* Dramatization
* Dramatization
Published on:

trumpAs the Trump administration carries on with its crackdown on illegal immigration, detaining and deporting undocumented immigrants by the thousands, one report shows that Texas immigrants are not only most likely to be deported, they are also the least likely to go through the deportation proceedings with the help of a legal professional.

The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), an independent and nonpartisan research organization at Syracuse University, released a report showing that between October 2000 and February 2018 in Texas, only 213,197 out of 733,125 immigrants—less than 30 percent—went through their deportation proceedings with adequate legal representation. Texas trails behind only Louisiana and Arizona in this respect.

Furthermore, 68 percent of Texas deportation cases in the study’s sample resulted in a removal (i.e. deportation) order. In New York, on the other hand, 74 percent of immigrant defendants were represented by an attorney, leading to only 27% of cases ending with a removal order.

Published on:

lawThe Supreme Court quashed a law on Tuesday that would authorize the government to arbitrarily deport immigrants found guilty of serious crimes, stating that it was too unconstitutionally vague. The ruling is yet another setback to the Trump administration’s efforts to deport immigrants convicted of certain crimes.

The ruling is significant because Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, who usually leans conservative, unexpectedly joined the four liberal justices in the high court, forming a simple majority with a 5-4 vote. Justice Gorsuch, explaining his vote, claimed that the law was simply unconstitutional.

“Vague laws invite arbitrary power,” he wrote in agreement.

Published on:

detentionThe American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Massachusetts filed a class action lawsuit against the Trump administration on Tuesday, claiming a trend of detaining immigrants seeking legal immigration through marriage to U.S. citizens.

The lawsuit comes amid increased calls by President Trump to crack down on illegal and legal immigration, particularly chain migration, or the practice of seeking legal immigration status by sponsoring extended family members seeking legal entry into the United States. These new immigrants, upon legalization, carry on the practice, resulting in a familial “chain” of immigrants entering the country.

The proposed class action, filed in the U.S. District Court in Massachusetts, alleges that immigration officials have been deliberately detaining noncitizen spouses of U.S. residents seeking lawful immigration status, forcibly breaking families apart.

Published on:

licenseSeveral immigrant rights advocacy groups have raised concerns over a number of state bills recently introduced in Michigan, which require drivers’ licenses for legal immigrants to bear distinguishing visual markers and the expiration date of their legal status, claiming that such a measure will lead to racial profiling and discrimination.

Two Michigan House bills were proposed last month by Pamela Hornberger(R-Chesterfield Township) and Beth Griffin (R-Mattawan), mandating to have driver’s licenses and state identification cards of noncitizens clearly indicate when the license holder’s legal status is set to expire. Both bills will be discussed in a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing set on Tuesday.

According to Michigan Rep. Triston Cole (R-Mancelona), chair of the committee considering the legislation, the two bills are likely to “not have a great deal of resistance in the committee,”and will “come out fairly quickly once we can get the hearing process over.”

Published on:

Immigrationjudge judges claim that the annual case quota set by the Trump administration to unclog the country’s immigration court system will likely do the opposite, adding to, rather than clearing up the courts’ huge backlog of cases.This comes after the U.S. Department of Justice announced it would be setting a quota for immigration judges, mandating every judge to handle and resolve a minimum of 700 cases a year to meet job standards.

The Trump administration has been making changes to the country’s immigration system, living up to the President’s campaign promise to crack down on unlawful immigration and undocumented immigrants. In particular, the president has focused his efforts on doing away with the legal technicalities he believes have been “abused” by individuals seeking asylum in the U.S. and awaiting court dates in order to remain in the country. Immigration courts have thus seen an overwhelming influx of cases, resulting in a backlog of cases that continues to grow with each passing day.

According to Ashley Tabaddor, president of the National Association of Immigration Judges and herself an immigration judge in L.A., the quota will only backfire and undermine a system already suffering from imbalances, which are preventing people who are slated for deportation from receiving a fair hearing.

