Aaron Reichlin-Melnick Profile picture
Policy Counsel at @immcouncil. Formerly immigration lawyer at @LegalAidNYC through @IJCorps. Views expressed here are my own. RTs =/= endorsements.
Diana Roby Profile picture Belisa Morillo Profile picture 𝓗𝓲𝓬𝓱𝓪𝓶 𝓣𝓲𝓯𝓵𝓪𝓽𝓲, 𝓟𝓱.𝓓. Profile picture Christopher James Profile picture Sam Peak💡 Profile picture 5 added to My Authors
12 May
Border numbers came out. Some interesting trends tracked by Adam below, which I'll dive into as well once I've had a chance to review them carefully.

Big picture? Single adult apprehensions—rising for a year now—continue to increase. Meanwhile, families and kids dropped by 9.7%.
The number of families processed at the border under normal immigration law (and not expelled with no chance to seek asylum) continues to be much lower than 2019.

Last month 36% of all families arriving at the border were expelled back to Mexico.
One note on the expulsion of families. CBP has quietly made a major change to March's data on Title 42 expulsions—and families in particular.

CBP is now reporting over 4,000 additional expulsions of families, meaning 40% of families were expelled in March, not 33%.
Read 6 tweets
11 May
CBP routinely, as a matter of general practice, takes peoples' belongings (including phones) and throws them all in the trash, except for "valuables" they let people keep.

All of that is against policy yet they just keep doing it. And it leads to things like this. 👇
In 2019, the DHS Office of Inspector General documented CBP throwing away everyone's belongings except for valuables—including this doll and a little girl's backpack.

CBP's explanation? The "items might be wet, have
bugs, and be muddy, and, therefore, presented a 'biohazard.'"
Not all phones are thrown out, and sometimes people do get them back. But it is inconsistent.

CBP also tosses peoples' medication in the trash as a matter of policy, because it wasn't prescribed in the US. But if people are only held for a few hours, that can be dangerous.
Read 4 tweets
10 May
Yep, another good day of numbers on migrant children for the Biden administration. Yesterday hit a record low for unaccompanied children encountered at the border and the overall number of children in government custody dropped by 1,421 since one week ago. The trend line is good! Image
For reasons that are not entirely clear, the number of unaccompanied children coming to the border has been falling steadily for weeks after peaking in late March.

Numbers are still higher than 2019 but they keep falling. All those who predicted a peak in May were wrong. Image
Meanwhile, the Biden administration continues to succeed at ramping up ORR's capacity to release children to their sponsors.

This week starts with the highest total for a Sunday since they began reporting numbers in late March. Every week has seen an overall capacity increase. Image
Read 4 tweets
8 May
How much of that $850 million went to building a dashboard for “Operation Artemis,” as we just learned the border effort is called?
Some really interesting stuff here. Once again shows that CBP’s dire predictions about numbers are not coming true, which has given the Biden administration more breathing room. A “daily encounters forecast” set of bars, showing May d
Man, this list of reasons specific DOD sites were deemed not viable to hold migrant children is fascinating. Lost of six military bases and reasons they were rejected as
Read 4 tweets
6 May
Good thread about today's announcement of new immigration judges. And I've got another thing to flag.

6 will go to a brand new "Richmond Immigration Adjudication Center," an office building where the public isn't allowed and judges appear by video in hearings around the country.
This the third so-called "Immigration Adjudication Center," with the other two in Falls Church, VA and Fort Worth, TX.

Judges in these centers will order thousands of people deported without every having to look someone directly in the face. It's all done through video.
The EOIR Director under Trump, James McHenry, seemingly wanted an immigration court system that operates like Social Security (judges all appearing via video), rather than a traditional courtroom with everyone in one place.

Today's announcement is likely a result of that push.
Read 4 tweets
6 May
Alright, let's talk "Asylum Cooperative Agreements" (ACAs).

You may have seen many of Biden's opponents specifically say that terminating these agreements caused a "border crisis."

So what were the ACAs, how did they come into place, and is there any truth in that? A thread. Tweet from Rep. Mark Green: "1 + 1 = 2 Cancelling the wTweet from Team McCaul: "The Biden Administration must Tweet from Rep. Andy Barr: "The President of Mexico is Tweet from Dan Crenshaw: "No, you fake partisan journal
"Asylum Cooperative Agreements" are a form of "Safe Third Country" agreement, a concept in US law where someone can be denied the right to ask for asylum if they can be sent to a country where they won't face persecution and which provides "a full and fair" chance to seek asylum. Quote from US law: "[The right to apply for asylum] sha
The "safe third country" concept was created by Congress in 1996, and until 2019 only one such agreement existed.

The US-Canada STC Agreement took years to negotiate, is very limited, provides numerous exceptions, and imposes obligations on both sides. canada.ca/en/immigration… Where the Agreement is in effect: The Safe Third Country Agr
Read 22 tweets
5 May
Public ICE data posted online shows that there were 3,316 ICE deportations from March 28 through April 24, so I'm having a hard time squaring that with this line in @NickMiroff's piece. There are clearly two conflicting data sources right now.
ICE data is always a bit wonky, but from the data ICE publishes online removals have indeed dropped but didn't go below 3,000 for April, as the Post story suggests.

