Immigration officials out of ICE’s Newark, New Jersey field office recently held a multi-day sweep that arrested 105 people across the state.
It came shortly after New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal introduced new rules prohibiting local law enforcement cooperation with immigration authorities. ICE said the operation had been planned before the new rules were issued, but it also issued dire warnings about increased use of ‘at-large’ arrests around the state immediately following Grewal’s introduction of the new directives.
Local activists said the threats from ICE had led to a spike in the number of local residents expressing concerns about being targeted for enforcement. The North Jersey Record
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Five Months On, Videoconference Hearings Continues
In June, Manhattan’s Varick Street immigration court in suspended in-person hearings in favor of connecting detained immigrants via video link. Officials at the time said activists protesting the immigration system outside the building jeopardized migrants’ safety. Protesters are now long gone, but the practice continues. ICE officials say that the system is safer, more efficient and more cost-effective than transferring detainees, but attorneys say clients can’t connect with their counsel and the judge as strongly, marring their case’s perceived merit. New York’s massive immigration court backlog has only continued to grow, but Bergen County Jail in New Jersey has only one monitor to conduct hearings with the Varick Street court, according to a spokesman. Read more at Documented.
Albany County to Get $4.5 Million from ICE Detainees
Housing immigrant detainees at the Albany County Jail is set to earn the county about $4.5 million in revenue this year, about double what the county has typically received for housing outside detainees at the jail. Up until this year, this type of revenue had mostly been generated through housing criminal detainees from other jurisdictions or those facing federal charges. But over the summer, the jail began receiving large numbers of ICE detainees from the border. Most are now in Batavia’s federal detention facility, but about 100 remain in Albany. The jail receives a reimbursement of $119 per detainee per day for immigrant detainees. The Times Union
Issues Loom on the Horizon for 2020 Census
As the 2020 Census draws nearer, New York state has failed to commit resources to fund outreach and counting efforts, and New York City has pledged a meager $4.3 million. A Fiscal Policy Institute study commissioned by the New York Counts coalition — a group of civic, community and advocacy organizations pushing to ensure an accurate count — estimated the state should commit about $40 million to supplementing counting efforts after the federal government decreased overall funding. The city is targeting hard-to-count Latino and black communities with outreach, especially because this cycle is set to include untested online components and a controversial citizenship question. Gotham Gazette
Asylum-Seeker’s Experience Illustrates System’s Shortfalls
Even precisely following the letter of the law doesn’t mean an asylum-seeker arriving at the Southern border will be kept with their family or expeditiously granted an asylum hearing, as one man’s case shows. Edwin Romero, who was attacked and followed by authorities in his native Honduras for organizing political gatherings, sought asylum in the United States at a legal port of entry with his six-year-old daughter, bearing documentation including records attesting to her serious medical condition. Nonetheless, he was separated from her and detained in different facilities for 72 days without ever being issued a notice to appear in court. The Dallas Morning News
Local New Mexico Providers Adapt as Deportation Fears Drive Immigrants Away
For Santa Fe community organizations and service providers who focus on serving immigrants, heightened immigration enforcement fears have forced them to get more creative with how they reach out to community members in need. A nonprofit food pantry, for example, realized that starting during the 2016 presidential election, some local undocumented people had stopped coming to pick up food. So it extended a program where the elderly and disabled receive food deliveries to people with immigration fears. Other community service organizations are connecting with trustworthy local medical and legal providers to refer clients with questions, or are even adding in-house legal services. This dynamic is likely playing out across the country as heightened immigration fears affect a willingness to receive services. The Santa Fe New Mexican
North Carolina Sheriffs Step Away From ICE Cooperation
The newly-elected sheriff of Wake County, North Carolina said his office is pulling out of the controversial 287(g) program, which allows local law enforcement officials to perform immigration checks on detainees and report violations to ICE. Sheriff Gerald Baker, a Democrat who defeated the longtime Republican incumbent who first entered the program, said his office would still honor detainers for inmates currently being held under 287(g), but would then terminate cooperation. The Durham County Sheriff’s Office, which did not have a 287(g), said it would cease honoring ICE detainers altogether. The News & Observer
Colorado Judge Strikes Down Sheriff’s Detainer Policy
A judge in Colorado ruled the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office’s practice of honoring ICE detainers and holding immigrants for the agency after they were due to be released was unlawful. The ruling comes after a different district judge declined to issue a preliminary injunction in Teller County’s similar case, insinuating she would probably rule in favor of the sheriff. The issue may be resolved by the Colorado Court of Appeals. The issue of whether administrative ICE detainers — which are requests and not judicial orders —can be lawfully honored by local law enforcement has come up in cases around the country. The Gazette
Tornillo in Limbo
The contract between the Department of Health and Human Services and the San Antonio nonprofit BCFS to operate the so-called ‘tent facility’ built on federal land in Tornillo, in West Texas, is approaching its expiration. Still, the government has expanded the facility’s capacity to hold 3,800 unaccompanied minors. The facility is not designed to hold minors for long, and several reports have cast doubt on the staff’s ability to properly care for thousands of children. A recent report revealed staffers had not undergone required FBI background checks, and because the facility is on federal land, state-level agencies cannot oversee processes. The Texas Tribune
Washington — Barr on Immigration, Trump Demands Border Funding
William Barr, the man expected to be nominated as the next attorney general of the United States, already has a sizable record when it comes to immigration. Barr had served as attorney general under President George H.W. Bush in 1991 and 1992. At the time, the Immigration and Naturalization Service — the precursor to ICE — was under the purview of the Department of Justice, and Barr hired 100 INS agents to specifically pursue “criminal aliens” while complaining his attempts to limit legal immigration were not successful. He also attempted to limit access to asylum, much like the current administration. Vox
Trump again demanded that Congress fund his border wall at a $5 billion level, and cast doubt on whether the administration will be able to avoid a government shutdown when the funding extension runs out on Dec. 21. Democrats have already offered $1.6 billion in border security and fencing, but they are unlikely to increase that offer. Associated Press
House Democratic leaders are demanding ICE open an investigation into the death of an 18-month-old Guatemalan girl who died shortly after her release with her mother from the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley in March. Her death received widespread attention, but ICE has maintained that it did not directly result from her treatment at the facility. Vice News