Immigration Advice: DO NOT FLY, DO NOT TRAVEL

Picked up from Facebook.

Subject: DO NOT TRAVEL – ANYWHERE IN 2017

Employers – please disseminate to all your employees immediately.

Our Legal advise is that NO ONE should travel – anywhere – neither international nor domestic. The current administration is issuing Executive Order’s on immigration without advance notice and with immediate effect thereby trapping and likely to trap thousands of travelers and/or rending families apart.

While the legal system tries to sort this out – you/your families may already be negatively impacted and trying to undo the harm is going to be a much longer and difficult battle than trying to avoid becoming the story.

THIS APPLIES TO EVERYONE not just those from the 7 list of countries banned for “now.

EVERYONE:

CBP is asking to review social media – scrub your phones, empty caches, delete posts from ALL social media – fb, snapchat, instagrams, twitter etc. Any and every account. Disable fingerprint unlock of your phones while traveling. If asked your opinion about Trump or love of country – be creative in your positive responses.

U.S. Citizens:

Only US Citizen’s have the legal right to DENY access to social media to anyone absent a warrant or Court Order. If US citizen and a non-white – if they ask to take your passport – ask to see a Judge – your citizenship cannot be revoked absent a judicial determination. If they take your passport – ask for receipt of same and grounds for such “confiscation”. Be polite but firm.

US citizens holding Dual citizenship – read below. You are vulnerable – not protected.

GC Holders

Do NOT sign I-407 – no matter what the pressure. I-407 means you are voluntarily renouncing your Green Card and thereby likely will be denied entry. A GC thus renounced CANNOT be re-instated. You will have to go through the whole long process that was undertaken earlier to get GC back and by then who knows what policies come into play – whether they will indeed approve issuance of such GC’s in the future.

You may be asked to prove “ties” to the US – to prove you did not abandon residence in U.S. This means work, family, property, etc.

Ask to speak to a lawyer – firmly and politely. If they refuse ask for a NTA (Notice to Appear). If the CBP Officers continue to detain you – ask for a hearing before an Immigration Judge. If the GC is confiscated, ask to be provided with alternative evidence of their LPR status, such as an I-94 and/or passport stamp that says “Evidence of Temporary Residence.” – You are ENTITLED to this.

Currently CBP’s position is that GC holder is NOT entitled to admission to the US on each entry – it will be a case by case determination. This is probably going to lead to more restrictive admissions.

Visa Holders:

No matter what visa you hold, H, L, J, F , B etc. you are the MOST vulnerable. You should absolutely NOT travel neither domestically nor internationally for the rest of 2017 till the dust settles and we can better determine what policies will continue to be implemented.

Visas are being cancelled on arrival and people are being then being banned for 5 years on grounds that they attempted to enter on cancelled visas. This is happening to people NOT on the list of the 7 countries.

1. Just because you have a US citizen child – you will NOT be allowed Entry should CBP decide to Deny entry. US citizen children were being detained over this weekend.

2. People with GC’s NOT on the list of these 7 countries – have had their GC’s taken away.

3. Privacy rules for EVERYBODY – but US Citizens have been removed – thus you cannot Deny access to your social media accounts. An Officer can pretty much deem ANYTHING as grounds to deny entry. In fact CBP Officials have REFUSED to follow the Court Orders issued this past weekend and deported people without allowing them access to lawyers or Senators/Congressman. That means you will have almost little or no recourse if you are detained/deported on attempted Entry. If they ban you for 5 years – those bans will be almost impossible to overcome in the near future.

4. CG holders and citizen’s traveling DOMESTICALLY have also been stopped, questioned and detained.

Thus, our recommendation is to STOP ALL AIR TRAVEL. The next 6 months or longer are going to be extremely rocky for everyone who is “brown” irrespective of country of nationality/religion/ethnicity.

TODAY’S UPDATE FROM DHS:

In the first 30 days, DHS will perform a global country-by-country review of the information each country provides when their citizens apply for a U.S. visa or immigration benefit. Countries will then have 60 days to comply with any requests from the U.S. government to update or improve the quality of the information they provide.”

This means there is absolutely no certainty of anyone being allowed back in should they travel. Nor is there any certainty as to what other EO’s may come out – except that they are likely to be RESTRICTIVE.

