Posts Tagged ‘ICE’

ICE detention numbers continue to decline, for the wrong reasons

Immigration and Customs Enforcement released new, more comprehensive datasets this week  (this link updates regularly – I’m accessing August 23) regarding the number of people in detention and those participating in the “alternative to detention” program – which is principally ankle-monitoring. The numbers have fallen off pretty dramatically since last year. Fiscal year 2020 began on October 1, 2019 with approximately 53,000 people incarcerated by ICE. There are 21,007 people in ICE custody as of August 15, 2020. Of these, 20,785 are in adult detention facilities, and 222 are in Family Residential Centers – which means a mix of adults and children who are a part of family units. That is an enormous decline – and certainly in other times would be cause for some cautious optimism. However, in the current context this number reflects trends outside of ICE’s detention network that are seriously disturbing: Massive summary expulsions at the border and ongoing deportations. 

People transferred to detention facilities (“book-ins”) come from two main sources: arrests at the border, and internal removal operations. In recent years the number of people transferred from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) constituted a majority of people in detention (73% in FY 2019). Now, these transfers are a much smaller portion of those in custody. Of the 3,986 people booked into ICE custody thus far in August, for example, only 736 were transferred from CBP, or 18%. Back in October the percentage of people booked-in from CBP was 54%, or 13,303 of 24,728. Looking at month to month trends, we can see that the CBP numbers drop off dramatically from March to April of this year and this is due to one primary cause: Title 42 removals. 

Title 42 removals are in essence, summary expulsions from the U.S. under the framework of a Center for Disease Control order concerning border controls as a response to COVID-19. At the southern border this has meant a halt to all “non-essential” travel across ports of entry (including applications for asylum), and the immediate expulsion of anyone crossing between ports of entry. People who are picked up by CBP are now simply removed, with no due process. In most cases they are not even given identification numbers (an “A” number) that would allow them to be tracked and contacted by family members. Indeed, if people arrested are from Mexico or Central America they are removed by land immediately – in essence, simply pushed back across the border with no more processing than a name check. For people from the Caribbean, Africa and Asia, where they end up is far from clear. Some have been pushed back into Mexico as well, even though Mexico initially refused to accept them. Others, children and families in particular, have been placed in hotels in Texas until they can be removed. Finally, because they are not processed the same as before, others just disappear into Border Patrol or U.S. Marshall custody until they can be expelled. Advocates working with people from Haiti, for example, have been unable to find them between the time of arrest and their expulsion.

So, long story short, the fall off in the number of transfers from CBP, and hence a major source of the decline in ICE detentions, is not the result of more humane treatment at the border, but quite the opposite. From March 18 through the end of July, more than 105,000 people had been expelled under Title 42.  

The number of book-ins is also down because ICE reduced – they did NOT suspend – internal removal operations. From March to June the number of people transferred to detention facilities as a result of ICE internal operations fell about 50% – from 10,153 in March to 5,608 in April and to a monthly low of 5,090 in June. There is a backstory here as well. On March 18, 2020, the acting head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Matthew Albence, issued a statement declaring, “[t]o ensure the welfare and safety of the general public as well as officers and agents in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic response … [ICE] will temporarily adjust its enforcement posture.” The statement was not vetted by administration officials, and apparently folks in the Trump inner circle were angry. Though Albence was no humanitarian, it is probably not a coincidence that he then announced his retirement in July under pressure from the Miller wing of the immigration Stasi. Also, probably not a coincidence, in July the number of ICE transfers into detention from internal removal operations began to creep back up, and so far in August are at a pace to go over 8,000 for the month.

As noted ICE was holding about 53,000 people at the beginning of the fiscal year. There have been 169,811 book-ins since then. 21,007 people remain in custody. That means close to 202,000 people have left ICE custody over the year. Where did they go? Most were deported. ICE reports 173,358 removals so far this fiscal year. To be clear, this does NOT include the 110,000 people removed through Title 42 expulsions – which by and large are tracked and enforced by Customs and Border Protection, not ICE. 

We, and others, have written extensively about ongoing deportations during COVID-19. Last week a few new pieces came out documenting how deportations are spreading COVID-19. The Miami Herald also published an investigative article into the companies making money from the process, which we also discussed here.

