Showing posts with label Immigration. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Immigration. Show all posts

September 19, 2019

Trump Sent Him Back to Mex But Kidnaped Within 5 Hours latter{This Sort is The Norm)


Deportees


                      

"David's story is not unique" but a lot of people don't know it. I know through adamfoxie there will a few hundred in the US that will find out within the next 12 hrs and the same for our international audience. Thanks to Emily Green and Vice.  It took me an hour or so to work on this story with this just becoming pea soup once I was about to save it. but is done and apologize if one or two (at the most) items are not line up perfectly. The story is there and is important to know what we are doing as Americans. I believe in a strong health border but not like this. You don't need to walk with the devil to open

open door s for you.What happened to your god?

As people in other nations, you have to be aware that this United States you heard off is not the same as 5 years ago. Hopefully, some of us will try to show to the people that think they know the way because they know God but are lost and need encouragement to be good and go in the right path. I always say when I encounter one of these guys, read your bible, listen to your Christ.
doors for you when you have the keys but are too dumb cozy to check which ones will fit.

NUEVO LAREDO, Mexico — David wept as U.S. immigration agents marched him and his child across the bridge into Mexico. “They say here in this country, where we are, they kidnap a lot of people," he said.
They didn't even last the night. Hours later and just three miles away, cartel members surrounded David and a dozen other migrants at a bus station. They were forced into trucks, and abducted.
David is among the estimated 42,000 asylum seekers who’ve been returned to Mexico in recent months under President Trump’s new asylum policies. The Trump administration calls the policy “Migrant Protection Protocols,” but far from offering protection, the policy has led to a brutal wave of kidnappings in some of Mexico’s most dangerous border cities.  
“They are sending them to a place that is too dangerous,” Laura, David’s sister, told VICE News. “Why are they doing this? Why, if Mexico is a place that is so dangerous?” 
Powerful criminal organizations have seized on Trump’s changes, targeting asylum seekers with family in the U.S. by holding them hostage until their relatives come up with thousands of dollars to pay for their release. 
VICE News spoke with multiple asylum seekers who have been kidnapped or narrowly escaped being kidnapped upon being returned to Mexico. All of them said they suspected Mexican immigration officials were working in coordination with the cartels. Often, they were grabbed at the bus station or along the three-mile stretch from the Mexican immigration office to their shelter. The stretch between the border and the shelters may be a few miles, but it is among the most dangerous part of a migrant’s journey. 
“[The U.S. agents] told us they were going to bring us to a shelter,” David told VICE News, a few hours before he and his child were kidnapped. “They lied.” VICE News has changed names and withheld certain details of David’s story to protect the identity of him and his family. 

The Phone Call

Trump's asylum policies
CLOTHES AND SHOES ARE SET OUT TO DRY INSIDE A PHONE BOOTH AT A MIGRANT SHELTER IN IN NUEVO LAREDO, MEXICO. SERGIO FLORES/VICE NEWS

 
Nuevo Laredo is one of the most dangerous cities in one of the most dangerous regions of Mexico. It’s marked not only by the near constant crime that fuels the city but also by the impunity with which criminals here operate. The corruption and crime is so prevalent that local news barely covered the recent kidnapping in broad daylight of a minister who ran a shelter for migrants, deeming it too dangerous to report on. 
“Why are they doing this? Why, if Mexico is a place that is s o dangerous?”
At the Mexican immigration offices, David was frazzled and desperate to reach Laura, who lives in the U.S., and was prepared to wire him money so he could get a bus ticket to a safer city nearby. He borrowed the cellphone of a man he said identified himself as an immigration agent and wore the agency’s typical white-shirt uniform. Outside the office, men in a white four-door truck kept an eye on who came and left the building’s parking lot. 
The man who lent David his phone spoke with Laura, also identifying himself to her as an immigration agent. He told her he would help David and instructed her to send the money directly to his account. David didn’t have a Mexican ID or passport to receive a wire transfer on his own, but the man assured them their money was in safe hands. 
But after Laura sent the money, the man stopped picking up. At 8 p.m. that night, Laura received a call from a different number. “A man got on the line and said my brother had been turned over to him.”  David believes the immigration agents never intended to help them. 
Trump
 
   
A GROUP OF MIGRANTS CROSS BACK INTO MEXICO AFTER BEING SENT BACK UNDER
 THE MIGRANT PROTECTION PROTOCOLS. SERGIO FLORES/VICE NEWS 
He said when he and another dozen or so asylum seekers who had been returned that day to Mexico arrived at the bus station in Nuevo Laredo, a group of 20 men were already waiting for them. Immediately, the men forced David, his child, and the other migrants into trucks, as an immigration official looked their way but did nothing. 

