Hundreds of people gathered outside a jail that houses immigrant detainees in Troy, New York on Sunday to protest the local sheriff’s cooperation with Immigration and Customs and Enforcement.
The approximately 200 protesters demanded that Rensselaer County Sheriff Patrick Russo cancel his controversial 287g agreement with ICE. Russo is the only sheriff in New York state to enter into such an agreement with the federal agency. It allows him and his staff to check inmates for immigration holds and turn them into ICE agents.
The protestors were part of the national Jewish campaign “Never Again,” which aims to eliminate ICE and protest the treatment of immigrants in the U.S. Protestors traveled from as far as Virginia, but many were from the Albany region.
Russo, a Republican, defended his ties to ICE as his obligation to help keep the community safe. Albany Times-Union
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New York Leads AGs in Defending Census Bureau
A federal judge has allowed New York Attorney General Letitia James to lead a group of 15 states and other groups to defend the Census Bureau in a lawsuit against Alabama. Alabama is suing the bureau to prevent undocumented immigrants from being included population counts. The states decided to step in on this case after U.S. Attorney General William Barr indicated the government may not defend the Census Bureau. Undocumented immigrants have been included in population counts since 1790. The attorney general successfully sued the government to have a controversial citizenship question removed from next year’s census. NPR
Manhattan Federal Judge Dismisses Asylum Lawsuit
A federal judge in Manhattan dismissed a constitutional challenge to the removal orders issued to unrepresented immigrants who alleged they did not receive a proper notice to appear before an immigration judge. U.S. District Judge Jesse M. Furman of the Southern District of New York said on Thursday that the court lacked jurisdiction to proceed with the case. The lawsuit filed by the Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project argued that several immigrants ordered deported after failing to appear for their immigration hearings had never received their notices. The notices were either sent to incorrect addresses or reflected incorrect dates, times and locations, they say. New York Law Journal
Pregnant Woman Returned To Mexico While in Labor
An eight-and-a-half-months pregnant Salvadoran woman was turned back from crossing the border while she was experiencing contractions. Border Patrol agents apprehended her while she was crossing the Rio Grande and took her to a hospital, where she received medication to stop the contractions. She was then immediately returned to Mexico under the federal policy which forces migrants to wait in Mexico for their immigration hearings, she and her lawyer say. She is now waiting with her 3-year-old daughter in a tent camp in Matamoros, Mexico and is due to give birth any day. Associated Press
Solitary Confinement Used Extensively in Detention
Years of documents obtained by The Atlantic detail that the Obama and Trump administrations used solitary confinement in immigration detention extensively. The Atlantic obtained documents spanning 2014—2018 that reveal a multitude of benign reasons immigrants are placed in solitary confinement. Under the Trump administration, one out of 200 detainees has spent at least two weeks in isolation, according to the documents. Internal confidential reports were heavily critical of the practice, despite ICE publicly stating that it is only used sparingly. Detainees have even been held in solitary for hundreds of days in the past four years, including one man who spent 780 days. The Atlantic
ICE Agent Shot Immigrant in Tennessee
An undocumented immigrant was shot by ICE agents during a traffic stop in Antioch, Tennessee. ICE claimed the person drove into the agents, which led them to fear for their safety, and one of them fired two shots. However, the immigrant turned himself in to the FBI and he was not arrested or charged with a crime, which advocates say calls into question ICE’s telling of the event. Surveillance video obtained by NBC5 also calls into question ICE’s version of events. The FBI is continuing to investigate the incident. BuzzFeed News
Child Detention Center Looks to Boost Image
A lobbying group has sought to make a positive film about the much-maligned Homestead, Florida migrant child detention facility. In a concept paper obtained by The Young Turks, public relations group Qorvis suggests creating a short film to improve Homestead’s image. They wanted to highlight that the “tight quarters” remain clean, warm and safe, and promised to capture the former military base in “as much as beauty as possible.” The agency also counts Saudi Arabia as a client and has worked on campaigns to bolster the country’s image following the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. The Young Turks
College Presidents Concerned Over International Students
The presidents of several universities expressed concern over the decline in international students coming to the U.S. in the face of tougher immigration policies. Representatives from ten schools met at a dinner in Washington D.C. where they told reporters they were facing an increasing workload helping students navigate bureaucracy and advocating on their behalves. The number of new international students enrolled in U.S. colleges fell by close to 7 percent in the 2017—18 school year. The problem was highlighted recently when a Palestinian refugee was turned away by CBP on his way to Harvard. The Atlantic
Refugee Cap Slash, Mexico Crackdown on Migration, Afghan Translators, Social Media Vetting
The Trump administration is considering cutting refugee admissions to 10,000—15,000 people per year, further limiting refugee eligibility requirements or even dropping the number down to zero, The New York Times reports. The cut would be the third time the administration has slashed the number of refugees allowed to come to the U.S. Officials are set to make a decision Tuesday during a high-level meeting on the annual number.
The number of refugees worldwide is at the highest level in recorded history, and yet the U.S.’s current cap of 30,000 is the lowest ever, and at a more than 70 percent reduction from the level of the last year of the Obama administration. Retired military officers called on the president to not abandon the program as it was an important lifeline for American allies abroad. The New York Times
The Mexican Ambassador to the U.S. Martha Carcena told Politico that steps Mexico has taken since June have reduced the number of migrants reaching the U.S. The country reached an agreement with the Trump administration following threats by the president to implement tariffs on all Mexican goods. To prevent this, Mexico agreed to deploy the National Guard at its borders to and deport more individuals from Mexico. A total of 15,000 troops have been placed on Mexico’s northern border and 10,000 on the southern border. This led to 32,000 migrants being arrested in Mexico in June, triple the number from the year prior.
Arrests on the U.S. southern border are down 60 percent from May and declined from July to August, a month where the arrests historically increase. Under the agreement, the government’s “remain in Mexico” program has also been expanded. The government has sent 42,000 asylum seekers back to Mexico to await their immigration court hearings. Politico
Members of Congress have asked the Trump administration to explain why it rejected the visa of Muhammad Kamran, an Afghan interpreter who they say faced death threats and an attempted assassination from the Taliban. He is among thousands of Afghan translators who worked with U.S. troops but are still struggling to get visas. He was rejected due to unspecified security concerns. Democratic Reps. Jamie Raskin (Md.), Pramila Jayapal (Wash.) and John Garamendi (Calif.), and Republican Rep. Tom Reed (N.Y.) sent a letter to USCIS on Kamran’s behalf. NBC NewsDHS plans to begin requesting social media information on applications for immigration benefits and foreign travel. Some travelers will have to list their social media accounts, including Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, Ask.fm, Weibo, Myspace, YouTube and LinkedIn, and their usernames for the past 5 years. This will now be included in naturalization and asylum applications. CNN