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DHS Used Airplanes and Drones to Surveil Over 15 Cities During Protests

The Department of Homeland Security sent border-surveilling aircraft to protests and delivered real-time footage to officials

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The Department of Homeland Security deployed helicopters, airplanes and drones over 15 cities to surveil protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd, The New York Times reports. Customs and Border Protection’s announcement that it had dispatched drones to fly over the protests sparked a congressional inquiry into the matter, but the agency had actually deployed a number of tools it uses to monitor the U.S. borders to film protestors in Dayton, Ohio; New York City; Buffalo, New York; and Philadelphia, among other cities. Real-time video footage was reportedly sent to the Air and Marine Operations branch of CBP. The New York Times

In other national immigration news…

Transfers of Inmates Continued in Shadowy Immigration Prisons

The Federal Bureau of Prisons stopped the transfer of prisoners in mid-March to try to stop the rapid spread of coronavirus inside its facilities. But this did not apply to immigrants being held in Criminal Alien Requirement prisons, a shadowy network of facilities overseen by the Bureau of Prisons and run by private contractors. Hundreds of people were moved out from the Taft Correctional Institution, a CAR prison in Kern County, California, and moved around the country, despite the pandemic. Family members told the Intercept that inmates were put in tight planes and flown out of Bakersfield airport. The Intercept

Industry Groups Lobby to Block Imminent Executive Order on Visas

President Trump is expected to issue an executive order that will temporarily suspend various work visas, including the H-1B and Optional Practical Training program. It’s unclear how far-reaching the order will be, but it has sparked a reaction from universities, as well as manufacturing, technology and consulting companies who have been aggressively lobbying the White House to reconsider. The order could impact foreign students who are graduating and hoping to work in the U.S. The H-1B visa is being specifically targeted, as its opponents say it displaces Americans from tech jobs. The New York Times

U.S. Stops Issuing Visas to Burundi

The U.S. has stopped issuing travel visas to people from Burundi after the country refused to take deportees. The Central African nation was penalized because it has “denied or unreasonably delayed” issuing travel documents to people who were set to be deported, DHS said in a statement. Government officials traveling on official business are exempt. President Evariste Ndayishimiye was sworn into office on Thursday, a day before the announcement. DHS said it hoped the leadership changes would lead to a “renewed commitment to cooperation.” ICE said there are five citizens of Burundi awaiting deportation in their custody. Associated Press

Latino Communities Hit Hard by Pandemic Nationwide

The coronavirus is ravaging Latino communities across the U.S. and has amplified inequalities those communities face. Many Latinos work in areas where they do not have the luxury of working from home, likely contributing to their disproportionate rates of contracting COVID-19. For example, 65% of those who tested positive for the coronavirus in Chattanooga, Tennessee, are Latinos, even though they make up just 6% of the population. Latinos account for 45% of the positive cases in North Carolina, where they make up 10% of the population. And since they don’t have access to isolation centers, many are sheltering with family members even after they’ve tested positive. Associated Press

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