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MIGRANT CENTER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
Providing Free and Low-Cost Legal Services to
Detained Asylum Seekers in Texas
 
Learn About Our Work

AUGUST
NEWSLETTER
IMMIGRANT VOICE:
The Immigration Court Orders Me and My Children Deported without Giving Me Notice or a Chance to Explain the Danger We Face
 
- By Eliza (name changed to protect confidentiality)


I and my three kids fled the gangs in Honduras who had threatened and killed members of my family. We arrived at the bridge in the United States in the fall of 2018. We asked for protection and eventually were released from custody. I was connected to the Migrant Center for Human Rights, which helped me put together my declaration and asylum application for me and my children and advised me to call every week to see when my upcoming asylum court date would be. I had already sent the court my address so I was expecting to get a hearing notice mailed to me.
 
I called the court again in May because I still hadn’t received a court hearing notice. I could not find information on my case on the court’s hotline. I went to the Migrant Center and we called together and they told me that I had missed a court date in Miami and there was an order to deport me and my children to Honduras.

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POLICY ANALYSIS:

Matter of L-E-A- : When Families Are Still Protected Under Asylum Law
 
How Attorneys and Adjudicators Work within the Confines of the Refugee Concept of “Particular Social Group”
 Despite common misperceptions, U.S. asylum law only protects a small subset of people who face serious danger in their home countries. Many are deported despite the risks. Some are killed upon return. This is largely a result of our refugee definition being based on the problems of World War II and not the problems and realities of today, over 70 years later. 

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OUR UPDATES
ASKING HOTELS NOT TO WORK WITH ICE
 
July 5 – In response to
news that ICE is planning to use hotels in its raids to detain parents and children, we joined organizations around the country in calling on nine major hotel chains to not sell their rooms to ICE for use as temporary detention of immigrants picked up in raids. Go here to learn how to call these hotels and tell them not to rent hotel rooms to ICE to use as detention spaces.


CALLING FOR PUBLIC AND LEGISLATIVE SUPPORT OF IMMIGRANTS AT THE BORDER
 
July 12 – Board of Directors Member Sister Denise spoke at the San Antonio immigration vigil Lights for Liberty
 while Executive Director Sara Ramey gave testimony in the Texas House about how to help on the border, including by funding removal defense programs for residents. The Texas Legislature previously voted 147-1 on May 26, to strip $100 million from the state's savings account to expand "surge operations" near the Texas-Mexico border.
 
 
REACHING OUT TO THE INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
 
July 24 – The Migrant Center joined 95 civil society organizations, and an additional 120 individuals with expertise in migration, refugee law and human rights, in submitting a request to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights asking that the Commission conduct a comprehensive visit to the US-Mexico border and to use all mechanisms available to protect the human rights of migrants. Read the letter in English
here and in Spanish here.


SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER ON ASYLUM AND DETENTION
 
July 31 – 154
 organizations, including the Migrant Center, sent a letter to Congress opposing Senator Graham’s S. 1494 bill, the Secure and Protect Act of 2019 in time for the Senate Judiciary Committee’s mark up. S. 1494 would eviscerate the United States’ current asylum system, enable the prolonged detention of children and families by eliminating the Flores Settlement Agreement, and does nothing to address the root causes of migration.
 
 
CASE APPEAL
 
Over the first six months of the year the Migrant Center conducted 197 individual legal visits at the South Texas Detention Complex. During these visits we answered questions about U.S. law and process, helped review and fill out asylum applications in English, wrote detailed declarations about the danger asylum seekers face back home, reviewed evidence, provided asylum seekers with information about how to testify in court, assisted people understand denials and write appeals, and much more.
 
Each visit costs us $35 and about 80% of these visits were paid for by the generous donations of community members like you. That’s $5,516. Thank you to all our supporters for making this work possible!
 
