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Early Arrival: Mistaken ICE Detainer Rooted in Anti-Immigrant Bias, Court Rules

Wednesday's Edition of Early Arrival: Pre-K Teachers Prepare for Deportations — Mexico’s Overwhelmed Asylum Agency — Trump Admin. Tries to Raise Immigration Court Appeals Fees

About six years ago, a Brooklyn-born man named Luis Hernandez spent four days on Rikers Island after Immigration and Customs Enforcement filed a detainer request with the city, which it honored back then. Hernandez was picked up on a misdemeanor charge, but was flagged because ICE actually had a detainer for a Honduran immigrant named Luis Enrique Hernandez-Martinez. On Tuesday, the Second Circuit revived the lawsuit. 

“We reject the notion that the purported similarity between ‘Luis Hernandez’ and ‘Luis Enrique Hernandez‐Martinez’ is enough, without more, [enough] to establish probable cause to deprive someone of his freedom,” U.S. Circuit Judge Denny Chin wrote in a 40-page opinion. “The government’s argument that it has probable cause based on the similar names ‘seems particularly rooted in the context of immigration enforcement and concerns about the interchangeability of foreign names,’” he added.

Two judges joined Chin in overturning U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain’s dismissal of the case last year. During Hernandez’s arraignment for a public lewdness charge, his prosecutor recommended three days’ community service. The state trial judge said they couldn’t request community service because he “has an ICE detainer.” Hernandez’ lawyer said the government easily could have found out that he is a U.S. citizen and that the four days in jail were unnecessary. Courthouse News Service

Hello, I’m Max Siegelbaum with today’s edition of Early Arrival. You can email me at max.siegelbaum@documentedny.com.

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Local

Protestors Arrested Outside NJ Detention Center Avoid Jail

A group of Jewish demonstrators who were arrested protesting outside an ICE detention center in New Jersey will avoid jail time. A total of 36 members of the Never Again Action group were arrested outside the Elizabeth Detention Center at the end of June. The protest was staged alongside Movimiento Cosecha. All defendants pleaded guilty to a municipal ordinance violation of disturbing the peace and were ordered to pay $133. “But we know the real crimes are the ones being committed every day inside these ICE facilities,” the group said in a statement. “The detention of our neighbors in abusive, unlivable facilities like this one should upset all of us.” Newsweek

Immigration Court Introduction Video Revealed

The Justice Department began replacing court interpreters in July with a video at the first court appearance for immigrants facing deportation in four courts across the country, including New York City. The court interpreter played a valuable role for immigrants who don’t have a lawyer and lack understanding of how the court system works. But instead of a person to answer questions, immigrants are now left with a video narrated by immigration judge Christopher Santoro. The judge explains the basics of why they are there and what the next steps are, per a copy of the video obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle. San Francisco Chronicle 

National

Mexico’s Overwhelmed Asylum Agency is About to Get Hit with Waves of Applications

Mexico’s asylum agency is bracing for a wave of asylum applications after the Supreme Court ruled that the Trump administration’s ban on most asylum applications would be allowed to go into effect. The agency fears this ruling will place an unsustainable burden on the system, which already has employees working up to 15 hours a day. And without a pathway to live in the U.S., the tens of thousands of migrants currently stalled in Mexico could just decide to stay there. Applications at the Mexican Commission for Refugee Assistance are expected to hit 80,000 in 2019, more than double last year. The office has 63 employees able to process 16,350 applications. Reuters

Hundreds of Potential Asylees Attacked After Being Returned to Mexico

Since January 2019, the Trump administration has sent 45,000 asylum seekers to Mexico under a policy it calls the Migrant Protection Protocols. An estimated 26,000 asylum seekers are now stuck in Mexico due to the policy, often stranding them in dangerous cities and regions. There have been 241 publicly reported cases of rape, kidnapping, assault and other violent attacks against asylum seekers, according to Human Rights First, an advocacy group. There are likely a small portion of the total number of attacks, which tend to go unreported. Human Rights First

“Migrant Protection Protocols” Cases Begin 

Tent courtrooms opened this week in Texas to process the thousands of migrants being forced to wait in Mexico under the Migration Policy Protocols, but journalists say they had trouble accessing the facilities. The courts in Laredo opened with a judge appearing by video teleconference, and one by one, migrants stood before the screen and told her they were afraid to return home. Many of the migrants who appeared before Judge Yvonne Gonzalez also expressed fear over staying in Mexico, with one said she had been kidnapped and mugged. Associated Press

Cubans Battered By Subsequent Presidential Administrations Face Unclear Political Future

A total of 120 Cubans were deported to Havana last week, marking one of the largest groups to be returned to that country in recent history. At the same time, an increasing number of Cubans have been arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border and are being turned away. It’s a pattern that’s grown throughout the previous  and current presidencies, and marks a stark shift from previous generations where Cubans would be welcomed with open arms the U.S. Former President Barack Obama ended the “wet foot, dry foot policy,” which allowed Cubans to remain in the U.S.. legally, while Trump has deported them wholesale. This has disrupted the Cuban American voting block, an influential political force in Florida. NPR

Colorado Refugee and Immigrant Work Programs Thrive

Colorado’s Refugee Services Program is ranked among the best in the country when it comes to employment measures for immigrants and refugee resettlement state agencies, according to a report from the Administration for Children and Families. A full 20% of refugees in the state have a bachelor’s degree or higher, which allows the agency to put them in a job quickly. The Colorado Refugee Services Programs funds careers and capacity building programs across the state to connect refugees and asylees with people in the community who can help them meet their career goals.  The Denver Post

Washington — Trump Admin. Tries to Raise Immigration Court Appeals Fees, Border Wall Could Destroy Archaeological Sites, Senator Demands CBP Data Breach Information

The Trump administration wants to significantly increase the fees immigrants pay when appealing deportation cases, according to a draft regulation obtained by BuzzFeed News. The fees could greatly hurt immigrants’ abilities to appeal decisions made in deportation cases.

Officials are proposing immigrants pay $975 to request an appeal of a judge’s ruling and $895 to have a case appear before the board of immigration appeals. Currently, the fee for both requests is $110. “They are essentially depriving people of the right to appeal — that is big money. It’s a substantial increase of fees that’s beyond the reach of people,” said Rebecca Jamil, a former immigration judge in San Francisco.

A spokesperson for the Executive Office for Immigration Review said the DOJ could not confirm or comment on “media speculation about regulations,” and that “despite inflation and rising administrative costs, EOIR fees have remained the same since 1986 — despite increases in fees across many other areas of the federal government over the same period.” Immigrants could still apply for a fee waiver under the draft policy. BuzzFeed News

Construction equipment used to build President Trump’s border wall could destroy 22 archaeological sites in Arizona’s Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, according to an internal National Park Service report. The administration’s plan to convert a five-foot-high vehicle barrier into a 30-foot steel fence could create irreparable damage to buried remains of ancient Sonoran Desert people.  “We’ve historically lived in this area from time immemorial,” said Tohono O’odham Nation Chairman Ned Norris Jr.. “We feel very strongly that this particular wall will desecrate this area forever. I would compare it to building a wall over your parents’ graveyards. It would have the same effect.” The Washington PostSen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) has demanded more information about two recent data breaches of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which included immigrants’ biometric information. In a letter to acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan, the top Democrat in the Senate Intelligence Committee explained his concerns about the hack of a CBP contractor in June that led to the theft of 100,000 images of travelers and the exposure of sensitive data. “It is absolutely critical that federal agencies and industry improve their track records, especially when handling and processing biometric data,” Warner wrote. “Americans deserve to have their sensitive data secured, regardless of whether it is being handled by a first- or a third-party.” The Hill

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