Daily Dispatch 3/27/2019

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Daily Dispatch

March 27, 2019

Florida law seeks to ban sanctuary cities…there are no sanctuary cities in Florida

From Think Progress:

Senate Bill 168, and its sister legislation HB 527 in the House, would prevent municipalities from designating themselves as sanctuary cities — despite the fact that no sanctuary cities currently exist in the state of Florida. Nearly every municipality already shares information with federal immigration authorities, but the new bill would require local law enforcement to comply with federal requests to detain undocumented immigrants for potential deportation proceedings. Immigration activists worry that the bill will incentivize racial profiling and fracture the fragile trust between immigrant communities and local police.

The bill is the result of a backroom deal that, while requiring law enforcement to cooperate with federal authorities, has Florida opt out of the E-verify system that checks employment status. The reasons are pretty clear: The business community in Florida relies on undocumented workers, and does not want to be penalized for the practice.

“This is a tradeoff of business interests at the expense of immigrant communities,” Ida V. Eskamani, public policy director at the New Florida Majority, told reporters on a press call. “Our communities are being used as bargaining chips and it will have severe economic consequences.”

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner Creates New Office to Advise on Immigrant Defendants

If you are living in the United States as an immigrant, even as a permanent resident, a criminal conviction can get you deported. Over the last 20 years the range of crimes that make one deportable has expanded, and even low level offenses can now lead to removal proceedings. In Philadelphia, the DA’s office has looked for ways seek convictions without triggering deportation proceedings for low level crimes. The office has added a staff specialist named Caleb Arnold to handle this work.

The move is in line with other new policies under the progressive DA, who has made it a priority to examine the collateral consequences of criminal charges on defendants. During Krasner’s tenure, the DA’s office has also stopped charging low-level marijuana possession cases and no longer pursues prostitution charges against sex workers with fewer than two convictions.

After a press conference announcing their [Arnold’s] hiring, Arnold has been toiling behind the scenes, creating policy, working with line prosecutors, and signing off on every case involving non-citizen defendants.

In their first year on the job, Arnold said they consulted on around 300 cases and recommended changing plea deals in 120 of them. The remaining cases are either still open, had no immigration consequence, or were too serious to change. Arnold does not consider high-level offenses, such as homicides and sex crimes.

Arnold’s work involves using a sliding scale of discretion, weighing an immigrant’s time in the United States, dependent family members, and criminal records in deciding whether to intervene.

Read the full story here.

Some more state and local stories

ICE has trained 1,500 local police officers to participate in 287(g) agreements around the country – a program under which local police enforce federal immigration law directly.

As several counties in North Carolina have begun resisting cooperation with ICE, ICE responded by ramping up raids in those counties. The tensions have escalated in North Carolina as a result. In that context, an op-ed appeared yesterday in the Asheville Citizen Times, highlighting the long-term benefits of immigration for North Carolina.

Oregon joins a dozen other states and D.C. in issuing drivers licenses regardless of immigration status.

Last week, a Dayton school board passed a resolution declaring itself a “Safe and Welcoming School District” that “shall do everything in its lawful power to … ensure that our students’ learning environments are not disrupted by immigration enforcement actions.” This was too much for two Ohio Republicans, who quickly introduced legislation banning “sanctuary” school districts and forbidding an locality from impeding an employee’s cooperation with Federal immigration enforcement actions.

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Daily Dispatch 3/26/2019

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Daily Dispatch

March 26, 2019

Report on Dilley Family Detention Facility

The Nation released a report today from Martin Garbus, an attorney who volunteered for a week at the Dilley Family Detention Center earlier this month. This is an eye opening report, and also an example of the importance of local action and volunteering in support of marginalized communities. Only through such direct engagement do these stories get circulated more broadly. From the report:

I spent one week at Dilley, leaving early in February, as a volunteer lawyer to help these families with their asylum applications. Nearly every one of the almost 500 people that I saw in the detention center was sick. There were, at the end of my visit, 15 infants in the center—two children had previously died in government custody, though not in the Dilley facility. The children and their mothers, most of whom had crossed the Rio Grande ten days before, near McAllen, Texas, often bucking strong currents and sand holes, where the water level hovered around their knees, looked for border patrol agents so they could be taken into custody and request asylum.

The agents take them in their wet clothes, at first, to the “Hielera,” the “Ice Box,” a refrigerated building, a large processing center, where they had to try to sleep on the concrete floor or sit on concrete benches under mylar blankets, prodded by agents all night and day, deliberately kept awake. Bathroom breaks are frequently not granted, or not in time, so both women and children often soil themselves.

