Sunday, October 7, 2018

No Equal Justice for Immigrants Under Trump-law?

Image result for pic of immigration judges in us courts
A Kidnapped Toddler faces a US Immigration hearing alone 

IMMIGRATION COURTS

Quotas for Immigration Judges Takes Effect

On October 1, the Trump Administration’s new numerical and time-based quota system for immigration judges’ performance evaluations went into effect.

Earlier this year, the DOJ announced it would begin evaluating immigration judges’ performance based on how many cases they complete and how quickly they complete certain stages. To receive a “satisfactory” rating, immigration judges must now complete at least 700 cases per year, and meet three of six time “benchmarks,” among other requirements.

Critics argue quotas undermine independent judicial decision-making and pressure immigration judges to prioritize speed over due process. Ashley Tabaddor, president of the National Association of Immigration Judges, said this policy reflects a “new and dark era.” And on Monday, a group of retired immigration judges and members of the Board of Immigration Appeals argued, “Never before, in our experience, has EOIR so directly and strongly undermined the decisional independence of Immigration Judges.”

Saturday, October 6, 2018

One detainee told inspectors that he had seen multiple people attempt suicides using knotted sheets. “The guards laugh at them and call them ‘suicide failures’ once they are back from medical,” the detainee said.

A Surprise Inspection of an ICE 

Detention Center Reveals Horrific Conditions

Federal investigators found “significant threats” to detainees’ health and safety.

Immigrants wait in a processing cell at Adalanto Detention Facility.John Moore/Getty Images
Inside an immigration detention center in the desert outside Los Angeles, guards threw detainees into solitary confinement without hearings, routinely forced them into shackles, and cut off visits with family. Doctors signed off on medical assessments that never happened. Detainees were allowed to hang knotted sheets inside their cells, despite the facility’s extensive history of suicide attempts. And an extraction-happy dentist refused to fill cavities while suggesting detainees floss with threads pulled from their socks.
These were just some of the conditions inside the Adelanto Detention Facility when federal inspectors from the Department of Homeland Security arrived for a surprise visit in May, according to a searing report released today by the DHS Office of the Inspector General. Investigators concluded that conditions at the privately run facility amounted to “serious” violations of Immigration and Custom Enforcement’s own detention standards, representing “significant threats to the safety, rights, and health of detainees.”
Few of the government’s findings about Adelanto are surprising, given that many of the same complaints about health care and suicide risks have been made for years by concerned advocates and public officials. But the report’s graphic details—from the bed sheets to the dentist’s remarks—powerfully illustrate the severity of the detention center’s long-running violations.
That history includes last year’s rash of suicide attempts and deaths at the 1,940-bed complex, which is operated by the GEO Group, the nation’s largest private-prison company. (Under a contract extended in 2016, the federal government pays GEO a guaranteed $113.51 per detainee per day for the first 1,455 immigrants held at the facility. For the hundreds of immigrants locked up over that minimum, ICE pays GEO $43.77 per day.) According to the report, at least seven detainees attempted suicide between December 2016 and October 2017, including a Nicaraguan immigrant named Osmar Epifanio Gonzalez-Gadba, who had been held at Adelanto for three months. In March 2017, he used a bed sheet to hang himself in his cell and died in intensive care at a local hospital a few days later. 
Yet as of the inspection this May, ICE officials continued to allow detainees to hang knotted bed sheets inside their cells—often for privacy around toilets or bunk areas—in “disregard for detainee health and safety,” the investigators concluded. One detainee told inspectors that he had seen multiple people attempt suicides using the sheets. “The guards laugh at them and call them ‘suicide failures’ once they are back from medical,” the detainee said.
Knotted sheets, which detainees and staff refer to as “nooses,” hang from cell vents on the day of the surprise inspection at Adelanto.
 
