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President Trump Immigration

Airdate: April 13, 2017
This week Attorney General Jeff Sessions toured the U.S.-Mexico border and unveiled what he described as a new get-tough approach to immigration prosecutions under President Donald Trump.

Guests:
  • Larry Levi Sandigo - Immigration attorney
Category: Immigration

Keywords: Immigration, Mexico, President Trump,

View Transcript
JOSE: ATTORNEY GENERAL JEFF SESSIONS OUTLINED THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION'S TOUGH APPROACH ON IMMIGRATION DURING A VISIT TO THE U-S MEXICO BORDER IN NOGALES, ARIZONA. HE CREDITED PRESIDENT TRUMP FOR THE DECLINE IN BORDER APPREHENSIONS AND SAID THE ADMINISTRATION WILL BRING MORE FELONY PROSECUTIONS AGAINST IMMIGRANTS ENTERING THE COUNTRY ILLEGALLY. JOINING ME NOW TO TALK ABOUT THE NEW STANCE ON IMMIGRATION IS LARRY LEVI SANDIGO, ADVOCACY CHAIR OF THE AMERICAN IMMIGRATION LAWYERS ASSOCIATION. LEVI, WELCOME BACK TO "HORIZONTE." FIRST OF ALL, AS WE NOTED IN THE INTRODUCTION, THE ATTORNEY GENERAL SAID PRESIDENT TRUMP'S RESPONSE TO DECLINE BORDER APPREHENSIONS. IS THAT A TRUE STATEMENT?

LARRY LEVI SANDIGO: I THINK IT IS TOUGH TO SAY. YOU KNOW, WE HAVE SEEN IMMIGRATION OVER THE YEARS AND IT CAN BE VERY SEASONAL. IT CAN BE DEPENDING ON FACTORS IN HOME COUNTRIES. IT CAN BE DEPENDENT ON WHAT IS GOING ON IN THE UNITED STATES, THE ECONOMY AND THINGS LIKE THAT. IT IS HARD TO SAY BECAUSE OF PRESIDENT TRUMP THE NUMBERS HAVE GONE DOWN.

JOSE: HASN'T THIS BEEN A DOWNWARD TREND FOR SOME TIME?

LARRY LEVI SANDIGO: YES, THERE HAS BEEN A DOWNWARD TREND FOR SOME TIME.

JOSE: THE ATTORNEY GENERAL TALKED TOUGH. GIVE US A SAMPLE OF SOME OF THE THINGS HE WAS TALKING ABOUT THAT INDICATE THIS NEW TOUGH STANCE BY THE ADMINISTRATION.

LARRY LEVI SANDIGO: I THINK HE PAINTED A VERY GRIM PICTURE TALKING ABOUT BEHEADINGS AND MACHETES AND PAINTS A PICTURE OF LAWLESSNESS ALONG THE BORDER THAT JUST REALLY ISN'T TIED TO REALITY AND MAKING IMMIGRANTS ALL SEEM LIKE CRIMINALS THAT DESERVE TO BE PROSECUTED TO THE FULLEST EXTENT. I THINK THEY ARE PAINTING A NEGATIVE PICTURE.

JOSE: ANY PUSH BACK FROM THE LOCAL AUTHORITIES WHO WERE AT THE BORDER WITH HIM?

LARRY LEVI SANDIGO: I BELIEVE THE MAYOR OF NOGALES MADE IT A POINT TO SAY WHAT ATTORNEY GENERAL SESSIONS WAS SAYING WASN'T WHAT HE WAS SEEING IN HIS TOWN.

JOSE: A KEY PART OF WHAT THE ATTORNEY GENERAL WAS TALKING ABOUT INCREASED MANPOWER FOR ENFORCEMENT AND ALSO FOR THE JUDICIARY TO TAKE CARE OF THE CASES. THERE IS SOME CONCERN IF THAT REALISTIC.

LARRY LEVI SANDIGO: IT IS HARD TO SAY WITH THE INCREASED DETENTION WILL THE JUDGES ADDRESS THE NEW CASES OR THE 500,000 BACKLOG CASES? IT IS HARD TO SAY WHAT IS ACTUALLY GOING TO HAPPEN.

JOSE: MY UNDERSTANDING IS THE ATTORNEY GENERAL DIDN'T MEET WITH ANYONE WHO WOULD HAVE A DIFFERENT POINT OF VIEW ON THE IMMIGRATION ISSUE.

LARRY LEVI SANDIGO: THAT IS MY UNDERSTANDING AS WELL AND I THINK YOU HAVE TO TALK TO A VARIETY OF CONSTITUENTS TO FIND OUT WHAT IS HAPPENING ON THE BORDER. THAT WAS UNFORTUNATE HE DIDN'T GIVE FOLKS THE OPPORTUNITY TO SHARE WHAT WAS HAPPENING.

JOSE: IN TERMS OF WHAT IS HAPPENING, HOW WOULD THAT LOOK DIFFERENTLY THAN WHAT THE ATTORNEY GENERAL WAS PORTRAYING.

LARRY LEVI SANDIGO: I THINK FOR ONE, THE NUMBERS ARE GOING DOWN. WE DON'T HAVE THIS IMMENSE CRISIS OF VIOLENCE AND CARTEL RUNNING A MUCK ON THE GROUND. I THINK THE NUMBERS ARE GOING DOWN AND MANY OF THE PEOPLE COMING TO THE UNITED STATES ARE COMING TO BE WITH THEIR FAMILIES AND DON'T HAVE NEFARIOUS INTENTIONS. I THINK IN TALKING WITH COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS YOU WOULD HAVE GOTTEN THAT IMPRESSIONS.