The prison-like detention was an attempt to persuade these immigrants to turn back before they even reached a credible-fear interview with an asylum officer. It was also a message to those who were still trying to cross the border.

Read the full story here. Get involved!

Everyone who is a citizen has the right to vote, correct? Nope.
The struggle to reinstate voting rights! Right2Vote Report

Across the country a battle is being waged to reinstate voting rights to people who have lost them as the result of a criminal conviction. Under the U.S. Constitution, each state decides who can vote, within the parameters established by the 15th, 19th, and 26th amendments.  As a result, the right to vote for many people is contingent on where they live, especially if they have a felony conviction. In some states you never lose the right to vote, even while in prison. In others, you are not allowed to vote while under state custody (imprisoned, paroled or on probation). In some states you lose the right to vote forever once you have some number of felony convictions.

Felony disenfranchisement impacts millions of people – remember the U.S has the MOST incarcerated population on the planet. However, while this impacts every district and community, it disproportionately impacts African American voters, a community whose incarceration rate has spiked as the result of racist policing and prosecutorial practices that have become the hallmark of the so called “war on drugs” over the last thirty years.

There are multiple efforts to reinstate the right to vote for all those who have lost it as result of felony disenfranchisement laws. A constitutional amendment is unlikely to pass at this point – so the battle is a state to state one. There are active campaigns in at least ten different states with legislation pending to restore voting rights to those with a felony conviction. You can get the details, and get involved, by checking out the latest Right2Vote Report here.

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Daily Dispatch 3/25/2019

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Daily Dispatch

March 25, 2019

What do Democrats need to do?

Andrew Moss offers some general advice on how Democratic presidential hopefuls should address immigration in the presidential race. The core details:

[Democrats running for president will] need to show that Trump is wrong on crime and immigration. A number of recent, large-scale studies of metropolitan areas throughout the U.S. have shown no correlation between crime and the growth of immigrant communities. If anything, crime in those areas has decreased. Moreover, challengers to Trump must show that his repeated characterizations of migrants as constituting a destabilizing “invasion” are dangerously distorted. Although news reports have focused on recent migrations to our southern border of people fleeing violence and destitution in Central America, the greatest percentage of people coming to the U.S. since 2010 is from Asian countries, and many of these immigrants are college educated. The percentage of foreign-born persons in the U.S. – 13.7 percent as of 2017 – is still lower than the peak percentage of around 15 percent at the turn of the twentieth century.

Read the rest at CounterPunch here.

A Grand Compromise?

Andrew Moss’ advice is needed.

In the New York Times today, Peter King (R-NY) and Tom Souzi (D-NY) co-authored an opinion piece on immigration where they call for a “grand compromise” on immigration. There are some good things in their proposal – offering a path to citizenship for “dreamers” – children brought into the country undocumented – and holders of temporary protected status. They are also calling for increased fees for immigrants to file for these statuses, and, predictably, billions of dollars in security measures, split between wall funding at the border, and increases in the Homeland Security budget. They do offer funding for programs in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador to offset pressure to migrate – but no specifics on what those programs might be.

Such measures are what is likely needed to get a bill passed – though one suspects the provisions for a path to citizenship will kill this for the hardliners in Congress. As outlined, however, it continues to draw a border around “good immigrants” and “bad,” and thus further entrenches the narrative of criminality, legitimating a policy of deterrence at the border (a program that has utterly failed to deter but has destroyed many lives).

There is, in short, little compromise here – just a bridging of partisan talking points.

ICE arrests of people with no criminal record increasing

New data released last week shows that nearly 40% of the people arrested by ICE have no criminal record. This is a huge increase from the last years of Obama’s presidency where the figure was less than 15%. From USA Today:

Trump campaigned on a promise to target “bad hombres” – including murderers, violent criminals and gang members – but after assuming office he ordered ICE to arrest all undocumented immigrants it encountered, no matter their criminal background. That has led to a consistent drop in the percentage of people arrested by ICE who have a criminal record.

According to data released Thursday, that percentage fell to 63.5 percent in December, the lowest monthly figure since ICE started categorizing arrests in 2012. That means 36.5 percent of the arrests were simply undocumented with no criminal history.


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Daily Dispatch 3/22/2019: Local Action Matters!

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Daily Dispatch

March 22, 2019

Local Action Matters! Get Involved

Immigration policy is supposed to be set at the national level, enforcement a federal responsibility. And yet, political differences at the national level have completely stalled any effort at comprehensive reform. This is mostly bad news, though it is important to remember that the last time there was enough agreement to pass far-reaching immigration reform at the federal level the result was a disaster.

