with someone who came over from some European country decades ago and obtained citizenship.

                But wait! Did the Iroquois or Cherokee tribes obtain visa’s from the NA inhabitants at the time their forefathers migrated into NA? Inquiring minds want to know. Ergo, Iroquois or Cherokee aren’t legal residents either are they?


    • Every city, state and nation has laws on the books that they don’t enforce, or don’t spend a lot of money enforcing. Immigration enforcement is in the latter category. We could be spending more money on it, I guess.

      The thing is, how would that make anyone’s life better? What justifies the expense? Why does this particular example of weak enforcement bother you so much?


        • We are enforcing immigration laws, Damon. That’s why we have the Border Patrol, and Customs and Immigration. We spend a lot of money on it.

          I grew up in a border town (Canadian border). I knew the kids of people who worked in Customs and Immigration. We saw Border Patrol cars driving around all the time. In high school, my teachers sometimes took summer jobs as Immigration inspectors, since there was a lot of traffic through our entry point, it being the end of I-5 and all.

          So, I don’t get at all why you think we aren’t enforcing laws.


          • I didn’t say we aren’t enforcing the laws.

            You said “Every city, state and nation has laws on the books that they don’t enforce, or don’t spend a lot of money enforcing. Immigration enforcement is in the latter category. We could be spending more money on it, I guess.”

            I then said “If there is a law that’s not enforced they let’s remove it or enforce it.”. Maybe we should spend more money on enforcement? You would seem to be ok with that.


              • The relevance is this.

                Again, YOU said “Every city, state and nation has laws on the books that they don’t enforce, or don’t spend a lot of money enforcing. Immigration enforcement is in the latter category.” I simply said that if a law is not being enforced, we should get rid of it or actually, you know, enforce it. This naturally applies to all laws.

                You’re the one who made the original claim about laws being unenforced. And you can’f follow my argument that laws not enforced should either be removed or enforced?


                • So we agree then, that the issue with immigration law is the amount of resources devoted to enforcing them, and not whether or not they are being enforced? Is that right?


    • Asylum != refugees. Conflating them is either based on ignorance or malice (because the incidents in Europe come from asylees, while refugees are thoroughly vetted and are extremely low risk. Also, most refugee situations aren’t our own doing. The MS St. Louis, nothing we did. Rwandan refugees, nothing we did. Cuban refugees, nothing we did. Oh and refugees have gone through the legal process.

      Frankly, I no longer buy, “Go through the legal process,” arguments anymore. If that was the case, then those people should be as outraged, if not more, by the weekend EO, which only affected people going through the legal process. Want me to get behind “go through the legal process arguments”? Stand up for people that went through the legal process (psst, that includes refugees).

      Also, this:


      • Don’t underestimate the amount of ignorance out there. I’m not sure that I’d be able to explain the difference between asylees and refugees without spending five minutes doing research and I most certainly wouldn’t have been able to prior to having read your comment here.

        Frankly, I no longer buy, “Go through the legal process,” arguments anymore.

        I’m down.
        I just want to point out that I’m not certain as to whether the brakes on that particular train are as good as we might like them to be, if we were good people.


        • You know the weekend EO rewards cheaters right? The biggest supporters of sanctuary cities are local LEOs (not exactly a group of SJWs) because it helps them deal with the worst elements and keep people safe. Kicking out green card holders and making coming into the light more dangerous will do things like increase the incentive and benefits to lying, cheating and stealing and decreased the incentive for people to stop it. I guess if you own Life Lock, it’s a good deal.

          Oh and taking a tire iron to the Mexican economy is also not a good way to stop illegal immigration.


      • The fact that this EO affected green card holders, and it appears some of them were coerced into signing away their green cards should terrify anyone with even an ounce of “small government” bent in them.

        That the usual proponents of that are either cheering it on or asking “What’s so bad about it” really makes it hard to take them seriously.

        Then there’s the profiles in courage that are 200+ silent Republicans, who have some low-hanging fruit they can swing at there who can’t bring themselves to do it.


      • The OP was talking about asylum. I just went with that.

        As to the “legal process”, you seem to be assuming that I agree with the recent Trump EO. I explained in the previous OP Re Trump that I didn’t when Saul was bitching about his friends having to go back to Singapore. I think the EO was poorly done (duh) and not well thought out, but that has nothing to do with the meat of this OP.


    • All very interesting comments from someone whose avatar reads “Free people don’t ask for permission.”

      I suppose the freedom of movement or the freedom to associate with who you want or the freedom to hire who you want isn’t really your bag. Fair enough, I guess. You are certainly free to pick and choose which freedoms you value.


