Last year, the New York State Unified Court System issued a directive to ICE mandating that it obtain judicial warrants before agents could arrest immigrants inside or near courthouses. Yet the Immigrant Defense Project said ICE agents have ignored these courthouse rules and are still arresting undocumented targets at entrances and exits. “Although judges, prosecutors, defenders, and hundreds of community based organizations have come together to call for an end to this harmful practice, ICE is sending a clear message that it has no problem interfering with the court system to achieve its deportation agenda,” said Mizue Aizeki, deputy director of the Immigrant Defense Project.
According to a report from IDP, there were 127 courthouse arrests in 2019. Local law enforcement organizations and public defenders both oppose the practice of courthouse arrests, saying they dissuade immigrants from participating in the criminal justice system, whether that’s aiding criminal investigations or appearing in their own immigration or criminal court cases. In some cases, ICE has arrested immigrants before their court cases were finished.
The IDP and other groups are pushing for a new bill, the Protect Our Courts Act, which would create greater protections for immigrants coming to and from court appointments. The bill would outlaw ICE arrests without a judicial warrant in or around all courthouses in the state. Currently, the directive from the state court system does not apply to the state’s many town and village courts. Supporters of the bill held a rally in Albany on Tuesday. The New York Daily News
Lawyers Petition ICE to Grant Transgender Asylum Seeker Parole
Last November, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested Benitez Lopez, a transgender 25-year-old Honduran undocumented immigrant outside the Nassau County criminal court. ICE wanted to immediately put Lopez on a plane to Honduras, but an emergency court motion filed by Make the Road New York blocked the deportation. Lopez says they never received a notification for their court hearing, which led to an in absentia deportation order. Lopez is now being detained at an ICE facility in Hudson County, New Jersey, but their lawyer is petitioning ICE for Lopez’s release so they can continue hormone therapy. Lopez is seeking asylum in the U.S. after facing a severe anti-LGBT attack as a young person in Honduras. Gay City News
DREAM Act Leads to No Tuition Assistance for Eligible Undocumented Students
After waiting for three months to hear how much tuition assistance he would receive as a part of the New York DREAM act, Jesus opened an email and read the following: “You have been offered an award under the NYS Tuition Assistance Program in the amount of 0.00. Please let us know if you intend to accept or decline your award.” And Jesus is not alone, with other DREAM act recipients saying they’ve been denied denied financial aid without explanation. Overall, 47,000 people in New York City are eligible for tuition assistance from the DREAM Act, but outreach regarding how undocumented students should apply “didn’t happen,” Assemblymember Catalina Cruz (D-Corona) said. The City
Coalition Invests $40 Million for Census Outreach in NYC
The city’s three library systems, 157 community-based organizations, labor unions, Mayor Bill de Blasio and others have contributed a total of $40 million in an unprecedented push to get all New Yorkers counted under the 2020 Census. It marks the biggest census investment of any U.S. city, according to a letter from multiple elected officials and others involved in the effort. The efforts will rely on targeted outreach in communities that have been historically undercounted. The census determines everything from federal funding to seats in Congress to corporate business strategies. The City
Remembering Prohibition’s Immigration Origins
This week marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the Prohibition Era, which spanned from Jan. 17, 1920, until December 1933. While the era is now commonly remembered for the proliferation of organized crime and bootlegging culture, prohibition’s roots were grounded in immigration issues, historians say. The U.S. saw a dramatic population shift during the decades before prohibition began, and political machines often targeted saloons in immigrant neighborhoods to preserve their power. “So there was concern about political corruption, changing social values, immigrants learning radical politics,” said Aaron Cowan, a professor at Slippery Rock University. The Associated Press
Two Textbooks Highlight How State Politics Seep Into Education
The textbooks teachers use in California and Texas look almost identical, and even come from the same publisher. And yet what’s inside the books varies widely and reveals how political biases are seeping into what teenagers are taught about American history. In the California version of the McGraw-Hill published textbook, one chapter includes an excerpt from a novel about a Dominican-American family. In the Texas edition, testimony from a U.S. Border Patrol agent sits in the same place. The Texas edition was produced six years ago when state standards called for students to analyze arguments about “legal and illegal immigration to the United States.” The New York Times
Border Tent Courts Still Closed to the Public, According to Advocates and Lawyers
The Trump administration recently agreed to open the “tent courts” where it has held thousands of hearings for asylum seekers currently stuck in Mexico to the public, but attorneys and advocates say the courts are still restricting access to many of the hearings. The hearings are happening in Brownsville, Texas, but the judges are located at the Fort Worth Immigration Adjudication Center, so they have to appear over a video uplink. And since the public is not allowed in the adjudication center, that essentially seals off the proceedings from outside scrutiny. BuzzFeed News
Asylum Seekers Told Nothing As They’re Sent to Mexico
Planes land nearly every day in Guatemala City to unload weary Honduran and Salvadoran asylum seekers from the U.S. border. And every day, those immigrants ask the same question: “Where are we?” The U.S. has recently started sending asylum seekers to a “safe third country” to seek refuge there instead of the U.S. But according to asylum seekers and human rights advocates, the people deported to Guatemala have been put on planes without even being told where they were being sent. They receive few instructions once they arrive as well. Those who don’t apply for asylum in Guatemala are told they have to leave the country within 72 hours. The Washington Post
Lawmakers Start Driver’s License Push in Indiana
After successes in New York and New Jersey, other states are starting to look at passing laws that will allow undocumented immigrants to be issued driver’s licenses. Lawmakers in Indiana are pushing for a proposal that would allow undocumented immigrants to legally be able to drive. This proposal has been introduced seven times, but the bill has never received a hearing. “This has been proven to be good for the economy. It makes our roads safer,” State Rep. Chris Campbell (D) said of the proposal. “This bill was brought to me by community members. As a legislator, it is up to me to represent my community.” CBS Indianapolis
Washington — Trump Appeals to Supreme Court in Public Charge Case, Democratic Lawmakers Call on ICE to Release Transgender Detainees, Trump Takes $7.2 Billion out of Military Budget
The Trump administration has filed an emergency appeal to take its “public charge” legal fight to the Supreme Court. Earlier this month, a New York appeals court denied the administration’s attempt to implement the rule which would look into a person’s likelihood of needing public assistance when considering them for a green card or visa.
The Trump administration is appealing that ruling to the Supreme Court, saying it should be allowed to enforce the regulation while litigation continues. U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco, the administration’s top lawyer, argued the regulation was lawful and blocking it harmed the government by forcing it to grant immigration status to “those not legally entitled to it.” He also argued that one judge shouldn’t be allowed to block a regulation across the country. The Supreme Court will likely ask the plaintiff to respond to the administration’s request in a few days. The Wall Street Journal
Democratic lawmakers are calling on ICE to release all transgender immigrants it is detaining. “Transgender migrants and asylum seekers are particularly vulnerable to sexual harassment, solitary confinement, physical assault, and medical neglect. These inhumane conditions and systematic abuses are evidenced in countless reports and accounts by formally detained people,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter. Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) is leading the effort. The Hill
Trump plans to take another $7.2 billion out of the military budget to pay for the construction of a barrier between the U.S. and Mexico, according to a report from The New York Times. The money would come from Defense Department construction and counternarcotics projects. The administration has now allocated more than $18 billion for Trump’s border wall. The funding would allow for the construction of 880 miles of border wall by 2022, but the administration is still struggling to construct 450 miles of the wall it promised it would build before the end of this year. The New York Times