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.
The Department of Homeland Security reports that arrests of people trying to sneak across the US-Mexico border have dropped to their lowest levels in 46 years. The Washington Post reports that “During the government’s 2017 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, U.S. border agents made 310,531 arrests, a decline of 24 percent from the previous year and the fewest overall since 1971.” While the drop may be credited to President Trump’s tough talk about beefing up border security, in May the number of border arrests started climbing again. Meanwhile, the number of arrests of undocumented immigrants has risen 42 percent in the past year, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Read more about the numbers at The Washington Post.
Expedited removal is a law enforcement tool that allows for rapid deportations for undocumented immigrants who are arrested near the US border. The Trump administration wants to expand the program, but opponents say it would give too much power to Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. At Reveal by The Center for Investigative Reporting, this podcast breaks down the expedited removal program.
Mamadu Balde fled the civil war in Sierra Leone in 1999 seeking asylum in the US. Both the Bush and Obama administrations opposed his application for asylum. When his appeals ran out in 2012, Immigration and Customs Enforcement detained him and held him for more than nine months. But Sierra Leone could not provide proof of his citizenship and refused to accept him. So he was allowed to stay in America, so long as he checked in with ICE agents every six months. But now, Balde is being held in custody again because of “changed circumstances in policy.” Read more about his plight in this story at the ACLU website.
Lizbeth Mateo was sworn in as a lawyer last month, after being an undocumented immigrant for years. ICE agents could arrest her at any moment, even though when the leader of the California State Senate presided over her swearing in, he called her “the embodiment of the American Dream. The New York Times has Mateo’s story.