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Trump says ‘caravans’ of immigrants are headed for the U.S. What’s he talking about?

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“These are families — women, children, men, too — fleeing horrific violence,” Gilman said. “They’re fleeing crime, they are not criminals.”

The march was organized by a group called Pueblo Sin Fronteras, or People Without Borders, which said in a release they are seeking refuge from violence and corruption. The group did not respond to a request for interview.

Mexican authorities have not stopped the group as it makes it way through the country, with many seeking entry to the United States, according to Buzzfeed.

 Central American migrants arrive at in Ixtepec, Oaxaca, Mexico on March 30, 2018, before continuing their journey to the United States. Jose Jesus Cortes / Reuters

What happens when the people reach the U.S.-Mexico border?

If the caravan attempts to cross the border in a group, participants will be stopped or apprehended, according to Kevin Johnson, dean of the University of California, Davis, School of Law. The majority of the migrants are expected to seek asylum if they cross into the United States. (Otherwise, they would likely be deported immediately — sometimes on the same day — under existing law.)

Asylum seekers are screened with a “credible fear interview” within weeks of their arrival, Gilman said. If they do not pass, they are deported immediately.

Those who are determined to have a credible claim for asylum will then proceed toward an asylum hearing in immigration court. Pending an asylum hearing, some immigrants are released to live with nearby families, while others will be detained in immigration detention housing, which was widely expanded as part of the Obama administration’s immigration enforcement.

Could Mexico still stop them?

“In recent years, the Mexican government has tried to keep Central Americans out because they don’t like to be an avenue for migration,” Johnson said, but he pointed to international law mandating that people be free to leave any country, including their own. “I don’t see there’s evidence that Mexico’s not doing what it’s supposed to be doing under international law.”

Mexico could have barred the migrants from entering its own country, but it’s unlikely they’ll stop them from trying to enter the United States.

Is “catch and release” a “liberal (Democrat)” law, like Trump says?

There is no “catch and release” law that stops U.S. authorities from apprehending migrants at the border, as Trump claimed in a tweet. Rather, the phrase refers to a past policy of letting certain immigrants without documentation live in the U.S. while awaiting immigration hearings.

Gilman said it was not a widespread practice under the Obama administration, and is not now. The president announced he was ending the practice with an executive order more than a year ago, too.

 Central American migrants gather before continuing their journey to the U.S.in Ixtepec, Oaxaca, Mexico on March 31, 2018. Jose Jesus Cortes / Reuters

“Almost everybody is detained at the border until at least they pass the (initial asylum) screening interview, and increasingly after,” Gilman said.

Can the migrants receive DACA status?

Trump gets this wrong. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is not the same as asylum, and anyone who crosses the border now is not eligible for DACA.

The Obama-era DACA program, which is the subject of a legal battle after Trump ended the program last year, allows children of undocumented immigrants, known as Dreamers, to remain in the U.S. if they were under 16 when their parents brought them to the U.S., were under 31 in June 2012, and had continuously lived here without legal status since at least June 2007. The only people who can currently use or apply for DACA are the the 700,000 young people currently enrolled thanks to a lower court order that remains in effect.

“Asylum would give you a path to legalization and lawful resident status — DACA doesn’t give you that,” Johnson added.



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Sir Keir Starmer ‘cheeses me off’: Labour leader slammed by Angela Rayner, his own deputy

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LABOUR’S deputy leader Angela Rayner admitted she would have been tempted to vote Tory if she was a teenager now. The frontbencher, who ended up with a beefed-up role after a botched sacking by Sir Keir Starmer, said the leader “cheeses me off”.

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House Republicans vote to elevate Rep. Elise Stefanik

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Internal document reveals Trump admin strategies to omit undocumented immigrants from census

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Census officials in the Trump administration prepared a briefing for then-Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross last August on several strategies to exclude undocumented immigrants from the 2020 Census, according to an internal document obtained through a public record request by the nonprofit Campaign Legal Center and provided to NBC News.

This is the first public disclosure that Trump administration officials tried to find ways to carve out the country’s undocumented population from being counted in the census after then-President Donald Trump signed a directive with that aim last July.

The order directed Ross, whose agency oversees the census, to provide the president with data about the number of people who are undocumented so that when census officials presented Trump with the final count, he could exclude them. The census is required by the Constitution to be done every 10 years and is used to determine how many members of Congress each state gets in the House of Representatives. The data is also used to calculate local governments’ share of $1.5 trillion in many federal programs.

The internal briefing memo includes a strategic analysis on three options that the Census Bureau under Trump considered using to carry out the administration’s plan to exclude undocumented immigrants from the count.

There is no indication the plan was executed. Last September, a federal court blocked Trump’s order and President Joe Biden reversed the directive soon after taking office. Biden also blocked another Trump directive that the bureau collect citizenship information about every U.S. resident using administrative records, which came after the Supreme Court nixed the Trump administration’s effort to add a citizenship question to the census questionnaire.

Jade Ford, an attorney for the Campaign Legal Center, a watchdog group, said the memo reveals not only the unlawful ways the administration attempted to carry out the plan, but also that they most likely would have produced deeply flawed data.

“This didn’t end up happening, but it’s still important because future administrations could try to do this again,” Ford said. “This was all part of that plan to really radically shift power between states by excluding undocumented immigrants from the count.”

Trump officials knew that the data would be inaccurate because each strategy in the document had “pros” and “cons” for each strategy, and one option would flout Supreme Court precedent, Ford said.

For instance, one option they considered was counting every person in ICE detention facilities and affiliated parts of county jails to determine the number of undocumented immigrants in the country, and then exclude those individuals from a jurisdiction’s enumeration. However, Ford said this would have been a wildly inaccurate way to try to estimate the undocumented immigrant population because some people in ICE detention facilities are ultimately found to be in the country lawfully.

The memo itself acknowledges this issue in the “cons” section by suggesting that it would have to be assumed “that either all prisoners living in the detention centers are here illegally or some proportion.” It also acknowledged that the number of undocumented immigrants in the facilities would be on the “lower-end” of “actually illegal people.”

Another option would have relied on data from the American Community Survey, known as the “long-form” census, which collects demographic data annually from roughly 3 percent of households in the U.S. However, in 1999 the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the Census Bureau’s proposed uses of statistical sampling, such as the methods used on the ACS, to calculate the population for purposes of congressional apportionment. In addition, the Census Act prohibits the agency from using sampling methods to determine apportionment.

The memo simply lists this option as a “con.”

Another option considered was using federal administrative data from other agencies, which the agency has long used to make estimates, but not for purposes of excluding undocumented immigrants. The internal document claims this option would have found “a larger number of illegal immigrants” but also noted the number of undocumented immigrants in administration records is “likely to be low.”

“It just shows the lengths they were willing to go to potentially do this and willingly face legal challenges,” Ford said.

When asked for comment, a Census Bureau spokesperson pointed to the agency’s January statement. It said the agency would implement Biden’s executive order, which directs the agency “not to include information on citizenship or immigration status.”

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