In the current political context, bridging the partisan divide is likely impossible – certainly to get a comprehensive reform bill that would pass through both the House and Senate would require giving into the hardliners in the GOP on security, in exchange for modest reform of DACA and TPS. The last budget debacle is evidence of that. Trump was denied full funding for his wall in the bill, but Democrats gave in on expanding other security measures at the border. The current budget proposal from the Trump administration – with expanded detention-capacity, more wall funding, and huge budget increases for Border Patrol and Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) – is frankly immoral in light of other cuts. The Democrats will fight back on some of these measures, but aside from a handful of members, such as Pramila Jayapal from Seattle, there is an utter lack of political courage to confront the worst enforcement measures and challenge the logic of deterrence that has been the hallmark of immigration policy for decades now.

So, while we must continue to press for change at the national level by, for example, challenging Trump’s budget priorities and executive orders, and supporting legal challenges to his policies, there is also a lot of room to make an immediate difference through local action.

Throughout the country grassroots groups are engaged in activity to support immigrant communities, and in doing so, are building an expanded constituency for longer-term change. The forms of action include:

  1. Rapid response networks that mobilize to serve as witnesses to ICE raids, documenting these encounters and at times disrupting or delaying enforcement actions;
  2. Visitation programs, through which community organizations travel to detention centers, offering friendship to and, when appropriate, taking testimony from, those incarcerated ;
  3. Accompaniment programs, organized to ensure that people traveling to immigration check-ins or court hearings have a witness some of the activity. If people are detained during a check-in, accompaniers can also notify local activists to mobilize;
  4. A host of legal services offered to assist people with paperwork, and/or representation in immigration court;
  5. Advocacy groups, often overlapping with those listed above, who press for changes in local and/or state law, such as promoting sanctuary cities or challenging the establishment of new detention facilities.

As bad as the news on immigration is, and it is often very bad, there are likely many ways for you to get involved in activity beyond sending letters to your members of Congress (keep sending them though!). And such activity really matters for individuals caught up in the system.

The Quixote Center is trying to make it easier for people to connect to groups in their area and learn first-hand about our immigration system. We are launching a Local Action Map on our site, where we have listed groups that are doing local work. We have entries in almost every state, but we know this is just the tip of the iceberg.

We will be doing a wider launch of the mapping project in a couple of weeks. So, your input now will make a difference! Please take a look here. Let us know:

  1. General impressions of usefulness.
  2. Are you aware of any groups in your area that are not listed? Please share through the form on the page.
  3. If you are already involved in a local campaign and would be interested in sharing stories of that work, let us know. We are launching a new blog series to lift examples of local activity and would love to hear from you.
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Daily Dispatch 3/21/2019

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Daily Dispatch

March 21, 2019

ICE Issuing Deportation Orders for U.S. Citizens…

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.

Circumventing Sanctuary Policies

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.


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Daily Dispatch 3/20/19

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Daily Dispatch

March 20, 2019

Immigration News:

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.”

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Daily Dispatch 3/19/19

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Daily Dispatch

March 19, 2019

Immigration News:

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.”  

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Daily Dispatch 3/18/19

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Daily Dispatch

March 18, 2019

Immigration News:

ICE continues to employ unethical strategies to satisfy the Trump administration’s toxic immigration tactics, without truly understanding the negative ramifications of their actions on a social and economical level. The New York Times, recently posted an article about farmers in Upstate New York who now have a shrinking labor pool due to predatory actions of ICE agents in the area:

“We are seeing that the immigration enforcement is having a tremendous enforcement impact on farm workers, on farms,” said Mary Jo Dudley, director of the Cornell Farmworker Program. “For many farmers, there’s no alternative labor force.” To search private property like a farm, ICE needs a warrant that shows reason to believe a particular undocumented immigrant is living or working there. But if undocumented workers leave the farm to go to a grocery store, they can be approached by ICE agents in a parking lot or a roadside checkpoint, detained and deported.”

And in California, through local police departments and the private company, Vigilant Solutions, ICE is being provided with residents’ license plate information in order to track whether or not they are undocumented. 

In an effort to protect communities of colors, the Sacramento Immigration Coalition, a local advocacy group, have started a campaign to teach families “What to do If ICE Comes Knocking.”  

Bills Making Moves:

In legislation news, the Mississippi Senate has passed the Criminal Justice Reform Act (House Bill 1352). The bill will:

“help those leaving looking to gain employment after serving their time in the state’s prison system along with expanding drug courts. Additionally, it would prevent automatic suspension of driver’s licenses for nonpayment of fines or simple drug possessions.”

Local organizations such as Empower Mississippi as well as Senate members are confident in the bill becoming a law. 