So, there is little to celebrate in the fall off in detention to a near twenty year low of 21,007. Rather, it is the result of inhumane, possibly illegal, summary expulsions at the border, a temporary reduction of ICE enforcement operations (which was good news, but fleeting), and the administration’s decision to continue to deport people all over the world despite just about everybody from the New York Times, Washington Post and Boston Globe, to members of the House and Senate, to literally hundreds of human rights organizations and thousands of others telling them to stop. Given that the administration has now reached the bottom in terms of Border Patrol transfers, and ICE seems prepared to increase internal removal operations again, this number is likely to begin increasing again. 

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Daily Dispatch 1/29/2020: Six people have already died in ICE custody this year

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Daily Dispatch

January 29, 2020

Left to right: Raylon Hernandez-Diaz, Nebane Abienwi, Anthony Oluseye Akinyemi, Ben James Owen

Six people have died while in Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody since the beginning of the fiscal year in October 2019. Six people in less than four months. By comparison, eight people died in ICE custody in all of the previous fiscal year.  Two of the six men were seeking asylum in the United States, and had been placed in ICE custody during processing of their asylum claim. Two had overstayed visas, and had been transferred to ICE by local law enforcement upon release from jail. Another man had overstayed his visa as well. He was picked up at a border checkpoint in Texas. There is no indication he had a criminal record. The sixth man is from Cuba. How he ended up in ICE custody has not been reported yet, but according to press reports he had deportation order going back to 2000. Three of the six men appear to have committed suicide. Three were being held in facilities run by private prison companies; two were in county jails run by local sheriff departments in cooperation with federal authorities.

Nebane Abienwi, from Cameroon, October 1, 2019. Otay Mesa Detention facility (CoreCivic). From our earlier report:

Nebane Abienwi left Cameroon this summer, flying to Ecuador and then traveling up through Columbia, Central America and Mexico. He arrived at the San Ysidro Port of Entry near San Diego and declared his intent to seek asylum. Nebane was 37 years old and a father of six children. According to family members, his goal was to settle in the United States and then bring his family to join him.

On September 26, Abienwi apparently fell off his bunk, and was found in a confused state. He was eventually sent to Chula Vista Medical Center where it was discovered he was bleeding severely in his brain. The family was contacted on September 30th. At this point Abienwi was on a ventilator. Abienwi’s brother informed officials that the family wanted his brother to remain on life support until someone could come to be with him. However, after declaring that Nebane was brain dead, medical staff took him off life support. His brother, who was trying to get travel documents together to come be with Abienwi was not informed by ICE or medical staff. He found out from a reporter who called about the case.

Roylan Hernandez-Diaz, from Cuba, October 15, 2019, Richwood Correctional Facility (Lasalle Corrections):

Crossed the border in May of 2019 seeking asylum. He was handed over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. In August Roylan passed a credible fear interview, and yet was still held in detention, despite having family in the U.S. and thus not being a threat to flee. In October Roylan was part of a protest inside the Richwood Correctional facility where he was being held, and was placed in solitary confinement. We was found dead in his cell, apparent suicide by hanging.

Anthony Oluseye Akinyemi from Nigeria, December 21, 2019. Worcester County Jail:

Akinyemi overstayed his visa and was arrested in Baltimore a year later for sexual assault. He was convicted and given a suspended sentence and probation on Dec 20. However, ICE had issued a detainer so he was not actually released from custody but handed over to Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO). He committed suicide (apparently, still under investigation) that night (5:00 a.m., December 21) at the Worcester County Jail where ICE was holding him.

Samuelino Pitchout Mavinga from France, December 29, 2019. Otero County Processing Center (Management Training Corporation):

Mavinga arrived in New York on 28 November 2018, under the Visa Waiver Programme, which said he would need to leave the country no later than 27 February 2019, according to ICE. He was detained by border police at a checkpoint in Texas on 11 November 2019, for overstaying his visa. Mavinga was transferred into ICE custody the next day, and put into detention at the Otero County Processing Center, in Chaparral, New Mexico, pending deportation. A month later, on 11 December, he was transferred to the Torrance County Detention Facility in Estancia, New Mexico.

Mavinga was taken to hospital the next day and found to be suffering from a twisting of the large intestines causing bowel obstruction. He remained under medical care until he died on Sunday 29 December.

Ben James Owen from Britain, January 26, 2020. Baker County Detention Center (Baker County Sheriff’s Office)

[Owen] died at the Baker County Detention Center in Macclenny, Florida, and officials said that the preliminary cause of death appeared to be “self-inflicted strangulation; however, the case is currently under investigation.”

