Protecting Immigrant Communities Newsletter: 9/16/20

September 16, 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:

U.S. judge orders migrant children to be released from hotel detention
On September 4, Judge Dolly Gee ordered ICE to stop detaining migrant children in private hotels and ordered that ICE transfer all children currently held in hotels to licensed facilities. She determined that the CDC rule did not supersede children’s Flores rights, and that concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic were “no excuse for DHS to skirt fundamental humanitarian protections.”
NBC News 

‘Like an Experimental Concentration Camp’: Whistleblower Complaint Alleges Mass Hysterectomies at ICE Detention Center
Several legal advocacy groups filed a whistleblower complaint on behalf of a nurse at an ICE detention center documenting “jarring medical neglect” within the facility, including a refusal to test detainees for the novel coronavirus and an exorbitant rate of hysterectomies being performed on immigrant women.
Law & Crime

Appeals court OKs Trump plan to end protected immigration status for 4 countries
In 2-1 ruling, the 9th Circuit has given the Trump administration a green light to proceed with deportation of about 300,000 undocumented immigrants from El Salvador, Nicaragua and Sudan by ending the ‘temporary protected status’ they’ve had for up to 20 years.

The Trump Administration Is Considering Excluding Some Immigrant Children From A Controversial Pandemic Border Policy
The Trump administration is considering changing a pandemic-related border policy to no longer quickly return unaccompanied immigrant children to four countries that require them to test negative for the coronavirus before entering. If put in place, unaccompanied minors would go to an Office of Refugee Resettlement shelter from ICE custody.
BuzzFeed News

Action Items:

 Support Asylum Seekers by Buying their Artwork
Sidewalk School, a non-profit organization that serves the child asylum seekers stuck in Mexico because of MPP, is working alongside artists in the Matamoros Asylee Camp. They are providing the material necessary for individuals to create artwork and providing a platform for their work to be sold. Art is for sale at their online store. The artist will receive the majority of proceeds.

Organization Sign-On Opportunity: Extend Public Comment Period for New DHS Biometrics Proposed Rule
This organizational sign-on letter requests that DHS provide a minimum 60-day comment period for the public to respond to the 320+-page proposal that would dramatically expand the types of biometric data DHS collects on immigrants and U.S. citizens. Read the letter here and sign on here. The deadline is September 16, 2020.

Webinar: Build your Public Charge Train-the-Trainer Program
On September 16 at 3pm CT, join the PIF Campaign for an informative webinar to learn best practices in developing and running effective Train-the-Trainer (TTT) programs, which . efficiently extend the reach of public charge educators. This will give you the background to start a TTT program in your state or locality. Click here to register.

Submit a Comment on the Federal Registrar’s Website about New Proposed Rule
The Department of Justice is proposing a range of measures that will limit the Board of Immigration Appeals’(BIA) authority. The new rule will make it harder for the BIA to independently make decisions, endanger due process, and accelerate the removal of individuals from the United States. Read more about the rule here. Submit your comments here by September 25.

Webinar: Working with Immigrant Children and Families Involved in the State Child Welfare System​
On Wednesday, September 30, at 2 pm CT, please join the American Bar Association’s Center on Children and the Law and Children’s Immigration Law Academy on a webinar. Although the main audience for this webinar is attorneys who work in the child welfare system, it is free and open to anyone.

Resources and Reports:

Family Separation Is Not Over: How the Trump Administration Continues to Separate Children from Their Parents to Serve Its Political Ends
A recent report from the Young Center tracks continuing actions from the Trump administration to separate children from their families. The report shows that although Zero Tolerance was ended in the face of public backlash, family separation continues to the present day. It also includes policy recommendations centered on the need to prioritize children’s best interests.

Protecting Immigrant Families (PIF) Campaign’s webinar “Reports from the Field: Harm of Public Charge During the COVID-19 Crisis”
In this webinar, healthcare experts shared insights about their work serving immigrants in light of the COVID-19 crisis and implementation of public charge policy changes. The webinar features new research about the broader immigrant-serving field during the COVID-19 crisis, what response efforts have and have not done to support immigrant families, and how organizations have taken action to respond to this crisis. The PIF campaign staff provided an overview of recommended messages for the public and immigrant families. Here are the slides and a link to the recording.

Brief: Immigrant-Serving Organizations’ Perspectives on the COVID-19 Crisis
In this brief, Urban Institute provides perspectives from immigrant-serving organizations across the country on what is happening in immigrant communities; what federal, state, and local response efforts have and have not done to support immigrant families; and how their organizations have taken action to respond to this crisis. Because of the economic crisis, organizations are seeing an increase in unmet basic needs, such as cash, food, and housing.

