Agreement Made Between US and Separated Immigrant Families

Trump’s zero-tolerance immigrant policy separated immigrant families at the Mexico-US border to prevent them from entering the country. Now, an agreement in the US has finally been agreed over the immigrant families.


Last Wednesday, court documents were provided which agreed on a settlement that provides the children and parent’s the opportunity to apply for their asylum in the US. This would still have to be approved by the judge but it was a sign of progress from the point of view of rights groups who challenged the “zero-tolerance” policy that was introduced by President Donald Trump.


US authorities in the past have rejected claims that the immigrant families would be victim to torture or persecution if they were to be sent back home. This provides the opportunity for the families to escape from such violence from their home countries.


Although there were over 2,500 children and parents that were affected by the separation at the border, the agreement outlines that at least 1,000 families will have the opportunity to apply for again for asylum to the country.


Individual cases will also be considered as there have already been hundreds of parents that have already been deported back to their home countries. There may have been cases where individuals could have had the opportunity to seek asylum under the report that was provided.


The purpose of Trump introducing the “zero-tolerance” policy was to cast down on illegal immigration. This was a major talking point of Trump’s campaign but separation at the borders prompted a major condemnation of the policy, with thousands of children being torn away from their parents, more specifically those residing from countries such as Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.


The policy was ended earlier this year in June.


The settlement was agreed after lawsuits that were put in place by the American Liberties Union, the Muslim Advocates and others. Some lawsuits indicated that the parents were suffering from being separated by their children. They claimed that the trauma would have influenced the parents “credible fear” interviews which were given to the immigrants to prevent them from being deported back to their countries.


Where this previously was the case, now parents will be able to provide additional evidence to support their case as part of the settlement that has been agreed.


The result was seen as a great win for the parents by a Muslim attorney advocate, claiming that the parents “will finally have a real chance to be heard and to secure safety and stability for themselves and their families”.


The agreement put forward to U.S. Dana Sabraw in San Diego has been seen as an ultimatum for the parents, however, with those who don’t agree to the settlement needing to be “promptly removed to their country of origin.”


A total of 12,800 migrant children were reported to have been detained by immigration officials on Wednesday with the majority crossing the border alone, without parents.


Immigration Officials Investigate Voter Fraud In North Carolina After Voting Records Requested

Over 20 million voter records from the North Carolina area have been requested to be acquired as part of an investigation being conducted by the Trump Administration into voter fraud. The records requested cover almost eight years and local officials claim it has impaired their preparations for the elections due to take place on the 6th of November.


The Trump Administration has provided a deadline of the 25th of September for 15 million records from the state and 5.6 million individual records from 44 different counties to be handed over.


According to Josh Lawson, a board lawyer claimed that the subpoenas that were written from the Justice Department to the relevant county boards “were the most exhaustive on record”. The comments were made in a letter to the Justice Department and he continued to state that subpoenas have “materially affected” preparations for the elections which are due to take place in November.


According to the state board, there are over 7 million registered voters in North Carolina which has a population of over 10 million and subpoenas were faxed individually to each of the county boards.


U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are believed to be heading the investigation according to the Justice Department. ICE have recently created a new Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force which the investigation is currently operating under. When pressed for comments ICE refused to answer and referred any questions to a federal prosecutor based in North Carolina.


Other relevant parties also refused to comment about the matter, including U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina Robert Higdon.


The investigation arose after charges and indictments were made to 19 foreigners for voter fraud in North Carolina in August according to federal law enforcement officials.


There are suspicions around the reason for the subpoenas and Mr Higdon, who’s part of the Trump Administration, has been asked in a letter by Wake County Commissioner John Burns for an explanation for them. There are claims that the investigation could be a way to interfere with the vote.


Requests made in the subpoenas would cover handing over application and voting forms, poll books and ballots regarding absentees. The state requests cover over 8 years of documents.


The issue for some counties is that documents would have to be pulled out individually one-by-one. This will be considered time-consuming and not utilising resources effectively. Gerry Cohen, an expert in state election law, said some states wouldn’t have the capabilities to deal with such a request considering they also have to prepare for the elections.


Essentially, the time it would take to send over the documents would mean an election wouldn’t be able to take place. As a result, Mr Lawson has requested extensions for some states due to the strain.


President Trump has claimed that immigrants voted illegally in the 2016 presidential election, influencing results and helping Hillary Clinton win the popular vote.

New Report Outlines Risks Faced By Children Deported From U.S.

A new report released by the United Nations children’s agency suggests the immigration crackdown happening in the US for families crossing the southern border poses a major risk for the children that are being deported back to their homelands.


The report, Uprooted in Central America and Mexico, goes into detail of how children being deported back to their countries of origin are likely to revert to a poorer way of living, ending up riddled in debt and having their life at risk from being targeted by local gang members in the region.


