Presidential Election Integrity Commission in Voting History |

Nice history lesson:

After months of President Donald Trump alleging that he lost the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election because millions of people — including undocumented immigrants — voted illegally, his Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity will meet for the first time on Wednesday with the mission of investigating “improper voter registrations and improper voting, including fraudulent voter registrations and fraudulent voting.”

While there is no data to back up Trump’s claim, and in fact studies have found few documented cases of voter impersonation fraud in recent years, the president’s argument about immigrants is an old one.

In fact, it’s “eerily reminiscent” of voter-fraud claims made during the periods of heavy immigration to the U.S. more than a century ago, says Ron Hayduk, a political scientist at San Francisco State University.

In the early United States, the immigrant vote had not been such a concern. Though American fear of foreign enemies is as old as the nation, as demonstrated by examples like the anti-French Alien and Sedition Acts of the late 18th century, enthusiasm for the country’s brand-new democratic principles was given even greater weight in those early decades. Hayduk’s research found that at various points between 1776 and 1926, “40 states and federal territories permitted non-citizens to vote in local, state and even federal elections,” and that non-citizens were able to hold public office at various points. After all, in the mid-19th century, one just had to be a white, male property-owner to vote, and so-called “alien suffrage” (granting the right to vote to non-citizens) was seen as a way to lure foreign laborers — white, male ones — to help settle the frontier.

Before the Civil War, Southern states were initially resistant to alien suffrage, given that many immigrants were abolitionists; the 1861 Confederate Constitution mandated a prohibition on voting by persons of “foreign birth.” But the region eventually relented after slavery was abolished, as the South needed as much cheap labor as it could get.

In 1880s and 1890s, however, the state of immigration began to change.

American cities experienced an influx of new immigrants in the period that followed: people from Southern and Eastern Europe who were not considered white enough at the time, people from Asia who were drawn across the Pacific by the Gold Rush, and people who were Jewish (a population that jumped from 80,000 in 1880 to 1.75 million in total by 1925 in New York City). And the numbers were huge: One U.S. Census report states that 23.5 million persons immigrated legally to the U.S. between 1880 and 1920. Many of these new residents became members of political machines like New York City’s Tammany Hall, which retained loyalty by providing services like job placement and clothing but were associated with corruption. “If you’ve ever heard the phrase ‘vote early and often,’ it’s a reference to multiple voting, and there are stories in the newspapers in the 19th century of partisans gathering a group of men, bringing them to a polling station, having them vote, buying them a whiskey, and then bringing them to another polling station,” says Margaret Groarke, associate professor of Government at Manhattan College and co-author of Keeping Down the Black Vote: Race and the Demobilization of the American Voter.

Because of the popular association between these new and different immigrants, who were already subject to discrimination, and organizations that were responsible for a lack of trust in the vote, many people changed their minds about whether alien suffrage was such a good idea.

A 1902 editorial in the Washington Post argued that a “marked and increasing deterioration in the quality of immigration” was leading to a need to keep those immigrants from voting (and to make it harder for them to become citizens). “Men who are no more fit to be trusted with the ballot than babies are to be furnished with friction matches for playthings are coming in by the hundred thousand,” the article asserted.

By 1900, only 11 states allowed non-citizen immigrants to vote, according to Hayduk.

And, as laws about alien suffrage changed, the narrative of the illegal immigrant vote emerged — as did steps meant to prevent that problem. It was not unusual for even immigrants who had already become citizens to be asked to unexpectedly show their naturalization papers, documents that many of them weren’t carrying around, before they could vote. (More infamously, similar methods, like literacy tests, were also used to disenfranchise black voters.) Some were told they could only register to vote at the county office. Most of those offices were only open during the day, effectively making it impossible for many poorer immigrants to do so, as a working-class day could easily be 12 hours long at that point. Some areas instituted residency requirements, requiring a voter to have resided in the same place for three to six months.

Measures designed to curb immigrant voting were one of several factors that marked the beginning of a decline in voter participation during the early 20th century, as the added difficulties of voting — both legally and illegally — kept voters away, as Hayduk explains in his book Democracy for All: Restoring Immigrant Voting Rights in the U.S.

Then, as now, Groarke says, there was “real debate about how much truth there was to the allegations of fraud” and whether the safeguards worked or did more harm. “We don’t have adequate evidence to understand what the extent of fraud then was,” she says, “and there was a realization by some people that those changes would lead to some legitimate voters not being able to vote.”

Source: Presidential Election Integrity Commission in Voting History |

U.S. Refugee Admissions Pass Trump Administration Cap Of 50,000 : The Two-Way : NPR

By way of comparison, the Canadian 2017 levels plans has a target of 40,000 (about 0.1 percent of the population), the US cap of 50,000 is about 0.02 percent of their population). However, the US has a much higher number of undocumented immigrants/refugees, estimated at 11 million or  about three percent of the population:

The U.S. refugee program surpassed the Trump Administration’s 50,000-person cap on Wednesday, meaning that many refugees will now be denied entry into the country.

The cap is expected to affect thousands of refugees. Last fiscal year, the U.S. admitted just under 85,000 refugees, and former President Barack Obama had aimed to resettle 110,000 refugees this fiscal year. But President Trump lowered the cap dramatically in his “travel ban” executive orders, and the cap went into effect on June 29.

“The State Department initially told resettlement agencies it expected to hit that threshold by July 6,” NPR’s Jackie Northam reports. “But that date came and went and the number of refugees entering the country wasn’t reached. So the date was extended to July 12.”

The total number of admitted refugees reached 50,086 by Wednesday afternoon. A State Department official tells NPR that the department decided to set the cutoff at the end of the day, instead of at the exact number 50,000, to keep the process “orderly.”

That number of admitted refugees could still rise by several thousand, as refugees with close family members already in the U.S. will continue to be allowed to enter the country, under the terms of a recent Supreme Court order.

You may recall that Trump established the 50,000-person cap in his initial and revised “travel ban” executive orders. For months, those orders were blocked from implementation. But in June, the Supreme Court announced it would consider the merits of the ban and that in the meantime, portions of the second executive order could go forward — as long as they didn’t block people who had a “bona fide relationship” with the U.S.

The administration later defined “bona fide” ties as including parents, children and siblings in the U.S., but not grandparents or more extended family members. Bona fide ties also include job offers in the U.S.

Refugees who do not have such ties will no longer be admitted this fiscal year, even if they have completed the two-year vetting process to enter the refugee program. The next fiscal year begins in October.

Last month, NPR’s Michele Kelemen explained what’s at stake:

“[R]efugees have arrived in the U.S. this fiscal year from all over the world — from Syria, of course, but also Myanmar, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan. It’s really a global humanitarian program. …

“I’m told thousands could be affected by [the cap]. One refugee resettlement agency told me today that they usually book people about three weeks ahead of time. … It’s not just airline tickets. Refugees have to go through medical screenings. And those clearances don’t last forever. If they rebook for later, they might have to redo all of that medical screening and security checks.”

The Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, which resettles refugees in the U.s., said in a statement that the cap “will mean that vulnerable refugees, including those with severe medical needs, torture survivors, unaccompanied refugee children, and persecuted religious minorities will continue to be in harm’s way.”

The pause on refugee admissions “will have an immediate effect on our ability to conduct the lifesaving work of providing safety and protection,” Kay Bellor, a vice president at LIRS, said in the statement.

Trump’s executive order proclaims that admitting more than 50,000 refugees “would be detrimental to the interests of the United States.” It allows for individual refugees to be admitted on a “case-by-case basis,” based on the joint judgment of the secretary of state and secretary of Homeland Security.