We are now looking for donations for the second half of 2019. Please consider supporting one immigrant for $35 or sponsoring a whole day of visits for $350. Thank you for your consideration.
Donate
DONATE TO THE MIGRANT CENTER
Every dollar you donate goes towards supporting the human rights of detained migrants. We couldn't do this important work without you.
Thank you for your support.
AWESOME FOUNDATION GRANTS THE MIGRANT CENTER $1000 TO HELP ASYLUM SEEKERS

Thanks to the Awesome Foundation more asylum seekers will be able to receive legal assistance in completing their 12-page English asylum applications and explaining why they had to flee their country. Thank you!

Migrant Center Executive Director Sara Ramey speaks to the Awesome Foundation at their Pitch Party about the challenges immigrants face in detention and how our organization helps.
 

IMPORTANT NEWS
 
MOTEL 6 AGREES TO PAY $10 MILLION IN SETTLEMENT

June 28 – The parties filed a joint motion for preliminary approval of an amended settlement agreement in a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of guests who stayed at Motel 6 and whose privacy was violated when their personal information was provided to ICE agents. The new settlement agreement increases the total recovery to $10 million and increases the amount of potential recovery for individual class members. It also expands the scope of the class to cover guests who stayed at any Motel 6 franchise in the United States between February 2015 and June 2019, and modifies the class definitions to include individuals who were questioned, interrogated, detained, and/or placed in removal proceedings as a result of the disclosure of guest information to federal immigration officials. The case is Jane V. et al. v. Motel 6 Operating L.P.
 
 
USCIS LIMITS WHO QUALIFIES AS AN UNACCOMPANIED CHILD
 
June 30 – New
USCIS policy takes effect requiring asylum officers to determine whether an individual who applies for asylum can still be classified as an unaccompanied child under 18 at the time of filing his or her application, as opposed to continue using their status at the time of entry.
 
 
DHS AGAIN WAIVES LAWS IN ORDER TO BUILD BORDER WALL
 
July 1 – DHS is
waiving a number of environmental and cultural protection laws in order to  build a wall in Starr County, Texas. Comments on the Rio Grande Valley border wall are due August 26. A recent film - The River and the Wall - shows just how damaging a Southern wall would be. This film follows Masters and four friends as they travel 1,200 miles from El Paso to the Gulf of Mexico to better understand how the environment would be affected by a border wall. The River and the Wall is available iTunes and Amazon.
 
 
HHS MOVES TO INCREASE CHILD DETENTION BY 1,300 BEDS
 
July 1 – The Department of Health and Human Services published
notice in the Federal Register of its intent to issue $300,800,000 for up to 1,300 temporary shelter beds to keep unaccompanied children in detained in Carrizo Springs, Texas. Three Quonset-hut style tents were also placed at the Border Patrol station in Eagle Pass. The Washington Post reports it will hold as many as 1,600 teens and that the agency is also weighing using Army and Air Force bases in Georgia, Montana and Oklahoma to house an additional 1,400 kids in the coming weeks. Additionally, a spokesman for Customs and Border Protection confirmed on July 12 that a soft-sided 2,500-bed holding facility for single detained adults was being built in Tornillo, Texas on the former site of a controversial shelter for migrant children that drew attention and protests throughout the latter half of 2018.
 
About half of the nearly 2,000 unaccompanied migrant children being held in overcrowded U.S. Border Patrol facilities have been there
beyond the legally allowed 72 hours and more than 250 children 12 or younger have been in custody for an average of six days.
 
Here is a 
report about the human impact of ICE and CBP  actions  on immigrant youth and families. It examines how the government deports people, the history behind immigration enforcement, and the extensive growth of ICE and CBP in the 21st Century. Go to this campaign for a script to call members of Congress to vote "no" on bills that fund deportation and detention. On August 1 a father died in CPB custody.
 
 
REGULATION ISSUED TO DENY HOUSING TO MIXED STATUS FAMILIES
 
July 9 – Department of Housing and Urban Development’s
comment period ended for its proposed regulation that would cause any family currently receiving a public housing benefit or subsidy, including Section 8 vouchers, to automatically be ineligible for any housing benefit if any member of their family living in the house is undocumented.  An estimated 25,000 families in public housing are of mixed-status, meaning that at least one family member is a citizen, legal permanent resident, or refugee and another member is undocumented. Although undocumented immigrants do not qualify for housing benefits, current rules allow them to live with their families who do qualify.  The new rule could affect as many as 32,000 people in mixed-status families who currently receive federal housing benefits. Those families would have to choose between eviction or breaking up the family. The public had 60 days to comment, which ended on July 9, and the proposed rule is on track to be finalized by HUD at a future unknown date.
 
 
INSPECTOR GENERAL FINDS OVERCROWDING AND PROLONGED DETENTION OF CHILDREN
 
July 2 – The Office of the Inspector General released a
report on overcrowding and prolonged detention of children. CBP is only legally allowed to hold detainees for 72 hours before transferring them to ICE or HHS. The Office of the Inspector General found prolonged illegal detention, including of sometimes more than 10 days, and overcrowding in five Rio Grande Valley facilities. There has been a 269% increase in southwest border apprehensions of family units since the same time period last year. Investigators found treatment of minors in the facilities did not meet CBP’s National Standards on Transport, Escort, Detention, and Search (or TEDS Standards); many had no access to showers, no changes of clothes, no hot meals. Investigators also found adults were held for more than one month, inadequate hygiene, and a failure to meet dietary needs. Senior management at these facilities raised security concerns for their detainees and agents, calling it a “ticking time-bomb”.
 
Separately, Trump applauded Australia’s immigration policy. However, Amnesty International is 
saying Manus detention centers are unsafe and "hellish." Earlier this month, United Nations representatives said they were "deeply concerned" by the conditions in the camps.
 
An
ICE memo states that least two deaths of detained immigrants, along with injuries sustained by multiple immigrants in detention, were preventable. The supervisor of ICE’s Health Services Corps (IHSC) says that they provided senior leadership with “numerous” early warnings on detainees at high risk for harm or death. Evidence mounts that DHS cannot ensure the basic health and safety of the people it jails. Medical negligence has led to tragic deaths in custody and sexual assault and harassment is pervasive throughout ICE’s patchwork network of more than 200 jails. DHS’s own Inspector General has confirmed that the inspections system governing ICE detention is a sham, with one ICE employee noting that it is “very, very, very difficult to fail” an ICE detention inspection.
 
A new
study co-authored by Dr. Craig Katz looks at the mental health of immigrant kids in detention centers and how family separation affects a child. The government’s own medical experts engage in whistleblowing to warn about the grave harms DHS detention causes to children.
 
During one time period
6 of the 15 deaths occurred in privately run detention facilities. As of November 2017, 71% of detained immigrants were being held in private detention facilities. ICE has awarded more than $480 million in federal funds to GEO Group and more than $331 million to CoreCivic.
 
 
COURT PROTECTS RIGHT TO A BOND HEARING
 
July 2 – The district court
issued a modified preliminary injunction, affirming that the government must either to provide asylum seekers with prompt bond hearings before an immigration judge with a set of procedural protections – including that the burden rests with the government to prove that continued detention is necessary – within seven days of their request or to release them from detention. This decision is set to take effect on July 16, 2019. The district court found that the Attorney General ruling in Matter of M-S-, eliminating all bond hearings for asylum seekers in expedited removal, likely violates due process. This decision would have left thousands of immigrants locked up for months or years while they seek protection from persecution. Matter of M-S- was set to take effect on July 15. Read here about the increase in detained case processing times. The case is Padilla v. ICE.
 
