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Government Security News February 2017 Digital Edition

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Hot Topics: More opinions on Immigration New memos reveal harsh and unforgiving immigration road map, taking nation backwards in guaranteeing due process and providing safe havens, as Department of Homeland Security implements President Trump’s immigration Executive Orders By Beth Werlin The White House released the implementation memos and other information on Monday about how the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will begin implementing President Trump’s immigration Executive Orders on border security and immigration enforcement. The memos reveal that DHS intends to take our nation backwards in terms of guaranteeing due process, providing a safe haven for those who need it, and building productive and safe communities where everyone can thrive. What is in the memos? An end to long-standing protections for children. DHS intends to strip many children arriving alone at our border of basic protections and to penalize their parents for seeking to reunite with their children in the United States. They will do this by narrowing the definition of “unaccompanied alien child” in order to limit those protections and by launching either civil or criminal enforcement against the parents. This will result not only in scaring parents from coming forward to reunite with their children but also lead to more young children representing themselves in immigration court against a seasoned government attorney. A massive expansion of detention. The memos contemplate a massive expansion of detention, including a requirement that DHS officers detain nearly everyone they apprehend at or near the border. This detention space expansion—a boon to the private prison industry—means 30 Photo: Chucky Eager that more children, families and other vulnerable groups seeking protection in the United States will end up detained, at great financial and human cost. Prosecution priorities and discretion are gone. The new memos rescind earlier policies on whom to prosecute and deport and whom to deprioritize because they pose no threat to our communities. The new enforcement priorities are extremely broad covering nearly all undocumented individuals in the More on page 42

Supreme Court hears case on shooting of 15-year old Sergio Hernandez by U.S. Border Patrol Agent By Walter Ewing Officers with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)—the federal agency which includes the Border Patrol—are rarely held accountable for their actions. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the case of Sergio Hernandez, a 15-year-old boy shot dead in 2010 in Mexico by a Border Patrol agent who fired on him from the U.S. side of the border. The agent in question has never faced criminal charges for the killing. The boy’s mother brought a civil suit against the agent for damages, and her case was argued before the Supreme Court on February 21. The central question before the Court is whether a federal court has the authority to consider a civil suit such as this. The Court will determine, then, whether the agent must stand trial to account for his deadly conduct. But this case will have ramifications well beyond the actions of one Border Patrol agent because his actions represent a systemic lack of accountability within CBP. Rather than fix the system, the Trump administration is proposing to throw gasoline on the fire; adding thousands of new CBP officers to the mix without doing anything to ensure that the rights of the people whom CBP encounters are respected. The results could well prove fatal to more immigrants, regardless of which side of the border they find themselves on. The Hernandez case is egregious in a number of ways. According to the brief filed by his family, Sergio was playing with two friends just over the border from El Paso in Juarez. As is common among the children of Juarez, Sergio and his companions were running up the 31 side of a concrete culvert and touching that 18-foot-high border fence before running back down. Since they were playing and not trying to enter the United States, they did this in plain view of the Paso del Norte Port of Entry. Needless to say, they were unarmed. Nevertheless, a Border Patrol agent named Jesus Mesa took exception to this behavior and grabbed one of the boys as they ran back down the culvert. Mesa then drew his weapon and fired down into the culvert, hitting Sergio in the head. Mesa claimed that Sergio was throwing rocks at him. Because Sergio was standing in Mexico when Mesa killed him, the U.S. government is claiming that Mesa cannot be sued for violating Sergio’s rights. If the Supreme Court sides with Photo: Pete Jordan Mesa in this case, it is tantamount to declaring open season on anyone standing on the wrong side of the U.S.-Mexico borderline. Then again, it was already a declaration of open season when no criminal charges were filed against Mesa. In More on page 44