Source: U.S. Refugee Admissions Pass Trump Administration Cap Of 50,000 : The Two-Way : NPR

Citizenship For Military Service Program Under Fire : NPR

The Conservative government introduced a comparable provision in C-24 (residency requirements were waived for military personnel who had served three years with an honourable release):

A debate has broken out at the Pentagon and in Congress over a proposal to dismantle an 8-year-old program that gives fast-track citizenship to immigrant soldiers who were recruited because they have critical skills in languages and medicine.

More than 4,000 immigrant soldiers recruited through the program — mostly from China and South Korea — are serving in uniform, including on overseas tours. Another 4,000 recruits have enlisted and are awaiting training.

The program is known as MAVNI, for Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest. It was frozen last year amid security concerns about inadequate vetting of the recruits.

Pentagon and national intelligence officials say the recruits could have connections to foreign intelligence services or become insider threats, according to an internal memo obtained by NPR. The officials also said it would be both expensive and time-consuming to investigate these recruits more carefully.

Those officials are now proposing additional scrutiny of soldiers already serving and dropping those who have not yet shipped to basic training or been assigned a military unit. Some could be deported because their visas have expired.

A Pentagon spokesman, Johnny Michael, would not comment on the memo or the program.

Win-win or security risk?

The proposal has stoked a debate over how to balance national security concerns with the need for specialized skills and how to keep faith with recruits who pledged to serve their adopted country.

Several Defense Department officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they had not been authorized to discuss the program publicly, said mismanagement has been a problem.

In some cases, the officials said, the military didn’t use the MAVNI recruits effectively because they weren’t placed in jobs in which they used their language skills. And some recruits have been investigated for suspected ties to foreign spy agencies, one official said.

By some metrics, the program — which grants citizenship in exchange for eight years of honorable military service — has been successful.

According to a Pentagon breakdown, soldiers recruited through the program have educational levels that exceed the Army average, and their re-enlistment rates are higher than soldiers who are already citizens.

Most of the recruits with foreign language skills speak Chinese and Korean. The rest speak about three dozen other languages, ranging from Arabic and Thai to Indonesian, Turkish and Swahili.

The program also helps fill the medical ranks. About two-thirds of dentists in the Army Reserve are part of the MAVNI program. Others serve as nurses or hold other jobs in the Army Medical Corps.

One-third of the recruits have been in the United States for at least three or four years, according to the Pentagon’s breakdown, with one-quarter living in the U.S. for more than seven years.

One of those recruits is Jeevan Pendli, 34, who came to the U.S. from India on a student visa, earning a master’s degree from Carnegie-Mellon University. He stayed on a visa for tech workers and co-founded a company that helps people with chronic illnesses manage their health.

And last year he decided to join the Army, inspired after running the Marine Corps Marathon and seeing competitors in wheelchairs and using prosthetics.

“Things seemed fine when we signed and did the oath in May,” Pendli told NPR, “and it just fizzled out in a couple of weeks or months.”

Like some 2,000 other MAVNI recruits, Pendli is still waiting to be shipped to basic training.

That long wait is more than just an annoyance. If a recruit doesn’t make it to Army basic training by 730 days after signing a contract, the recruit “times out” and is kicked out before serving. Hundreds will reach that deadline by the end of the year. And each month after that hundreds more will “time out.”

No consensus in Congress

“Military recruits in the MAVNI program should not have to wonder whether the United States will honor the contract they signed,” wrote Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., in a letter to Defense Secretary James Mattis.

“If we fail to hold up the contracts we made with MAVNI applicants, this will not only have a significantly deleterious effect on recruiting, it will also be met with a strong, swift Congressional reaction.”

But other lawmakers say there are legitimate concerns.

“Even with the MAVNI program, where it’s supposed to meet some of the vital national interests, the program has been replete with problems to include foreign infiltration, so much so that the Department of Defense is seeking to suspend the program due to those concerns,” said Rep. Steve Russell, R-Okla., a retired Army officer, during a recent hearing on the defense policy bill.

