He’s a local pillar in a Trump town. Now he could be deported

The New York Times reports: Ask residents of this coal-mining crossroads about President Trump’s decision to crack down on undocumented immigrants and most offer no protest. Mr. Trump, who easily won this mostly white southern Illinois county, is doing what he promised, they say. As Terry Chambers, a barber on Main Street, put it, the president simply wants “to get rid of the bad eggs.”

But then they took Carlos.

Juan Carlos Hernandez Pacheco — just Carlos to the people of West Frankfort — has been the manager of La Fiesta, a Mexican restaurant in this city of 8,000, for a decade. Yes, he always greeted people warmly at the cheerfully decorated restaurant, known for its beef and chicken fajitas. And, yes, he knew their children by name. But people here tick off more things they know Carlos for.

How one night last fall, when the Fire Department was battling a two-alarm blaze, Mr. Hernandez suddenly appeared with meals for the firefighters. How he hosted a Law Enforcement Appreciation Day at the restaurant last summer as police officers were facing criticism around the country. How he took part in just about every community committee or charity effort — the Rotary Club, cancer fund-raisers, cleanup days, even scholarships for the Redbirds, the high school sports teams, which are the pride of this city.

“I think people need to do things the right way, follow the rules and obey the laws, and I firmly believe in that,” said Lori Barron, the owner of Lori’s Hair A’Fairs, a beauty salon. “But in the case of Carlos, I think he may have done more for the people here than this place has ever given him. I think it’s absolutely terrible that he could be taken away.” [Continue reading…]

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U.S. detains and nearly deports French Holocaust historian

The Washington Post reports: Henry Rousso is one of France’s most preeminent scholars and public intellectuals. Last week, as the historian attempted to enter the United States to attend an academic symposium, he was detained for more than 10 hours — for no clear reason.

On Wednesday, Rousso arrived at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport after an 11-hour flight from Paris, en route to Texas A&M University in College Station. There, he was to speak Friday afternoon at the Hagler Institute for Advanced Study.

But things did not go according to plan: Rousso — an Egyptian-born French citizen — was “mistakenly detained” by U.S. immigration authorities, according to Richard Golsan, director of the Glasscock Center for Humanities Research at Texas A&M.

“When he called me with this news two nights ago, he was waiting for customs officials to send him back to Paris as an illegal alien on the first flight out,” Golsan said Friday at the symposium, according to the Eagle, a newspaper that covers the College Station area. [Continue reading…]

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Churches are readying homes and underground railroads to hide immigrants from deportation under Trump

BuzzFeed reports: Churches across the US are fighting back against the Trump administration’s mandate to ramp up deportations with new sanctuary practices of their own, using private homes in their congregations as shelter and potentially creating a modern-day underground railroad to ferry undocumented immigrants from house to house or into Canada.

Church leaders from California to Illinois and New York told BuzzFeed News they’re willing to take their sanctuary operations for undocumented immigrants underground should federal immigration authorities, emboldened by Trump’s recent directives to take a harder line on deportations, ignore precedent and raid their campuses.

“We’re willing to take that risk because it is our call to justice, and this is how we live our faith,” Rev. Justo Gonzalez II, pastor of Pilgrim St. Luke’s in Buffalo, told BuzzFeed News. He leads one of the churches that has reached out to an organization in Canada to possibly take in undocumented families.

Gonzalez knows they are stepping into legally murky territory, especially when it comes to possibly smuggling immigrants into Canada, but he said attorneys in his congregation have agreed to help them pro bono if they find themselves in hot water.

“I’m thrilled that we’re establishing a cross-border [link] into another country, so we could support people finding places they are welcome in because, frankly, this administration is not the place,” Gonzalez said. [Continue reading…]

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U.S. blocks Syrian rescue worker from attending the Oscars

The New York Times reports: Khaled Khatib, a Syrian rescue worker who served as a cinematographer on the Oscar-nominated documentary short “The White Helmets,” has been barred by American officials from traveling to Los Angeles for Sunday’s Academy Awards ceremony, according to the Associated Press.

