A Manhattan federal judge will likely issue a ruling by the end of the year on the Trump administration’s attempt to end a lawsuit filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James on its policy of making immigration arrests in and around courthouses. Judge Jed Rakoff set the deadline himself and seemed skeptical about the federal government’s argument that its policies around the arrests can’t be reviewed by a federal judge.
In the New York area, ICE’s policy of arresting immigrants at criminal and civil courts has drawn scorn from prosecutors, public defenders and advocates. Courts are the site of most ICE arrests in the state, and opponents of the practice say it discourages immigrants from participating in the justice system. The arrests shot up 1,700 percent in the first two years after President Donald Trump took office.
Attorney Scott Eisman, who is arguing for the attorney general, said U.S. immigration laws do not override common law privileges, which prevent civil arrests in and around courthouses. Plaintiffs in the suit also say the practice violates the Administrative Procedure Act. Assistant U.S. Attorney Rebecca Friedman, arguing for the federal government, said arrests under common law privileges were actually about serving a summons. NBC New York
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Five Indian Citizens Apprehended Crossing New York Border
Five Indian nationals were detained by Border Patrol agents after trying to cross into New York from Canada. Agents assigned to the Ogdensburg Border Patrol Station apprehended the five people and their suspected smuggler after the smuggler attempted to evade a checkpoint. Agents tracked the car to a local business in the town, where the five people ran off. The agents caught them and now they face criminal charges from the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District. The Hindu
New York’s Immigration Backlog Continues to Grow
The national backlog of immigration cases has grown to over 1.3 million today, up from about half a million at the beginning of the Trump administration. The worst backlog in the country is New York City’s, and it continues to grow. “We are understaffed and under resourced. In New York, immigration judges are sharing support staff, and two or three judges share one legal assistant,” said Judge Amiena Khan. The Trump administration is proposing spending $71 million to hire 100 judges and support staff next year to deal with the backlog. NY1
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Jury Acquits No More Deaths Activist
A jury in Arizona has acquitted Scott Warren, an activist with the border group No More Deaths, on charges he illegally helped two men from Central America evade federal authorities. Warren was charged with harboring in relation to his role in providing shelter to the men who crossed the border in January 2018. He allowed them to stay at a camp run by volunteers who help provide migrants in the desert with food and water. A previous trial for Warren ended with a deadlocked jury, which resulted in a mistrial. The New York Times
Journalists Sue the Government for First Amendment Rights Violations
Five American journalists sued the U.S. government on Wednesday, saying federal authorities violated their First Amendment rights by inspecting their cameras and notebooks and questioning them about their work covering the migrant caravan. The five journalists were on the list of those being monitored by the Department of Homeland Security, as exposed by a whistleblower. Mark Bramson, a photographer working for The New York Times who is on the lawsuit, said two CBP officers patted him down when he returned to the U.S. at the San Diego border crossing. They emptied his pockets and searched his bag, which held information about people he had talked to. Associated Press
Nebraska DMV Agrees to Share Information with Census Bureau
Nebraska’s Department of Motor Vehicles has agreed to share its records with the U.S. Census Bureau as the federal government searches for backdoor access to national citizenship data. The Supreme Court struck down the Trump administration’s attempt to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census after advocates argued it would depress responses among immigrants. So to obtain this data another way, the Census Bureau requested state driver’s license information. Nebraska will now provide monthly data about licenses and ID card holders’ citizenship status every month until the end of 2021, making it the first state to enter into a license data-sharing agreement. NPR
Lawyers Band Together to Fight Remain in Mexico
Immigration lawyers are banding together to help asylum seekers navigate the government’s Remain in Mexico policy. using private Facebook groups to strategize on how to win cases under the new policy. Since its implementation, the Migrant Protection Protocols have forced asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their cases are adjudicated in the immigration courts, a process that can take years. The policy has simultaneously made it harder for asylum seekers to get legal representation. But with this new strategy, U.S. lawyers close to the border can outsources cases across the country and give advice to lawyers not near the border. The San Diego Tribune
Border Patrol Agent Sentenced to Probation
Former Border Patrol agent Matthew Bowen was sentenced to three years probation on Wednesday for hitting a Guatemalan migrant Antolin Rolando López-Aguilar with his truck as he was running away. Weeks before the incident, Bowen had sent texts referring to immigrants as “subhuman” and “mindless murdering savages.” He faced one year in prison and a $100,000 fine, but U.S. District Judge Thomas Ferraro opted to sentence him to three years probation, 150 hours of community service and to cover Lopez-Aguilar’s medical costs. Ferraro said he felt the 2017 incident was an outlier in Bowen’s 11-year career. The New York Times
Washington — Guatemala Deal Takes Effect, Refugee Resettlement Suit
The Trump administration has begun sending asylum seekers from the U.S.–Mexico border to Guatemala under a bilateral agreement that could reshape the future of immigration. Even migrants not from Guatemala can be sent there, with the first Honduran asylum seeker returned to Guatemala on Thursday, according to Guatemala’s Foreign Ministry.
The man was not identified, but he had reached the U.S. border and was sent off in accordance with the “safe third country” agreement signed between the U.S. and Guatemala in July. Under the agreement, all migrants arriving in the U.S. who passed through Guatemala and were not rejected for asylum there will be flown back. This would effectively block all Central American migration to the U.S, seeing as Guatemala covers all of Mexico’s southern border.
The program initially will be applied at the El Paso, Texas, Border Patrol station and the first phase will target Honduran and Salvadoran adults, Reuters reports. Migrants will supposedly be processed within 72 hours of arriving at the border. Training materials say asylum officers have been instructed to not ask migrants whether they have a fear of being sent to Guatemala — a question that’s asked of migrants sent back to Mexico and a standard part of an asylum interview. Through an unclear process, CBP agents will reportedly pick 10-15 people a day to be entered into the program. Associated Press, ReutersA group of refugee resettlement agencies filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration on Thursday against a policy that stipulates refugees can only be resettled in areas where local officials have signed off in advance. The agencies argue that the Trump administration exceeded its authority in setting this requirement. Reuters
Asylum and refugee officers were threatened in a department-wide email that they’d lose their jobs if they leaked information to the media. The information was then promptly leaked to the media. New Acting Director of USCIS Mark Koumans sent the email out to staff. BuzzFeed News