Mexico’s Institute of Migration, which is in charge of carrying out Mexico’s immigration policies, said that it is “committed to combating any behavior that violates the rights and integrity of migrants,” and that it has not received any recent complaints regarding Mexican immigration officials turning migrants over to cartels or turning a blind eye to their kidnapping. 
Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard downplayed the issue on Thursday, saying he didn’t see the kidnapping of migrants “as a massive phenomenon.” But minutes later, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said the government was attentive to the issue. “The more migrants that arrive at the [border], the more criminal groups there are, and the higher the risks.”

Ebrard’s office later contacted VICE News to say it was looking into the problem. 
David said the kidnappers took his few belongings, including the paperwork U.S. Customs and Border Protection had given him. Without it, he and his child can’t enter the U.S. to attend their hearing in December.  The kidnappers took a dozen pictures of each of the migrants who were being held, and they took notes on everyone — their full names, where they were from, their family members. The cartel was also holding at least 20 other men, plus dozens of children and women, who “were treated like pieces of meat,” David said.
They separated the women from the men, and beat any of the men who turned to look. David said one man tried to escape and they shot him dead. 
Back in the U.S., Laura was desperately trying to negotiate the release of her brother and his child. But she works in a factory earning $10.50 an hour. She didn’t have a dollar to spare, much less the thousands the kidnappers were demanding. 
“It’s absolutely pointless to go to the police” 
Over the course of several days, Laura received up to three calls a day from them, recordings of which VICE News has reviewed. She was passed between an underling and his boss, as they alternately comforted and threatened her while demanding money. 
“I need you to send me the money as fast as possible, Grandma,” one of the men told her. 

When she told them there was no way she could pay the extortion fee, they said she didn’t need all the money at once and could start depositing it in pieces. “You’ll get all the money, mother, don’t worry.” 
Trump's asylum policies
MIGRANTS PLAY TABLE TENNIS AT A SHELTER IN NUEVO LAREDO, MEXICO. SERGIO FLORES/VICE NEWS

Kidnapping and extortion stories like these have become the norm in Nuevo Laredo since the U.S. started returning migrants there in mid-July. 
There is no way to know exactly how many migrants have been kidnapped because most victims and family members are too terrified to file a report to the police, who are also believed to have ties with the cartels. It’s estimated that hundreds, if not thousands, of migrants have been kidnapped, raped, and targeted for extortion after being returned to Mexico under Migrant Protection Protocols. 
“It’s pretty clear that the Department of Homeland Security is essentially delivering asylum seekers and migrants into the hands of kidnappers, and people who are attacking the refugees and migrants when they return,” said Eleanor Acer, senior director for refugee protection at Human Rights First. She added that in these regions of Mexico, “it’s absolutely pointless to go to the police.” 
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security didn’t respond to queries about whether it was aware of the widespread kidnapping of migrants returned under Migrant Protection Protocols. Acting U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan said earlier this month that he has heard “anecdotal allegations” of migrants being kidnapped, but that “Mexico has provided nothing to the United States corroborating or verifying those allegations.”

The Business of Kidnapping

Trump's asylum policies
The business of kidnapping migrants is so entrenched in Nuevo Laredo that it’s referred to as “passing through the office,” according to victims and one person with knowledge of the process. 
One woman, whom VICE News is calling Ana to protect her identity, was kidnapped with her husband and two children the day after the U.S. sent them back. She said they were at the bus terminal buying a ticket for a nearby city when a group of men surrounded them and said the family needed to go with the men.
The first night they stayed at an abandoned house. Then they were taken to a hotel, where they spent the next six nights. Ana, her husband and children slept in one bed. Many others were forced to sleep on the floor, she said. Every day captives were taken out and more were brought in. The hotel door was guarded by a single man. Meals were provided daily. Unlike David, Ana said the kidnappers never showed force. But they didn’t need to. She said the man guarding the door made clear the consequences if they tried to escape. “I promise you won’t make it two blocks before we will catch you again and the situation will be much worse for you,” he told them. 
The kidnappers searched Ana, looking for slips of paper with U.S. telephone numbers. They didn’t find any and demanded she give them numbers of family members. She gave them Honduran phone numbers. “We don’t want those. We want numbers from the U.S.,” they chastised. 
Ana gave her the number of a brother in the U.S. In a separate room, hidden from her, the kidnappers negotiated over the phone. Over the next week, the brother scraped together more than $15,000 for their release and wired the money. 
Trump's asylum policies
A WOMAN WASHES DISHES AT A MIGRANT SHELTER IN NUEVO LAREDO, MEXICO. SERGIO FLORES/VICE NEWS

Ana said when they were released, they were given a keyword as a form of security: If they were kidnapped again, the keyword would indicate what cartel they pertained to and that they had already paid the ransom fee. 
The cartels keep records of the people they kidnap, according to the person with knowledge of their operations. That includes how many people they have kidnapped, where they are from, who could pay, who couldn’t pay, where they crossed into the U.S., and how many opportunities the coyotes gave them to cross. 
Throughout Mexico, migrants who travel with smugglers are given keywords that indicate what smugglers they have traveled with — and by extension, what cartels have been paid off. If the migrants don’t have a keyword, or the keyword corresponds to the wrong region, they are vulnerable.  
“Here, organized crime is actually organized,” said the person with knowledge of the cartel’s operations. “It’s a company that functions like a clock. Exactly like it should.”