ICE officials said Owen, who had entered the country on a temporary visa in July, had been arrested by the Port Orange Police Department on suspicion of felony aggravated stalking, felony false imprisonment, domestic assault, and violating the conditions of his pretrial release.

ICE officials arrested him after he was released from criminal custody on Jan. 15. He was then placed into deportation proceedings.

On Monday, January 27, 2020, A 63-year-old Cuban man died in Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody at a hospital in Florida. No report yet of where he was being previously held in detention. He had been in custody since January 14. Early reports are that cause of death is cardiac arrest.

In a CNN report, ICE spokesperson Bryan Cox was cited as claiming that deaths in ICE detention are “exceedingly rare” and happen at a rate 100 times lower than federal and state custody. The reality is a bit different. So far this year 6 immigrants have died of the 83,000 people booked into ICE detention facilities. That is a mortality rate of 7.22 deaths per 100,000 incarcerated. It is far lower than federal and state prison mortality rates, which vary annually, but average about 260 deaths per 100,000. It is not, however, 100 times less, but 36 times less. Meanwhile, the average length of stay in ICE detention is about 36 days – in a federal prison its closer to 3,650 days. So the actual risk to an individual of dying in ICE detention is comparable if not higher. And, of course, the mortality rates in U.S. prisons are an egregious example of the utter inhumanity of our increasingly carceral state, not a standard of best practices by which to measure “success.”

At least four immigrants have also died in the custody of Customs and Border Protection since the beginning of the fiscal year.

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Daily Dispatch 1/23/2020: Take Action to Block New Detention Contracts in Texas, Gain release of hunger-strikers

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Daily Dispatch

January 23, 2020

frontside of post card

Here are two simple actions you can take TODAY to confront the Trump administration’s detention machinery:

Block new detention contracts in TX!

Earlier in January we wrote about Immigration and Customs Enforcement looking to extend 10-year long contracts to three facilities in Texas. Today we are sharing a campaign from Texas-based Grassroots Leadership and our partners at the Detention Watch Network. See below:

Since the creation of the first detention center in the US, communities across the county have actively fought to shut down immigration jails that lock away loved ones, neighbors and friends. Immigration jails are inhumane, strip people of their dignity and agency, and must be shut down for good.

Right now, ICE is working to extend contracts for three Texas detention centers that will prolong detention in the state for the next 10 years. The facilities are the T. Don Hutto Residential Center near Austin, the South Texas Detention Complex near San Antonio, and the Houston Processing Center.  

DWN member Grassroots Leadership is doing everything they can to make sure we don’t see a continuation of these facilities and the pain that they inflict for the next decade. Last month, more than 45 organizations across Texas delivered a letter to members of Congress urging them to investigate ICE’s attempt to evade procurement law.s. And earlier this week, Texas representatives sent a letter to ICE demanding the immediate suspension of the contracts.

It’s still not enough, and this is where we need your help!     

Members of Congress need to hear from you now. Death and ongoing allegations of abuse should be enough of a reason to close down these facilities full stop.     

Fill out this form, and Grassroots Leadership will send a postcard on your behalf to your representatives and members of key committees with the power to intervene.

Texas already incarcerates a quarter of all immigrants detained nationwide—we cannot allow for this to become the state’s reality for the next decade and serve as a model for detention expansion nationwide.

Send this card by filling out form here.

Gain release of hunger strikers in LA!

We’ve also been following the case of hunger strikers at LaSalle Detention facility in Jena, Louisiana. The men have passed the 75 day mark – approaching 80 days! Freedom for Immigrants has launched a petition demanding their release you can add your name to here.

Five South Asian men have reached the 75th day of a hunger strike in the GEO Group-operated LaSalle Detention Facility in Jena, Louisiana where they have been subjected to the tortuous procedure of forced-hydration and force-feeding. According to medical professionals, 75 days without adequate nutrition is when vital organs begin to fail.

The growing number of hunger strikes in ICE prisons across the country are no coincidence. It is indicative of complete disbelief in a fair legal process and the lengths ICE is willing to go to indefinitely detain them. Some of these men have been locked up for nearly 2 years. We are deeply concerned that ICE appears willing to let these men die in detention to make an example of them rather than be released to the community, where each man has family or close friends willing to provide housing and support.

Sign here.