DHS Office of the Inspector General
Inspectors also found deficiencies in medical care—another long-running issue. As Mother Jones has previously reported, 28 members of Congress demanded in 2015 that federal inspectors look at health and safety concerns at Adelanto after ICE’s Office of Professional Responsibility ruled that the 2012 death of detainee Fernando Dominguez was the result of “egregious errors” by the center’s medical staff. Also in 2015, hundreds of detainees went on hunger strike, protesting poor medical and dental care, among other issues.
As of May, inspectors found, waiting times for medical care at Adelanto could stretch on for months. Even then, appointments were often canceled because there were not enough guards to accompany detainees to the clinic. The center’s two dentists hadn’t filled a cavity or performed a cleaning in four years, opting to pull teeth instead—sometimes the wrong ones, a detainee told inspectors. Meanwhile, investigators observed nurses, doctors, and mental-health providers performing “cursory walkthroughs” of the disciplinary segregation area, signing off on medical assessments without talking to detainees.
Medical care wasn’t the only problem with Adelanto’s disciplinary segregation system, a form of solitary confinement used as punishment for detainees who have broken facility rules. At the time of the inspection, each of the 14 detainees being held in disciplinary segregation had been placed there before receiving a misconduct hearing, “violating the detainees’ right to due process,” the report concluded. They had automatically lost access to visiting family and to the detention center’s commissary, and they were routinely shackled any time they left their cell—all measures inspectors deemed inappropriate. Half the detainees had never received disciplinary panel decisions at all.
In one case, a man who uses a wheelchair had requested to stay in a less-severe form of isolation known as administrative segregation—but was instead left alone in a disciplinary segregation cell for nine days. “Based on our file review, in those 9 days, the detainee never left his wheelchair to sleep in a bed or brush his teeth,” inspectors wrote. “During our visit, we saw that the bedding and toiletries were still in the bag from his arrival.” In another, a blind detainee with limited English proficiency was put in disciplinary segregation but not given any aids or translated materials to explain his rights or why he was being punished.
Asked to comment on the Inspector General’s Office findings, a spokesman for the GEO Group referred questions to ICE. The agency, for its part, has “concurred” with the report, promising to schedule an additional inspection to make sure the problems are solved by January 2019. 
But Liz Martinez, director of advocacy and strategic communications for Freedom for Immigrants, an anti-detention nonprofit that has monitored and advocated to close Adelanto, noted that the detention center’s reputation for poor conditions and frequent fatalities have lasted years. “Without real consequences,” she said, “ICE and the GEO Group will continue to operate with impunity.”

Monday, October 1, 2018

Something YOU CAN do: Prevent the government from detaining Migrant Children with their parents indefinitely

Brave New Films
Dear Janet,
Even though the haunting sounds and troubling images of crying toddlers and families in cages are no longer front and center in the news, the reality remains; immigrant prisons and family separation are still wreaking havoc on families.
We must keep this fight alive. At Brave New Films, we use the power of film to keep shining light on these continuing injustices.
We released the Immigrant Prisons series a few years ago to spotlight how locking up immigrants is a cash cow for the private prison industry. Today, we wanted to let you know that we have added another segment to the series. Trauma at the Border is an essential update to the story about how the Trump administration is worsening an already inhumane and unjust system.Immigrant Prisons Play
Do you belong to a community group or faith community where you could screen Immigrant Prisons and keep the fight alive?
Are you a student or educator who wants to bring Immigrant Prisons to your campus or classroom?
You can even host a screening in your home to educate your friends and family or to help raise money for one of the great organizations working on the front lines (we can even help you find and connect with some of those organizations!).
Learn more about hosting a screening below:
Janet, we couldn’t imagine how it could get any worse when we first produced Immigrant Prisons. Unfortunately, the situation has now become catastrophic for thousands of immigrants across the country. Please join us in pursuing justice by keeping these stories at the forefront, mobilizing your community to action, and making your voice heard.
For justice,

Anne Phillips
Outreach Director
(310)204-0448 ext. 278
Last month, the Trump administration proposed a rule that would terminate the Flores agreement and allow the federal government to detain immigrant children with their parents indefinitely. You have until November 6th to submit a formal comment opposing the new rule and demand that the Trump administration NOT detain immigrant children indefinitely.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

DHS & ICE Build more Family Prisons??? Block S.3478 the bill to build more American Concentration camps.