The Threat 

In the U.S., Laura was getting desperate. The kidnappers had promised to call back at 3 p.m. but hadn’t. 
She managed to pull together a few thousand dollars from family members to pay the kidnappers. When they called the following afternoon, the man on the other end of the line berated her for not having more. 
Still, he told Laura that she should deposit what she had into Mexican bank accounts, and that he would talk to the boss. VICE News has reviewed records of the money deposits.
“I can’t sleep thinking about it. Every night, I dream about everything that has happened to us” 
After Laura deposited the money, members of the cartel drove David and his child back to the bus station. They told him the cartel would be watching him from there, that they had people everywhere. Dozens of migrants remained behind, including at least 10 children, he said. 
“They told me they would kill me if I talked,” he said. 
He has no idea how he will pursue his asylum claim in the U.S. since the cartel took away his paperwork that allows him to enter the U.S. for a hearing before a judge. But even then, the idea of staying in Mexico until December is untenable. 
David can’t stop crying, and his young child has stopped talking altogether.  
“One of the kidnappers told me that the kidneys of my [child] were good for removal,” David said, sobbing so hard he could barely get the words out. “I can’t sleep thinking about it. Every night, I dream about everything that has happened to us.” 
Cover: Migrants who were returned to Mexico under Migrant Protection Protocols prepare to be taken to a processing center in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. Sergio Flores/Vice News
Design and illustrations by Hunter French.

April 9, 2019

On Monday Late PM, Judge Blocks Trump’s Efforts To Have Asylum Seekers Wait in Mexico



Image result for judge won't let asylum seekers wait in Mex
"Any American satisfied with what is going on at the border at the hands of a despot should be return to their family country of origin"
                                    


WASHINGTON — 
A California judge on Monday blocked President Trump’s efforts to force asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their cases are adjudicated by the immigration courts — a practice that immigration advocates called inhumane and illegal.

Judge Richard Seeborg of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California found that existing law did not give the Trump administration the power to enforce the policy, known as “migrant protection protocols,” which were introduced in San Diego and expanded to other parts of California and Texas.

The judge said in his ruling that in addition to violating immigration laws, the protocols did not include “sufficient safeguards” to comply with the Department of Homeland Security’s obligation against returning migrants to places where their “life or freedom would be threatened.”

Immigration advocates hailed the decision, calling it the latest victory in the legal battles with the Trump administration that began when the president imposed a travel ban on several predominantly Muslim countries just days after taking office in 2017. 

“Today’s victory is especially important amidst reports that the Trump administration is planning to move toward even more extreme immigration policies,” said Melissa Crow, senior supervising attorney of the Southern Poverty Law Center. “The decision will prevent incredibly vulnerable individuals from being trapped in dangerous conditions in Mexico.”

The Trump administration had negotiated the protocols with the Mexican government because of the president’s longstanding anger with so-called catch and release policies in which asylum seekers are temporarily released into the United States while they wait for their court hearings.

Mr. Trump has angrily denounced those releases, saying the migrants do not appear for their hearings and end up staying in the United States illegally. The policy of forcing some asylum seekers to wait in Mexico was an effort to stop that from happening.

But the court ruling means that the president will have to abandon that policy, at least for the time being. That is likely to add to the president’s anger, which erupted over the weekend when he forced Kirstjen Nielsen, his homeland security secretary, to resign.
Editors’ Picks


Michael D. Shear and Zolan Kanno-Youngs reported from Washington, and Maggie Haberman from New York. Eileen Sullivan contributed reporting from Washington

February 18, 2019

EXTRA-EXTRA Help wanted! The US Needs Immigrants



A farmer in Hull, Iowa. (Melina Mara/ The Washington Post)
                                     

By Art Cullen


 Art Cullen is the editor of the Storm Lake Times in Northwest Iowa. He also recently wrote the book “Storm Lake: A Chronicle of Change, Resilience, and Hope from a Heartland Newspaper.

President Trump argues that keeping immigrants and refugees out of our country is a matter of vital national security. He has made it his campaign thesis and shut down the government over it. Here in Storm Lake, Iowa, where the population is about 15,000 and unemployment is under 2 percent, Asians and Africans and Latinos are our lifeline. The only threat they pose to us is if they weren’t here.

That’s been the case for years all over rural Iowa and southern Minnesota, in the heart of the Corn Belt, where anyone who wants a job cutting hogs or laying block or working as an orderly can get one.

One part of the rural condition in American today is that, after college, our young people go to Des Moines or some city beyond for a job in finance or engineering that simply doesn’t exist in the old, county-seat towns of 5,000 people. “Everybody has to go someplace else,” Iowa State University regional trade economist Dave Swenson says of the youth exodus. “There isn’t a Plan B or Plan C.”

As rural counties are drained of young people with higher educations, immigrants flow into the vacuum. The influx began 40 years ago and continues today. First, Laotians from Thai refugee camps (they fought alongside us in Vietnam) came to Iowa in the 1980s. A land debt crisis later that decade blew up the family farm and foreclosed the future of so many young people and small businesses. The farm boys who once raised hogs by day and worked the night shift at the packing houses lit out for Texas and the oil rigs. Young Latino men, mainly from the Mexican state of Jalisco, came in to work the meatpackers’ kill floors. Now, the pigs are raised in huge confinement buildings, not family farms, and Latinos keep them clean.

So long as there is corn, there will be hogs and turkeys and eggs in Iowa. Somebody will have to do that work. Now, the Storm Lake Elementary School is 90 percent children of color, and about three-fourths of those are Hispanic — mainly from Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. We could employ 500 more workers easily if we could find, and find housing for, them.

Without the newcomers we do have, Storm Lake would be half its current size. Next door, the population of Pocahontas County has been nearly halved since 1970; if the current trend continues, there will be nobody left to turn out the lights by 2050. We’re fortunate by comparison. Storm Lake grows its own welders, nurses and food processing machinists. A student who attends high school for five years can take vo-tech or college-prep classes through a unique, charter-school program involving the local high school, Iowa Central Community College and Buena Vista University. Those kids graduate with a training certificate or an Associate of Arts degree. Those students enter the workforce as teacher aides, machinists or certified nursing assistants. The pay is about $25 an hour.


The big agricultural processing companies will bid for low skills until there simply is no one left to bid for. The demand for meat cutters seems endless. Smaller towns run buses to Storm Lake to pick up immigrants for day work in those factories. They’ll pay you $18 an hour at Tyson to slice pork, plus a hefty signing bonus. The workforce is overwhelmingly immigrant, well over half Latino. Tyson insists they are all legal, yet we figure about a third of the immigrant community, in general, there might be without papers — who knows? If the meatpackers can’t find workers here, they will pick up shop and move somewhere else, like so many Iowa manufacturers before them.

In keenest demand here are health-care workers — orderlies, nursing assistants, and cafeteria workers to toil for about $12 to $15 an hour in one of Iowa’s largest industries: nursing homes. Iowa has more than 510,000 residents over the age of 65. The average age of an Iowa farmer is 63.

The need for workers has made it hard for those who can’t find them to stay in business. Masonry contractor Steve Tate has decided at age 63 to wind things down. “If I were 20 years younger, I’d stick my neck out,” said Tate. “But even when jobs are out there to bid now, I don’t know how I could bid them if I didn’t know I could get reliable help.”


Storm Lake’s crime rate last year reached a 27-year low. It is more diverse than ever. Some 30 languages or dialects are spoken here. But the community knows it will wither up and blow away without its young people. Like it or not, legal or not, our young people are predominantly Latino. If there is to be a wall, there will have to be a door for immigrants to find their way here as the better-educated leave for the brighter lights and greener urban pastures.

January 24, 2019

Thousands of Migrant Children Were Released Before Their Families Were Identified




Image result for migrant children lost
A new report reveals many more children were released before official counts. Mario Tama/Getty Images. Are you a decent person, an American? How can you not do something?
             