July 2 – District Judge Pechman issued a decision 
ruling that immigration courts must continue to provide bond hearings to individuals fleeing persecution who enter the United States without inspection, are placed in expedited removal proceedings, and pass their credible fear interviews, despite the Attorney General’s decision to the contrary in Matter of M-S-. The judge ruled that bond hearings must take place within seven days of the request and include certain procedural protections. The case is Padilla v. U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement.
 
TRAC
REPORTS: As of December 31, 2018, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had 47,486 individuals in its custody. The number of ICE detainees was up 22 percent from the 38,810 persons ICE held at the end of September 2016.

Individuals were held by ICE in a total of 215 different facilities. ICE detainees increasingly were at facilities located in Texas, Georgia and Mississippi. In contrast, California, Washington and New York experienced a decline in the number of immigrants held at facilities in those states.

The length of detention varied. One detainee had been locked up by ICE in October 2007 - more than eleven and a half years ago - and was still detained at the end of December 2018. While most had been recently detained, ten percent of immigrants according to ICE records had been held for 6 months or more.
 
 
DOJ ALTERS PROCEDURES FOR IMMIGRATION APPEALS
 
July 2 – The Department of Justice published a
final rule in the Federal Register, effective September 3, 2019, to amend the regulations regarding the administrative review procedures of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) allowing for an affirmance without opinion. The Migrant Center, along with many others, have long called for the BIA and Immigration Courts to be made independent of the political whims of the Executive Branch. During former Attorney General Sessions 22 months in office he stepped in seven times after the BIA has made a decision, and offered five rulings setting national immigration policy – each adverse to the immigrant. By comparison, the two attorneys general who served during former President Obama’s eight years in office took over just four cases. Alberto Gonzales, who served as attorney general under former President George W. Bush, wrote that: “This authority, which gives the Attorney General the ability ‘to assert control over the BIA and effect profound changes in legal doctrine,’ while providing ‘the Department of Justice final say in adjudicated matters of immigration policy,’ represents an additional avenue for the advancement of executive branch immigration policy that is already firmly embodied in practice and regulations.” Immigration Judges say they are leaving their jobs because of Trump policies.
 
 
JUDGE RULES TEXAS CANNOT SUE SAN ANTONIO UNDER SB4 FOR PAST ACTIONS
 
July 2 – A Texas judge
ruled SB4 cannot be enforced against San Antonio Police Chief William McManus and others for allegedly hindering immigration enforcement when the city released 12 undocumented immigrants because the law had been temporarily blocked during federal litigation at the time the city allowed the 12 immigrants to go to a shelter. Texas Attorney General Paxton sought more than $11.6 million in fines and requested a court order to stop the city from enforcing policies “thwarting” federal immigration enforcement officials, including an ordinance allowing the city to spend $200,000 on services to help immigrants navigate federal immigration laws and other issues. The remaining issue is whether the city has a general policy against cooperating with federal authorities regarding immigration laws, which officials deny.
 
 
BUSINESSES MOVE AWAY FROM WORKING WITH ICE

July 8 – SunTrust Banks, set to merge with rival BB&T,
announced Monday that it would no longer provide financing to companies that operate prisons and immigration detention centers, becoming the latest lender to cut ties with the private corrections industry, including Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase & Co., and Wells Fargo & Co.. Its decision followed an online petition drive from various activist groups opposing the Trump administration’s immigration enforcement policies. The $66 billion all-stock combination will create the sixth-largest bank in the U.S. A BB&T spokesman said the bank does not provide financing to the private prison industry. Wall Street banks, including SunTrust, have credit arrangements totaling $2.6 billion with two large corrections companies, Nashville-based CoreCivic and Boca Raton, Fla.-based GEO Group, according to a report released in April by In the Public Interest, the Public Accountability Initiative, and the Center for Popular Democracy. CoreCivic spokeswoman Amanda Gilchrist said that SunTrust has “a contractual obligation to continue working with our company through the expiration of our mutual agreement in 2023.”
 
July 30 – Edelman, a giant public relations firm,
dropped GEO Group as a client employees at the firm objected to the contract. In May the Edelman team proposed reshaping GEO Group’s public image. The adjusted stock price for the GEO Group, a generous donor to President Trump, has gone down 28 percent in the past year. However, GEO Group reported more than $82 million in net income year-to-date, a 14 percent jump from the same period in 2018.
 
Previously, over 500 employees from Wayfair, which obtained a $200,000 contract to provide furniture to the Carrizo Springs’ children’s shelter,
sent a letter to management asking that they not participate in the detention of children. After Wayfair responded saying that they will do business with anyone, a group of employees staged a walkout.
 
 
JUDGE REJECTS TRUMP’S BID TO SWAP OUT LAWYERS FOR CENSUS CASE ON CITIZENSHIP QUESTION

July 9 – Federal district judge Furman
denied a bid from the Justice Department to replace the team of lawyers census citizenship case, writing that its request to do so was “patently deficient.” DOJ did not give a reason for wanting to change lawyers, an unprecedented move in the middle of litigation. On June 27 the Supreme Court had blocked the administration from including the citizenship question on the census, rejecting the administration’s stated reason for adding the question. After the decision Trump said he was exploring other avenues to add a citizenship question to the Census, such as printing a supplement that contains the question. Finally, after a 19-month legal battle, Trump dropped the issue and instead directed federal agencies to provide their own statistics on the number of citizens and non-citizens in the U.S. to the Commerce Department.

 
CALIFORNIA EXPANDS HEALTH BENEFITS TO UNDOCUMENTED RESIDENTS
 
July 12 – California
will become the first state to pay for low-income undocumented adults under the age of 25 to have full health benefits under California's Medicaid program, the joint state and federal health insurance program for the poor and disabled. State officials estimate that 90,000 people will benefit at a cost of $98 million per year. California already provides Medi-Cal for children under 18 and pregnant women regardless of legal status. A March survey conducted by the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California found that almost two-thirds of state residents support providing coverage to young adults. California has the highest number of immigrants in the country with about 14% of its population being undocumented.
 


TRUMP ISSUES RULE REFUGEES MUST SEEK ASYLUM IN COUNTRIES THEY PASS THROUGH AND FEDERAL JUDGES DISAGREE ON IF RULE CAN MOVE FORWARD DURING APPEAL
 
July 16 – Trump issued an interim final rule titled 
Asylum Eligibility and Procedural Modifications saying that asylum seekers who entered on or after July 16 must first seek asylum, and be denied asylum, in the countries they travel through before they will be eligible to apply for asylum in the U.S. A group of nonprofits filed a lawsuit stating that the rule violates the INA and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The case is East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, et al. v. Barr, et al. Another group of nonprofits filed a lawsuit arguing similarly as well as alleging constitutional violations. The case is CAIR Coalition, et al. v. Trump, et al.
 
July 24 – U.S. District Judge Tigar
issued an order in East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, et al. v. Barr, et al. enjoining the government from taking any action continuing to implement the rule pending final judgment or further order of the court. The judge stated: "Under our laws, the right to determine whether a particular group of applicants is categorically barred from eligibility for asylum is conferred on Congress. Congress has empowered the Attorney General to establish additional limitations and conditions by regulation, but only if such regulations are consistent with the existing immigration laws passed by Congress. This new Rule is likely invalid because it is inconsistent with the existing asylum laws." On August 1, Judge Tigar denied the government’s motion for a stay pending appeal.

However, on August 16, the Ninth Circuit allowed the rule to move forward in areas outside the Ninth Circuit, thereby allowing immigration judges to deny asylum to those who didn’t request protection in third country if they cross the southern border in Texas or New Mexico, while those who cross in Arizona or California can still receive protection. USCIS erroneously issued a memo to its asylum officers that those who apply on or after July 16 should be denied – including those who have been in the country for months or years – as opposed to those who entered after this date.
 
