Friday, June 23, 2017

As Temperatures Soar in Southwest, Border Patrol Puts Migrants in Greater Danger

Border Patrol Raids Humanitarian Aid Group Camp in Arizona

By Fernanda Santos, New York Times
June 16, 2017
  Photo: No More Deaths/Carrot Quinn

PHOENIX — The Border Patrol raided a humanitarian aid group’s base camp in the Southern Arizona desert on Thursday and arrested four men who had crossed into the United States illegally, officials with Customs and Border Protection said.

Volunteers with the group, No More Deaths, which gives water and first-aid care to migrants, said the men were from Mexico and were receiving emergency medical care at the camp, which had been raided by agents in the past. But this was the first time border agents had used a search warrant to gain entry, the group said in a statement, suggesting a change in strategy by the Border Patrol leadership in the region at a time when temperatures are soaring. Despite a history of tense relations with No More Deaths, the agency had previously abided by an informal, Obama-era agreement allowing migrants to seek medical help at the camp without fear of arrest.[...]

Read the full article:

Appeal From No More Deaths/No Más Muertes

June 20, 2017
The high-temperature forecast for Arivaca, Arizona on June 21 is 108 degrees Fahrenheit. It will be even hotter, 116 degrees, in the Devil’s Highway region of Ajo, Arizona.

In this heat, a 150-pound person needs three to four gallons of water to remain hydrated if walking all day. Migrants and refugees heading north often trek for many days or weeks and are unable to carry the water that is minimal for survival.

In Arizona alone, over three thousand people have died a migration-related death since 1999. We do not stand idly by. No More Deaths volunteers are in the desert today and every day providing food, water, and medical aid to border crossers in distress.

Today, in the wake of an unprecedented raid on our camp by the US Border Patrol (see coverage in the New York Times, the Associated Press, the Intercept, the Guardian, and the Arizona Republic), we need your support more than ever.

On June 21, when the sun is highest in the sky and daylight at its longest, we want to raise $10,000 to support our work. We’re calling this solstice effort our Longest Day Campaign.

Whether you donate today or on the longest day of the year, your contribution enables us to work towards ending death and suffering in the US–Mexico borderlands.

You can donate online or write a check to “UUCT/No More Deaths” and mail it to:

No More Deaths DonateNow
PO Box 40782
Tucson, AZ 85717

We are ever-grateful for your support in the face of the ongoing crises of death and disappearance at the border.

In solidarity, 
The No More Deaths community

Watch "Desert of Death" for more information on No More Deaths and the group's humanitarian work:

Thursday, June 22, 2017

ICE in NYC Courtrooms: Agents Target Queens Human Trafficking Court

ICE continues its practice in New York of detaining immigrants when they make scheduled court appearances. In the latest case, ICE agents were spotted waiting near a  special court intended to help human trafficking victims; the agents were planning to detain a young Chinese woman charged with working without authorization as a masseuse. ICE claims the agents are just trying to help protect the public. “Tell me,” Lauren Evans writes at Jezebel, “which strikes you as a greater threat to public safety? A young woman potentially working as a masseuse, or ICE agents so drunk on power they arrested a 19-year-old on the day of his high school prom?”—TPOI editor.

Outcry After Immigration Agents Seen at Queens Human Trafficking Court

By Beth Fertig, WNYC News
June 16, 2017
Public defenders and the state's top judge were rattled Friday after federal immigration agents were present in a Queens criminal courtroom for human trafficking victims.

A WNYC reporter was in the building when Legal Aid lawyers huddled frantically in the hallway: Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents had been spotted in the building. The lawyers approached one of the agents, and he acknowledged there were warrants for several people in the building.

The lawyers said they learned from the judge that ICE wanted a young Chinese woman in the Human Trafficking Intervention Courtroom. They said she'd been charged with working illegally as a masseuse, and was about to receive an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal after completing a program with a community group — a goal of human trafficking court.[...]