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Daily Dispatch 11/13/2019: Tell Congress to #DefundHate

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Daily Dispatch

November 13, 2019


Today is a National Call-in Day to Congress demanding that they cut (not increase!!!) the budgets for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP). We have written about specific issues concerning the Trump administration’s refusal to abide by Congressional authorizations concerning how money is spent. 

You can also personalize your communication with members of Congress. A summary of some points you might raise.

  • Congressed authorized funding for just over a 45,000 daily average of people in ICE detention in Fiscal Year 2019 (Oct 1, 2018 to Sept 30, 2019).
  • The intent was that detention would decline from the 49,000 daily average at the time the budget was passed, to 40,000 by the end of the fiscal year.
  • By August of 2019, ICE was holding 55,000 people a day.
  • In August, 9,000 of the people in detention were asylum seekers who had already passed their credible fear interview, and according to DHS’ own guidelines, it would “no longer in the public interest” to detain them.
  • They were not released. Instead, Trump administration officials shifted funds from the Coast Guard and other accounts to fund expanded detention.
  • Today, there are over 12,000 people still in detention that have demonstrated a credible fear of persecution of torture should they be returned home – even though overall detention has declined to 50,000 (still above authorized amounts). 
  • In other words, the reason that the administration is over budget is not a surge in border apprehensions, but the cruel decision to hold all asylum seekers throughout their entire process.

This should NOT be funded.

  • This summer the administration secured an extra $4.6 billion in emergency funding following disclosure of horrible conditions in Border Patrol stations, where children were being held for three weeks or more without adequate food or sanitation.
  • The administration blamed this on a backlog at the Department of Health and Human Services, which receives unaccompanied children from Border Patrol to detain while awaiting placement, because of a surge in apprehensions at the border.
  • Reality: HHS facilities were over capacity prior to the so called border surge, with average detention stays up to 95 days by November of 2018. Why?
  • The Trump administration policy to use children in detention as bait to catch undocumented family members who might come forward as sponsors – which, as reported by the Washington Post this week,  they knew would lead to a backlog at HHS.
  • Thus, the horror we witnessed at Border Patrol detention facilities this summer was the result of an intentional policy to deter children from coming here.

This should NOT be funded!

  • The Border Patrol does NOT need more agents.
  • The Washington Office on Latin America reported, “In all of 2018, the average Border Patrol agent apprehended 14 single adults—one every 3.7 weeks—and 10 children or parents who sought to be apprehended. If staffing levels remained similar in 2019, the average Border Patrol agent apprehended 18 single adults—one every 2.9 weeks— and had to process 33 children or parents.”
  • So, even with the increase in apprehensions last year, on average, a border patrol agent took 1 single adult and 2 children alone (or 1 child with a parent) into custody every 3 weeks.
  • As WOLA notes, what is needed is more staff to process asylum claims, not more agents to arrest people.
  • This is needed so that people can be processed and RELEASED!

No more detention dollars for ICE, no more enforcement dollars for CBP. They do not need the money. The crisis at our border is a real one – but it has been created by this administration’s cruelty, and the false notion that deterrence is an effective strategy to end migration. We are violating human rights and in effect torturing people in detention, in order to discourage immigration.

It is time to #DefundHate, and stop this!!

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Daily Dispatch 7/26/2019

Expansion of expedited removal to begin

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Daily Dispatch

July 26, 2019


The Trump administration is expanding the use of expedited removal procedures to cover the entire country. We discussed a Senate plan to fast track asylum proceedings yesterday. The expansion of expedited removal is a different initiative that would allow officials to deport someone who cannot prove s/he has been in the country for at least two years immediately – literally within hours of being detained. From NPR:

Currently, undocumented immigrants who cross into the U.S. by land can be deported without an immigration hearing if they are arrested within 100 miles of the border during the first 14 days after their arrival. Those who arrive by sea can be deported without legal proceedings if they are unable to prove they have been living in the U.S. for two years or more.

But under the latest proposal, all geographical limitations would be lifted and rapid removal proceedings would be applied to all undocumented immigrants who have been in the country for less than two years.

The expansion of expedited removal will be challenged in court. 

“We plan on challenging the change … speedily,” Anand Balakrishnan, Senior Staff Attorney for the ACLU’s Immigrant Rights Project told NPR.

Balakrishnan called the policy shift “extremely sweeping,” and said it authorizes any Customs and Border Protection officer to determine whether a person has been in the U.S. the requisite amount of time to trigger legal proceedings.