Anyway, to be clear, I'm only quibbling with the exact numbers provided in the story from the ICE sources, not the overall thrust of the story, which is indeed supported by the data! This is me griping about ICE data, a personal pet peeve. Messy government data is frustrating!
Read 4 tweets
4 May
This attempted "fact-check" from the Heritage Foundation's new post-Trump DHS "senior fellows" (Wolf, Morgan, Ries) is not only disingenuous, it also gets a number of facts wrong. So I'm going to fact-check the fact-check. Come with me on a thread.

First, Chad Wolf makes an unprovable claim about motivations behind increased border apprehensions. Here's why it's wrong:

1) Apprehensions began spiking in May 2020, not "the last months" of Trump.
2) In the the actual "last months" after Biden won, apprehensions leveled off! Excerpt: "In the final months of the Trump administratiChart showing major increase in single adult apprehensions b
Chad Wolf's claim of a "border under control" pre-Biden is particularly disingenuous.

Note how he points to April 2020 as proof, ignoring that half the world was on lockdown and that single adult apprehensions—fully 2/3 of all apprehensions under Biden—began spiking in May 2020! Excerpt: "In the final months of the Trump administratiAlternate version of prior chart showing all apprehensions f
Read 21 tweets
29 Apr
Meanwhile, while all this trolling goes on by Rep. Boebert and the right wing, the Biden administration has quietly been extremely effective over the last month at getting kids out of Border Patrol custody.

The number of kids in Border Patrol custody has dropped 82% in a month.
As I've talked about before, we are not out of the woods yet when it comes to kids at the border, because a new bottleneck could still form if kids aren't sponsored out of Office of Refugee Resettlement shelters fast enough.

But here, too, clear progress is being made.
The Biden administration's efforts to get kids out of custody have been helped by decreasing numbers of unaccompanied kids coming to the border, down 10-15% from March highs.

If you want to know what's happening at the border, check out our fact sheet.

Read 14 tweets
23 Apr
It goes without saying that perception is not policy, which is why criticism of Biden's approach at the border from the right that's focused on specific policy changes—e.g. ending Remain in Mexico/MPP—is so often unsupported by evidence. And of course, Fox News drives perception!
It should also go without saying that an entire right-wing media apparatus shouting for months that Joe Biden has opened the borders is going to cause more people to come to the United States than Joe Biden himself saying "We'll make things better later but don't come right now."
That said, this from an unnamed Obama official is just ridiculous and shows why they failed so badly at the border. It's yet another round of the same "We can't fix our humanitarian protection system because people might use it" crap that is indistinguishable from Trump.
Read 5 tweets
22 Apr
You've got that right. Ken Paxton wants to force the Biden administration to take 10-year-olds, stick them on a plane alone, and deport them without any chance to seek protection as required by law.

It is a truly monstrous request.
Stephen Miller and Gene Hamilton are two of the architects of family separation.

Now they've joined forces with Ken Paxton in an attempt to carry out another wave of cruelty against the most vulnerable people out there; unaccompanied migrant children.
Today's lawsuit shows once again that there is no level of cruelty against immigrant children too high for Stephen Miller and his ilk to celebrate.

They happily use children as pawns in their war against migrants, seeking to inflict as much cruelty as possible as deterrence.
Read 4 tweets
22 Apr
Mike Pence's claim that Biden "inherited the most secure southern border in American history" is some special kind of historical revisionism.

This piece is *riddled* with factual errors, and of course, leaves holes in his logic so gaping you could drive a truck through them.
Pence says that border apprehensions began growing "seemingly overnight."

In reality, by September 2020 apprehensions had risen to the point that we had already hit the highest level since September 2006.

Pence wants to pretend none of that happened and it all began in January.
Mike Pence: "seemingly overnight, illegal immigration surged to levels unseen since 2006."

Reality: a steady increase in apprehensions of single adults which began right after Title 42 went into place in spring 2020 and has been rising every single month since then.
Read 5 tweets
22 Apr
Biden has made only one major border policy change since January—ending MPP.

That decision had virtually no effect on apprehensions, since Title 42 had already effectively replaced MPP in 2020. Just 1.19% of people encountered since Title 42 went into place were put into MPP.
People like @kausmickey like to say "Biden created this crisis through his policies" but when you ask them to point to any specific policy changes and make a case for why that change made more people come, they end up just falling back on the idea that it's just about rhetoric.
Other policy changes that Biden made also did not change the 2020 status quo. For example, PACR, HARP, and the asylum cooperative agreements had already been suspended since March 2020 due to COVID, and Title 42 was already suspended for unaccompanied kids when Biden took office.
Read 5 tweets
21 Apr
Ooh, charts! Okay, well, here's the Tucson Sector's apprehensions since 2016. Note how unlike in Yuma, the spike in apprehensions started in spring last year when Title 42 went into place. Somehow I doubt Governor Ducey is going to mention that?
Now, that last chart may look like a pretty big change over the last few years. But let's look at it in a bit more of a historical context.

Here's Tucson Sector Border Patrol Apprehensions, October 1999 to March 2021.

Puts things in context, eh?
Now, what about Yuma Sector? Well, things are a bit different there. Yuma's been really quiet much longer than Tucson Sector, but in the Trump administration it became a place for people to go to seek asylum. We're seeing that again today.
Read 4 tweets
18 Apr
The right wing often suggests that "fraudulent family units" imply child trafficking. But this CBP press release shows what it normally is.

1) An aunt and her niece.
2) A family friend in whose care a mother placed her child.

Once discovered, the adults and kids were separated.
The first example is a perfect case for how an inflexible approach produces bad outcomes. The aunt and her niece were incentivized to lie about being mother and daughter to avoid separation—which didn't work. And now the niece will go to an ORR shelter at taxpayer expense.
The solution to these kinds of separations, between grandparents and grandchildren or aunts and nieces, is to embed ORR caseworkers within the Border Patrol and have the aunt processed as a sponsor right on the spot so they can be released together.
Read 4 tweets
17 Apr
The DNA tests were a 2019 “innovation” only used on people CBP already suspected of lying about parentage, and produced a low rate of confirmed suspicions (below 20%). And in very few cases was there no relationship; often it was an uncle saying he was a dad, that kind of thing.
The people using the term “fake families often want you to think that it’s some kind of child trafficking thing. But it’s almost never that.

Instead, it’s usually a situation like how my great-grandmother got through Ellis Island as a baby; her aunt pretended she was the mom.
Many/most USians have some ancestral story about how their family got one over the immigration inspectors way back when. Heck, even the Trumps got here that way.

That’s why I just can’t muster much outrage over people doing it now. Is it wrong? Yes. Is it a “big deal”? Eh.
Read 4 tweets
16 Apr
I only repost this to note that Stephen Miller had only ever been quoted before by an anonymous source as saying refugee admissions should be zero. This is the first (to my knowledge, I may be wrong) public statement saying what we all knew; he wants no refugees at all, none. Image
And Miller's comments also puts Biden's action today in perspective; when you've pleased Stephen Miller, you've f**ked up.
There remains a lot to like about what the Biden administration is doing on immigration, and I remain in the camp that his administration is overall working to improve the system and fix the damage done by Trump, just slower than I'd like. But today's decision was a mistake.
Read 5 tweets
12 Apr
It takes a lot of chutzpah to file a lawsuit in the 9th Circuit arguing that the Biden administration is required by law to resume a program that the 9th Circuit has already ruled is illegal. Let's see how that goes for them.
Also, hahaha good luck on a NEPA challenge on these issues. Brnovich really going for a slap-down here.

I'd be remiss not to note that "immigrants cause environmental harm" is literally the argument that led eugenicist John Tanton to start his network of anti-immigrant groups.
The extent to which @GeneralBrnovich's lawsuit adopts the rhetoric of hate groups like NumbersUSA cannot be understated. "Population control" is at their eugenicist heart, including calls for immigration restrictions on environmental grounds.

Brnovich is now making those claims.
Read 5 tweets
12 Apr
The policies the GOP are pointing to either didn't change at all or lifting them had no effect on the border.

- Just 1.19% of people encountered since March 2020 were put into MPP. Zero were subject to an asylum agreement.
- Biden has made no changes to Title 42 practices. None.
The argument that Biden's *policies* have led to more people coming to the border is laughable and those like @ByronYork who make it expose primarily how little they're tracking the actual details of border policy and just regurgitating talking points.
On the other hand, the argument that Biden's *rhetoric,* both pre- and post-election, have caused more people to come is harder to debunk. It may well have. But Biden can't go back in time and unsay things. And the pro-immigrant rhetoric is basically Reaganesque, for god's sake!
Read 4 tweets
9 Apr
It is beyond patronizing to say that it's "cruel" to let people in because being in limbo for five years due to a broken immigration system is somehow worse that being completely blocked and left to the wolves.
"Well, on the one hand, you might starve to death/be killed in your home country. On the other hand, being stuck in limbo for five years is genuinely awful. So let's just turn you away to save you the limbo."

Come. On.
Never forget that Andrew Sullivan, champion of immigration restrictions, committed immigration fraud to get a visa (lied about being gay, which was at the time a ground of inadmissibility) and used his connections to get out of a marijuana charge that threatened his green card. Image
Read 8 tweets
8 Apr
With full March border numbers out, I want to re-up and update this thread for any reporters who are writing on the news out of CBP today.

We continue to see two very different phenomena occurring at the border, and it's very important to distinguish between the two!
Single adults continue to be the biggest driver of headlines about "border numbers."

Apprehensions of single adults are going back to the 1990s-2000s, driven by many people crossing repeatedly thanks to Title 42. And like back in the day, almost all get sent back to Mexico.
When it comes to family units, we have seen a distinct increase in families beginning in January. This seems driven both by Mexico's refusal to accept many families that Trump/Biden wanted to expel, as well as a sense that now is the time. It's looking a lot like 2019.
Read 9 tweets