Immigrant Detained for Speaking to the Press
Baltazar Gutierrez, a Mexican immigrant, claimed that he was arrested by immigration officers. He said he was jailed after talking to reporters regarding the suspicious circumstances linked to his girlfriend's deportation.
The Mexican immigrant is 35 years old and is a clam harvester in Willapa Bay, Washington. On December 3rd, he told the press that US Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers arrested him a week before. He specifically mentioned a certain interview which he had given in the past. The interview was about his girlfriend.
The immigrant said that one of the immigration officials told him: “You are the one from the newspaper. My supervisor asked me to come find you because of what appeared in the newspaper”. After that, Gutierrez was arrested and placed in detention.
Immigrant spoke to the media after girlfriend’s detention
Gutierrez claimed to have been targeted for talking to two local media outlets after ICE detained his girlfriend. The woman was detained in June 2017. In one of the stories, the immigrant was only identified by his nickname, “Rosas”.
According to federal immigration authorities, retaliation is not an official policy.
In a statement, the agency said: “ICE conducts targeted immigration enforcement in compliance with federal law and agency policy, and at times, exercises prosecutorial discretion when the circumstances of a particular case have extenuating factors like the care of minor children or an alien’s medical condition”. The statement did not refer to the specifics of Gutierrez's interviews and arrest.
Initially, Gutierrez went to the press shortly after ICE agent arrested Gladys Diaz in June 2017. Gladys Diaz is Gutierrez’s girlfriend. The Mexican immigrant said Diaz was arrested after making an ad for a piñata on Craigslist and ICE agents responded. The agents told her to meet in a parking lot. She was arrested then for being in the US illegally.
The couple has two children. They witnessed the moment when their mother was arrested. When the kids where returned by ICE agents to Gutierrez at home, the Mexican immigrant asked: “Why don’t you take us all?”.
Attention drawn by immigrant case
The woman’s case has drawn attention from the Pacific Northwest. The attention came following the publication of certain versions of the event by the press. Local residents were worried that Donald Trump’s promise has started affecting their immigrant neighbours. The immigrants represent a key part of the local economy. President Donald Trump pledged to deport violent criminals.
At the moment, Gutierrez is in detention. He told the press that he can’t afford the $25,000 bail. He said that he hasn’t been given a court date yet. His charges seem to be unclear.
The Department of Homeland Security said that ICE arrests have increased by 43% since Donald Trump’s inauguration. This kept up with his main campaign promise to uphold and toughen immigration laws in the US. Because of increasing detentions, the DHS is seeking to create five more detention facilities across the US.
The NPR claimed that US immigration courts are dealing with a backlog of over 600,000 cases. This comes out to about 2,000 pending cases for every available judge.
BMA Requests Scrapping of Immigration Removal Centres
Representatives of the British Medical Association, or BMA, have requested elimination of the immigration removal centres (IRCs). They want them replaced with a more humane system of community monitoring. The requests came due to concerns regarding the serious impact on the health of detainees.
The report was published on the 4th of December. It requests sweeping changes to the means of running the IRCs. The BMA was concerned about issues including restraint, segregation, PTSD and the management of complex health conditions. Chiefs of the BMA claimed that the Home Office requires a “fundamental thinking”.
At the same time, campaigners for human rights have shown their concerns regarding conditions in immigration detention for many years. However, this is the first time that the union of doctors made such a strong request.
The association claimed that the report was published do to its increasing concern regarding health and human rights in detention settings.
One of the largest immigration detention systems in Europe is operated by the UK. It holds about 3,500 individuals in 11 IRCs constantly.
The report is called “Locked Up, Locked Out: health and human rights in immigration detention”. The report shows that immigration detainees are “vilified and ignored in equal measure” behind bars.
BMA demands governmental action
The government and policymakers were demanded action by the BMA. They have been requested to act on certain aspects of detention policy and practice affecting health.
The report states: “In our view, the detention of people who have not been convicted of a criminal offence should be a measure of last resort. Detention should be reserved for individuals who pose a threat to public order or safety. Ultimately, we believe that the use of detention should be phased out and replaced with alternate, more humane means of monitoring individuals facing removal from the UK”.
Researchers also said that with detention continuing, it should be time-limited. It added that asylum seekers and other migrants should be detained for as less time as possible.