“The only way out of that is for the person to affirmatively prove that they’ve been here for two years or more. To have that evidence on them at all times,” he said. “It puts the burden on every noncitizen to prove their continuous presence.”

He noted, deportations could happen within hours of a person’s arrest.

“From what we know about the way expedited removals have been administered in the past, it’s been rife with errors,” Balakrishnan said. “U.S. citizens have been ordered deported” and in other cases, people who have lived in the country for more than a decade have also been ejected, he said.

U.S. Citizen Detained for 26 Days

An 18 year-old high school student, Francisco Erwim Galicia, born in Dallas, TX, was detained for over three weeks by Customs and Border Protection and then Immigration and Customs Enforcement, despite having proof of his citizenship on him when stopped at an immigation checkpoint.

Galicia, 18, was in a van with his brother Marlon and three other high school friends on June 27. They were on their way to Houston for a recruitment event when they were stopped at a border patrol checkpoint in Falfurrias, Texas — about 50 miles from home and within the corridor of the Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol Sector.

Officials wanted to know their legal status. Their answers varied.

Two of them were immediately cleared but Galicia’s 17-year-old brother and another boy, were in the country illegally. They were detained.

When officials questioned Galicia, he told them he was born in Dallas. He also produced a Texas ID, a social security card and a copy of a wallet-sized birth certificate.

It was not enough. The boys were held overnight and then transferred to the CBP. Galicia’s younger brother, though a minor, signed a deportation order to get out of detention with no contact with his mother. He is now in Mexico living with his grandmother. The conditions in the facility were so bad that Galicia almost agreed to sign an order just to get out.

Over the next few weeks, Galicia said he was kept filthy, hungry and in a constant state of anxiety. He was placed in a crowded room with about 60 other men and one open toilet. He was denied access to a shower for more than three weeks and he said he was fed one sandwich three times a day. His lawyer estimates he lost about 20 pounds. 

Galicia’s mother was able to secure assistance from an attorney, who was able to obtain his release by providing original birth certificates and other documentation. Had she not been able to secure an attorney, her son would have likely been deported. In Galicia’s case, there was confusion about a tourist visa he had been issued after the family had moved back to Mexico for a time. It is hard to believe, however, that it would take 26 days to confirm his birth record.

Do we really want to trust agencies that take 26 days to confirm the birth certificate of a U.S. citizen- and then only under pressure from an attorney, which most people detained do not have – to oversee a fair process of expedited removal?

Uh…..NO!!!!

Take Action to secure release of Jesus Alberto Lopez Gutierrez 

We are asking folks to join in a call to action to help secure the release of an activist and longtime Chicago resident, Jesus Alberto Lopez Gutierrez. Some background below. You can sign a petition here.

On May 21, 2019, beloved OCAD staff Miguel Lopez received a call alerting him that his youngest brother, Jesus Alberto Lopez Gutierrez (A-204588492), a long time resident of Chicago, was turned into Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody after being detained by a local Iowa police officer on his way home from a camping trip.

Jesus Alberto came to the United States when he was nine years old and has lived in Chicago since 2005. He graduated from Solorio Academy High School in June 2014 and began working to support his family that same year. During the fall in 2012, Jesus Alberto applied for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and, in February 2013, his application was approved by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Before his detention, Jesus Alberto was in the process of renewing his DACA, but he is unable to move forward with his application unless ICE releases him from detention.

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Daily Dispatch 7/24/2019

Take Action: Hunger strikers in ICE custody seek release

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Daily Dispatch

July 24, 2019


Four men, originally from India, who have been in detention for over a year are in the 16th day of a hunger strike, demanding their release. The men are held at the El Paso Processing Center. Another five men from India launched a hunger strike at the Otero Processing Center, which is now in its 8th day. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials are seeking a court order to have the men forcefully fed. Some background:

Four asylum seekers from India who began a hunger strike on July 9 at the Otero County Processing Center (OCPC), are now at the El Paso Service Processing Center (EPSPC) and were told that today the facility will be seeking court orders for involuntary IV and force feeding. These asylum seekers have been held for over a year in a facility that the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General recognizes is problematic due to punitive use of solitary, verbally hostile staff, poor medical services, and lack of sanitation. These men had their hearing in a part of the country that is effectively an asylum free zone, they faced an immigration judge that is known as one of the worst of the region, one that even facility staff claim “everyone is afraid of.”