The AP reported that the Department of Homeland Security blocked Mr. Khatib after discovering “derogatory information” about him. Mr. Khatib had planned to fly from Istanbul to Los Angeles on Saturday. The AP said he had been detained earlier in the week by Turkish officials for undisclosed reasons, and that he needed a passport waiver to travel to the United States, which was denied. Raed Saleh, the leader of the White Helmets, was also to attend the Oscars; there was no indication that his plans were upended.

Mr. Khatib had planned to attend the ceremony after the Trump administration’s travel ban was lifted. The ban had halted or slowed travel from seven Muslim-majority countries, including Syria, but it was frozen by the courts.

A member of the White Helmets, a group that searches for survivors in the rubble of bombed-out buildings, Mr. Khatib also filmed the group’s rescue efforts for the 40-minute film, which was made for Netflix and directed by Orlando von Einsiedel. [Continue reading…]

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ICE agents feel unshackled as they fan across the U.S. in Trump’s war on undocumented immigrants

The New York Times reports: In Virginia, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents waited outside a church shelter where undocumented immigrants had gone to stay warm. In Texas and in Colorado, agents went into courthouses, looking for foreigners who had arrived for hearings on other matters.

At Kennedy International Airport in New York, passengers arriving after a five-hour flight from San Francisco were asked to show their documents before they were allowed to get off the plane.

The Trump administration’s far-reaching plan to arrest and deport vast numbers of undocumented immigrants has been introduced in dramatic fashion over the past month. And much of that task has fallen to thousands of ICE officers who are newly emboldened, newly empowered and already getting to work.

Gone are the Obama-era rules that required them to focus only on serious criminals. In Southern California, in one of the first major roundups during the Trump administration, officers detained 161 people with a wide range of felony and misdemeanor convictions, and 10 who had no criminal history at all.

“Before, we used to be told, ‘You can’t arrest those people,’ and we’d be disciplined for being insubordinate if we did,” said a 10-year veteran of the agency who took part in the operation. “Now those people are priorities again. And there are a lot of them here.”

Interviews with 17 agents and officials across the country, including in Florida, Alabama, Texas, Arizona, Washington and California, demonstrated how quickly a new atmosphere in the agency had taken hold. Since they are forbidden to talk to the press, they requested anonymity out of concern for losing their jobs.

The White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, said on Tuesday that the president wanted to “take the shackles off” of agents, an expression the officers themselves used time and again in interviews to describe their newfound freedom.

“Morale amongst our agents and officers has increased exponentially since the signing of the orders,” the unions representing ICE and Border Patrol agents said in a joint statement after President Trump issued the executive orders on immigration late last month. [Continue reading…]

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Australian children’s author detained and insulted by U.S. officials when arriving in Los Angeles

The Guardian reports: The Australian children’s book author Mem Fox has suggested she might never return to the US after she was detained and insulted by border control agents at Los Angeles airport.

Fox, who is famous worldwide for her best-selling books including Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes and Possum Magic, was en route to a conference in Milwaukee earlier this month when she was stopped.

She told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation she was questioned by border agents for two hours in front of a room full of people – an experience that left her feeling like she had been physically assaulted.

“I have never in my life been spoken to with such insolence, treated with such disdain, with so many insults and with so much gratuitous impoliteness,” Fox said.

“I felt like I had been physically assaulted which is why, when I got to my hotel room, I completely collapsed and sobbed like a baby, and I’m 70 years old.”

The author attributed the aggressive questioning to border police who had been “turbocharged” by Donald Trump’s proposed travel ban.

Fox said she was questioned over her visa, despite having travelled to America 116 times before without incident. She was eventually granted access to the country.