If you have any upcoming travel plans – CANCEL them. This is going to get worse – not better in the coming months.

Suishta Saigal
Attorney At Law
MADAN & SAIGAL, LLC
358 Fifth Avenue – Suite 704
New York, NY

WHAT IS EVEN HAPPENING: Presidential Memo and EO Update

It just keeps coming and coming! It’s exhausting! These are summaries from whitehouse.gov versions of the orders. There are more, and this will continue to be updated. Consider it a crib sheet.

1) EO on Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs: this is ridiculous. “[I]t is important that for every one new regulation issued, at least two prior regulations be identified for elimination[.]” The costs of these regulations also has to net out, ie, the cost of your new regulation must be covered by the elimination of your other regulations. EVIL RATING: Moderately evil. It is hard for me to take it seriously but this is the kind of FUCKING RIDICULOUS BULLSHIT that happens a lot out West in initiative states: someone who has not thought through the ramifications of something makes a financial rule that becomes a law and suddenly the state can’t make its budget work. Notably, this is not a law, but it has weight.

2) Ethics Commitments by Executive Branch Appointees: I hate saying it but I don’t mind this one. It requires appointees to swear that they won’t lobby the branch they were appointed to for 5 years after they leave, work on behalf of foreign governments, accept gifts, etc. I mean, this pledge is only as good as the paper it’s signed on, but this is sort of basic. I wonder how new it is. EVIL RATING: I don’t think this one is bad AND IT KILLS ME TO SAY IT. What’s the catch? What’s the catch?

3) Presidential Memorandum on the National Security Council etc: this is the one that gives Steve Bannon access to national security and demotes the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff somewhat. EVIL RATING: Very evil, and it is hilarious to me the number of conversations I have had with radicals who are mad about this (myself included) when we HATE EVERYTHING THIS COUNCIL STANDS FOR.

4) Presidential Memorandum to Defeat ISIS: This is the level of sophistication of this document: “It is the policy of the United States that ISIS be defeated.” Nice work there guys. It requires a plan in 30 days and I am ON PINS AND NEEDLES waiting. EVIL RATING: eye roll pending that plan.

5) Presidential Memorandum on Rebuilding the US Armed Forces: Basically, upgrade the armed forces. EVIL RATING: depends what you think of the military.

6) EO THAT HATES MUSLIMS: If you don’t know about this by now I actually don’t know what to tell you. EVIL RATING: VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY EVIL. Get in the streets. Stay in the streets.

7) EO THAT BUILDS THE WALL: This is another one that has gotten a lot of coverage. It additionally authorizes 5,000 extra border guards, building new detention facilities, and more coordination between federal and state agencies against undocumented people. EVIL RATING: very very very evil, and also a little ridiculous. There are structural critiques of this wall, among other things, talking about how implausible this is. It’s a giant xenophobic waste.

8) EO THAT HATES SANCTUARY CITIES: The xenophobia. It does make provisions for defunding sanctuary cities from federal money. I’m not sure they can do this on their own tbh. It also, as you probably read, means being *charged* with a crime is a deportable offense. Which is ok bc obviously our justice system isn’t racist or xenophobic. EVIL RATING: very very evil.

WHAT IS EVEN HAPPENING: Cabinet Secretary Appointment Update

Credit due first and foremost to The Atlantic, whose research I am largely summarizing. Evil ratings are relative. Hopefully this can help you select the people you most want to call about. Basically everyone sucks, but the suck is relative in some places. Note this is only Cabinet secretaries; it’s not all the other appointments.

1) DeVos (Dept. of Ed Secretary): up for final confirmation, probably Monday. EVIL RATING: Very evil. She doesn’t seem to believe in public schools, aside from putting guns in them to protect against grizzly bears. But as others have raised, why is she the one galvanizing the outrage?

2) Sen. Jeff Sessions (Department of Justice): confirmed by Judiciary committee, not yet scheduled for full vote. EVIL RATING: VERY VERY VERY EVIL. The DoJ is one of the departments that I think was most progressive under Obama with regards to civil rights. Jeff Sessions already got denied one government post for his outright racism. Bye bye civil rights.

3) Steve Mnuchin (Dept of Treasury): confirmed by Finance committee, not yet scheduled for full vote. EVIL RATING: The expected amount of evil. He believes in capitalism and profited off the foreclosure mess. He is also the embodiment of everything Trump lied about. Since this seat is the chair of capitalism, though….

