Protecting Immigrant Communities Newsletter: 10/05/20

October 5, 2020 | Texas

By: Cheasty Anderson and Sara Albanna

Dear Partners and Friends,

Thank you so much for wanting to stay up to date on what’s happening. Here’s the latest roundup of immigration-related news, and our bi-weekly action opportunity.  Please let me know as things cross your desk that you think might be of value for our next newsletter, and as always, feel free to forward to folks who might want to join our list. If you wish to unsubscribe from this list, follow this opt-out link.

Lead Stories:

Immigrants in US custody died after ‘inadequate’ medical care, congressional investigation finds
A recent congressional review found that many of the for-profit detention facilities lack sufficient medical and mental health staff and services, failed to provide necessary care for chronic medical conditions, delayed emergency care, and had poor sanitation. The report explained how these conditions have led to several deaths.

A federal court may have declared immigration arrests unconstitutional
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the usual constitutional rules that apply to normal police all over the country also apply to ICE, meaning that when ICE arrests immigrants for suspected crimes, they will now have to show probable cause to a judge within 48 hours.
The Hill

Trump Administration reimposes “public charge” immigration wealth test following court orders
The Trump Administration said it is reimposing its “public charge” wealth test for green cards that had been blocked during the pandemic. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said it would apply the 2019 public charge test to all future and pending green card applications filed after February 24, 2020, when the agency implemented the rule.
CBS News

Action Items:

Comment on Proposed Rule that Will Increase Biometric Data Collection from Immigrants
DHS, through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, proposed a new rule that will let the department collect DNA, iris scans, voice prints and photos to feed facial recognition programs from any immigrantion-related applicant, petitioner, sponsor, or beneficiary, including US citizens and regardless of age. This data collection is unnecessary and a violation of privacy. See statements about the proposed rule by ACLU and Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. The deadline is 11:59pm ET on October 13, 2020. Submit your comment here!

Tell ICE to Free Families from Detention Centers
During the pandemic, ICE has continued to separate families. Family separation violates multiple human rights, including the right to family unity, the right to liberty, and the requirement to prioritize the best interests of the child. This action toolkit by Amnesty International has resources on how to advocate for the release of families together from detention.

Volunteer with or Donate to Grannies Respond
Grannies Respond is a grassroots movement, which formed in response to the separation of families seeking asylum at the southern border of the United States. Their new program, Doctors Respond, is working to match volunteers from the U.S. healthcare community with established organizations currently offering medical care to asylum seekers living in the makeshift communities at the border. Learn more about volunteer opportunities or donating.

Organization Sign-On: Letter to Vice President Biden, Jr. in Support of Sanctuary Leaders
Organizations can sign onto this letter to ask Vice President Biden to commit to 1) exercise favorable prosecutorial discretion to grant a stay of removal to each person living in sanctuary on your first day in office; 2) within the first 100 days of presidency, lift the deportation orders against all people living in sanctuary; and 3) sign into law all private bills for people living in sanctuary that Congress sends.

Support Pastor Steven by Sending Him a Letter or Emailing ICE
Pastor Steven Tendo is an ordained minister seeking safety from danger in Uganda, where government forces tortured him, amputated two of his fingers, and murdered several of his family members. His health has rapidly deteriorated from inadequate care in ICE. You can support him by emailing the ICE San Antonio office to release him from detention or sending him a letter. Follow these links to more information about emailing or sending letters.

Resources and Reports:

Immigrant Children: The American Promise”
The Children at Risk team partnered with the Rational Middle of Immigration’s team and produced a documentary that shines a light on children’s psychological wellness, examines the cost compared to the overwhelming benefit of having these children in the U.S., and highlights the challenge of nurturing these children and helping them thrive.

The Trump Administration’s Mistreatment of Detained Immigrants: Deaths and Deficient Medical Care by For-Profit Detention Contractors
A recently published Staff Report prepared for Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney and Chairman Jamie Raskin found that ICE detention facilities fail to provide necessary medical care to detainees with serious and chronic medical conditions and have critical medical staff shortages. The report also highlights serious health risks due to deficient sanitation practices and poor handling of infectious diseases. 

ICE Detention Facilities Failing to Meeting Standards of Care
The new report by the Committee on Homeland Security determines that DHS oversight of ICE detention facilities fails to effectively identify and correct deficient conditions. The Committee also reported that ICE the facilities visited by the Committee were generally clean, but ICE detainees frequently face deficient medical, dental, and mental health care, detention facilities often misuse and abuse segregation, and detainees face challenges accessing legal services, case information, and interpreter/translation services.

Freedom for Immigrants
Freedom for Immigrants has several resources including an interactive Detention Map, with COVID-19 dashboard and place to submit reports, and monthly COVID-19 policy briefs. They have a free, legally unmonitored volunteer hotline number, 9233 #, where people can call from inside detention to report abuses and request support. They also have an outside hotline number, 209-757-3733, for family members, advocates, and attorneys.

State and Local Immigrants’ Rights Developments, December 2019–August 2020
This new report from the National Immigration Law Center highlights the many different policy advances made at the state and local level from 2020. From divesting from mass incarceration and dismantling the ways the police assist ICE and CBP, to passing workers’ safety reforms, to improving critical access to health care and benefits, states and localities continue to lead the way towards an immigrant-inclusive future.

Review of the Supreme Court’s 2019-2020 Immigration Cases
This resource provides key takeaways and additional context on the Supreme Court’s nine immigration-related rulings in its 2019-20 term. It details the mixed outcome of these cases, including high profile victories for immigrants and advocates, as well as decisions posing threats to immigrants.

Other Recent News of Interest: 

Immigrant detainees get poor medical care, face retaliation for speaking out, according to Democrat-led report
Immigrant detainees in U.S. government custody are getting inadequate medical, dental, and mental health care, and facing punishment for speaking out, according to a report issued by the House Homeland Security Committee. The review also reveals problems with cleanliness, use of segregation, and access to legal and language services. It concludes that ICE is failing to meet its basic standards of care.
The Washington Post

Migrant women to no longer see doctor accused of misconduct
Immigration authorities have stopped sending detained women to a rural Georgia gynecologist accused of performing hysterectomies without consent, a government spokesman said.
The Washington Post

‘It’s Scarier Than Having A Surgery’: A Year Later, Uncertainty Around Medical Deferrals Remains
Immigration lawyers are criticizing U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for denying medical deferred action requests without providing clear reasoning. Medical deferrals allow severely ill people who don’t have legal status in the US and who can’t access adequate health care in their home countries to temporarily stay in the US while receiving what’s often life-saving treatment.

ICE deported a key witness in investigation of sexual assault and harassment at El Paso detention center
ICE deported a crucial witness in an ongoing investigation into allegations of sexual assault and harassment at an El Paso immigrant detention center, according to the witness’ lawyers.
Texas Tribune

What It’s Like To Be Held By ICE During The COVID-19 Pandemic
Although ICE officials say the agency is taking precautions to avoid the spread of the coronavirus, activists say that the facilities remain ill-prepared to protect those detained. More than 5,000 people have contracted the coronavirus while in immigration detention centers.

Latinx LGBTQ+ Youth Face 30% Higher Suicide Risk, Fueled By Immigration Fears
The Trevor Project has released new research examining factors associated with suicide attempts among Latinx LGBTQ+ youth. They found that Latinx LGBTQ+ young people were 30% more likely than their non-Latinx LGBTQ+ peers to attempt to end their lives within the past year. Additionally, Latinx LGBTQ+ youth who reported concerns about deportation or detention were at twice the risk of attempting suicide than their Latinx LGBTQ+ peers who had no such worries.

‘False sense of perspective’: Immigrant TV stories mainly focus on Latinos, deportation
A new report from Define American and the Norman Lear Center at USC Annenberg found that 61% of characters with storylines related to immigration were Latinx while only 36% of characters in character-driven stories were Latinx and the most common storylines for immigrant characters are about deportation, ICE, and discussions about being “illegal” and/or “undocumented.” Additionally, 63% of characters with identifiable statuses overall were undocumented or asylum seekers, when in reality only 24% of immigrants are undocumented.


Thanks so much for reading and staying informed.