A sudden surge of ICE detainees at the Albany County Jail over the summer rocketed their population from near-zero to up over 300 almost overnight, which Documented reported on at the time.
ICE has since not stopped using the jail, bringing in over 50 additional detainees in the past month after many of the original group had been moved to a facility near Buffalo or had been released.
The jail is currently holding just under 180 detainees in total, and local sheriff Craig Apple said the jail still had room for another 100. But he added he didn’t want to overload pro bono legal representation that had first emerged as a result of the summer’s sudden detainee spike, especially given that Apple has a policy of welcoming attorneys. The Times Union
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The Roots of Public Charge
The federal government’s proposed new rules surrounding the so-called public charge designation have directed attention to an arcane aspect of immigration law and policy codified in the Immigration Act of 1882. It barred entry to the United States to anyone deemed a “lunatic, idiot, or any person unable to take care of himself or herself without becoming a public charge,” and coincided with the Chinese Exclusion Act, hinting that the rule could allow immigration officers to reject ethnic groups perceived as naturally inferior. The first person caught up in the rule was 30-year-old deaf Russian blacksmith Moische Fischmann, who was deported in 1913 after fleeing Jewish persecution in Russia despite being offered a job in the United States. He eventually made it back to America in 1915, and was allowed entry after it was determined that deportation back to Europe would put him in danger. Read more at Documented.
Long Island Man Approved for Green Card Detained Over Burned-Out Headlight
An undocumented father who had been living in New York since 2001 was detained by ICE, despite having an approved petition for legal permanent residency stemming from his marriage to a U.S. citizen. Ecuadorian native Felipe Iñiguez, 49, had come to ICE’s attention after being pulled over by Lloyd Harbor police for a burned-out headlight. The wealthy village’s police force has a policy of alerting immigration authorities of anyone flagged for immigration violations, as they did with Iñiguez. If Suffolk County police had pulled him over just two miles down the road, ICE would not have been alerted. Iñiguez is now being held at the Orange County Correctional Facility.Newsday
Albany Won’t Commit to Driver’s Licenses for the Undocumented
Counselor to the Governor Alphonso David reportedly told activists at a Nov. 9 conference in Puerto Rico that the upcoming legislative session would pass a law allowing undocumented New Yorkers to receive driver’s licenses. But a spokesman for Gov. Andrew Cuomo said David was not guaranteeing the proposal would pass, but rather that the governor supported the proposal and would sign the bill if passed by the state legislature. A spokesperson for Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the presumptive Senate Democratic leader, was similarly noncommittal. These responses heighten advocates’ fears that immigration legislation will take a backseat in the new Democratic-controlled state Senate. New York Post
Border Patrol Agent Raped and Tried to Kill Immigrants in 2014
In 2014, Border Patrol agent Esteban Manzanares picked up three undocumented immigrants who had just crossed the Rio Grande — a woman in her 30s, her 14-year-old daughter, and the daughter’s friend, also 14 — and sexually assaulted the two girls before attempting to kill the mother and daughter. He then kept the other girl hostage in his apartment while sexually assaulting her until the other victims alerted police. Manzanares killed himself as police and federal agents closed in, per sworn testimony and documents in a lawsuit brought by the survivors. The case raises serious questions about CBP’s ability to oversee its agents. The New York Times
Citizen Children of Undocumented Parents Avoid FAFSA, Driver’s Licenses
For U.S. citizens born to undocumented parents, accessing benefits that they are legally entitled becomes a dilemma when they have to include information about their parents. This is especially the case if the forms require a social security number for the parents; filling out zeros, as is recommended when someone doesn’t have a taxpayer identification number, essentially signals them as undocumented. While federal education privacy laws prohibit schools from sharing information from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid with immigration enforcement officials, young citizens still face a tradeoff between accessing aid and putting loved ones on the map. The Guardian
Border ‘Turnbacks’ Continue Despite New Asylum Policy
The Trump administration on Friday instituted a multi-step policy designed to bar people who entered the U.S. between legal ports of entry from claiming asylum. But migrants waiting to claim asylum at those entrances, as they are legally entitled to do, are still being physically prevented from entering U.S. territory. Both American CBP officers and Mexican border officials are blocking entry, advocates and attorneys say. They also allege the government has not enhanced its ability to process asylum-seekers arriving at ports of entry. These bottlenecks incentivize illegal crossing, as migrants likely don’t know about the new policy instituted just days ago. The Daily Beast
First Splinter Group From ‘Caravan’ Arrives at the Border
A group of mostly LGBT asylum-seekers who split from the main migrant ‘caravan’ have arrived in Tijuana, where they’re waiting to present an asylum case at a U.S. port of entry. The group of mostly Central Americans arrived by bus from Mexico City, saying even within the caravan of other asylum-seekers, they said they had faced discrimination because of their gender and sexual orientations. Tijuana locals have also harassed them, they add. The rest of the caravan remains dispersed throughout Mexico. Tijuana is preparing for the estimated 3,000-person group’s arrivals in the next couple of weeks. The Washington Post
U.S. Sees International Students Dip for Second Straight Year
An annual survey released by the Institute of International Education shows new enrollments by international students at American universities fell by 6.6 percent for the 2017-18 school year, after having already fallen 3.3 percent in the previous academic year. The enrollment declines come amid the Trump administration’s efforts to restrict international students from getting U.S.-based employment and visas after graduation. Meanwhile, universities around the globe are generally able to tout a cheaper education in a more welcoming environment. Many U.S. universities rely on international students’ tuition to subsidize financial aid for local students. Reuters
Washington — Nielsen Headed for the Exit, Minors Affected by Ban, New Wall Demands
Sources within the White House have said Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen will be axed by the president in the coming weeks, potentially leading to a leadership void in the massive government department that oversees immigration enforcement. The president and his DHS secretary have never enjoyed a close relationship, as he has grown frustrated with her inability to bypass U.S. law and aggressively to deny entry to and deport immigrants. Former DHS Secretary and current White House Chief of Staff John Kelly had pushed for Nielsen’s appointment. A departure would mean Nielsen would be replaced by the fourth DHS secretary in two years. The Washington Post
The federal administration contradicted itself on the issue of whether unaccompanied minors crossing the border illegally would be subject to the now-active asylum ban on people caught entering the country between ports of entry. A senior administration official had told reporters on Friday that the new policy would leave unaccompanied minors untouched, prompting news outlets to report the same. USCIS guidance to field officers promptly countered this, declaring that children crossing the border without authorization would be barred from receiving asylum protections just like their adult counterparts. The policy remains in effect, though it is facing court challenges. HuffPost
With Congress returning to its final session before new members are sworn in, President Trump is back to playing the hits, demanding that Congress fund his proposed border wall with Mexico for $5 billion or risk throwing the government into a shutdown. It is highly unlikely that emboldened Democrats and lame-duck Republicans will be able to come to any resolution on either the wall or any other immigration-related proposals, which will likely irritate a president who has complained bitterly about immigration laws even as his party controlled all of the levers of the federal government. The Washington Post, The Hill
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), an open white nationalist, had been sparring with the conservative Weekly Standard magazine over an article that claimed he had made statements equating asylum-seekers to dirt. King claimed that the Standard was “at the bottom of the lying journalistic gutter” and dared it to release audio of the supposed comments. It promptly did. The Washington Post
A new Rasmussen Poll shows that illegal immigration and health care are voters’ top priorities for the incoming Congress.The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs will hold hearings Thursday to consider the nomination of Acting ICE Director Ronald Vitiello to be the permanent Assistant Secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.