JOSE: CERTAINLY THE TONE IS TOUGHER. BUT IS THE POLICY MUCH DIFFERENT THAN WHAT IT WAS UNDER THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION?

LARRY LEVI SANDIGO: I WOULDN'T SAY SO. WHAT HE OUTLINED IN THE MEMORANDUM WERE ALREADY CRIMES.

JOSE: GOING AFTER THE MOST DANGEROUS CRIMINALS. WHAT ABOUT TALKING ABOUT GREATER ENFORCEMENT ON IDENTIFY THEFT AND REPEAT CROSSERS, PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN DEPORTED A NUMBER OF TIMES AND KEEP COMING BACK IN.

LARRY LEVI SANDIGO: SO THE FEDERAL PROSECUTORS ALREADY HAD THE ABILITY TO PROSECUTE THOSE AS MISDEMEANORS OR FELONY CHARGES. I THINK THE SHIFT WOULD BE THE EMPHASIS AS GOING AFTER THEM AS FELONY RATHER THAN TRYING THEM AS A MISDEMEANOR.

JOSE: A BIG ISSUE FOR ARIZONA IS THE WALL. BIDS ARE BEING SUBMITTED AS WE SPEAK. DID HE TALK ABOUT THAT?

LARRY LEVI SANDIGO: HE DID MENTION THE WALL AND I THINK IT IS INTERESTING HE MENTIONED THE NEED FOR THE WALL AT THE SAME TIME HE DISCUSSED THE NUMBERS WERE GOING DOWN. CONSIDERING THE COST AND ISSUES OF THE WALL, I DON'T THINK IT IS A NECESSARY ITEM TO DETER UNLAWFUL IMMIGRATION. IT REALLY IS A WASTE OF MONEY.

JOSE: I WANT TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF YOUR PRESENCE TO UPDATE US ON WHAT IS GOING ON OTHER AREAS RELATED TO IMMIGRATION. FIRST OF ALL, THE TRAVEL BAN. WHERE DO THOSE THINGS STAND?

LARRY LEVI SANDIGO: THERE IS A HEARING COMING UP IN THE 9TH CIRCUIT ABOUT THAT BUT THAT IS NOT IN AFFECT CURRENTLY.

JOSE: THERE WAS A DECISION BY THE JUDGE IN HAWAII AND THAT IS WHAT HAS BEEN CHALLENGED IN THE 9TH CIRCUIT. ISN'T THERE SOMETHING GOING ON ACROSS THE COUNTRY ON THE EAST COAST?

LARRY LEVI SANDIGO: YES, THERE IS AND THERE IS GOING TO BE AN APPELLATE HEARING ON THAT COMING UP.

JOSE: ANY SENSE FOR WHETHER THE MODIFIED BAN, WHICH DID MAKE A NUMBER OF CHANGES IN WHAT WAS ORIGINALLY SET FORTH, WHETHER ULTIMATELY IT WILL BE UPHELD BY THE COURTS?

LARRY LEVI SANDIGO: I DON'T THINK IT WILL BE UPHELD. I THINK IF YOU READ THE DECISION IT WILL FOCUS ON THE INTENT BEING THE SAME.

JOSE: SANCTUARY CITIES AND THE PRESIDENT KEEPS TALKING OF PUNISHING THEM. IS THAT SOMETHING THEY CAN DO?

LARRY LEVI SANDIGO: THAT IS UP FOR DEBATE WHETHER HE CAN TIE MONEY THAT HAS TO DO WITH ENFORCEMENT AND TAKE THAT AWAY. THAT IS UP FOR DEBATE.

JOSE: AND ONE LAST AREA OF IMPORTANCE FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS IN ARIZONA HAS TO DO WITH DACA. THE PRESIDENT CONTINUES TO TALK ABOUT THOSE STUDENTS AS DESERVING AND INDICATES HE WANTS TO DO SOMETHING POSITIVE. WHERE DO THINGS STAND ON THAT FRONT?

LARRY LEVI SANDIGO: AS OF RIGHT NOW, IT IS IN PLACE AND YOU CAN APPLY FOR EXISTING AND RENEWAL. THE PROGRAM STILL IN EFFECT.

JOSE: ARE STUDENTS BEING ADVISED TO APPLY NOW? ISN'T THERE CONCERN THEY ARE GIVING THE INFORMATION USED TO LOCATE THEM IN AN EVENT IT IS NOT GRANTED?

LARRY LEVI SANDIGO: THAT CONCERN EXISTS. WE DON'T KNOW HOW THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION IS GOING TO USE THE INFORMATION PROVIDED ON THOSE APPLICATIONS SO I THINK ALL ATTORNEYS SHOULD BE ADVISING THEIR CLIENTS, ESPECIALLY FIRST TIME APPLICANTS ABOUT NOT KNOWING WHERE THE INFORMATION IS GOING TO BE KEPT AND WHAT IS GOING TO BE DONE WITH IT.

JOSE: AT LEAST BE CAUTIOUS?

LARRY LEVI SANDIGO: YES.

JOSE: THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US. WE WILL BE TALKING TO YOU OVER THE MONTHS AND YEARS.

LARRY LEVI SANDIGO: I LOOK FORWARD TO IT.