After lodging a complaint over her treatment with the Australian embassy in Washington and the US embassy in Canberra, Fox received an emailed apology from US officials. [Continue reading…]

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Trump’s silence about two Indians shot in Kansas tells you everything you need to know about Trump’s America

Jamelle Bouie writes: On Wednesday night at a bar in Olathe, Kansas, 51-year-old Adam Purinton pulled out a gun and opened fire on two local engineers from India as well as two patrons who tried to intervene in the situation. One of the Indian men, 32-year-old Srinivas Kuchibhotla, died of his wounds while at a hospital. The other, Alok Madasani, also 32, was injured. One of the bystanders, 24-year-old Ian Grillot, who is white, was seriously wounded. According to witnesses, Purinton had been kicked out of the bar after causing a disruption. He later re-entered carrying a weapon. Hurling racial slurs at the two engineers, he began firing. “Get out of my country,” he reportedly said.

If accurate, witnesses and victims have described a hate crime: an attack meant to intimidate an entire community, as much as to harm a particular individual. Given the larger atmosphere of fear and hostility toward immigrants and people perceived as “foreigners,” this shooting has received wide attention from national outlets. But there’s one prominent observer who hasn’t weighed in on the incident: the president of the United States. Donald Trump is quick to comment on everything from leaks in his administration to cable news — and he’s never refrained from condemning terrorist attacks.

Earlier this month, for example, at the Louvre Museum in Paris, a young man attacked a group of soldiers: Wielding a machete, he ran at them shouting in Arabic, “Allahu akbar.” Police shot and subdued the suspect, who was taken into custody with serious injuries. The attempted attack placed terrorism back in the headlines of French politics, renewing fears and concerns around security and immigration. Here in the United States, President Donald Trump used the incident to justify his exclusionary policies toward Muslim immigrants and refugees. “A new radical Islamic terrorist has just attacked in Louvre Museum in Paris. Tourists were locked down,” said Trump on Twitter. “France on edge again. GET SMART U.S.” This was of a piece with statements Trump made in the wake of incidents in Nice, France, Berlin, and other attacks overseas claimed by militant Islamist groups.

There was no such statement about the two men in Kansas. No condemnation of the racial violence that grievously wounded an American and claimed the life of a law-abiding legal resident. But then, Trump is rarely interested in those incidents. Just two days after the attempted attack in France, 27-year-old Alexandre Bissonnette shot and killed six worshippers at a mosque in Quebec City. Described by activists as a “white nationalist,” Bissonnette was known locally as a right-wing, anti-immigrant troll inspired by extreme right-wing figures like Donald Trump and France’s Marine Le Pen. Where Trump was vocal in the face of the incident in Paris, he was silent following the murders in Quebec. [Continue reading…]

Times of India reports: The wife of Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla, who was shot dead in an apparent hate crime by a Navy veteran at a bar in Olathe city, has said that she had her doubts about staying in the US but was assured by her husband that “good things happen in America”.

Speaking at a news conference organised by GPS-maker Garmin where Srinivas worked, Sunayana Dumala said reports of bias in the US make minorities afraid as she questioned “do we belong here”.

She said she now wonders what will the US government do to stop hate crimes against minorities. [Continue reading…]

McClatchy reports: Kansas doesn’t have any hate crime statutes so the FBI was called in to investigate possible civil rights violations.

The shooting set off a wave of fear throughout the local Indian community and even got the attention of India’s government, which has promised to keep tabs on the investigation’s progress.

Kansas lawmakers immediately condemned what they saw as an act of prejudice and “cowardly” xenophobia.

“I am very disturbed by last night’s shooting in Olathe,” said U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan. “I strongly condemn violence of any kind, especially if it is motivated by prejudice and xenophobia.”

Rep. Kevin Yoder, a Republican who represents Olathe, called the attack “a senseless tragedy,” praised the “vibrant Indian-American community” and said diverse political and religions views are what make Kansas great. [Continue reading…]

Earlier this month, NBC Miami reported: An ex-convict who posted anti-Islamic rants online pleaded no contest and was sentenced to 30 years in prison on Monday for setting fire to a mosque that the Orlando nightclub shooter attended occasionally.