Separately, in an oral ruling in CAIR Coalition, et al. v. Trump, et al. the district court denied the plaintiffs’ motion for a temporary restraining order enjoining the implementation of the interim final rule finding that “it’s in the greater public interest
 to allow the administration to carry out its immigration policy.”


ACTIVISTS SUE TO PROTECT 1ST AMENDMENT RIGHT TO HELP IMMIGRANTS
 
July 23 – Three humanitarian activists filed a lawsuit
 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California alleging that CBP, ICE, and the FBI violated their First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and freedom of association by placing them on a secret government watchlist while they were engaged in lawful activities. The plaintiffs seek an injunction against the government's unconstitutional investigations into and surveillance of them, as well as expungement of all records unlawfully collected. The case is Phillips, et al. v. CBP, et al.
 
The Administration has also begun to slap
huge fines on immigrants taking refuge in churches. So far it has sent letters to eight individuals around the country with fines reaching up to $498,777.
 
Go here for a
webinar on "Security Precautions for Immigration Advocates in an Era of Increasing Fear and Anger"  for NGO activists from the American Bar Association (powerpoint slides here). This webinar identifies anti-immigration actors, their motives, as well as practical security guidance to mitigate threats to people, facilities and operations.
 
 
VOTE TO DESIGNATE VENEZUELA FOR TPS FAILS
 
July 23 – The U.S. House of Representatives
voted to designate Venezuela as an eligible country for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). The Venezuela TPS Act of 2019 would permit Venezuelans to register for TPS and maintain the designation for 18 months. A 2/3rds vote was needed for a special call (268 members voted in favor, which is 50 more than necessary to pass the bill under regular proceedings). Due to the recent political unrest and violence in Venezuela, Congress members have urged President Trump to designate TPS for Venezuela. As the State Department reports, the Venezuelan people are experiencing a “massive humanitarian disaster” including widespread inflation, shortages in food and medical care, and governmental collapse. In April 2019, the State Department issued a travel advisory for Venezuela due to its violent crime, such as homicide and demonstrations that devolve into looting and vandalism. The Trump administration has repeatedly attempted to dismantle the TPS program, though it has been unsuccessful so far. The Administration has imposed harsh economic sanctions and publicly recognizing opposition leader Juan Guaidó as interim president of Venezuela. Political appointees, however, such as USCIS Acting Director Cuccinelli, have declined the requests by Congress members and State Department career employees to grant TPS for Venezuelans. The Senate is to consider a nearly identical TPS bill.
 
 
TRUMP EXPANDS EXPEDITED REMOVAL, TAKING AWAY THE RIGHT TO SEE A JUDGE FOR MORE PEOPLE
 
July 23 – The Administration published a
rule expanding expedited removal, the process by which ICE deports individuals without giving them the chance to present their case to a judge. Instead of applying only to people apprehended within 14 days and within 100 miles of the border, ICE will now directly deport anyone apprehended within 2 years and anywhere in the country. It is estimated that this could affect 300,000 people. Individuals who have been here longer than two years may now finds themselves detained with only a few days to prove the length of their residency. A recent report shows that in the first year of the Trump administration, ICE encountered almost five times the number of citizens than under President Obama. Congress created expedited removal in 1996 as a way to speed up the deportation process. Although Congress permitted the government to apply expedited removal to anyone in the United States within two years of entry, it did not require that. Expedited removal was first applied to individuals who came through ports of entry, then in 2002 it was expanded to people intercepted at sea or who arrive by boat. In 2004, the Bush administration expanded expedited removal to its current extent. If a person expresses a fear of returning to their home country an asylum officer will conduct an interview to decide if they should be given a court hearing.
 
Under the Trump administration,
five times more U.S. citizens are being approached by ICE than under the Obama administration, and the expansion of expedited removal could grow that number exponentially.
 
Read here for a
report from the DHS Office of Inspector General explaining how ICE issues waivers of violations of detention (summary here). See a list of all 181 waivers issued in 2019, including for the "ratio of showers, toilets or sinks to detainees" which allows for systemic overcrowding.
 
 
NINTH CIRCUIT RULES OPERATION STREAMLINE PRACTICE ILLEGAL

July 24 – The Ninth Circuit
stayed Operation Streamline which began a year ago in San Diego, whereby the Administration was charging illegal entry cases under 1325(a)(2) (eluding examination), rather than 1325(a)(1) (entering at a non-designated area). They did this to foreclose an official restraint defense to asylum seekers who enter without documentation and then immediately ask an arresting officer for asylum. This defense is possible where the government fails to prove intent to enter the U.S. free from official restraint. The argument was that eluding examination could only occur at “places and times designated for examination or inspection by immigration officers,” like a port of entry. This means that thousands of people convicted over the past year is factually innocent.
 
 
ICE ADMITS TO ARRESTING 330 CHILD SPONSORS
 
July 25 – ICE’s acting director Matthew Albence
testified in Congress that “around 330” child sponsors were arrested since April 2018 as a result of ICE’s and HHS’ information-sharing agreement. Over 60% of the sponsors had no criminal records. “We haven’t made any arrests [of sponsors] since the appropriations bill was passed, preventing us from utilizing that information,” Albence said, referring to the recently passed $4.6 billion emergency funding bill. In November, the average length of stay in an HHS ORR shelter was 90 days. 
 
 
TRUMP SIGNS AGREEMENT TO SEND REFUGEES TO GUATEMALA
 
July 26 – Trump
announced the signature of a Safe Third Country Agreement with Guatemala, which will now need to be ratified by both Congresses. Trump threatened Guatemala with tariffs, restrictions on remittances from Guatemalans in the U.S. to their families back home, or some sort of travel ban if they did not sign. Two days earlier, in a separate matter, federal judge Tigar questioned the adequacy of the asylum system in Guatemala. Previously, on July 15, Guatemala's Constitutional Court, the nation's top civil court, granted an injunction to block President Morales from signing any agreement  to give the court time to further review the matter. President Jimmy Morales' office said it is waiting for the high court’s ruling but that "at no moment has it contemplated signing an agreement to convert Guatemala into a safe third country."
 
Previously Trump threatened to impose tariffs on all goods imported from Mexico, until the Mexican government stopped migrants coming to the U.S. Tariffs would hit Texas the hardest, followed by Michigan, California, Illinois and Ohio, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. A
25 percent tariff would threaten $26.75 billion of Texas imports. Trade between Mexico and Texas was more than $187 billion in 2017, making Mexico Texas’s largest export market. About 75 percent of U.S.-Mexico land trade, worth approximately $343 billion in 2015, crosses through a Texas port of entry, according to research by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
 
 
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES DEMANDS INTERPRETERS BE PROVIDED IN COURT
 
July 26 – 42 House Democrats sent a
letter to Attorney General Barr demanding that DOJ immediately rescind its plan to end the use of in-court interpreters at their initial immigration court hearing and replace them with pre-recorded videos. “jeopardize immigrants’ rights to due process, worsen delays and backlogs as a result of confusion and lengthier appeals, and ultimately, compromise the integrity of our immigration system.” There is no indication that DOJ conducted a cost-saving study to weight the potential increased costs of this program.
 
 
SUPREME COURT ALLOWS DIVERSION OF MILITARY FUNDS TO BORDER WALL
 
July 26 – In a 5 to 4 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an 
order to stay the district court's order of June 28, 2019 granting a permanent injunction to block the Administration from diverting military funds to build a wall along the southern border in the El Paso and Yuma Sectors. On July 3, the Ninth Circuit denied the government's motion for an emergency stay of the district court's permanent injunction. The case is Sierra Club, et al. v. Trump, et al.
 
 
BIA RULES JUDGES CAN DENY TPS IF THEY FEEL LIKE IT
 
July 26 – The Board of Immigration Appeals
found that immigration judges can deny applications for temporary protected status (TPS) in the exercise of discretion. The case is Matter of D-A-C-.
 
 
ATTORNEY GENERAL DECIDES DANGER DUE TO FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS CAN NO LONGER QUALIFY SOMEONE FOR ASYLUM
 
July 28 – Attorney General Barr overruled
Matter of L-E-A- stating that the Board of Immigration Appeals improperly recognized the respondent’s father’s immediate family as a “particular social group” for purposes of qualifying for asylum under the Immigration and Nationality Act and saying that “most nuclear families are not inherently socially distinct and therefore do not qualify as “particular social groups.” Matter of L-E-A- “ignores decades of circuit court case law which has concluded that families are the ‘prototypical’ or ‘quintessential’ particular social group to qualify for asylum.”
 
 
DISTRICT COURT FINDS ICE VIOLATED LAW IN ARRESTING NONCITIZENS AT USCIS INTERVIEWS
 
July 29 – A U.S. District Court 
ordered ICE to explain how the agency has not unlawfully detained 13 individuals in violations of the Post Order Custody Review Regulations. According the challenged policy, USCIS sends ICE a full list of pending interviews designed to confirm marriage, the first step in the process of seeking to become a lawful permanent resident. ICE then tells USCIS which noncitizens it wants to arrest and USCIS schedules interviews for those individuals at a time convenient for ICE to arrest them, leading to deportations before USCIS decides whether to grant provisional waivers that would allow the noncitizen to seek to remain in the United States with their families. The district court ruled that ICE did not follow 8 CFR §214.4, was detaining at least two noncitizens in violation of the Constitution and laws of the United States. When ICE reviewed detainee files in the Burlington, Massachusetts Field Office, it found 30 to 40 additional cases in which the §241.4 procedures had not been followed, and released approximately 20 individuals. The case is Calderon Jimenez et al. v. Nielsen, et al.
 
 
U.S. HAS SEPARATED NEARLY 1,000 CHILD MIGRANTS FROM PARENTS SINCE JUDGE ORDERED STOP TO BORDER SEPARATIONS
 
July 30 – The
United States has separated almost 1,000 migrant children from parents after District Judge Sabraw ordered that the Trump Administration limit the practice in June 2018. While the judge permitted parents and children to be separated when a parent is found to pose a risk to their child, the government is splitting up families for minor alleged offenses. This is in addition to the approximately 2,700 children who were taken from their parents during the height of family separation from April to June last year, and an unknown number of child separations before that. This number also does not include children who are allowed to stay with one parent, usually their mother, but separated from their other parent, usually their father, who remains locked up in detention.


USCIS DECIDES THAT A TPS GRANT IS NOT AN ADMISSION INTO THE U.S.
 
July 31 – USCIS’s Administrative Appeals Office issued a
policy memo adopting Matter of H-G-G- which decides that when a TPS recipient applies for a green card they are "considered as being in and maintaining lawful status as a nonimmigrant only during the period that TPS is in effect; a grant of TPS does not constitute an admission, nor does it cure or otherwise impact any previous unlawful status." An admission – whereby the U.S. government admits or allows someone to be in the U.S. – makes individuals eligible for adjustment of status to legal permanent resident (“green card”) through qualifying family members. Those not admitted to the U.S. must consular process abroad and, by leaving the U.S, may trigger inadmissibility grounds that make them ineligible.

We work to ensure that all immigrants facing removal from the U.S. understand their rights under the law, have access to counsel, and are treated fairly and humanely.

Stay up to date on the latest news by liking our
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P.O. BOX 90382 San Antonio, TX 78209
Phone: 210-802-6061
Copyright © 2019 Migrant Center For Human Rights. All Rights Reserved.

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Migrant Center for Human Rights · PO Box 90382 · San Antonio, TX 78209-9084 · USA

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