Immigration advocates are becoming some of the most vocal opponents to New York City’s proposed borough-based jail program, which would as a replacement to Rikers Island. Groups like The Chinatown Core Block Association, Queens Residents United and Boroughs United, Inc, among others, are voicing concerns that the jails, which are proposed to be placed in Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan and the Bronx, will draw the attention of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.
The new jails “will provide ICE officers with even more opportunities to track or detain undocumented immigrants who are either incarcerated in these new jails, entering or exiting court appearances, or visiting incarcerated friends or family members in these new jails,” several advocacy groups said in a letter addressed to City Council Speaker Corey Johnson. While the city pledged to keep ICE out of the jail system, the agents still regularly arrest people in the criminal court system.
Advocates are calling on city council to address facial recognition technology and data sharing before voting on the plan. Several groups are protesting the plan in rallies that started Wednesday in Jackson Heights and will finish on Friday at Avenue C Plaza in Kensington, Brooklyn. The groups include Desis Rising Up & Moving, Immigrant Defense Project and Detention Watch Network. City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer also attended the rally. The Bronx Times / The Jackson Heights Post / The Queens Eagle
Judge Denies Parties Interested in Joining Green Light Act Lawsuit
A federal judge denied the request of immigration advocates and the New York State conservative party to get involved in the litigation surrounding the Green Light Law. The coalition of groups, which includes the Rural and Migrant Ministry, the New York Immigration Coalition and the Hispanic Federation, and activist Dan Warren has tried to get involved with the suit filed by Erie County Clerk Mickey Kearns. The Green Light NY law would let undocumented people apply for driver’s licenses in New York State, but Kearns says he can’t comply with the law when it goes into effect in December because it would be unconstitutional. Spectrum Local News
Acting ICE Director Calls out NJ Attorney General
Acting Director of ICE Matthew Albence appeared with a sheriff from Cape May County, New Jersey to decry state Attorney General Gubir Grewal for his efforts to block counties from collaborating with ICE. Two counties in the state participate in the 287(g) program, which allows local law enforcement officials to act on behalf of ICE. Grewal blocked those agreements last month. Albence appeared with the Monmouth County sheriff to bemoan the AG’s actions. “He surely did nothing but put the citizens of New Jersey at greater risk,” he said. The White House (transcript)
Police Raise Reward for Helping Find Missing Girl
Police are still searching for missing 5-year-old girl Dulce Maria Alvarez and have raised the reward for helping find her to $52,000. Alvarez vanished nearly a month ago from a park in New Jersey. In the ensuing weeks, the incident inflamed racial tension against the largely Latino residents of Bridgeton, where she was taken from. This may had led the town to resist coming forward with information about Alvarez, police say. “Investigators continue to follow leads in the case and have gathered a substantial amount of information through interviews and technological means,” Bridgeton Chief of Police Michael Giamari said in a statement. More than 300 officers have searched over 200 locations for the girl since Sept. 16. The NY Daily News
Canadian Man Banned from U.S. for Volunteering at Arts Festival
A Canadian man said he was banned from entering the U.S. for five years after trying to travel to Washington state to volunteer at an arts festival. Kyle Kuchirka, an actor from Saskatoon, tried to cross the border into Sumas, Washington, on Aug. 29 to volunteer at the Sh’Bang Art Festival. Border guards questioned him for over four hours and eventually handed him a document that said he was prohibited from entering the U.S. for five years, claiming he doesn’t have work authorization. One border guard claimed Kuchirka was taking away American jobs, he said. Kurchika was going to work for free meals at the festival. CBC
Boston Sheriff Ends ICE Contract
Suffolk County Sheriff Steven Tompkins, who oversees the area containing Boston, announced Tuesday he is ending his office’s longstanding connection with ICE. The agency has had a contract with the sheriff’s office since 2003 to house immigrant detainees at the county jail. Tompkins said he’s ending the contract because he needs more room for female prisoners — the fastest-growing incarcerated population in the country. He said the move was not a political statement. ICE said it might have to move the detainees elsewhere in the country now. The Associated Press
ICE Agents Show Up to Nashville Elementary School Looking for Records on a Student
ICE agents showed up at a Nashville elementary school last month asking for student records. Metro Nashville Public Schools said Una Elementary School officials didn’t release any information. The school has a large immigration population and 23 languages are spoken there. The school district has strict policies around sharing information with law enforcement, which local advocates praised. Schools are part of a list of sensitive locations that ICE agents generally stay away from. Nashville Scene
Detainee Given Ibuprofen After Being Shot in Head
A Guatemalan man who was suffering headaches after being shot in the head was given ibuprofen by ICE agents while he was in detention. Rolando was suffering from headaches, and would sometimes bleed out of his eyes, ears and nose. He was shot at a soccer game in 2016 by assailants who targeted him because of his father’s support for the pro-indigenous movement. He fled to the U.S. with a migrant caravan, arrived at San Ysidro port of entry in February and was detained at Otay Mesa. ICE responded to his medical conditions by placing him in solitary confinement. The Guardian
Washington — Acting ICE Director Slams Judge’s Ruling, New Immigration Rule Could Block 65% of Immigrants
Louisiana’s Detainee Population Grows
Eight Louisiana jails have started housing immigrant detainees over the past year as the state has become an unlikely hub for detention under President Trump. Of ICE’s 51,000 detainees, 8,000 are being held in Louisiana in both local jails and state prisons. Louisiana has seen its prison population decrease due to criminal justice reform policies, which has hurt the economies of towns that rely on jails for jobs. ICE has stepped in to keep the jails in business. ICE pays a premium by Louisiana’s standard to house inmates, but its contracts in the state are lower than the national average. Associated Press
The Acting Director of ICE Matthew Albence criticized a ruling by a federal judge that would block the agency from relying on one federal database to issue detainers, seeing as it was proven to be faulty and lead to wrongful arrests. Albence cited it as an example of “judicial overreach” and said it threatened public safety during a press conference at the White House briefing room.
A federal judge in California had blocked ICE from issuing detainers, which are requests to local law enforcement to hold a detainee beyond their release date, based on information solely from the database which was considered unreliable. They’ve sometimes wrongfully flagged U.S. citizens as subject for removal.
Texas Sheriff Bill Waybourn joined Albence and also criticized the ruling, suggesting it would require releasing immigrants who were “drunks” and would “run over your children.” Waybourn said that 7% of the 4,200 inmates in his county jail are undocumented immigrants convicted of a range of crimes, including murder. He also defended ICE agents by comparing the criticism they receive to that of soldiers returning from Vietnam. Associated Press, Texas TribuneTrump announced a presidential proclamation last week that would block people who cannot afford private medical insurance from immigrating to the U.S. permanently. According to the Migration Policy Institute, this could keep up to two-thirds, or 65%, of future immigrants out of the U.S. Roughly 375,000 immigrants, based on 2017 data, could be barred annually. It will most likely hurt people who are coming to the U.S. under family-sponsored visas, a policy which Trump and his immigration hawk aides have criticized repeatedly. Vox