A federal judge on Friday ruled in favor of sanctuary states and cities suing the Department of Justice, saying the Trump administration could not block grants to cities that refuse to work with federal immigration enforcement.
The lawsuit started in the summer when President Trump’s Justice Department threatened to cut federal grants to states that did not comply with detainer requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The DOJ argued it had the right to place conditions on the grants, such as requiring recipients provide ICE agents with immigrants’ release dates and access to the facilities where there were being held
New York City, along with the states of New York, Virginia, New Jersey, Washington, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut, were plaintiffs in the suit, which was over the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program. The New York judge ruled the plaintiffs were entitled to about around $25 million in grants. The Wall Street Journal
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New York City Has Yet to Fund Census Outreach, Community Organizations Say
Mayor Bill de Blasio emphasized the importance of census outreach and promised $4.3 million in his latest State of the City speech to support those efforts. And a decade ago, in preparation for the 2010 census, several community groups had already received funding to help educate people on the importance of the census far in advance. But this year, community groups tasked with raising awareness about the census in immigrant communities tell Documented they have yet to receive any funding. Fears of an undercount in the upcoming census are particularly pronounced due to the administration’s attempt to include a question about citizenship which advocates fear will discourage immigrants from participating. Read more at Documented
ICE Promises More Raids in New Jersey
New Jersey recently revamped rules for local police when they come in contact with immigration officials, and a federal judge ruled in favor of sanctuary cities suing the Trump administration. Still, Immigration and Custom Enforcement officials have said they will conduct more raids. New Jersey’s attorney general’s office countered the assertion, ordering police not to ask people’s immigration status and blocking ICE from many other police affairs. ICE Deputy Director Matthew Albence said the attorney general’s decision “undermines public safety and hinders ICE from performing its federally mandated mission.” New Jersey 101.5
City Makes New Plan on Chinatown Jail
New York City has scrapped its controversial plan to build a “borough jail” in Chinatown, but residents still have strong reactions for the alternative. The city announced on Wednesday that it had abandoned its plan to build a 400-foot tall jail on Centre Street as part of its plan to replace Rikers Island — a plan that originally sparked protests from community members. Instead, the city said it will expand nearby facility known as “The Tombs.” Some see the reversal as a victory, while others lament the decision was made without community input. Sing Tao Daily via Voices of NY
Actors Affected by Travel Ban Make it to U.S.
The cast of a British play finally received visas to bring the show to New York. Moein Ghobsheh, Yasin Moradi and Ammar Haj Ahmad are actors in The Jungle, which depicts life in the French refugee camp. They’re also from Iran and Syria, two countries whose citizens are barred from entering the U.S. under an executive order from President Trump known as the travel ban. Their plight sparked an international coordinated campaign that featured the likes of Sting, Benedict Cumberbatch, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and the mayors of New York and London. The New York Times
Immigrants Applying for Asylum Based on Number System
Immigrants who are turned away at the U.S.-Mexico border have taken to camping on or near the border bridges as the U.S. considers whether to let asylum seekers in the country as their claims are weighed in court. Mexican officials have begun regularly relocating these migrants to a nearby church as they wait for their turn to cross based on a numeric system. Migrants, including children, have numbers written on the inside of their arms that correspond to the order they arrived at the border crossing. Yahoo News
Texas AG Sues San Antonio for Not Cooperating with Immigration Officials
Ken Paxton, Texas’ attorney general, sued the city of San Antonio for not cooperating with immigration federal officials last year. Local police officers in San Antonio found a tractor-trailer with 12 undocumented immigrants on it and took them to a precinct for questioning, but they didn’t run a background check on or fingerprint them, per ICE’s orders. Paxton wants “to send the message that all Texas cities must obey the law.” If he wins the case, San Antonio will have to pay high fines and local officers will face consequences for not cooperating with federal immigration officials. Huffington Post
Southwest Key Faces Scrutiny Over Finances
Over the past decade, nonprofit Southwest Key Programs have brought in $1.7 billion in federal contracts for housing migrant children who are in the government’s custody after being apprehended at the border. In a profile of its CEO Juan Sanchez, The New York Times says Southwest Key pays executives salaries far above the legal limit for federal contractors, lends money to real estate developers and pays to rent shelters owned by Sanchez and his friends. The group now houses 5,000 children and has seen its revenue triple in the last three years, generating $626 million in the past year alone. The New York Times
More Immigrants Willing to Cross Border Illegally
A recent surge of U.S.-bound immigrants have stretched the already-long wait to apply for asylum. In Tijuana, for example, about 5,000 people are currently waiting to have their asylum case heard. But United States immigration officials don’t process more than 100 cases each day, claiming they don’t have the resources to perform more. The situation has gotten so desperate that some migrants, especially mothers camping outside with children, say they are willing to wait for the perfect moment to cross the border illegally. The Washington Post
Trump Admin. Promises to Prosecute More Immigrants
The Trump administration vowed on Friday to prosecute all members of the caravan “who participate in violent clashes,” despite failing to criminally prosecute migrants who were arrested last week. After migrants charged the border last week, resulting in Border Patrol agents shooting tear gas at migrants, 42 people from the migrant caravan were arrested. They were accused of illegally entering the U.S., but charges were not filed against them because Customs and Border Protection did not collect enough evidence and would’ve had to split arrested families. Officials said they were working on new systems to better record evidence. Associated Press
Washington — DOJ & DHS Disagree Over ‘Remain in Mexico’ Policy, Nielsen Requests Help at the Border
Americans are divided over how to process migrants who are seeking asylum at the southern border — and they aren’t the only ones who disagree.
The Department of Justice wants to send asylum seekers back to Mexico as soon as they arrive to the U.S., forcing them to find shelter in the other country as they wait their turn to make a claim. But the Department of Homeland Security wants to screen these people for persecution, torture and fear before sending them back to Mexico in order to make sure they feel safe staying across the border.
The disagreement highlights how the federal government has yet to decide on a formal plan for processing asylum seekers, even though the backlog of immigration cases is constantly skyrocketing. BuzzFeed News
DHS head Kirstjen Nielsen is asking for help in finding officers the department can send to the southern border to handle the oncoming migrant caravan. Per a memo obtained by Politico, Nielsen wrote to departments that aren’t even related to immigration, such as labor, energy, and transportation seeking law enforcement officers to travel south starting next week.
Transferring officers from one agency to another isn’t entirely uncommon, but it is for Customs and Border Patrol. Nielsen’s request would add to the 5,800 active officers already at the border. Politico