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Early Arrival: Immigrants Appear in Court via Video

Friday's edition of Early Arrival: Lawsuits Allege Misconduct at Child Shelters – Homeland Security's Investigations Wants to Split from ICE – Protesters Arrested in D.C.

ICE decided to shut down the Varick Street immigration court on Tuesday. Instead, detained immigrant’s cases were heard over video uplink.

Immigration lawyers told The New York Times the lack of face-to-face meetings would inhibit their ability to represent their clients.

An ICE spokesman said the hearings were suspended “for the foreseeable future” at the court “to ensure the safety of ICE employees, the court, the public and detainees.”

A protest group set up outside ICE’s headquarters on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, which ICE blamed for the closure. The New York Times

Ellis Island

New York Civil Liberties Union scored a victory in a case against the Office of Refugee Resettlement on Thursday. The case, called L.V.M. v. Lloyd was about a policy Scott Lloyd instituted where he had to review and approve the release of any immigrant child in a “staff secure” ORR contracted facility. “The court cannot turn a blind eye to plaintiffs’ suffering and irreparable injury,” the court wrote. NYCLU filed the class action lawsuit in February, arguing the policy had caused significant delays, resulting in unlawful, indefinite detention. On Thursday, the court ordered the Trump administration to end the policy. NYCLU

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill Wednesday that will allow parents to designate a guardian for their children if they’re deported. The law updates the definition of “standby guardianship,” a legal mechanism created during the AIDS epidemic so people with terminal illnesses could transfer guardianship of their children. The new law will allow parents to transfer guardianship because of “administrative separation,” which includes arrest, incarceration, detention and deportation. Democrat and Chronicle

A Dozen Immigrant Children Choose Deportation to See Parents Again, WNYC


Special agents in charge at the Homeland Security Investigations unit of ICE said the agency’s immigrant detention and deportation operations tactics and aggression have made it difficult for them to do their jobs: investigating national security threats, drug smuggling and human trafficking. “HSI’s investigations have been perceived as targeting undocumented aliens, instead of the transnational criminal organizations that facilitate cross-border crimes impacting our communities and national security,” the special agents in charge wrote in a letter written to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. They requested Nielsen to split HSI off of ICE and to let it exist generally under the Department of Homeland Security. Texas Tribune

A top ICE official in the Seattle office was sentenced to four years in prison for opening credit cards and taking out loans with he personal information of vulnerable immigrants, has been sentenced to four years in prison. Raphael A. Sanchez took a plea deal, which a judge approved on Thursday. In addition to four years in prison, he will have to pay $190,000. Sanchez stole and exploited the identities of people in removal proceedings or those who had been deported. NPR

Immigrant children as young as 3 have to appear in court to represent themselves in cases, according to attorneys. This is not a new practice, but the attorneys — in Texas, California and Washington, D.C. — say more children are being affected than before. “We were representing a 3-year-old in court recently who had been separated from the parents. And the child — in the middle of the hearing — started climbing up on the table,” Lindsay Toczylowski, executive director of Immigrant Defenders Law Center in Los Angeles told Kaiser Health News. “It really highlighted the absurdity of what we’re doing with these kids.” Kaiser Health News

An interview between former Bay Area ICE spokesman James Schwab and CBS News on Wednesday was interrupted by two men who claimed to be agents of the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General’s Office. Schwab resigned after he was told to “perpetuate misleading facts” about the effects of Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf’s warning that ICE raids were coming. The men wouldn’t address questions from the CBS reporter. “I’m talking to [Schwab]” one agent said. “This is confidential.” Splinter

Melania Trump Makes Second Visit to Border Immigration Centers, Associated Press

Hundreds Arrested Protesting Trump Administration’s Immigration Policies, NPR

Federal Judge Frees Salvadoran Teen Accused of Gang Ties, Pens Lengthy Rebuke of His Detention by ICE, The Intercept

The Travel Ban Has Been Upheld. Here Are Some of Its Effects So Far, The New York Times


  • We Will Put our Bodies on the Line To Stop Trump Incarcerating Children by Winnie Wong, an activist and organizer of the Women’s March, The Guardian
  • Finally, a Family Separation Story with a Happy Ending by Catherine Rampbell, opinion columnist, The Washington Post
  • Former ICE Lawyer Switches Sides: I want to Protect Immigrant Children, not Prosecute Them by Laura Peña, former assistant chief counsel at ICE, USA Today

Washington – Arrests Made during Protest at Senate

Capitol Police arrested 575 protesters in the Hart Senate Office Building during a mass protest calling for the abolishment of ICE and an end to family detention and the zero tolerance policy.  The arrested were charged with unlawful protesting. “I have two kids, and as a white mother, there is almost no circumstance that they would be taken away from me — ever,” Victoria Farris told The Washington Post.

Protesters wrapped themselves in silver blankets, similar to what the children use in border detention facilities, and unfurled banners inside the building. The protests began around 3 p.m. and were greeted by senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Tammy Duckworth. Rep. Pramila Jayapal also participated in the protest. Actress Susan Sarandon walked in front of the group of mostly women protestors, and was arrested as well.

The protest was coordinated by several groups, Casa de Maryland and the Women’s March.  A larger demonstration is expected to happen on Saturday across the country. Organizers of the D.C. march said that protests will take place in 351 congressional districts all over the U.S. The Washington Post

As expected, the immigration bills brought before the House have failed, further driving a wedge in the GOP between hardliners and moderates. The moderate Republicans leading the charge have not been able to bring Democrats and the more conservative wing of their party to the table. The compromise will likely hinge on providing Deferred Access for Childhood Arrivals, a path to becoming citizens. Democrats joined moderates to spark the immigration debate, but told The Washington Post they were excluded from further talks about the bills.  The Washington Post

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