The topic that dominated the news last week was pressure received by the Obama administration regarding the New Year’s weekend ICE raids that targeted Central American immigrants, and continued plans to remove those with denied asylum claims back to the dangerous conditions in their countries of origin.
As reported by the New York Times, Bernie Sanders wrote an open letter to the president last Thursday, suggesting that temporary protected status be granted to the families that have crossed the U.S. southern border illegally since 2014.
The next day, Latino leaders spoke out about the immigration raids, asking the President to show ‘moral leadership’ (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/federal-eye/wp/2016/01/08/latino-leaders-ask-obama-to-show-moral-leadership/)
On Sunday, a written statement from Hilary Clinton’s campaign called for a halt to the raids. “Our immigration enforcement efforts should be humane and conducted in accordance with due process, and that is why I believe we must stop the raids happening in immigrant communities” , as reported by the Washington Post.
And on the eve of President Obama’s last State of the Union Address, dozens of members of his own party wrote him a letter in which they stated that they were “gravely concerned that the Department of Homeland Security may have already removed mothers and children from the United States and returned them to violent and dangerous situations in their own countries”.
The issue of immigration was barely mentioned in his State of the Union Address on Tuesday, given only three minutes, as compared to 15 minutes in 2012.
Cuba was back in the news. Reestablishment of diplomatic relations with Cuba has sparked a wave of immigrants from Cuba due to fear of repeal of 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act, with about 30,000 Cubans making it to the southwest border of the U.S. in the 2015 fiscal year, representing a 77 percent increase over the previous year. Marco Rubio authored a Senate bill to curb Cuban immigration benefits.
A reminder from NPR that Obama’s program of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) could go the way of the dodo if a Republican wins the White House in 2016, stranding more than a half million current recipients: http://www.npr.org/2016/01/03/461192533/prepping-for-daca-s-last-year