Archive for the ‘immigration’ Category

DeSantis Refugee Trafficking Fallout

September 22, 2022

DeSantis Refugee Trafficking Fallout

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, the future of the MAGA GOP, is basking in the afterglow of flying 48 Venezuelan refugees from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard to “own the Libs,”spending $615,000 in public funds on two charter jets. That’s a cost of $12,300 for each refugee DeSantis trafficked for his own political purposes.

DeSantis still has almost $11.5 million more in purloined federal COVID relief funds left, so he’s doubling down. There’s been a further payment of $950,000, possibly for flights to Delaware (Joe Biden’s home state) or New Jersey. The charter jet contractor, Vertol Systems, owned by Republican donor James Montgomerie, purchased helicopters from Russian government-controlled companies, and received a PPP loan of $255,583 in 2020, during the Trump Administration. Vertol has been associated with James Odom, who went to prison for laundering campaign funds for Mike Huckabee’s presidential campaign. It’s not clear if Vertol got a sole-source contract; they’re certainly not the only charter jet outfit in Florida, so state procurement officials should take a look at that, if they’re not afraid of poltical retribution.

DeSantis and his cronies may be liable for other crimes. They fraudulently lured unsuspecting refugee men, women, and children from Texas to a small, isolated town in Massachusetts, promising non-existant jobs and housing. The refugees are suing for fraud, and a Texas sheriff is looking into the matter.

Is it interstate human trafficking? It may be a gray area but, in any case, it’s certainly cruel. Of course, that’s the point.

Update:

“DeSantis risks voter backlash in Florida with migrant flights,” Max Greenwood and Ann Parnes, The Hill

More:

“Massachusetts seeks human trafficking probe targeting Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis over migrants,” John Bacon and Rachael Devaney, USA Today

“The smoking gun in Martha’s Vineyard,” Judd Legum, Popular Information 

“Senator Ted Cruz says that transporting migrants is illegal, but commends GOP governors for it anyway,” Alia Shoaib, Insider

“DeSantis actions on migrants is ‘mini-ethnic cleansing’, expert warns,” Stephanie Kirchgaessner, The Guardian

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DeSantis: Cheap Trafficking In Human Misery

September 19, 2022

Florida MAGA/GOP governor Ron DeSantis is using newly-arrived refugees — many of them women and children — as hostages, political pawns in a cheap stunt, flying them to the rural island of Martha’s Vineyard. Somehow, he couldn’t find enough unauthorized migrants in his own state of Florida, so he imported 48 of them — by two state-funded charter jets — from Texas. DeSantis paid for the migrant flights with federal COVID stimulus money he didn’t spend on the needs of Florida citizens.

Bear in mind that the migrants, refugees from failed petro-socialist Venuzuela, are registered with DHS as Asylum Seekers; they are not the criminals DeSantis implies they are. Martha’s Vineyard has no immigration court or ICE center, so the migrants can’t check-in or recieve adjudication, which could jeopardize their status if they don’t get to a major city soon.

In this cruel Republican game, DeSantis is playing catch-up. MAGA governors Greg Abbot (Texas) and Doug Ducey (Arizona) have been sending migrants to New York, Chicago, and DC by chartered bus, often mis-representing where they are going and falsely promising migrants jobs when they arrive. A similar federal strategy was suggested in 2019 by Trump creature Stephen Miller. He threated to cut ICE funding if the federal agency didn’t send migrants to Democratic jurisdictions (it didn’t happen).

And where did lizard-person Stephen Miller get the idea? From short-lived stunts by the racist White Citizens’ Councils of the 1960s, so-called “Reverse Freedom Rides,” which bused Black Americans from the South to Northern cities. Like today’s people-traffickers DeSantis, Ducey, and Abbot, the racist Councils promised that jobs awaited the travelers at their destinations. One bus went to Hyannis, Massachusetts in 1962, where the Kennedy family had a summer home. This past July 26th, Fox News host Tucker Carlson publicly floated the idea of sending refugees to Martha’s Vineyard, pointing out that the Obama’s own a vacation home there.

In 1962, editors of the New York Times called the racist “Reverse Freedom Rides” a “cheap trafficking in human misery.” That’s certainly true for the stunts of MAGA migrant traffickers DeSantis, Abbot, and Ducey.