Also, the Dream and Promise Act (HR 6) was recently introduced by House Democrats. The bill will “allow as many as 2.5 million people to apply for legal status and put them on a path that could ultimately lead to US citizenship” (VOX).  If passed, the bill will address the legal status needs of DACA and TPS recipients. 

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Daily Dispatch 3/15/2019: Immigration Is Not Just a Domestic Issue

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Daily Dispatch

March 15, 2019

What David Frum Gets Wrong About Immigration

In November last year Hillary Clinton gave an interview to the Guardian in which she said:

“I think Europe needs to get a handle on migration, because that is what lit the flame…I admire the very generous and compassionate approaches that were taken, particularly by leaders like Angela Merkel, but I think it is fair to say Europe has done its part, and must send a very clear message—‘We are not going to be able to continue to provide refuge and support’—because if we don’t deal with the migration issue, it will continue to roil the body politic.”

David Frum pulled this quote out in a lengthy article in April’s print edition of the Atlantic (online this week here) to say that Hillary was, despite the many criticisms she received, correct. Immigration is socially and politically divisive, and if liberals don’t figure this out and start advocating for what he seems to consider “responsible” immigration enforcement, the fascists will. While Clinton was speaking about Europe, Frum is speaking to a U.S. audience. He wants us to know that immigration has both positive and negative consequences, and that “the left” is in denial about the negative. The failure to come to terms with this and get serious about enforcement will cost Democrats elections, and the country, in the worst case scenario, its democracy.

Frum concludes his article:

Many Americans feel that the country is falling short of its promises of equal opportunity and equal respect. Levels of immigration that are too high only enhance the difficulty of living up to those promises. Reducing immigration, and selecting immigrants more carefully, will enable the country to more quickly and successfully absorb the people who come here, and to ensure equality of opportunity to both the newly arrived and the long-settled—to restore to Americans the feeling of belonging to one united nation, responsible for the care and flourishing of all its people.

For Frum, and many in the centrist camp he represents, immigration is a domestic management problem, a function of border control and legal remedy. There is no real sense in his argument that we need to assess why people migrate, or the ways in which U.S. policy contributes those reasons.

The world is facing the largest refugee crisis it has faced in 70 years. This is no secret. The primary reasons for this crisis are war and climate change. These “push” factors register not at all in Frum’s account. Indeed, he claims people migrate more now because the world is relatively more wealthy and thus more people have the means to move. Implicit in this argument is an assumption that we can conduct business as usual around the world, while simply being more selective about who gets in when the people displaced by that business come knocking.

According to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, there are 68.5 million people in the world today displaced by violence and human rights violations. 24.5 million have crossed borders and are considered refugees – the highest number ever recorded. 3.1 million are seeking asylum. The sources of the conflicts displacing the most people are directly tied to U.S. foreign policy. The number of refugees from the Middle East has risen dramatically since the U.S. invasion of Iraq set off a regional conflict that has rippled out to Syria, Libya and Yemen. In 2017 the top two countries of origin for refugees worldwide were Syria (6.3 million) and Afghanistan (2.6 million).

Closer to home, U.S. policy in Central America has contributed greatly to the current refugee crisis. The Obama administration’s support for the consolidation of the 2009 coup d’etat against President Zelaya in Honduras is directly tied to the exodus fleeing ongoing violence and political instability there. The historic role of the United States as a defender of right-wing governments and movements in Guatemala and El Salvador is directly tied to ongoing violence in those countries. In a survey of refugees from Central America in 2015, 40% reported the murder of a family member within the previous two years.

The U.S. response has been to offer a wall: a physical barrier at the border as well as legal barriers to entry meant to deter refugees. Obama and Trump have both leaned on Mexico to stop the flight of refugees heading north, offering military assistance to “secure” Mexico’s southern border and currently pressing for asylum seekers to be held in Mexico rather than permitted entry into the United States. None of this is working to stop people fleeing Central America. 90% of asylum seekers in Mexico are from the northern triangle of Central America. The number of people engaged in irregular border crossings has actually increased in recent months, despite some of the most draconian policies ever implemented by the United States to deter them.

So, for folks like Frum and Hillary Clinton, the question they need to address is what Europe and the United States should do to de-escalate the conflicts they have been instrumental in creating. U.S. foreign policy is too often exercised in a moral vacuum, where the consequences for people on the receiving end of our quest for global hegemony are ignored. I don’t expect this to change anytime soon. But until it does, people will continue to flee the violence visited upon them. To argue that we need to be more selective in our entry processes without addressing the underlying causes of migration about which we can actually do something, is disingenuous at best.


