Three counties in New Jersey and one in New York have received over $35 million to house immigration detainees at their jails this year and stand to make millions more. These facilities include county jails in Bergen, Hudson and Essex counties in New Jersey and Orange County in New York. The population of Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainees has grown dramatically in those facilities since President Donald Trump was elected.
Over the past few years, advocates have gathered outside those facilities to call on the state government to end the contracts. But because many of the detainees are awaiting hearings in New York City’s immigration courts, the city’s legal community worries closing the centers would move ICE to transfer their clients to places where they can’t find free legal counsel.
Pre-trial detention has dropped dramatically in the state after the passage of comprehensive bail reform. So to make up that lost revenue, jails have begun taking in more immigrant detainees. Hudson County Freeholder William O’Dea said officials are now discussing how to fill the jail if the county ended its agreement with ICE, which will expire in 2020. He said it could potentially house state inmates or individuals from other county jails. Facilities in New Jersey and New York are also collecting money for housing individuals apprehended at the border. North Jersey Record
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ICE Separates Father from Family Due to HIV Status, Against Federal Guidelines
Andrea’s last memory of her father was when they crossed the border near El Paso, Texas last November after traveling there with her family from Honduras. Their father was taken away so quickly, they didn’t have time to hug goodbye. Andrea and her two sisters are now living in East Harlem with their grandmother. ICE said they separated the three sisters from their father due to his HIV positive status, but told them he had a communicable disease, Lee Gelernt of the ACLU says. The government no longer classifies HIV as a communicable disease. WNYC
Still No Guidelines on How Driver’s License Program Will Work
Even after a hard won victory, there’s still a long road to travel before New York immigrants are granted driver’s licenses. Advocates say the state doesn’t have a clear plan for implementing the Green Light NY law once it takes effect in December. The Green Light NY coalition, which consists of statewide advocacy groups, sent a letter to state DMV Commissioner Mark Schroeder asking him to issue application guidance and regulations. County officials across the state have challenged the law and advocates are asking the state to clarify their plan before any lawsuits reach a conclusion. Times Union
Counties Join Lawsuit Against New Jersey AG
The Freeholders of Warren County, New Jersey are joining a lawsuit against representatives from Ocean County against state Attorney General Gubir Grewal over a directive that stymies counties’ abilities to share immigration-related information with federal authorities. The counties’ lawsuit seeks to have the directive overturned. Grewel’s Immigrant Trust Directive bars local and state law enforcement from questioning people about their immigration status or arresting them on suspected immigration status, among other things. The Warren freeholders say they believe the Immigrant Trust Directive will make their community more dangerous. WFMZ
Lawsuit: Chicken Companies Conspire to Fix Worker’s Wages
Companies producing more than 90 percent of America’s chicken conspired to lower wages for the immigrant workforce who run their businesses, a lawsuit filed last week claims. The suit alleges 18 companies and two consulting firms decided to share pay information and then conspired to keep wages depressed to maintain a low cost of operations in their chicken plants. The 18 companies named, including Tyson Foods Inc. and Perdue Farms Inc., used the two consulting firms as intermediaries for their discussions, the suit continues. Bloomberg
Court to Decide if Federal Pardons Affect ICE Detainers
A federal appeals court in New York heard arguments over whether ICE can deport a woman even if her record was cleared by the state of Connecticut. Wayzaro Walton came to Connecticut from England when she was four years old. She was caught shoplifting as a teenager and has been fighting a removal order since 2012. In March, she was detained by ICE and a day later received a full and unconditional pardon for her crimes. Connecticut Attorney General William Tong will likely argue on her behalf. New England Public Radio
Harvard Freshman Arrives at Campus After Being Denied Entry to US
Harvard freshman Ismail B. Ajjawi ’23, who was turned away from the country after arriving at Boston Logan International Airport on Aug. 23, arrived on campus on Monday in time for classes to start the next day. “The last ten days have been difficult and anxiety filled, but we are most grateful for the thousands of messages of support and particularly the work of AMIDEAST,” his family wrote in a statement. Ajjawi said Customs and Border Protection officers searched his laptop and phone and turned him away after they found apparently anti-American posts his friends made on social media. Public outcry and efforts from Harvard allowed Ajjawi to finally make it to the campus. The Harvard Crimson
Cubans Seek Asylum in Mexico as US Freezes Them Out
More Cubans are seeking asylum in Mexico as the United States has continued to shut out asylum seekers from the country. In the first seven months of the year, 4,604 Cubans applied for asylum in Mexico, compared to just 218 last year. The Trump administration recently threatened tariffs to force the Mexican government to intensify its crackdown on asylum seekers passing through the country, leaving thousands of asylum stranded across Mexico. More than 5,512 Cubans were detained in the first half of this year in Mexico, compared to 504 in all of 2018. The Guardian
Ohio Village Reckons with Police Policy After Local Business Owner was Detained
An Ohio man arrested because of his immigration status led the town of Yellow Springs to question its policies for enforcing immigration law. Miguel A. Espinosa was arrested for driving without a valid license, prompting the village to release a statement saying its current “police protocol instructs our officers take repeat offenders of these particular offenses to the Greene County Jail as an effort to change the behavior.” But “we, as a municipal government and police department, must face the reality of the catastrophic damage that our actions can have, particularly on our vulnerable populations,” the statement continued. WYSO
Trump Administration Reconsiders Health-Based Deferral Policy, Facebook Nixes Fake Law Enforcement Policies
The Trump administration said it would reconsider its decision to shut down a mechanism immigrants with life-threatening diseases use to stay in the U.S. Last month, USCIS announced it eliminated a “deferred action” program that allowed immigrants to avoid deportation while they were getting medical treatment. The agency sent letters informing people who asked for a renewal that it was no longer taking those requests and ordered them to leave the country within 33 days.
On Monday, USCIS said that limiting the program was “appropriate,” but added that officials would complete cases that were pending as of August 7 and said it “is taking immediate corrective action to reopen previously pending cases for consideration.” The statement also said deportation proceedings hadn’t been initiated against people who received the letters. It would not specify the future of the program and whether or not it would grant extensions.
Maria Isabel Bueso, 24, was living in the U.S. because of the program. She has participated in several medical studies, including a drug trial that resulted in a treatment for her disease, which causes dwarfism and other deformities. Without the drug, she is unlikely to live to adulthood, but she has learned she will not be allowed to stay in the country. The New York Times
Facebook said the U.S. Department of Homeland Security would be violating the company’s rules if agents created fake profiles to monitor the social media of foreigners entering the country. “Law enforcement authorities, like everyone else, are required to use their real names on Facebook and we make this policy clear,” Facebook spokeswoman Sarah Pollack told The Associated Press in a statement Tuesday. “Operating fake accounts is not allowed, and we will act on any violating accounts.” Facebook said it has communicated these concerns to DHS and has shut down fake accounts when they were reported. Facebook’s statement follows the AP reporting that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services authorized its officers to use fake social media accounts to review visa applicants’ profiles. Associated Press