Hundreds of protestors were arrested Saturday afternoon after they sat in the middle of West Side Highway in protest of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The protestors held up signs that said “No Human Is Illegal” and “Close the Camps” in reference to detention centers near the Mexican border. They linked arms across 26th Street and blocked the highway in both directions.
In a statement obtained by CNN, the organizers demanded an “end to all detention and separation of families at the border and everywhere.” The location was selected because it is close to one of ICE’s offices.
Further protests continued on Sunday where members of the Jewish community observing Tisha B’av — an annual day of mourning — protested outside the Amazon store in downtown Manhattan to voice opposition to the company’s work with ICE. The protesters said dozens of their members were arrested, including some rabbis.
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Trump Continues to Employ Undocumented Workers
The president’s private companies continue to employ undocumented workers in New York state, The Washington Post reports. Edmundo Morocho said that, when he worked for Trump’s construction crew that built fountains, sidewalks and rock walls at the company’s properties, he was told by a supervisor to buy fake identity documents on a New York street corner and he hid from visiting labor union officials. Eight Trump properties have employed people who entered the U.S. illegally, despite the fact that the president has railed against undocumented immigrants and overseen a dramatic rise in immigration enforcement. The Washington Post
Racehorse Trainers Struggle to get H-2B Visas
Racehorse trainers have been feeling the pinch of federal audits this year and are struggling to attract H-2B visa workers due to the federal caps. Several trainers use the H-2B visa program to hire workers, but there were 96,400 applications for the 33,000 available visas nationwide this year, which meant many employers were shut out of the program. The Department of Homeland Security eventually added a further 30,000 visas. Earlier this year, a trainer was hit with a $1.6 million legal settlement with the Department of Labor for violating the terms of H-2B program by underpaying workers, among other things. Paulick Report
Bosses Not Charged in Mississippi Raids
One of the largest worksite ICE operations in a decade resulted in the arrest of 680 undocumented immigrants working at seven different meat packing plants on Wednesday. However, it remains unclear if their employers will face any retribution. All 680 worked for five different employers who have yet to be charged or arrested. Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse found that employers are rarely prosecuted for hiring immigrants without proper documentation. Employers in Mississippi may face a fine, but it is unlikely they will go to jail. Officials said 271 of the employees arrested were released with an order to appear before an immigration judge. BuzzFeed News
Albence Takes Flight with Deportees
ICE’s Acting Director Matt Albence took his first trip to Central America on an ICE air flight with 93 deportees being flown to Guatemala. The group were flown from Alexandria, Louisiana, to Guatemala accompanied by The Washington Post and a Univision camera crew. Some members of the flight were visibly excited to be back in Guatemala, The Washington Post reported, as it marked the end of months or years in detention. But most were determined to return. They arrived at the airport and were shuffled into the “Reception and Repatriation Center,” which helps returning Guatemalans. The Washington Post
Somali Man Deported to his Death
Ahmed Salah Hassan died in a restaurant bombing in Mogadishu in March, 2 years after he was deported from the U.S. His death raises questions about how he was denied asylum under the Obama administration and was quickly deported after Trump took office in January 2017. He spent years in detention with the hope of being allowed to stay in the U.S., moving from detention centers in Louisiana to Alabama as he faced the court without a lawyer. He eventually had a hearing in front of Judge Agnelis Reese, who has rejected every single asylum claim she has come across. The Daily Beast
Geo Group Wages Lawsuit Continues
A federal judge wouldn’t dismiss a lawsuit against private prison company Geo Group for its refusal to pay immigrant detainees a minimum wage. Seattle’s Attorney General Bob Ferguson brought the lawsuit against the company last year over its Voluntary Work Program, where immigrants are paid $1 per day at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington. Geo Group argued the case should be dismissed because it was immune from lawsuits as a federal contractor, and because undocumented inmates were not subject to state law. U.S. District Judge Robert Bryan did not agree and allowed the case to continue. The Seattle Times
New Mexico Refused to Hand Payroll Data to ICE
New Mexico’s state workforce director said he denied ICE’s requests for employment records regarding residents who receive unemployment benefits. The records contain the details of every working or unemployed person in the state. New Mexico’s move is part of a broader effort by the state to limit cooperation with immigration enforcement in the Trump era. ICE reportedly told New Mexico’s workforce department that it had already received access to Texas’s workforece data — a point which the Texas Workforce Commission confirmed. A Montana labor department employee quit his job over a similar request by ICE. HuffPost
Washington — Trump Admin. Defends Mississippi Raid, Immigration Judges Union Targeted, Pelosi on Immigration Reform
Trump administration officials came to the defense of the recent ICE raid of a food processing plant in Mississippi. Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan said the raid had been planned for over a year and was a criminal investigation with 14 federal warrants. Acting Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection Mark Morgan also played down the arrests during television interviews on Sunday, saying it was a “targeted law enforcement operation.” Morgan dodged questions on why DHS has not targeted Trump’s properties. Politico, Vox
The Trump administration filed a petition on Friday with the Federal Labor Relations Authority to determine whether the National Association of Immigration Judges union should have its certification revoked because some of its members are management officials. NAIJ have been outspoken critics of the Trump administration’s changes to the immigration courts. The New York Times
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said immigration reform is Congress’s moral responsibility as she came to the end of her delegation’s tour of Central America. The group visited Guatemala and El Salvador before visiting detention centers in McAllen, Texas. The Associated Press
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) said that the recent immigration raids are part of the Trump administration’s “campaign of terror” and could have an effect on the 2020 census. The presidential candidate argued that the immigration enforcement efforts are intended to scare people away from filling out the census. Politico