Leaked immigration court official’s directive could violate rules that protect families from deportation

This story was originally published by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting, a nonprofit news organization based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Learn more at revealnews.org and subscribe to the Reveal podcast, produced with PRX, at revealnews.org/podcast. A high-ranking immigration court official has issued a requirement to judges in New York City that deportation cases involving families “MUST BE COMPLETED WITHIN 365 DAYS,” according to documents obtained by Reveal. The order may violate due process, as well as long-standing rules that protect families from deportation before their cases have been adjudicated fully. 

The discovery of Assistant Chief Immigration Judge Daniel Daugherty’s email to judges illustrates the inner workings of one of the nation’s busiest immigration courts, days after the Department of Justice filed a petition to disband the immigration judges union. 

The department and union have been battling over judges’ independence. Immigration court cases involving parents and children – such as those separated at the border or in the recent Mississippi workplace raids – can take several years to adjudicate.

Trump administration’s latest asylum rule allowed to stand in Texas, New Mexico

“Trump administration’s latest asylum rule allowed to stand in Texas, New Mexico” was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues. Asylum-seeking migrants who cross into Texas or New Mexico can be barred from receiving asylum protection if they passed through another country before arriving at the U.S. border, a federal court ruled Friday. The ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is a partial victory for the Trump administration, which announced a policy last month that would disqualify most asylum seekers from receiving protection in the United States if they crossed through another country and didn’t first apply for asylum there. A federal district judge in San Francisco initially halted the measure, aimed at blocking asylum claims from Central Americans, but Friday’s decision by the 9th Circuit let the policy stand in Texas and New Mexico while halting it in Arizona and California, which are in the 9th Circuit’s jurisdiction. The ruling could change the fate for thousands of people waiting to apply for asylum in Mexican border cities like Ciudad Juárez, Nuevo Laredo and Matamoros.

Migrant moms await due dates and court dates

A growing number of expectant mothers are among the migrants pouring in daily from Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador — even Haiti — to more than 30 already overflowing shelters in Tijuana, Mexico. “More women are arriving pregnant or with babies,” said pastor Gustavo Banda of the Embajadores de Jesús (Ambassadors of Jesus) church, which operates a shelter in Cañón del Alacrán (Scorpion’s Canyon) on the outskirts of Tijuana. “We have a lot of Haitian women and some Central American.”

Some women also get pregnant while they wait. These pregnant women are stuck here because the Trump administration’s “Remain in Mexico” program requires some U.S.-bound asylum applicants to register at ports of entry and then return to Mexican border cities to wait as their claims are processed. It’s a period of great anxiety, if only because many want their children born in the United States.

‘All we want is for them to listen to us’ In Mexico, Trump’s latest asylum policy stirs anger, fear and confusion

“”All we want is for them to listen to us”: In Mexico, Trump’s latest asylum policy stirs anger, fear and confusion” was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues. CIUDAD JUAREZ, MEXICO — Last Wednesday in this border city, Carmen, a Cuban woman who’s been stuck here since May, fought to contain her rage and desperation. “I feel like an idiot,” she said. “I don’t know what’s going to happen now. Do you know what’s going to happen?”

About the same time — and more than 900 miles away in the Mexican city of Matamoros — Jorge Luis Gutierrez, also from Cuba, was reeling from what he said was a trap laid for asylum seekers by the Mexican and American governments.

Immigrant children returned to West Texas facility despite reports of squalid conditions

“Immigrant children returned to West Texas facility despite reports of squalid conditions” was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues. Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include a statement from U.S. Customs and Border Protection

EL PASO — More than 100 undocumented immigrant children have been returned to a U.S. Border Patrol facility in West Texas despite reports of deplorable conditions in the small holding facility. A Customs and Border Protection spokesperson confirmed that more than 100 children had been returned to the facility in Clint, a small town just east of El Paso. The news was first reported by The New York Times. The facility has been under intense scrutiny after reports surfaced last week alleging children were held without adequate water, food and proper sanitation.

People want to donate diapers and toys to children at Border Patrol facilities in Texas. They’re being turned away.

“People want to donate diapers and toys to children at Border Patrol facilities in Texas. They’re being turned away.” was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues. On Sunday, Austin Savage and five of his friends huddled into an SUV and went to an El Paso Target, loading up on diapers, wipes, soaps and toys. About $340 later, the group headed to a Border Patrol facility holding migrant children in nearby Clint with the goal of donating their goods.

State, ABQ suing federal government over changes on policy for asylum seekers

The office of the governor announced Monday the state filed suit against the Trump administration over changes to the federal government’s “safe release” policy that provided aid for asylum seekers. The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico, says the federal government’s abandonment of the policy is unlawful and has “profoundly impacted” the state of New Mexico and the city of Albuquerque, which is also a plaintiff on the suit. The state wants the Trump administration to reverse its decision on the policy and to reimburse the costs associated with the change. “The Trump administration has consistently and flagrantly failed in its response to the ongoing humanitarian crisis at our southern border as well as in addressing legitimate border security concerns,” Lujan Grisham said in a statement. “The president has shown time and again he is interested only in demonizing the vulnerable people who arrive at our border, stoking unfounded fears about national security while taking no action to substantively and proactively protect immigrants and our southern border communities from human- and drug-trafficking.”

In October of last year, the Trump administration abruptly ended the Safe Release program, which had been in place for a decade.

Over 200 allegations of abuse of migrant children; 1 case of Homeland Security disciplining someone

From 2009 to 2014, at least 214 complaints were filed against federal agents for abusing or mistreating migrant children. According to the Department of Homeland Security’s records, only one employee was disciplined as a result of a complaint. The department’s records, which have alarmed advocates for migrants given the more aggressive approach to the treatment of minors at the border under the current administration, emerged as part of a federal lawsuit seeking the release of the names of the accused agents. Last month, attorneys for DHS argued before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco that disclosing the names of the federal agents would infringe on their right to privacy. A district judge had earlier ordered the department to make the names public.

Government isn’t reuniting migrant children with legal guardians

This story was originally published by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting, a nonprofit news organization based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Learn more at revealnews.org and subscribe to the Reveal podcast, produced with PRX, at revealnews.org/podcast. When they arrived at the U.S. border June 1 seeking asylum, 5-year-old Esdras and the woman he called his “mamita” were split up by immigration officers. “I cried so much,” Marta Alicia Mejia said. “I thought, ‘My God, why would they separate me from the boy?’ ”

Three weeks later, a federal judge ruled that the government must reunify the migrant families it separated at the border under the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy between April and June 2018.

Pediatrician who treated immigrant children describes pattern of lapses in medical care in shelters

Inside a weathered green group home in southern New Jersey, Yosary grew weaker and weaker. She felt tired all the time, and when she got out of bed in the morning, she sometimes became so dizzy she needed to lie back down. Bruises started appearing all over her body. She craved ice, chewing cups of it whenever she could. For months, the slender 15-year-old, who’d fled Honduras with her 2-year-old son, had been reporting her symptoms to the shelter’s staff.