4) Rep. Tom Price (Health and Human Services): confirmed by Finance Committee, not yet scheduled for full vote. EVIL RATING: Very evil. He hates Medicare and “entitlement programs” aka programs that take care of people. He’s ultraconservative. We don’t like him, and he doesn’t like us.

5) Dr. Ben Carson (Housing and Human Development): confirmed by Banking, Housing, Human Affairs committee, not yet scheduled for full vote. EVIL RATING: Moderately evil. Unqualified, but he knows it, which is confusing, since he initially said he didn’t want this post and now he’s going for it?

6) Rick Perry (Department of Energy): confirmed by Energy and Natural Resources committee, not yet scheduled for full vote. EVIL RATING: Very evil, as in he doesn’t know what the Department of Energy does and once wanted to get rid of it.

Follow the Money With Kathleen Warnock: Todd Ricketts and 45 Committee

Kathleen Warnock is a playwright, editor, and journalist. This is a repost of a series she is researching and posting on Facebook.

It took about 5 minutes of Googling for me to discover that:

45 Committee is a PAC that spent $21 million for Trump/against Hillary. They are currently running ads for the confirmation of Jeff Sessions for Attorney General.

Todd Ricketts (son of the founder of Ameritrade, and on the board of the Chicago Cubs) was originally #nevertrump but joined 45 Committee as a donor & fundraiser in the last few months of the campaign.

He’s been appointed as Deputy Secretary of Commerce by Bizarro President.

Also involved in the 45 Committee is LV billionaire Sheldon Adelson: http://www.factcheck.org/2016/11/future4545committee

Follow the Money with Kathleen Warnock: 501c4s

Kathleen Warnock is a playwright, editor, and journalist. This is a repost of a series she is researching and posting on Facebook.

As important as undoing gerrymandering for reform/resistance, another essential tool should be for Congress to refine the tax code so that 501(c)(4) orgs cannot spend millions on political contributions.

(Most theater/arts folk know what a 501(c)(3) status is–it lets donors give us tax-deductible contributions, and the orgs themselves are tax-exempt; and we know what a Form 990 is…the federal tax return filed by the non-profit.)

The Citizens United decision opened the door for all the soft, dark money, Congress COULD change the law so that these “social welfare” orgs (that’s what they officially called) are not permitted to use their funds for political purposes. That would be a hard one: the Sierra Club is a (c)(4) org, as is Planned Parenthood. And, of course, the NRA. (For that matter, the Dramatists Guild of America is a 501(c)(4)).

Or, at least, require the (c)(4) orgs to list all donors and amounts contributed on their 990s, and itemize how the money was spent. Specific expenditures and activities.

Or, take away the tax exempt status from “social welfare” orgs whose primary purpose is electioneering, and make ’em pay taxes.

Here’s a great FAQ on some of the basic and finer points of 501 orgs.

Follow the Money with Kathleen Warnock: Doug Ericksen

Kathleen Warnock is a playwright, editor, and journalist. This is a repost of a series she is researching and posting on Facebook.

“Follow the Money.”

Doug Ericksen, who is spokesman for the “beachhead team” at the EPA told officials that all the editorial parts of the EPA’s website are under review. (WaPo reports this)

Ericksen, who was deputy director of Trump’s campaign in Washington State is currently a state senator, and says he does not intend to resign his seat.

Following the resignation of another Republican state senator (the director of Trump’s Washington campaign, who was appointed to a job in the Agriculture Dept), the state senate currently has 24 Democrat and 24 Republican members. (Another GOP Senator is also rumored to be in the running for a federal appointment.)

The Bellingham (WA) Herald reports: “Ericksen has been criticized by environmentalists for being a skeptic of human-caused climate change during his tenure in the state Senate. Last week he responded to someone in a comment thread on his public Facebook page, writing that “much of the climate alarmist rhetoric is extreme and could be considered a hoax presented by these groups.”

One group of students went so far in May 2015 as to ask Western Washington University to revoke Ericksen’s master’s degree in political science and environmental policy. The university president declined and thanked Ericksen for being a friend to the university.”

The invaluable Herald also notes that in the race where he won his Senate seat, “Some of Ericksen’s biggest donors included insurance and pharmaceutical companies, railroads, cable and internet providers, and oil, propane and coal companies.” (And the NRA Political Victory Fund.)

