From the Miami News Times:
Two American citizens who live in South Florida— Miamian Garland Creedle and Keys resident Peter Sean Brown — sued Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties after being wrongly held in jail and nearly deported thanks to mistaken paperwork from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Frighteningly, those two people are not alone. According to a report released today by the American Civil Liberties Union, ICE erred in issuing 420 “detainer requests” for U.S. citizens in Miami-Dade from 2017 to 2019 alone. It’s unclear how many of those 420 people were actually detained by county police or jails, but it’s possible tens or hundreds of Americans have been sitting behind bars in the Magic City awaiting wrongful deportation.
The ACLU obtained Miami-Dade’s ICE detainer documents as part of Creedle’s lawsuit against the county. According to the group’s report, ICE voluntarily rescinded 83 of those requests after likely realizing the orders were mistakes.
This following a CNN report documenting that ICE agents will forge warrants and other paperwork for people they consider to be here illegally.
Lawyers and advocates interviewed by CNN expressed surprise about the improperly signed warrants, which could be used to challenge individual deportation orders at immigration hearings.
“If there’s evidence of that, that’s a big deal,” said Jeremy McKinney, a member of the executive committee of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, whose members represent clients in deportations and immigration matters. “That’s the root of an illegal arrest.”
More broadly, improperly signed warrants could become a point of contention in several ongoing lawsuits over ICE’s practice of asking law enforcement to hold undocumented immigrants in detention up to 48 hours longer than they otherwise would. With each such request, called a detainer, ICE sends along a warrant.
All of the above are good reasons not to cooperate with ICE. State or, more often, local authorities often seek to push back against federal immigration enforcement, usually by refusing to cooperate with ICE on data sharing or refusing ICE access to jails. Where these sanctuary laws have been implemented, however, they can also be undermined by informal networks linking police and federal agents. From the Associated Press:
Two years after New Mexico’s largest county barred local law enforcement from cooperating with immigration authorities, its leaders learned that the policy was being subverted from within.
Staff members at the Bernalillo County jail in Albuquerque were still granting immigration authorities access to its database and, in some cases, tipping them off when a person of interest was being released.
“I was surprised and horrified,” said Maggie Hart Stebbins, chairwoman of the Bernalillo County Commission. “Individual employees do not have the freedom to pick and choose what they want to observe.”
The disclosure last month cast a spotlight on an often-overlooked way in which immigration officials around the U.S. may be getting around local “sanctuary” policies — through informal relationships with police and others willing to cooperate when they’re not supposed to. Immigration activists say they have seen it places like Philadelphia, Chicago and several communities in California, which has a statewide sanctuary law.
According to an article in the LA Times, border patrol agents have started the process of releasing detained immigrants, not because it is cruel and unjust to imprison families for seeking help, but because there is NO MORE SPACE in these facilities,
“Normally, the Border Patrol would transfer the migrants to Immigration and Customs Enforcement to be “processed” and in many cases placed in detention facilities. But officials said that both agencies have run out of space due to a recent influx of Central American families…
… A Border Patrol official — who spoke on the condition that he not be identified — denied that the release was a political stunt and said that crowding the facilities would threaten the safety of agents and migrants. “It is a crisis,” he said. “It’s not a self-proclaimed crisis.”The agency plans to make similar releases along other parts of the border, he said”…
For immigration court cases, language barriers could be causing “unfair deportation trials” for migrants. In a recent article by The Marshall Project, the author states that,
“Now the Justice Department has ordered the judges to use more translators who work over the phone because of what the agency says are budget problems. But judges and lawyers say the quality of the telephone translations suffers and may be leading to unfair deportation trials.”
Detention Centers + Health:
While images of migrant children and families being detained is quite saddening, what’s even more heartbreaking is the long term effect, both physically and emotionally, that these individuals will experience after being treated which such disdain. In two separate facilities, it has been reported that a “youth detainee has shown symptoms of having scabies” (Fox13Memphis) and that in a facility in Texas, 186 people have contracted mumps.
Even with backlash from community members and nonprofit organizations, private corporations such as GEO Group and Immigration Centers of America (ICA) are still working to have for-profit immigration prisons in these communities. And if that isn’t bad enough, a recent article by Common Dreams states that the Office of Refuge Resettlement has been sending youth migrants to “off-the-book facilities”,
“An investigation by Reveal on Monday showed that at least 16 young immigrants—as young as nine years old and in need of mental or behavioral health treatment—have been sent by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) to “off-the-books” facilities outside the network of federally-funded detention centers. The administration is housing immigrant children with an even greater degree of secrecy than was previously known, in violation of U.S. law.”
The U.S. Supreme Court has recently made another disappointing ruling regarding immigration policies. Today’s ruling states that the U.S. government has the “authority to detain immigrants awaiting deportation anytime – potentially even years – after they have completed prison terms for criminal convictions” (Reuters).
Along with being unethical, this ruling also points to the fact that the U.S. government prefers to punish and create avenues for private corporations to profit off of marginalized communities instead of creating proactive and just immigration policies…
At the border, families continue their fight with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency as the latter continues to work to move landowners off of their property to extend the border wall; “More than 570 landowners in two counties, Hidalgo and Starr, have received right-of-entry letters from the government asking to survey their land for possible border wall construction” (NPR). The fact that the government is pressuring (almost seizing) the private property of landowners, makes their action teeter on the borderline of violating the #FifthAmendment which states that “private property cannot be taken for public use, without just compensation”…
Recently on MSNBC, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) expressed InAlienable’s philosophy beautifully, “Immigration is not a security issue,” Gillibrand said. “It is an economic and a humanitarian and a family issue. So there is no such thing as an illegal human.”