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Memphis, Tennessee journalist Manuel Duran has won his asylum case after a years-long fight with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. ICE detained Duran for 15 months, and arrested him in 2018, while he was covering a protest in Memphis focused on local law enforcement’s practice of detaining suspected immigrants and handing them over to the ICE. Immigration authorities claimed Duran was picked up while entering the country without legal status in 2006 and then he was released. However, they said a deportation order was issued when he failed to show up at a court hearing in 2007. “The positive resolution of my case today is a triumph in the fight to defend the First Amendment,” said Duran in a news release from Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC), which represented him. “No journalist should have to fear to do their job.”
In other national immigration news…
Lawyers Volunteer to Help Ukrainians in U.S. Obtain TPS and Work Permits
As part of a volunteer effort organized by the law firm Kirkland & Ellis and the non-profit Lawyers for Good Government, nearly 2,000 lawyers will assist Ukrainians living in the U.S. and seeking temporary deportation relief and work permits. The Biden administration had granted an opportunity to apply for Temporary Protected Status to Ukrainians living in the U.S, estimating that 75,000 Ukrainians will be eligible for the program. While they can apply on their own, a lawyer can help them navigate the process and advise on other immigration relief that may be available, said Jacqueline Haberfeld, Kirkland’s pro bono counsel and a coordinator of the Ukraine effort. Reuters
ICE Officials Would Need Approval From Bosses Before Subpoenaing Reporters
Following a directive from Congress, a new policy would demand that Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials ask the “most appropriate senior ICE official, such as the ICE Director” before they can issue administrative subpoenas to news media reporters. The agency must also train employees concerning this new policy. ICE officials will also have to provide congressional staffers with a copy of the policy and the associated training details within 90 days. The development comes more than a year after ICE officials subpoenaed Buzzfeed News to reveal its sources—an attempt to interfere with a news outlet acting under the protections of the First Amendment. Buzzfeed News
Asylum Granted in Belarus to U.S. Capitol Riot Suspect
Evan Neumann, 49, a former San Francisco Bay area resident who is facing federal criminal charges after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, was granted asylum in Belarus. Neumann was charged a year ago for assaulting police. Court papers state police body camera footage shows Neumann and others using a metal barricade to strike officers last year — charges he denied. “I am upset to find myself in a situation where I have problems in my own country,” Neumann told Belarus state-owned television network BelTA. Washington Post
Three Muslim U.S. Citizens Sue CBP Authorities for Violating their Rights at the Border
New allegations in a lawsuit filed yesterday by the American Civil Liberties Union state three U.S. citizens are accusing federal immigration authorities of routinely and intentionally singling them out to demand answers to intrusive religious questions almost every time they return from an overseas trip. “Travelers perceived as practicing faiths other than Islam are not routinely subjected to similarly intrusive questioning about their religious beliefs, practices, and associations,” the lawsuit states, adding that it is an affront to the First Amendment. They are calling on U.S. Customs and Border Protection to stop religion-based questioning and seek an injunction to require them to expunge records holding information that was unlawfully obtained. The records, which can be retained for up to 75 years, are accessible to law enforcement agencies throughout the country.