Read the full article:

The Immigrant Defense Project has provided the following summary of ICE courtroom practices in New York as of June 2017:
  • ICE is targeting multiple people in court in multiple court parts. When they face delays, or are unable to apprehend a person in one part, they are going to other court parts to pursue people.
  • ICE is targeting visa overstays with no prior criminal history who are facing a wide range of charges including misdemeanors.
  • The physical arrests seem to be occurring farther from the courtroom; some have been in the hallways, by the elevators, and just outside of the courthouse. ICE may be sitting in court parts and identifying people when they're called and then following them out of the courtroom.
  • Court officers continue to play a role in assisting in some cases. We have reports of court officers blocking doors, delaying the calling of cases, and communicating with ICE agents.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

DACA: Trump Leaves Dreamers in Suspense

Damocles and the sword
On June 16 the Trump administration rescinded Obama’s DAPA policy but left DACA in place, shielding some 800,000 younger immigrants from deportation for now. But the White House refused to say whether it would try to eliminate the program in the future.
Trump pledged during the campaign that he would rescind DACA. Probably his waffling on the issue reflects the programs popularity and demonstrates once again the strength of the Dreamer movement, the young activists whose protests pushed Obama to grant DACA in the first place. Trump's failure to kill the program seemed to upset some people in the anti-immigrant right, while others suggested that Trump could use threats to DACA as a bargaining chip to push other parts of his program. As usual the rightwingers insisted on calling DACA an “amnesty.” Someone should tell Ann Coulter and the National Review how to use an online dictionary. An amnesty is a pardon; DACA simply puts off the possibility of deportation for a period of time, and provides no protection against arbitrary detentions by ICE agents. The appropriate comparison for DACA is to the sword of Damocles.—TPOI editor

‘Dreamers’ to Stay in U.S. for Now, but Long-Term Fate Is Unclear

“With Trump, we can expect anything. Tomorrow he can say that he wants to deport us,” he said. “I don’t know what to make of this, or what to believe.”

By Michael D. Shear and Vivian Yee, New York Times
June 16, 2017
WASHINGTON — President Trump will not immediately eliminate protections for the so-called Dreamers, undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as small children, according to new memorandums issued by the administration on Thursday night.

But White House officials said on Friday morning that Mr. Trump had not made a decision about the long-term fate of the program and might yet follow through on a campaign pledge to take away work permits from the immigrants or deport them.[…]

Read the full article:

A day of rumors over deportation policy highlights divisions within the Trump administration

“There’s been a lot of work to change minds and hearts. So I don’t think it’s easy for Donald Trump to just end this program,” said Lorella Praeli, director of immigration policy and campaigns for the American Civil Liberties Union.

By Michael A. Memoli and Brian Bennett, Los Angeles Times
June 16, 2017
A flurry of rumors, conflicting reports and divergent statements on Friday highlighted deep divisions within the Trump administration over a major element of immigration policy — the fate of the roughly 750,000 so-called Dreamers who are shielded from deportation by an Obama-era policy.

The rumors began after Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly, moving to meet a court deadline, issued a memorandum late Thursday evening that formally ended the legal fight over former President Obama’s 2014 DAPA program, known as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents. That initiative sought to temporarily remove the threat of deportation for more than 4 million immigrant parents of children who are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents.[…]

Read the full story:

Trump Killed A Key Obama Immigration Program. But What He Didn’t Do Matters More.
Dreamers aren’t entirely safe, but the program created to protect them is still intact.

By Elise Foley, Huffington Post
June 16, 2017
WASHINGTON ― The Trump administration formalized an immigration policy shift on Thursday evening that was notable for what it didn’t do as much as what it did. The Department of Homeland Security rescinded DAPA, a never-implemented program that would have allowed some undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents to stay in the country.

But more significantly, it left in place the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, a policy that President Donald Trump promised to eliminate, and one that has shielded hundreds of thousands from deportation.[…]

Read the full article:

Monday, June 19, 2017

Another Death in ICE Detention: Groups Demand Information on Case

Salvadoran immigrant Carlos Mejía Bonilla (or Bonilla Mejia, according to Univision) died of gastrointestinal bleeding on June 10, two months after being placed in immigration detention at the Hudson County Correctional Facility in Kearny, New Jersey. His daughter says he had been denied medication for a cirrhosis condition. ICE seems not to be answering media inquiries.—TPOI editor

Salvadoran Immigrant Dies in ICE Custody as Detainee Deaths Rise
This fiscal year’s deaths of ICE detainees are the most since 2011.

