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Yr Wonkette, like other liberal elitists, sometimes indulges in making fun of wingnuts who disparage the arts or quote Shakespeare badly. We really shouldn't say, however, that Republicans lack creativity. They just need the right canvas, like wrecking people's lives. When it comes to inflicting humiliations and privations on groups they disfavor, the right wing is endlessly creative, as any student of Jim Crow history knows. Today, we have two of just the many incredibly creative ways the Trump administration has come up with to tell immigrants their lives and families are entirely subject to the random whims of immigration authorities. The message is simple: We're in power, and we can do to you whatever we want.


Do it Legally So We Can Arrest You

First up, there's this WaPo story about an ACLU lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security, accusing two DHS agencies, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of colluding to use green card interviews as "cruel bait and switch" sting operations to ensnare and deport undocumented migrants who might qualify for permanent residency because they're married -- or otherwise related -- to US citizens. It's a hell of a scam:

The ACLU of Massachusetts is accusing the agencies of conspiring to "trap" unsuspecting immigrants on a path toward legal permanent residency by inviting them to these interviews only for ICE to arrest them there. This happened to at least 17 people in 2018 [...] The ACLU argues this violates their rights to due process and the Immigration Nationality Act, among other things, for detaining the immigrants before they've had a chance to complete the process for seeking legal status.

"The government created this path for them to seek a green card," Matthew Segal, legal director of the ACLU of Massachusetts, told the Associated Press. "The government can't create that path and then arrest folks for following that path."

Ah, but don't you see, the entire administrative and legal apparatus of immigration belongs to people who hate immigrants and want to reduce immigration to zero, so immigration law can be enforced as selectively as the administration wants. ISN'T THAT WHAT OBAMA DID WITH DACA, HUH?

Oh, but just look at the evidence and see what clever thugs these bastards are:

Emails between the agencies released Tuesday show USCIS employees scheduling interviews with certain married couples or other family members around ICE agents' availability. When immigrants and their spouses or family members showed up, USCIS employees would alert ICE. If ICE agents were running late, ICE would ask USCIS to reschedule the interviews to accommodate them.

One ICE agent even explained in an email that whenever possible, USCIS should try not to schedule multiple interviews/arrests for the same day, lest the media notice the agencies were using migrants' attempts to comply with the law as a trap to arrest them.

Just imagine how delighted the ICE Stasi must be at the looks of dismay that come over the people they've fooled. They might even have a betting pool on whether people cry when they're taken into custody. And it's all very moral and justified, you know, because what part of illegal don't you understand?

Have A Valid Tourist Visa? ICE Can Still Fuck You Over.

Then there's the case of Michelle Nicoll Gutierrez of Michoacán, Mexico, also reported by WaPo (if you're paywalled, the story was broken at the Houston Chronicle last week). Gutierrez is one of those folks the Trump administration claimed it had no beef with: she's scrupulously followed the law, using her tourist visa to visit her mother, a naturalized citizen, always returning to her spouse and their business back home. She traveled often, without any incident, until earlier this month, when she was detained at George Bush Intercontinental Airport and deported because La Migra decided she was no tourist but a dangerous "intending immigrant" -- someone bent on overstaying their visa and stealing American jobs, even though she'd never overstayed at any point since 2010.

Nicoll Gutierrez's visa has been permanently revoked and she's been banned from coming into the USA for five years. Why? Because Customs and Border Protection decided she was likely to be a burden on the taxpayers. You see, back in the Before Times in 2016, when the world was laughing at us for letting people like her flout our laws by following them, Nicoll Gutierrez was visiting her mom in Maryland when she was five months pregnant. She experienced complications, and was diagnosed with pre-gestational diabetes. Her doctors told her not to travel, so going back to Mexico wasn't an option.

Nicoll Gutierrez and her mother say they were planning to use savings to pay out-of-pocket for the medical care. But an immigrant group directed them to Maryland Health Connection, the state's health insurance marketplace, where they learned from a navigator that with her valid tourist visa, Nicoll Gutierrez was eligible for Medicaid and CHIP, the Children's Health Insurance Program.

Her son was born in D.C. that December, making him an American citizen. They returned home before the end of the six months her visa allows her to stay.

Under the New Cruelty, that counts as proof she's planning to do welfare fraud, even though she legally qualified for CHIP and Medicaid at the time, so we have to make sure she's punished for doing legal stuff. The Trumpers in WaPo's comments make it very clear she's the worst possible cheat, the sort of person who would use benefits they qualify for, which is only allowed if you're white, run a business, and ideally are also president.

The American Immigration Lawyers Association says it has seen a spike since April in visa application denials citing public-charge grounds at the U.S. Consulate in Juarez, Mexico. That follows a change early this year in the State Department foreign affairs manual, instructing consular officers to consider a wide range of personal attributes and use of public benefits when deciding whether to issue visas.

"It's a big deal. What's being proposed basically turns things on its head regarding what constitutes being inadmissible," said Kathleen Walker, an immigration lawyer in El Paso. "Do we want to send a message discouraging families from seeking medical attention, from feeding their children or seeking immunizations because it might affect legal status? Is that how low we've gone?"

Well, yes. Punishing people for doing legal things Fox News viewers don't like is now official US Government policy. Next we'll look into taking people's kids away if they buy brand name peanut butter with an EBT card. The administration also plans to enact similar restrictions on naturalized citizenship and permanent residency for other immigrants who have been here legally but used services they qualify for, like Head Start.

Sure, maybe once her five-year exclusion is over, Ms. Nicoll Gutierrez can come to visit? Her father-in-law, John Atchley, a former US Foreign Service officer, said he and her mom thought they might sponsor her for legal residency several years ago, before America declared war on her kind, but gave up when lawyers said the wait would be 20 years for someone from Mexico. "We'll be dead by then," he said.

That, by the way, is the "chain migration" Donald Trump wants to end, because it's flooding the US with people from shithole countries. Thank Crom, we are now safe from people who have medical emergencies while sneaking into the USA on a tourist visa, and we can all line up to collect the tax savings of a few thousandths of a cent each, HOORAY!

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[WaPo / Houston Chronicle / WaPo]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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