In The News

Sundial's Immigration Town Hall: Homestead Detention Facility 'A Dark Abyss' - WLRN


JUN 25, 2019

Democratic candidates are in South Florida ahead of the first Democratic presidential debates taking place Wednesday and Thursday nights in Miami. The topic of immigration is already front and center.

Candidate Beto O'Rourke, a former congressman from Texas, and Eric Swalwell, a representative from California, have planned visits to the Homestead Childhood Detention Facility, the largest for-profit child migrant shelter in the United States.

While much of the debate over immigration policy has focused on the southern U.S.- Mexico border, in South Florida the detention centers hold thousands of migrant children in what is decribed as 'prison-like' conditions. There have also been significant changes in immigration policy regarding Cuba and potential changes to the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Venezuelans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, Hondurans, and other groups.  

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Children Shouldn’t Be Dying at the Border. Here’s How You Can Help. - The New York Times

Speak up. Donate. Educate yourself. Vote.

By The Editorial Board

June 24, 2019

The United States needs an immigration policy that combines border security, justice and humanity. No one with a conscience can look at the photo of an asylum seeker and his 23-month-old daughter lying dead on the bank of the Rio Grande and accept the status quo.

That single tragedy, reminiscent of the photo of a drowned Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach in 2015, has the power to clarify a vast, long-running problem that has already claimed many lives. What it should also do is prompt urgent action from the country’s elected representatives to compromise over their many differences and resolve a stalemate that is no longer tolerable.

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5 Ways to Help Migrant Children and Families Right Now - ELLE

JUN 24, 2019

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez likened detention centers at the U.S. border to "concentration camps" during an Instagram live last week and followed up her statement with a series of tweets calling to #CloseTheCamps and #AbolishICE. Her comments ignited a debate over whether the term "concentration camp" was the appropriate nomenclature for the facilities where migrant children are being taken from their families and made to sleep on concrete floors in freezing and overcrowded cells with no access to soap or toothbrushes or showers.

According to NBC, at least seven migrant children have died since last year after being apprehended by federal authorities—four of them while being held by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

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What You Need To Know About Trump’s Mass Deportation Threat - The Intercept

IN BETWEEN TWEETS complaining about Fox News polling numbers and boasting about the size of future rallies, President Donald Trump took a moment on Monday to send shock waves through immigrant communities with a threat meant to rally his base — but one that is not actually logistically possible.

“Next week ICE will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States,” he tweeted. “They will be removed as fast as they come in.” An administration official later told the Associated Press that the effort would target people who have received final orders of deportation. There are more than 1 million people living in the United States with final deportation orders, among an undocumented population of about 11 million.  

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Immigration Detention Is Big Business - AJ+

By Daniel Alvarenga

June 20, 2019

AI Justice Detention Program Director, Jessica Shulruff Schneider discusses the inhumane conditions inside immigration detention facilities with Daniel Alvarenga from AJ+.

Watch via AJ+ here.


Trump Administration's Suspension Of Legal Aid For Migrant Children Prompts Outcry - NPR All Things Considered

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Trump administration to migrant kids: No more art, soccer, lawyers or school for you - Miami Herald

JUNE 05, 2019 07:31 PM 

For the kids at the Homestead shelter for unaccompanied migrants, many of whom endured unimaginable hardships on their journey to the United States, life is about to get a lot more austere.

The Trump administration abruptly announced Wednesday it would dramatically cut aid to detention centers that house migrant children who arrive in the United States unaccompanied by their parents. Homestead is the largest of those facilities.

The budget cut means detainees will no longer get recess time, nor access to any sort of education. Going forward, they will no longer be assisted by attorneys, according to the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Officially, children as young as 13 are detained at the center, although a recent court filing suggested kids as young as 8 were held there.

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ICE Set to Deport Somalis Who Were Returned to U.S. on Infamous Botched Flight - The Intercept

U.S. IMMIGRATION AND Customs Enforcement is planning on Thursday to deport a number of Somali immigrants who were part of an infamous botched deportation flight in December 2017, according to their legal team. During the trip, the deportees said, they experienced verbal and physical abuse at the hands of ICE officers, and they have been detained and entangled in court proceedings since their involuntary return.

The planned deportations come nearly a month after a federal judge in Florida dismissed a class-action lawsuit brought by lawyers for the 92 Somali passengers who were on that flight. In the lawsuit, the Somali nationals asked the court to block the Department of Homeland Security from deporting them until they’d had a chance to try to reopen their immigration cases.

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Feds Stonewall on Charges That Detainees Are Chained All Day, Even in Therapy - Miami New Times

For years, South Florida detainees have told lawyers with the nonprofit Americans for Immigrant Justice about abusive and unlawful mental health treatment behind bars, including almost round-the-clock physical restraint and monitoring.

Based on those claims, the Miami group in January 2017 requested contracts and other documents related to what goes on inside local detention facilities. But U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement hasstonewalled for two years. Now, the group is seeking a federal judge's help.

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Family separations remain an exercise in ‘gratuitous cruelty’ - Miami Herald Op-Ed, Cheryl Little

MARCH 28, 2019 07:03 PM, UPDATED APRIL 01, 2019 02:41 PM

We recently learned that in addition to the more than 2,700 children that the Trump administration has acknowledged were separated from their families at the border, thousands more families were likely separated. U.S. immigration policy continues to tear apart families in many ways, creating trauma from which some will never recover.

Many of the children taken from their parents ended up in South Florida. We began seeing these children in July 2017. Pedro, 8, an indigenous Guatemalan boy, was torn from his father’s arms and watched Border Patrol agents throw his father to the ground and handcuff him. It took a year to locate Pedro’s father.

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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.