A military vehicle used by Homeland Security agents in an arrest in Ridgewood, Queens, caused panic among residents in the area on Wednesday. The vehicle, called a BearCat, was accompanied by camouflage and plainclothes wearing agents from Homeland Security Investigations, who wore badges that read ICE HSI, causing fear among residents that an immigration raid was happening. A federal source told NY1 that the vehicle was being used by a Homeland Security Special Response Team to arrest a criminal suspect. A City Hall spokesperson said HSI recovered about 50 guns from the operation. NY1
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County Clerks Threaten to Call ICE on Immigrants Applying for Licenses
County Clerks in upstate New York are threatening to call Immigration and Customs Enforcement if undocumented immigrants attempt to legally apply for driver’s licenses in their offices. “I’ll make this very clear: If someone was to come in [to my office] with improper documentation, I would consider that probable cause to notify legal authorities that there are individuals here who may have broken the law. This could mean ICE,” Allegany County Clerk Robert L. Christman, said.
Earlier this year, the New York State legislature passed the Green Light NY law, a monumental victory for immigrants in the state. For over a decade, advocates have been fighting for the right to apply for driver’s licenses at the state Department of Motor Vehicles. They came close under governor Eliot Spitzer, but since then they’ve watched as laws passed in over a dozen states countrywide. Advocates say the law is especially important upstate, where driving is more necessary to everyday life.
Since the law passed, three county clerks from Erie, Niagara and Rensselaer counties have sued the state government. They say the law forces them to violate the anti-harboring statute, which forbids people from harboring individuals who they should reasonably know are in the country illegally. One lawsuit in Buffalo federal court expected to have a decision next mid-November. Supporters of the bill have said that there still is no plan as to how the licenses will actually be issued. Read more at Documented.
Immigration Advocate from “The Infiltrators” Has Final Asylum Hearing
An immigration advocate who got himself arrested to expose the conditions inside the privately-owned Broward Transitional Center in Florida had his final asylum hearing in New York on Thursday. In 2012, Marco Saavedra presented himself to a Border Patrol agent and told him he was a recently arrived undocumented immigrant. He was released after a month and later got detained in another protest action. He is arguing that advocates face direct threats in Mexico. Democracy Now
Voters in Sussex County Reject Sanctuary Directive
Voters in Sussex County, New Jersey have officially rejected the state’s Attorney General’s “Immigrant Trust Directive,” which forbids counties from collaborating with ICE detainers. By 22,081 to 10,982, voters in the county called on the freeholder board to “cooperate with and make reasonably available to United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents the tools, resources, personnel, and real, personal and intellectual property owned by the county, under its direct control,” according to the ballot question. A freeholder form the county challenged the vote and the Sussex County Sheriff, saying he was grandstanding and “He can defy the law, and he can be picked up by the attorney general and go to jail, I guess. Let’s see how brave he is,” Freeholder George Graham said. NJ Advance Media
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Asylum Seekers Are Returned to Mexico Despite Winning Their Cases
Migrants who have been granted asylum were returned to Mexico – under the “Migrant Protection Protocols” and issued documents that told them to return to court for a court hearing that didn’t exist, documents uncovered by The San Diego Union-Tribune show. Migrants who have had their cases terminated have also received the notices. This happened on at least 14 occasions with CBP agents in California and Texas. At least one migrant was physically assaulted after being sent back. DHS and CBP did not respond to multiple requests for comment. The San Diego Union-Tribune
Judge: Government Must Provide Mental Health Services for Separated Families
A federal judge in California ruled late on Tuesday that the government must provide mental health services to the families affected by family separation. Judge John A. Kronstadt ordered that mental health screenings and treatment to thousands of families be made available. The judge found the government could be held accountable for the enduring psychological harm that forcibly taking children from their parents brought about. Enforcement of the ruling will be difficult, experts say, and the government will likely appeal and force a stay on the ruling. More than 5,400 children were forcibly separated from their parents under the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy. The New York Times
Law Enforcement Make Hurdles for U Visas
Nataly Alcantara woke to two people in her bedroom. “Give us your money!” one woman shouted while the other pointed a gun at her 3-month-old daughter in her crib. Alcantara gave them $300, the family’s savings. Within minutes, the police arrived after she called them. She told officers who responded to the call what happened and tried to help as much as she could. In the end, she asked that the Miami police sign a letter confirming her cooperation, so she could apply for a U visa, a special visa for victims of crime who help in police investigations. They refused to sign, and so do many other police departments across the country. Reveal
Border Patrol Agents Approve Fewer Asylum Cases
Border Patrol agents are approving less than half of the asylum seekers they have interviewed due to a recent Trump administration policy. Border Patrol agents began conducting credible fear interviews, which determine whether or not an asylum seeker can move forward with an asylum case. USCIS asylum officers previously conducted these interviews but since June, Border Patrol agents have also been conducting them. According to BuzzFeed, these agents have approved 47% of the 2,000 cases they have seen so far. Asylum officers typically had an 80% passage rate. Immigration advocates were fearful this would be the result when the policy was announced. BuzzFeed News
Speedy Deportations Policy Begins at the Border
The Trump administration has initiated a new pilot program on the Texas border named Humanitarian Asylum Review Process, which aims to speed up the deportation of Mexican asylum seekers. The program is in place in the El Paso, Texas area. Mexican asylum seekers have credible fear interviews within 48 hours, if that is denied, they can appeal with an immigration judge over the phone. One government officials familiar with the program told BuzzFeed that the policy is aimed at making it harder for Mexican families to come to the US. BuzzFeed News
Washington – Bernie Pledges to Breakup ICE & CBP, US Diplomats Warned Against TPS Termination, Bipartisan Senators Demand Vacancies Be Filled
Sen. Bernie Sanders became the first candidate to call for a break of ICE and CBP when he released his presidential platform on Thursday. Sen. Bernie Sanders became the first candidate to call for a break of ICE and CBP when he released his presidential platform. He calls for redistributing them across other federal agencies. Enforcement of deportations, the border and investigations would return to the Justice Department while the State Department would handle naturalization and citizenship. The Treasury would take on the customs authority. Rep. Julian Castro, the only Latino presidential candidate, called for removing ICE’s removal responsibilities. The plan also includes protections for immigrant workers such as a minimum wage for domestic workers, protections for farmworkers and an end to workplace raids. The Intercept
The decision to terminate Temporary Protected Status was taken with the 2020 presidential race in mind, despite warnings from U.S. diplomats, according to newly released State Department memos made public on Thursday. U.S. ambassadors in El Salvador, Honduras and Haiti all warned against the termination. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon was bluntly told then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that extending TPS was the best course of action. Political appointees on Tillerson’s staff rebuffed an idea to extend TPS for three years as it would fall “directly in the middle of the 2020 election cycle.” Associated Press
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Sen. Gary Peters (Mich.), who both sit on the Senate Homeland Security Committee sent a letter to the president on Wednesday asking that his nominee for DHS Secretary fill vacant positions within the department. Several positions within the department’s upper ranks have been left vacant for months or years, the senators said, and they were dismayed that nobody had been nominated to fill the roles. Trump has repeatedly said that he prefers having positions in the “acting” capacity as it gives him flexibility. The White House said that it will appoint Chad Wolf, former chief of staff to Kirstjen Nielsen, as acting secretary. The Washington Post
Why I quit the Department of Homeland Security. In a word, because of Trump, The Houston Chronicle [Opinion]