The Home Office and UK’s National Health System have been heavily criticized by the report. It was claimed that the NHS has been responsible for commissioning healthcare in IRCs in England since 2013. It was stated: “Problems with the accuracy and timeliness of health assessments, availability of services, staff shortages, and ensuring continuity of care have all been identified as adversely impacting on the standard of care provided in detention. For some detainees with complex health needs, there is a question of whether their needs can be met in the detention setting”.
Particular concern of the BMA
The BMA was particularly concerned about the way doctors might create a conflict between their ethical obligations to patients and the centre staff’s and Home Office officials’ demands who might try to draw them into issues around restraint and segregation.
The rule 35 process is meant to point out certain vulnerabilities. Such vulnerabilities include torture and PTSD relating to detainees. However, the report says that detention centre staff doesn’t always properly understand the rule 35 process. The BMA requests the introduction of a pre-detention screening process. It should be introduced before detaining individuals to point out the ones who are too vulnerable to be locked up.
Indonesian Immigrants Deportation Delayed
On November 27th, a US federal judge ordered immigration officials to postpone all attempts to deport 51 Indonesian immigrants. The delay would give the group enough time to argue that changing conditions in Indonesia makes it dangerous to return. The immigrants live illegally in New Hampshire.
The judge’s request affects a group of Indonesian Christians who fled violence in Indonesia twenty years ago. The group has been living under an informal Deal in New England. They have also been living openly for years. In August, officials from Immigration and Customs Enforcement started asking them to get ready to leave the US by October.
Most of the group members covered by the agreement with ICE reached in 2010 entered the US legally. However, they overstayed their visas and did not manage to seek asylum on time.
Starting August, group members showing up for ICE check-ins were asked to get ready to leave the US. The request was made according to US President Donald Trump's main promise from the election campaign. The president then pledged to crack down on illegal immigration.
Indonesian immigrants afraid of persecution and violence
In interviews with the press, group members said they are afraid they would have to deal with persecution or violence. Such treatment would come because of their Christian faith and Chinese ethnicity. They said that this would be waiting for them if they return to the world's largest majority-Muslim country.
The executive branch, and not the courts, is given authority by the federal law over immigration issues. Patti Saris found out that she had the authority to make sure that the Indonesians have a chance to argue. They must prove that conditions in Indonesia have deteriorated significantly enough. This would allow Ms. Saris to reopen their cases for trying to remain in the US. Patti Saris is the Chief US District Judge in Boston.
Ms. Saris was concerned that, without the order, ICE agents may deport some Indonesian immigrants covered by the suit. At that point, they would lose the opportunity to have their cases reopened.
The judge wrote: “The government shall inform the court whether petitioners, who are not detained, will have access to emergency procedures if they must file their original motions to reopen”.
On the other hand, in an e-mail, Shawn Neudauer said: “We are reviewing the decision and will comply with the court order”. Shawn Neudauer is the spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Saris requested holding off deporting Indonesian immigrants
In federal court filings, officials from ICE, said that they would appeal an earlier decision reached by Patti Saris. The officials claimed that Saris told the agency to hold off deporting the Indonesian immigrants covered by the agreement.
The Indonesian immigrants are part of an ethnic community. The group consists of around 2,000 people who are clustered around the city of Dover, New Hampshire. Their case has drawn the support of the state's all-Democratic congressional delegation. Even Jeanne Shaheen and Chris Sununu have expressed their support for the Indonesian immigrants. Jeanne Shaheen is a member of the US Senate and Chris Sununu is a Republican Governor.
I-Kads Released in Insufficient Numbers
According to the Auditor-General's Report 2016 Series 2, the Immigration Department of Malaysia did not manage to release 824,119 (15.1%) i-Kads. The i-Kads were meant for documented workers between 2014 to March. More than 1.5 million i-Kads were yet to be accorded status.
It was highlighted by the report that this was due to a certain number of factors. One of these factors is the 79-day delay of the contract signing between the Home Ministry and PNMB. PNMB is the Percetakan Nasional Malaysia Berhad. Another factor is the Immigration (Amendment) Regulations 2017, which is considered to be the weaknesses of the contract documents. The regulations were still at a draft stage and have yet to be published.