“And I can’t really discuss some of that here in this setting, but there are some major issues when it comes to vetting,” said Russell, who serves on the Armed Services Committee.

In the next few weeks, Mattis is expected to receive final recommendations from Pentagon personnel and intelligence officials about the way ahead.

Source: Citizenship For Military Service Program Under Fire : NPR

In Blow to Tech Industry, Trump Shelves Start-Up Immigrant Rule – The New York Times

Building more opportunities for Canada and others:

The Trump administration said it would delay, and probably eliminate down the line, a federal rule that would have let foreign entrepreneurs come to the United States to start companies.

The decision, announced by the federal government on Monday ahead of its official publication on Tuesday, was quickly slammed by business leaders and organizations, especially from the technology sector, which has benefited heavily from start-ups founded by immigrants.

“Today’s announcement is extremely disappointing and represents a fundamental misunderstanding of the critical role immigrant entrepreneurs play in growing the next generation of American companies,” Bobby Franklin, the president and chief executive of the National Venture Capital Association, a trade association for start-up investors, said in a statement.

He added that even as other countries are going all out to attract entrepreneurs, “the Trump administration is signaling its intent to do the exact opposite.”

The policy being delayed by the Department of Homeland Security, known as the International Entrepreneur Rule, was to go into effect next week, after being approved by President Obama in January during his final days in office.

The rule was enacted to give foreign entrepreneurs who received significant financial backing for new business ventures the ability to come temporarily to the United States to build their companies. Silicon Valley leaders had praised the rule as a kind of “start-up visa.”

The department said it would delay the start date of the rule until March 14 of next year, during which time it will seek public comments on a plan to rescind the rule. The department said it decided to delay the rule after President Trump signed an executive order on improvements to border security and immigration enforcement on Jan. 25, shortly after taking office.

The order required the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to take action to ensure that “parole authority” — through which the department can temporarily allow individuals into the country without being formally admitted with a visa — be used only on a case-by-case basis and “when an individual demonstrates urgent humanitarian reasons or a significant public benefit derived from such parole.”

The International Entrepreneur Rule was designed to use that authority to effectively give a lift to start-ups. Under the Obama administration, the Department of Homeland Security estimated that nearly 3,000 entrepreneurs would be eligible to come to the United States annually under the rule. They were to be granted stays of up to 30 months, with the chance of extending the stays another 30 months if the entrepreneurs met certain criteria.

To qualify, they had to show that they had raised $250,000 or more for their businesses from established American investors or $100,000 or more in grants from government entities.

Steve Case, an investor who was a founder of AOL, blasted the decision on Twitter. “Big mistake,” he wrote. “Immigrant entrepreneurs are job makers, not job takers.”

Gary Shapiro, chief executive of the Consumer Technology Association, a trade group representing the consumer technology industry, said the delay of the rule would damage American innovation and job creation.

“The 44 immigrant-founded billion-dollar start-ups now in the U.S. have created an average of 760 American jobs per company,” Mr. Shapiro said in a statement. “Without these immigrant entrepreneurs, it is unlikely America would stand as the beacon of innovation that it is today.”

El Salvador woman at the heart of legal challenge to Safe Third Country Agreement

Interesting case to watch given that it centres around a person rather than the previous more general one:

When an El Salvador woman and her two children arrived from a Buffalo, N.Y., shelter to the Fort Erie border crossing Wednesday, seeking to make a refugee claim in Canada, a team of lawyers from Toronto’s Downtown Legal Services was on high alert. They had U of T law students waiting and watching to report back from the border.

As soon as the woman — identified only as “ABC” in court documents — was denied entry under the Safe Third Country Agreement, the legal team filed a Federal Court challenge to the agreement, which they had been working on for months.

The agreement requires refugees to request protection in the first safe country they arrive in. Refugees crossing from the U.S. at official border crossings are usually denied entry into Canada. That’s part of the reason why so many risk sometimes dangerous illegal border crossings to make a refugee claim once already in the country — a legal loophole that’s permitted.