[Joseph] Schreiber, who is Jewish, posted on Facebook last July that “All Islam is radical” and that all Muslims should be treated as terrorists and criminals.

Prosecutor Steve Gosnell said Schreiber, 32, confessed to detectives that he set the fire, saying he believed Muslims “are trying to infiltrate our government” and that “the teaching of Islam should be completely, completely illegal.” [Continue reading…]

CNN reports: A small fire that damaged a mosque in suburban Tampa, Florida, has been ruled arson, Hillsborough County fire investigators said Friday.

The fire was reported about 2 a.m. Friday at the Islamic Society of New Tampa, fire department public information officer Corey Dierdorff said.

Firefighters arrived and quickly put out the fire at an entrance to the building, CNN affiliate WFTS reported. Nobody was injured in the blaze.

Authorities have not decided if the fire was a hate crime, but Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said at a news conference: “This is no different than the wave of anti-Semitic attacks on Jewish community centers and synagogue and bomb threats that have been called in all across the country, including in Tampa over the recent months.” [Continue reading…]

USA Today reports: The son of legendary boxer Muhammad Ali was detained for hours by immigration officials earlier this month at a Florida airport, according to a family friend.

Muhammad Ali Jr., 44, and his mother, Khalilah Camacho-Ali, the first wife of Muhammad Ali, were arriving at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Feb. 7 after returning from speaking at a Black History Month event in Montego Bay, Jamaica. They were pulled aside while going through customs because of their Arabic-sounding names, according to family friend and lawyer Chris Mancini.

Immigration officials let Camacho-Ali go after she showed them a photo of herself with her ex-husband, but her son did not have such a photo and wasn’t as lucky. Mancini said officials held and questioned Ali Jr. for nearly two hours, repeatedly asking him, “Where did you get your name from?” and “Are you Muslim?”

When Ali Jr. responded that yes, he is a Muslim, the officers kept questioning him about his religion and where he was born. Ali Jr. was born in Philadelphia in 1972 and holds a U.S. passport. [Continue reading…]

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White House intelligence deficit hampers effort to justify travel ban

CNN reports: President Donald Trump has assigned the Department of Homeland Security, working with the Justice Department, to help build the legal case for its temporary travel ban on individuals from seven countries, a senior White House official tells CNN.

Other Trump administration sources tell CNN that this is an assignment that has caused concern among some administration intelligence officials, who see the White House charge as the politicization of intelligence — the notion of a conclusion in search of evidence to support it after being blocked by the courts. Still others in the intelligence community disagree with the conclusion and are finding their work disparaged by their own department.

“DHS and DOJ are working on an intelligence report that will demonstrate that the security threat for these seven countries is substantial and that these seven countries have all been exporters of terrorism into the United States,” the senior White House official told CNN. “The situation has gotten more dangerous in recent years, and more broadly, the refugee program has been a major incubator for terrorism.”

The report was requested in light of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ conclusion that the Trump administration “has pointed to no evidence that any alien from any of the countries named in the order has perpetrated a terrorist attack in the United States.” The seven counties are Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

The senior White House official said the desire to bolster the legal and public case that these seven countries pose a threat is a work in progress and as of now, it’s not clear if DHS and DOJ will offer separate reports or a joint report.

One of the ways the White House hopes to make its case is by using a more expansive definition of terrorist activity than has been used by other government agencies in the past. The senior White House official said he expects the report about the threat from individuals the seven countries to include not just those terrorist attacks that have been carried out causing loss of innocent American life, but also those that have resulted in injuries, as well as investigations into and convictions for the crimes of a host of terrorism-related actions, including attempting to join or provide support for a terrorist organization.

The White House did not offer an on-the-record comment for this story despite numerous requests.

The White House expectation of what the report will show has some intelligence officials within the administration taking issue with this intelligence review, sources told CNN.