More:

“Planeloads of Venezuelan Migrants Arrive at Martha’s Vineyard Airport,” Brooke Kushwaha, Vineyard Gazette

“Migrants stranded in Martha’s Vineyard say they were lied to,”Bianca Padró Ocasio, Tampa Bay Times

“Martha’s Vineyard Migrants Leave Island as Outrage at DeSantis Grows,” Chas Danner, New York Magazine

“DeSantis gave GOP donors a glimpse of plans for migrant flights,” Josh Dawsey, Michael Scherer, and Isaac Arnsdorf, Washington Post

“DeSantis Flying Migrants to Martha’s Vineyard May Have Violated Federal Law, Experts Say,” Nikki McCann Ramirez, Rolling Stone

“Surprise is key part of migrant travel from Florida, Texas,” Rodrique Ngowi, Gisela Salomon, and Claudia Torrens, Associated Press

Related:

“Ron DeSantis Flew Immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard, Echoing a Racist Stunt From Exactly 60 Years Ago,” Kate Storey, Esquire

“JFK Library compares DeSantis migrants move to historic ‘Reverse Freedom Rides,’” Graeme Massie, The Independent, via Yahoo News

“This Isn’t the First Time White Racists Have Sent Migrants North on Buses (Though Using Planes Is New),” Kali Holloway, Daily Beast

“The Cruel Story Behind The ‘Reverse Freedom Rides,'” Gabrielle Emanuel, NPR Code Switch

“Biden officials to discuss ‘litigation options’ over migrant buses,” Stef W. Kight, Axios 

“Why Belarus is using migrants as a political weapon,” Ellen Ioanes, Vox

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Who Clogged the Afghan Refugee Pipeline? Stephen Miller.

August 25, 2021

Who Clogged the Afghan Refugee Pipeline? Stephen Miller.

The airlift of endangered Afghan refugees from Taliban-controlled Kabul is hampered by a lengthy and convoluted visa process, which had a backlog of 20,000 applicants before the fall of the corrupt Karzai government. In 2018 the Pentagon urged the Trump administration to expedite Special Immigrant Visas for Afghan nationals who had assisted US and NATO forces, but this was denied.

Olivia Troye, homeland security and counterterrorism advisor to former Vice President Mike Pence, says all efforts to fast-track Afghan visas were sabotaged by Stephen Miller, racist and Islamophobe-In-Residence at the Trump White House. This was confirmed by Elizabeth Neumann, a former senior DNS official. Matt Zeller, Afghanistan combat veteran and former CIA officer, says Stephen Miller “should be held accountable for war crimes” for his refugee visa obstruction.

More:

“Pence aide blames Stephen Miller for ‘devastating’ visa system for Afghans,” Maureen Groppe, USA Today

“Stephen Miller peddled ‘racist hysteria about Afghanistan’ and gummed up refugee process: Ex-Pence adviser,” Raw Story

(more…)

Trump’s 1,058 Bureaucratic Rule Changes Cut Immigration In Half

February 4, 2021

Trump's 1,058 Bureaucratic Rule Changes Cut Immigration In Half

1,058 rule changes, adjustments to asylum officers’ guidelines, modifications of enforcement norms, and other bureaucratic changes to the immigration system by the Trump administration cut the number of legal immigrants to the U.S. nearly in half, says Lucas Guttentag, who maintains the Immigration Policy Tracking Project.

More:

“The Race to Dismantle Trump’s Immigration Policies,” Sarah Stillman, The New Yorker

“Dismantling and Reconstructing the U.S. Immigration System: A Catalog of Changes under the Trump Presidency,” Sarah Pierce and Jessica Bolter, Migration Policy Institute

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DOJ Report: Trump’s Appalling Family Separation Policy Was Political

January 21, 2021

DOJ Report: Trump's Appalling Family Separation Policy Was Political

“Then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions and top Justice Department officials moved forward with a “zero tolerance” immigration policy in 2018 aware that it would forcibly split up families and were unprepared for the impact, according to a new report by the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General.

Sessions’ office was a ‘driving force’ in pushing for the Department of Homeland Security to begin referring adults who entered the U.S. illegally with children to be prosecuted by the Justice Department, according to the report. The Trump administration policy, which lasted from April to June 2018, resulted in the separation of more than 5,000 families — with hundreds that still have not been reunited.”

