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Facing South Florida: Jennifer Anzardo Valdes Discusses Migrant Children Crisis - CBS4

By Jim DeFede

September 15, 2019 at 9:35 am

The Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently issued a troubling report on how migrant detention centers like Homestead failed to address the mental health need of the children in their custody.

The report identified problems in finding qualified mental health counselors to treat these kids and even when counselors were available they struggled with high caseloads.

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Teenagers incarcerated at Broward Transitional Center despite Congressional mandate - Sun Sentinel

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Latest Trump immigration rule ‘causing panic’ in Florida - Florida Phoenix

Last week, Florida immigration attorney Adonia Simpson went to speak to a group of Miami pediatricians.

The doctors had a pressing question: What should they tell patients worried about a major Trump administration immigration rule issued the day before?

The rule released earlier this month would make it tougher for immigrants to remain in the United States if they are viewed as likely to use public benefits like Medicaid, food stamps or housing assistance. Recent studies have shown that some immigrants eligible for benefits have dropped them or declined to enroll for fear of jeopardizing their immigration status.

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Many of Miami’s immigrants wear ankle monitors. Will technology betray them? - Miami Herald

AUGUST 24, 2019 08:30 AM 

At 7:30 a.m. on a recent Wednesday, Aug. 21, a line of about 30 people — most of them wearing long pants that covered small bulges at the ankle — stood in front of a nondescript office building in North Miami off a busy stretch of Biscayne Boulevard. They chatted among themselves as traffic zoomed by.

Half an hour later, the building’s doors opened and the line of people streamed in. It’s a scene that plays out every single day for undocumented immigrants with ankle monitors, which Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) requires some to wear as an alternative to detention.

More than 4,550 immigrants are subject to ankle monitoring by ICE in Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. That makes the Miami field office — which oversees those regions — responsible for the second largest non-detained, ankle-monitored population in the country, according to ICE detention statistics.

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Unequal Outcomes: Most ICE Detainees Held In Rural Areas Where Deportation Risks Soar - NPR

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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.

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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.

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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.
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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.

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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.

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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.