Resistance needed: Trump and Republicans are trying to build more family prisons
Reports of stomach-churning child abuse in detention centers should compel any lawmaker with a conscience to stop Donald Trump's xenophobic attacks, but Republican extremist Sen. Ron Johnson just introduced legislation that would push the United States over the cliff of cruelty.1
The FAMILIES Act would add more family prisons to Trump's deportation and mass incarceration machine and worsen the crisis of corruption and abuse at the border. Democrats and Republicans of good conscience need to do everything they can to block this bill.
Tell Congress: No more Trump internment camps. Block legislation that would expand family prisons.
Sen. Johnson introduced this cruel bill just as news broke that the Trump administration lost track of nearly 1,500 immigrant children it placed in detention facilities and foster care this year.2 This latest horrifying development is yet another example of how Trump's extreme anti-immigrant policies are made worse by his administration's incompetence.
The ineptitude of Trump's ICE, CBP and DOJ was on full display this week. At a Senate hearing on Trump's latest proposal to nullify the Flores decree, a settlement that puts time limits on imprisoning children, Trump officials dodged fundamental questions and failed to defend the administration's push to expand family and child detention. ICE officials said that they didn't even bother to read warnings from agency doctors about the trauma detention inflicts on children.3 ICE's chief of arrests and deportations compared family prisons to "summer camps," again.4 Jeff Sessions' acting deputy assistant attorney general refused to comment on whether child abuse at detention centers would count as federal crime.5
These officials are either willfully ignorant Trump loyalists or completely incompetent. Either way, Congress should be putting checks on ICE and CBP, not empowering them to do more harm.
Sen. Johnson's bill would allow Trump and Republicans to build more family prisons, make family detention mandatory and waive the polygraph requirement for many border patrol applicants, opening the door for more corruption and abuse. We must join together now to keep the pressure on Congress and demand that it reject any bill that would give Trump the power to imprison more immigrant families indefinitely. Will you add your name now?
Tell Congress: No more Trump internment camps. Block legislation that would expand family prisons.
Thanks for standing up for families.
References:
  1. Sen. Ron Johnson, "S.3478," introduced Sept. 18, 2018.
  2. Ron Nixon, "U.S. Loses Track of Another 1,500 Migrant Children, Investigators Find," The New York Times, Sept. 18, 2018.
  3. Amanda Michelle Gomez, "Trump officials claim they are unaware of health risks associated with child detention," ThinkProgress, Sept. 18, 2018.
  4. Tal Kopan, "ICE official stands by comparing detention centers to 'summer camp,' won't say if he'd send his kids to one," CNN, Sept. 18, 2018.
  5. Ibid.s

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Disappeared? Missing (Brown) children are nothing new in the USA