First, some intelligence officials disagree with the conclusion that immigration from these countries should be temporarily banned in the name of making the US safer. CNN has learned that the Department of Homeland Security’s in-house intelligence agency, the Office of Intelligence and Analysis — called I&A within the department — offered a report that is at odds with the Trump administration’s view that blocking immigration from these seven countries strategically makes sense. [Continue reading…]

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A nation of immigrants enters dark chapter

 

Raul A. Reyes writes: The deportation force is here. According to new Department of Homeland Security (DHS) memos, the Trump administration plans to vastly expand the pool of undocumented immigrants in the United States who will be targeted for removal.

Virtually everyone who is in the country without documentation is now eligible for deportation, and some in an expedited fashion. These memos, signed by DHS Secretary John Kelly, were rolled out on Tuesday.

There are two memos at issue here; one dealing with interior immigration enforcement, and the other with border security. They provide a scary picture of what life will soon look like for the estimated 11 million undocumented men, women, and children who live among us. But President Donald Trump’s deportations won’t necessarily make us safer, let alone “great again.” Instead they are a mixture of harsh new policies and questionable ideas from the past.

The most important thing to know about Trump’s deportation force is that they will be going after everyone they can. [Continue reading…]

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New Trump deportation rules allow far more expulsions

The New York Times reports: President Trump has directed his administration to more aggressively enforce the nation’s immigration laws, unleashing the full force of the federal government to find, arrest and deport those in the country illegally, regardless of whether they have committed serious crimes.

Documents released on Tuesday by the Department of Homeland Security revealed the broad scope of the president’s ambitions: to publicize crimes by immigrants; enlist local police officers as enforcers; strip immigrants of privacy rights; erect new detention facilities; discourage asylum seekers; and, ultimately, speed up deportations.

The new enforcement policies put into practice the fearful speech that Mr. Trump offered on the campaign trail, vastly expanding the definition of “criminal aliens” and warning that such unauthorized immigrants “routinely victimize Americans,” disregard the “rule of law and pose a threat” to people in communities across the United States.

Despite Mr. Trump’s talk, research shows lower levels of crime among immigrants than among native-born Americans. [Continue reading…]

A report published by Pew Research Center in 2013 states: The crime rate among first-generation immigrants—those who came to this country from somewhere else—is significantly lower than the overall crime rate and that of the second generation. It’s even lower for those in their teens and early 20s, the age range when criminal involvement peaks. [Continue reading…]

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British Muslim teacher denied entry to U.S. on school trip

The Guardian reports: A British Muslim schoolteacher travelling to New York last week as a member of a school party from south Wales was denied entry to the United States.

Juhel Miah and a group of children and other teachers were about to take off from Iceland on 16 February on their way to the US when he was removed from the plane at Reykjavik. The previous week, on the 10 February, a US appeals court had upheld a decision to suspend Donald Trump’s executive order that temporarily banned entry to the country from seven Muslim-majority countries.

The trip proceeded as planned but pupils and colleagues from Llangatwg comprehensive in Aberdulais were left shocked and distressed after the maths teacher, who had valid visa documentation, was escorted from the aircraft by security personnel.

The teacher’s employer, Neath Port Talbot council, has written to the US embassy in London demanding an explanation and the issue is being taken up by Welsh politicians.

A council spokesman said Miah was left feeling belittled at what it described as “an unjustified act of discrimination”. The council said the teacher is a British citizen and does not have dual nationality. [Continue reading…]

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‘Psychological warfare’: Immigrants in America held hostage by fear of raids

The Guardian reports: Immigrant communities across the United States are in a state of fear and uncertainty after a week of immigration raids and leaks from the Trump administration that have raised the specter of a mass deportations.

The White House denied the most alarming leak – a draft memo suggesting it considered mobilising 100,000 national guard troops to round up and deport unauthorised immigrants, including millions living nowhere near the Mexico border – was current administration policy.

However the 11-page memo has compounded fears among immigrant communities that Trump’s campaign promise of a hardline clampdown on immigration, dismissed by some at the time as little more than heated rhetoric, is about to be realized.

