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Early Arrival ICE Ramps up Enforcement Efforts in New York City

Friday's Edition of Early Arrival: Why Residents of One Guatemalan Town Are Fleeing North — Appeals Court Allows 'Remain in Mexico' to Continue — Funding Withheld from Sanctuary Cities

Immigration and Customs Enforcement has begun 24/7 surveillance operations around the homes and offices of undocumented immigrants in cities that resist assisting in immigration enforcement, including New York.

The agents have been instructed to arrest as many immigrants as possible. “Flood the streets,” one official was instructed, according to The New York Times. Agents were seen wandering the halls of apartment buildings in the Bronx. One was filmed wearing a tactical vest and carrying an assault rifle as he went door to door.

Advocacy groups say ICE has been increasingly using aggressive tactics, including brandishing weapons and claiming to be local law enforcement. The New York-based group Immigrant Defense Project said ICE arrested a similar number of people this time last year, but in 2020, most of these arrests occurred in or around residences rather than near courthouses. The New York Times


Why Residents of One Guatemalan Town Are Fleeing North

Griselda has been arrested and deported three times trying to get to the U.S. from her hometown of San Juan Atitán in the Guatemalan highlands, and she’s far from alone. The town has one of the highest rates of deported residents in the country. It’s a problem the U.S. has tried to fix with the Alliance for Prosperity in the Northern Triangle, which was supposed to create a sense of economic security so residents didn’t feel forced to leave. But El Intercambio — an independent digital outlet based in Guatemala City — has been tracing the legacy of the A4P in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, and has found little evidence any of the three governments have lived up to the lofty promises of the original pact. Read more at Documented.

Travel Ban Causes Chaos in New York’s Nigerian Community

Oliver Anene was supposed to become an American citizen this year, eight years after coming to the U.S. as an asylum seeker. His plan was to get his mother a visa through his green card so she could see New York for the first time. Then President Trump expanded the travel ban, adding citizens from Myanmar, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania to the list of those barred from entering the country because their governments “failed to meet a series of security criteria.” Since the ban was enacted, it has caused “chaos” in New York’s Nigerian community, advocates say. “I’ve been avoiding my mom, because I still don’t know how to explain,” Anene told THE CITY. THE CITY

New Jersey Father Deported to Honduras After Arrest that Potentially Violated Immigrant Trust Directive

A father of two children with autism from New Jersey is being deported to Honduras, his family and friends recently learned. Melvin Herrera was pulled over in Plainfield, New Jersey, while driving a work vehicle that didn’t have proper registration. Instead of receiving a ticket, he was arrested and turned over to ICE. The arrest drew condemnation from advocates and some elected officials as it seemingly violates the Attorney General’s Immigrant Trust Directive, which states that local law enforcement “cannot participate in civil immigration enforcement operations conducted by ICE.” Herrera’s family had little warning he was going to be deported. News 12 New Jersey


Appeals Court Allows “Remain in Mexico” to Continue Before Supreme Court Review in March

A federal appeals court on Wednesday granted the Trump administration’s request to allow the “Remain in Mexico” policy to continue until its March 11 review by the Supreme Court. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reaffirmed its decision that the policy violates United States and international law and causes “extreme and irreversible harm,” but still temporarily allowed it to continue. If the Supreme Court does not grant the government’s request, the appeals court’s decision will take effect on March 12 in California and Arizona. The New York Times

Peter Pan Bus Lines Will Allow Immigration Searches

Peter Pan Bus Lines will continue to allow federal immigration officials to board its buses to conduct checks for immigrants living in the U.S. illegally, despite several of its peer bus companies ending the practice. Peter Pan, which is based in Springfield, Massachusetts, “has always and will continue to cooperate with law enforcement,” said Christopher Crean, vice president of safety and security. The company cited the potential for child trafficking on its buses. The company wasn’t able to provide an estimate for how many times federal immigration agents have boarded its buses, but Crean said it was “not frequent.”  NBC News Boston

Migrants Bused Thousands of Miles from the Border Struggle to Make Court Dates

Yesenia fled her native country of Honduras to seek asylum in the United States. She was sent back across the border to wait for her case as part of the Trump administration’s “Remain in Mexico” program, and says the Mexican government offered a bus away from where migrants had been gathered across the border. Yesenia accepted the bus ride after seeing other families kidnapped, and yet says the driver of the bus refused to let them off at a city nearby and she ended up a three-day drive from the border in Chiapas. Now, the migrants who were brought to Chiapas have been unable to make their court hearings on the border in time, advocates say. Reuters

Transgender Detainee Denied Medical Help 

A transgender immigrant in ICE detention in New Mexico told staff she was bleeding from her rectum and was then made to wait 13 days for urgent medical care, BuzzFeed News reports. A doctor finally found that she had HIV, but the medical negligence put the detainee and others at risk, the director of the DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties said in an internal memo sent in August. The memo came in reference to conditions at the Cibola County Correctional Center, the only immigration jail with a dedicated unit for transgender women. Reuters reported earlier this week that federal inspectors had found hundreds of unanswered requests for medical detention at the facility. BuzzFeed News

Increased Apprehensions at Southern Border

The number of migrants apprehended at the U.S.–Mexico border rose slightly in February for the first time in nine months. The number of arrests by border agents has been on a steady decline as the Trump administration rolls out policy after policy making it more difficult to seek asylum in the U.S. Mark Morgan, the acting commissioner of Customs and Border Patrol, announced that 37,119 border crossers were detained last month, an increase from 36,660 in January. The number of family units crossing together has declined, while the number of single Mexican adults and unaccompanied minors has increased. The Washington Post

Washington — Funding Withheld from Sanctuary Cities, Barr Overrules Immigration Cases, More H2-B Visas

President Trump said Thursday he would withhold money from so-called sanctuary jurisdictions following a court ruling that allowed the administration to block certain law enforcement funds. A federal court ruled in February that the Justice Department could withhold Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants from cities that do not comply with ICE detainer requests, often called sanctuary cities. The grants are the largest source of federal funding for local law enforcement. New York City receives $4 million per year in these grants. Reuters

Attorney General William Barr has been utilizing his power to overrule immigration court decisions at an alarmingly high rate. The power, known as certification, has historically been used sparingly, as it allows the attorney general to overrule the Board of Immigration Appeals and set a binding precedent. Last week, Barr issued a decision in the case of a Mexican national, which was otherwise unremarkable, that narrowed the definition of torture for asylum seekers. The three attorney generals of the Trump administration have used this power at least a dozen times. The Washington Post

An additional 35,000 H2-B visas for temporary non-farm foreign workers will be issued to fill seasonal jobs, The Trump administration announced Thursday. The decision comes after a push from business groups and members of Congress seeking to help fill many service-sector and food-processing jobs. It was the highest addition the Trump administration has made. The Associated Press

A group of Republican senators, including Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), went to the White House on Thursday to discuss a proposal to protect Dreamers. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is set to be debated before the Supreme Court this summer.

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