Initially, the Immigration Department assured that foreign workers would receive their i-Kads along with the issuance of the PLKS. The PLKS is the foreign workers' temporary employment visit pass.
The report stated: “RM4.32 million in penalties were not imposed on PNMB for the delay in issuing the i-Kads to employers”.
Foreign workers arrested despite having i-Kads in possession
According to another highlight of the report, foreign workers are still being arrested despite having the i-Kads in their possession.
The report mentioned that the i-Kad’s usage as an identification document for foreign workers did not succeed. This is because the document was not considered an official identification document by enforcement authorities.
It says: “84 out of 134 employers found that due to the i-Kad not being recognised as an official document, the foreign workers were still being arrested by the authorities. This is because the police have difficulties verifying the authenticity of the i-Kad and would have to refer to the Immigration Department or PNMB to verify the document”.
The report suggested that all printed i-Kads to be issued immediately to employers. This would be done by improving the methods and procedures in managing the delivery system of the i-Kads. “The process involving the gazetting of the i-Kad must be accelerated to ensure integration and coordination with enforcement agencies such as PDRM by means of issuing letter of i-Kad usage and by organising joint-meetings to validate the use of the i-Kad as the official document of the foreign worker” the report said.
I-Kads initially used to track down illegal immigrants
Initially, the identification card for foreigners was introduced in 2013. It was used to help authorities in tracking down illegal immigrants. The card has advanced security features. These include biometric and barcodes that help facilitate inspections made by the authorities.
Both the i-Kads and the PLKS have the same validity period. The issuance of the i-Kad does not involve any additional cost for the employers. But the i-Kad cannot be used to replace a passport. It doesn’t replace any other travel document. This means that the i-Kad can’t be used with the purpose of entry or departure abroad or for travel within the country.
The i-Kad is personalized for foreign workers in various sectors. It comes in different colors according to a certain code. Thus, the golden i-Kad is for expatriates and green one is for the agriculture sector. At the same time, for the farming sector there is an orange i-Kad, while construction is represented by grey. The yellow i-Kad is for service, red is for manufacturing and brown is for domestic helpers.
Asylum Seekers Removed from Immigration Camp
Dozens of asylum seekers have been removed from a decommissioned immigration camp by authorities in Papua New Guinea. Also, over 300 others have been pressured to abandon the immigration camp.
According to Gari Baki, 50 police and immigration officials entered the Manus Island camp on the 23rd of November. The authorities have “peacefully relocated” 50 asylum seekers among the 378 men to an alternative location. The asylum seekers were relocated in the nearby town of Lorengau.
Asylum seekers accuse authorities for destroyed belonging
Some of the refugees claimed certain belongings like their shelters, beds and others had been destroyed. Shen Narayanasamy said some of the immigrants transported from the camp claimed they have been forced to leave. Shen Narayanasamy is a human rights campaigner for the activist group GetUp!.
In a statement, Mr. Baki said that all refugees had “left voluntarily”. An exception is Behrouz Boochan, a refugee from Iran. Boochan is a journalist who reported the disturbing conditions on Manus using social media.
Peter Dutton said to a news channel that Mr. Boochan was among “a small number of people… arrested”. Peter Dutton is the Australian immigration and border protection minister. However, Mr. Baki said that Mr. Boochan had not been arrested or even charged.
Mr. Baki declared: “He was stirring up trouble and telling the other refugees not to move out of the centre so police and officers… simply escorted him out. I am glad that this relocation exercise was done peacefully and without use of force”.
Dominic Kakas denied reports that said authorities destroyed property of asylum seekers in an attempt to convince them to leave. Dominic Kakas is the Police Chief Superintendent.
When the Manus camp was officially closed, water, power and food supplies were stopped. The camp was closed due to a Papua New Guinea Supreme Court’s ruling in 2016. The ruling said that Australia’s policy of housing asylum seekers there was unconstitutional. The Manus camp was closed on the 31st of October.
Asylum seekers fear for their safety
Due to threats coming from local residents, asylum seekers fear for their safety in Lorengau.
Reports of immigration officials who entered the camp armed with sticks and knives were cited by an international non-governmental organization.
Kate Schuetze said in a statement: “The risks of serious injury if the authorities use force now is completely foreseeable”. Kate Schuetze is the researcher of Amnesty International, the human rights organization based in London.