This is the second legal challenge to the agreement but the first with a person at its core.

“I feel happy and nervous and I am very thankful the lawyers are helping,” said ABC through a translator, when CBC News met her in a Toronto home on Thursday. “Canada is more humane than the U.S. In the U.S. it’s not safe, and I was worried about being sent back to El Salvador.”

Fear of gangs in El Salvador

Justice Ann Marie McDonald granted the woman a stay to live in Canada while her case is being considered. McDonald said there was clear and non-speculative evidence that she would suffer irreparable harm if she were to return to the U.S. and could even be sent back to El Salvador.

ABC’s lawyer, Prasanna Balasundaram, said that some of the strongest legal arguments in this case are based on charter rights. She is facing removal procedures in the U.S., and gender-based asylum claims in the U.S. have inconsistent results. He said that ABC has lasting psychological effects from persecution in El Salvador.

“Her family is the subject of gang violence in El Salvador,” said Balasundaram.

“I dream that all my family is together after all these years and that we don’t have to go home because of the gangs,” said ABC.

….Ottawa says U.S. safe for refugees

A spokesperson for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada said in an email to CBC News this week that “Canada has carefully analyzed recent developments in the United States, including the executive orders related to immigration and refugee matters, and determined that the U.S. remains a safe country for asylum claimants to seek protection there.”

Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen has said there is no need to “tinker with” the Safe Third Country Agreement. This pending Federal Court challenge was brought to his attention before ABC even attempted to cross the border.

There may not be political will to challenge the U.S. over this right now, but the courts will have a say.

“I believe now it will be determined on a legal basis and not on the political climate,” said Balasundaram, who calls this a crucial first step — and only a first step — in what could take many months to a year to see through.

Toronto immigration lawyer Lorne Waldman represented Amnesty International in a 2005 court challenge to the Safe Third Country Agreement, which won in Federal Court but lost on appeal.

“It is not going to be easy to challenge,” said Waldman. “I would bet the government would not want this case to go ahead.”

In the previous case the court did not consider it a charter challenge, and there was not an individual such as ABC with a strong argument to make.

“I think the case will be heard,” said Waldman. “Its likelihood of success will depend on the evidence.”

Source: El Salvador woman at the heart of legal challenge to Safe Third Country Agreement – Canada – CBC News

Applicants for US Citizenship Surge; Mexicans Least Likely to Apply

Different trend in Canada. Country of origin differences interesting – expect that one reason for lower take-up rates for Mexican immigrants is related to the high cost of US citizenship (about CAD 1,000):

The number of legal immigrants applying for U.S. citizenship has surged by more than 20 percent since 2015, according to a recent Pew Research study – with Mexicans the least likely to apply.

Applications for citizenship were up by 21 percent in the first half of this year at 525,000, compared to the same period in 2016 when 435,000 applied, the report found.

The total number of applications in 2016 was 972,000, 24 percent higher than the approximately 800,000 who applied in 2015.

According to the report, in 2015 there were 45 million immigrants living in the U.S., of whom 11.9 million were “lawful permanent residents holding green cards.”

Among those green card holders, 9.3 million were eligible to apply for citizenship.

Of the 9.3 million, 37 percent or 3.4 million were of Mexican origin, but they were the least likely of all immigrant groups to seek naturalization.

In 2015, 67 percent of all lawful immigrants living in the U.S. and eligible for citizenship had applied – but for Mexicans the rate was considerably lower – 42 percent. That rate hasn’t changed much since then, the report found.

In comparison to the 42 percent of eligible Mexicans applying, 83 percent of those from the Middle East applied and 74 percent of those from Africa.

Middle Eastern immigrants had the highest naturalization rate among all immigrant origin groups, while African immigrants accounted for the largest increase in naturalization rate in the last decade, according to the report.

The report’s research is based on U.S. census data, a year-round survey of 3.5 million households, and a monthly survey of 55,000 households.

Source: Report: Applicants for US Citizenship Surge; Mexicans Least Likely to Apply

Groups ask Federal Court to strike down Safe Third Country deal with the U.S. – Politics – CBC News

Not entirely unexpected. Court case may as much to raise the political profile as expected a ruling in their favour:

A legal challenge is being launched against the Canada-U.S. agreement that governs where people can make asylum claims on either side of the border.

Three advocacy groups are throwing their support behind a woman being named only as “E” in asking the Federal Court to strike down the so-called Safe Third Country Agreement.

Under the deal, most people who make an asylum claim at the land border are denied entry; as a result, there’s been an influx of people crossing illegally into Canada in recent months to file asylum claims.

The Canadian Council for Refugees, Amnesty International and the Canadian Council of Churches are among the many groups urging Canada to suspend the arrangement following major changes to U.S. immigration and refugee policy since the election of President Donald Trump.

But now they’re asking the Federal Court to step in, arguing that sending claimants back to the U.S. is morally and legally wrong because it risks violating their basic rights.

The litigant in the case is described as a Salvadoran woman who fled after being targeted by a gang and who believes she won’t be protected in the U.S.

It’s not the first time the deal has been tested in court.

A legal challenge was mounted after it came into force in 2004, and while the Federal Court at the time agreed the U.S. may not be safe for all refugees, the decision was overturned on appeal.

Ensuring ‘human dignity’

“Our organizations have pressed repeatedly, expecting that Canada would move to suspend the Safe Third Country Agreement as regard for the rights of refugees has rapidly plummeted under the Trump administration,” said Alex Neve, secretary general of Amnesty International Canada in a statement.

“To our astonishment and disappointment, however, the Canadian government continues to maintain that the U.S. asylum system qualifies as safe. We are left with no choice but to turn to the courts to protect refugee rights.”

Despite the deal, there are people showing up at the land border and getting through based on the exemptions that exist, including having family already in Canada.

Data obtained under the Access to Information Act showed that over a six-day period in March, 123 people showed up at legal entry points along the border and requested asylum; 66 were judged eligible and 57 turned away.

But Canada needs to go further, Rev. Karen Hamilton, general secretary of The Canadian Council of Churches, said in a statement.

“The government of Canada has a responsibility to ensure that the human dignity of all persons is respected. So it is imperative that all who seek refuge in Canada are afforded the protections guaranteed to them under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and international human rights treaties.”

A spokesperson for Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said the government’s position on the agreement has not changed, and the deal remains in force

The federal Liberals have said they believe the deal does not need to be suspended or altered, as the asylum system in the United States is still functioning.

Source: Groups ask Federal Court to strike down Safe Third Country deal with the U.S. – Politics – CBC News

What an Irrational Immigration Policy Looks Like | Commentary Magazine

Hard to argue but not optimistic regarding change:

President Trump was elected on a platform that called for deporting more illegal immigrants who committed crimes and doing more to stop illegal arrivals. In theory, there is little here that anyone can quarrel with. Few Americans other than the most extreme pro-immigration activists will dispute the need to secure our borders and to evict criminal aliens. In the quest for border security, though, we should not sacrifice our humanity or common sense.

To wit: Recently, six teenage Afghan girls assembled a robot to enter into an international robotics competition behind held in Washington this month. They had to travel 500 miles from their home city of Herat to Kabul to apply for visas at the U.S. Embassy—a trip that is far from safe, and yet they made it twice. They had to order components from abroad, and it took extra long for them to arrive because they could easily be confused with bomb-making parts. Yet after trying so hard, and assembling their robot, they were crestfallen to learn that the State Department had denied their visas.  This is all the more inexplicable and heartbreaking given that girls’ education—forbidden under the Taliban—has been one of the major achievements of the post-2001 state created at such great cost in American blood and treasure.