Image result for pic of deportation of us citizen




Where did they go? About a decade ago, thousands of Latino children began quietly dropping out of public schools in 55 counties across the country. One year, the students would be enrolled; the next year, they wouldn’t be. Sometimes they left in the middle of the year.
Over a two-year period, the number of Latino students in these counties fell 10 percent — or by almost 300,000 children. The vast majority of the children who disappeared from the rolls were American citizens. Some moved elsewhere in the United States, while others likely left, returning to the countries where their parents had been born.
Either way, many of the children paid a price. Abrupt moves usually aren’t good for kids, academic research has found. Their education and social lives are disrupted. Their families’ finances can suffer too.
So what was going on in these 55 counties?
An important new study — from Thomas Dee, a Stanford professor, and Mark Murphy, a graduate student there — solves the mystery. Dee and Murphy have uncovered a mass displacement of American children that had previously gone overlooked.
The 55 counties had something in common. They were the counties where local police departments signed up for partnerships with I.C.E., the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. These partnerships trained the local police to act as immigration agents in many situations. In some cases, they could stop people they merely suspected of being illegal immigrants and ask for their papers.
The I.C.E. partnerships are a fairly recent phenomenon. They were part of a law passed in 1996, and the partnerships didn’t really begin to grow until 2007, under the George W. Bush administration. But it was not clear how much of an effect they had.
Dee realized that schools’ enrollment records might offer an answer. They did, and it was a jarring one. In counties with I.C.E. partnerships, the Latino student population plummeted. It did not do so in otherwise similar counties without the partnerships. The student population of other races also did not significantly change in the 55 counties.
The only plausible explanation, Dee believes, is immigration enforcement. As the counties cracked down, families with at least one undocumented immigrant fled. So, in some cases, did Latino citizens subjected to harassment or racial profiling. And the children in these families suffered.
“The harm isn’t as severe as caging kids or separating them from their families,” Dee told me, referring to more recent actions by the Trump administration. “But the scale and long-lived nature of this program is really important. We’re immiserating our children on a scale that I don’t think anyone has appreciated.” In fact, the displaced children represented 3 percent of all Latino children nationwide.
And there appears to have been scant benefits to the crackdown. The teacher-student ratio in the 55 counties didn’t fall. Crime didn’t fall, either, evidence suggests. If anything, the program likely undercut other aspects of policing, by giving more families reasons to fear the police.
Yet now the I.C.E. program is growing again. The Obama administration had shrunk the program, reducing the number of county partnerships below 40. But the Trump administration has ramped it back up. More than 70 counties now have partnerships.
I understand that some Americans will view the price that these children have paid — and are still paying — as an unavoidable side-effect of proper law enforcement: Someone in their family violated the law, by entering this country illegally. But the scale of the punishment feels wildly disproportionate to me.
As a country, we have taken a lax approach to immigration enforcement for years, much as we do with jaywalking or speeding. (And speeding causes much more damage.) The notion that dozens of counties suddenly changed that approach, and upended the lives of thousands upon thousands of children, is neither fair nor just. It also isn’t smart.
Instead, it is yet another reminder that we need an overhaul of our immigration laws — one that both respects the rule of law and treats people humanely.
The full Opinion report from The Times follows.

Friday, September 28, 2018

With liberty and justice for all randy white guys who can't be held accountable for sexual abuse but a toddler kidnapped from his parents faces the American "justice" alone?


In Trump's America, a 17-year-old privileged, white teenage boy can’t be held accountable for sexually abusing teenage girls, but toddlers brought to America are detained, held in cages and expected to defend themselves in immigration court. Think about it.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Please Remember the kidnapped children" Yes, even amid all the political spin, all the Presidential "distraction" keep your eyes on ICE & DHA still holding asylum seeker's children in cages.

