Locking up more immigrants and other immigration news – October 20, 2017

Under the Trump-Sessions regime, immigration policy has three prongs: keep them out, lock them up, throw them out. The latest in the lock-them-up policy area is a memo directing a search for more jail cells, especially in private prisons, and especially in four “sanctuary” cities.

In contrast, a research paper from Texas A & M’s Legal Studies Research Series recommends reversing the trend toward more detentions, and instead relying more on community based alternatives.

And a reminder: immigration detainees have not been convicted of any crime. If they had been convicted of a crime, they typically would be serving time in state or federal prison, not in immigration detention. 

As Detentions Grow, ICE Looks for More Space in Minnesota (KSTP, 10/18/17) ICE already uses six MN county jails to hold immigrants.

“Immigration and Customs Enforcement wants space for hundreds of additional jail cells, and is sending a request for information that identifies the four cities in which its looking to expand.

“Those are Chicago, Detroit, Salt Lake City and St. Paul.  

“When asked, an ICE spokesman did not say why St. Paul was on the list. All four are sanctuary cities.”

Alternatives to Immigration Detention (Texas A&M University School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper Series, 10/5/17) A detailed 50-page analysis considers alternatives to detention including release on own recognizance, parole, bond, supervised release, electronic monitoring, and community-based alternatives, and recommends use of more community-based alternatives, and far less detention and electronic monitoring.

“Immigration detention has become one of the most egregious forms of mass incarceration in the United States. Over 440,000 immigrants are detained in this country each year, far more than anywhere else in the world. The number of immigration detainees is now over twice the total number of federal inmates serving sentences for all federal crimes combined. On any given day, 37,000 noncitizens are held in immigration detention centers across the country, of whom 25,000 do not yet have a final order of removal. Nearly three-quarters of these detainees are held in facilities run by private prison corporations; fifteen percent are in local jails, some of which intermingle civil immigration detainees with prisoners held on criminal charges; and just twelve percent are in federally-owned facilities. In recent years, immigration detention has even drawn thousands of children into its web, with the addition of two huge “Family Residential Centers” in Texas, both run by private prison corporations.”

Trump administration weighs tighter vetting for women, children refugees: sources (Reuters, 10/19/17) Currently, women and children have a somewhat lower level of vetting than do adult men – but all get intensive screening, with an average processing time of 18-24 months.

“A State Department official declined to comment on any refugee vetting processes while the review is underway. The government is taking steps to “further intensify” refugee screening “to uphold the safety of the American people,” the official said.”

Federal appeals court blocks undocumented teen’s request for immediate abortion (Texas Tribune, 10/20/17)

The U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Friday that an undocumented teenager in Texas is not allowed to immediately have the abortion she requested. The Court gave the federal government until October 31st to find a sponsor to take custody of the teen and take her to an abortion clinic to have the procedure….

“According to the American Civil Liberties Union, the Trump administration is forcing Doe to continue carrying her pregnancy against her will and time is running out. Doe is 15 weeks pregnant, and under Texas law she can not terminate her pregnancy after 20 weeks.”

30-foot border wall prototypes erected in San Diego borderlands (NPR, 10/19/17)

“Four are solid concrete; four are made of steel and concrete; one is topped with spikes. They all approach 30 feet in height. Customs and Border Protection is paying $20 million to six construction companies from Mississippi, Maryland, Alabama, Texas and Arizona. Crews in white hardhats operating cranes and forklifts are expected to complete the models by the end of the month.”

‘Iron Curtain’ tales reach the screen: Woodbury Romanian tells her stories in new documentary (MPR, 10/18/17) After a premiere in-person viewing at the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis on October 22, the film will air November 5 on TPT.

“’We wanted to tell the story of the Romanians who escaped communism,’ she said. ‘This was a very dramatic, traumatic experience that these people had. It was very much like North Korea. It was like a prison. You couldn’t get in. You couldn’t get out.’”

“The documentary also is intended to address the resurgent debate on immigration, Popa said.

“’When people prosper individually, they will give back. They will give back to the country they will give back to the community.’”

Truck driver pleads guilty in deadliest immigrant smuggling episode in more than a decade (The Intercept, 10/20/17) Seven survivors have been deported, nine remain in ICE custody.  

“A criminal complaint filed in conjunction with Bradley’s arrest painted a harrowing picture of the events that led to the discovery in the Walmart parking lot, with three survivors describing anywhere from 70 to 200 people crammed into his trailer on the drive from Laredo, Texas, on the border with Mexico, to San Antonio. The men said the heat inside in the trailer was stifling — the temperature in San Antonio that day reached 100 degrees — and that those inside shared a single hole in the trailer’s wall to breathe. They banged on the walls of the trailer, the men said, screaming for help, but no one came.”

‘All she ever knew was America’: This high school athlete had a plan. Then DACA was rescinded. (Washington Post, 10/19/17)

Nicolle came from Bolivia when she was just a year old and received DACA status in September 2016. That gave her a Social Security number, working papers and, more than anything, opportunity….

Then Trump discontinued DACA last month and Nicolle, with about 690,000 other dreamers, was thrown into a state of confusion. She was not eligible to reapply for DACA at the Oct. 5 deadline. If a fractured Congress doesn’t reach an immigration deal in the near future, her DACA will expire next September and she will become undocumented. If that happens, Nicolle will be subject to deportation and not able to legally drive or work. A handful of colleges have programs for undocumented students, but she would not be eligible for in-state tuition without DACA and her options would be slim.

Tech companies to lobby for immigrant ‘Dreamers’ to remain in U.S. (Reuters, 10/19/17)

“The Coalition for the American Dream intends to ask Congress to pass bipartisan legislation this year that would allow these immigrants, often referred to as “Dreamers,” to continue working in the United States, the documents said.

“Alphabet Inc’s Google, Microsoft Corp, Facebook Inc, Intel Corp, Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL], IBM Corp, Marriott International Inc and other top U.S. companies are listed as members, one of the documents shows.”

Temporary Protected Status for Sudanese ending: Dust off those case files (Think Immigration, 10/19/17)

“Last month the administration announced the termination of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Sudan, effective November 2, 2018. The September 18 announcement stated that Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke had “determined that conditions in Sudan no longer support its designation,” which has been in place since 1997….

“Sudan is the longest-designated country to face TPS termination, and its end promises massive disruption of the lives of so many who depend on TPS holders, including the communities they have been part of for two decades. Take a moment to think about what you were doing in 1997 and consider leaving behind everything you’ve built since then.

Outstanding refugee award goes to St. Cloud woman (St. Cloud Times, 10/20/17)

“A St. Cloud teacher was among seven honorees to receive an Outstanding Refugee award from the Minnesota Department of Human Services.

“Ayan Omar received a civic leadership award, which recognizes refugees or their children who are outstanding leaders in their community. … She is a language arts teacher at Technical High School and has been a frequent speaker on Somali and Muslim issues in the St. Cloud area.”

Human Services honors outstanding refugees (MN Department of Human Services, 10/19/17)

“The 2017 recipients for Civic Leadership Award, which recognizes individuals who have had refugee status, or their children, who are outstanding leaders in their community are:

Hsa Daw Mu, Marshall

Ayan Omar, St. Cloud

Fatima Said, Winona

Paw Wah Toe, St. Paul.

TPS Holders in the United States (Center for American Progress, 10/20/17)

“The U.S. secretary of homeland security, in consultation with the U.S. secretary of state, has the discretion to grant Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to individuals from countries where ongoing conflict, environmental disaster, or other extraordinary circumstances make it impossible to return without jeopardizing their lives. Today,  an estimated 320,000 people hold TPS in the United States from 10 designated countries; more than 90 percent of these individuals are from El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti. TPS is granted for set periods of time ranging from six to 18 months, and decisions as to whether to continue TPS for Honduras, Haiti, and El Salvador must occur by November 6, 2017, November 23, 2017, and January 8, 2018, respectively.”


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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