That’s hardly the only episode of temporary insanity resulting from the president’s new tougher immigration initiatives.

Radwan Ziadeh is exactly the kind of Syrian that the U.S. would like to see running the country. He is a young, liberal, pro-American activist. He has lived in the U.S. for the past decade, and his three children were born here. Yet the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has notified him that he may soon be deported because he provided “material support” to an “undesignated terrorist organization.” The “terrorist organizations” in question were the Free Syrian Army and the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, which, the USCIS notes, “used weapons with the intent to endanger the safety of Syrian government officials.”

What ICE’s judgment leaves out is that many of the weapons provided to the Free Syrian Army came from the United States. Ziadeh’s association with these two groups stems from his work as an organizer of Syrian opposition conferences in 2012 and 2013 in Istanbul that were sponsored by the U.S. and Canadian governments. “ In effect,” notes a Washington Post editorial, “Mr. Ziadeh is being accused of terrorism because he acted at U.S. urging (and with Canadian funding) to bring together U.S.-backed Syrian leaders.”

Amid this hysteria, the U.S. is at risk of not just sacrificing its soul but also its security.

The Pentagon launched a program in 2009 called Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) to enlist foreigners with vital skills in the U.S. military. They would receive expedited citizenship in return for service. More than 10,400 troops have since served honorably and bravely under the program, bringing vital skills in such disciplines as medicine and Chinese, Pashto, and Russian language skills that are in short supply among native-born recruits. But now the Pentagon is contemplating canceling contracts for roughly 1,000 recruits who are ready to start Basic Training, thus exposing to them to the danger of deportation.

These episodes are the work of three different government departments: Rex Tillerson’s State Department is responsible for not issuing visas to the Afghan girls robotics team. John Kelly’s Department of Homeland Security is responsible for notifying Radwen Ziadeh that he is likely to be deported. Jim Mattis’s Department of Defense is responsible for possibly canceling the enlistment of 1,000 foreign-born volunteers.

The good news is that none of these decisions are irreversible—yet. There is still time for the Cabinet agencies in question to display some humanity and common sense. The risk is, in pursuit of a rational immigration policy, America could lose its mind.

Source: What an Irrational Immigration Policy Looks Like | commentary

Report: More Than Half of Hate Crimes in U.S. Go Unreported |

Canada likely has a comparable degree of under-reporting. Interesting that this analysis does not cover religiously-motivated hate crimes:

The majority of hate crimes experienced by U.S. residents over a 12-year period were not reported to police, according to a new federal report released Thursday that stoked advocates’ concerns about ongoing tensions between law enforcement and black and Latino communities.

More than half of the 250,000 hate crimes that took place each year between 2004 and 2015 went unreported to law enforcement for a variety of reasons, according to a special report on hate crimes from the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Hate crimes were most often not reported because they were handled some other way, the report said. But people also did not come forward because they didn’t feel it was important or that police would help.

The report, based on a survey of households, is one of several studies that aim to quantify hate crimes. Its release comes as the Justice Department convenes a meeting on Thursday with local law enforcement officials and experts to discuss hate crimes, including a lack of solid data on the problem nationwide. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is scheduled to speak.

The new survey shows the limits of hate crime reporting, said Brian Levin, the director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, California State University.

“Many victims don’t report hate crimes because of personal and institutional reasons,” Levin said. For example, some Latino immigrants may be reluctant to call police after an apparent hate crime for fear of deportation, he said.

Advocates fear that problem is worsening as the Trump administration ramps up immigration enforcement.

The report says Hispanics were victimized at the highest rate, followed by blacks.

“I think this report shows the kind of fear that is going on in our communities,” said Patricia Montes, executive director of the Boston-based immigrant advocacy group Centro Presente. She worries Latinos will even be more reluctant to report hate crimes in the future.