      • See my response to Don above. And as I’ve pointed out, I’m not a Libertarian. I lean that way and have some anarchro capitalist tendencies as well. That and I’m just a big damn contrarian.

        And I’d be all for free movement of people if 1) it was global 2) we didn’t have a welfare system and a few others.


    • I don’t care if you’re 99 years old and your parents dragged you kicking and screaming across the border at 1 year of age. Go back home.

      Could you take a moment and define ‘home’ at this point to someone who has lived here 98 years?


        • Yeah, just because you say it doesn’t make it accurate. Where is the home of a Chinese anchor baby born here, but raised in a Chinese city, where all their friends, family, and memories are?

          Hell, I never knew my mom’s ‘home’ was Cleveland. A city she has been in for less than a month after she was born. Rather than Indy, where her she went to school, and where her friends and family live.

          I would bet that most people’s understanding of where home is encompasses far more than just place of birth.


  2. [down here!]

    I’d like to reorient the discussion a little bit. You and I will likely not agree, for example, on “rules are rules” and we probably differ in how sympathetic we are to people in the US illegally, especially if that sympathy is to be a reason for leniency.

    But let’s go back to “priorities,” which is what the EO is supposedly about. The government has vast, but still limited resources to enforce its immigration laws. Where should those resources be allocated and in what proportions? You and I can agree or disagree on the meta question of whether someone someone here for 98 years should be sent back to the country they were born* But how many resources should we devote to that end? How many resources should be devoted to rooting out those who seem to be contributing to our country or at least staying out of trouble? My own answer is that we shouldn’t direct very many resources toward that end. I’d go further and say that our resources should be directed primarily against those who have been proven, in court, of violence.

    Now, that might not be how it works. I imagine the resources are vast enough to inconvenience and subject even the more “sympathetic” people here illegally. And to be fair, on its face, the EO doesn’t seem to target dreamers. The EO does, however, seem to create such wide-ranging priorities that it’s less a prioritization than a statement that the executive can deport those whom it chooses. And those whom it chooses are by default going to be those who somehow do something to bring themselves to the government’s attention.

    As I said in the OP, I don’t know how much of the apparently wide-ranging priorities in the EO are just the standard sort of prerogative that all executives are going to reserve and what strikes me as overbroad is the same thing that the last few presidents have said.

    *But if they have been here for 98 years, the pre-National Origins Act rules would apply and I’m not convinced they’d be here illegally.


    • Thanks for getting back.

      1) I figure if you’re a green card holder or allowed to stay here currently, that should continue. The EO caused some major confusion and didn’t need to. Stupid. I will ASSUME that if you’re here as an asylee, you’ve already been vetted, etc. so we should be good. (I have no problems taking a re look at folks or a random check just to see if anything was missed originally.)

      2) I’d agree with you that the folks you want out are criminals, violent ones first, then the rest of the criminals.

      3) I’d support tightening the restrictions / screenings, etc. for folks coming from countries with significant terrorist organizations or for folks that have supported such orgs, or similar. (I have some knowledge of how difficult it is as my GF has been trying to get her cousin into the country)

      4) I wouldn’t accept any refugees from anywhere except in narrow cases, such as minority religious members such as christians from islamic countries that were being persecuted, or folks like the Yazidi.

      5) Anyone that “falls” into our hands for whatever reason: Traffic stop, illegal border crossing, etc. However, that doesn’t mean that staging a few “raids” now and then to keep the population on edge shouldn’t be done.


      • I think you and I agree mostly with points 1 and 2. (However, point 1, is, I think, more about a different EO from the one my OP was discussing.) I disagree with point 2 in that I’m not very concerned about someone who commits a non-violent crime, although it probably depends on the crime. However, if we’re talking about priorities, I suppose focusing on proven crimes is better than not.

        For no. 3, I probably agree, but we need a good definition of “terrorist organization.,” not some catchall. “Terrorist organization” strikes me as a slippery term.

        For no. 4, fair enough. We just see it differently. I think the US should. However, I do acknowledge that if we can’t accept everybody or if we can’t develop some consistent standard by which all applicants for coming in, then we have to make decisions, sometimes very difficult ones, about which refugees to admit and which not to. I’m not sure at all what level of priority I’d assign to how those decisions are made.

        For no. 5, I’d make those very low priority. To be honest, I’d like to develop safeguards so that someone stopped for, say, a traffic violation would be mostly immune from deportation (at least as far as it concerns traffic violations). As for raids the sole intention of which is to nab people here illegally, I just won’t endorse them.


    • On the issue of resources I’d just note if we are trying to deport significantly more aliens than previously, the court budget, both Immigration courts and federal courts, will need to be greatly increased. This is true because it is currently undefunded, because immigration now make up a large percentage of federal cases, and because if you try deport more aliens who are aren’t criminal and well settled, they have more possible defenses and opportunities to appeal.


      • Not to beat a dead horse or anything but Obama successfully deported more undocumented pre-citizens than any other president (including Dumbya, the only truly relevant one to this particular debate).

        We had a fairly robust system in place at the time of Trump gaining control of it.


        • A few points. 1) Trump is talking about significantly increasing deportations from Obama’s numbers. 2) The system is already strained, and deportations of people already in the country take a very long time. For example, I just set a merit’s hearing on a asylum removal case for Oct. 2019. We are also detaining people in tent cities because of lack of space. 3) The increase in Obama’s deportations is mostly do to getting people at or near the border, most of whom are eligible for expedited removal. This lowers the resources needed for each deportation considerably. Trump is talking about going after people who are not eligible for expedited removal, meaning it will cost even more than Obama’s increase.


  3. This executive order is ambiguous in the way it uses the word “prioritize”.
    The author of this article takes it to mean: give top priority.
    Every crime (no matter how minor or otherwise insignificant)
    create a top priority for deportation.
    The would put the murderer and the food-stamp violator
    on the same level.
    Could this really be the meaning of this executive order?

    The other meaning of “prioritize” is to SET PRIORITIES,
    to arrange the various items from top importance to bottom importance.
    This meaning is not obvious either.

    So we shall have to wait to see how the Department of Homeland Security
    understands and implements this executive order.

    And since it is physically and legally impossible to deport all 11.3 million
    unauthorized foreign nationals on the first day of action,
    then for all practical purposes,
    some individuals will have to be deported before some others.

    This is also financially impossible.
    Since it costs at least $10,000 to deport each unauthorized foreign national,
    the total cost to deport 11.3 million people would be $133 Billion.

    Even with vast new appropriations and beefed up officers,
    we cannot expect to see more than one million deportations per year.

    I suggest the following system of setting priorities for deportation:


    • I think you’re correct in your first paragraph about how I’m interpreting the EO. That might have something to do with my inexperience reading EO’s (and with my overall ignorance of how immigration policy and law works). If we’re talking about the “meaning” of the EO, perhaps I was wrong. But I do believe that the list is so broad that it can plausibly be read as putting “the murderer and the food-stamp violator on the same level.”

      But as you point out, the resources and the government’s legal competence are limited. And in practice, that means the food-stamp violator won’t be treated the same as the murderer. One problem, however, might be that in some cases, the food-stamp violator might be more of a low-hanging fruit than the murderer, who might have greater due process guarantees (because he/she would be accused of a crime, etc.). Or maybe the murderer would be subject to deportation anyway. But a president elected in part by appealing to nativism could get a lot of political oomph from starting a crackdown on food stamp violators. That is speculation on my part.

      Thanks for the post about priorities. I didn’t read it as thoroughly as it deserves, but here are my thoughts after a brief skim:

      Priorities 1, 2, and 3: I’m roughly in agreement, as my list in the OP would suggest.

      Priority 4: I’m mostly against the drug war, although that doesn’t mean I don’t believe we shouldn’t have drug laws. But I’m hesitant to assign a special priority to drug dealing. I do think “gangs” in general falls under my “[t]hose convicted of a conspiracy to commit a violent crime” standard from my OP.

      Priorities 5 and 6: I might agree to those, but would switch them, giving more priority to deporting recent crossers than to repeat returnees.

      Priority 7: Here’s where we start to see things differently. Some of what you say there suggests we should repatriate children who may be US citizens if we’re also deporting adults. It also suggests that if one person is deemed deportable, the government should do an investigation of the family–all of which to me seems intrusive and unfair. That said, I’m not sure what the solution should be when, say, the government decides to deport parents and yet the children are US citizens. I’d err on the side of making such parents low priority (and to be sure, if I read your post aright, you seem to be suggesting they be lower priority, especially lower than your first 6….but correct me if I’m wrong.)

      Priority 8: My knee jerk reaction is to say that a “directory USA” is dangerous. It pricks my suspicions of what the government would do to monitor and more and more control us. That concern is beyond any concern about illegal immigration. When it comes to immigration, such a large list will likely lead to false positives.

      Priority 9: On balance, I think I disagree with that priority, though I have trouble sussing out why. On one level, I think something like that should be the responsibility of the DA or state’s attorney and not those who run the prisons, but that’s hardly my true rejection. Perhaps because no. 9 relies on the list from no. 8 which I have so many suspicions about.

      Whether I agree or disagree, you’ve at least provided a listing of priorities and an explanation for them. So thanks for doing that. Also, thanks for your comment (and if you haven’t commented here before, then welcome!).


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