Carlos Mejia Bonilla
By Roque Planas and Elise Foley, Huffington Post
June 13, 2017
A 44-year-old Salvadoran national died in Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody on Saturday, the 10th detainee to die in ICE custody since this fiscal year began Oct. 1. That’s the same number who died in the entire 2016 fiscal year, and the most since 2011.

Carlos Mejía Bonilla, 44, was admitted to Jersey City Medical Center’s Intensive Care Unit with gastrointestinal bleeding on June 8. He died two days later, according to a statement ICE released on Tuesday.[…]

Read the full article:

"No es justo que no le estuviesen dando su medicamento", reclama la familia del salvadoreño que murió bajo la custodia de ICE
Carlos Bonilla falleció el 10 de junio a causa de una hemorragia interna en un hospital de Nueva Jersey, de acuerdo con ICE. El hombre de 44 años había sido detenido el 1 de abril.

Por Univision
14 de Junio, 2017
Carlos Bonilla Mejía, el salvadoreño que murió por un shock hemorrágico la semana pasada bajo la custodia de ICE en Nueva York, padecía de diabetes, cirrosis y anemia, aseguró su hija Joanna a Univision Noticias. Sin embargo, la joven reclamó que su padre presuntamente no estaba recibiendo los medicamentos adecuados en el centro de detención.

Bonilla fue arrestado el 1 de abril por el Servicio de Inmigración y Control de Aduanas (ICE por su sigla en inglés). Ese día, según su hija, iba camino al trabajo cuando el auto en el que viajaba junto a otros tres pasajeros fue detenido por las autoridades.[…]

Lea el artículo completo:

Press Release: Rights Groups Call for Transparency and Accountability in Latest ICE Detention Death

June 14, 2017, New York — Immigrant rights organizations, Center for Constitutional Rights, Queer Detainee Empowerment Project (QDEP), Families for Freedom, Immigrant Defense Project (IDP), and Detention Watch Network (DWN) are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Carlos Mejia-Bonilla. Mejia-Bonilla, 44, died on Saturday while in the custody of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE). This tragedy marks the 10th death to occur in ICE detention since the start of the fiscal year. In the case of Mejia-Bonilla, ICE has yet to reveal the New York area detention center where he was held prior to his death.

“ICE must publicly reveal the detention center where Mejia-Bonilla was held prior to his death,” said Ghita Schwarz of Center for Constitutional Rights. “It is unacceptable that they would deliberately withhold crucial information as we try to understand what led to this tragedy.”[…]

Read the full press release:
Download the report 2016 Fatal Neglect, How ICE Ignores Deaths in Detention:

Friday, June 16, 2017

It’s Official: ICE Head Says “Bad Hombres” Aren’t the Only Target

Acting ICE director Thomas Homan has now admitted that the government’s goal is to make all undocumented immigrants “uncomfortable.” The reality behind Homan’s statement is that even the Trump regime knows it can’t deport all 11 million of the unauthorized; the goal is to keep the 8 million with jobs terrorized so that they can be even more easily exploited. This in turn drives down wages for the immigrants’ citizen fellow workers—what employers mean when they talk about “making American great again.”—TPOI Editor
ICE Chief Says Undocumented Immigrants "Should Be Worried" and Looking Over Their Shoulder

Homan's response came after questions from New York Rep. Nita Lowey, who questioned the ICE director about the detention of 19-year-old Diego Ismael Puma Macancela who was detained hours before his senior prom and days before his high school graduation.

By Salvador Hernandez, BuzzFeed
June 13, 2017
Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Thomas Homan told a congressional committee Tuesday all undocumented immigrants in the US "should be uncomfortable" and "looking over (their) shoulder" when it comes to who could be deported by the federal agency.

"In the country I grew up in, if you're violating the law you should be uncomfortable," Homan testified Tuesday before the Homeland Security subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee. "He should be looking over his shoulder if he's in this country in violation of the law and ordered removed. He should be worried that he's going to be arrested."[…]

Read the full article:

ICE Director To All Undocumented Immigrants: ‘You Need To Be Worried’
Non-criminals won’t be spared from deportation, Thomas Homan said.