Published on:

us militaryPresident Trump announced on Tuesday his plan to deploy the military to patrol the southwest border after reports surfaced that a large group of asylum seekers is looking to immigrate to the United States.

Since his campaign, Trump has criticized and threatened to rescind a number of U.S. immigration policies and practices he deemed were too lenient and allowed undocumented immigrants to freely enter the country. In particular, the President criticized laws allowing people to come and ask for asylums as he explained recent announcement to buff up border control.

“The Mexican border is very unprotected by our laws.We have horrible, horrible, and very unsafe laws in the United States,” Trump claimed in a news conference where the presidents of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania were present.

Published on:

trumpAn immigration proposal currently being considered by the Trump administration and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would penalize immigrants who accept almost any type of public benefits, including a popular tax credit, which could result in the rejection of their legal U.S. residency application.

Under a draft proposal obtained by The Washington Post, the DHS would expand the definition of “public benefit” to include health insurance, federal housing subsidies, and the earned income tax credit, which benefits low- and moderate-income employees. This would allow immigration caseworkers to include a wider range of factors when determining whether immigrants and/or their citizen children are using any public benefits or may be likely to use them.

At present, the law penalizes immigrants who receive welfare payments, labeling them a “public charge.” Under the DHS’s proposal, changes would apply to anyone seeking immigration visas or legal permanent residency, such as foreign nationals with expiring work visas.

Published on:

facebookIn the wake of the whistleblower report revealing how Cambridge Analytica used the data of millions of Facebook users to run political campaigns, a new report shows that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has also used Facebook data, this time to find and track suspected undocumented immigrants.

The report by the online publication The Intercept reveals how, at one point, ICE, the federal agency tasked with finding and deporting undocumented immigrants, used backend Facebook data to identify the login times of suspected undocumented immigrants on Facebook, along with the specific IP address used during each login. ICE agents allegedly combined this data with other information, such as phone records, to identify the specific location of the immigrant in question. The Intercept acquired this information from emails and documents produced through an FOI request.

The records shed light on one instance where ICE agents used social media and data analytics tools to locate targets. In February and March last year, ICE agents communicated with a detective from Las Cruces, New Mexico, requesting information about a certain person in the area. The agents were reportedly able to obtain Facebook data containing a log of login times and corresponding IP addresses of each login.

Published on:

Reports Reveal USCIS Creating Internal Division to Crack Down on “Lenient” CaseworkersAccording to sources and documents acquired by The Washington Post, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will be forming a new internal division that will closely monitor the agency’s caseworkers in an effort to crack down on agents who may be too lenient toward immigrants applying for permanent residency or citizenship.

The reports show that federal agency in charge of the U.S. immigration system has not fully disclosed plans of the new division to its more than 19,000 employees and contractors. They have, however, been discreetly reassigning personnel to staff the division, according to agency insiders who shared what they know with The Washington Post on the condition that they remain anonymous.

It’s no secret that undocumented immigration has been a centerpiece of the Trump campaign. But the President isn’t just against unlawful immigration, he has also pushed for tighter regulations on legal immigration.

Published on:

Cities Petition Ninth Circuit to Protect DACA RecipientsThe National League of Cities and the U.S. Conference of Mayors, a group of 40 cities and counties from all over the country, have filed an amicus brief in the Ninth Circuit to uphold a decision blocking the federal government’s plans to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, placing the future of more than 700,000 immigrants in jeopardy.

Mayors and county officials from Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago among others have requested the appellate court to uphold an existing nationwide injunction that is effectively preventing the Trump administration’s order to dismantle DACA.

DACA is an Obama-era executive order offering temporary protected status to undocumented immigrants who entered the country as minors. Under this immigration program, DREAMers (named after the DREAM Act, a failed bill with the same provisions as DACA) are permitted to apply for two-year-renewable work permits, allowing them to legally work in the country and seek a driver’s license among other things. Benefits are extended to DREAMers who arrived in the United States before the age of 16 and can provide proof of having continuously lived in the country since June 2017.