Camila DeChalus

Ph.D. student faces deportation to Liberia, where she has never lived
Trump administration has announced DED program will end March 31

Yatta Kiazolu moved to Los Angeles from Delaware to pursue her dream of obtaining a Ph.D. in history at UCLA.

But as she approaches her final year of the program, her dreams of walking across the stage with her degree in hand seem further and further away as her temporary visa status will expire at the end of this month. And she could be deported to Liberia, a country in which she has never lived, or even visited.

Senate rejects Trump’s emergency declaration on border
President has promised to veto the joint resolution

On this day in the Senate, no man a king, not even President Donald Trump.

The Senate passed a resolution Thursday to terminate Trump’s national emergency declaration that would have allowed him to redirect up to $6.7 billion from other Cabinet departments toward constructing his long-promised wall on the southwestern border.

Homeland Secretary to face tough questions from Democrats
Democrats are expected to grill Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen during the House Homeland Security Committee hearing

Democrats are expected to grill Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen during the House Homeland Security Committee hearing Wednesday about President Donald Trump’s immigration and border security policies. It is the first time Nielsen has appeared before the Democratically controlled House.

Trump’s decision to declare a national emergency to reallocate more than $6 billion from other departments to construct a border wall will likely take center stage. Senators are poised to vote soon on a resolution to block the national emergency, following the House's vote last week to block Trump's emergency declaration.

FEMA administrator departs, says it’s ‘time for me to go home to my family’
Brock Long departs after questions about use of government vehicles

Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long, who during his tenure had to repay the government for using vehicles in a nonofficial capacity, resigned his position Wednesday.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said in a statement that Deputy Administrator Pete Gaynor will become the acting administrator.

Trump extends order on asylum seekers at southwest border
The order bars migrants who arrive outside points of entry at the U.S.-Mexico border from requesting asylum

President Donald Trump issued a proclamation Thursday evening that extends for 90 days his November order barring migrants who arrive outside points of entry at the U.S. Mexico border from requesting asylum. The courts have blocked implementation of the first order.

In his new proclamation, Trump declared that the U.S. immigration and asylum system remains “in a crisis as a consequence of the mass migration of aliens across the border between the United States and Mexico.”

Family separation blasted by both parties at oversight hearing
“I think what we’re really talking about is state sponsored child abuse, and I would go as far as to say kidnapping,” said Rep. Jan Schakowsky

Democrats on a House subcommittee demanded answers Thursday from Health and Human Services officials regarding how many children were actually separated from parents during the “zero tolerance” policy last spring at the southern border, after a report found that thousands more children could have been separated than the 2,700 previously reported.

“What’s been happening is more than irresponsible and sloppy. I think what we’re really talking about is state sponsored child abuse, and I would go as far as to say kidnapping,” Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., said at a hearing by the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

Unshackled by leadership, appropriators ready to deal on border

The top congressional leaders in both chambers have a message for the 17 appropriators making up the House-Senate conference committee on Homeland Security spending: Do your thing.

And that’s a positive sign for negotiations on border security funding that are going down to the wire again, with a Feb. 15 deadline to avert yet another partial government shutdown. Appropriators want to reach at least an agreement in principle by the end of this week, to be able to start putting pen to paper over the weekend.

ICE detention facilities don’t meet national standards, IG says
The report found ICE does a poor job managing facilities, rarely holds contractors accountable and grants too many repair waivers

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement does a poor job of managing its detention facilities that hold tens of thousands of immigrants awaiting hearings, rarely holds contractors accountable for lapsed standards and informally grants too many waivers to allow facility managers to avoid making repairs, a new report from the Homeland Security Department’s inspector general found.

From October 2015 to June 2018, “ICE paid contractors operating the 106 detention facilities subject to this review more than $3 billion,” the inspector general wrote in its conclusion. “Despite documentation of thousands of deficiencies and instances of serious harm to detainees that occurred at these detention facilities, ICE rarely imposed financial penalties.”

Border security bargainers get to work, still miles apart
First conference committee meeting does little to close the divide

House Democrats showed few signs of giving in to President Donald Trump’s demands for $5.7 billion for a border wall as a conference committee began talks Wednesday to strike a border security deal that would also fund the Department of Homeland Security for fiscal 2019.

But both sides expressed optimism and pledged to work toward an agreement by the Feb. 15 deadline that the president can sign, and thus avoid another partial government shutdown.

Senate shutdown talks hastened after airline disruption
Trump announces deal that would open shuttered government agencies and negotiate DHS funding

Discussions between Senate leaders of both parties on how to end the 35-day government shutdown picked up with renewed urgency Friday as the record-setting government shutdown began halting flights scheduled to land at LaGuardia Airport — in Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer’s home state of New York.

President Donald Trump announced Friday afternoon that a deal had been reached that would fund shuttered government agencies for three weeks while providing time to negotiate funding for the Department of Homeland Security.

At border, Homeland Security Department stats paint complex situation
White House says crisis is brewing, but apprehensions have declined, assets slowly built up

President Donald Trump has spent much of his time in office making assertions about the southern border as he seeks to evoke a sense of crisis about an influx of illegal immigrants, possible terrorists, rapists and all manner of criminals who will threaten the safety of the American people.