Vox.com

A new report says “thousands” of migrant children were released before officials started identifying separated families.
A new report from the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services finds that an unknown number of children — possibly “thousands” — were separated from parents at the US-Mexico border before June 2018 but hadn’t been included in official government tallies of separated families.
The Trump administration’s practice of separating families who crossed into the US without papers (by prosecuting parents for illegal entry into the US and sending them into criminal custody, while children were reclassified as “unaccompanied” minors) became a nationwide scandal in the late spring of 2018, leading to a Trump administration executive order ending the policy and a federal court order requiring the administration to reunite the separated parents and children in its care.  
But separated children who had already been released from the government’s custody — usually by being placed with a sponsor — weren’t identified and reunited as part of that lawsuit. In the new report, HHS is admitting that there could be thousands of such children and that they’ll never have any way of knowing how many for sure.
The new report doesn’t — and can’t — identify where separated children released from custody were placed. But despite fears (among politicians and the public) of widespread “loss” or trafficking of immigrant children, the available evidence suggests most separated children (like children who arrive unaccompanied) were placed with close relatives in the US.
But the point of the report is the government’s admission that it will never be able to know for sure how many children were separated and exactly what happened to them. Even the estimate of “thousands” is offered without much explanation, as an estimate of officials at the Office of Refugee Resettlement and HHS’ office for preparedness and response.
Because of the federal government’s failure to keep records about which children in its care had been separated from their parents, the public will never know the full scope of the Trump administration’s use of family separation against border crossers in Trump’s first year and a half in office. 
The federal government has never offered an official tally of how many families have been separated by immigration authorities. It couldn’t produce one if it tried.
When families are separated at the border, the children are classified as “unaccompanied alien children” (the label put on children who come to the US without a parent or guardian) and sent into the custody of Health and Human Services, which is responsible for placing them with a sponsor.
Until summer 2018, there was no official way to record the difference between a child who’d come without a parent and a child who’d been separated from one in the files that were sent from DHS to HHS.
HHS’s job isn’t to hold children until a parent can be identified, but to place them with a suitable sponsor — a parent, another relative, family friend, or (if needed) unrelated adult — as soon as safely possible. And if a child turns 18, or decides to return to their home country, they’re no longer HHS’s responsibility.
Family separation was an occasional practice going back as far as late 2016, but it ramped up hugely as the Trump administration instituted a “zero tolerance” policy of prosecuting as many adults as possible for illegal entry into the US, and separating parents from their children to be sent into criminal custody.
A Customs and Border Protection official told Reuters in June 2018 that from October 2016 to February 2018, 1,800 families were separated by DHS. Of those families, 281 were separated as part of a “pilot program” along the El Paso sector of the border from June to November 2017.
According to the new inspector general report, the staff at HHS started noticing in summer 2017 that more of the children being sent to them by DHS seemed to have been separated from parents. (Informal HHS tracking, according to this report, showed that in late 2016, only 0.3 percent of children sent from DHS appeared to have been separated from their parents; by August 2017, 3.6 percent were identified as possibly separated from family.)
In the spring of 2018, that pilot was expanded across the US-Mexico border, and separations rapidly spiked. From October 2017 to April 20, 2018, an HHS official told the New York Times, about 3.46 families were separated a day; over 12 days in May of 2018, DHS told Congress, that rate spiked to 42.8 separations a day.
On June 26, 2018, Judge Dana Sabraw ordered the federal government not only to stop separating families (something the Trump administration had promised to do as a matter, of course, the week before) but to reunify them. To do that, it had to identify the number of separated children who were in the government’s care at that time. That number — about 2,737 as of December — is what’s typically taken as the number of separated families.
But Sabraw’s order only applied to children who were in HHS custody on June 26. It didn’t apply to children who had already been released.
The inspector general’s report is estimating that that is what happened to “thousands” of children: They were separated from their parents when they entered the US, but by the time HHS started identifying separated children, they were no longer under HHS’s care.
Generally, children are released to close relatives, but we don’t know how many of the separated children were released to nonrelatives
HHS has strict rules about who it’s supposed to allow to sponsor an immigrant child. The first priority is a parent or legal guardian; the second priority is a close relative; the third priority is a distant relative or family friend, and only failing that, an unrelated adult.
In general, this means that the overwhelming majority of children whom HHS places with sponsors are sent to parents or close relatives. (A 2016 government report found that about 60 percent of immigrant children who came unaccompanied from Guatemala, Honduras, or El Salvador were placed with a parent living in the US.) There have been some high-profile cases of insufficient vetting of would-be sponsors, but the Trump administration has reacted to that by substantially tightening vetting, to the point of keeping kids in custody a lot longer than they were under the Obama administration.
Because HHS doesn’t actually know how many of the children it released from custody before June 26, 2018, were separated from parents at the border, it’s impossible to go back through those records and find out where the separated children went.
But by that same token, there’s no indication that HHS had different standards for the placement of separated children. So it’s reasonable to believe that most children were placed with relatives or family friends in the US (possibly even with parents who had been released from detention, or a parent already living here).
Overall, from the fiscal year 2017 to the first eight months of the fiscal year 2018, the share of kids placed with parents dropped from 49 percent to 41 percent, but the share placed with other close relatives rose from 41 percent to 47 percent. In other words, in both years, parents and close relatives made up about 90 percent of sponsors.
But it is possible that a disproportionate number of separated children were placed with unrelated sponsors as foster children — or released because they chose to be returned to their home country (perhaps to reunite with their parents). We don’t know. We’ll never know.

