On this April Fools Day made up news not funny.

Saturday, April 11th, 2020
By: Jonathan MontagJ.D.

Twice I had the honor of being the San Diego AILA chapter chairman, or “chapter chair” as it has long been called, even before gender neutrality became mainstream (It still sounds horribly wrong to me when a speaker uses the plural pronoun “they” when they want to avoid a gendered single one like “he” or “she”). As the chair, I thought it was important to disseminate the local AILA/immigration news to the chapter by sending out a weekly email news letter. On April 1, during each term, I put out a fake, comical April Fools edition. In light of the Coronavirus crisis and the federal governmental fiasco dealing with it, on top of the horrible changes in immigration law during the Trump – Sessions – Barr – Miller administration, I am lucky I am not the chapter chair now as I would be hard-pressed to find anything in the news that would be funny to spoof. (A problem I have with television programs like Hasan Minhaj’s Patriot Act or John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight are the awkward analogies to horrific events – “Being notified of a deportation order to a Nazi concentration camp is like waking up hoping to breakfast on the last doughnut left from the day before and finding out it is lemon filled.”

What would fictional news headlines look like with this crypto-fascist administration?

Aware of the spread of corona virus in immigration detention facilities, the President ordered ICE and CBP to immediately begin screening of all non-violent detainees for expeditious release.

In light of the stay at home orders making interactions with legal assistance providers illegal, dangerous, or extremely difficult, and the need for essential service workers, disproportionately made up of immigrant populations, documented and undocumented, all employment authorization rules are suspended.

In light of the current crisis, all periods of stay and employment authorization for non-immigrants are extended.

In light of the current crisis, all filing deadlines in any immigration department or agency are suspended and the issuance of all removal orders shall be deferred.

In light of the current crisis, all regulations and policies requiring face to face interviews at consulates and at USCIS offices are suspended.

USCIS shall immediately develop procedures for remote taking of oaths for the issuance of naturalization and citizenship certificates.

In light of the current crisis, all restrictions on the provision of health benefits or insurance to people seeking healthcare because of immigration status are suspended.

All aliens facing deportation to countries experiencing restrictions because of COVID-19 are granted deferred action.

Any alien who misses an immigration court date because of dislocation, financial hardship, or inability to travel caused by the current crisis should have their (ouch) case continued unless the court has clear and convincing evidence the absence was not COVID-19 related. This presumption will serve to satisfy the exceptional hardship standard to rescind an in absentia removal order.

In light of the current crisis, any public assistance received by aliens, family members, or financial sponsors during the crisis shall have no influence on affidavit of support or public charge considerations.

In light of the current crisis, any financial sponsor whose affidavit of support would have satisfied the requirements for financial sponsorship in 2019 will satisfy the requirements now.

All public charge grounds of deportability are suspended.

U.S. Attorneys are ordered to prioritize for prosecution any acts of coercion, force, or threat of force used against detainees seeking to protect themselves by making protective clothing, seeking medical attention, communicating on conditions in ICE detention, concealing the conditions in a detention facility, or seeking waivers of liability for injury caused by unsafe conditions to the fullest extent of the law and cannot be considered actions protected by governmental officials’ immunity.

Any knowing or reckless dissemination of false or misleading information by any official speaking in their (ouch again) official capacity to conceal COVID-19 conditions in any facility housing detainees, including immigration detainees, shall be deemed as perjurous and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Any financial relief available to people based on prior employment or self-employment and the filing of tax returns shall be available regardless of immigration status.

Decidedly unfunny.

If we did not have a government run by psychopaths who don’t give a damn about government employees, lawyers, or the public in general, documented or not, these would not be fanciful mock proposals but the minimal actions taken to keep society stable and the public safe. We will reap what we sow. Posted April 11, 2020.


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