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Early Arrival: ICE Arrests Decreased in July Despite National Operation

Friday's Edition of Early Arrival: Canadian Asylum Bump Not Linked to Trump — Pennsylvania Watchdog Urges Detention Center Shutdown — ICE Deportations and Arrests Drop, More Miller Emails

For months, President Donald Trump told the American public “millions” of undocumented immigrants would be deported in an operation that happened last July. Yet Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested just 120 immigrants in the New York City region that month, 200 fewer than the number arrested in July of the previous year. That area includes Nassau and Suffolk counties on Long Island, Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Ulster, and Westchester counties in the Hudson Valley, and the five boroughs. 

Most of those arrests in July were for immigrants with criminal convictions, as well as some with pending charges and who didn’t have proper status. In the neighboring Newark region, 222 immigrants were arrested this July, while 273 were arrested the previous year. Nationwide, arrests fell 19 percent in Fiscal Year 2019.

ICE says arrest activity fell because resources were reallocated to the southwest border. “These resources included approximately 350 ERO officers who were reassigned in support of Southwest Border operations, as well as hundreds still dealing with the increased detention and case management requirements stemming from the massive surge of illegal crossings,” the agency said in a statement. The hype around the July raids frightened many undocumented immigrants in the city, which may have led to ICE’s limited success. Gothamist

Hello, this is Max Siegelbaum and Mazin Sidahmed with today’s edition of Early Arrival. You can email us at max.siegelbaum@documentedny.com and mazin.sidahmed@documentedny.com.

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Canadian Asylum Bump Not Linked to Trump

The Canadian public’s disdain for Trump and his immigration crackdown has led to a public narrative that he’s the reason more asylum seekers are heading north from the U.S. However, a new study from Queen’s University policy studies professor Christian Leuprecht says the current president is not the reason for the spike in irregular border crossings, which happen largely at Roxham Road in Quebec, north of Plattsburgh, New York. Instead, the report says, this migration is driven by factors that predate the Trump administration. CBC

Niagara County Clerk Court Case Continues

Niagara County Clerk Joe Jastrzemski had a hearing on Thursday in his case against New York State over the Green Light Law, which allows undocumented drivers to recieve licenses. Jastrzemski and the judge appeared to believe they had formed an agreement with the state Attorney General’s office, where Jastrzemski’s staff would refer anyone applying for a license while suspected of being in the country illegally to the state DMV until the challenge was fully litigated. Yet during the hearing, representatives for the AG said they weren’t allowed to make that deal. Jastrzemski says that since auto bureaus are required to offer voter registration information, its an attempt to fundamentally change New York’s election system. NY State of Politics

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Pennsylvania Watchdog Urges County to Shut Down Family Detention Center

Pennsylvania’s fiscal watchdog is advising the state to shut down Berks County Residential Center, a detention center for immigrant families. Auditor General Eugene DePasquale urged Berks County to reconsider whether it was to profit from the practice. “No one being held at the Berks facility is facing any criminal charges, but the center still essentially functions as a jail in which adults and children, sometimes mere babies, are detained,” DePasquale said. One 6-year-old child has been held at the facility for 167 days, he said. The county leases the 96-bed facility to ICE. NBC Philadelphia

Asylum Seeker Killed in Tijuana After US Turned Him Back

An asylum seeker was killed in Tijuana, Mexico after U.S. officials told him and his family to wait in Mexico for their asylum proceedings. According to NBC 7 in San Diego, a Salvadoran father of two came to the San Ysidro port of entry with his wife and children in September 2019. After passing a credible fear interview, they were sent back to Mexico to await their immigration court hearing under the Migrant Protection Protocols program, commonly referred to as Remain in Mexico. The program has come under criticism as migrants have been forced to wait in dangerous cities. NBC 7

Women Complain of Medical Neglect in Detention

An ICE detention center in Mississippi has come under criticism as detainees with brain tumors and painful cysts have complained about inadequate medical care. They allege they’ve waited more than a month for appointments with specialists or been dismissed by medical professionals who did not understand their concerns. Four women shared their accounts of life in Natchez, Mississippi, with legal advocacy group Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services. Their accounts are the latest in a string of complaints about the inadequate medical care provided to immigrants in federal custody, which in some cases has led to the death of children. HuffPost

Disgraced Physicians Still Allowed to Participate in USCIS Program

Physicians who have been disciplined by state medical boards for abusing patients are still allowed to conduct screenings that can decide an immigrant’s petition for permanent residency, government investigators have found. In one case, one doctor who had been convicted of hiring a hitman to kill a disgruntled patient was allowed to continue in the program. The review found that USCIS inadequately vets physicians and fails to follow its standards. “As a result of these deficiencies, USCIS may be placing foreign nationals at risk of abuse by physicians performing medical examinations,” the investigators found. ProPublica

Advocates Sue Over Canceled Detention Hotline

Advocates are suing ICE and the Department of Homeland Security for shutting down a toll-free hotline that allows immigrants to report wrongdoing in detention centers after it was featured on the TV show Orange Is the New Black. “ICE shut down our hotline because we drew attention to the inhumanity of immigration detention,” said Christina Fialho, an attorney and the executive director of Freedom for Immigrants, which ran the hotline. It was closed on Aug. 7, two weeks after the show premiered. NBC News

Washington – ICE Deportations and Arrests Drop, More Miller Emails, Farmworker Bill Passes House, Pentagon Inspector General Opens Inquiries

Arrests and deportations by ICE fell last fiscal year, according to data released on Wednesday. ICE arrested approximately 143,000 immigrants between October 2018 and September 2019, a 10 percent drop from the previous fiscal year. 

ICE’s Acting Director Matthew Albence said that redistribution of funds to the U.S.–Mexico border had drained resources, leading to the drop. There was a spike in the number of people apprehended at the border in early 2019, which Albence attributed to the reallocation of funds. He also criticized “sanctuary cities” and cited their refusal to cooperate with immigration enforcement as a reason for the drop in arrests. 

The number of deported migrant families — migrants who came to the U.S. with a relative — rose from 2,711 in 2018 to 5,700 in 2019. A plan to deport millions of migrants touted by the president did not materialize. 

The number of migrants in detention has increased as more than 50,000 immigrants were in ICE custody on an average day in 2019, a 19 percent increase on the previous year. The immigration court backlog also exceeded a million cases this year. The New York Times

Leaked email correspondence between White House aide Stephen Miller and Jon Feere, an advisor within ICE, offer a window into the Trump administration’s immigration policymaking. In the email, the two strategize on how to use the government to amplify their anti-immigration message. Feere, a former policy analyst at anti-immigration think tank The Center for Immigration Studies, appeared to have broad latitude at ICE. He lists running meetings on new agreements between the Department of Labor and ICE and planning raids in the Bay Area in the emails. In one email, he attempted to push through a candidate for a post at the Social Security Administration to help with “information-sharing issues.” Rolling Stone

The House passed a bipartisan bill on Wednesday that would grant legal status to thousands of undocumented farmworkers. It would provide a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants working in agriculture. CNN

The Pentagon’s Inspector General has opened a review of a $400 million contract the Trump administration gave to Fisher Sand and Gravel Co. to build a portion of the wall on the U.S.–Mexico border. The president had repeatedly urged the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to award the company the contract. ABC NewsThe Pentagon’s Inspector General’s office also opened a review of the legality of the U.S. troop deployment to the southern border. ABC News

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