January 18, 2019

Born in Grand Rapids, Vet From Fighting in Afghanistan But The Sheriff Turned Him in To ICE for Deportation



   

                                                                 

 Jilmar Ramos-Gomez
CREDIT JILMAR RAMOS-GOMEZ
                                      



Introduction:
As an American Citizen I am ashame when I see these injustices for people that love this county. While drugs and trains of paying illegal immigrants cross underneath electrical lit tunnels and are dropped off at their destination indifferent about walls at the border. Meanwhile an ageing baby president insist in keeping the government shut as you read this. This is what some people elected for the rest of us. They call it democracy, I call it racism and the wish to go back to what things were before the the 1960's. Everything in it's place. Brown with brown, white bathroom for white only. Black, gays and other that don't fit the mold burning and lynching will keep them from demanding what is for white's only.
But if you live long enough you know that nothing last forever and when the pendulum reverses everything that went on on the last swing will no loner be.Pleasse read this story and see what is happening in our country. How long can we let it go on?




When Maria Gomez showed up late one December afternoon at a Grand Rapids, Michigan, jail to pick up her son, an American-born Marine who served in Afghanistan, the deputies told her something that, frankly, made no sense.

“Your son was just sent with immigration,” she recalls the deputies telling her. “He is in their hands.”

It must be a mistake, she told them. “My son doesn’t have anything to do with immigration. He is a US citizen,” she said. “They said ‘we don’t know anything about that. He’s in their hands now.’ It almost gave me a heart attack.” 

When she returned to the jail’s parking lot, she saw him enter a white van and be driven away.

Her son, Jilmar Ramos-Gomez, had served in Afghanistan as a lance corporal from 2011 to 2014 and returned to the United States suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He’s had episodes where he’ll disappear for days, and no one in his family will know where he’s gone.

It happened again Nov. 21, when Ramos-Gomez was arrested on suspicion of attempting to start a fire in a stairwell at a Grand Rapids hospital and trying to reach the facility’s helipad, according to his attorneys and local law enforcement. Ramos-Gomez, 27, pleaded guilty to a trespassing charge and was ordered released on Dec. 14 on his own recognizance to await sentencing, his attorneys said.

Instead, the Kent County Sheriff’s Office held him for more than an hour so he could be picked up by another county that transports and detains individuals for ICE.

Chuck DeWitt, undersheriff for the Kent County Sheriff’s Office, said that his officers had followed procedures and that everything about the case appeared routine. He regrets what happened to Ramos-Gomez but says that it was ICE, not the sheriff’s department, that made the ultimate decision to identify him as a target.

“It sounds very harsh but there isn’t anything we could’ve done differently in this situation that could have prevented that,” he said. “It is regretful but under these circumstances, I don’t know where we would have prevented that.” 


ICE put the blame squarely on Ramos-Gomez, saying that when ICE officers interviewed him in jail he claimed he was “a foreign national illegally present in the US.” Because of that, ICE asked the sheriff’s department to hold him after he was released from local custody, and the sheriff’s department complied.

The ACLU of Michigan, which has taken up Ramos-Gomez’s case and has called for an investigation into the detention, said ICE’s statement opened up many questions.

“This shows how flimsy the evidence is that ICE relies on to deport people from this country,” said Miriam Aukerman, a senior attorney with the ACLU of Michigan, who said the organization was investigating whether Ramos-Gomez had in fact told ICE he wasn’t a US citizen.

Ramos-Gomez had a US passport and identification that noted his veteran status, Aukerman said.

“It is appalling that a comment by a mentally ill individual is enough to get you deported. What kind of investigation is that?”

The ACLU attorney also wondered why ICE had interviewed him in jail.

“If his name is John Smith, ICE isn’t interviewing him,” she said.

Because Ramos-Gomez had been transferred to ICE on a Friday, his family was unable to secure his release until the following Monday, when his lawyer called ICE officials.

“I don’t have words to say this because I feel like they don’t care,” Gomez told BuzzFeed News. “They don’t care that my son served this country.” 

Aukerman said the incident reflected a larger problem with immigration enforcement.

“This is what immigration enforcement has come to in this country. It is so indiscriminate that we take people who served our country and try to deport them,” Aukerman said. “This is a tragedy. He risked his life and mental health for our country, came back and did not get the services he needs, and now ICE is trying to deport him. It is outrageous and appalling.”

“His immigration attorney said to ICE: Here is his military record, birth certificate, and ICE was like: ‘Oops, we got a US citizen,’” she added. ICE officials said that once they received the information they authorized his release, and no further action will be taken.

