Attorneys for the government and for immigration activist and New Sanctuary Coalition Executive Director Ravi Ragbir argued their cases before a three-judge panel from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday.
Ragbir, a longtime green card holder before a wire fraud conviction from nearly two decades ago stripped him of status, is subject to an order of removal; nonetheless, he had been checking in regularly with ICE for years before being suddenly detained in January of this year, in what his attorneys allege was an attempt to silence his advocacy.
Ragbir has sued, and the federal government has argued that the court does not have the authority to try to determine ICE’s motivation in detaining Ragibr. Judges on the panel emphasized the fundamental importance of the First Amendment, but did not ultimately give an indication as to how they will rule on the case. Courthouse News
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What Motivated Jair Bolsonaro’s Voters In New York?
Jair Bolsonaro, the far-right legislator and former military officer who won the Brazilian presidential election held on Sunday, captured about 76 percent of the 9,000 ballots cast by Brazilian expatriates living in New York City. He defeated his opponent, Workers’ Party candidate Fernando Haddad, by over fifty points, a margin of victory about forty points greater than he had in the election as a whole. As with Brazilians in the homeland, sheer disgust with the domestic political situation, tainted as it is by widespread graft, corruption, and mismanagement, drove voters to the anti-establishment option. The effect appears to have been magnified by the fact that voters at a geographic remove, and in a comparatively more prosperous area, had their views largely shaped by social media and fear-mongering from the homeland. In general, recent waves of Brazilian immigrants to the U.S. have been wealthier and more concentrated in white-collar professions than the average immigrant, contributing to a more conservative population. Ultimately, though, it seems like the draw wasn’t any particularly conservative policies but rather Bolsonaro’s promise to dynamite the political system that attracted voters. Read More at Documented.
Haitian New Yorkers on TPS Make Tough Decisions
As the legal proceedings surrounding the government’s attempted termination of several countries’ Temporary Protected Status programs wind their way through the courts, the lives of Haitian TPS holders in New York have already been affected. Those who own homes or businesses are having to weigh the possibility of selling them in advance of when they might lose legal status. One New Yorker — now a plaintiff in a lawsuit led by New York to extend protections for TPS holders — had been planning to go to graduate school after finishing high school and college in the city. That decision has now been postponed as the fate of her life as a legal immigrant is up in the air. The Guardian
Former City Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Helps Immigrants Run for Office
Sayu Bhojwani became the city’s first Commissioner for Immigrant Affairs roughly six months after 9/11, when that office had first been created to serve as a liaison and coordinator for the city’s many immigrant communities. After a two-year stint in that newly-created position, Bhojwani took it upon herself to help immigrants like her run for and win elected positions by highlighting their immigrant roots. The New American Leaders (NAL) group that she founded focuses on training candidates for office who might be coming up against entrenched party machines and may be tempted to downplay immigrant backgrounds or who won’t utilize their own community networks for fundraising and support, encouraging them to tap into immigrant histories as a tool instead of a hindrance. Alumni of the group include City Council Immigration Chair Carlos Menchaca, and Catalina Cruz, who will likely become the first ‘DREAMer’ to serve in office in New York state after next week’s election, is a member. Gotham Gazette
Mass Releases of Asylum-Seekers at Border Seem Intended to Manufacture Chaos
Immigration authorities along the border region in recent weeks have undertaken sudden and radical shifts in dealing with migrant families that have arrived in the country seeking asylum. Claiming that their ability to process and hold families is at capacity, authorities have ceased helping families make arrangements for their release — which typically would have included ensuring that they had relatives, friends, or an aid organization to arrive to and helping with travel plans to get there — and began mass-releasing hundreds of families into border regions with little-to-no warning. Observers of the shift say that it came abruptly and didn’t seem to be in response to an actual lack of ability to process migrants, raising the question of whether the sudden mass-releases were intended to create the perception that immigration authorities are overwhelmed and that there is chaos at the border in order to fit with the president’s overblown rhetoric and affect the midterm elections. The Intercept
