I am sorry for the delay in sending this issue of From the Chair, but my email was down for the better part of last week.


>> On Nov 2, 2020 The Federal district court in Cook County, Illinois, et al v. Wolf et. al., (19-cv-6334),  granted summary judgment in favor of  Plaintiffs on their  claim that the Department of Homeland Security’s Public Charge Rule, 84 Fed. Reg. 41,292 (Aug. 14, 2019) violates the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”), 5 U.S.C. § 701 et. seq.  The district court specifically ruled that (1) the public charge  exceeds DHS’s authority under the public charge provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”), 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(4)(A); (2) is not in accordance with law; and (3) is arbitrary and capricious.  Please note, however, that this has not yet been reflected by USCIS on its webpages.        UPDATE: Later in the week the Court of Appeals issued a stay of implementation until the case is decided on appeal.

>> A U.S. district court judge in D.C. concluded that parts of USCIS’s “Lesson Plan on Credible Fear of Persecution and Torture Determinations” conflicted with the statute and related regulations and were thus unlawful. The court further found that those unlawful parts were not severable from the remainder of the document, and thus vacated the Lesson Plan in its entirety. The court also ordered the defendants to void the credible fear determinations that were previously made with respect to each plaintiff, and to provide each plaintiff with a new credible fear screening that does not rely in any respect on the unlawful policies in the vacated Lesson Plan. 


>>President Trump issued a determination setting the refugee admissions ceiling for FY2021 at 15,000. The ceiling incorporates more than 6,000 unused places from the FY2020 ceiling and also provides regional ceilings and admissions allocations based on category. SEE:  https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/presidential-determination-refugee-admissions-fiscal-year-2021/

>> Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of the Inspector General (OIG)  released a report saying, “During our December 2019 unannounced inspection of  the Howard County Detention Center, (HCDC), we identified violations of ICE detention standards that threatened the health, safety, and rights of detainees. Although HCDC generally complied with ICE detention standards regarding communication, it did not meet the standards for detainee searches, food service, and record requirements for segregation and medical grievances. We determined HCDC excessively strip-searched ICE detainees leaving their housing unit to attend activities within the facility, in violation of ICE detention standards and the facility’s own search policy. In addition, HCDC failed to provide detainees with two hot meals per day, as required. For those in segregation, HCDC did not consistently document that detainees received three meals a day and daily medical visits. Further, HCDC did not properly document the handling of detainee medical grievances. For the full report SEE:  https://www.oig.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/assets/2020-10/OIG-21-03-Oct20.pdf

>>On October 27,2020, the OIG of the DHS released a Report entitled, “CBP has taken Steps to Limit Processing of Undocumented Aliens at Ports of Entry”.  The Report concluded:  From May through June 2018, in response to a surge of undocumented aliens attempting to enter the United States DHS senior leaders publicly urged those seeking asylum to lawfully present themselves at U.S. ports of entry, where U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Field Operations (OFO) officers would process them. However, DHS and CBP leadership did not take steps to maximize CBP’s processing capability at ports of entry. Instead, they instituted policies and took actions that limited the number of undocumented aliens, including asylum seekers, processed at the ports. The first three pages are enlightening.  For the full Report, SEE:  https://www.oig.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/assets/2020-10/OIG-21-02-Oct20.pdf


>>BuzzFeed News reports that DHS has expelled unaccompanied immigrant children from the U.S. border more than 13,000 times since March, when the Trump administration gave the agency unprecedented powers to close off access at the border during the COVID-19 pandemic. Critics say the U.S. government is using a public health order as an excuse to violate federal laws that govern the processing of unaccompanied minors at the border. SEE: https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/hamedaleaziz/border-officials-turned-away-unaccompanied-immigrants

>>TRAC Says Asylum Denial Rates Continue to Climb.TRAC released a report noting that despite the partial court shutdown due to the pandemic, in FY2020, immigration judges made the second highest number of asylum decisions in the past two decades. The rate of denial also climbed to a record high of 71.6 percent, compared to 54.6 percent in FY2016. SEE: https://trac.syr.edu/immigration/reports/630/

>>Business Insider reports that while all eyes were on the election, a federal agency dominated by Trump administration appointees revoked the collective bargaining rights of the nation’s immigration judges. For background and additional information, SEE: https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-administration-revokes-the-union-rights-of-immigration-judges-2020-11

>>On Nov 1, the AP reported “Under Trump, citizenship and visa agency focuses on fraud”. It is a very good article that is worth reading.  SEE:  https://apnews.com/article/virus-outbreak-immigration-san-diego-0a7a62c68ecf79c884208a6dd5d719b4?utm

>> Mother Jones reports in its Nov/Dec issue on the heart-wrenching journeys of two Guatemalans, Gaspar Cobo Corio and Francisco Chávez Raymundo, to seek asylum in the United States, and the Trump administration’s attacks on asylum and policies related to unaccompanied minors. The article states, “Right now, it doesn’t matter how detailed, how plausible, how consistent your story is. It doesn’t even matter, in a basic sense, how true it is. Asylum is dead. And the power of stories—the one asylum seekers like Gaspar and Francisco tell to save themselves, the one the US government tells about the fairness of our laws, the one we tell ourselves about our goodness, our decency as Americans—died with it.”  For the full article SEE: https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2020/10/donald-trump-asylum-stephen-miller-guatemala-central-america/?utm

>> Roll Call reports on what it will take for the incoming Biden-Harris administration to unravel the more than 400 executive and regulatory actions on immigration carried out by the Trump administration. President-Elect Biden’s promises of canceling the travel ban against Muslim-majority countries and reinstating the DACA program should be relatively quick to fulfill, but regulatory changes made by the Trump administration, such as the new public charge rule, would have to go through a longer rule-making process.  SEE: https://www.rollcall.com/2020/11/09/biden-harris-immigration-policies/?utm

>>.  On Nov 13, USA Today published an opinion piece entitled, “Biden might need years to reverse Trump’s immigration policies on DACA, asylum, family separation, ICE raids, private detention and more.”  SEE:  https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/11/12/how-biden-reverse-trump-immigration-policies/6228892002/?utm_source=Recent%20Postings%20Alert&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=RP%20Daily


>>Jen Muroff sent the following items to me:

            Justice Can’t Wait! Super Alliance/Coalition Rally. Thursday, November 19th at 1:00 PM 

Rally at the State House: In person COVID-sensitive rally at the State House OR virtual event via Zoom
Power hour: Watch the rally live and then participate in actions with activists in community
Register for the virtual event here: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJcrdO2tqjsqGt2ReXbIoJ6WrNRwQ_i4BYab
Share the FB event with your networks: https://www.facebook.com/events/800315474154446
Post to social media using the hashtags: #JusticeCantWait

SAVE THE DATE: Driving Families Forward roundtable discussion on Monday, November 23rd at 6:30 PM via Zoom. Registration link available shortly.
Stay wellGerry Rovner