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ICE Rearresting At-Risk Immigrants Released Due to COVID-19

Immigration jails released older detainees and those with health risks amid the pandemic, but are now bringing them back

This summary was featured in Documented’s Early Arrival newsletter. You can subscribe to receive it in your inbox three times per week here.

ICE agents are rearresting immigrants who are at higher risk for the coronavirus and were released from New York area immigration jails in the spring when the pandemic began. One of the arrested people is Julio Colcas, a 55-year-old man with serious health issues who also holds a Green Card. Colcas was released from Essex County Correctional Facility in April because he felt sick, possibly from COVID-19. Since he was discharged, he was required to wear an ankle bracelet to track his movements and meet with ICE officers to check-in. His last check-up turned into an arrest to transport him back to jail. Gothamist

In other local immigration news…

Cuomo Has Not Signed a Bill to Fight ICE Arrests at Courthouses

The New York Legislature passed the Protect Our Courts Act in July to help prevent arrests by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents at New York courts. But Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has still not signed the bill into law. New York Attorney General Letitia James and Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez turned to the courts as a way to block these arrests, but advocates are baffled as to why the governor has not signed the bill.  Read more at Documented.

Documented Ends Courts Project

For three months last year, Documented reporters wandered the halls of the 26 Federal Plaza and Varick Street immigration courts, recording a system in decline. They sat in on dozens of asylum hearings, watching ICE attorneys pick apart testimonies of teenage sexual assault victims and noticing many people wander the halls in an overwhelmed daze. From their reporting, we were able to produce a two-part podcast series with Latino USA. One episode followed a Guatemalan couple seeking asylum and another followed the widespread effects of former Attorney General Jeff Sessions meddling with a case. We cataloged some of the worst examples of negligence here. One of our reporters discussed how an ICE attorney pressured her out of the courtroom several times and another examined the case of a woman who had to travel to New York from Dallas three times to attend her hearing. We hope you’ll spend some time with those stories this week. Special thanks to Phoebe Taylor-Vuolo, Hannah Beckler, Ralph Ortega, Grace Moon, Irene Spezzamonte, Irene Tang, Sarah Blustain of Type Investigations, Alissa Escarce of Latino USA and the many members of New York City’s legal community who helped us make sense of it all.

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