Before relocating the immigrants, authorities toughened the conditions in the Manu camp. Drinking water tanks were emptied and shelters were removed. The deadlines for abandoning the camp have been passed and authorities didn’t take action.
Paid to hold asylum seekers
Papua New Guinea and the tiny Pacific nation of Nauru are paid by Australia to hold thousands of asylum seekers. The asylum seekers come from Africa, the Middle East and Asia. They have tried to reach the shores of Australia by boat since the middle of 2013. Papua New Guinea is Australia’s nearest neighbour.
Under a deal struck by the Obama administration, the US has agreed to resettle up to 1,250 of the refugees. The current presidential administration has reluctantly decided to comply with the agreement. By now, only 54 refugees have been accepted by the US.
Malcolm Turnbull dismissed the fears of asylum seekers for their safety in Lorengau. He accused them of trying to put pressure on Australian authorities to resettle them by refusing to leave Manus. Malcolm Turnbull is the prime minister of Australia.
He declared: “They think that… in some way they can pressure the Australian government to let them come to Australia. Well, we will not be pressured. We will not outsource our migration policy to people smugglers”.
EU Nationals to Have Status Processed Faster
Brandon Lewis promised that processing applications of EU nationals should not take more than two weeks. This would help EU nationals applying for settled status in the UK get their applications processed faster. The measure will be applied in the second half of 2018, when registration starts. Brandon Lewis is the Minister of Immigration in the UK.
He told the Commons home affairs select committee that 1,200 UK more visas and immigration staff members were being recruited. They would help the processing of 3.5 million applications from EU nationals expected over two and a half years.
On November 21st, the minister expressed his optimism to MPs regarding an agreement that could be struck by Christmas. The agreement targets the rights of EU nationals in the UK in the Brexit negotiations. But he refused to give any comments on reports regarding the Brexit inner cabinet’s decision on November 20th. The cabinet decided that he European court of justice could carry on playing a role in guaranteeing the rights. This would go on for a two-year transition period.
EU nationals with frozen bank accounts and deported
The Minister of the Home Office confirmed that EU nationals could have their bank accounts frozen. Those are the ones whose “settled status” was refused and who were classed as non-EU nationals in Britain illegally. They would also be deported before the hearing of any appeal in British courts.
The EU nationals in the UK immediately questioned Lewis’s claim. The group posted on social media: “We wonder how. Major stumbling blocks still in place…”. They noted continued differences over the role of the ECJ, over family reunification rights that could affect thousands, and regarding clarification that they should not face “hostile environment measures”. At the moment, there are around 3 million EU nationals in Britain.
Yvette Cooper was skeptical that 1,200 more staff members would be enough. The UK Visas and Immigration agency (UKVI) used 6,500 staff members to process 3 million visa applications a year. It was reported that 700 staff members had already been recruited. She said that there was already a three-month delay in processing EU nationals’ applications for permanent residence documents. Yvette Cooper is the chair of the Commons home affairs committee.
However, the Home Office minister said the EU applications would be much more straightforward than most of UKVI’s usual cases. He added that the applications would be taken care of by a new “simple and swift” system. The system would have an online user portal similar to the one used for renewing driving licenses.
Steps for EU nationals to obtain “settled status”
Brandon Lewis said that EU applicants for “settled status” will be required to verify their identity. They would also have to pass a criminality check and establish five years’ residence in the UK. Existing HMRC tax/DWP national insurance databases would be used by the Home Office for verifying applications. Applicants would not be required to submit their passports for residence proof.
The test of the new system would take place in the first half of 2018. Processing “should take a couple of weeks and not months” for each application. According to Lewis, the system would be based on “a different cultural approach”, unlike other UKVI casework. This way, applicants would be granted settled status.
Lewis said that non-EU nationals and others trying to “game the system” could end up being rejected. He also said that they could face deportation even before their legal appeals could be heard in the courts.
Security for bank accounts of EU nationals
Cooper challenged Lewis for the Home Office’s 10% error rate in revoking driving licenses. The challenge included its refusal for new bank accounts for those identified as illegally in the country by error. He tried reassuring the MPs that no one’s account would be frozen until a second check had been made with the Home Office. Lewis said that immigration checks were required to banks on millions of existing bank accounts from January.