“It’s almost like it’s psychological warfare that’s being waged against people of color to create a constant feeling of fear and uncertainty,” said Juanita Molina, the executive director of Border Action Network, a human rights organization in Tucson, Arizona. [Continue reading…]

The Washington Post reports: Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly has signed sweeping new guidelines that empower federal authorities to more aggressively detain and deport illegal immigrants inside the United States and at the border.

In a pair of memos, Kelly offered more detail on plans for the agency to hire thousands of additional enforcement agents, expand the pool of immigrants who are prioritized for removal, speed up deportation hearings and enlist local law enforcement to help make arrests.

The new directives would supersede nearly all of those issued under previous administrations, Kelly said, including measures from President Barack Obama aimed at focusing deportations exclusively on hardened criminals and those with terrorist ties.

“The surge of immigration at the southern border has overwhelmed federal agencies and resources and has created a significant national security vulnerability to the United States,” Kelly stated in the guidelines. [Continue reading…]

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A suspicious pattern is emerging for how the White House handles its most controversial plans

Business Insider reports: The White House quickly denied an explosive Associated Press report published Friday morning that said the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was seeking to mobilize 100,000 National Guard troops to round up and deport immigrants living in the US illegally.

“It is false,” the White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, said, according to a pool report. “It is irresponsible to be saying this. There is no effort at all to round up, to utilize the National Guard to round up illegal immigrants.”

“I wish you guys had asked before you tweeted,” Spicer added.

An AP reporter, however, replied that the wire service had asked the White House for comment multiple times before publishing the report, which was based off of a leaked DHS draft memo. The original AP story notes that neither the White House nor the Department of Homeland Security responded to requests for comment.

“AP reached out to the White House repeatedly beginning 24 hours before publishing this story and also asked the Department of Homeland Security for comment prior to publication,” the AP’s director of media relations told Business Insider. “We stand by our reporting.”

The incident reflects an emerging pattern noted by several top political reporters in how the Trump administration handles its most controversial policy proposals, and undermines the press in the process: [Continue reading…]

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Trump’s attacks on judges are an ‘attack on the rule of law’ in the U.S., says former top U.S. Marshals Service official

CNN reports: Threats against more than one judge involved in legal challenges to President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration have prompted federal and local law enforcement agencies to temporarily increase security protection for some of them, according to law enforcement officials.

CNN did not learn how specific the threats were, but law enforcement agencies treated them seriously and out of an abundance of caution, the US Marshals Service and local police increased patrols and protective officers to provide security for some of the judges, the officials said.

A spokesperson from the US Marshals Service declined to comment directly on the threats but said that while “we do not discuss our specific security measures, we continuously review the security measures in place for all federal judges and take appropriate steps to provide additional protection when it is warranted.”

The threats come as Trump continues his verbal criticisms of judges — something that has drawn concern from former law enforcement officials and others who fear that public officials should not target a specific judge, and instead base their criticism more broadly on a court’s ruling.

Security experts say that while Trump’s comments were clearly not meant to put the judges’ safety at risk, in general, public officials should avoid comments against a specific judge so as not to spur an unhappy litigant.

“Federal judges are constantly under some kind of threat around the country, and the US Marshals investigate hundreds of threats every year on the federal judiciary,” said Arthur D. Roderick, who is a retired assistant director for investigations for the US Marshals.

“Anybody that has looked at what the US Marshals do has got to realize that an attack on any judge is an attack on the rule of law of the United States,” he said, noting that the President’s sister is a federal judge and the President should be familiar with threats against judges. [Continue reading…]

While testifying in Congress a few days ago, the new Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly expressed a conceit commonplace among military and intelligence officials who promote the myth that liberty in a democracy is a luxury provided by the strongmen who guard the borders.

NPR reported:

Kelly seemed to suggest judges might be too isolated to rule properly on the issue [of the Muslim ban]. He said he “had nothing but respect for judges,” but “in their world it’s a very academic, very almost in a vacuum discussion.”

