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  1. Acting head of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Thomas Homan told Sen. Ron Wyden the agency does not use cell-site simulators—a type of surveillance gear often referred to as a “Stingray” that can track down a specific mobile device by emulating cell phone towers—to locate undocumented immigrants. Per Ars Technica, the August 16th letter states ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations “does not use cell-site simulators for the purpose of civil immigration law enforcement.” But he added that ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations division, which targets national security threats and organized crime, uses the devices, though only after receiving a warrant. ICE Says It Doesn't Track Down Undocumented Immigrants Using 'Stingray' Devices Acting head of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Thomas Homan told Sen. Ron Wyden the agency does not use cell-site simulators—a type of surveillance gear often referred to as a “Stingray” that can track down a specific mobile device by emulating cell phone towers—to locate undocumented immigrants. Per Ars Technica, the August 16th letter states ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations “does not use cell-site simulators for the purpose of civil immigration law enforcement.” But he added that ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations division, which targets national security threats and organized crime, uses the devices, though only after receiving a warrant. Homan also noted that ICE agents sometimes work in joint task forces with other “federal, state and local law enforcement partners, in furtherance of our shared public safety mission”—and that in those cases, Stingrays may sometimes be used. That caveat is important: In March, ICE used a Stingray variant known as a Hailstorm to locate 20-year-old El Salvadorean man Rudy Carcamo-Carranza, who had entered the US illegally twice and was wanted in connection to alleged drunk driving and hit-and-run incidents. The ICE officer involved in the investigation, Jeremy McCullough, was a member of the ERO department but was also assigned to the FBI’s Violent Gang Task Force. So for ICE agents to use a cell-site simulator to track people suspected of immigration law violations, they just need to be assigned to such a unit. Source:
  2. The Trump administration on Wednesday formally terminated an Obama-era program that granted Central American minors temporary legal residence in the United States, shutting the door on 2,714 people who had won conditional approval to enter the country. President Barack Obama’s administration established the “CAM parole” program in 2014 to respond to a massive spike in the number of unaccompanied minors and families entering the country illegally from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Under the terms, minors who failed to win refugee status could enter on a two-year, renewable parole if they had a parent already legally present in the country. But the program’s future was put in doubt in February when the Department of Homeland Security froze it and announced an internal review as part of President Trump’s executive orders aimed at tightening immigration controls. DHS’s termination announcement in the federal register means that the agency will begin the process of notifying families that the minors who had been approved for entry would have to reapply through other immigration channels that could be more difficult. In addition, 1,465 minors already in the United States under the CAM (Central American Minors) program will not be allowed to renew their status and must go through other means to try to extend their stays. Immigrant rights advocates condemned a decision that they said would plunge thousands of families into uncertainty. “Our concern is that the administration is completely abandoning these children and leaving them in a real situation of immediate danger,” said Lisa Frydman, a vice president at Kids in Need of Defense. DHS officials confirmed that the program had been rescinded and cited Trump’s executive orders on immigration from January as the impetus. Carter Langston, a spokesman at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which oversees the immigration parole system, said the department “will no longer automatically consider parole requests from individuals denied refugee status in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.” The Obama administration launched the program in December 2014 as part of a wide-ranging response to a surge in the number of minors making the often-treacherous journey from the Northern Triangle countries to reach the United States. That year, more than 60,000 unaccompanied children and about the same number of families entered the country illegally, flooding border patrol stations and adding to already lengthy immigration court backlogs. Obama aides cited rising poverty, drug trade and gang violence as causes of the spike. The CAM program aimed to provide an alternative path to enter the country for those who were unable to win refu*gee status or political asylum, either of which often requires applicants to prove they are victims of government-sponsored persecution. “It was a safety net for children who were in danger but whose parts of their stories might not match a certain class under refu*gee status,” said J. Kevin Appleby, a senior director at the Center for Migration Studies. Appleby said that ending the program “is mean-spirited. It’s not a large number of kids, and they’re really vulnerable.” USCIS officials said that 99 percent of those who applied won admission to the United States under the CAM refu*gee and parole programs. They emphasized that the Trump administration’s decision to terminate the special parole did not end their chances of coming to the country. Rather, they will now have to apply through the standard parole program that has been in place for far longer. According to USCIS, those who had won conditional approval under the CAM program but will no longer be permitted entry are 2,444 minors from El Salvador, 231 from Honduras and 39 from Guatemala. Since Trump took office, the number of people trying to enter the United States illegally across the border with Mexico has plummeted. The president has taken credit for the reduction, and immigrant rights groups acknowledge that Trump’s tough immigration rhetoric and DHS’s new enforcement policies have had a significant impact.
  3. Brenda Romero remembered feeling angry when she was a teenager and it truly hit her what it meant to be undocumented. Whether it was her longing to get a driver’s license, her dream of college or her desire to secure a good-paying job to help her family, her immigration status was a barrier. That was until a June morning five years ago when President Barack Obama announced an executive order known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. “I remember President Obama giving that address,” said Romero, who had just graduated from high school that summer. “I remember crying because I couldn’t believe that was something happening. (DACA) gave me hope.” Since the order, nearly 800,000 people have qualified for the program, an estimated 13,000 from Nevada. Dream Big Vegas, which helps undocumented immigrants with access to education, partnered with the Culinary Union to recognize DACA’s Aug. 15 anniversary. As much as it was a celebration, the gathering of DACA recipients, other undocumented people and various supporters got into the uncertainty around immigration. “(DACA has) helped us for a long time now,” said Astrid Silva, a local Dreamer and notable activist fighting for pathways to citizenship. “We want to get everyone to celebrate it but also see what will happen next, since programs like DACA and (Temporary Protected Status) are under attack.” DACA was initially open to undocumented immigrants under 31 who, at the time of the order, had come to the U.S. before they were 16. Prospective candidates had to be in school or had to have graduated from high school or a GED program, and they couldn’t have a felony conviction. “DACA was created because these kids were already in limbo,” said immigration attorney Peter Ashman, who spoke at the event. “If you take that away, they go back into limbo.” During his campaign, