Unauthorized pumpkin seeds and other immigration articles – June 12, 2017

Under the Obama administration, immigration officials closed the deportation case of a woman from El Salvador. Under the Trump administration, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement filed to reopen the case at the end of March. Her attorney said the woman has not been charged with any crimes in the United States. Reuters reports:

When [her attorney] queried ICE, an official said the agency had been notified that her client had a criminal history in El Salvador, according to documents seen by Reuters.

The woman had been arrested for selling pumpkin seeds as an unauthorized street vendor. Government documents show U.S. authorities knew about the arrest before her case was closed.

So she now faces deportation for the crime of unauthorized pumpkin seed sales. Years ago. In El Salvador.

Like some 81,000 other unauthorized immigrants who had significant ties to the United States and posed no threat to public safety, the woman from El Salvador received “administrative closure” during the Obama administration She was not considered a priority for deportation.

All that has now changed. The Trump administration reopened 1,329 previously closed cases from March 1 to May 31, according to the June 9 Reuters report. During the comparable period in 2016, the Obama administration reopened only 430 cases.

“This is a sea change, said attorney David Leopold, former president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. “Before, if someone did something after the case was closed out that showed that person was a threat, then it would be reopened. Now they are opening cases just because they want to deport people.”..

Trump reopens hundreds of immigration cases: report (The Hill, 6/9/17)

Fear rises of arrests at immigration check-ins (SF Gate, 6/9/17)

“Immigration and Customs Enforcement said it is tracking nearly 970,000 immigrants with deportation orders. The majority — 82 percent — have no criminal record, the agency said. ICE declined to say how many must regularly report to authorities or are tracked by ankle monitors, and it is unclear how many are being arrested….

“For authorities keen on showing they’re beefing up immigration enforcement, immigrants who already have deportation orders are seen as an easy target. They can be removed from the country more quickly than newly arrested immigrants, whose cases can drag on for years in immigration court proceedings and appeals.”

Judge Asked to Shield Well-Known Immigrant from Deportation (U.S. News, 6/8/17) Was Jessica Colotl targeted because of her activism?

“A federal judge in Georgia is considering whether to temporarily restore protection from deportation to a Mexican woman who became a well-known figure in the illegal immigration debate as a college student seven years ago.

“Colotl’s parents brought her to the U.S. illegally when she was 11. She went on to graduate from college and applied for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in 2012. She was approved in 2013 and successfully renewed twice but learned in early May that immigration authorities had revoked her status and denied her latest renewal application.

“Colotl said the news “devastated” her and immediately forced her to stop working as a paralegal and driving.”

‘If we are deported, who benefits?’ (Politico, 6/8/17) Jessica Colotl tells her own story – from her arrival in the United States as an 11-year-old to her activism in the fight for DREAMers, to her DACA revocation in May.

“Until a few weeks ago, I was working as a paralegal at an immigration law firm in a suburb of Atlanta. I was saving money for law school and hoped to practice as an immigration attorney. Then, my world came crashing down: I was told that the U.S. government revoked my status as a recipient of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an Obama-era policy that gives work and study permits to undocumented young people who arrived in the U.S. as children. Now I can’t work or drive and I’m afraid to leave the house, because without DACA, I have no legal permission to be here.”

ICE agents arrest high schooler hours before prom (USA Today, 6/9/17) Friends and family are trying to get him released so that he can at least graduate from high school in a few weeks.  Congresswoman Nita Lowey has officially asked for a stay of removal.

“His cousin, Gaby Macancela, said a frightened Puma Macancela came to her Prospect Avenue apartment Wednesday night after his mother’s arrest. The following morning, she said they cowered in fear in one of the bedrooms when they heard agents banging on the door of the apartment.

“Wake up, the police are here again,” she said Puma Macancela told her. “They’re coming for me.”

“She said her cousin eventually walked outside and was arrested.”

Boyle Heights Immigration Rights Activist Released on Bond (The LAist, 6/9/17)

“Cal State LA student and immigrant rights activist Claudia Rueda was released from detention in San Diego on Friday morning, three weeks after being detained by Customs and Border Patrol agents in Boyle Heights. An immigration judge released Rueda on her own recognizance after indicating that Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s decision to hold her without bond was “unduly severe,” according to a statement from the Immigrant Youth Coalition. Despite her release today, the 22-year-old still potentially faces deportation.”

Immigration agents make arrests in Memphis: One family’s story (Commercial Appeal, 6/9/17) The Commercial Appeal tells the long story – family, work, and almost accidental arrest as ICE agents looking for someone else found Tomas. His wife is from Honduras – if he is deported to Mexico, and she is deported to Honduras, she worries, “What will happen to our kids?” The Maldonado family is caught up in Trump-era enforcement that has arrested more than 10,000 people who have no criminal reords.

“Tomas Maldonado entered the U.S. illegally from Mexico more than 10 years ago. Since then, he’s bought a house and started a family.

