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.
By DANIEL RIVERO • 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
A 15-year-old boy from Houston, who was picked up by immigration authorities in Texas and sent to the Homestead children’s detention center even though he has lived in the U.S. since he was an infant and his parents live in the U.S., walked out of the facility on Sunday, two days after a story about his plight appeared in the Miami Herald.
The teen, who had been detained during a traffic stop while he was a passenger in his uncle’s car near Houston, was separated from his parents for more than two weeks.
Hours after the story ran on the Herald’s website Friday, the boy’s story was brought up in front of a House Oversight Committee. Illinois Congresswoman Robin Kelly entered it into the record and demanded that the Inspector General’s Office open an investigation into the practice of detaining children who have not been stopped at the border and whose parents live in the U.S. Officials have told the Herald at least 20 kids in a similar situation have ended up at the Homestead center for unaccompanied minors over the past year.
By TIM PADGETT
MAR 18, 2019
One of the more disturbing sounds to hit the media airwaves last summer was a recording obtained by ProPublica of Central American children crying at an immigration detention center in Texas. They’d been separated from their parents, who had come to seek U.S. asylum.
At that same place the summer before, in 2017, a Guatemalan girl named Ana was taken from her father. She was three. Ana was sent to a relative in Immokalee, Florida, who took her to immigration lawyer Jennifer Anzardo Valdes in Miami.
Forget About the “Bad Hombres,” Trump Targets America’s Most Vulnerable Immigrants - The Huffington Post
July 13, 2017
In recent weeks, it has become increasingly clear that Trump’s massive deportation machine is not targeting the “bad hombres.” Instead, hard working, long-term residents who pay taxes and have U.S. citizen children are in the crosshairs. Arrests of non-criminal undocumented immigrants increased by 150% between February and May 2017 compared to the same time a year ago.
Immigrants with old deportation orders who weren’t priorities for removal under Obama as long as they checked in with ICE officials once a year are now at risk. Clients who just a few months ago appeared eligible for humanitarian relief or lawful status are suddenly vulnerable to detention and deportation, including victims of domestic violence and human trafficking who cooperated fully with law enforcement and have pending u-visa applications.
Cheryl Little, Executive Director, Americans for Immigrant Justice
In the past few days, we have heard our new President deliver on many of his promises: close the border, create a massive “deportation force,” ban Muslims from entering our country. The latest blow came yesterday when Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Giménez ordered county jail officials to keep immigrants jailed until Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials pick them up. This decision flies in the face of a 2013 resolution unanimously passed by our County Commissioners. Mayor Giménez said he reversed course after Trump signed an Executive Order threatening to cut funds to “Sanctuary Cities.”
The County’s cooperation with ICE during the Obama administration led to the deportation of an unprecedented number of immigrants with no criminal history or minor traffic violations only. It cost County taxpayers $12.5 million a year. Countless families were torn apart. The fallout of mass deportations nationwide has been devastating, especially for vulnerable children, many of whom ended up in foster care following their parent’s removal.
In our report, written in conjunction with Florida International University’s Research Institute, False Promises: The Failure of Secure Communities in Miami-Dade County, we analyzed 2000 arrest records and told the stories of immigrants stopped by local police and turned over to ICE by County officials. Stories like Alberto’s, who was arrested for driving without a license and transferred to Miami’s Krome Detention Center where he was not allowed to contact his wife to inform her of where he was or what had happened to him. His wife, Marta, said:
“This is the hardest thing that my family has gone through. I don’t wish this experience on anyone, not even my worst enemy. I can’t sleep at night. My children can’t sleep at night. My children who went from straight A students are now failing their classes because they can’t focus. My youngest son has a hard time eating and is going through such severe depression that I’ve had to put him under psychiatric care.”
Marta and Alberto were homeowners and have four children, two are U.S. citizens.
The majority of Miami’s residents are immigrants and Mayor Giménez’s decision has sent shock waves through our community and beyond. And it will make our community less safe, as immigrants increasingly fear reporting crimes to law enforcement.
Most importantly, Trump’s directive is unconstitutional. The federal government cannot tell local governments to do their bidding or risk losing federal dollars. The Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that the federal government may not “commandeer” state and local officials by compelling them to enforce federal law.
Trump’s anti-immigrant executive orders this week included calls for renewed cooperation between local police and ICE. Programs like this are far reaching, disrupting and tear apart honest and hardworking families. In a climate that encourages overzealous policing, elaborate dragnets often employ racial profiling. Although many police chiefs are opposed, such agreements are also increasingly attractive to many sheriffs who see this as an easy way to mollify angry constituents.
For years ICE detainees have been the fastest growing prison population in the country. During Obama’s tenure, this population skyrocketed and a record 2.4 million immigrants were removed. The alarming increase in ICE detention is in part due to a 2009 Congressional mandate, appropriating funds every year to maintain at least 34,000 immigrant detention beds daily, at a cost to US taxpayers of about $2 billion a year. No other law enforcement agency has quotas for the number of people it must jail. With good reason.
The real beneficiaries of the bed mandate are county jails and to a larger extent the private prison industry, whose two largest contractors, the GEO Group and CoreCivic (formerly Correctional Corporation of America), have seen their stocks soar in recent years. Not surprisingly, for-profit businesses have spent millions lobbing Congress to keep the quota.
Over the years, AI Justice has provided ample evidence that the barrage of anti-immigrant laws and regulations, often propelled by racist rhetoric, is an assault on the fundamental civil liberties of all. Our research also makes clear that driving immigrants further underground does nothing to fix our broken immigration system. It only makes matters worse.
Where Are the Children?
For extortionists, undocumented migrants have become big business.
By Sarah Stillman
The kidnapper sounded polite, even deferential, when she called on a Tuesday afternoon last May. Melida Lemus and Alfredo Godoy had left their clapboard house in Trenton, New Jersey, to pick up their two daughters from school. Godoy, who works in construction, was late to meet a client for whom he was building a home extension, and his family accompanied him to the project site. Melida and the girls—Kathryn, twelve, and Jennifer, seventeen—waited in the client’s living room, snacking on cookies and checking Instagram, while Alfredo walked through the house, taking specs: how much Sheetrock he’d need, how much spackle, how many two-by-fours. In the middle of the tour, his cell phone rang. The call came from a Texas area code.Read more
Tens of thousands of children who fled Central America expected to find refuge in the United States, but instead wound up in ice-cold detention cells with little food and no showers and were then put in deportation proceedings, according to a new report.