The new report said there was no significant increase in the number of hate crimes between 2004 and 2015. It cites racial bias as the top motivation, representing more than 48 percent of the cases between 2011 and 2015. Hate crimes motivated by ethnicity accounted for about 35 percent of those cases, and sexual orientation represented about 22 percent. Almost all of those surveyed said they felt they were experiencing a hate crime because of something the perpetrator said.

Law enforcement officials have long grappled with how to catalog hate crimes. While some victims’ distrust of police keeps them from coming forward, Levin said, some LGBT victims may opt not to report a hate crime for fear of losing a job or being outed to family.

Levin said many large cities are claiming they had no hate crimes — calling into question the reliability of federal hate crimes data that are based on voluntary submissions from police departments. “We have Columbus, Ohio, reporting more hate crimes than the state of Florida,” he said.

Eric Treene, the Justice Department’s special counsel for religious discrimination, lamented the lack of solid data on hate crimes during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in May, saying incomplete numbers stymie officials’ ability to fully understand the problem.

But he said the department is committed to prosecuting hate crimes, even as critics have blamed the Trump administration’s tough rhetoric and policies for a spike in such offenses. Civil rights groups said investigating and prosecuting hate crimes alone would be insufficient.

Source: Report: More Than Half of Hate Crimes in U.S. Go Unreported |

Think the [US] Supreme Court Isn’t Inching Us Toward Trump’s Muslim Ban? Think Again – Dean Obeidallah

Tend to agree in terms of messaging:

The U.S. Supreme Court decision on Monday reinstating a portion of President Trump’s Muslim ban is an alarming step to legitimizing anti-Muslim bigotry and possibly even one day legalizing discrimination against American Muslims. If you have any doubt, just check out Twitter, as self-professed Trump supporters cheered what they saw as being a first stepon the way to Trump’s declared goal of a “total and complete shutdown on Muslims entering the United States.”

But why wouldn’t they rejoice, considering 65 percent of GOP primary voters support Trump’s call for a total Muslim ban? Yet we are told time and time again that Trump voters were motivated by “economic anxiety” not bigotry. It’s hard to even write that line without laughing

Yes, I understand that the Supreme Court’s decision is limited in scope and that even the liberal justices apparently agreed to it until the case is fully briefed and argued in the fall, but that doesn’t in any way reduce the concern that the message sent is that Muslims don’t belong in America. A message that Trump despicably made many times on the campaign trail and even after being sworn in as president.

For example, in addition to Trump’s call for a Muslim ban, he declared irresponsibly that “Islam hates us” and lied that “thousands” of Muslims cheered in New Jersey on 9/11. And as president, Trump has made it clear with his actions that American Muslims—as opposed to foreign Muslims who give him gold necklaces or help him make money—are not a part of his view of America.

As I pointed out last week, after the recent terror attack in London by a white anti-Muslim bigot who has since been charged with terrorism, Trump offered zero sympathy on Twitter for the Muslim victims. But after the London bridge terror attack just three weeks earlier that had been perpetrated by Muslims, Trump quickly took to Twitter to not just express condolences but to gin up fears of more terrorism.

And Trump recently amplified the message that he doesn’t view Muslims as fellow Americans as Ramadan came to a close on Sunday. You see, every president since 1996 has held a dinner during Ramadan in the White House to commemorate this holiday. George W. Bush even held one the Ramadan after 9/11 to send a message to Americans that Muslims are part of the fabric of our nation. But not Trump. The man—who, when he implemented his original Muslim ban, made an exception for Christian refugees while leaving Muslim refugees to die on the killing fields of places like Syria—would not be seen sitting with American Muslims in the White House.

The Supreme Court’s ruling distressingly confirms Trump’s message that Muslims are inherently dangerous and are not like the rest of us. And just so it’s clear, this is a Muslim ban. True, it’s not a total ban on every Muslims but it’s one grounded in anti-Muslim animus. And that’s not just my opinion, but also the view of the various federal judges who have examined it.

Source: Think the Supreme Court Isn’t Inching Us Toward Trump’s Muslim Ban? Think Again