County jails in New Jersey rake in revenue for the counties they’re located in, putting Democratic elected officials in the awkward position of supporting immigration detention centers because of their positive fiscal impact.
Hudson County, for one, recently voted to extend its deal with ICE, prompting anger among local activists and elected officials who believe no revenue is worth what they see as the county’s complicity in the system.
Some activists are torn between attempting to improve conditions and getting ICE detainee programs shut down altogether. Immigrants are going to be detained somewhere, they say, and at least New Jersey is closer to their families and attorneys than Texas or Arizona. WNYC
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‘Abolish ICE’ Shirt Wearers Barred From Statue of Liberty
A New York couple wearing matching “Abolish ICE” t-shirts were escorted by security off the line to board a ferry to the Statue of Liberty. The incident happened in the wake of protests at the statue last month, such as when activists unfurled an “Abolish ICE” banner and one protester scaled the base of the statue. The couple, however, said they were taken out of the line merely because they were expressing their own political viewpoint without disturbing anyone. The National Park Services admitted that the incident had been a mistake and invited the couple back to the landmark. Gothamist
Congress Members Demand ICE Spokesman Resignation
Six New Jersey congressmembers have signed a letter demanding ICE New Jersey spokesman Emilio Dabul be fired over his past work with Islamophobic organizations. Dabul works out of the agency’s Newark office, handling public information requests and regularly communicating with journalists. The Star-Ledger had found he edited for organizations promoting Islamophobic views and made questionable statements about the loyalty of Muslim-Americans. ICE said it is standing behind Dabul. Patch
It has been 134 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.
Immigration Judges Struggle With Impartiality
Immigration judges have long sounded the alarm about the peculiar way immigration courts are set up. Judges are not part of an independent federal judiciary, and are instead employees of the Justice Department and responsive to policies instituted by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The current administration is notably using that structure to make it more difficult for immigrants to have an impartial adjudication process. Sessions has interfered with decision-making, referred cases to himself, issued department-wide policy shifts and implemented rules like yearly case quotas that cut down on judges’ abilities to independently assess the their cases. Texas Tribune
DACA Recipients Fearful of Reapplying
A new survey of DACA recipients finds the vast majority are in school or working, and most say the program has increased their incomes and stability. But of recipients whose status expires this year, about four in ten have so far not reapplied for a two-year renewal to their status. Applicants may be afraid of engaging with the federal government when the program could be declared illegal at the conclusion of all the relevant litigation. The survey shows most DACA recipients worry daily about the prospect of detention and deportation. NBC News
Concern Over Border Patrol Housing ICE Detainees
Immigration attorneys in San Diego have reported concerns that, as ICE’s detention capacity is stretched then, their clients are being held by Border Patrol, which is not typically equipped to handle long-term detention. Immigrants held in Border Patrol custody often appear in court disheveled and wearing the same clothes they were detained in, and report a lack proper hygiene products and sleeping areas. Attorneys contend that the arrangement may be a violation of the 8th Amendment, and there is ongoing litigation challenging the practice. Voice of San Diego
Number of Indians Seeking Asylum at Border Shoots Up
An increasing number of Indians have been shuffled to detention centers in California amid a surge of Indian asylum seekers. People from India, who say they are suffering from religious or politically-motivated persecution, have trekked from India through Europe or the Middle East to Mexico, and then cross the border to seek asylum. At some detention centers in California, Indians now make up between 20 and 40 percent of detained immigrants. Data shows ultimately, many of them will have their asylum cases denied, despite the fact that India’s political situation is indeed making it more difficult for some dissenters to live. The Los Angeles Times
Washington — Senate Study Faults Government Care of Migrant Children
A bipartisan Senate report released on Wednesday slammed the federal government for not doing enough to look after unaccompanied migrant children detained in the country.
The report claimed deficiencies in processing and oversight left children vulnerable to abuse and being released to traffickers. It says no federal agency ensures this doesn’t happen, a ”significant red flag” seeing as Health and Human Services often can’t reach sponsors once they’ve taken in an immigrant child. Associated Press
Officials Demand Immigration Cap Increase
Politicians from 42 states sent a letter to President Trump asking the cap for refugee admissions for the next fiscal year be set at 75,000. That’s far higher than the 25,000 reportedly being considered, which would be by far the lowest refugee admissions target since the program has existed. Despite a cap of 45,000 for this fiscal year, less than 20,000 refugees have been admitted so far. Voice of America
USCIS Defends Erasure of ‘immigrants’ From Mission Statement
USCIS head Francis Cissna defended his decision to remove “nation of immigrants” from the agency’s mission statement on Wednesday at a forum hosted by the Center for Immigration Studies — an SPLC-designated hate group. Cissna said there was a widespread “misunderstanding” that, because USCIS regularly interacts with immigrants, it serves them. But the mission of USCIS to not serve immigrants but the “American people,” he said. Washington Examiner
Attorney General Orders Faster Deportations
Sessions further interfered in the operations of immigration courts by mandating judges hoping to postpone cases should take into consideration how likely immigrants are to succeed in their applications. The move was derided by judges and immigration attorneys as yet another way to strip judges of discretion. Reuters
Schumer Once Called Illegal Immigration “Wrong”Fox News has dug up footage from 2009 of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer espousing the once-common hawkish immigration stance of the Democratic party. In the clip, Schumer said “People who enter the United States without our permission are illegal aliens, and illegal aliens should not be treated the same as people who entered the U.S. legally.” Fox News