Takeaway: Climate change-denier and Trump fundraiser whose political career is powered by contributions from large corporations, including energy companies, is now leading the transition at the EPA.

Second takeaway: Dems have a shot at taking over the state senate in Washington State.

New Immigration Resources

Well, here we go. It remains to be seen what executive orders can actually do or not do but either way, here it is.

Here’s a good guide via UnitedWeDream.org regarding the immigration executive order: Practical Steps to Take if DACA is Repealed.

In NYC, CUNY CLEAR is working with immigrants from the 7 countries named in the order (Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia and Sudan). CLEAR services are provided free of charge. Contact them at  cunyclear@law.cuny.edu or (718) 340-4558.

The Immigrant Defense Project also has an updated guide with regards to handling/preparing for ICE raids. It’s comprehensive and important.

We have a lot of other resources listed on our Immigration page. Community orgs are going to be stepping up big time. Throwing them some money is a great idea.

 

Anti-Trump Confirmation Power Hour

Well, here we go. The Senate has slated the next few days as a CONFIRMATION EXTRAVAGANZA, a veritable festival of ramming Trump’s picks for his Cabinet through the government. This means, of course, more legislative lobbying – at least, if you’re into that kind of thing.

There are a lot of guides circulating, but a particularly compelling one is here: Trump Cabinet Confirmation Blockade. The creators have, awesomely, have laid out who we need to call and when. If you do nothing else, make a call or two about any of the names in red on Tuesday, especially if your Senator is on any of the committees involved. You can also watch the confirmation hearings on CSPAN, which is pretty great (CSPAN is pretty great, for that matter.)

The Senate can’t formally confirm the nominees until after Trump gets sworn in. The relevant committees, however, can hold hearings about the candidates, and get ready to pass the appointee on to the full Senate for a vote. That’s what’s happening right now, and part of why the call lists above are not necessarily as simple as “call your Senators,” although it never hurts to give them a call too.

After the inauguration, the full Senate comes together for a vote. Senators can get involved at this point, and any Senator can call for debate. This is where you gotta call everyone – make sure the disagreement is robust and your Senators know you are paying attention.

Ultimately, do what you can – but remember what the Indivisible guide says – calls mean more than tweets and emails. A little effort here is worth the payoff.

LET THE GAMES BEGIN

It didn’t take more than one day into 2017 – and before the new House was in fact seated – for Republicans in Congress to pass rules that would remove the independence of the Office of Congressional Ethics by putting it back under the control of the House Ethics Committee aka the lawmakers it is supposed to monitor. This is bad news.

To quote via this Medium article, the bill:

Renames the “Office of Congressional Ethics” the “Office of Congressional Complaint Review,” and places the Office under the oversight of the Committee on Ethics. Provides protections against disclosures to the public or other government entities, and requires that any matter that may involve a violation of criminal law must be referred to the Committee on Ethics. Provides greater certainty as to the commencement and termination of any review, including timely notice to the subject and Committee on Ethics. Bars the consideration of anonymous complaints and requires rules changes to better safeguard the exercise of due process rights of both subject and witness. Limits the jurisdiction of the Office to the last three Congresses to conform to the statute of limitations for the Committee on Ethics.

There are rumblings too of other bad changes, but this is the big one. Guess what it’s time for: it’s time to play Call Your Congressperson! This is one of the steps the Indivisible Guide recommends.

Here’s what you do in three easy steps – and you should do this even if you expect your Congressperson is against these changes, as it is important to show you are paying attention:

  1. Click here to look up who your Representative is.
  2. Call their office – or, if you feel extra smart, go into their local office! (You’ll have to go to their website to find the local address.)
  3. All you have to say is this if they’re against “Hey, __________, I am a local constituent, and I was wondering where Congressperson So and So sits with regards to the new ethics rules.” Then, if they are against it, “What else are they doing to stop it?” If they are for it, “I would like to register my strong disagreement.”
  4. If you’re showing up in person: this is a bold move, but an awesome one. Go with a friend! Go with five friends! Say you were in the neighborhood and stopping by and have the same questions, per above.

SO EASY. SO IMPORTANT. This is only round one.

Planning for a Trump Administration When You're Not A Straight Rich White Dude