After New Sanctuary Coalition leader Ravi Ragbir was arrested by ICE earlier this year, many New York activists concluded he was targeted due to his activism. Ragbir’s case is now in a federal appeals court, where lawyers are trying to get him a stay of removal.
Ragbir is a plaintiff in a First Amendment lawsuit filed in February that’s accusing ICE officials of targeting activists for deportation. During a hearing on Tuesday, a judge said no court or authority outside the executive branch can reprimand Immigration and Customs Enforcement for silencing critics through arrests and other measures. Ragbir’s case claims that’s a first amendment violation.
Alina Das, a professor at New York University Law School and one of Ragbir’s attorneys, tells The Intercept the case has relevance beyond immigration matters. “If ICE is given free reign to silence their critics, we are creating an agency that is unaccountable and is permitted to disappear those who are in the best position to educate the public about what this agency is actually doing,” she said. “That should be a scary prospect for anyone living in this country.” The Intercept
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Cuomo Pardons Immigrant Detainee
On Tuesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo pardoned Harveys Gomez, 39, a Bronx resident and Dominican Republic native, effectively staving off his deportation. Gomez has been in ICE custody since October. According to Cuomo’s office, Gomez is a survivor of childhood sex abuse and “has no family in the Dominican Republic who would be able to support him if deported.” Gomez’s pardon was the fourth Cuomo has granted to people facing deportation. NY Post
Fewer Unaccompanied Minors Have Legal Representation in New York
About 22 percent fewer unaccompanied minors had lawyers in New York’s immigration courts in fiscal year 2017, compared to fiscal years 2014-2016, according to data from the transactional records access clearinghouse at Syracuse University. That percentage is likely lower this year, considering it includes children separated from their parents at the U.S. border. Advocates say the volume of cases, specifically those with minors, are dominating pro bono attorneys’ time, among other issues. WNYC
United States Deports Nazi Concentration Camp Guard
Jakiv Palij, a resident of Jackson Heights and a former Nazi Concentration Camp Guard, has been deported. Palij, 94, arrived in Dusseldorf on Tuesday morning and was taken from the plane by ambulance to a nursing home. The Palij case has been in flux for decades. Palij was trained in a concentration camp in 1941, emigrated to the U.S. as a refugee in 1949 and naturalized citizen in 1957. A federal judge in New York stripped him of his citizenship in 2003 due to his work in a labor camp, but his deportation was delayed due to a disagreement over the level of proof the German government needed to proceed. Deutsche Welle
It has been 139 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.
Salesforce Targeted for CBP Contract
Advocacy groups have found a new target to protest over federal contracts: Salesforce. Greenpeace, Demand Progress, New York State Nurses Association and advocacy group Fight for the Future are coordinating the campaign and threatening to boycott the company if it doesn’t terminate its contract with Customs and Border Protection. More than 650 Salesforce employees have a petitioned chief executive officer Marc Benioff to end the contract, but the company has made no moves to do so. The Guardian
Refugees Deported to Cambodia
About 30 refugees from Cambodia are being deported, marking the second group of refugees ICE has send back to that country this year. The U.S. and Cambodia have recently clashed over repatriations after Cambodia temporarily quit accepting deportees. The Trump administration slammed visa sanctions on the country in response, which prevented Cambodian officials from coming to the U.S. Many of the refugees had been living in the U.S. for decades. HuffPost
Fed Up, Immigration Attorneys Are Challenging Judges
Immigration attorneys have filed four challenges in San Diego against judges in recent weeks, questioning how much migrants understand during their quick court proceedings. These measures signify lawyers’ frustration over Trump administration policies including zero tolerance and fast tracked cases under Operation Streamline. The Guardian
Army Reinstates Dozens of Immigrant Recruits
The Army has begun the process of reinstating soldiers who were expelled due to their immigration status. At least 36 recruits who were kicked out of the military were brought back, according to court records. The Army has paused another 149 discharges after The Associated Press’s July revelation that dozens of immigrants were being discharged. NY Post
Washington – Trump’s Love of ICE and CBP Could Backfire
President Trump held an event Monday honoring the “heroes” of ICE and CBP. In a winding speech, he castigated the ‘open border extremists,’ calling the crowd of about 150 officers and agents “great patriots.” Trump said Democrats who’ve been pushing for the abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement “have no courage … They just have big, loud mouths.”
The event was likely intended to push ICE as a campaign issue in the midterm elections. But immigration has been a losing issue for Trump after the overwhelming backlash against his zero tolerance policy, and Congressional Democrats are confident they can rally around the vitriol. Further politicizing the agencies could also backfire by persuading more cities, states and counties to become sanctuary jurisdictions, says John Sandweg, a former ICE official in the Obama administration.
During his speech, Trump portrayed ICE and CBP as protecting the American public from violent criminals and gang members. And when calling Latino CBP agent Adrian Anzaldua to the stage, Trump offhandedly remarked that Anzaldua “speaks perfect English.” The Washington Post, Vox
Pentagon is Worried U.S. is Accepting Fewer Iraqi Allies
The U.S. has taken in fewer former Iraqi translators in recent months, spelling trouble for the Pentagon. Iraqis and Afghans who translate for the U.S. military are typically entitled to a “special immigrant visa,” which can include a green card. But the Pentagon worries that by not welcoming Iraqis, fewer people will help the military — a task which often forces them to risk their and their family’s lives. Only 48 Iraqis have been admitted for this fiscal year because the FBI is finding more “suspicious information” on the visa applicants than in previous years. More than 3,000 Iraqis came last year and 5,100 the year before. Reuters