And Kelly added, “Of course, in their court rooms, they’re protected by people like me.”

It is Kelly himself who seems to have a grossly naive view of the judicial system.

We live in a time when threats against judges and acts of violence in courthouses and courtrooms are occurring throughout the country with greater frequency than ever before. By their very nature, courthouse operations entail a heightened degree of risk. Every working day courthouses are visited by a large number of citizens, many of whom may be disgruntled and angry to the point of becoming lawbreakers. Individuals and groups have committed acts of violence in courthouses, often attempts to murder judicial officials, escape from custody, and disrupt or delay proceedings. Moreover, courthouses, which represent the ideals of democracy in American society, have become symbolic targets for antigovernment extremists and terrorists (domestic and international).

One only has to spend a little time immersed in social media to see how prevalent courthouse violence has become. Within a matter of minutes we can view videos of a considerable number of violent incidents that have taken place in courtrooms and courthouses across the country. Most of what we see in these videos involves, to one extent or another, unruly prisoners, disgruntled litigants, and upset family members. In addition to shootings, bombings, and arson attacks, there have been knifings, assaults, failed bombing attempts, suicides, bomb plots, murder-for-hire conspiracies, and much more.

That’s a recent assessment from the National Center for State Courts — not a piece of alarmist tabloid reporting.

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Former top diplomats, tech giants blast immigration order as court showdown looms

The Washington Post reports: Fresh challenges to President Trump’s court-frozen immigration order took shape Monday with two former secretaries of state claiming the White House was undermining national security and nearly 100 Silicon Valley tech companies arguing it will keep the best minds from coming to America.

The powerful new voices were added with another legal showdown coming as early as Monday. The suspension of the order, meanwhile, has allowed those previously banned more time to try to reach the United States.

A decision Sunday by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit preserved a lower judge’s order to temporarily halt the ban — and based on a schedule the court outlined, the stop will remain in place at least until sometime on Monday. The Justice Department said it would not elevate the dispute to the Supreme Court before that.

Trump responded to the development Sunday by writing on Twitter that he had “instructed Homeland Security to check people coming into our country VERY CAREFULLY.” A Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman did not immediately return messages seeking comment on how, practically, that screening would be implemented.

“Just cannot believe a judge would put our country in such peril,” Trump wrote. “If something happens blame him and court system. People pouring in. Bad!”

The next few days will be telling for the future of the president’s executive order. The appeals court asked those challenging the ban to file written arguments by 4 a.m. Eastern on Monday and asked Justice Department lawyers to reply by 6 p.m. Eastern. They could then schedule a hearing or rule whether the ban should remain on hold.

Early Monday, two former secretaries of state — John F. Kerry and Madeline Albright — joined a six-page joint statement saying Trump’s order “undermines” national security and will “endanger U.S. troops in the field.” The rare declaration, addressed to the 9th Circuit, was also backed by top former national security officials including Leon Panetta, who served as a past CIA director and defense secretary during the Obama administration. [Continue reading…]

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Federal judge’s ruling is ‘another stinging rejection of President Trump’s unconstitutional Muslim ban,’ says ACLU

The Washington Post reports: U.S. District Judge James L. Robart on Friday entered a temporary but nationwide stop to the order, saying he concluded the court “must intervene to fulfill its constitutional role in our tripart government.”

The Trump administration said it would go to court as quickly as possible to dissolve Robart’s order, and the president himself issued an extraordinarily personal criticism of Robart.

“The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!” Trump said in a Saturday morning tweet.

Robart has been on the bench since 2004, and was nominated by President George W. Bush.

Department of Justice lawyers were preparing to immediately ask the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit to dissolve Robart’s order, but had not filed anything as of Saturday afternoon. It is not clear how quickly those appeals court judges would consider the government’s stay request. And although the 9th Circuit is considered one of the country’s most liberal, its randomly assigned three-judge panels can be unpredictable.

If not successful, the government has the option of asking the Supreme Court to get involved. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy is designated to hear emergency requests that arise from the 9th Circuit. But in high-profile cases such as this, such applications are generally considered by the full court.

