Immigration and Customs Enforcement have been forced to release Long Island teens who the agency accused of being gang members after judges found their allegations had little evidence to support them.
ICE and the Suffolk County Police launched Operation Matador in early 2017 to crack down on an increased activity by MS-13 on Long Island. Under the collaboration, local police shared intelligence with ICE who would arrest and deport teenagers, many from El Salvador. Suffolk District Attorney Tim Sini told Newsday he referred roughly 100 gang IDs to ICE while he was commissioner, and that he stood by each referral.
Court proceedings would later show that the Suffolk police provided incorrect photographs and inconsistent paperwork to ICE. San Francisco attorney Marty Schenker sued on behalf of the teenagers who were arrested in the operation, and to date, judges have freed 30 young people accused of gang ties. Newsday
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Cuomo and Jacobs Discourage Support for Green Light Bill
In a closed door meeting, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and the leader of the state Democratic Party Jay Jacobs told five Long Island senators that voting for the Green Light bill would be politically perilous, The New York Times reports. The bill, which would allow undocumented immigrants in New York state to get driver’s licenses, passed the state Assembly and Democrats are hoping to to push it through the Senate by the end of session on Wednesday. Jacobs has publicly expressed his concern that voting for the bill would hurt lawmakers politically. The New York Times
Bronx Street Named After Hero of Tragic Fire
A Bronx street was named after Emmanuel Mensah, a National Guardsman and Ghanian immigrant, who lost his life trying to save four children from an apartment fire in the Bronx in 2017. Thirteen people died during the fire just days after Christmas, making the fire the city’s deadliest in 25 years. Still, Mensah saved a family of six, including four young children. The corner of E. 187th St. and Prospect Ave was renamed Private First Class Emmanuel Mensah Way. Local City Councilman Richie Torres and eight Army soldiers paid tribute to Mensah, who was home for the holidays while serving in the army. The Daily News
7-Year-Old Found Dead in the Desert
The body of a 7-year old girl from India was found in the Arizona desert by Customs and Border Protection last Wednesday, the agency said. Tucson Border Patrol agents reportedly spoke with two women from India who said they were separated from a woman and two children who were attempting to cross the border. The girl’s body was found in a rugged part of the Arizona desert, where temperatures hit 108 degrees on Wednesday. Authorities kept searching for the other two people believed to be travelling with the girl, but federal agents believe they may have returned to Mexico. Arizona Republic
Thousands of Detainees Placed in Quarantine Due to Mumps Outbreaks
5,200 immigrants are in quarantine after they were exposed to mumps or chicken pox, CNN reports, more than double the 2,287 detainees who were in quarantine on March 7. 39 detention centers have reported incidents of mumps or chicken pox. The vast majority of those in quarantine —4,200 people — are due to exposure to mumps, while 800 were exposed to chickenpox and 100 were exposed to both. There have been 297 confirmed cases of mumps since September 2018. Immigrants are kept in quarantine for 25 days after their last incubation period. CNN
African Immigrants Arriving at Border in Larger Numbers
A larger number of immigrants from central Africa, mainly the Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola, are arriving at the southern border, largely ending up in San Antonio, Texas and Portland, Maine. In response, Portland tuned its basketball arena into an emergency shelter. More than 700 migrants from Africa have been apprehended by Border Patrol since October 2018, a stark rise from the 25 total that had been apprehended in the prior decade. Many said they arrived in the U.S. by flying to Ecuador and traveling by bus and on foot through Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico to the South Texas border. The New York Times
21 Savage Donates to Southern Poverty Law Center
Rapper 21 Savage donated $25,000 to the Southern Poverty Law Center after the group assisted him following his arrest by ICE. The rapper, whose real name is Shéyaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, was arrested by ICE in February under allegations that he was a Biritish citizen who had overstayed his visa. HIs arrest came as a surprise to fans who had long considered him an Atlanta-born rapper. The SPLC, a civil rights organization, was one of the national organizations to call for his release from a detention center in Georgia. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Trump Administration Cannot Ban Immigrant Teens from Getting Abortions
A federal court ruled on Friday against the Trump administration, saying it cannot ban immigrant teenagers from getting abortions while in government custody. A 2017 policy prohibited shelters that were housing immigrant children from facilitating abortions. The American Civil Liberties Union sued to end the ban, and in March 2018, a judge blocked the policy. On Friday, a three-judge panel in the District of Columbia appeals court upheld that ruling. The government may now appeal to the Supreme Court, though Justice Brett Kavanaugh will likely not take part in the case as he previously ruled on it as a judge. Associated Press
Washington — ‘Border Czar’ Caught By Surprise, US & Guatemala Fail to Agree, Mexico’s Safe Third Country Agreement
Confusion reigned on Friday after President Trump announced that Thomas D. Homan, former acting head of ICE, would be the new border “czar.” White House officials and Homan himself were reportedly surprised by the announcement, which came during Trump’s lengthy call-in interview with Fox & Friends.
It remains unclear what exactly the czar will have authority to do, but whoever holds the role will likely butt heads with officials with the Department of Homeland Security who are currently in charge of immigration enforcement. Homan was previously the acting head of ICE, but his approval in the Senate for the full-time job stalled and he later quit the process. He has since spent much of his time defending the president on Fox News. CNN
A deal between the U.S. and Guatemala on a safe third-country agreement stalled during talks last week, according to internal State Department documents. The agreement would force immigrants coming from El Salvador and Honduras to claim asylum in Guatemala before coming to the U.S. Guatemalan ministers raised legal and constitutional issues about reaching an agreement, the document said. Meanwhile, the U.S. government had thought the talks were going to go more smoothly like they did in enacting the Migrant Protection Protocols policy, which forces asylum seekers wait in Mexico while their cases are adjudicated. VOA
Mexico will enter into a safe third-country agreement with the U.S. if it fails to reduce the number of immigrants coming to the U.S., according to details of a recent agreement made with the U.S. The deal will be triggeredin 45 days if there is not a reduction in the number of migrants coming to the U.S. Mexico has placed National Guard troops on its southern border with Guatemala to prevent immigrants from crossing illegally. The Wall Street Journal