A teenage asylum-seeker and Long Island high school student who was recruited by the local FBI gang task force to provide information on MS-13 was denied asylum protections and deported.
Henry fled El Salvador after gang members forced him to help carry out two murders and witness many more. He went to Long Island school officials seeking help when MS-13 members in Long Island recognized him and drew him back into their orbit with death threats. Despite assurances from a local FBI agent that he would be protected as an informant, Henry’s information was passed on to ICE and he was detained.
An immigration judge found his case compelling, but ruled his crimes made him ineligible for asylum under the law. After Henry’s deportation, his attorneys arranged for him to be taken to an undisclosed European city in order to seek asylum there. ProPublica / New York Magazine
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Immigrants Suing Attorneys Who Filed Fraudulent Asylum Claims
A lawsuit against father-and-son lawyers Thomas and Leonard Hecht claims the pair filed asylum petitions on multiple immigrants’ behalf without their consent, telling them they were actually applying for a nonexistent ten-year visa. Asylum cases are difficult to win, and a denial automatically puts the immigrant in question into defensive removal proceedings, a potential consequence the Hechts allegedly didn’t tell their clients about. One plaintiff in the case is Francisco Guzmán, an undocumented man who has been living in New York since 1991. Guzmán had previously approached another immigration lawyer and declined to move ahead specifically because he had offered to tender an asylum application, which Guzmán specifically did not want. He only found out the Hechts had submitted an asylum claim on his behalf and without his consent when he received a receipt for his application. Read more at Documented.Early Arrival: Immigrants Suing Attorneys Who Filed Fraudulent Asylum Claims — Six Deportees Remain Abroad Despite Judge’s Order to Bring Them Back — Dueling bills, both likely DOA; DACA and SCOTUS
Coalition Demands Progressive Positions From Next Queens D.A.
A coalition of various police reform and progressive groups is calling on the next Queens district attorney to adopt positions protecting vulnerable residents and helping them avoid negative consequences from contact with the criminal justice system, including several policies designed to limit the impact on immigrants. Current D.A. Richard Brown, who has held the position for 27 years but is not running for re-election, has declined to implement the progressive practices of his counterparts in other boroughs, including reviewing charging decisions for immigration-related consequences. The main candidates vying to replace him have all pledged to adopt this policy, but the coalition has a slate of additional demands, including that the next D.A. work with defense counsels and defendants to prevent ICE arrests in courthouses. Felipe De La Hoz for Documented
Public Charge Rule Could Impact NYC’s Progress on HIV
Organizations involved in HIV treatment and prevention around New York City are concerned about the federal government’s proposed change in public charge rules, which govern what public benefits usage will be considered detrimental to an immigration benefits application. The rules are still only a proposal, but rumors spreading through immigrant communities have caused people to preemptively pull back from using services like Medicaid — which, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, is the largest source of coverage for people with HIV nationwide — and dissuaded them from getting preventive screening. Even though much of the city’s immigrant HIV-positive population are asylees, who would be exempt from the public charge rules, fear of immigration consequences may nonetheless turn back the progress that the city has made in dealing with the HIV epidemic. WNYC
Today at 11am, the New York State Senate and Assembly are scheduled to vote on, and expected to pass, state DREAM Act, which would open up eligibility for the Tuition Assistance Program and other secondary education financial aid for the state’s undocumented students. The bill had been introduced and killed multiple times in the formerly GOP-controlled Senate, but the newly Democratic body is now set to send it to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s desk. The governor has said he would sign it.