Banks will have to do an automated sweep of their accounts against a database of people in the UK illegally. The database would come from the Home Office. However, Lewis confirmed the possibility of somebody wrongly identified as an illegal immigrant finding their bank account frozen. The accounts could be frozen for up to 12 months while they appealed through the courts.
TPS Expiration Date for Haitians in Massachusetts Set
The US presidential administration declared that the TPS for the Haitians living in Massachusetts will expire on July 22, 2019. The announcement was made on the 20th of November. There are almost 5,000 Haitians Massachusetts. The TPS is the temporary immigration status also known as the Temporary Protected Status.
The TPS allowed eligible Haitians to live and work legally in the US. They came to the US due to the unsafe conditions they were facing in their home country. According to senior administration officials, conditions on the ground in Haiti have improved significantly. The country was hit by a hurricane in 2010, the event prompting the country's TPS status.
Condition improvement lead to end of TPS programme
The government said that the improvements mean that Elaine Duke had to put an end to the programme for Haitians. Elaine Duke is the Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary. However, certain local immigrant advocates are leery of that assessment.
Eva Millona declared: “We have mixed feelings about how things have been described. We'll see how things will develop in Haiti. The truth of the matter is, TPS is a temporary sort of relief and 18 months is better than, you know, ending it right away”. Eva Millona is the executive director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition.
Initially, John Kelly set the first expiration for the 22nd of January 2018. At that moment, John Kelly was the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. The US government claimed that the 18-month period given is enough for Haitians to search for other options. The period would give them enough time to either explore other immigration statuses or prepare to return to Haiti.
TPS extension is a short-term victory
Linda Dorcena Forry is the daughter of Haitian immigrants and a leader in the Greater Boston community. She is also the Massachusetts state Senator. She said that the decision reached by the government of extending the expiration of TPS represents a short-term victory.
Forry declared: “We are confronted with forces on the other side of this argument that would have liked nothing more than immediate expulsion and that's not what happened. So that's a positive thing to have this extension. It's a good step in the right direction”.
Forry said that the delay in the expiration brings is a relief for her. At the same time, she expects the state's labor force to take a hit as a result of the termination. She stated: “There's going to be an impact when we look at the health care sector, when we look at home health aides, when we look at those that are working in hospitals. A lot of them have TPS”.
According to the Senator, a more permanent solution for recipients of the TPS has to come from Congress. Such a solution would be encouraged by the support from the state's delegation.
Support for TPS extension from Governor Charlie Baker
Recently, Governor Charlie Baker showed his support of the TPS extension for Haitians, Salvadorans and Hondurans. Baker addressed a letter to Secretary Duke, where he mentioned: “I urge you to recognize the unsuitability of ordering tens of thousands of Haitians, Salvadorans and Hondurans now in the United States to return to homelands that are in crisis and that will be at risk of becoming further destabilized by a sudden influx of TPS nationals”.
Justice Department Warns Sonoma County
The US Justice Department sent a letter to the Sonoma County authorities warning them about their “sanctuary city” policy. The department questioned whether such policy is against the terms of a federal grant that Sonoma County receives. The “sanctuary city” policy limits cooperation with federal immigration enforcement. By now, 29 state and local governments within the US received a warning letter from the Justice Department.
The warning letter to Sonoma County is the latest one sent by the presidential administration. Warnings that federal money will not be offered anymore have been sent to local authorities. Immigration officials must be given access to local jails otherwise federal grants will be withheld. Local authorities are also required to give a 48-hour advance notice before releasing any suspected undocumented immigrant.
Even though court orders blocked the administration’s efforts, Jeff Sessions targeted a specific grant for law enforcement programme. The grant in question is the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant. He said that the grant could be withheld from more than 200 cities in case they don’t comply. Jeff Sessions is the US Attorney General.
Justice Department sent letters to 29 jurisdictions
On the 15th of November, his office sent letters to Sonoma County and 28 other jurisdictions, including San Francisco and Berkeley. The letters warned about policies restricting the sharing of information that may lead to deportation. Local authorities were announced that they could show adherence to federal law until the 8th of December.