— “Jeff Sessions’ DOJ was ‘driving force’ behind family separation policy, IG report finds,” Sabrina Rodríguez, Politico

More:

“Justice Department Knew 2018 Border Policy Would Separate Children From Families,” Dustin Jones, NPR News

“Senior U.S. Justice officials pushed family separations, watchdog finds,” Mimi Dwyer, Reuters

“Justice officials respond to report on family separation by blaming Trump, expressing regret,” Julia Ainsley and Jacob Soboroff, NBC News

Trump’s Child Detention Program

November 18, 2020

Trump's Child Detention Program

“When U.S. Customs and Border Protection holds migrant children in custody, the child’s detention is supposed to be safe and short. That’s true whether the child is with a parent or without one.

But new data shows that over the last four years, detention times lengthened as the number of children held at the border soared to almost half a million. The detentions, which include both unaccompanied children and children with their families, peaked last year at over 300,000, with 40 percent held longer than the 72-hour limit set by a patchwork of legislation and a court settlement.”

— “500,000 Kids, 30 Million Hours: Trump’s Vast Expansion of Child Detention,” Anna Flagg and Andrew R. Calderón, The Marshall Project

Related:

“Judge blocks border officials from expelling unaccompanied migrant children,” Stef W. Kight, Axios

“White House killed deal to pay for mental health care for migrant families separated at border,”  Jacob Soboroff, Julia Ainsley and Geoff Bennett, NBC News

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Migrant Child Detention Center Operator Cancels Trump Golf Club Holiday Party

November 27, 2019

Migrant Child Detention Center Operator Cancels Trump Golf Club Holiday Party

Caliburn International, a federal contractor making billions from imprisoning immigrant children, has canceled its planned holiday party at the Trump National Golf Club in Virginia after the event became public knowlege and conflict-of-interest questions were raised. It wasn’t a party for the migrant kids, mind you, just their taxpayer-funded jailers.

Happy holidays.

More:

“Contractor that holds migrant children scraps plans for holiday party at Trump golf club,” Graham Kates, CBS News

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Trump Administration Snatched 1,500 More Babies at the Border

October 25, 2019

Trump Administration Snatched 1,500 More Babies at the Border

“The American Civil Liberties Union said Thursday that the Trump administration separated 1,556 more immigrant children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border than has previously been disclosed to the public.

The majority of the children are ages 12 and under, including more than 200 considered “tender age” because they are under 5 years old.

The ACLU said the Justice Department disclosed the final tally — which is in addition to the more than 2,700 children known to have been separated last year — hours before a federal court deadline to identify all children separated since mid-2017, the year President Trump took office.”

— “ACLU says 1,500 more migrant children were taken from parents by the Trump administration,” Maria Sacchetti, Washington Post

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Family Separations Continue

August 1, 2019

Family Separations Continue

The Trump Administration continues to separate migrant children from their families at the southern border, claims the ACLU, despite a year-old court order forbidding the practice. There is an exception when parents with criminal histories or communicable diseases pose a risk to their children, and Customs and Border Protection has abused that carve-out, separating nearly 1000 children from families over petty offenses or subjective and contrived reasons, says the ACLU in court filings.

More:

“ACLU: U.S. has taken nearly 1,000 child migrants from their parents since judge ordered stop to border separations,”Maria Sacchetti, Washington Post

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U.S. Internment Camp for Kids

June 24, 2019

U.S. Internment Camp for Kids

The Trump Administration, acting in the name of America’s citizens, plans to imprison migrant children, some 1400 of them, at Fort Sill, Oklahoma starting in July. That U.S. Army base was a prison for Chiricahua Apache families from 1894 to 1913 and used to incarcerate Japanese American families during World War II.

This won’t be the first time youngsters separated from families were held captive at Fort Sill. From 1871 until 1980 the base housed the Fort Sill Indian School, a boarding school where Comanche, Apache, Caddo, Kiowa, Delaware, Wichita, and Navajo children were removed from their families and punished for speaking their Native American languages.

More:

“‘Stop Repeating History’: Plan to Keep Migrant Children at Former Internment Camp Draws Outrage,” Ben Fenwick, New York Times

“Japanese-American internment survivors protest use of Oklahoma base as migrant detention center,” Tim O’Donnell, Time

“The Unimaginable Reality of American Concentration Camps,” Masha Gessen, The New Yorker

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