immigration

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

A debate has broken out at the Pentagon and in Congress over a proposal to dismantle an 8-year-old program that gives fast-track citizenship to immigrant soldiers who were recruited because they have critical skills in languages and medicine.

More than 4,000 immigrant soldiers recruited through the program — mostly from China and South Korea — are serving in uniform, including on overseas tours. Another 4,000 recruits have enlisted and are awaiting training.

The Pentagon is considering pulling out of a deal it made with thousands of noncitizen recruits with specialized skills: Join the military and we'll put you on the fast track to citizenship.

The proposal to dismantle the program would cancel enlistment contracts for many of the foreign-born recruits, leaving about 1,000 of them without legal protection from deportation.

Updated June 29 at 1:20 p.m. ET

The Trump administration outlined Thursday how it will implement its modified travel ban, following the Supreme Court's decision on Monday lifting a stay on the executive order imposed by two lower courts.

A federal judge in Michigan has temporarily barred U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement from deporting a group of more than 1,400 Iraqi nationals for at least two weeks, expanding an order that initially applied only to those in the Detroit area.

A federal judge in Michigan granted temporary reprieve from deportation on Thursday to more than 100 Iraqi nationals with criminal convictions who were living in the Detroit area. They had argued they could face persecution or torture in Iraq because of their status as religious minorities, The Associated Press reports.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which represented the Iraqis, says they include Christians and Muslims.

Immigration authorities have rounded up nearly 200 Iraqis in recent weeks, and the Trump administration is now under heavy pressure to hold off moves to deport them.

Many of those currently detained are from the minority Chaldean Christian community, which faces severe persecution in Iraq.

U.S. immigration authorities say the detained Iraqis have criminal records, but their families and supporters say many have already served time or paid their fines and that they would face persecution if sent back.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

At a Seattle courtroom on Monday, in the latest battle in the legal war over President Trump's currently suspended travel ban, lawyers and judges pushed and pulled on the swirling questions over Trump's intentions and the legal limits on executive power.

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments from lawyers for the U.S. government and the state of Hawaii over the executive order that would block travelers from six majority-Muslim countries.

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill into law that lets police ask during routine stops whether someone is in the country legally and threatens sheriffs and police chiefs with jail if they don't cooperate with federal immigration agents.

The timing of the signing caught Democratic lawmakers off guard.

Abbott signed the bill Sunday night during a Facebook Live event with no advance public warning.

He signed the measure four days after both chambers of the Legislature approved it. The new law goes into effect Sept. 1.

Pages