In an accompanying press release, Jeff Sessions said: “Jurisdictions that adopt so-called sanctuary policies also adopt the view that the protection of criminal aliens is more important than the protection of law-abiding citizens and of the rule of law”.
In 2016, Sonoma County received $48,297 from the grant. The county is actually complying with the federal regulations regarding communication between government entities cited in the letter. The information was shared by County Counsel Bruce Goldstein.
According to Goldstein, a section of the law only asks local jail officials to report an inmate’s immigration status. The status must be reported to the federal immigration authorities. He added that it does not require notification of an inmate’s release.
Goldstein declared: “The fact that the sheriff is utilizing his discretion not to provide information on pending releases is not in conflict with his obligation under that section of the law”.
Compliance with the Justice Department requirements
One of Sheriff Rob Giordano’s spokesmen said the jail will carry on turning over inmates convicted of serious crimes. He also said that the jail will comply with any arrest warrant signed by a judge.
However, starting January 1st, immigration will be guided by a new state law, SB54. The law was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in October. It limits which state and local law enforcement agencies can hold, question and transfer at the federal immigration authorities’ request.
Sheriff’s Sgt. Spencer Crum described the law as “the new mandate for all agencies in the state which we will all have to comply with”.
Spencer Crum claimed that the Sheriff’s Office used the Byrne grant. With it, it bought a digital evidence management system, interview room equipment and digital video storage. For the moment, the county does not have a current grant application pending.
Denver Warned by Justice Department Due to Immigration Policy
Robert White was warned by the Justice Department that Denver might be violating federal rules with certain “sanctuary city” policies. He was also warned that the police department might end up losing federal grant money. Robert White is the Denver Police Chief. The Justice Department addressed the warning in a letter on the 15th of November.
The Byrne justice assistance grants (JAG) are the ones in discussion. These grants are released according to a section of federal law called Section 1373. The section handles exchanges of communication and information taking place between local, state and federal law enforcement and other officials.
Among other things, the grants are used in Colorado for law enforcement initiatives, training and equipment.
Denver immigration policy violating section 1373
The warning letter included the Justice Department’s concern that two parts of the city code might “violate section 1373”. The concerns were mentioned by Alan Hanson who is Acting Assistant Attorney General. The two parts prevent employees of the city or county from asking for information regarding someone's immigration or citizenship status.
In the letter, Hanson said both portions of the city code “appear to restrict the requesting of information regarding citizenship or immigration status, in violation of section 1373”. White was asked to give a response to the letter by the 8th of December. He was also requested to determine if the codes really violate section 1373 for the FY2016 and FY2017 grants received.
White was asked to explain any “savings clauses” in the city’s code. He must also explain “the way these savings clauses are interpreted and applied, and whether these interpretations are communicated to Denver officers or employees”.
The Justice Department said it had “not made a final determination regarding Denver’s compliance with section 1373” despite requests.
Denver mayor’s office displeased with the letter
The letter caused dissatisfaction within the mayor’s office. It was called “constitutionally dubious” and the office said that the city’s ordinance is in compliance with 1373.
Jenna Espinoza declared: “The DOJ’s letter is a constitutionally dubious attempt by the Trump Administration to bully cities. Denver’s immigration ordinance complies with all federal laws, including 8 USC § 1373. Denver intends to respond to the November 15, 2017 letter from the Department of Justice with our assurance that Denver’s ordinance complies with Section 1373,” Espinoza continued. Denver will not be bullied into turning its back on its immigrants and we stand ready and willing to legally challenge any actions by the Trump administration that threatens the safety of our residents”. Jenna Espinoza is the mayor’s office spokeswoman.
Denver Sheriff Department not to seek federal funding
In 2017, the Denver Public Safety Enforcement Priorities Act was approved by the city and county of Denver. The act demanded the Denver Sheriff Department not to seek federal funding requiring the department to gather and release information about someone’s immigration or citizenship status. The Denver Sheriff Department is in charge of the city’s jails.
Additionally, it reinforced the Sheriff Department’s notification rules to notify ICE about pending releases “to the extent they are able”. Also, the ordinances codified language that continues a U-Visa programme and protects sensitive locations for immigrants without considering their status.
After an immigration sweep that took place in September, the ICE director said he focused on so-called “sanctuary cities”. Among other places, the immigration sweep targeted Denver.
