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Early Arrival: New Bill Challenges ICE Court Arrests

Early Arrival is a Documented newsletter that provides a round-up of the most vital local and national immigration news. This is an archived edition of the newsletter.

A bill in the New York State Assembly seeks to limit actions by ICE in New York State courthouses.

The bill, which has come out of the rules committee, will require ICE to obtain a judicial warrant or a judicial order before being able to detain someone in state court or nearby.

Assemblyman Joe Lentol told the New York Law Journal that the bill would prevent, “ICE officials hanging around the courthouse and looking for immigration-related matters, to arrest people without a warrant.” However, he conceded that it would be a modest change in the broader context of immigration enforcement.

According to the Immigrant Defense Project, the bill also protects people on their way to and from the courthouse. The full text can be read here.

ICE has made 15 arrests in state courthouses this year, with nine of those arrests coming from within New York City, the Office of Court Administration said. The arrests have sparked walkouts from lawyers and fears of a chilling effect, that would prevent potential witnesses or victims from testifying out of a fear of being arrested at the courthouse. New York Law Journal

Ellis Island

Human Rights Watch criticizes limits on legal aid fund for immigrants
Human Rights Watch became the latest group to criticize the mayor’s office for its decision to prevent certain immigrants from receiving free legal counsel based on their criminal records. Immigrants convicted of one of 170 ‘serious offenses’ will not be eligible for assistance from the city-funded New York Immigrant Family Unity Project. Human Rights Watch spoke to 10 legal organizations that receive funding from the city to provide legal aid to immigrants and concluded the policy will ultimately do more harm than good. Organizations told Human Rights Watch that the exceptions will erode trust between attorneys and their clients and could lead to immigrants not seeking legal services at all. Human Rights Watch

Poughkeepsie Council backs state bill offering undocumented immigrants driver’s licenses, Poughkeepsie Journal

The Guatemalan migrant shot in the head could have been me, The Guardian [Opinion]


Transgender woman who was part of the migrant caravan dies in detention
Roxana Hernández, a transgender woman who came to the U.S. with the migrant caravan, died in immigration detention last week. Her death was reportedly due to health complications, which advocates said were brought on by the conditions of her detention. Hernandez was detained by Customs and Border Patrol on May 9, according to Splinter, before CBP referred her for deportation on May 13. She soon ended up in a hospital and was pronounced dead on May 25.

Hernandez was placed in the ‘icebox,’ one of several CBP detention facilities near the border that are infamous for their freezing temperatures. Advocates believe she caught pneumonia during her time there which led to her death. She is the sixth detainee to die to in ICE custody this fiscal year.

Earlier this year, Hernandez told told BuzzFeed’s Adolfo Flores that she fled Honduras shortly after she was raped by four members of MS-13. Splinter, BuzzFeed

Transgender immigrants suffering from abuse in immigration detention
ICE is holding transgender immigrants in detention for twice as long as the general population, and they are suffering from sexual assault and abuse at a much higher rate than other immigrants, according to new data. ICE provided the statistics to Rep. Kathleen Rice. The figures state that 0.14 percent of detainees disclosed being LGBTQ on their intake forms in the last fiscal year. However, they represented 12 percent of alleged victims of sexual abuse and assault. Transgender women were also often placed in facilities with men. HuffPost

High school arrests are leading to deportation
As schools around the country tighten security, and police increase sweeps of alleged gang members, immigration advocacy groups fear more undocumented students may risk deportation for minor infractions. Dennis Rivera-Sarmiento is an undocumented student who was arrested by a high school police officer in Houston after a schoolyard scuffle. This arrest led to him being flagged for deportation. Advocates say that Rivera-Sarmiento’s case is similar to many around the country. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos told Congress last week that local school officials should decide the level in which they want to work with ICE. The New York Times  

TPS holders weigh the prospects of returning to their countries of origin
Hundreds of thousands of immigrants had their Temporary Protected Status rescinded by the Trump administration over this past year. Now, many are faced with the option of going underground in the U.S. or returning to their home country. The Washington Post’s Maria Sacchetti followed Guillermo Mendoza on a trip from Maryland to his native El Salvador. Mendoza has lived in the U.S. with TPS status for almost 20 years. He went to visit his family in San Salvador and to consider whether or not he could move back there. The Washington Post

Continued analysis on the ‘missing children’ confusion
Over memorial day weekend, a story about the federal government being unable to contact children it had placed in foster care and another one about family separation at the border were conflated into a messy false narrative that spread like wildfire on social media. Amanda Taub of The New York Times explained why the narrative was so compelling to liberals and Caitlin Dickerson went on The Daily to explain it to listeners. Vox’s Sarah Kliff broke down why advocates are more concerned about family separation than the government’s inability to locate immigrant children in foster care. In an op-ed for The New York Times, Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union and NYCLU Staff Attorney Paige Austin explained how the Trump administration is pushing to use the confusion over these stories to justify repealing legal protections for immigrant children who are in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement. ABC News examined what the lifecycle of the story said about social media. The New York Times reporter Ron Nixon also looked back at what it was like for his original scoop on the government’s inability to locate nearly 1,500 children to spread a month after he wrote it.

How International Doctors Can Help American Patients, US News and World Report

These Indian Women’s Lives Are Frozen By American Immigration Laws, HuffPost

Trump Administration’s H-1b Visa Fraud Hotline Received More Than 5,000 Tips In One Year, Newsweek

US cities file legal
brief to support Philadelphia, Associated Press


  • Is the United States Losing Its Humanity? By Anne C. Richard, assistant secretary of state in the Obama administration. The New York Times
  • Separating immigrant families is inhumane, Editorial Board. The Seattle Times
  • Immigration disputes overlook LI’s desperate communities, Editorial Board. Newsday

Washington – How the family separation policy began

Several Department of Homeland Security officials gathered last year to discuss methods to deter migrants from crossing the border, The New Yorker reports. After bouncing around some ideas, they settled on one – family separation.

The policy was not clear initially. Immigrant rights groups began noticing that more often, parents were arriving in detention centers without their children. The increase in prosecutions of migrants in federal courts for illegally crossing the border led to more separations.

The policy was calcified last month when DHS and the Department of Justice announced the ‘zero tolerance’ policy that meant that all those who didn’t cross at an official port of entry would be prosecuted in federal court. The New Yorker

Trump refugee nominee demanded reparations from DACA recipients, The Hill

Feinstein plans bill to halt separation of families at the border, The Hill

Thank Obama for Trump’s Child Detentions, Immigrant Advocates Say, The Daily Beast

Manhattan, New York – May 6, 2018: Views of 201 Varick Street building. Photo: Christopher Lee for Documented.

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