Protecting Immigrant Communities Newsletter: 9/01/20

September 1, 2020 | Texas

By: Cheasty Anderson and Sara Albanna

Dear Partners and Friends,

Thank you so much for wanting to stay up to date on what’s happening. Here’s the latest roundup of immigration-related news, and our bi-weekly action opportunity. Please let me know as things cross your desk that you think might be of value for our next newsletter, and as always, feel free to forward to folks who might want to join our list. If you wish to unsubscribe from this list, follow this opt-out link.

Lead Stories:

ICE Held 660 Migrant Kids Set for Expulsion in Hotels, Independent Monitor Reveals
660 children were separated from their families, detained in hotels, and under care of ICE officials who didn’t have background checks.

Practice Alert: USCIS Issues Guidance implementing DHS Memo “Reconsidering” the DACA Program
According to this new guidance: DACA grants will be limited to one year; new, initial DACA applications will be rejected; renewal applications submitted more than 150 days before expiration will be rejected; and advance parole based on DACA will only be granted in exceptional circumstances.

ICE Guards “Systematically” Sexually Assault Detainees in an El Paso Detention Center, Lawyers Say
Guards at an ICE detention center in El Paso have allegedly attacked victims in camera “blind spots” and told them that “no one would believe” them. A Texas advocacy group has filed complaints with the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General. This is one of many instances where sexual assault complaints have been made against guards at ICE facilities.

Action Items:

Sign the petition: Urge Congress to provide Temporary Protected Status holders with permanent protections amidst the COVID-19 crisis
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders have been on the frontlines of our nation’s response with little to no relief. More than 300,000 TPS holders are awaiting a decision from a lower federal court to decide whether they will be deported to face insecurity and possible harm. Only Congress can prevent this terrible outcome. Join Alianza Americas in asking Congress to immediately protect TPS holders and their families here.

Take the Survey if you are a DACA Recipient
The Center for American Progress; the U.S. Immigration Policy Center at the University of California, San Diego; United We Dream; and the National Immigration Law Center have launched the sixth annual survey of DACA recipients. Each year, the survey has revealed the profound impact that the program has had on the lives of recipients and their families, and informed policymakers, advocates and decision makers about the many benefits of the program. This year’s survey will take a closer look at the potential harms DACA recipients could face if the program is terminated.

Apply to be a Staff Member at Congress
In the next several months, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC)  will work to help increase Latino representation in Congressional offices and Committees by restarting our CHC resume bank as we look to the 117th Congress.We plan to make resumes from our bank available to any Members and Committees seeking to diversify their teams.  If you are aware of anyone who is interested in being included in the CHC resume bank, please encourage them to fill out this questionnaire and upload their resume.

Attend a Webinar: DACA Beyond the US Supreme Court Decision
The Immigrant Legal Resource Center is hosting a free webinar on September 9th, 2020. By attending this webinar, you will understand the most recent changes to the DACA program and be armed with strategies to effectively advocate for DACA recipients and other undocumented immigrants. Follow this link to register!

Take Immigration Courses
The New School at the Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility is offering a no-cost, no-credit course on Human Rights and Migration, open to everyone. The course will cover migrant workers, gender, racism and xenophobia, human trafficking, child migration, immigration enforcement, and forced migration, and you can find more information, including a registration form and list of speakers, here. Harvard professor Dr. Roberto G. Gonzales also generously shared his excellent syllabus for his course Contemporary Immigration Policy and Educational Practice, which you can find here.

#CovidRelief4All Campaign
Funding to universities through the CARES Act does not apply to international and undocumented students.  The Rutgres-Camden chapter of Define American would like to provide financial support to our international, undocumented, and DACAmented students impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. You can participate and share this Fund  and Toolkit with your networks and student leaders.

Organizational Sign-on Opportunity: Letter to Biden re: Protection for TPS and Beyond
Have your organization sign onto this letter to Vice President Joe Biden urging him to commit to extending Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) for over 2.2 million people on day one of his presidency, including those with Temporary Protected Status (TPS), those who are in danger of losing it, and those who were left out. The deadline is Friday, September 11, 2020 at 5pm ET.

Resources and Reports:

Policy Report: In Children’s Best Interests: Charting A Child-Sensitive Approach to U.S. Immigration Policy​
This report​ provides a review of the Best Interest of the Child framework that is supposed to safeguard the well-being of children. It draws upon presentations from a Feb. 2020 symposium hosted by American University’s Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) and concludes with recommendations for incorporating basic child welfare principles into decision-making involving immigrant children.​

The Immigration Action Plan
The Presidents’ Alliance is proud to announce our support and participation in the 2021 Immigration Action Plan! Led by the Immigration Hub and America’s Voice, more than 100 organizations have worked together over a period of nine months to develop detailed policy prescriptives, instructions for implementation, and a clear vision of our expectations for the next administration. This is a sort of “executive summary” document, which will be followed by a comprehensive document containing transition recommendations for the next administration, including recommendations on international students developed by the Presidents’ Alliance and our partners.

An Analysis of the Impact of the Secretary’s July 2020 Memorandum on DACA
Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration released this Analysis of the impact of recent DHS memorandums heavily restricting DACA.

ACLU of Texas’ “Know Your Rights with Border Patrol” Series
Available in English and Spanish, this graphics series share important information regarding civil rights protecting all our community members and feature different scenarios where one might encounter Border Patrol agents.  The information is also in a flyer and poster templates.

Other Recent News of Interest: 

Immigrant ‘Dreamers’ in Search of a Job Are Being Turned Away
President Trump hopes to end DACA, which has granted employment authorization to thousands of young immigrants. Already, some large employers are refusing to hire them.
The New York Times 

ICE Makes It Almost Impossible for People to Make Phone Calls from Detention Centers, Even in a Pandemic
Despite the importance of phone access for detained immigrants, ICE has routinely failed to ensure reliable and accessible phone calls in its facilities for decades.
Immigration Impact

Department of Justice Proposes New Limit to the Board of Immigration Appeals’ Power
A new proposed rule will erode due process by placing additional undue pressure on Board of Immigration Appeals members. It will further limit the avenues of relief available to individuals in immigration proceedings to reduce the overall number of people who ultimately obtain relief from removal.
Immigration Impact

U.S. policy of expelling migrant children without an asylum interview challenged in class-action lawsuit
Advocacy groups mounted the first class-action court challenge against the Trump administration’s policy of expelling migrant children from the U.S. southern border without giving them an opportunity to seek humanitarian refuge. The lawsuit seeks to block border officials from citing an emergency public health order to suspend the legal safeguards Congress created for unaccompanied migrant children.

Comparing Trump’s and Biden’s vastly different immigration policies
Trump’s policy on immigration is, in effect, a negation. But if Biden wins, he plans to implement comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship for the millions of undocumented immigrants in the United States.
Los Angeles Times 

Legal Victory Brings Hope to Asylum Seekers Turned Away at the Border
A federal judge has decided that Al Otro Lado v. Wolf, a lawsuit challenging the Department of Homeland Security’s illegal policy of turning back asylum seekers at ports of entry, may proceed as a class action. This may ensure future asylum seekers’ right to seek protection in the US.
Immigration Impact

The House passed a bill that would rescue a key immigration agency from a budget crisis
The House passed a bill on August 22 that allows US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to raise certain fees associated with fast-tracked immigration applications and prevent the furloughs.

USCIS Cancelled Planned Staff Furloughs, But Budgetary Challenges Remain
Although USCIS’ financial situation has recently improved, the agency will likely still require an infusion of money to be able to pay its bills at the beginning of Fiscal Year 2021, which begins October 1. The agency will need to make systemic changes in order to prevent future budget crises.
Immigration Impact

Chicago native helps create a ‘TurboTax-style’ platform to prepare immigration forms for free
Student Fernando Urbina’s free immigration form preparation service will streamline the immigration process and make it more accessible to low-income families.
Chicago Tribune 

NJ Assembly OKs bill allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain professional licenses
The New Jersey Assembly approved a bill to allow immigrants, regardless of their status, to apply for professional and occupational licenses in the state if they meet all other requirements. The legislation would be among the most sweeping in the country and the first on the East Coast that would remove all immigration barriers to obtaining professional licenses, advocates said.

‘Unconscionable, But Unsurprising’: Trump Border Officials Proposed ‘Heat Ray’ Weapon to Deter Migrants
“Maximum cruelty and maximum harm: That is how this administration operates. It is their policy and their platform,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal.
Common Dreams

Reviving DACA to reforming DHS: 5 immigration issues Biden could confront as president
Advocates are ready to hold Biden to account for his promises on immigration — and reversing Trump’s policies is just the start.

Trump Cabinet Officials Voted in 2018 White House Meeting to Separate Migrant Children, Say Officials
In May 2018, President Trump’s senior adviser Stephen Miller spearheaded the decision to enforce family separation as “a tool to deter more immigration.” Officials said that no one discussed that separating families would be inhumane or immoral.
NBC News


Thanks so much for reading and staying informed.