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Daily Dispatch 3/14/2019

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Daily Dispatch

March 14, 2019

Feds Set Up Fake University to Go After Students….because….?

At the end of January Federal authorities announced that the Department of Homeland Investigations, part of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, had set up a fake university as part of sting operation:

“Beginning in 2015, the university was part of a federal law enforcement undercover operation designed to identify recruiters and entities engaged in immigration fraud,” said a federal indictment. “The University was not staffed with instructors/educators, it had no curriculum, no actual classes.”

In January, indictments were issued against 8 individuals involved in recruiting students to the university.

[The indictments] allege that from February 2017 through January 2019, the defendants “conspired with each other and others to fraudulently facilitate hundreds of foreign nationals in illegally remaining and working in the United States by actively recruiting them to enroll into a metro Detroit private university that, unbeknownst to the conspirators, was operated by HSI (Homeland Security Investigation) special agents as part of an undercover operation.”

In addition to the 8 indictments issued against those who allegedly conspired to break the law, hundreds of students have been detained, and some already deported. The Detroit Free Press followed up on the story earlier this week.

[M]any of the students who enrolled at the university created by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are now in the process of being removed from the U.S. as Indian-American advocates grapple with what they say is an unprecedented number of arrests of Indian students.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has arrested 161 foreign students from the University of Farmington on civil immigration violations, ICE spokesman Khaalid Walls said this week…

….About 600 students, mostly from India, were enrolled at the university in Farmington Hills, a majority of them in master’s degree programs in engineering or computer-related fields. The students had arrived in the U.S. legally through approved student visas and didn’t have criminal records, said immigration attorneys. (emphasis added)

Trump’s Budget Request Dramatically Expands Immigration Enforcement

#DefundHate (a project of the Detention Watch Network, of which the Quixote Center is a member) released its assessment of Trump’s budget request, and, not surprisingly, it is bad. Very bad. Remember that the context is a budget that otherwise slashes social programs. The budget still has to come before congress, where there will be a fight over all of this. But it signals that Trump’s priorities still remain skewed toward deterrence as an immigration strategy. From the coalition document:

Overall 2020 funding for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) ($18.2 billion) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) ($8.8 billion) is 19 percent higher than the FY 2019 level.

Increases in funding for CBP:

  • $5 billion to construct approximately 200 miles of border wall along the U.S. Southwest border (Note: $5 billion wall funding through CBP + $3.6 billion of wall construction funding through DOD/military construction = $8.6 billion total request for wall construction);
  • $192 million to hire 750 Border Patrol agents, 171 CBP Officers, and support staff;
  • $367 million for aircraft, vessels, surveillance technology, and equipment.

Increases in funding for ICE:

  • $314 million to hire an additional 1,000 ICE law enforcement officers, 128 immigration court prosecuting attorneys, and 538 support staff
  • Funding to detain 54,000 people per day (from 40K in FY19; 45K in FY20) with a stated goal of increasing to 60,000 of whom 10,000 are in family jails
  • Significant expansion of the number of people under electronic or other surveillance (funding requested for 120K people per day, up from 53K in FY17, 79K in FY18 and 100K in FY19)
  • Increases in transportation accounts (for often-retaliatory transfers between detention facilities and for deportations) but doesn’t say by how much

Creation of a new slush fund:

  • Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Fund aims to accomplish these goals:
    • Expand immigration detention capacity to 60,000—including 10,000 family detention beds (which would constitute a 300% increase);
    • Hire 15,000 DHS law enforcement officers, 600 new ICE immigration court prosecuting attorneys, 100 new immigration judge teams and associated support, and 50 new Federal prosecutors at DOJ’s Offices of the United States Attorneys–likely to ramp up immigration-related prosecutions
  • We are extremely worried that this will be funded by the “surcharge” on all immigration services which is anticipated to yield $466 million dollars in FY20, as well as other massive increases in fees on processes like naturalization and DAC

Increases in deployment of harmful technology:

  • $367 million in CBP aircraft, vessels, surveillance technology, and equipment [doesn’t specify which technologies]
  • $7.8 billion to support the TSA employees and technology that ensure the free movement of people and commerce, including the deployment of new technologies [doesn’t specify which technologies]
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Contact Us

  • Quixote Center
    7307 Baltimore Ave.
    Ste 214
    College Park, MD 20740
  • Office: 301-699-0042
    Email: info@quixote.org

Direction to office:

For driving: From Baltimore Ave (Route 1) towards University of Maryland, turn right onto Hartwick Rd. Turn immediate right in the office complex.

Look for building 7307. We are located on the 2nd floor.

For public transportation: We are located near the College Park metro station (green line)