On Nov. 19, Melvin Herrera-Interiano was pulled over in Plainfield, New Jersey, for making an illegal turn, according to police. Herrera-Interiano was driving with a license issued legally to him in Maryland, but he did not have an insurance card for the vehicle. So Plainfield police officers ran his name and found he had an outstanding Immigration and Customs Enforcement warrant.
“When there is a warrant like there is in this case, we are in compliance in calling ICE,” Police Captain David Guarino said. But when the officers held Herrera-Interiano to pass him off to immigration authorities, they potentially violated New Jersey’s controversial Immigrant Trust Directive, which bars collaboration between local law enforcement and ICE.
Then, ICE complicated the story. It said there was no warrant for Herrera-Interiano — he was arrested in 2005 after entering the country illegally and released with a pending court date, an ICE spokesperson said. Herrera-Interiano didn’t show up — he said he never received the notice — and a deportation order was issued.
The New Jersey Immigrant Trust Directive forbids local law enforcement from holding immigrants for ICE unless they were charged with a serious crime, if ICE has a warrant signed by a federal judge or if the person is subject to a final order of removal. ICE said the order was signed by an immigration judge, not a federal judge, so Herrera-Interiano wasn’t detained at a county jail or in a state prison. Gothamist
Mexican Man Shot in Face by ICE Agent Sues
Erick Díaz-Cruz, the Mexican national who was visiting New York when he was shot in the face by an ICE officer earlier this month, has filed a lawsuit in federal court charging the officer with violating his civil rights. “This is not just an attack against me, but also an attack against the entire Latino community in the United States,” Díaz-Cruz, 26, said in a statement. Diaz-Cruz was awakened one early February to find two men confronting his mother’s boyfriend, Gaspar Avendaño-Hernández. They were plainclothes ICE agents, and pulled out a gun, aimed it at Díaz-Cruz and shot him in the face. He will likely live with a bullet in his neck for the rest of his life. Brooklyn Eagle
New Yorkers Receive Denials from Global Entry
The Trump administration took a big swing at New York state earlier this month when it suspended all residents from applying to Global Entry, NEXUS, and other Trusted Traveler programs. On Wednesday, New Yorkers who had submitted applications for the programs started reporting their rejections. Officials say about 80,000 New Yorkers who had been conditionally approved for Global Entry will now be rejected because of the suspension. All rejected applicants will be refunded the $100 application fee. New York Attorney General Letitia James has filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration over the cancellation. Conde Nast Traveler
Investment Firm Buys Majority of New York Taxi Medallions
An investment firm officially became the single largest holder of New York City taxi medallions this week. The National Credit Union Administration said Wednesday that Marblegate Asset Management LLC, a firm known for buying distressed assets, now owned medallions in New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia and other cities. Neither party revealed the size of the portfolio or sale. “We believe the entire industry needs to be re-focused on taxi drivers and professionalized to make it a stable business that New Yorkers can continue to rely on,” a spokesperson for Marblegate said. The Wall Street Journal recently reported Marblegate was nearing a deal to buy 4,500 medallions for $350 million.The Wall Street Journal
More Migrants Flown to Guatemala
An increasing number of migrants are being flown to Guatemala as part of a third-country agreement with the U.S., advocates say. Fewer migrants are being forced to remain in Mexico to wait for their hearings to be resolved, which another Trump policy mandated. The Trump administration is also fast-tracking deportation proceedings and swiftly pushing people out of the country. The flow of Central American migrants coming into the U.S. has slowed, partially because many asylum seekers say they don’t want to be sent to Guatemala. The Washington Post
Judge Finalizes Motel 6 Settlement
A judge has given final approval to a $10 million settlement in a class action lawsuit against Motel 6, which alleged the chain’s employees in Phoenix shared information about guests with immigration authorities, who later apprehended them. The Arizona lawsuit was filed on behalf of eight unnamed Latino guests who stayed at Motel 6 properties in Phoenix. ICE agents visited some of them at their motel rooms a day after they showed their passports or other IDs to Motel 6 employees. Under the settlement, people who had information provided to the federal government could get $75, while those put in deportation proceedings could receive up to $10,000. The Associated Press
Human Rights Organization Founder Denied Visa Waiver Program
Eyal Weizman, the founder of London-based investigative human rights advocacy group Forensic Architecture says his enrollment in a visa waiver program that let him travel to the U.S. has been revoked due to an unspecified “security threat” identified by the U.S. government. Forensic Architecture uses digital evidence to investigate human rights abuses, and its work was the subject of a art gallery survey in Miami, where Weizman was traveling. “I am alarmed that relations among our colleagues, stakeholders and staff are being targeted by the U.S. government as security threats,” his wife Ines Weizman said at the gallery opening. The New York Times
ICE’s Boston Field Director Discusses CBP Tactical Unit
Acting Director of ICE’s Boston Field Office Todd Lyons has provided more details on the deployment of Customs and Border Patrol agents to Massachusetts cities — a development that made headlines last week. The CBP agents will be assisting with the arrest of immigrants with criminal backgrounds, Lyons said, because ICE had been stymied by local sanctuary city policies. But Lyons assured immigration advocates there won’t be SWAT teams patrolling the streets. “High-risk vehicle stops, clearing buildings, so those are the type of officers that are being deployed, they’re used to dealing in an urban environment,” he said. WBUR
Judge Sides with Immigrant Rights Groups
A federal judge in Arizona ruled on Wednesday that migrants detained by Border Patrol in the state must have better conditions. The Tucson Sector of the border must provide clean mats and thin blankets to migrants held longer than 12 hours, and allow them to clean themselves. The rule also prevents Border Patrol from holding migrants for longer than 48 hours if they’ve been fully processed, which happens when ICE or other agencies are not available to take migrants into custody. The ruling is the result of a 2015 lawsuit filed by immigrant rights groups, including the National Immigration Law Center and the American Immigration Council. Associated Press
Washington — Mulvaney Calls for More Immigrants, Immigration Left Out of Debate, New USCIS Chief Amid Shakeup
Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney told a crowd at a private event in Oxford, England, that the U.S. “needs more immigrants” for its economy to continue growing.
“We are desperate — desperate — for more people,” Mulvaney said. “We are running out of people to fuel the economic growth that we’ve had in our nation over the last four years. We need more immigrants.”
Mulvaney’s comments are clearly in stark contrast to the entire administration’s rhetoric, especially with White House senior adviser Stephen Miller constantly pushing to slash all forms of immigration to record-low levels. Mulvaney was speaking during a private gathering of several hundred people at the Oxford Union, where he tried to convince the audience that the Trump administration wants more foreign workers despite the words that come out of Trump’s mouth. He argued that the Trump administration wanted to adopt more of a Canadian- or Australian-style immigration model. The Washington Post
Immigration did not come up once again during the Democratic primary debate on Wednesday, despite Nevada — the site of the debate and this weekend’s caucus — having a huge Latino population. It wasn’t until the final 20 minutes of the debate that moderators asked a question about immigration. The question was about DACA, an issue which Democrats largely see eye to eye on. Protesters from the immigrant rights group RAICES later interrupted the event with chants of “don’t look away,” and “no kids in cages.” BuzzFeed NewsActing Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf has appointed the chief counsel ofU.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Joseph Edlow to lead the department. The move signals a further shakeup at DHS aimed at installing White House allies in key roles. CNN