The New York City Council convened on Thursday to discuss the impact of the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy on the city. Perhaps the most revelatory piece of information from the hearing was that the federal government’s failure to meet a court-mandated deadline for reunifying children under five with their families included children in New York; half, or twelve out of a total 24, have been reunited, according to Catholic Charities.
Elected officials and the leaders of several shelters and legal providers reiterated the fact that the federal government did not and does not have a truly coherent plan to reunite the families, even as it approaches the next deadline of July 26, at which point it must reunite all of the remaining children.
Some families were reunited in New York on Wednesday morning after a false start on Tuesday night. Three parents with ankle bracelets were reunited with their children under five at 26 Federal Plaza before heading towards what would have been their original destinations.
At least one parent, however, was denied the ability to travel to New York to see his daughters. Hector Tejada Santos had entered the country in January and was released with an ankle monitor. His wife and two youngest daughters, ages 5 and 9, were detained and separated from each other in June, with the two girls ending up in New York. Hector was to travel to the city to see them, but was ultimately not given permission by ICE, according to the family’s lawyers. amNewYork, WABC-TV, The New York Times, Felipe De La Hoz for Documented.
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New Jersey County Jails Get Windfall From Immigration Detainees
County jails in New Jersey that have agreements with the federal government that allow the government to place immigration detainees within them have seen an increasing cash award in recent years. In the period between January 2015 and March 2018, ICE money flowing to Bergen, Essex, and Hudson counties has increased 46 percent, or over $150 million. The majority of the inmates housed at Bergen County Correctional Facility are now immigration detainees, and the other facilities aren’t that far off in terms of proportion. WNYC
Municipal IDs in the Spotlight
The New York City municipal ID program has seen its share of controversy since it was created three years ago, including having been the subject of a lawsuit by two state lawmakers who wanted to preserve the documentation that the city intended to destroy to avoid it falling into the federal government’s hand. Now, the ID cards are finding themselves at the center of a couple of recent incidents of immigrants being detained at military bases. Both Pablo Villavicencio, the man arrested after delivering pizza to the Fort Hamilton base in Brooklyn, and Concepción and Margarito Silva, a couple from Brooklyn detained while trying to visit their Army sergeant son-in-law at Fort Drum for the Fourth of July, tried to use the IDs to gain access. The incidents illustrate that while the IDs have facilitated daily life in some respect, they have limitations, and support groups are now asking undocumented people not to try to enter federal installations at all. The New York TImes
Mayor Pushes Back Against Illegal Entry Claim
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio called the federal government’s assertions that he improperly crossed into Mexico and back into the United States during a June meeting to the border in Texas “absolutely ridiculous.” A letter sent by Customs and Border Protection to de Blasio’s office and obtained by the Associated Press alleged that, after a group of mayors including de Blasio failed to get access go a holding facility for immigrant children, de Blasio and an entourage walked into Mexican territory and then back into the United States without authorization. De Blasio said the letter was an attempt to distract from the federal government’s policies and that his group had been under the supervision of border officials at all times. amNewYork
It has been 99 days since Memphis-based journalist Manuel Durán was detained by immigration authorities after first being arrested by the Memphis Police Department while covering a protest. Documented will keep a running tally of how long Durán remains in detention.
Study Suggests In-District Private Detention Makes Congress Members More Hawkish on Immigration
A study released by the University of California, Riverside examined the issue of whether having a private detention facility in their district affected the voting records of members of Congress. Even when controlling for factors such as a district’s economic or demographic characteristics and the congressperson’s own political leanings, the study found that lawmakers with private prisons operating in their districts were about three times as likely to cosponsor punitive bills that would increase the numbers of detained immigrants as opposed to a lawmaker without a private prison. These facilities have seen their operations increase and stocks soar as federal immigration policy has increased the number of immigration detainees. CityLab
Reunifications Are Chaotic, Catch-and-Release Resumes
As the federal government has struggled with meeting the July 10 deadline for reuniting children five or younger with their parents, the reunifications that have occured have been disorganized and ad hoc, and laid bare the psychological problems that separation has inflicted on the babies and toddlers taken from their parents. Some children cry or scream after being reunited with their parents, and don’t seem to recognize them. As a federal judge denied the government’s request to modify a settlement known as the Flores agreement in a way that would allow them to hold immigrant children for more than 20 days at a time — the current upper limit — the government has gone back to the long-standing practice of releasing migrant families together, with ankle monitors. The New York Times
About Half of Children Under Five Deemed Ineligible for Court-Ordered Reunification
By Thursday morning, officials with Health and Human Services and the Department of Homeland Security told reporters that 57 out of 103 children under the age of five identified as having been separated from their families had been reunited. The federal government has determined that 46 of the remaining children are ineligible for reunification for a host of reasons, including because parents had criminal records, were not confirmed to have a familial relationship with the child, or had already been deported. The Daily Beast
ICE Detainee Dies of Apparent Suicide
Efrain De La Rosa, a 40-year-old man who had been in immigration detention since May of last year, was found dead of apparently self-inflicted strangulation in his cell at the CoreCivic-run Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia. De La Rosa suffered from bipolar disorder, according to his brother, and had arrived in the United States 18 years ago looking for work. He was taken into ICE custody after a felony larceny conviction in Wake County, N.C., and was in removal proceedings. De La Rosa becomes the eighth immigration detainee nationwide to have died in custody since October of last year, and the fourth to die after being held in detention in Georgia since May of last year. He had been held in solitary confinement. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Washington, D.C. — Formalized Changes to Asylum-Seeking, Kavanagh, Congressional Oversight
The administration has now officially codified standards to reject all asylum-seekers who have fled from their native countries due to a fear of gang or domestic violence, and to heavily weight illegal border crossings against their cases.
Crucially, this directive would apply during credible fear interviews, during which many immigrants do not have access to counsel and might have trouble navigating the legal technicalities. Immigration judges would also have their hands tied when it came to granting asylum based on domestic or gang violence. The decision is almost certain to be challenged in court. CNN
Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is being hailed by immigration hawks due to a couple of decisions, both dissents on the D.C. Circuit, which seemed to side against the rights of immigrants. Politico
The House Judiciary Committee, which is tasked with providing oversight over the operations of the immigration enforcement agencies, has not held an oversight hearing into the actions of the nation’s immigration agents in three years, which the Democratic members of the committee have called “indefensible.” Quartz
House Republicans are moving to schedule a vote on a bill to dissolve ICE that was introduced by Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) in an attempt to force Democrats to either vote for a bill they see as incredibly radical or risk angering the Democratic base by voting against abolishing ICE. Vox