“But his immigration violation has caused him big problems. He was recently arrested in Memphis and bused to a detention center in Jena, Louisiana, roughly 300 miles away from his common-law wife and children….

“Between Jan. 22 and April 29, the government arrested 10,845 people whose only charge was an immigration violation, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement data released in May. That’s more than twice the number in the same period last year under Obama.

And in other immigration news

Federal Immigration Agents Conduct Central Coast Raids Without Local Cooperation (CBS, 6/8/17)

“The good thing is that when our local police departments are contacted, all of them have said they’re not going to participate,” Alejo said, explaining that the noncooperation “helps maintain the trust between our immigrant communities and our local police departments.”

Second federal immigration sting this year reported in Santa Cruz County (Mercury News, 6/9/17)

“Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials called the Watsonville Police Department to advise the local agency that federal agents were going to be working in the sanctuary city late Wednesday night….

“They don’t tell us who is arrested. These people don’t end up in Santa Cruz County Jail,” Ridgway said of an investigation that has not been confirmed by Homeland Security Investigations. “We are doing our job, which is not getting involved with ICE, being a sanctuary city.”

Alternatives to Detention and the For-Profit Immigration System (Center for American Progress, 6/9/17)

“It’s not surprising that alternatives to detention have not decreased detention numbers. Most of ICE’s funding for alternatives to detention goes to Geo Group, which profits from the expansion of both alternatives to detention and detention itself. Its incentives are misaligned—if ISAP were a true alternative to detention, two of Geo Group’s main sources of revenue would be in direct competition with one another.”

Bay Area immigration consultant charged (Mercury News, 6/8/17)

“The laws are set up to make sure that some of our most vulnerable residents receive adequate advocacy,” said deputy district attorney Garner Morris. “This is important work, and it needs to be done legally and right. In many cases, their ability to live and work and raise family depend on it.”

3 accused in scheme to defraud immigrants of $6 million (Los Angeles Times, 6/9/17)

“Federal authorities have arrested two California men and a Mexican national in connection with a $6-million scheme to defraud victims seeking immigration status in the United States.

“Two of the defendants, Hardev Panesar, of El Cajon, and Rafael Hastie, of Tijuana, had posed as officers of the Department of Homeland Security for at least three years, the U.S. attorney’s office in San Diego said Wednesday. Prosecutors said the pair promised they could obtain immigration status for people “in exchange for exorbitant fees.”

Canada’s Tech Firms Capitalize On Immigration Anxiety In The Age Of Trump (NPR, 6/9/17)

“Canadian tech companies are eager to capitalize on anxiety among international visitors and would-be immigrants following President Trump’s travel ban and other immigration policies. Meanwhile, the Canadian government is making it easier for highly skilled workers to move there….

“Salim Teja, vice president of the MaRS Discovery District, a major incubator for tech companies in Toronto … says there’s fierce global competition for talent in the industry, with companies offering escalating salaries and perks. And those employers need to know that they can get visas for the people they’re hiring.”

House passes bill to allow some border and customs job applicants to skip polygraph test (Washington Post, 6/7/17)

“The House voted 282 to 137 Wednesday in favor of a bill that would allow U.S. Customs and Border Protection to waive a mandatory lie-detector test for applicants from law enforcement or the military, raising alarms that the move will weaken standards at the agency….

“Critics worried that waiving polygraph tests — even for experienced military and law enforcement officers — risks having problem candidates slip through. CBP is still recovering from allegations of corruption and excessive use of force that led Congress to require polygraphs at the agency in 2010.”

Federal judge rules that immigration detainers are unconstitutional (ImmigrationProf blog, 6/9/17)

News from Texas!  The same federal judge who will hear the lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the state’s new controversial anti-sanctuary cities law ruled earlier this week  case that the Bexar County sheriff violated the constitutional rights of a Mexican citizen when he was held in jail on an immigration detainer after his criminal charges were dismissed.”

Lack of immigrant workers hobbles horse racing at Canterbury Park (Star Tribune, 6/910/17)

“Horse racing has joined other industries in lobbying the federal government to raise the number of H-2B visas from the current cap of 66,000 per year. While they wait for a resolution, trainers such as Johnson, Bravo and Valorie Lund fear the labor shortage could sink their sport.”

Criminal Immigrants: Their Numbers, Demographics and Countries of Origin (Immigration Research and Policy Brief No. 1, (6/3/17)

“All immigrants are less likely to be incarcerated than natives relative to their shares of the population. Even illegal immigrants are less likely to be incarcerated than native-born Americans.”


About Mary Turck

News Day, written by Mary Turck, analyzes, summarizes, links to, and comments on reports from news media around the world, with particular attention to immigration, education, and journalism. Fragments, also written by Mary Turck, has fiction, poetry and some creative non-fiction. Mary Turck edited TC Daily Planet, www.tcdailyplanet.net, from 2007-2014, and edited the award-winning Connection to the Americas and AMERICAS.ORG, in its pre-2008 version. She is also a recovering attorney and the author of many books for young people (and a few for adults), mostly focusing on historical and social issues.
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