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Immigration

Updated at 6:48 p.m. ET

The U.S. Supreme Court delivered the Trump administration another win on one of its signature immigration policies on Wednesday, allowing it to continue the controversial "Remain in Mexico" policy across the entire southern border.

Starting in April, immigration authorities will start taking cheek swabs to collect DNA from hundreds of thousands of immigration detainees in federal custody each year.

The Trump Administration says the policy change will help law enforcement apprehend criminal suspects. The data collected will be transferred to an FBI database, so that in the future, law enforcement officials could check if these samples matched any DNA recovered from a crime scene.

A federal appeals court has decided to block the Trump administration's "Remain in Mexico" plan in two states along the U.S. border, following back-and-forth rulings over the program.

In its order late Wednesday, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said that next week the administration will have to stop making asylum-seekers wait in Mexico for the U.S. to process their claims, but that the court ban applies only to areas in its jurisdiction, Arizona and California.

A federal judge ruled on Sunday that Ken Cuccinelli's appointment to a top immigration position in the Trump administration was unlawful, saying several directives issued by Cuccinelli to tighten asylum rules must now be "set aside."

There's no dispute on whether Jesus Mesa Jr. killed 15-year-old Sergio Adrián Hernández Güereca.

He did. And there's a video of it.

In 2010 Mesa, an on-duty U.S. Border Patrol agent who was at the border in El Paso, Texas, shot Hernández at least twice — once in the face. At the time, the boy, a Mexican national, was on the southern side of the border in Ciudad Juarez.

www.ice.gov

A detainee in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement at a Youngstown prison has died.

Updated at 6:54 p.m. ET

The Trump administration has notified Congress that it plans to divert $3.8 billion from the Defense Department's budget to build the border wall.

This is in addition to more than $11 billion that's already been identified to construct more than 500 miles of new barriers along the southern U.S. border with Mexico. That includes money that Congress has appropriated and funding that was previously diverted from military construction and counternarcotic operations.

Top Senate Democrats warn that the Trump administration is deliberately undermining the independence of immigration courts.

In a bluntly worded letter to the Justice Department, which oversees the immigration courts, the senators accuse the administration of waging an "ongoing campaign to erode the independence of immigration courts," including changing court rules to allow more political influence over decisions and promoting partisan judges to the Board of Immigration Appeals.

Federal prosecutors have charged Patrick Wood Crusius with hate crimes related to the killing of 22 people at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, last August. Crusius allegedly told police he had driven to the store intending to kill "Mexicans."

A federal grand jury returned a 90-count indictment that also included firearm charges in connection with the shootings, which the Department of Justice has described as an act of domestic terrorism.

The pricetag for President Trump's border wall has topped $11 billion — or nearly $20 million a mile — to become the most expensive wall of its kind anywhere in the world.

In a status report last week, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which is overseeing wall construction, reported that $11 billion has been identified since Trump took office to construct 576 miles of a new "border wall system."

Updated at 6:15 p.m. ET

A federal judge in Maryland has blocked the Trump administration's executive order allowing state and local governments to turn away refugees from resettling in their communities.

Updated at 5:51 p.m. ET

A federal appeals court has handed the Trump administration a victory by allowing the president to tap military construction funds to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

A divided 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued the decision late Wednesday, reversing a lower court order that stopped Trump from using $3.6 billion in U.S Defense Department money to construct the long-promised border wall.

@BrianKempGA/Twitter

Ohio’s governor is pushing back on the Trump administration over a key issue – accepting refugees. 

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf visited a construction site in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas on a windswept day last month and repeated a Trump administration pledge.

"We are on track to build 450 to 500 miles of new wall by the end of 2020," he told reporters. Behind him, steel panels atop a concrete levee wall, 30 feet in all, are rising from the sugar cane fields and bird sanctuaries of the valley — which is really a river delta. They are the first section of new border wall built under President Trump where there was no barrier before.