It highlights incredible deportation figures since the Trump Administration put in place the “zero-tolerance” policy with UNICEF reporting that “96,216 migrants from northern Central America, including 24,189 women and children, were returned from Mexico and the U.S. between January and June of this year” to Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.


From those that were returned from the U.S. to Mexico, over 90% of the immigrants were deported from Mexico to them countries stated above.


Maria Cristina Perceval, the Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean for UNICEF reiterated how the struggle that the children have in their homeland makes them even more likely to want to return, for a better life, “children who are sent back to their countries of origin have no home to return to”, she says. “Being returned to impossible situations makes it more likely that they will migrate again”.


The document hasn’t been created to scathe or attack the policy that’s been put in place by the Trump Administration, but rather highlight the struggles that migrants face back home and the dangers they’re trying to escape from in attempting to cross the Mexico-US border. For young people in particular, they can be faced with great danger in their home countries.


The report in particular, focuses on countries such as El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, where gang-related crime, poverty and lack of quality education are just some of the challenges that young children face on a daily basis. It means that migrants are faced with further suffering and stricter border controls aren’t less likely to stop them from fleeing their current living conditions.


Back in June, Trump signed an agreement to stop the separating of young children from their parents when they were met at the US border. However, it hasn’t been easy trying to reunite the families.

The ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) filed a lawsuit this week, claiming that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and Immigration and Customs Enforcement have been unlawfully coordinating to prevent immigrants from seeking legal U.S residency and instead campaigning to arrest and deport the immigrants.


The report goes on further to say, “detention and family separation by migration authorities are deeply traumatizing experiences,” and that they wished to reiterate that they promote the idea of wanting to keep the families together.

South Korean Born US Soldier Set For ICE Custody In Immigration Crackdown

Yea Ji Sea, a decorated US Army Medic, is due to be discharged from her position due to her immigration status.


Originally born in South Korea, Sea came to the United States aged 9 through a visitor’s visa in 1998. She joined the US army at the age of 26 to earn her US citizenship. There was a program allowing service members to earn this through an active duty within the US army.


Despite becoming a well-decorated service member in her 4 and half year stint as a soldier, her naturalisation application had always had a hindrance on her progress, and now that progress is no longer possible as she’s been honourably discharged from her duties.


Sea had always been optimistic about her chances of success in the service, with continuous reassurance from the Army that by putting the country and them first, she would always feel wanted for her skills and dedication to the cause.


However, news of her discharge has slowly drained away all the optimism that she once had. She explains how she regrets believing that the army wouldn’t take into account her status when fulfilling her service, stating that she “believed them because I was stupid”.


In response to the news of her discharge, the American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit on behalf of Sea to the Department of Homeland Security and U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services. The legal document argues that Sea’s naturalisation application had been unrightfully processed and ordered that a judge forces the government to make a decision on the matter within 20 days.


The situation has escalated beyond critical due to the timescale in which her discharge is due to take place. Without a valid immigration status, the will be unable to work and runs the risk of being deported. This would involve ICE coming to the base and escorting Sea out of the base in custody.


The idea of obtaining a citizenship is what drew Sea to the military service. Under the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest program (MAVNI), noncitizens could work for their citizenship through military service if they were lawfully present in the country.


She enrolled back in October 2013 and had a successful time in the service, excelling in training and earning promotions and medals through her work.


However, a problem with her visa would hinder gaining citizenship. In 2008 when she applied for her F-1 student visa from the National America Language School, the school’s owner was actually working with corrupt agents who would stamp visas for bribes.


Unaware that the visas were fraudulent, ICE declared the school as an approved program making her believe that the paperwork was legitimate, when in fact, her application had a different date to when she entered the country.


Others in a similar situation have also been discharged within the past year or so and despite knowing of the student visa since 2014, it is only now that they have chosen to discharge her because of the MAVNI program.


Now, Sea is facing the reality that all of her hard work is getting washed away as she rushes to pack her belongings into boxes.

Progress Made With Reuniting Immigrant Families According To U.S Judge

There’s been “very promising progress” in reuniting the families who were separated at the U.S-Mexico border according to a federal judge in the U.S.


There were over 2,500 immigrant children who were separated from their parents as part of Trump’s ‘zero-tolerance’ immigration policy, but the forward movement continues to reunite the families.


The government were provided with a deadline by U.S District Judge Dana Sabraw to reunite the families who had been separated. He requested that the government attorney’s provided him with an update with only 6 days to go and the update appeared positive.


According to reports, U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials reported to Sabraw’s San Diego courtroom on Thursday confirming that 364 children over the age of 5 had been reunited by their parent in the past three weeks. On Friday this number increased to 450.


The government, however, were unclear on how many parents and children would be reunited before the July 26th deadline.