Verbally berated with ethnic slurs, denied any possibility for release, and not allowed sufficient time to prepare evidence for their cases, these men faced unreasonable obstacles throughout the process. After languishing a year or more in detention with no end in sight, these men were left with no other options to call attention to their prolonged detention and unfair immigration proceedings, and to obtain their freedom.

Four other asylum seekers from India, and one other man from India facing deportation, have begun another hunger strike at OCPC. Now refusing food for seven days, the four asylum seekers began their hunger strike on Tuesday July 16 to raise awareness about their struggle and to insist on their freedom. These men are victims of the same problems: several have been held for over a year, have been berated by staff who used foul language and demeaning ethnic slurs, and they had to pursue their cases in an “asylum free zone” in front of  some of the most skeptical immigration judges in the country. No longer willing to remain in what the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights identifies as “torture like” conditions and with no other option to secure their freedom, these men began a hunger strike to seek their freedom.

While ICE frequently asserts in public statements that it “does not retaliate in any way against hunger strikers” there are reports that two ICE officers threatened the hunger striking asylum seekers. ICE officers told the men that if they don’t eat “they will go to jail for five years” and that in jail they will be held with criminals, beaten, and raped repeatedly. ICE officers also told the men that they were recording their phone calls and that if they spoke about the hunger strike to family members or outside groups, ICE would arrest those family members and allies in the public and put them in jail. The men were told that if they did not eat they would be subjected to involuntary force feeding.

CREDO has launched a petition supporting their release. You can sign that here.

National Lawyers Guild Release Report on Border

The National Lawyers Guild released a report on human rights violations at the border yesterday. The report is based on interviews conducted as part of an NLG International Committee delegation that visited the border area in March. You can read and/or download the full report here. From the executive summary of key findings:

  1. President Trump applies a racist perspective to U.S. immigration policy and has ramped up barriers to migration to create a humanitarian crisis at the border;
  2. The barriers to asylum, including the so-called “metering” system and the “Remain in Mexico” policy, misleadingly named, “Migrant Protection Protocols” (MPP), are illegal and exposes asylum-seekers to life-threatening conditions;
  3. The governments of the United States and Mexico are neglecting their respective obligations under domestic and international law to respect the human rights of asylum-seekers;
  4. Anti-immigrant sentiment in Mexico has resulted in harassment and violence towards migrants in Tijuana by Mexican authorities and residents;
  5. Vulnerable populations, such as unaccompanied children and LGBTQ+ individuals, are especially at risk, and are not being afforded the rights to which they are entitled under international law; and
  6. The U.S. and Mexican governments have criminalized migrants and those who are aiding them or documenting their plight, using illegal surveillance and other tactics.

The Center for American Progress issues immigration platform

The Center for American Progress released a platform for immigration reform set against a historical overview of immigration policy. The report attempts to find a middle ground between two dominant constructs that, it is argued, are insufficient: The U.S. as a nation of immigrants, and the U.S. as a nation of laws. Setting their proposals against this backdrop, CAP argues for a more humane immigration system that incorporates limited, though in their few, necessary enforcement measures. You can read the full report here. An excerpt from the introduction follows:

This report sets out a framework for immigration policymaking that brings together the two visions of America, with the goal of building a fair, humane, and well-functioning immigration system in which the rule of law is restored. Additionally, it makes the case for why immigration proponents can and should reclaim the rule of law narrative frame from immigration restrictionists who frequently misappropriate the term to drive law and order policies that demonize immigrant communities and communities of color and only worsen the dysfunctionality and cruelty of the current system.

The report begins by laying out what the rule of law is, how it has been distorted by opponents of immigration, and the degree to which the current immigration system makes a mockery of American history and ideals—of an America that is both a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. The report then outlines the emergence over a period of years of the extralegal immigration system that exists today. Next, it illustrates that under this broken system, immigration policy has fluctuated between two poles: on the one hand, relying increasingly upon administrative discretion alone to save the system from itself, and on the other, relying on maximum enforcement of “the laws on the books without apology,” as former U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Acting Director Thomas Homan said.

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Daily Dispatch 5/9/2019


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Daily Dispatch

May 9, 2019


National Call-in Day: Block Trump Money Grab (From Detention Watch Network)

On Wednesday last week, the Trump Administration sent a $4.5 billion request for a supplemental funding package that includes billions for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Despite being cloaked in the language of humanitarian aid, the funding sought for ICE and CBP would instead increase human suffering by ensuring more people are detained in inhumane conditions, blocked from accessing due process, and criminalized through politically motivated prosecutions.

Don’t be fooled—this isn’t really for humanitarian aid!

The Trump administration, under guidance from white nationalist Stephen Miller, demonstrates daily that its approach to migration is rooted in hate and cruelty.

The Trump administration is co-opting “humanitarian crisis” to pay for more human suffering. This is an attempt to fast-track even more funding to fuel Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda and to expand an already massive and inhumane immigrant detention system, all deceptively cloaked in the language of humanitarian response.

Today, May 9th, is the National Call-in Day to stop Trump’s harmful money grab! Join organizations across the country making calls to Congress to stop the supplemental funding request.

Call your member of Congress!

  • Dial 1-844-332-6361 and enter your zip code.
  • Once you’re connected, use this script: “Hello, my name is [first and last name]. I’m calling as part of the Defund Hate campaign. I’m calling to ask [Member of Congress] to publicly oppose Trump’s supplemental funding request. This request will only give billions to Trump’s agenda to maximize harm to those arriving at the border by building and expanding deadly immigration detention jails. More people behind bars is not a humanitarian response. [Member of Congress] should publicly speak out and urge leadership to reject the White House supplemental budget request. Thank you.”

ICE Blocking Legal Services in Texas Facility

RAICES has filed a formal complaint with the Trump administration over tactics employed at the Karnes Detention facility that is blocking immigrant access to free legal services:

An immigration legal group has filed a formal complaint against the Trump administration saying it is blocking detained immigrants from free legal services.

The complaint filed Wednesday by RAICES, a nonprofit immigrant legal services group, accuses Immigration and Customs Enforcement of creating barriers for people held at the Karnes, Texas, immigration detention facility to meet with legal teams.

The complaints are many and include such things as ICE failing to make space available for private meetings with clients, setting new requirements for lawyers to meet with clients, so that fewer people can meet with attorneys, and eliminating a “walk-in” signup list.

Read more on the story here.

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Daily Dispatch 8/21/18

A new series in which we (will aspire to) offer a sampling of today’s headlines on immigration, race, and related stories.

August 21, 2018

Top Stories:

Today begins what is intended to be a 19 day strike by prison inmates across the nation, demanding an “end to prison slavery.” In prisons and immigrant detention centers, prisoners are made to work for as little as $1 a day, sometimes in life-threatening work – fighting wildfires or working kill lines. The strike, set to end on the anniversary of the Attica uprising, is largely organized by prisoners themselves in response to recent deadly riots in a South Carolina facility. Jailhouse Lawyers Speak issued a list of “national demands,” including the rescinding of recent prison reform laws, fair pay standards, and restoration of voting rights. 

The Policies:

There seems to be a theme here: first DHS began using kids as bait to lure undocumented sponsors for deportation. Then CBP and ICE began taking kids away from their parents as a punishment/deterrent for crossing the border. Now the Department of State is getting in on the hurt-the-kids-to-hurt-the-parents trend, making changes to the Foreign Affairs manual to expand the definition of “public charge” to include government benefits (including CHIP, Earned Income Credit, Obamacare subsidies) received by US citizen children if one of their parents is a legal immigrant, rendering that parent ineligible for a green card. This isn’t exactly breaking news, but a couple of articles today are worth a mention. Check out Salon’s “Trump’s immigrant family separation strategy 2.0 targets children as they return to school” and this segment from All Things Considered.

Immigration policy takes center stage at the VMAs, as Logic builds a human wall.

An exploration of the many Stephen Millers of American history.

Examining Trump’s immigration policies from the POV of an immigration restrictionist.

The New York Time’s “The Daily” podcast begins a three-part series on family separations. Today’s installment examines how it all started (also available via Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and RadioPublic).

The Courts:

29 parents who were separated from their children and denied asylum have filed suit against the government for violation of due process.

From the Salt Lake Tribune: Warrantless genital inspections at baggage claim by Customs and Border Protection. These stories recounted in great detail in multiple lawsuits against the agency are very disturbing.

American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) head discusses new national campaign and associated resolution to establish an Article I immigration court system. Another AILA representative also published an opinion piece.

After two years in ICE custody, court confirms US citizen’s status as US citizen.

A DOJ employee who joined a group of activists protesting DHS Sec Kirstjen Nielsen at a DC restaurant and criticized family separation online has not violated the Hatch Act, according to the US Office of Special Counsel, which is “closing this matter without further action.”