According to a federal appeals court, the Justice Department couldn’t retain federal grant money from “sanctuary cities”. However, the Justice Department appealed that ruling.
A district judge in Philadelphia said a public safety grant from the city couldn’t be retained by the Justice Department. The reason was that the Justice Department had deemed it a "sanctuary city".
In Colorado, Denver was the only jurisdiction that received a letter from the Justice Department on December 15th. The others are Seattle; Washington, D.C.; much of California; Louisville, Kentucky; the states of Illinois, Oregon and Vermont; and the home county of Albuquerque, N.M.
Homan Nominated by Donald Trump as ICE Director
Donald Trump nominated Thomas D. Homan to be the assistant secretary for the Department of Homeland Security. He was also nominated as permanent director of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Homan is a holdover from the former US presidential administration under Barack Obama. The nomination was made on the 14th of November.
Daniel Ragsdale was demoted by Donald Trump in January. Daniel Ragsdale is the former ICE director. Homan was nominated to supervise the DHS. The agency’s task is to carry out interior enforcement operations, which includes the deportation of illegal immigrants. When Ragsdale was demoted, Homan was the executive associate director of ICE's Enforcement and Removal Operations.
The acting ICE director worked in various capacities at DHS or in certain agencies that would become part of DHS. His activity was carried out for over thirty years. He was probably requested to prove himself to the president before being officially nominated in the presidential administration.
Homan makes presidential campaign promise a priority
In his election campaign, Donald Trump pledged to deport criminal illegal immigrants starting his first official day as president. Homan's work proves that the Trump administration has made a priority out of that target. However, during the first 100 days of the Trump administration, over 41,000 illegal immigrants were arrested, with Homan commanding ICE.
Thomas Homan has adopted Donald Trump’s position regarding illegal immigration. He addressed the illegal immigrants in the US warning them to “look over your shoulder”. He argued that he would not ignore certain immigration policies as Obama or former DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson had ordered. It is estimated that there are around 11 million people living in the US illegally.
Also, Homan is against Barack Obama’s pro-sanctuary city stance. He requested that all jurisdictions cooperate with requests from ICE. This would help detain illegal immigrants who have been picked up by state and local law enforcement for non-immigration-related crimes.
Homan testified for deportation figures
Homan testified that figures of deportation were not down because there was no one to deport. Instead he claimed that this is because of the refusal of the former presidential administration's opposition to carry them out. His testimony was made in June last year.
As of July 2017, Homan mentioned an 80 percent increase of the demand for criminal illegal immigrants in local jails.
Such numbers prompted Bob Goodlatte to praise Homan’s promotion. Bob Goodlatte is the House Judiciary Chairman.
In a statement, Bob Goodlatte said: “Tom is the perfect candidate to lead U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. ... As acting director, Tom has steered ICE back to its core mission of enforcing our immigration laws and keeping our communities safe. Through his leadership, ICE has removed thousands of criminal aliens from our streets, taken effective action to combat MS-13 and other transnational gang violence, and has given victims of illegal immigrant crime a voice in their government”.
Before being promoted to the position of ICE director, Thomas Homan has worked several other jobs. He was a Border Patrol agent and a special agent with the former U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. He also worked as a New York police officer.
Citizenship Issue Debated by Assam Chief Minister and Union Home Minister
Sarbananda Sonowal discussed with Rajnath Singh to inform him about the updates of the National Register of Citizens. The meeting regarding the citizenship issue took place ahead of the December 31st deadline set by the Supreme Court. Sarbananda Sonowal is the Chief Minister of the Indian State of Assam and Rajnath Singh is the Union Home Minister. The meeting between the two officials took place on the 13th of November.
The government of Assam should be helped by the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in identifying illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. These immigrants supposedly entered the State after the 25th of March 1971. That was the cut off date for immigrant settlers to be considered citizens.
Nevertheless, activists of the civil society and minority organizations have highlighted that the citizenship verification process is not flawless.
Sticking to Supreme Court guidelines to solve citizenship issue
Yechury requested the government of Assam to comply with the Supreme Court guidelines in updating the National Register of Citizens. The Chief Minister also warned against dividing people for political mileage. Sitaram Yechury is the General Secretary of the Communist (Marxist) Party of India. He addressed a seminar in Delhi regarding the current political situation and the question of citizenship in Assam.