Interviews had taken place for nearly 850 parents by Thursday and they were cleared to be reunited with their children. However, 229 parents were ineligible because they had a previous criminal record or they requested that their reunification is “waived” away. The rest of the reviews are still pending.


Of the decisions made so far, 850 parents are facing deportation orders but Sabraw has ordered that deportations are put on hold until a final decision has been made on the reunited families.


Requests have been made for the information that was shared with the American Civil Liberties Union to also be shared with attorney generals that cover 17 states and the District of Columbia. Similar to the ACLU, the lawsuit filed by the attorney generals questioned the policies and the rights to separate the families at the border.


A major priority for Sabraw is making sure that the families are reunited quickly and there have been challenges from the government who claim the reason it’s taking longer than anticipated is so the children can remain safe.

Kristen Niejlsen, the U.S Homeland Security Secretary, clarified that although they have every intention of meeting the deadline proposed by the judge, she wanted to make sure her team didn’t “cut corners”.

Extra Worry For Farmers Over Trump’s US Trade And Immigration Policies

Farmers in the US have felt the squeeze with their overall income since crop prices have fluctuated over the last few years, threatening them to lose out in millions within their trade.


Now Trump’s US policies to do with bio-fuel and immigration means that farmers are even more worried about maintaining their trade in the agricultural industry, especially with the potential of counter tariffs being applied on US farm goods.


Earlier this year, the tariff threats were made by Trump to China, Mexico, Canada and the EU which caused a major fluctuation in prices for crops such as corn and soybeans. Then, as of July 6th, there was a rise in land prices from the tariff made against China, who responded with a tariff of their own.


Predictions had already been made by the Department of Agriculture, noting that across the board the US farm industry would have a drop in income of around $60billion even before the threat of tariffs.


One farmer based in southeastern Nebraska has witnessed some fellow farmers who have quit farming already as they have struggled to make any profit before the tariff threats were put in place earlier this year.


Many common crops that are valuable assets to farmers have seen a major fall in prices which has affected their income dramatically.


Records have shown that the prices of soybeans have hit a 10 year low, falling 19% since May whilst the price of corn has dropped by 15 per cent meaning many farmers lose out at the current prices.


Farmers who breed pigs for Pork produce could have the largest impact as a result of the tariffs in place in China. Iowa State University predict that they could lose out on more than $2billion every year because hog prices are dropping rapidly.


There have been promises made by Trump’s administration that farmer profitability will be restored but many question how it would be possible and whether they can trust the administration to do so.


The immigration policies put in place by Trump have also provided an extra stumbling block for farmers that produce pork. Farmers rely heavily on immigrants to make up the majority of their workforce but raids and trade disputes have farmers extra worried.


White House Defends ICE After Calls By Democrats To Remove The Agency

Vice President Mike Pence has come out to defend the Immigration and Customs Enforcement after there were calls by more Democrats to abolish the agency.


Pence stated the White House is “100%” behind ICE and that calls to abolish it was “irresponsible”.


There were many members from the Democratic party including Senators Elizabeth Warren and Kirsten Gillibrand and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio who were asking for ICE to be removed.


Pence, however, argues that it would be wrong to do so as the agency helps “protect the American people and our communities every single day”.


The midterm elections are due soon and Immigration is expected to be a hot topic when it arrives. Many voters have raised concerns over the issue after President Donald Trump’s ‘zero tolerance’ immigration policy came under major scrutiny when immigrant children were split from their parents at the UK-Mexico border.


Although not directly involved with separating the immigrant children from their parents, they have been responsible for other acts such as deporting, arresting and detaining the immigrants within the US.


Critics feel as though the actions that the immigration enforcement take has been extremely aggressive and have been distinguished as a “deportation force” by the Democrats.


As well as Blasio, Warren and Gillibrand many other Democratic members have asked for ICE to be removed. Cynthia Nixon who’s a candidate for governance in New York has put getting rid of the agency at the centre of her campaign when she comes up against Governor Andrew Cuomo.


In a statement she addressed ICE, calling them a “terrorist organisation” that “causes many New Yorkers to live in fear that they will lose their family”.


On the other hand, Pence, Trump and the rest of the Trump administration have adopted a pro ICE stance. They claim that they wouldn’t remove ICE as it would cause a rise in illegal immigration, resulting in higher crime rates.


The argument from critics is that the agency is an extreme entity and that the procedures they take are far too strict. But it is a fairly young agency, so having the agency removed wouldn’t have much of a difference.


Trump Administration Update: Immigrant Families Asked To Leave The US With Or Without Their Children

Immigrant parents who have been separated from their children have been asked by US immigration officials whether they would leave the country with or without their children.


The Trump administration has instructed the US immigration officials to do so under the ‘zero tolerance’ immigration policy after a judge ordered for parents be reunited with their children after they were torn away from each other at the US-Mexico border.


