Benjamin Wittes on the EO on Visas

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Outside JFK January 29, 2017 – copyright Craig Ruttle| @dpa

This post over at Lawfare is well worth a careful read.

Malevolence Tempered by Incompetence: Trump’s Horrifying Executive Order on Refugees and Visas

Benjamin Wittes writes:

You don’t target the wrong people in nutty ways when you’re rationally pursuing real security objectives.

When do you do these things? You do these things when you’re elevating the symbolic politics of bashing Islam over any actual security interest. You do them when you’ve made a deliberate decision to burden human lives to make a public point. In other words, this is not a document that will cause hardship and misery because of regrettable incidental impacts on people injured in the pursuit of a public good. It will cause hardship and misery for tens or hundreds of thousands of people because that is precisely what it is intended to do.

He continues:

I would wax triumphant about the mitigating effect of incompetence on this document, but alas, I can’t do it. The president’s powers in this area are vast, as I say, and while the incompetence is likely to buy the administration a world of hurt in court and in diplomacy in the short term, this order is still going take more than a few pounds of flesh out of a lot of innocent people.

Moreover, it’s a very dangerous thing to have a White House that can’t with the remotest pretense of competence and governance put together a major policy document on a crucial set of national security issues without inducing an avalanche of litigation and wide diplomatic fallout. If the incompetence mitigates the malevolence in this case, that’ll be a blessing. But given the nature of the federal immigration powers, the mitigation may be small and the blessing short-lived; the implications of having an executive this inept are not small and won’t be short-lived.

Shaping the Resistance

The scene at JFK as taxi drivers strike following Trump’s immigration ban (USA Today)

New York taxi drivers have their own response to President Donald Trump’s immigration ban: A strike.

As protests continue to break out across major U.S. airports Saturday night following President Trump’s immigration ban, taxi drivers at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport have gone on strike.

In postings to social networks Saturday the New York Taxi Workers Alliance announced that from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET there would be no pickups at JFK as a protest to the immigration ban that some are taking as a ban on Muslims.


Airbnb Is Offering Free Housing To Those Turned Away By Trump’s Refugee Ban (BuzzFeed)

This evening Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky posted a message on Facebook criticizing President Donald Trump’s executive order temporarily halting the US refugee program. “Not allowing counties or refugees into America is not right, and we must stand with those whoa re affected,” Chesky wrote.

Chesky announced that Airbnb will provide free housing to refugees who have been turned away from US-bound flights, and are not in their “city/country of residence,” he said. Neither Chesky nor Airbnb responded to questions about the specifics of the program. An Airbnb spokesperson told BuzzFeed News that the company “will leverage existing tools and will share details in the next few days.”


Lawyers Work Pro-Bono for Detainees

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University of Michigan Issues Letter of Support for International Students

Full text reproduced as a static link was unavailable at the time of posting:

Protecting the interests of our international community of scholars

For generations, the University of Michigan has been known throughout the world as a leading international community of scholars. U-M has admitted international students since the late 1840s, and our first foreign-born faculty member was hired in 1846. Our ability to attract the best students and faculty from around the globe enhances our teaching, learning, research and societal impact and is in part responsible for our standing as a great public research university.

Fostering an environment that promotes education and research at the highest levels is among my most important responsibilities as the University of Michigan’s president. The leadership of the university is committed to protecting the rights and opportunities currently available to all members of our academic community, and to do whatever is possible within the law to continue to identify, recruit, support and retain academic talent, at all levels, from around the world.

We are currently focused on potential changes to immigration laws, policies and practices that could affect the status and safety of U-M students and personnel, particularly international students and those who may be undocumented. This includes several programs and policies that affect international students and faculty. Additionally, we are working to understand the implications on our community of the “extreme vetting” executive order blocking immigration from certain countries.

Many of our efforts are in collaboration with major academic organizations including the Association of American Universities (AAU) and Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU). U-M is among more than 600 colleges and universities who have signed a letter supporting the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Executive Order. Here on campus, we have established a working group to help us better understand the needs and concerns of international members of our campus community and to consider ideas for additional support.

The university also supports legislation known as the BRIDGE Act that would allow individuals in the U.S. who arrived as children to stay in the country for another three years without the threat of deportation, while Congress addresses changes to the immigration system. BRIDGE stands for Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow our Economy, and it was introduced with bipartisan congressional support.

More information on U-M’s support of undocumented students, as well as information on how you can contact your legislators if you wish to support BRIDGE, is available from Public Affairs. We will keep the U-M community informed by updating this page with any related developments, so I urge you to check it regularly.

The university’s actions related to immigration status are consistent with our long-standing positions on non-discrimination, privacy and public safety. Those are:

  • The University of Michigan welcomes and supports students without regard to their immigration status. We will continue to admit students in a manner consistent with our non-discrimination policy. Once students are admitted, the university is committed to fostering an environment in which each student can flourish.
  • The university complies with federal requirements associated with managing its international programs. Otherwise, the university does not share sensitive information like immigration status.
  • Campus police do not inquire about or record immigration status when performing their duties.
  • In accordance with federal law, the enforcement of immigration law rests with Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection. Campus police will not partner with federal, state, or other local law enforcement agencies to enforce federal immigration law except when required to do so by law.
  • The university maintains a strong commitment to the privacy of student records for all students, consistent with state and federal laws. We do not provide information on immigration status to anyone except when required by law.
  • The university offers in-state tuition to undocumented students who meet certain conditions.
  • The university offers confidential counseling services to all students.

Note: this post is an exact copy of the On the Agenda: Protecting the interests of our international community of scholars post made on the site of President Mark S. Schlissel January 28, 2017.