Mr. Yechury declared: “The question of citizenship register or NRC was an issue on which the Supreme Court has given very definite guidelines. This is something that has to be adhered very scrupulously and there cannot be any deviation from these guidelines”.
The activists also highlighted that an order released by the Gauhati High Court contributed to the confusion. The order rendered as invalid identity papers that have been authenticated by village panchayat officials.
Unpleasant verdict on citizenship issue
Hiren Gohain considers that the High Court ruling has led to “widespread panic”. At the same time, Mr. Yechury said the original guidelines of the Supreme Court’s considered panchayat documents as legal. Hiren Gohain is a professor and an eminent scholar from Assam
Mr. Gohain said: “As many as 27 lakh women, most of them married, suddenly begin to feel insecure. There appears to be some uncertainty as whether they are to be regarded as suspect aliens or citizens whose citizenship claims are yet to be established”.
The order of the High Court has been challenged in the Supreme Court. The verdict is expected to come from the top court by the 22nd of November this year.
According to Prof. Apurba Kumar Baruah, the activists and scholars didn’t wish to have any influence in the judicial process. But they managed to highlight the complexities which revolve around the issue of identity politics in Assam. Apurba Kumar Baruah is the Academic Director of the Institute of Social and Regional Development also known as ISCARD. He was also with the School of Social Sciences at the North East Hill University which is based in Shillong.
Yogendra Yadav said the ruling BJP was “trying to give a religious interpretation to the issue of citizenship”. Yogendra Yadav is an acting politician and former academician. He urged people to follow the citizenship debate in Assam closely as it concerned the idea of India.
DACA Recipients Gather in Downtown Cincinnati for Immigration Reform
Hundreds of thousands of immigrant students of Xavier University have rallied on the 12th of November in Downtown Cincinnati. The students have tried to express their concerns regarding their immigration status offered by the DACA programme.
Heyra Avila is a Xavier University student who was present at the rally. She said that she is extremely worried about her situation and fears deportation. She even scheduled a reminder on her phone. Avila declared: “I have a countdown on my phone for when my work permit expires”.
All the young immigrants are afraid the Congress will not be able come up with a solution for the situation. In September, Donald Trump declared that the Congress would have six months to provide a solution for the DACA beneficiaries. People under DACA are commonly known as “Dreamers”.
DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Protection similar to DACA would be offered by the Dream Act which was introduced in the Senate in July 2017. However, the federal proposal never passed.
DACA recipients want change
In such an uncertain situation, Avila and the other young immigrants want a change. She and dozens of others gathered outside the office of Senator Rob Portman to ask for immigration reform.
Avila lived in Mexico with her parents before arriving in the US. After her arrival, she lived in Kentucky and Ohio. She and her family crossed the border when Avila was only 4 years old. As a first memory in the US, she recalls seeing “the buildings and the snow”.
At the moment, Avila is not feeling safe at all. She is afraid that she will lose her job, license and everything she’s worked for building a life in America.
She said: “This is all I’ve ever known. This is all thousands of us ever know. It’s really unfair to have to fight to want to keep making a better future for ourselves and this country. We love this country and we want to be able to stay. It’s not fair that some people don’t see it that way”.
Concerns regarding the future of DACA
According to Allison Reynolds-Berry, it is “really concerning” that the future of the DACA programme is in the balance. She declared: “They have jobs working to support their families, many of them. These young immigrants were given a pass. They had a chance to pursue their dreams. A number of them are in the middle of their college careers right now … they may be sent back to a country they don’t know”. Allison Reynolds-Berry is the executive director for the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center. She was also present at the rally. She and the DACA recipients had signs displaying a “grade” for legislators. The signs were based on the way they’ve handled immigration reform.
Andrea Solis said she would like seeing Senator Portman having a solid position on the issue. Andrea is also a Xavier University student.
Solis declared: “We’re grading our representatives and senators on where they stand on the DREAM Act. As you can see, most have Cs, D-minuses or even Fs. A “C” is what Senator Portman has … he’s been too vague on his position -- we want him to take a stance on where he stands”.
A legislative solution must be offered by the Congress until the 5th of March 2018.