NBC News reported that the questions have been provided in a form and which it provides the parents with 2 options as part of the process for their removal from the United States: “I am requesting to reunite with my child(ren) for the purpose of repatriation to my country of citizenship” or “I am affirmatively, knowingly and voluntarily requesting to return to my country of citizenship without my minor child(ren) who I understand will remain in the United States to pursue available claims of relief”.


Immigration enforcement agents have been advised to read the contents to the parents in a language they understand.


Reports have already been released regarding parents being deported against their will and without the children and a lawsuit has been put in place by the American Civil Liberties Union to stop the Trump administration and have parents reunited with their children as soon as possible.


They’re currently looking to gain a list of all the parents that have been separated from their parents.


A judge ruled on June 26 that parents should stop being deported unless they “affirmatively, knowingly and voluntarily” ask to do so. However, there’s uncertainty over how many had been deported already before the ruling took place.


Orders were given that any children under 5 should be reunited with their parent within 14 days and the rest of the children be reunited within 30 days. Government officials are acknowledging that they’re unable to meet these deadlines though.


According to a health and human services secretary, many children that were detained by the US government have been reunited with their parents but there are still many that are still to do so.


Further updates about this have been requested by the Democratic senators in the form of a letter where they ask for a list of names of separated children and parents in order to understand the progress with reuniting them.

Washington Trump Immigration Policy Protest Sees Almost 600 Arrested

Almost 600 protestors who sat on the floor of the Senate office building to stage a non-violent demonstration against Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy towards immigration and separating families from their children at the US-Mexico border were arrested.


Several demonstrations took place across the country and larger ones are to be expected this Saturday which have been organised by the Women’s March and the Centre of Popular Democracy Action.


The protest, based in Washington, was hosted on Thursday and was one of the largest yet.  Several women sat on the floor of the Senate Hart office pumping their fists and many chose to cover themselves in foil sheets to make a statement about the poor bedding that the children receive when they were held at US border detention facilities.


Melania Trump visited an immigration detention centre last week in Texas wearing a jacket that said: “I really don’t care, do u?”. Protestors reacted by chanting “we care” and “abolish Ice”.


One of the protestors who was arrested stated in a video on her personal social media account that she had joined the protest as she disagreed with the Donald Trump ‘zero tolerance’ policy, the caging of the children and imprisonment of asylum seekers.


The Capitol police confirmed that around 575 people were charged with demonstrating inside the Senate office building but advised that once they were processed in the system they would be released.


An executive order was signed by Trump last week to stop children being separated from their families at the border. However, there are still images being published of distraught immigrant children that have been separated.


Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon agreed with the actions of the protestors as he feels that they are showing what the country is about and what they fight for. In an interview, he mentioned that they “are out here fighting for the core principles of our nation”.


He was one of the first people to draw attention to the detention camps where the separated children were being held.


Protests continue throughout the country regarding the ‘zero tolerance’ policy. Many gathered outside a federal courthouse in Brownsville, Texas in rally whilst in Michigan, a government meeting was shut down after a contract was agreed by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency to keep immigrants in a local jail.

ICE Forced To Shutdown Portland Office After Protestors Camp Outside Over US Immigration Policy

The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Portland has had to temporarily close after dozens of protestors camped outside the building in protest over Trump’s immigration policies, including separating children from their parents at the US-Mexico border.


The group identify themselves as #OccupyICEPDX and are protesting with the intention of getting rid of ICE and the government’s ‘zero tolerance’ approach towards immigration.


On Wednesday, US President Trump caved into public pressure and signed an executive order to keep the families together despite claiming that only legislators could stop the separation from happening.


Around 500 of 2,300 children have been reunited with their families according to the Associated Press, but it still remains unclear what will happen with the rest of the children who have already been separated.


A labour organiser and Portland native claimed that they aim to ‘Occupy with a purpose – Abolish ICE’ with the idea to continue their protest until changes are made and action is taken.


The protest has spread to 8 cities including Washington D.C., New York and Los Angeles and it has a camp that provides food, water, security and medical care to protestors who are based outside the ICE offices, whilst also providing other forms of help.


According to one organiser, on Monday ICE employees from the Portland office tried to leave work in their cars but protestors blocked the exit by locking arms with each other. This caused the workers to go back into the building and forced police officers to negotiate with the protestors.


Police asked protestors to kindly move so that the employees could go home to their families, to which protestors replied: “What about the families that are being held in the ICE office?”


It wasn’t until the following day when DHS police arrived at the scene to create an area for the employees to exit.


The Mayor of Portland advised Portland police to not be engaged or sucked into the conflict. ICE have confirmed they won’t continue operations at the site until “there are no longer security concerns resulting from the ongoing protests”.


The Portland protestors vow to stay until they are forced to move or ICE is removed.