By Elise Foley, Huffington Post
June 13, 2017
WASHINGTON ― The Trump administration will continue arresting undocumented immigrants who haven’t been convicted of crimes and won’t apologize for it, the acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Tuesday.

“If you’re in this country illegally and you committed a crime by entering this country, you should be uncomfortable,” Acting Director Thomas Homan told the House Appropriations Committee’s Homeland Security Subcommittee. “You should look over your shoulder, and you need to be worried.”

Following up on Trump’s campaign promise to drive out more undocumented immigrants, ICE arrests rose significantly during the president’s first 100 days in office, compared with the same period the year before. About one-quarter of those arrested ― more than 10,800 people ― were non-criminals, meaning they did not have authorization to be in the U.S., but had not been convicted of a crime. (Being in the U.S. without legal status is a civil offense, although it is a crime to cross the border illegally.)[…]

Read the full article:

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Immigrants, Wage Theft, and Trump

Undocumented immigrants are easy targets for employers who want to rip their workers off. The situation seems to be getting worse under Trump—which doesn’t mean it wasn’t bad before.—TPOI editor
Dairy workers protest. Photo: New York Upstate
How Trump Made Wage Theft Routine

…[W]ith Donald Trump as president, more employers think wage theft is even easier to get away with.

Eric Cortellessa, American Prospect
June 5, 2017
Enrique is a farmworker in California. He has a wife and two sons living in Mexico who depend on the money he sends them. For parts of the year—from May to November—he goes north to Washington to pick apples and cherries. Sometimes, he says, he isn’t paid for all the work he does. On one such occasion, he and his coworkers wanted to complain. Stiffing employees, after all, is a federal crime.

But it’s not so simple. Enrique is worried that reporting the crime could backfire against him by exposing his immigration status.

“When we get paid—sometimes we get paid and sometimes we don’t—we notice that there are hours missing, and we just fear saying anything, because we’ve been told repeatedly that if we say anything, they are going to call immigration on us,” he says.[...]

Read the full article:

Upstate immigrant dairy farm workers report injuries and intimidation

By Patrick Lohmann, New York Upstate
June 1, 2017
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Immigrant dairy farm workers who spoke to researchers in Upstate New York reported hazardous working conditions, wage theft and intimidation, according to findings published in a report by workers' rights groups and Syracuse University professors.

Researchers interviewed 88 immigrant workers at 53 Upstate dairy farms in 2014 and 2015. They did so without the farm owners' knowledge and granted the workers, most of whom came to the country illegally, anonymity for fear of being deported, the authors said.

Nearly half of the workers said they were bullied or intimidated by their bosses, and two-thirds said they'd suffered at least one injury. […]

Read the full article:

Download the report:

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Ninth Circuit Shows the Supreme Court How to Strike Down Trump's Travel Ban

On June 12 a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals handed down a decision upholding a Hawaiian court’s order temporarily halting enforcement of Trump’s travel ban. In contrast to other circuit decisions upholding similar injunctions, the Ninth Circuit panel didn’t rely on arguments about the ban’s constitutionality. Instead, they ruled that Trump’s executive order may have violated provisions of immigration law. For example, the banning of people from six specific countries seems to go against  the requirement in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA)  that “no person shall receive any preference or priority or be discriminated against in the issuance of an immigrant visa because of the person's race, sex, nationality, place of birth, or place of residence.”—TPOI editor

Protest against Muslim ban at JFK airiport, January 2017

By Garrett Epps, The Atlantic
June12, 2017  
In mid-June of a typical year, Supreme Court justices and their clerks are burning the midnight oil in the comforting knowledge that soon all involved will be happily winging off to vacation destinations, leaving controversy temporarily behind.

That happy prospect is complicated this year, however, by the June 1 arrival in the Court’s in-box of Trump v. International Refugee Assistance Program, the East Coast-based challenge to what President Trump himself adamantly insists on calling his “travel ban” on entry of persons from six majority-Muslim countries. The Court almost certainly will have to decide before leaving town whether to hear the case (hint: it will) and if so, when.

Justices contemplating this case may feel that they are staring into a labyrinth of potential missteps and institutional dangers. On Monday, their fellow judges from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals threw them a map of an escape route, if they care to take it.[...]

Read the full article:

Dowload the Ninth Circuit Court’s decision: