ICE | KERA News

ICE

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Miguel Oliva Esquivel was outside at work when he heard a helicopter flying overhead.

"What’s with the helicopter?" he wondered.

This summer, the Trump administration transferred nearly $10 million away from the agency that responds to disasters and emergencies, redirecting it toward one of President Trump's top priorities — the deportation of undocumented residents of the U.S.

The funds transfer is prompting the Federal Emergency Management Agency to cut back on training, IT security and infrastructure investments, according to a document sent to Congress and released by Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.

A rumpled New York lawyer in khakis and a pin-stripe shirt is standing incongruously in the shaded plaza central of Chimaltenango, Guatemala, with a cellphone glued to his cheek. Lee Gelernt — a senior lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union — is a long way from the San Diego federal courthouse where he's been wrestling with the U.S. government for much of the summer.

This week, he came here to join the daunting search for the deported parents.

President Trump praised federal agents protecting the nation's borders and enforcing immigration laws, calling them "great patriots" and telling them, "We love you, we support you, we will always have your back."

A man who was driving his pregnant wife to the hospital on Wednesday was detained because of an outstanding warrant for his arrest in Mexico related to a homicide case, according to immigration officials.

Joel Arrona-Lara and his wife, María del Carmen Venegas, had scheduled a cesarean section and were headed to the hospital when they stopped for gas in San Bernardino, Calif.

After pulling into the gas station, surveillance footage shows two other vehicles pulling in and surrounding the couple's van on either side.

The Pew Research Center estimates that there are about 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States — and that approximately two-thirds of them have been here for more than a decade.

Journalist Frank Foer says that for many years, there was a tacit agreement among politicians of both parties that there would be a pathway to citizenship for many of the long-term undocumented immigrants.

When Jorge Lara's father opened a bakery in the tiny South Texas town of Raymondville in 1963, the city boasted three theaters, dozens of restaurants and a bustling main street. The cotton fields that cover the county raked in profit. Jobs were plentiful.

More than 50 years later, Lara's Bakery is one of the few businesses left downtown. Each morning, employees fill the glass cases with glazed doughnuts and Mexican pastries like pan dulce and pumpkin empanadas.

Recent news stories have been filled with the joyous reunions of migrant parents who had been separated from their children at the Southwest border. Yet hundreds of families were reunited only to be detained again, this time together.

Inside one of those detention centers in Texas, weary fathers are now staging a hunger strike to highlight their plight.

Since his inauguration, President Donald Trump has kept his campaign promises of tougher immigration policies, leading to a constant flow of policy changes — from scaling back on programs like Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals to his “zero-tolerance” policy along the border that’s led to separation of parents and children attempting to cross into the U.S.

All of these individual actions amount to a broader strategy that is now becoming clear.

A new liberal rallying cry — "Abolish ICE!" — calls for an end to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency that enforces President Trump's immigration policies.

Many protesters held signs with the slogan at marches across the country over the weekend, and several leading Democrats echoed the grass-roots catchphrase.

In a legal setback for the Trump administration's immigration policies, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., has ruled that the government may not arbitrarily detain people seeking asylum.

The ruling comes in a case challenging the administration's policy of detaining people even after they have passed a credible fear interview and await a hearing on their asylum claim.

From Texas Standard.

In a backlash against the president’s immigration policies, agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, are now echoing calls from some Democratic Socialists and other progressives that ICE should be dissolved. The Texas Observer first reported this story, picked up today by The New York Times.

Updated at 4:30 p.m. ET

Raphael A. Sanchez, who was chief counsel at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Seattle when he opened credit cards and took out loans using the personal information of vulnerable immigrants, has been sentenced to four years in prison.

The controversy over President Trump's executive order to end the policy of separating migrant families who cross into the U.S. illegally is shifting to the courts.

The regional office for Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Portland, Ore., stands quieter than usual. Since Wednesday, the keyboard clatter and quiet murmur of officials working inside have been replaced with an unfamiliar sound, coming muffled through the walls: the chatter of angry campers outside.

And that's precisely the way the demonstrators want it.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

The U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement agency arrested 89 unauthorized immigrants, including dozens in North Texas, late last month.

Activists across the country say they are being targeted by federal immigration authorities for speaking out at protests and accusing the government of heavy-handed tactics.

The Trump administration has warned that anyone in the country illegally could be arrested and deported under tough new enforcement rules. And federal officials deny allegations of retaliation.

But the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups say they have documented two dozen cases of immigrant activists and volunteers who say they have been arrested or face fines for their work.

James Schwab has resigned from his job as a Department of Homeland Security spokesman, saying he didn't agree with Trump administration officials' use of "misleading facts" to attack Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf after the mayor issued a warning about an immigration sweep in late February.

The American Civil Liberties Union says that U.S. immigration authorities have forcibly separated hundreds of migrant parents, most of them asylum seekers, from their minor children for no legitimate reason.

The ACLU requested class-action status on Friday, expanding an existing lawsuit against the Trump administration filed on behalf of an anonymous asylum seeker from the Democratic Republic of the Congo who was allegedly detained for months — more than 2,000 miles away from her 7-year-old daughter.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Last year, Tarrant County signed an agreement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to help the federal agency detain undocumented immigrants.

Thursday, that partnership was at the center of a forum hosted by the Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce – and it was also a cause for protest.

Updated at 9:20 p.m. ET

The Justice Department is suing California and two top state officials, accusing them of interfering with federal immigration efforts by passing and enforcing state laws that hinder U.S. operations against undocumented people.

The lawsuit filed late Tuesday in federal court in Sacramento, Calif., points out that the Constitution gives the U.S. government sweeping authority over immigration.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

The Dallas area led the nation in arrests by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement last year, according to a report from Pew Research Center.

IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT

The U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement agency arrested 86 unauthorized immigrants, including dozens in North Texas, in its most recent round of immigration enforcement.

The Trump administration wants to expand its network of immigrant jails. In recent months, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has called for five new detention facilities to be built and operated by private prison corporations across the country. Critics are alarmed at the rising fortunes of an industry that had fallen out of favor with the previous administration.

Attorneys arguing the case of Senate Bill 4 – Texas’ so-called sanctuary cities law –head back to federal court today. Judges of the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans will consider a temporary block placed on most of the law in August, which was partially lifted in September.

When transcripts of President Trump’s conversations with foreign leaders about refugee policy leaked to the press last week, one line got a lot of attention. It was a reference to “local milk people,” presumably dairy farmers, whom the president thought refugees wouldn’t work for.

As it turns out, though, some “milk people” worry it's Trump's immigration policies that may be bad for business.

Jason Cisneroz, a community service officer in Houston, is troubled. His job in the nation's fourth largest city is to forge good relations between the police and Hispanic immigrants, a population typically wary of blue uniforms.

"A couple of days ago there was a witness to a burglary of a motor vehicle," he said. "She saw the suspects run to a certain place and with items they stole from a car, but she was afraid to come to police, she was in fear they would ask for her papers."

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

The Texas attorney general’s office has asked a federal court for permission to intervene in a case about whether a county jail can hold undocumented immigrants for transfer to federal custody and subsequent deportation.

Mark David Smith / Fort Worth Star-Telegram

An immigration judge has granted bond to a 26-year-old Salvadoran woman, allowing her to leave a North Texas immigration detention center and receive treatment for a brain tumor. 

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