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Early Arrival: ICE Loses in the Children’s Court

Monday's Edition of Early Arrival: NYPD Surveillance Still Largely Targets Muslims – Cheaper Detention Options are no Less Effective – Support for ‘Abolish ICE’ Wavers

On Wednesday, the case The Kids of New York City v. ICE was heard in Foley Square. The federal agency was charged with 10 counts of hurting kids, which included putting kids in cages and making kids clean, including icky bathrooms. The judge was a 9-year-old girl named Summer, the lawyer stood behind a cardboard podium, and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement attorney was a balloon tied to a suitcase, wearing a shirt that appeared to be from the Boy Scouts. ICE was found guilty. Afterwards, the children, their parents and a contingent of domestic workers crossed the street and circled the building where the New York office of ICE is located. The event was organized by Hand in Hand, a network of employers of domestic workers and National Domestic Workers Alliance, an advocacy organization for those workers. Both parents and nannies attended the event to advocate for families separated by the Trump administration’s zero tolerance policies. “The thought of my children being ripped away from me is inhuman,” said Juann Estwick, a nanny on the Upper West Side. “This will traumatize those kids forever.” Max Siegelbaum for Documented

Suits Over Federal Public Safety Money
The city and state both separately sued the Justice Department over its attempts to attach immigration-related strings to the disbursement of public safety grants. The federal government has spent over a year warning municipalities and states that do not give ICE advance warning of the release of immigrants from jail, bar federal immigration agencies from correctional facilities, and don’t share information with ICE that they won’t receive funding under the Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant, which localities typically use to hire public safety personnel or buy equipment. The suits contend that these conditions constitute an unconstitutional demand by the federal government over local law enforcement matters. The New York Times

ICE Attorneys in New York Still Trying to Deport Separated Children
Despite a standing court order compelling the government to reunify all children and parents that were separated as a result of the government’s now defunct zero tolerance policy, ICE prosecutors in New York City were observed arguing in favor of the expeditious deportation of young children without plans in place to reunite them with their parents. An ICE spokeswoman said that children could still be reunified following a removal order being lodged against them, but ICE attorneys in court apparently fought against attempts to even locate the children’s parents, a prerequisite to any unification. Daily Mail

Dreamer Seeks State Office
Catalina Cruz, a longtime City Council staffer who was brought by her mother to New York without documentation as a 9-year-old in 1992, is now running for the 39th Assembly district in Queens. Cruz, who obtained permanent residency in 2005 and went on to become a citizen, has a history of championing causes beneficial to the borough’s immigrants, including having overseen a program to provide legal assistance to unaccompanied minors and having been the point person for the rollout of the city’s IDNYC municipal identification cards. She also oversaw a state-level task force that sought to investigate worker exploitation and return stolen wages to largely immigrant workforces, such as nail salon workers. Broadly

How A Group Of New York Moms Is Reuniting Separated Migrant Families, HuffPost

What It’s Like to Represent a 6-Year-Old in Immigration Court, WNYC


Alternatives to Detention are Much Cheaper and No Less Effective
While the Trump administration has attempted to detain families together indefinitely in response to court orders to cease family separations — indefinite family detentions were also rejected by a court — and is building new immigration detention capabilities, alternatives to detention exist and have been proven to be much cheaper and just as effective as detention. While housing a detained mother and her children at a facility can cost $320 a night, giving that some mother a GPS ankle bracelet costs just over $4 a day. A cancelled case management pilot program that used case workers to keep track of immigrants and remind them to attend court cost about $10 a day and had a 99 percent success rate. NPR

New Filings in Flores Detail Allegations of Substandard Conditions in Detention
Over 200 sworn statements from migrants detained at the border were filed this week in the long-running Flores lawsuit, which challenges the treatment of children in federal immigration custody. The declarations detailed conditions inside Customs and Border Patrol facilities, and consistently described a lack of enough food, very low temperatures, cells without anywhere to sleep, and the fact of parents and children being kept in separate cells where they were not allowed to touch each other. CBP facilities are typically supposed to house migrants for short periods at a time while they are processed, but detention times have been getting longer, now routinely hitting three to six days. Reuters

