Immigration Issues (DACA Topics Still to Come)

Sometimes it’s hard to know where to begin—which is most assuredly true for immigration issues at the moment.

The Southern Poverty Law Center is suing the government on behalf of immigrant families who have been subjected to a number of illegal/warrantless searches. In one case ICE Agents threatened immigrants with arrest for not cooperating with a search for a criminal suspect, although no such suspect existed. In another case ICE agents entered a house claiming to be looking for a criminal suspect and only revealed their identity as ICE agents once they were inside. These kinds of illegal actions have been experienced both by documented and undocumented families. “ICE agents preyed upon vulnerable families using fear and lies to improperly enter homes — without cause — and detain people who were legally present in the U.S.,” Lisa Graybill, SPLC’s deputy legal director, said in a statement. “The safety of home and the freedom from unlawful searches and seizures are among America’s most fundamental values, and law enforcement officials at all levels are legally required to protect these constitutional rights. The anything-goes method of the ICE agents in these raids obliterated due process, tore families apart, and did nothing to enhance national security.”

THANKS to

  • Lisa Graybill, SPLC Deputy Legal Director, 400 Washington Ave., Montgomery, AL 36104, (334) 956-8200

COMPLAINTS and REQUESTS for supervision to

  • Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI), Chair, Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, 328 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington DC 20510, (202) 224-5323
  • Senator Claire McKaskill (D-MO), Ranking Member, Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, 503 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington DC 20510, (202) 224-6154
  • Representative Michael McCaul (R-TX), Chair, House Committee on Homeland Security, 2001 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington DC 20515, (202) 225-2401 •
  • Representative Bennie Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member, House Committee on Homeland Security, 2466 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington DC 20515, (202) 225-5876

 

Debbie Nathan, an investigative journalist with the ACLU, Texas, tracks people who have been harassed by the state troopers. Initially these people are stopped on the highway for having tinted windows or improperly placed license plates, then the interrogation quickly shifts focus from minor traffic violations to immigration status, leading to immediate hand-over to Border Patrol agents, immediately separating family members. “The troopers are forbidden from directly doing immigration enforcement,” Nathan said, :[which is] directly enforcing federal immigration law…. Passengers and pedestrians who weren’t even driving are also taken into custody.” The latest figures by the Department of Homeland Security released earlier this month show that “interior removals,” the kind in which Texas Troopers have been participating have surged” this year.

THANKS to

  • Debbie Nathan, Investigative Journalist, Texas ACLU, P.O. Box 8306, Houston, TX 77288-8306, (713) 942-8146

COMPLAINTS to

  • Gary Chandler, President, Department of Public Safety Officers Association
  • Clay Tayor, Vice-President, Department of Public Safety Officers Association
  • Jimmy Jackson, Secretary/Treasurer, Department of Public Safety Officers Association

ALL of the above officers at 5821 Airport Blvd., Austin, TX 78752, (512) 424-2000

  • Governor Greg Abbott, Office of the Governor, P.O. Box 12428, Austin, TX 78711, (512) 463-2000

COMPLAINTS and REQUESTS for supervision to

  • Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI), Chair, Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, 328 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington DC 20510, (202) 224-5323
  • Senator Claire McKaskill (D-MO), Ranking Member, Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, 503 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington DC 20510, (202) 224-6154
  • Representative Michael McCaul (R-TX), Chair, House Committee on Homeland Security, 2001 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington DC 20515, (202) 225-2401
  • Representative Bennie Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member, House Committee on Homeland Security, 2466 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington DC 20515, (202) 225-5876

 

 

On December 5, the Department of Homeland Security released its end-of-year immigration enforcement numbers, which they claim demonstrate the DHS is “upholding the integrity of our lawful immigration system, and keeping America safe.” Despite these claims about public safety, Human Rights Watch found that the number of people detained inside the U.S. rather than at the border — meaning that they were not new arrivals — increased by 42 percent over last year. Immigration arrests of people with no criminal convictions nearly tripled. From Donald Trump’s Inauguration Day to the end of this fiscal year, 110,568 people were arrested inside the U.S., compared to 77,806 during the same time period in 2016. Among those, 31,888 had no criminal convictions, compared with 11,500 during the same period in 2016. “The recently released numbers by DHS confirm what we know from interviewing dozens of people who were recently deported: that these are mothers, fathers, spouses of U.S. citizens, long-term immigrants who have been ripped from the interior of the country under a system that takes very little count of their ties to the U.S.,” Grace Meng, a Human Rights Watch senior researcher said in an interview with The Intercept.

THANKS to

  • Grace Meng, Senior Researcher, Human Rights Watch, 1630 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 500 Washington, DC 20009, organization phone number (202) 612-4321

COMPLAINTS to

  • Kirstjen M. Nielsen, Secretary, Department of Homeland Security, 245 Murray Lane SW, Washington DC 20528, comment line (202) 282-8495
  • Thomas D. Homan, Deputy Director and Senior Official, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, 500 12th St., SW, Washington, D.C. 20536, organization public affairs (202) 732-4242

COMPLAINTS and REQUESTS for supervision to

  • Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI), Chair, Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, 328 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington DC 20510, (202) 224-5323
  • Senator Claire McKaskill (D-MO), Ranking Member, Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, 503 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington DC 20510, (202) 224-6154
  • Representative Michael McCaul (R-TX), Chair, House Committee on Homeland Security, 2001 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington DC 20515, (202) 225-2401
  • Representative Bennie Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member, House Committee on Homeland Security, 2466 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington DC 20515, (202) 225-5876

 

 

The Inspector General for the Department of Homeland Security has criticized several immigration detention facilities for having spoiled and moldy food, inadequate medical care, illegal strip searches, inappropriate treatment of detainees, and bathrooms without running water; for interfering with Muslims’ prayers; and for refusing to allow detainees to contact the Inspector General’s Office (to which detainees have a legal right). Acting Inspector General John V. Kelly, who took over Dec. 1, said the watchdog agency identified problems at four detention centers during recent, unannounced visits to five facilities. The report said the flaws “undermine the protection of detainees’ rights, their humane treatment, and the provision of a safe and healthy environment.” ICE concurred with the inspector general’s findings and said it is taking action to fix the problems, some of which have already been addressed.

THANKS to

  • John V. Kelly, Acting Inspector General, Department of Homeland Security, Washington DC 20528, comment line 202-282-8495

REQUESTS for promised follow-through to

  • Kirstjen M. Nielsen, Secretary, Department of Homeland Security, 245 Murray Lane SW, Washington DC 20528, comment line (202) 282-8495
  • Thomas D. Homan, Deputy Director and Senior Official, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, 500 12th St., SW, Washington, D.C. 20536, organization public affairs (202) 732-4242

COMPLAINTS and REQUESTS for supervision to

  • Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI), Chair, Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, 328 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington DC 20510, (202) 224-5323
  • Senator Claire McKaskill (D-MO), Ranking Member, Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, 503 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington DC 20510, (202) 224-6154
  • Representative Michael McCaul (R-TX), Chair, House Committee on Homeland Security, 2001 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington DC 20515, (202) 225-2401
  • Representative Bennie Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member, House Committee on Homeland Security, 2466 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington DC 20515, (202) 225-5876

 

A Justice Department memo issued December 20 contains changes to guidelines for questioning unaccompanied children in the country illegally, and directs judges to try such cases fairly despite any “sympathetic allegations” that such cases may include. The memo, issued by the Executive Office for Immigration Review, eliminates previously-issued language instructing officials on “child-sensitive questioning” and now requests judges be skeptical of minors who it says may be abusing the system. Other changes to department policy include changes to rules meant to make unaccompanied minors comfortable before court proceedings. Language that previously allowed children to explore a courtroom before trial proceedings, including the judge’s bench, has been changed to allow this only “to the extent that resources and time permit.” The judge’s bench is now strictly off limits.

COMPLAINTS to

  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions, U.S. Department of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20530, comment line (202) 353-1555
  • Assistant Attorney General Stephen E. Boyd, U.S. Department of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20530, comment line (202) 353-1555
  • Acting Director James McHenry, Executive Office for Immigration Review, U.S. Department of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20530-0001, (703) 305-0289
  • Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Chair, Senate Judiciary Committee, 135 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington DC 20510, (202) 224-3744
  • Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, 331 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington DC 20510, (202) 224-3841
  • Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Chair, House Judiciary Committee, 2309 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington DC 20515, (202) 225-5431
  • Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Ranking Member, House Judiciary Committee, 2109 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington DC 20515, (202) 225-5635

 

 

The Trump administration is considering a plan to separate parents from their children when families are caught entering the country illegally. The move is meant to discourage border crossings, but immigrant groups have denounced it as inhumane. Currently, families are kept intact while awaiting a decision on whether they will be deported. The policy under discussion would send parents to adult detention facilities, while their children would be placed in shelters designed for juveniles or with a “sponsor.” In November, 7,000 “family units” were apprehended, as well as 4,000 “unaccompanied minors,” or children traveling without an adult relative. This fall, the White House convened a group of officials from two of its own offices — the National Security Council and the Domestic Policy Council — as well as from Homeland Security, the Department of Justice and the State Department, to look into ways to curtail border crossings, particularly those of children. The family separation policy is among the solutions being considered.

COMPLAINTS to

  • H. R. McMaster, National Security Adviser, White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington DC 20500, comment line (202) 353-1555
  • Andrew P. Bremberg, Director, Domestic Policy Council, Room 469, Eisenhower Executive Office Building, Washington, DC 20502, 202-456-5594
  • Kirstjen M. Nielsen, Secretary, Department of Homeland Security, 245 Murray Lane SW, Washington DC 20528, comment line (202) 282-8495
  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions, U.S. Department of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20530, comment line (202) 353-1555
  • Secretary Rex Tillerson, US Department of State, 2201 C St. NW, Washington DC 20520, (202) 647-4000

 

More than 70 members of Congress criticized the Department of Homeland Security in a December 18 letter for failing to investigate thousands of sexual assault complaints filed by immigrants in their custody over the last decade. The letter was addressed to the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, the Acting Director of ICE, the Justice Department’s Inspector General, and the Acting Inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security. The signators called for an immediate investigation of these complaints. The letter results from a class-action civil rights complaint filed April 11 with Homeland Security by Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement (CIVIC). The letter states, “We write to express our deep concerns about the prevalence of reports of sexual abuse, assault and harassment in U.S. immigration detention facilities, the lack of adequate government investigation into these reports, and the government’s refusal to disclose relevant records.” According to CIVIC, Homeland Security received a total of 33,126 complaints of sexual and/or physical abuse from January 2010 to July 2016. Of those, only 225—or 0.07%—have been investigated. Three-fourth of these complaints were levied against Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CPB) officers and personnel.

SUPPORT the demands made by these congress members

  • Kirstjen M. Nielsen, Secretary, Department of Homeland Security, 245 Murray Lane SW, Washington DC 20528, comment line (202) 282-8495
  • Thomas D. Homan, Deputy Director and Senior Official, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, 500 12th St., SW, Washington, D.C. 20536, organization public affairs (202) 732-4242
  • Michael E. Horowitz, Inspector General, Department of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 4706, Washington DC 20530
  • John V. Kelly, Acting Inspector General, Department of Homeland Security, Washington DC 20528, comment line (202) 282-8495

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