The case highlights what advocates believe is the problem with cooperation between some sheriff’s departments and ICE. When a person is arrested, fingerprints are compared with prints in federal databases that alert immigration authorities if the person is wanted. It’s at this point that ICE officials will often request a “detainer” to hold the individual until their officers can show up and take them into custody.

While in some areas, “sanctuary” policies limit cooperation between local authorities and ICE, that’s not the case in Kent County. The sheriff’s department has an agreement with ICE to hold individuals for up to three days and to be reimbursed for the extra detention.

The Michigan jail also allows ICE access within the facility to interview inmates, like Ramos-Gomez, whenever they’d like. In sanctuary areas, like California, inmates must sign forms consenting to an interview with ICE officials and are told that an attorney can be present with them. 

DeWitt said that his office has asked ICE to review its policies so that a similar situation doesn’t happen.

DeWitt said he still supports cooperation between federal and local law enforcement, saying such cooperation is necessary to protect residents. But advocates see it differently, saying such cooperation actually chills trust between law enforcement and immigrant communities.

For her part, Ramos-Gomez’s mother, who came to the country from Guatemala, said that she will not trust law enforcement any longer.

The case is indicative of the problems that can come up when such interactions are rampant, Aukerman said.

“It’s terrible but it is the predictable consequence of this blind willingness to hand people over to ICE without looking,” she said, noting that ICE utilizes “administrative” warrants and not warrants signed by judges to request and hold individuals. “If ICE says ‘please, hand him over’ that is not enough. That is not what we should be doing.”

ICE has detained American citizens in the past, including a Queens man whose case was detailed by BuzzFeed News. Late last year, an American-born man sued ICE for detaining him.

“There’s sometimes complex questions about citizenship, but in this case it is 100% obvious. He was born in a US hospital,” Aukerman said. “It reflects an incredibly sloppy approach by ICE.”

The ACLU sent a letter Wednesday to the Kent County Sheriff’s Office and the county Board of Commission demanding an investigation. DeWitt said that a US passport was not listed as one of Ramos-Gomez’s possessions but that often items are not marked by deputies. 

The county’s agreement with ICE is up in September, and Ramos-Gomez’s case will be a factor in the decision-making on whether to continue with it or not, DeWitt said.

Meanwhile, Ramos-Gomez’s family is just happy he’s home and not in ICE custody or deported to Guatemala, where his family had initially come from. His mother said she couldn’t sleep the weekend he was in ICE custody.

But when he was released Dec. 17, she waited for him in the detention center parking lot. When he walked out of custody, they immediately hugged.

“I can’t believe they did this to you, son,” she told him. “I’m sorry.”

“I know,” he told her. “They didn’t believe me.”

October 5, 2018

Judge Stops Trump from Removing Thousands of Immigrants, Who Have Lived and Worked in The US