Doctors Write Whistleblower Letter
Two physicians working as “subject-matter experts” for the Department of Homeland Security’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties wrote a letter to the Senate’s Whistleblower Protection Caucus saying they were concerned about any plan to detain children and their parents in facilities run by the government, pointing to the potential of serious harm. The doctors cited 10 government-run investigations into family detention centers between 2014 and 2017, which revealed untreated medical situations for children, including weight loss for babies and toddlers and the risk of harm from the detention infrastructure itself, such as prison-like gates that would automatically swing open or closed and potentially injure children. They also pointed to the psychological after-effects to detention. The New York Times

Memphis Immigration Court Ramps Up Asylum Denials, Deportation Orders
The Memphis immigration court, which handles cases from Tennessee, Arkansas, and Northern Mississippi, has seen a 50 percent increase in deportation orders since 2016. The uptick is partly due to a notorious immigration judge, Vernon Miles, who had a 98 percent asylum application denial rate before he moved to Memphis from San Antonio in 2017, replacing a judge that had a 56 percent denial rate. Other judges with higher-than-average denial rates have also been added to the bench to accommodate increased numbers of cases. Part of the change might also be due to increased difficulty in obtaining asylum based on fear of gangs, a trend that has now been formalized in official DOJ policy. The Tennessean

Chaos Reigns as Reunifications are Supposed to Take Place
Despite assurances from the federal government that all “eligible” children under 5 who were separated from their parents have already been reunited, some parents who seem to have no outstanding criminal cases or other concerns still have not been given their children back. Parents and children continue to be moved around the country without any apparent thought to whether or not this will make reunification more difficult, and without the parents themselves necessarily being informed why they’re being transferred. The Intercept

Couple Sues Customs & Border Protection for Montana Incident, KPAX-TV

Federal Officials Again Deny Members of Congress Access to a Detention Facility Holding Immigrant Children in Portland, Willamette Week

ICE Protesters Vow to Continue Demonstrations Despite Arrests, WPLG

Immigrant Rights Group Turns Down $250,000 From Tech Firm Over Ties to Border Patrol, NPR

From Crib to Court: At Least 70 Children Under 1 Summoned for Deportation Proceedings, USA Today

Exclusive: Immigrant kids Held in Second Phoenix Office Seen Bathing in Sinks, Reveal

Trump’s Migrant Fiasco Diverts Millions From Health Programs, Politico

Washington – Support for ‘Abolish ICE’ Wavers, Family Separation Prompts Resignations

Having seen polling indicating that the majority of the American electorate does not support abolishing ICE as an agency, Congressional Republicans tried to force the Democrats to take an open position by holding a vote on a resolution declaring support for ICE and border enforcement.

The original idea was to hold a vote for a measure introduced by Democrats to abolish the agency, effectively calling their bluff. Even the Democrats who introduced it then said they’d vote against it, so the GOP voted on the support resolution instead. The majority of Democrats voted simply “present,” declining to take a position and calling the vote a distraction, but 18 actually voted in favor of the resolution to support ICE. Washington PostSplinter

Four members of a national security advisory council have resigned in disgust over the Trump administration’s immigration policies, saying in a letter that they were specifically perturbed by the family separations that took place as part of the zero-tolerance effort. The resignations included a former secretary of the Navy, a former congresswoman, a former DHS deputy general counsel, and a former director of the National Counterterrorism Center. Washington Post

The administration decided to extend Temporary Protected Status for roughly 500 Somalis living in the United States, renewing the program for the existing pool of applicants until at least March of 2020. The program was not redesignated, however, meaning that Somalis not already holding the designation will not be able to apply for it. The Guardian

Documents revealed as part of a lawsuit by other TPS holders whose designations are being terminated by the federal government — including people from El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Haiti — show that intelligence assessments prior to the decisions actually recommended the programs not be terminated. CNN

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