Six Deportees Remain Abroad Despite Judge’s Order to Bring Them Back
By the time a federal judge ruled a policy change, which blocked most gang and domestic violence victims from successfully petitioning from asylum in the United States, was unlawful, six of 12 plaintiffs had already been deported to Central America. U.S. District Court Judge Emmett Sullivan ordered ICE to return all six to the U.S. and have their cases re-adjudicated, but the deportees remain still stranded in their countries of origin a month later. A government status report claims the ongoing government shutdown means ICE can’t secure travel costs and document fees for the asylum-seekers. CBS News
Hundreds of Family Separations Took Place Before ‘Zero Tolerance’
A report last week by the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services stated that “thousands” of children had been taken from their parents beyond the numbers initially reported as a result of the Trump administration’s ‘zero-tolerance’ policy. Now, Customs and Border Protection has admitted in a letter to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) that nearly 300 undocumented parents had been separated from children prior to the policy’s announcement. The letter, penned by CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan, also made clear that complete records of the separations were not kept at the time. CNN
ICE Detains Texas Woman With Complicated Pregnancy at Green Card Interview
At a green card interview with her husband at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services offices in Memphis, Tennessee, a woman who was five-and-a-half months into a high-risk pregnancy was detained by ICE agents and shuttled between ICE detention centers without her hypertension medication. Carmen Puerto Diaz says she was unaware she had received an in absentia order of removal years prior. Despite her husband being told she would be released once he brought evidence of her medical condition, she was not let go until her attorneys began a social media campaign to get sympathetic strangers to call in and demand her release. Newsweek
Texas Legislature Takes Up Controversial Immigration Issues
Texas State lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are pushing controversial immigration-related bills going into the new legislative session. State GOP Rep. Kyle Biedermann has introduced the latest in a series of proposals to end the state’s own DREAM Act, which grants in-state tuition to longtime undocumented students, arguing the money should go toward citizens’ educations. On the other side, several Democrats have introduced bills meant to blunt state ordinances banning sanctuary provisions, which prohibit local authorities from cooperating with immigration enforcement except as required by law. The Democrats are a minority in both the House and the Senate, making their bills less likely to pass. The Houston Chronicle
Boston DA Says She Will Personally Investigate ICE Courthouse Arrest
Following the detention of a criminal defendant at a Boston courthouse by plainclothes ICE officers, Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins said she would personally investigate how ICE learned of the man’s arraignment. The man, Alfeu Barbosa, is an undocumented immigrant from Cape Verde who came to court facing cocaine trafficking charges. Rollins said she had talked with State Attorney General Maura Healey about the best way to block ICE from arresting people in courthouses, saying the practice undermined trust between law enforcement and immigrant communities and discouraged people from actually going to court. The Boston Globe
Washington — Dueling bills, both likely DOA; DACA and SCOTUS
Two separate Senate votes to reopen the federal government are scheduled for Thursday. Neither is particularly likely to pass, as one vote is for the plan President Trump proposed in a weekend speech: a few months’ worth of funding for government operations and temporary protections for DACA and TPS holders in exchange for $5.7 billion for a border wall and stringent new limits on asylum. Democrats are unlikely to vote for that, but their proposal — reopening the government without border wall money — probably won’t get GOP support. The Washington Post
While Republicans have said their proposal draws from provisions in the proposed bipartisan Bridge Act, they would only offer three-year protections to existing DACA and TPS status-holders with no guarantee of extensions after they ran out. Those temporary protections would only cover about one million people as opposed to a far larger number of undocumented people. The changes to asylum would essentially bar almost all Central American minors from being claiming asylum in the U.S., would allow for their expedited removal and would impose a “national interest” standard on all asylum claimants — measures some legal scholars have already said would violate international law. The provisions, which appear to be the handiwork of openly xenophobic White House aide Stephen Miller, have been called a poison pill by Democrats. The New York Times
The Supreme Court passed up another opportunity to hear a lawsuit over the DACA program, all but guaranteeing it will not take up the case before its next session begins in October of this year and will not have a final ruling until around June of next year. In the meantime, an injunction issued by a California District Court Judge and upheld by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals allowing DACA recipients to renew their status will stand. The court’s decision not to take up the case weakens Trump’s and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) shutdown negotiating positions, given that the program is likely to stay in place for at least another year-and-a-half without an executive extension. Vox