Refugees seeking asylum in the United States now face an even more difficult process after President Trump signed a presidential proclamation limiting applications to official ports of entry. CNN explains:
The proclamation put into effect a new rule the Trump administration entered into the federal registry on Friday that would ban migrants from applying for asylum outside of official ports of entry. The American Civil Liberties Union has already called the rule “illegal,” and legal challenges are expected to follow.
However, The Daily Beast reports that even those who are following the latest orders are being turned away because of bottlenecks resulting at official ports of entry. And HuffPost has more on the ongoing fight to get justice for migrants being detained at the border by ICE.
Most of us can only imagine the pain, terror and uncertainty caused when immigrant mothers seeking asylum in the United States are forcibly separated from their children. CNN has details in letters from some of the mothers who have since been reunited with their children, but who say their nightmare is not over.
“My children were far from me and I didn’t know if they were okay, if they were eating or sleeping. I have suffered a lot,” wrote a mother identified as Elena. “ICE harmed us a lot psychologically. We can’t sleep well because my little girl thinks they are going to separate us again. … I wouldn’t want this to happen to anyone.”
The comments come from letters written by parents being held at the Dilley detention center in Texas. The Immigration Justice Campaign provided the letters to CNN as part of their pro bono project to give legal help to migrant families being held in custody.
Despite a court order instructing the Trump administration to reunite migrant families who were forcibly separated at the US-Mexico border, The New York Times reports that the number of children still in custody has reached a record high level. The Times reports that there are currently 12,800 migrant children in federally-contracted shelters this month, five times as many since last summer, when 2,400 children were being held. Most of the children did not have their parents with them when they crossed the border. The information was shared with members of Congress, who in turn shared it with the Times.
Following an August 31st ruling by a federal judge in Texas not to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, immigrants who have qualified for DACA are being urged to renew their applications to stay in the country, even as uncertainty about DACA’s future remains. The Immigrant Legal Resource Center says the latest ruling by District Judge Andrew Hanen follows three previous judicial orders for the government to continue to accept DACA applications. While current DACA recipients can continue to renew their statuses, ILRC says the future of the program will remain murky until Congress can pass legislation addressing the issue.
People posing as immigration lawyers are nothing new, and neither are efforts to expose them. But it’s hard to catch and expose those fakes, according to an article at Salon and Reveal. Part of the problem is that victims of immigration scams don’t know where to turn to report the crimes.
“Lawyers and community organizations have known about this issue – notario scams and immigration fraud – for a very long time,” said Prof. Juan Manuel Pedroza, who teaches sociology at University of California at Santa Cruz. “The issue was: Is there way we can figure out where it’s happening and where the prevalence is really high? We’re not there yet.”
Reporting these fraudsters to authorities comes with other risks for undocumented immigrants: tipping off the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Read more about possible ways to fight immigration fraud at Salon.
President Donald Trump signed an executive order today to try to stem criticism of his family separation policy. He has offered an unacceptable alternative: imprisoning mothers and fathers with their children. The president is also asking Attorney General Jeff Sessions to request that a court modify and effectively dismantle the Flores settlement. That settlement protects children held by the government and sets forth standards of care.
The following is a statement from Beth Werlin, Executive Director of the American Immigration Council:
“Today’s executive order does nothing to change the fact that the Trump administration is attacking families and criminalizing asylum seekers. The zero-tolerance policy is cruel and unnecessary. We should not have to choose between separating parents from their children and expanding the shameful practice of imprisoning families. Our experience defending families in detention, first in Artesia, New Mexico and now in Dilley, Texas, has taught us that family detention is never humane.”
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been in the news a lot lately, and not always in a good light. Does the US need a mass deportation strike force? A civil rights lawyer who’s running for Congress doesn’t think so. In an interview with The Nation, Dan Canon says he believes ICE should be abolished. “I don’t think a lot of people have any kind of direct experience with ICE, so they don’t really know what they do or what they’re about. If they did, they’d be appalled,” Canon told The Nation. He says ICE is “devoted almost solely to cruelly and wantonly breaking up families. The agency talks about, and treats, human beings like they’re animals.” Read more about Canon’s argument at The Nation.
While a bipartisan bill introduced in Congress aims to address two of the more pressing issues on immigration, a path to citizenship for ‘dreamers’ and spending more on border security along the Mexican border with the US, the proposal may not have a good chance of getting President Trump’s signature. If Washington is unable to agree on a solution to the expiration of the DACA program in March, one immigration advocate is calling on cities, counties and states to find the courage to stand up to the Trump administration’s tougher policies and actions on immigration. Juan Escalante says with some states like Florida considering their own stricter immigration legislation, more states need to step up on behalf of dreamers like New York, New Jersey and California. You can read more in Escalante’s column at HuffPost.
The attorney general for the state of Washington alleges that Motel 6 gave information about thousands of guests to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents in a lawsuit filed on Wednesday, according to HuffPost. Washington state AG Bob Ferguson had his agents investigate Motel 6’s practices after it was reported that the motel chain gave ICE agents in Arizona information about people who were registered as guests.
Ferguson’s office found that Motel 6 locations in Washington were also providing ICE with customers’ names, room numbers, license plate numbers and dates of birth, in violation of consumer protection and discrimination laws, the attorney general said.
Details on the AG’s lawsuit are available at HuffPost.
An editorial at The Washington Post points out that “the overwhelming majority of illegal immigrants in the United States have no criminal record.” But that hasn’t slowed the work of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents who are rounding up “not just criminal undocumented immigrants, but law-abiding ones as well.” Of the approximately 143,000 immigrants arrested by ICE in the past year, more than 25% had no criminal convictions. Most were guilty of non-violent crimes. The Post‘s Editorial Board examines the issues legal immigrants face in this editorial.