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Department of Homeland Security Under Intense Scrutiny

Even the Department of Homeland Security's first secretary has accused President Trump of "perverting" the agency's mission when cracking down on protests

Mazin Sidahmed

Aug 14, 2020

WASHINGTON DC - CIRCA AUGUST 2019: ICE Immigration Customs Enforcement

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The Department of Homeland Security is facing serious questions about its role in policing protests in Portland, Oregon, and calls to disband the agency entirely have grown louder. The agency was created in the wake of 9/11 and has grown exponentially since then. Once enjoying bipartisan support, the Trump administration has led Democrats turn against it, and even former secretaries of the agency have criticized its new powers. DHS’ first secretary Tom Ridge said “the president has perverted the mission of DHS.” Biden will likely face calls to at least overhaul the agency, if not disband it altogether, if he wins the November election. The Washington Post 

In other federal immigration news…

United Nations Criticizes Asylum Policy

The United Nations’ refugee agency said a Trump administration asylum rule violates international law. In a Thursday court filing, the UN agency said the Trump administration’s policy aimed at blocking people who cross between ports of entry from claiming asylum would be “at variance with three binding international law protections.” The policy, which was set in late 2018, was challenged in court and temporarily blocked. The amicus brief filed on Thursday was part of an ongoing case at the US Court of Appeals for District of Columbia Circuit. CNN

USCIS Legal Gets a New Head

“George Fishman, a high ranking DHS attorney and former member of Jared Kushner’s immigration team, has been picked to run the USCIS legal office (office of the chief counsel). Fishman was closely involved with developing the Remain in Mexico policy,” BuzzFeed News’s Hamed Aleaziz reports.  

Poll Finds Americans Support COVID-19 Restrictions

Americans support temporary immigration restrictions put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, a Public Agenda/USA TODAY/Ipsos poll found. The poll showed 81% of Republicans, 49% of Democrats and 62% of independents said the U.S. government has done right by temporarily enacting immigration restrictions in an effort to slow the spread of the pandemic. The survey was conducted in May after the president issued travel restrictions on China, Europe, Mexico and Canada. USA Today

How Stephen Miller and Katie Waldman Fell in Love While Restricting Immigration

Vanity Fair has published a deep dive profile on newlyweds Stephen Miller and Katie Waldman. Miller, a senior adviser to President Trump, is the architect of his harshest immigration policies. Waldman is the press secretary for Vice President Mike Pence, and reportedly said she was sent to the border to gain empathy for children separated from their parents but “it didn’t work.” “Stephen, 34, and Katie, 28, had fallen in love — as young people do — while figuring out how to separate children from their parents at the border.” Vanity Fair

Mazin Sidahmed

Mazin Sidahmed is the co-executive director of Documented. He previously worked for the Guardian US in New York. He started his career writing for The Daily Star in Beirut and he also contributed to Politico New York.




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