A federal judge in California ruled Wednesday that the Trump administration may not divert $3.6 billion in Defense Department funds for construction of the wall on the southern border.

Updated at 9:20 p.m. ET

A federal judge in Texas on Tuesday blocked the Trump administration from using $3.6 billion in Pentagon funds to pay for the construction of a wall on the southern border.

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Phasing out the program that allows undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children to temporarily stay is a major piece of President Trump's immigration policy.

The future of DACA hangs in the balance as the Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments about the program next week.

At the place where music, technology and politics converge, you'll find ... discord. A group of more than 380 musicians — including well-known indie artists like Ted Leo, Deerhoof, Damon & Naomi, Zola Jesus, Downtown Boys and Sheer Mag — pledged in an open letter on Thursday to cut all business ties with Amazon over the work of its gargantuan Amazon Web Services subsidiary.

The Trump administration is withdrawing hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines against some immigrants in the country illegally who have sought refuge in churches.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has withdrawn the fines, ranging from $300,000 to nearly $500,000 for five immigrants living in sanctuary conditions around the country, according to the National Sanctuary Collective, which works with the families.

Updated at 9:10 p.m. ET Tuesday

The Justice Department is proposing to begin collecting DNA samples from hundreds of thousands of immigrants crossing the border, creating an enormous database of asylum-seekers and other migrants that federal officials say will be used to help authorities fight crime.

Earlier this year, the State Department quietly rolled out new limits on one of President Trump's favorite targets: the diversity visa lottery.

The White House made ending the program one of the "pillars" of its immigration policy proposal last year. But those proposals went nowhere on Capitol Hill.

So the administration tried something different: It is restricting who can apply for the diversity visa, in a way that advocates say will make it much harder for low-income immigrants to apply.

newrepublic.com

Supporters of the undocumented immigrant staying in sanctuary at the Columbus Mennonite Church have delivered a request for a "Stay of Removal" to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. 

The Trump administration is making changes to the agency that operates the nation's immigration court system, a move immediately denounced by the immigration judges' union as a power grab.

Updated at 3:34 p.m. ET

The Trump administration has announced it is ending a federal court agreement that limits how long migrant families with children can be detained.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan outlined the new policy Wednesday, which replaces the Flores settlement agreement.

That's been a longtime target of immigration hard-liners in the Trump administration, who contend the settlement has acted as a lure to families in Central America.

The Justice Department late last week moved to seek the decertification of the union representing hundreds of U.S. immigration judges, ratcheting up a simmering battle over the Trump administration's immigration enforcement policies.

The Trump administration is moving forward with regulations that are expected to dramatically reshape the U.S. immigration system by denying green cards and visas to immigrants who use — or are expected to use — a wide range of federal, state and local government benefits, including food stamps, housing vouchers and Medicaid.

The final version of the "public charge" rule, which has been a top priority for immigration hard-liners in the White House, is set to be published in the Federal Register on Wednesday.

Updated at 5:01 p.m. ET

President Trump, responding Monday to the deadly weekend shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, that killed 31 people, condemned white supremacy and called for the death penalty for mass murderers and domestic terrorists.

Speaking at the White House, Trump said the nation is "overcome with shock, horror and sorrow."

Attorney General William Barr ruled Monday that immigrants fearing persecution because of threats against their family members are no longer eligible for asylum.

The case involves a Mexican man (identified as "L-E-A" in court documents) who sought asylum after his family was threatened because his father did not allow drug cartel dealers to use his store for business. That fear of endangerment traditionally has been the basis for legally recognizable claims for asylum.

Updated at 5:22 p.m. ET

President Trump announced Friday that Guatemala has agreed to sign a so-called "safe third country asylum agreement" as part of Trump's strategy for reducing the flow of migrants to the U.S.

Trump made the announcement before reporters in the Oval Office as Guatemalan interior minister Enrique Degenhart signed the agreement.

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