Speaking of politically-motivated shows of crisis at the border, dozens of ICE and CBP agents descended on the Paso del Norte port of entry at El Paso, Texas, to aggressively run drills at the border in supposed preparation for a ‘caravan’ of migrants that remains over a thousand miles away. The agents were reportedly armed and wearing riot gear, including some with ski masks to obscure their faces, as they drilled with helicopters hovering overhead. U.S. troops have also already begun deploying to the border region. All of this is in response to a shrinking group of all asylum-seekers walking to the United States from Mexico, who will likely arrive weeks from now if at all, making it pretty clear that the showmanship at the border is more motivated by turning out frightened voters than it is about safety. The Daily Beast
Simultaneous Colorado Court Cases Illustrate ICE Detainer Debate
Two neighboring counties in Colorado, El Paso and Teller, both had local sheriffs who honored so-called ICE detainers, which request that jails hold immigrants past their supposed date of release so that immigration authorities can pick them up. The ACLU sued both sheriffs, arguing that sheriffs in the state did not possess the authority to detain immigrants longer than was necessary just to comply with ICE’s requests. The two cases landed with different state judges in the same courthouse, months apart; one judge issued an injunction preventing El Paso from continuing to honor the detainers, while the other judge did not do so for Teller, meaning that that county still honors them. The situation — with one county continuing to cooperate with ICE and the other enjoined from doing so — illustrates the uncertainty that local officials around the country face when trying to determine the legality of their own cooperation with ICE. Both sheriffs are now hoping for the cases to go to a higher court, where the issue can be definitively settled. Colorado Public Radio
Ohio BMV Sued for Discriminating Against Children of the Undocumented
The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles is being sued by the U.S. citizen children of undocumented parents, who say that the agency has discriminated against them by adhering to a longstanding policy of requiring that minors applying for drivers licenses or other forms of identification receive co-signage from a parent with legal status. The BMV has maintained that it cannot allow another adult to cosign for a minor unless that adult has obtained legal guardianship or custody of the minor, meaning that people under 18 who have no parents with legal status are out of options for getting a valid drivers license. The obscure policy is an example of bureaucratic rules that were never specifically designed to target undocumented or mixed-status families nonetheless having the effect of putting up roadblocks to these families’ full participation in civic life, even for family members who are citizens. The Columbus Dispatch
One Successful Case Shows What an Asylum Application Takes Now
The obstacles to successfully applying for asylum have been mounting, part of an overarching strategy by the administration and the attorney general to chip away at the ability to satisfy the criteria to receive asylum. The successful process in California of one gay man from El Salvador shows the methodical and exacting nature of the modern process: Vladimir Cortez crossed into the United States and surrendered himself to border agents. After passing a credible fear interview, he first had to prove that he was gay, including by describing to the presiding judge some details of his sexual activities. Then, he had to show documentation proving that he had reported threats and abuse related to his sexual orientation to the Salvadoran police, who did not help, and finally had an expert testify as to the high death rates of LGBT deportees to El Salvador. Only when state-ignored, serious persecution specifically related to his identity as a gay man was proven did Cortez receive asylum. Voice of San Diego
Washington — Birthright Citizenship, Caravan Politics
Yes, the president announced yesterday that he wanted to delete a clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution through an executive order and prevent children born in the country to noncitizen parents from deriving automatic citizenship by virtue of having been born on American territory. CNN
It’s important to note here that this isn’t a question that the Supreme Court has to now rule on. The Supreme Court has ruled on this, in 1898, in the case of United States vs. Wong Kim Ark, a landmark decision that reaffirmed that persons born on U.S. territory are U.S. citizens regardless of their personal circumstances. An executive order isn’t going to change that, though it is true that a conservative majority on the Supreme Court may be amenable to re-examining the question. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) separately announced he was introducing legislation to that effect, presumably seeking a (very difficult) change to the Constitution. Washington Post, The Hill
With the so-called migrant caravan still weeks away from potentially arriving at the southern U.S. border, the administration has already announced troop deployments and is examining ways to limit the amount of asylum-seekers that will be allowed in at any given time, measures that are already causing rumblings of legal action by groups concerned that the U.S. will violate its legal obligations to allow asylum petitions. CNN
If the United States had a Safe Third Country agreement with Mexico, it would allow them to turn certain asylum-seekers away at the border to petition for asylum in Mexico, but experts and the Mexican government say such an agreement is unlikely. UPI
The caravan and immigration in general has become the animating issue ahead of the midterm elections, as the raw emotion that it engenders has been weaponized to drive voter turnout. USA Today