The issue could reach the high court in days — or weeks.

“This ruling is another stinging rejection of President Trump’s unconstitutional Muslim ban,” said Omar Jadwat, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Immigrants’ Rights Project. “We will keep fighting to permanently dismantle this un-American executive order.” [Continue reading…]

The New York Daily News reports: Before he made headlines for temporarily blocking President Trump’s controversial travel ban, Federal Judge James Robart was quietly assisting refugees and speaking out against injustice from his bench in Seattle.

Robart, who presides in Washington State, was nominated by President George W. Bush to a seat on the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington in 2003 and was unanimously confirmed by the Senate in 2004.

During Robart’s confirmation hearing, Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, of Utah, praised the judge for his pro bono legal work, noting he’d represented a number of refugees over the course of his decades-long career, according to CNN.

“He has been active in the representation of the disadvantaged through his work with Evergreen Legal Services and the independent representation of Southeast Asian refugees,” Hatch said at the time.

His community service and outreach has additionally extended to members of at-risk communities and special needs children. Robart is the former president and trustee of Seattle Children’s Home, as well as the former co-chair of Second Century Society and Children’s Home Society of Washington State, according to his official bio. [Continue reading…]

CNN reports: Following the judge’s ruling — and before the government’s announcements Saturday morning — the International Air Transportation Association, a worldwide airline industry trade group, cited US Customs and Border Protection in telling its members to follow procedures “as if the executive order never existed.” [Continue reading…]

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Muslim ban results in over 100,000 visas being permanently revoked

The Washington Post reports: Over 100,000 visas have been revoked as a result of President Trump’s ban on travel from seven predominantly Muslim countries, an attorney for the government revealed in Alexandria federal court Friday.

The number came out during a hearing in a lawsuit filed by attorneys for two Yemeni brothers who arrived at Dulles International Airport last Saturday. They were coerced into giving up their immigrant visas, they argue, and quickly put on a return flight to Ethiopia.

That figure was immediately disputed by the State Department, which said the number of visas revoked was roughly 60,000. Virginia Elliott, a spokeswoman for the Bureau of Consular Affairs at the State Department, said the revocation has no impact on the legal status of people already in the United States. If those people were to leave U.S. soil and try to return, the visas would no longer be valid.

During the hearing in federal court in Alexandria, Erez Reuveni from the Justice Department’s Office of Immigration Litigation, could not say how many people with visas were sent back to their home countries from Dulles in response to the travel ban. However, he did say that all people with green cards who came through the airport have been let into the United States.

“The number 100,000 sucked the air out of my lungs,” said Simon Sandoval-Moshenberg of the Legal Aid Justice Center, who represents the brothers.

For people such as the brothers, Tareq and Ammar Aqel Mohammed Aziz, who tried to enter the country over the weekend with valid visas and were sent back, the government appears to be attempting a case-by-case reprieve. They and other plaintiffs in lawsuits around the country are being offered new visas and the opportunity to come to the United States in exchange for dropping their suits. [Continue reading…]

Politico reports: Hours after a federal judge ordered customs officers to provide lawyers to travelers detained at Dulles airport last Saturday, senior Trump administration officials instructed the guards to give the travelers phone numbers of legal services organizations, ignoring a mass of lawyers who had gathered at the airport.

Most of the legal services offices were closed for the weekend, effectively preventing travelers with green cards from obtaining legal advice.

The move was part of what lawyers contend was a series of foot-dragging actions by the administration that appeared to violate court orders against the Trump’s controversial travel ban.

A little over 24 hours after Trump ordered the ban, federal judges in New York, Massachusetts and Virginia issued emergency rulings blocking parts of it. But at Dulles and other airports, customs officers refused to change their procedures until their superiors conveyed instructions from agency lawyers reviewing the court decisions, according to three lawyers familiar with the situation and a congressional staff member investigating the matter. [Continue reading…]

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