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As Hurricane Approaches, Trump Diverts Emergency Funds to Incarcerate Kids and Families

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On the eve of Hurricane Dorian’s touchdown in Puerto Rico and potentially Florida, Trump is hellbent on circumventing Congress to endanger more lives, transferring $271 million from FEMA, TSA, and the Coast Guard to accelerate his mass detention and deportation policies and threaten the lives and safety of Americans. 

According to Douglas Rivlin, Communications Director for America’s Voice, “The common thread of Trump and Stephen Miller’s immigration is simple: defy democracy to endanger people of color. Instead of helping Puerto Rico, still reeling in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, they supersede Congress to strip FEMA of funding, hours before another storm hits. All for detention funding, conveniently and suddenly deemed necessary after the proposed changes to Flores, to lock up more kids and parents, throwing good money after bad in service of Trump’s failed policies and mass deportation fantasies. Terrorize families instead of protecting the nation – a new height of self-defeating policy.” 

Below, we excerpt some of the latest coverage of the Trump-induced immigration chaos: 

New York Times’ editorial board: “The Immigration System Is a Mess. Trump’s Policies Are Making It Worse.”

It has been an eventful few weeks in President Trump’s ever-escalating crusade to restrict immigration.

…There is also uncertainty as to whether Mr. Trump’s draconian immigration policies will turn out to be the political boon he and his supporters expect — hardly a given in light of recent surveys showing that less than 40 percent of voters approve of his handling of the issue.

Whatever its long-term implications, the president’s obsession with what he has termed an immigrant “invasion” is already undermining the functioning of his administration and the safety of the nation.

…Every president brings into office a particular set of principles and priorities. But when those biases start undercutting the government’s ability to pursue smart policies — or even carry out basic duties, a responsible leader must think less about his personal prerogatives and more about the nation’s overall security.

Buzzfeed’s Hamed Aleaziz: “The Trump Administration Is Taking Millions From FEMA To Fund Immigration Courts And ICE Jails” 

Kevin Landy, a former top ICE official under the Obama administration, said the Trump administration’s reasoning for the transfer request was born out of mistaken policy, not necessity.

“They are at 55,000 because of their regressive policies — arresting and detaining people with no criminal convictions and not releasing asylum-seekers even after they have been determined to have a credible claim,” he said.

Miami Herald’s Monique Madan and Ben Conarck: “Undocumented immigrants with serious illnesses had a lifeline. Now it may be gone.” 

The administration quietly gutted the bulk of a “medical deferred action” policy that allowed immigrants with serious illness — and their families — to apply to stay in the United States while receiving care, and to request extensions.

Some Florida examples of people applying to the program, or for renewals of their protection under the program, include a girl with an eye malignancy and another young girl with cerebral palsy, as well as the father of three American-citizen children who has a terminal liver illness, according to their attorney, Milena Portillo.

NPR’s Shannon Dooling: “Trump Administration Ends Protection For Migrants’ Medical Care” 

Anthony Marino, director of legal services for the Irish International Immigrant Center, explained that up until now, federal immigration officials would routinely permit eligible sick people to stay in the country under this program. But last week, five of his clients — who he says would have typically qualified — received what appeared to be template denial letters with the exact same language.

…Marino added many of the affected clients at the center are families whose children have cancer, cystic fibrosis, HIV, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and epilepsy.

…”It is unconscionable. It is wrong. And we are here to say that we will fight,” [Senator] Markey said. “We have gathered many times in the last 2 1/2 years since Donald Trump was inaugurated — many times, these same groups have come together. We have now reached the bottom, though — the most inhumane of all of Donald Trump’s policies are the ones we are here to speak about today.”