* Dramatization
* Dramatization
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statue-of-liberty-2501264_640-300x200Parts of the Trump administration’s proposed travel ban have passed a federal appeals court in California, reinstating a temporary immigration ban against travelers from Muslim-majority countries, keeping them from entering the United States. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, composed of a three-judge panel, countered an earlier lower court ruling that put the travel ban covering travelers from Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen on hold.

The Trump administration has made several attempts to enact a travel ban against Muslim-majority countries as well as nations considered a threat to national security. Its third iteration was issued in September, blocking travel from 11 different countries. But the State of Hawaii was quick to block the executive order, challenging it in court. Honolulu District Judge Derrick Watson presided the case against what he called a “prejudiced” travel ban, issuing a preliminary injunction that barred the ban from full enactment.

Neither Watson’s injunction nor the appellate ruling affect people from North Korea and Venezuela.

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to-read-the-book-2784895_640-300x200A Syracuse University study shows that Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s “Secure Communities” program, an initiative that has triggered the debate around so-called sanctuary cities, is showing lackluster results.

TRAC, a Syracuse University program designed to make federal data available to the general public, released a report on ICE’s Secure Communities program last week, showing that the federal immigration law enforcement program is only responsible for 3 percent of the United States’ annual deportations—a surprisingly low figure considering the controversy it has drawn since its conception.

“Only about 2.5 percent of Secure Communities removals were connected to the use of detainers sent to local law enforcement agencies. … When Compared with ICE removals from all sources, this component made up even a smaller proportion – less than 1 percent of all ICE removals,” stated the report by TRAC, a nonpartisan research group that does not make policy recommendations.

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united-states-637713_640-300x225Juan Manuel Montes, the first “DREAMer” to allege being improperly deported under the Trump administration, was arrested by U.S. Border Patrol agents after trying to re-enter the country.

According to Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), Montes was able to make it about 600 feet north of the fence before getting caught and subsequently arrested. Montes reportedly dropped to the ground and tried to run away as CBP agents approached him, but was eventually apprehended.

The agency’s official statement recounts Montes’s pursuit and arrest: “After a brief foot chase, agents caught and detained the subject. The man was arrested and transported to the Calexico station for processing.”

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us-army-379036_640-300x199U.S. District Judge Ellen Huvelle ruled that the Department of Defense (DOD) cannot block or delay the citizenship applications of three noncitizen soldiers serving in the U.S. military—a decision that extends to the thousands of migrant service members whose citizenship applications are in limbo. According to Judge Huvelle, the DOD is jeopardizing the future of immigrant service members, who were promised an expedited path to U.S. citizenship in exchange for eight years of service to the country.

In her 35-page opinion, Judge Huvelle writes: “Plaintiffs live in constant fear that they will lose their work or student visas or be discharged, deported, and subject to harsh punishment in their country of origin for joining a foreign military.”

Established in 2008 as a pilot program, the Military Accessions Vital to National Interest (MAVNI) program is a special recruiting program open to select immigrants interested in joining the U.S. military in exchange for U.S. citizenship. Recruits were mostly noncitizens with critical skills deemed vital to national interests, ranging from proficiency in foreign languages to specialized skills in healthcare and medicine.

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hospital-661274_640-300x168Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents have detained 10-year-old Rosa Maria Hernandez immediately after a surgical operation and discharge from a Texas hospital. Hernandez is an undocumented immigrant with cerebral palsy, who, at the age of 3 months, was brought into the United States by her mother and the rest of her family—all undocumented—in the hopes of receiving better medical care.

In October, the young immigrant was transported by ambulance for gallbladder surgery, rushed from one hospital to the other as immigration agents trailed behind. While in admission, agents kept close watch and ensured that the door of her hospital room was kept open.

She was eventually detained after doctors released her with the recommendation that she be accompanied by a family member who is familiar with her medical and psychological needs. Despite the recommendation, she was promptly transferred to a juvenile shelter in San Antonio, over a hundred miles away from her home and family in Laredo, and now awaits deportation.

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people-1031169_640-300x184Over 5,300 Nicaraguan immigrants will face deportation after Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Acting Secretary Elaine Duke announced that the agency will lift their Temporary Protected Status and work permits on January 5, 2019.

After Hurricane Mitch struck Central America in 1998, it left a devastated Nicaragua struggling to recover from massive damage to its infrastructure and economy. These conditions forced Nicaraguans to seek refuge in neighboring countries, most notably, in the United States, where they received Temporary Protected Status (TPS) from deportation and the ability to seek work permits to help them assimilate with American society.

After nearly 20 years of living and working legally in the US, these Nicaraguan immigrants stand to be uprooted once again after the DHS decided the situation in their home country no longer qualifies them for TPS.

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Fotolia_83082439_Subscription_S-300x165A federal judge denied a petition by the Trump administration to pause the multiple lawsuits filed against the federal government for ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an executive order implemented during the Obama administration that grants temporary removal protection to undocumented immigrants who entered the United States as children.

After the Trump administration announced that it would be ending DACA, the state of California, the city of San Jose, Santa Clara County, the University of California, and a group of DACA recipients promptly sued the federal government and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), blocking the reversal of the program.

The government moved for a stay of proceedings, to which U.S. District Judge William Alsup responded by denying their request, noting that pausing the proceedings as the March 5 deadline of the program looms closer would jeopardize the future of the more than 800,000 immigrants under DACA status.

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sunset-flag-america-fields-300x200With the Trump administration’s 120-day ban against refugees expiring this month, the White House announced that it is now allowing refugees into the country once more, but this time, they must meet new immigration requirement on top of additional screening processes.

In an October 24 press release, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Acting Secretary Elaine Duke said: “The security of the American people is this administration’s highest priority, and these improved vetting measures are essential for American security. These new, standardized screening measures provide an opportunity for the United States to welcome those in need into our country, while ensuring a safer, more secure homeland.”

The old refugee vetting system only required 5 years’ worth of personal information from asylum seekers as well as a basic background of their family ties. Under the new Trump refugee program, vetting now requires applicants to produce email addresses, residential addresses, and phone numbers from until 10 years prior to application, along with the personal and contact details of all family ties, including those not situated in the United States.

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smartphone-friends-internet-connection-300x200In a notice quietly posted in the Federal Register last month, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that beginning October 18, individuals who go through the U.S. immigration process will have their social media activity included in their file. This change in policy is effective for all applicants for entry and immigration into the U.S. as well as naturalized citizens and permanent residents.

According to the notice, “social media handles, aliases, associated identifiable information and search results” have been formally included in an applicant’s immigration history – part of a unified, streamlined file to be shared and passed along multiple government agencies including the DHS itself, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), as well as US Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

The change was made in accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974, particularly modifying the DHS system of records titled “Alien File, Index, and National File Tracking System of Records.” This, the notice states, is a “system of records [containing] information regarding transactions involving an individual as he or she passes through the US immigration process” accessible to all concerned government agencies.

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pentagon-720022_640-300x300The Pentagon announced last week that it is making changes to the screening process for immigrants looking to enlist in the military and in exchange, gain U.S. citizenship.

Launched in 2009, the Military Accessions Vital to National Interest (MAVNI) program is a special recruiting program open to select immigrants interested in joining the U.S. military. It drew in immigrant recruits with critical skills such as proficiency in foreign languages and knowledge in specialized fields, such as healthcare, among others. In exchange, foreigners granted the promise of expedited naturalization after their service.

At the time it was launched, the MAVNI program quickly drew criticism and raised security concerns, with many questioning the thoroughness of the vetting process and the security risks involved in handing out citizenships to foreign nationals, leading the Obama administration to suspend new applications.