Other Recent News of Interest: 

ICE arrests 2,000 immigrants in largest sweep of the pandemic
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced on Tuesday it made more than 2,000 arrests during a six-week nationwide operation in July and August that focused on those with criminal convictions and charges, but also led to the arrests of some undocumented immigrants with clean records.
CBS News

Watchdog confirms botched family reunifications kept migrant children waiting in vans overnight
The inspector general of the DHS has confirmed that migrant children who had been separated from their parents were left waiting in vans for hours, in some cases overnight, while waiting to be reunited in July 2018.
NBC News

Trump Wants To Force More Immigrants To Submit More Personal Information, Including Eye Scans And DNA
Trump wants to expand the number of people required to provide biometrics and increase the personal information the government can demand. This would be a massive shift in DHS data collection and a cause of concern for privacy and immigrant advocates.
BuzzFeed News

Citizenship applicants caught in backlog distraught over inability to vote this year: ‘I feel like my voice is not going to count’
Hundreds of thousands of citizenship applicants fear they won’t be able to vote this year due to the delay in processing at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). “The delays have worsened amid budget shortfalls and policy changes by the Trump administration, as well as the coronavirus pandemic, which temporarily shuttered USCIS offices this year,” Michelle Ye Hee Lee reports.
Washington Post

Survey: Two-Thirds Of Harris County Latino Students Fear The Deportation Of Someone They Know
A new study finds that two-thirds of U.S.-born Latino students in Harris County, Texas, fear a friend or loved one will be arrested or deported, while half know someone who has already been deported. While the research was conducted before the pandemic, the crisis will only exacerbate existing anxieties as students’ access to resources is limited.
Houston Public Media

Judge Blocks Asylum Screening by Border Protection Agents
On August 31, a federal judge in Washington, D.C. ruled that CBP officials cannot take the place of USCIS Asylum Officers when conducting initial asylum screenings because they do not have adequate training.
New York Times

Trump Admin. Finalizes Virus Immigration Restriction Rule
On September 4, the Department of Health & Human Services finalized a rule that would empower the Director of CDC to prohibit entry into the U.S. of individuals who have come from or traveled through a place where a “Quarantinable Communicable Disease” was present. This CDC action has resulted in the apprehension and summary expulsion of over 100,000 migrants who have attempted to enter the United States since March.

Whistleblower says top DHS officials distorted intel to match Trump statements, lied to Congress
On September 8, Brian Murphy, a former senior DHS intelligence analyst, submitted a whistleblower complaint to the DHS Office of Inspector General alleging a number of top Trump administration officials had misled Congress and the public by falsifying intelligence reports. Some of the false information related to asylum policy and the border.
NBC News

A federal court blocked Trump from using the census to undermine immigrants’ political power
A federal court in New York struck down a presidential memorandum that would have excluded unauthorized immigrants living in the US from census population counts for the purposes of redrawing congressional districts in 2021. Had the memorandum not been blocked, it would have reduced the count in areas where foreign-born populations have traditionally settled — primarily Democrat-run cities — and undermined their political power.

A migrant mother saw her disabled son walk into the U.S. Then he disappeared
On August 24, after waiting for five months in the violent Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez for a U.S. asylum hearing, Elida, a Guatemalan migrant, decided to send her disabled 12-year-old son Gustavo into the United States alone. Gustavo was quickly deported back to Guatemala, where he was reunited with his father.

California Attorney General Leads Effort Against Trump Administration’s Sweeping Increases to Immigration Fees
Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed a friend-of-the-court brief calling out the unprecedented attack designed to limit access to immigration and the citizenship application process. This is the first time the US will impose fees on asylum applications.
Sierra Sun Times

A Refugee From Vietnam Has Been Named The New Leader Of ICE
The Trump administration has selected Tony Pham, a refugee from Vietnam to direct ICE. Pham told ICE attorneys earlier this year that he had a “prosecutor’s mindset” and emphasized that his family followed the “lawful path to citizenship”.
BuzzFeed News

Legal hurdles, pandemic would bedevil Biden efforts to undo Trump immigration overhaul
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden says he will reverse some of U.S. President Donald Trump’s restrictive immigration policies should he win in November, but the dizzying number of changes could take months or years to undo, according to policy and regulatory experts and people close to the Biden campaign.



Thanks so much for reading and staying informed.