INSIDE THE ACLU'S SUIT TO STOP ICE FROM SEPARATING IMMIGRANT FAMILIES

The Department of Homeland Security maintains that it does not habitually separate detained asylum-seekers from their children without just cause.
Ms. L's case is just the latest rights concern to emerge from what critics contend is an unprecedented level of hostility coming from the White House toward immigrants.
Ms. L's case is just the latest rights concern to emerge from what critics contend is an unprecedented level of hostility coming from the White House toward immigrants.
The American Civil Liberties Union is set to challenge immigration officialsin court this week over the reported separation of hundreds of detained immigrant parents from their children.
A federal judge in San Diego will hear the ACLU's arguments Friday in Ms. L v. ICE, a class action suit that emerged from a case reported by Pacific Standard in February. In that case, the ACLU challenged the separation of an asylum seeker from the Democratic Republic of Congo from her seven-year-old daughter. Upon arrival in the United States, the woman—referred to in court documents only as Ms. L—was first housed together with her daughter, but the two were then separated without explanation, according to the ACLU's complaint, or any indication of the government's doubts in Ms. L's parental abilities or stated relationship to her child.
The ACLU broadened the suit in March to involve all detained immigrants separated from their children. The scope of the separations remained unclear until earlier this month, when the New York Times reported that authorities had separated more than 700 children from their parents.
"The ACLU filed a national class-action lawsuit to reunite the hundreds of families who have been separated, and to stop this horrid practice from continuing," Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project, tells Pacific Standard in an email. "It is unconscionable that little kids are being torn away from their parents this way." Gelernt, who will argue on Friday to reunite separated families, was unable to comment further on the pending litigation.
The government maintains that a "practice," as the ACLU and other observers of immigrant rights have a characterized it, does not exist.
"DHS does not currently have a policy of separating families at the border for deterrence purposes," Department of Homeland Security press secretary Tyler Q. Houlton tells Pacific Standard via email. ICE falls under DHS jurisdiction.
There are, however, circumstances that do merit separations, Houlton writes:
As required by law, DHS must protect the best interests of minor children crossing our borders and occasionally this results in separating children from an adult they are traveling with if we cannot ascertain the parental relationship or if we think the child is otherwise in danger. Unfortunately, we have seen many instances where human traffickers have used children to cross the border to gain illegal entry to our country as they know they are unlikely to be detained. This is one of the very loopholes we would like to see Congress end in order to gain operational control of our border.
Pacific Standard was not immediately able to independently verify DHS's claims of a practice of human traffickers allegedly using children as an immigration loophole to enter the country illegally. As for Ms. L, she entered the country without the apparent help of a human trafficker, but rather as an asylum seeker—in other words, through legally sanctioned process of immigration—before she was removed from her child without explanation.
Immigration authorities reunited Ms. L with her child just a few days after the ACLU moved to extend its lawsuit to all separated immigrant families. The status of the remaining hundreds of families separated from their children will be deliberated Friday.
Ms. L's case is just the latest rights concern to emerge from what critics contend is an unprecedented level of hostility coming from the White House toward immigrants. Protocol under previous administrations mandated that immigration authorities keep detainees together. President Donald Trump has frequently moved to reverse the policies of his predecessors, particularly in the area of immigration. In September, Trump ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, a centerpiece of President Barack Obama's immigration policy, throwing former recipients into a legal limbo now being decided in the courts.
Beyond Trump's apparent opposition to precedent, DHS's claims of an anti-trafficking animus offer fresh insights into how the government may argue in favor of its decision to remove what reports say are hundreds of children from their parents. Still, any attempt to separate immigrant parents and children without trial is an infringement on their constitutionally guaranteed rights to due process.
The Trump administration's separation of immigrant families from their children is just one of several controversies arising from policies that civil liberties advocates warn infringe on due process protections and, more broadly, the integrity of the American justice system.
Several classes of immigrants have been indefinitely detained without legal recourse under the Trump administration. Last week, the Trump administration appealed rulings securing Iraqi nationals immigration who had been rounded up for deportation fair trials and effectively releasing them from indefinite detention. The Iraqis aren't alone. Dozens of Vietnamese immigrants continue to languish in immigration detention facilities as Hanoi refuses to accept deportations that contravene a longstanding agreement with Washington. Rights advocates say that indefinite detention is illegal.
ICE has, in recent weeks, come under heightened scrutiny for these and countless similar practices under the Trump administration. But ICE's troubles began long before Trump took office, some say; late last week, aLos Angeles Times report revealed that the agency had wrongfully detained almost 1,500 people since 2012, according to a count of legal records and testimony.
In the case of the separated families, an absence of transparency into the exact details of the scope and circumstances of the detainees makes it next to impossible to understand fully how the U.S. under the Trump administration is enforcing immigration law—and whether that enforcement comports with the Constitution's promises of a fair trial.