That’s the same script he drew from Tuesday night as he addressed the nation from the Oval Office.

Immigration case backlog keeps growing as shutdown drags on
‘Some people have been waiting years to have their cases heard,’ immigration attorney says

The partial federal government shutdown has closed most immigration courts, exacerbating the immigration case backlog as judges postpone scores of court cases.

Ashley Tabaddor, the president of the National Association of Immigration Judges, said that many immigration judges are on furlough, or unpaid leave, and had to postpone immigration cases, which can take years before they are reheard.

Trump Administration to Make Asylum-Seekers Wait in Mexico
Similar asylum policy proposed last month was stymied by the courts

The Homeland Security Department on Thursday announced a plan to keep Central American asylum-seekers in Mexico for the duration of their immigration proceedings, claiming it would “reduce illegal migration by removing one of the key incentives that encourages people from taking the dangerous journey to the United States in the first place.”

Under the plan, asylum-seekers would be temporarily returned to Mexico after being issued a notice to appear in U.S. immigration court. The department said it reached an agreement with Mexico to issue asylum-seekers humanitarian visas and access to attorneys and the United States for the purpose of appearing in court.

New Bill Would Hold HHS Feet to Fire for Unaccompanied Minors
Whereabouts of nearly 1,500 undocumented children are reportedly unknown

A bipartisan group of senators have introduced a bill designed to ensure that the Department of Health and Human Services takes full responsibility for, and keeps better track of, unaccompanied children who come to the border seeking entry to the United States and then are placed with U.S. sponsors.

The legislation follows a new report that revealed that the government could not determine the whereabouts of nearly 1,500 children that HHS had placed with sponsors this year.

Lawmakers Unhappy With Pompeo’s Lowered Cap on Refugees
New cap of 30,000 is a historic low

Lawmakers of both parties are criticizing the Trump administration’s decision to lower the annual refugee cap to 30,000 people for fiscal 2019 — a sharp decrease from the 45,000 cap set for fiscal 2018, and also a historic low.

“At a time when we should be defending our values and ideals as Americans and working to alleviate the biggest refugee crisis since World War II, it is truly repugnant to see the Trump administration double down on its efforts to reject our foundational values and humanitarian duty of providing those escaping persecution the opportunity to seek protection and safe haven,” Sen. Robert Menendez, the ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement Monday.

Democrats Fume Over Transfer of FEMA Money to ICE Before Hurricanes
Agency officials, some Republicans say funds could not be used for response

On the eve of Hurricane Florence hitting the U.S. coast, Democratic lawmakers expressed outrage that the Homeland Security Department transferred nearly $10 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to Immigration and Customs Enforcement in a reprogramming move this summer.

Sen. Jeff Merkley’s office on Wednesday released documents confirming that $9.8 million from FEMA’s operations and support budget was diverted to fund ICE’s detention facilities and deportation operations.

Border Apprehensions Down Two Months Running
Trump administration officials say the dip is directly tied to Trump’s zero-tolerance initiative

For the second month in a row, the number of individuals caught trying to enter the U.S. illegally at the southwest border declined, drawing praise from administration officials who say it is directly tied to President Donald Trump’s zero-tolerance initiative.

In the month of July, border apprehensions declined by 7 percent, according to data released by Customs and Border Protection on Wednesday. In July, a total of 31,303 individuals were apprehended compared to 34,095 in June and 40,333 in May.

Lawmakers Renew Efforts to Pass Family Separation Bill
But with House already out for recess, no legislative solution possible until September

Lawmakers say they are renewing efforts to find what has been elusive legislation to keep families together at the U.S.-Mexico border, as the Trump administration announced it would meet the latest court deadline for reuniting more than 1,400 children it had separated from their immigrant parents.

Department of Homeland Security officials said they expected to complete all “eligible” reunifications by midnight Thursday, Pacific time. Beyond those, 711 children remain in custody because they’re not “eligible” for reunification, according to the department. Of those, 431 have a parent who was deported from the U.S. without them, officials said.

More U.S.-Born Children Could Be Separated From Immigrant Parents
Trump administration wants to terminate TPS status for hundreds of thousands

As lawmakers try to find a legislative solution to keep immigrant families together at the U.S.-Mexico border, an even bigger family separation challenge looms next year when thousands of parents with temporary residency status will face deportation and separation from their U.S.-born children.

The Trump administration has said it will terminate so-called Temporary Protected Status for nearly 60,000 Haitians in July 2019, more than 262,000 Salvadorans in September 2019 and 57,000 Hondurans in January 2020.

DHS: More Time Needed for Foreign Investor Visa Overhaul
EB-5 visa program gives up to 10,000 visas annually to investors who spend at least $500,000 in area of need

The Trump administration does not expect to finalize an overhaul of the EB-5 investor visa program before it expires Sept. 30, a top Homeland Security Department official told senators Tuesday.

“I don’t know, that would be hard to pull off,” said U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Lee Francis Cissna before the Senate Judiciary Committee, when asked if a proposed rule will be completed before the end of fiscal 2018.