, USA TODAY 

A federal judge on Wednesday ordered the Trump administration to temporarily halt its plan to end a special federal immigration program that has allowed hundreds of thousands of immigrants to legally live and work in the U.S. for decades.
U.S. District Judge Edward Chen ruled that the administration may have side-stepped federal rule-making guidelines, imposed undue political pressure on staffers, and violated the Equal Protection Clause by basing its decision "on animus against non-white, non-European immigrants."
The ruling is the latest blow against President Donald Trump's efforts to overhaul the nation's immigration laws, following court orders limiting his travel ban targeting majority Muslim countries, his attempt to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, and his policy of separating migrant families along the southwest border.
The preliminary injunction ordered by Chen prevents the deportation of an estimated 240,000 immigrants from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan, who were facing a series of deadlines starting in November to depart the country or risk becoming undocumented immigrants. These immigrants had been granted permission to be in the U.S. under the Temporary Protected Status program, better known as TPS. The humanitarian program was created in 1990 to help immigrants from countries that suffered war or major natural disasters.
The Department of Homeland Security, which manages TPS, has argued that the program has been wrongly extended for years and that conditions in those four countries are now suitable for thousands of their residents to return home. 
But the Northern California federal judge disagreed with the administration and sided — at least for now — with the plaintiffs. He set a hearing for Oct. 26.
In reaching his decision, Chen, who was appointed by President Barack Obama, ruled that there is no immediate harm to the federal government if its decision to end TPS is temporarily halted. But he wrote that there would be enduring, longstanding harm to TPS holders, and the communities in which they live, if they’re forced to leave the country.
Chen cited a brief filed by 17 states that estimated they would lose $132 billion in the gross domestic product, $5.2 billion in Social Security and Medicare contributions, and $733 million in employee turnover costs if TPS recipients are sent home. 
As for the TPS holders themselves, Chen focused on the thousands of U.S.-born children they've had since living in the U.S. 
TPS holders are “faced with a Hobson’s choice of bringing their children with them (and tearing them away from the only country and community they have known) or splitting their families apart,” the judge wrote.
Edwin Murillo, 42, and his wife, Miley Rivas, 40, who are originally from El Salvador and have two U.S.-born children, faced that very difficult decision. They were undecided about what do but were pretty much opposed to returning to El Salvador, a country they say remains plagued by poverty and violence.
“I prefer hiding from la migra (immigration authorities) than running from the crime in my country,” said Murillo when reached by telephone at the family’s home in Dallas, Texas. He and his wife each have TPS and have lived in the U.S. for 20 years.
Murillo and his wife took part in a caravan that is traveling across the U.S. for 12 weeks to drum up support for TPS holders. They say their goal is not to further extend TPS, but to convince Congress to pass legislation that would allow TPS holders to legalize their status permanently.  
Chen focused much of his 43-page decision on the way that the Trump administration reached its decision. He wrote that former Homeland Security Acting Secretary Elaine Duke did not appear to have reached her decision to end TPS based on the facts before her, but was “largely carrying out or conforming with a predetermined presidential agenda to end TPS.”
Chen said that agenda may have been tainted by racial bias. The judge listed off multiple comments and actions by Trump, during his presidential campaign and after moving into the White House, as indications that the TPS termination had a racial component behind it. 
The judge listed:
- Trump’s comments during his June 2015 speech announcing his candidacy when he characterized Mexicans as drug dealers, criminals, and rapists.
- His December 2015 call for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”
- A report in the Washington Post in January 2018 that President Trump referred to El Salvador, Haiti, and African nations as "shithole countries."
- A February 2018 speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference where Trump “used MS-13…to disparage immigrants, indicating that they are criminals and comparing them to snakes.”
“The issues are at least serious enough to preserve the status quo,” he wrote.
The Justice Department said Chen's decision "usurps the role of the executive branch" and vowed to fight his ruling in court.
"The Court contends that the duly elected President of the United States cannot be involved in matters deciding the safety and security of our nation's citizens or in the enforcement of our immigration laws," Justice spokesman Devin O'Malley said in a statement Wednesday night. "The Justice Department completely rejects the notion that the White House or the Department of Homeland Security did anything improper."
The suit against DHS was filed last March by the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California and other immigrant advocates.
“Despite the administration’s efforts to twist the existing TPS statute, this preliminary injunction preserves its long-existing intent and avoids the deportation of more than three hundred thousand individuals to countries unfit to accommodate them and, equally importantly, prevents the separation of hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizen children from their parents,” the plaintiffs said in a statement to USA Today.
“Judge Chen’s decision reaffirms the importance of our judicial system and the checks and balances in place to hold our government accountable,” they said.
The ruling does not affect the termination of TPS for two other countries: Nepal and Honduras. But attorneys are sure to press other courts to follow suit and temporarily suspend those decisions.
Contributing: Daniel Gonzalez of the Arizona Republic

September 7, 2018

Trump Wants Rule to Detain Longer The Migrant Children




As America watches while this is happening it makes them and us complicit



The Trump administration is proposing to lift court-imposed limits on how long it can hold children in immigration detention.
Under proposed regulations set to be published in the Federal Register on Friday, the administration seeks to replace the Flores settlement, a decades-old agreement that dictates how long the government can hold migrant children, and under what conditions.
The administration wants to detain migrant families together for as long as their immigration cases are pending. The proposed regulations will satisfy the "basic purpose" of Flores, the administration argues, by making sure that children are treated with "dignity, respect, and special concern for their particular vulnerability as minors."
"Today, legal loopholes significantly hinder the Department's ability to appropriately detain and promptly remove family units that have no legal basis to remain in the country," said Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen in a statement.  
The proposed changes are expected to face legal challenges. Federal Judge Dolly Gee, who oversees the Flores settlement, recently rejected a separate attempt by the administration to detain children in jail-like settings for more than 20 days. 
Under the Flores settlement, decided in 1997 and modified in 2015, immigrant minors can't be held in jail-like settings and can't be held for longer than 20 days. The Justice Department had asked the federal court for permission "to detain alien families together throughout the pendency of criminal proceedings for improper entry or any removal or other immigration proceedings." 
But Gee rejected that request. "It is apparent that Defendants' Application is a cynical attempt," she wrote, "to shift responsibility to the Judiciary for over 20 years of congressional inaction and ill-considered Executive action that have led to the current stalemate."
The move comes just months after the Trump administration attempted to discourage illegal immigration by separating migrant families at the border, but then backed down because of the resulting uproar. As of last week, nearly 500 children were still in government-run shelters without their parents.

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