95 year old Nazi war criminal deported to Germany – which is, frankly, a little surprising.

The Circus:

Trump salutes ICE and… Canadian public radio?  Reading from a teleprompter, Trump refers to Customs and Border Protection as CBC eight out of eight times. It’s CBP. (Full video of the ceremony with transcript.)

And then this happened:

 

 

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Take Action: Tell Homeland Security to Stop Using Children As Bait

Since publicly announcing the tactic of separating children from their parents when detained by ICE (including asylum seekers), the government has seen an increase in the number of unaccompanied children they need to house. 

Now, the Department of Homeland Security has issued a public system of records notice (SORN) detailing its intent to modify its system to allow greater sharing between DHS and Health and Human Services, which oversees the placement of unaccompanied children into foster care. Frequently, relatives come forward as sponsors but this measure will discourage family members from doing so. This seemingly dull and bureaucratic measure masks the intention of serving as an immigration check on the sponsor and all members of the sponsor’s household.

Let’s say Johnny has an aunt in the U.S. who is a citizen, but she lives with her sister who is undocumented. Johnny’s aunt knows that if she comes forward as a sponsor for her nephew, her sister will likely be detained and deported. She therefore chooses not to come forward and Johnny remains in a group home…or on a military base.

In short, DHS, HHS, and ICE are using children as bait.

The public comment period on this notice will remain open until June 7. We urge you to comment on the notice and perhaps to politely tell DHS where to shove it.  

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This Week in Immigration

Just to give a sense of the unrelenting and multi-pronged attack on immigrants being led by the executive branch and likeminded members of Congress, we decided to bring together some stories just from the past few days. It’s dizzying, so I tried to keep commentary to a minimum and let the volume of stories speak for itself.

Monday/Weekend

Jeff Sessions ruled that immigration judges can no longer close cases, opening the door to re-opening 350,000 closed cases, which could “result in the imprisonment and deportation of immigrants who now have a clear path toward legal immigration status,” says Dan Werner of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Steve King (R-IA, the pride of my home state of Iowa) has introduced a Bill to jail sanctuary cities officials (HR 5884) called the Libby Schaaf Act, named after the mayor of Oakland who alerted residents to pending ICE raids.

California is considering extending Medicaid to all adults regardless of immigration status, further flouting Trump’s ongoing attacks against sanctuary cities.

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam will allow the ban on sanctuary cities to become law without his signature (despite law enforcement’s opposition to the bill), saying “it’s time to move on.”

Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn) proposed a bill to crowdfund the border wall (Border Wall Trust Fund Act).

 

Tuesday

Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education, was asked in a hearing with the House Committee on Education and the Workforce whether teachers should report undocumented students. Devos responded with a resounding “I think that’s a school decision,” leading civil rights groups to say, “um… no.”

The House Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security held a hearing they called Stopping the Daily Border Caravan: Time to Build a Policy Wall. The policy in question was asylum, which Republican lawmakers described as a “loophole.” Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ) complained that asylum seekers get all the breaks but frequently fail to appear at their asylum hearings “most likely because their claim was unfounded in the first place” (not because they never received their Notice to Appear, or they’re afraid of deportation, or they reunited with family members elsewhere in the country…). Echoing Trump, she characterized minors as “vulnerable to gang recruitment.” Capitol Police were called on to remove peaceful protestors from the room. You can learn more by clicking the link, where you’ll find full video and transcripts.

 

Wednesday

The Senate Subcommittee on Border Security and Immigration held a hearing called TVPRA (Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act) and Exploited Loopholes Affecting Unaccompanied Alien Children. This hearing also addressed MS-13 gang recruitment. Video and transcripts are available here.

The House voted on a prison reform bill cooked up by Jared Kushner, which threatens to make prison slave labor the norm, but prohibits pregnant women from being shackled, unless guards determine that they really, really need to be. 

Trump talked immigration on Long Island, doubling down on his use of the word “animals” to describe MS-13 gang members and suggesting that foreign aid be denied to those countries that allow criminal immigrants to come here (a policy that would likely make worse some of the problems that cause people to leave). In this same photo-op, Trump said the following about children crossing the border: “They look so innocent. They are not innocent.”

Also, in a post-game interview with FOX, Trump seemed to suggest that NFL players who kneeled during the anthem be deported…? Or leave voluntarily? It wasn’t clear.

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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)