In The News

South Florida Attorneys Bring Help For Migrant Kids That Have To Face U.S. Courts On Their Own - WLRN

  AUG 8, 2019

South Florida facilities for unaccompanied minors who crossed the U.S. border have loomed large in the debate over the treatment of the youngest immigrants. 

Several Democratic presidential candidates visited the now-emptied Homestead detention facility in the days surrounding the first Democratic debates. The removal of Homestead's last remaining children from the facility over the weekend marked the end of its controversial place in the immigration discussion. 

Homestead, though, was only one of four facilities holding immigrant children in South Florida. The newest opened earlier this summer in Lake Worth.

All of them have gotten regular visits from Americans for Immigrant Justice, a law and advocacy firm based in Miami. 

WLRN’s Madeline Fox sat down with Jennifer Anzardo Valdes, who heads AIJ’s Children’s Legal Program.

Read more Share

Immigrant-Rights Group Says ICE Is Withholding Info on Deported Children - Miami New Times

In January, Americans for Immigrant Justice — one of the most prominent immigrant-rights activist and legal groups in Florida — filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the federal government for what sounded, at least at the time, like basic information. The group wanted to know how the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) — a branch of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) — handles kids who "age out" of immigrant detention, because most are handcuffed on their 18th birthdays and transported to adult Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention centers.

Read more Share

DHS Sued For Info On Teens Transferred To ICE Custody At 18 - Law 360

Law360 (August 6, 2019, 3:06 PM EDT) -- A Miami-based legal aid organization has sued the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for failing to cough up documents about the procedures for children who “age out” of custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement and are transferred to ICE detention.

Americans for Immigrant Justice Inc. filed suit in Florida federal court Monday, claiming DHS and ICE failed to promptly respond to its Freedom of Information Act request for any communications and documents that relate to custody decisions by the Miami field office for unaccompanied minors who are transferred over to ICE at age 18.
Read more Share

Migrant mental health crisis spirals in ICE detention facilities - Politico

07/21/2019 06:54 AM EDT

Federal inspectors visiting a California migrant detention center made a shocking discovery last year: Detainees had made nooses from bedsheets in 15 of 20 cells in the facility they visited.

The inspection revealed the extent of a largely unseen mental health crisis within the growing population of migrants who are being held in detention centers in border states. President Donald Trump’s 2017 decision to reverse a policy that encouraged releasing vulnerable individuals while they await deportation hearings has left U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement unequipped to deal with conditions ranging from anxiety to schizophrenia.

Read more Share

Trivia participants at Portland Mercado raise funds for Americans for Immigrant Justice - KATU News

Thursday, July 18th 2019

PORTLAND, Ore. – People in Southeast Portland have found a lighthearted way to make a difference with the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border and keep the conversation going.

The Portland Mercado, a collection of food carts along Southeast Foster Road, is holding a trivia night every Wednesday.

Two weeks ago, to protest President Donald Trump’s border policies, a small group of trivia-goers raised $200 and gave it to Americans for Immigrant Justice.

Read more Share

South Miami Leads First Challenge To Florida Law Banning 'Sanctuary' Cities - WLRN

  JUL 16, 2019

The first legal challenge to Florida’s controversial law banning so-called “sanctuary” cities and counties was filed on Tuesday against Governor Ron DeSantis and Attorney General Ashley Moody in the Southern District of Florida. Leading the federal lawsuit is the City of South Miami.

The new law SB 168 requires local police departments, sheriff’s offices and Corrections Departments to use their “best efforts” in assisting federal immigration officials for enforcement of immigration law. It also allows the Governor or Attorney General to sue or even remove a local official from office if they don’t comply with the terms of the law, which went into effect on July 1.

Read more Share

South Miami sues to block sanctuary city ban, says it will divide police and residents - Miami Herald

JULY 16, 2019 10:20 PM 

The city of South Miami and nine other organizations on Tuesday sued Gov. Ron DeSantis and Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody challenging Florida’s new law banning sanctuary cities and requiring local law enforcement to comply with federal immigration policies.

But South Miami, a city of approximately 12,000, accounts for a tiny fraction of Florida’s 21.3 million people. It’s smaller than most of Miami-Dade’s municipalities. And its mayor, Philip Stoddard, maintains that it is not a sanctuary city, and that there are no sanctuary cities in Florida.

So why is the city challenging the governor?

Read more Share

Civil Rights Groups Join South Miami in Lawsuit to Stop Florida's "Sanctuary City" Ban - Miami New Times

 | JULY 16, 2019 | 11:00AM

This past spring, activists were unable to stop the Florida Republican Party from passing Senate Bill 168, a demonstrably racist "sanctuary city" ban that was originally pitched by an anti-immigrant extremist group. So a group of nine civil-rights organizations has teamed up with the City of South Miami to try to take down the new law in federal court.

Today the nine groups — the Florida Immigrant Coalition, the Farmworker Association of Florida, the Family Action Network Movement, QLatinx, WeCount!, the Westminster Presbyterian United Church of Gainesville, Americans for Immigrant Justice, the Guatemalan-Maya Center, and the Hope CommUnity Center — joined South Miami and sued Gov. Ron DeSantis and Attorney General Ashley Moody in Miami federal court.

Read more Share

Groups sue to block new Florida immigration law - St. Augustine Record

Read more Share

Immigrant advocates file lawsuit against new Florida 'sanctuary cities' law - Tallahassee Democrat

, Published 10:07 a.m. ET July 16, 2019 

Florida’s new so-called “sanctuary cities” law, which prohibits local governments from enacting sanctuary policies and requires local law enforcement to help ICE detain immigrants without warrants, is being challenged as unconstitutional.

A coalition of immigrant rights groups, including Florida Immigrant Coalition, Farmworker Association of Florida, WeCount!, Americans for Immigrant Justice, Hope Community Center, QLatinx, and the City of Miami filed the suit in federal court in Miami this morning. The injunction request is the first lawsuit to target the controversial law.

Read more Share

6355 NW 36th St, Suite 2201
Miami, FL 33166
T 305-573-1106
F 305-576-6273

10 G Street NE.
Suite 710
Washington, DC 20002
T 202-248-5080

About Us:

AI Justice is an award-winning non-profit law and advocacy firm that protects and promotes the basic human rights of immigrants. In Florida and on a national level, we champion the rights of unaccompanied immigrant children; advocate for survivors of trafficking and domestic violence; serve as a watchdog on immigration detention practices and policies; and speak for immigrant groups who have particular and compelling claims to justice.