Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) tried to force Twitter to give up the identity of the Twitter user @alt_USCIS. That’s an anonymous user who criticizes U.S. immigration policy and agencies. DHS wanted the name, login information, phone number, mailing address and IP address of @alt_USCIS. They also wanted Twitter to keep quiet about the government demand.
The DHS demand came on March 14. Twitter refused to comply. On Thursday, April 6, Twitter sued DHS to get a federal court to declare the demand “unlawful and unenforceable.” And on April 7, DHS withdrew their demand for information, and Twitter dropped the lawsuit. The Washington Post reported:
“The lawsuit threatened to become a major battle between Silicon Valley and Washington over free speech. But it was over almost before it began. The social networking site filed a lawsuit Thursday to protest the order, saying that it violated the user’s First Amendment right to free expression. But Twitter dropped its suit Friday, saying in a court filing that because “the summons has now been withdrawn, Twitter voluntary dismisses without prejudice all claims.”
The U.S. government has withdrawn its request ordering Twitter to identify Trump critic (Washington Post, 4/7/17)
US government drops effort to unmask anti-Trump Twitter account (The Guardian, 4/7/17)
Other immigration news
Mother of four to be deported to Mexico in sign of Trump policy shift (The Guardian, 4/6/17) Maribel Trujillo, 42, has lived in the United States since 2002. She is the primary support of her four U.S. citizen children, ages 3, 10, 12, 14, and her husband, who has health problems. She has no criminal record, and has been checking in with ICE annually.
When her lawyer asked why she is now being target for deportation: ” an Ice agent grew angry and said to them both: “I don’t know if you are aware, but we have a new president, things are different now.”
“Deportation would present Trujillo with a “Sophie’s choice”: either she abandons her four US-born, American-citizen children – aged three, 10, 12 and 14 – leaving them to grow up without a mother, or she takes them back to Mexico to an uncertain and potentially perilous future….
“Eighteen months ago her father was kidnapped for ransom by the notorious Knights Templar drug cartel. Other family members have faced death threats, and Trujillo has an asylum application pending with the US authorities. “The situation is so bad where I come from in Mexico I fear taking them with me,” she said.
“A recent survey shows students from those six countries [named in Trump’s travel ban] alone bring in more than $500 million to the U.S. economy each year.”
Farmers await Trump action on visas for temporary workers (Washington Post, 4/7/17) The H-2A visa is a temporary visa for seasonal workers. That’s the kind of visa that the Trump Winery uses. But it’s problematic for farmers and immigrant workers alike.
:The number of H2A visas granted nationally has doubled in the past five years, as farmers sought reliable labor for jobs that they say are shunned by Americans. Farmers complain that the program is expensive, cumbersome and essential to their enterprises….
:Adrienne DerVartanian, director of immigration and labor rights for the advocacy organization Farmworker Justice, said it’s illegal for foreign brokers to require recruitment fees from workers, but the practice persists. Workers are sometimes exploited but are intimidated into keeping quiet when they want to speak out, for fear of losing their jobs, she said.:
Immigrants are essential for U.S. economic growth – and we need more of them (MinnPost, 4/7/17)
“On average, approximately 1 million immigrants have come to the United States each year for the past 25 years. They add directly to our GDP through work. Our foreign-born population is younger and more likely to be working than native-born Americans. They help rebalance what would otherwise be a quickly aging population that would have difficulty supporting Social Security and other older-age entitlements.”
What you need to know about ICE’s arrests at courthouses (American Immigration Council, 4/6/17)
According to their own guidance on the subject, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is supposed to practice restraint when it comes to arresting people at “sensitive locations” such as schools, churches, and hospitals—as well as “any organization assisting children, pregnant women, victims of crime or abuse, or individuals with significant mental or physical disabilities.” Arrests in such locales are permissible under “exigent circumstances” when public safety or national security is at stake.
However, ICE has been rather loose in its interpretation of “exigent circumstances,” as evidenced by arrests they have conducted outside of a church and in front of a school. One category of “sensitive locations” is interestingly absent from ICE guidance on the subject: courthouses. This is a surprising omission given the sensitive nature of the work which takes place in a courthouse—witnesses to crimes providing testimony, jurors deliberating the fate of the accused, and so on.
Failing Prison System Gets New Life at the Expense of Immigrants and Taxpayers (American Immigration Council, 4/4/17)
“Public and private prisons previously crumbling under financial strains, reduced population numbers, and Obama-era regulations are receiving a boost under the Trump administration, thanks in large part to the president’s promise to fill their beds with undocumented immigrants.”
Millions of Children, Citizens Impacted by U.S. Immigration Enforcement (American Immigration Council, 4/3/17)
“[M]ore than 16 million people in the United States live with at least one undocumented family member, often a parent, who may be targeted for deportation. More than eight million of these residents are citizens. And the majority of them—almost 6 million—are children under the age of 18.”
“Hundreds of churches across the country are taking part in the “new sanctuary movement” by offering refuge to undocumented immigrants to protect them from deportation, but not without obstacles.”
“At one high school in San Francisco, students speak 18 different languages, and while students can’t totally communicate with one another, they’re working hard to learn English and other cultures.”