Trump got his wall after all
November 29, 2019 1:39 AM   Subscribe

In the last two years and 308 days, Trump's administration has constructed far more effective barriers to immigration than "Wall". No new laws have actually been passed. This transformation has mostly come about through subtle administrative shifts—a phrase that vanishes from an internal manual, a form that gets longer, an unannounced revision to a website, a memo, a footnote in a memo. Among immigration lawyers, the cumulative effect of these procedural changes is known as the invisible wall.

The most terrifying article I read about this
posted by growabrain (20 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
the history explains a lot
posted by Mrs Potato at 3:02 AM on November 29, 2019

We've abandoned the mighty woman with a torch and gone back to the brazen giant.

It's not a good thing.

We need to unlock the door
posted by chavenet at 4:34 AM on November 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

Oh, yes, the history.
Long fumed at his demotion, raging to his diary that he had been “thrown to the wolves.”
This was a man whose deliberate policies helped the Nazis enslave and murder countless innocent men, women, and children, but he believed that he's the one who was thrown to the wolves when that power was taken from him. This utter lack of perspective is echoed by the idiots who say Trump is being "lynched" because people are trying to hold him accountable for his crimes.

This bureaucratic attack on immigration is an example of the Trump Administration's ongoing efforts to ruin the country in so many areas. They are dismantling environmental protections, workers' rights, civil rights, consumer protection, voting rights, antitrust enforcement, public education, access to healthcare - practically anything that provides the slightest control on corporate excess or racist criminal behavior. It's a broad effort to Make America Awful Again, and the media are largely letting it go unreported while they squander attention on Trump's latest stupid tweet. We need him impeached and replaced with someone who will reinstate policies and regulations that benefit people, rather than corporations. No one who calls themselves a Republican is that someone, and many Democrats aren't either.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:26 AM on November 29, 2019 [14 favorites]

They figured out that people would protest if they overtly "banned Muslims" or whatever but would largely be confused and hence not mobilize if they did it all by executive order and policy tweaks.

Leaving aside the virtually unremitting horror of the thing itself, this approach will make it so much harder to undo, because it will demand sustained attention and the use of political capital. I am extremely worried that whoever we elect simply won't bother, assuming we can defeat Trump in the first place.
posted by Frowner at 6:21 AM on November 29, 2019 [14 favorites]

Very, very well-written article.

This jumped out at me:

Kathy Nuebel Kovarik, a veteran Grassley staffer, was put in charge of the USCIS policy office a couple of weeks after her former boss recommended her to Trump via tweet. (“@POTUS If u want a real expert on fixing H1B a former staffer of mine just moved to HomelandSecurity Call my office I will tell WHO SHE IS.”)

We really are living in Idiocracy.
posted by gimonca at 6:38 AM on November 29, 2019 [6 favorites]

Well this is fucking depressing.
posted by corb at 6:58 AM on November 29, 2019 [2 favorites]

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." -Margaret Mead

Reading the article made me think of that quote; it's first time that quote didn't uplift me.
posted by otherchaz at 9:11 AM on November 29, 2019 [5 favorites]

It's happening at all levels. I work at "large important college" and we've really noticed the effects. Academic H1B's have gone from 1-3 month affairs to 6 months, with multiple kafakaesque (eg. degrees and transcripts from non-English speaking countires must be in English) requests for paperwork stretching out the process. It keeps getting harder and harder to recruit. It's maddening to see the goalposts shifting in real time.
posted by Hutch at 9:45 AM on November 29, 2019 [6 favorites]

As a negotiating tactic, reducing and slowing the flow of legal immigrants makes sense. Trump can offer to change those procedures back to their prior state if congress gives him what he wants on illegal immigration.
posted by Homer42 at 11:18 AM on November 29, 2019

Terrifying, coherent, and fits exactly with my carear-experience of change within bureaucracy.
posted by esoteric things at 11:33 AM on November 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

A tiny bit of good news: A federal judge in Boston ruled Wednesday that detained immigrants with no major criminal records have a right to due process in determining whether they can go free while appealing to stay in the US (complete ruling).

US District Court Judge Patti Saris ruled that, effective immediately, the government - at least in cases involving Massachusetts detainees or cases in Boston immigration court - has the burden to show that detainees would prove a threat to society or a high risk of flight. Previously, it was up to the detainees to prove they would NOT pose a threat or flee (so sort of guilty until proven innocent).

She also rejected a government assertion this would overburden an already overtaxed system: "There is no evidence in the record that shifting the burden to the Government and clarifying the standard of proof will make hearings more time consuming or cases more difficult to adjudicate."
posted by adamg at 1:49 PM on November 29, 2019 [4 favorites]

She also rejected a government assertion this would overburden an already overtaxed system: "There is no evidence in the record that shifting the burden to the Government and clarifying the standard of proof will make hearings more time consuming or cases more difficult to adjudicate."

That's really good, if I'm understanding it correctly - or at least it's good until Trump's pet supreme court overturns it or something. I do immigration court observation. Here in Minnesota, a lot of the people in court are there because of a DUI or some other commonplace infraction (apparently 1 in 7 Minnesotans has had a DUI, which is wild to me and I disapprove, but it's stupid to hold immigrants to standards that US-born people don't meet) that got them detained. It is very hard to show that you're not a flight risk or a danger - you pretty much need to have young children and a job and a spouse AND a very minor infraction indeed.

I mean, on a personal level I don't care if someone is a flight risk because I think people should be able to go where they want (if capital can do it, why can't people?) but it's obvious that most people aren't flight risks or public dangers.
posted by Frowner at 2:37 PM on November 29, 2019 [3 favorites]

There's a horrifying 'This American Life' episode about the changes that have taken place to the legal immigration process. I can't help but think Miller had something to do with this.
posted by Selena777 at 5:47 PM on November 29, 2019

“In my own office, I am queen,” one former visa adjudicator told me. What she meant was that the guy down the hallway might require a lot more evidence than she did, or interpret the legal criteria more stringently, and that it wouldn’t be remotely strange if they each reviewed the same case and reached opposite conclusions. Within processing offices, “people get reputations,” she said. There are the officers inclined to give applicants the benefit of the doubt and those hunting for a reason to deny. Many aren’t ideological at all, but are swayed by the preferences of their supervisors. “Everyone learns to write for the teacher,” one officer observed.

As someone waiting (and waiting . . . . .) for my second immigration interview with my same-sex non-citizen spouse (an interview that may not have even been necessary under a prior administration,) I can't fully express how terrifying this is.
posted by WhenInGnome at 12:23 PM on November 30, 2019 [4 favorites]

I recently became a citizen. I applied in January or February of 2017, when the estimated processing time was 8-12 months. I got my interview in February 2019 and was sworn in in June 2019, a good year and a half later than the estimated wait. (And I am not at all an immigrant who is being targeted, as a white Canadian. This is 100% just the slowdown effect on all applications.)
posted by joannemerriam at 9:57 AM on December 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

This is your periodic reminder that those who rail the loudest against illegal immigration are very often opposed to legal immigration as well.
posted by mhum at 5:14 PM on December 2, 2019 [3 favorites]

... and always the children or descendants of immigrants of both types. [see: DJ Trump; Melania Trump]
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:55 AM on December 3, 2019

« Older These claims have not been demonstrated   |   Trump’s base and the Enquirer’s base just so... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments