Protecting Immigrant Communities Newsletter – October 16, 2020

October 16, 2020 | Texas

By Sara Albanna and Cheasty Anderson

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:

Appeals Court Rules Trump Administration Can’t Hold Immigrant Children In Hotels
Three judges on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals left in place a lower court’s order that requires the U.S. to stop using hotels in most situations to detain children unaccompanied by a parent. Now children must go to government facilities that offer legal services as required under the Flores agreement, which protects migrant children.
Huff Post

‘We Need to Take Away Children,’ No Matter How Young, Justice Dept. Officials Said
An unsettling draft investigation report reveals that top Justice Department officials were a “driving force” behind the Trump administration’s 2018 decision to separate migrant parents from their children, regardless of the effects it would have.
New York Times

ICE Is Planning To Fast-Track Deportations Across The Country
ICE has started to implement a policy that allows officers to arrest and rapidly deport undocumented immigrants who have been in the US for less than two years, without a hearing in front of a judge. Previously, this policy only applied within 100 miles of the border, but it is now applicable anywhere in the country. Advocates argue that this policy violates migrants’ due process rights.
BuzzFeed News

Action Items:

Take Action: Support Black Migrants in Danger
On October 13, sixty Cameroonian asylum seekers were deported from Fort Worth. They feared detainment, torture, and death upon their arrival back in Cameroon. Additionally, several Cameroonians reported physical abuse by ICE officers to coerce them into signing deportation documents. There are also allegations that ICE falsified their deportation documents. Keep the conversation going because there are thousands of Black migrants in danger. Additionally the Cameroon American Council (CAC) is shutting down for a few weeks because of lack of funding. To support CAC you can donate through GoFundMe at or CashApp via the tag $SylvieBelloCAC or 202.902.3283.

Sign the Petition to Support Reforming the U Visa System
U visas are granted to undocumented migrants who are victims of certain crimes in the US and are helpful in the investigation of criminal activity. Human Rights Initiative and SMU Law’s Hunter Center released the report, Flawed Design: How the U Visa is Revictimizing the People It Was Created to Help, that chronicles the challenges that U visa applicants face as they wait years in the immigration backlog. This report is paired with a petition to ask Congress to reform the U visa system so that undocumented survivors can get protection sooner.

Attend a Virtual Event Hosted by Nuns on the Bus
From their website: “This year’s Nuns on the Bus tour will raise the most pressing issues in our nation, elevate the lived experiences of those facing the greatest challenges, and prepare participants to vote for the common good on Election Day. During the tour, events will include Rallies, Town Halls for Spirit-Filled Voters, Site Visits, and Dialogue Across Geographic Divides.” Check out their event page here.

Attend a Webinar: Turning Protests into Tangible and Sustainable Change
Alianza America is hosting a webinar  on October 30, 2-3pm CT, to explore how social protests against economic, social and political oppressive conditions around the world can translate to substantive change that will benefit most people. They have sessions in English and Spanish. Register here.

Read Welcome to the New World by Jake Halpern and Michael Sloan
This new graphic novel shares the story of how the Aldabaans, a Syrian refugee family that arrived in the US in 2016, have transitioned to life in the US. A review by The Guardian says: “Powerful . . . Its granular, journalistic approach takes you to places rarely imagined in terms of the refugee experience . . . truly thought-provoking.”

Resources and Reports:

ICE Air Flights August 2020 and YTD
Witness at the Border is a volunteer organization that monitors, tracks, and reports on internal transports and deportation ICE flights. Their new report documents and contextualizes the number of ICE flights in 2020 so far. This work is important because it provides evidence about ICE actions that would otherwise be unavailable to the public.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Noncitizens and Across the U.S. Immigration System
This report released by American Immigration Council explains that the motive of the COVID-19 immigration bans is to implement drastic changes to our legal immigration system under the guise of preserving economic opportunities for native-born Americans. The report outlines several areas where ICE and the legal system are worsening the COVID epidemic, as well as other policies that endanger asylum-seekers, and limit legal immigration.

Key Stats on the Effect of COVID-19 on Kids
First Focus on Children compiled key resources that explain the impact of the pandemic on all aspects of children’s lives, including hunger, poverty, health, child care, education, and others. It also includes some resources on the pandemic’s impact on immigrant children and families. Overall, the resources show how COVID-19 has further compounded racial, ethnic, and economic disparities we long have known existed.

Discouraging and Denying Renewals: An Assessment on the Impact of the July 2020 DHS Memorandum on DACA
This report by Presidents’ Alliance for Higher Education and Immigration and TheDream.US, which surveyed close to 1,800 DACA recipients, concludes that the new DACA policy will reduce the number of DACA recipients by adding substantial barriers, such as higher costs, shortening the grant to one year, and delaying the allowable application period. You may view the report here and their statement here.

CBP Did Not Adequately Oversee FY 2019 Appropriated Humanitarian Funding
This report by the Office of Inspector General found that the $192.7 million that CBP received for humanitarian expenses to address the needs of migrants in its custody was not adequately used. For example, CBP approved purchases of items such as toner cartridges, fingerprint pads, and restraints, which were not necessities.

Other Recent News of Interest: 

A Judge Has Temporarily Blocked Trump From Raising Fees For Asylum-Seekers And Citizens
A new rule that established a $50 fee for asylum-seekers and raised the prices for immigrants applying to become US citizens from $640 to upward of $1,170 was temporarily blocked by a federal judge at the end of September.

DHS Wants to Erase Its History of Misconduct
The Border Patrol has petitioned the National Archives and Records Administration to designate thousands of its internal records documenting abuse as “temporary,” slating them for destruction in as early as four years. A similar request by ICE was granted last year.
The Intercept

ICE reverses COVID-19 measure, says it will resume arresting non-criminal migrants
U.S. immigration officials quietly announced they would resume regular apprehension and detention practices, a reversal from an earlier temporary suspension of non-criminal enforcement due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Advocates argue that this suspension should not be lifted because the pandemic is ongoing.
Miami Herald

Trump administration will no longer block abortion access for immigrant teens in custody
According to a revised policy that was approved by a judge in Washington, the Office of Refugee Resettlement clarified that shelters cannot interfere with access to reproductive health care, including abortion. This is the result of an ACLU lawsuit that has been going on for the past three years.
The Washington Post

ICE preparing targeted arrests in ‘sanctuary cities,’ amplifying president’s campaign theme
The Trump administration prepared an immigration enforcement blitz in October that would target arrests in U.S. cities and jurisdictions that have adopted “sanctuary” policies, according to three U.S. officials. Sanctuary policies have been adopted in many of the country’s largest cities and have a significant impact on ICE operations by limiting the number of potential deportees who can be easily taken into custody.
Washington Post

Immigrants are Key to Economic Recovery in Rio Grande Valley
As essential workers, 13.2 million immigrants nationwide are risking their lives to maintain key services and keep us healthy. Immigrants are not only getting us through the pandemic, but they will be crucial to our recovery.
Rio Grande Guardian

Trump administration in an all-out push to build border wall before election
The Trump administration is racing to build his border wall as quickly as possible ahead of the Nov. 3 election, with construction crews working around the clock. The administration has installed more than 341 miles so far and CBP officials say they remain on track to finish at least 450 miles by the end of 2020.
Washington Post

Thanks so much for reading and staying informed.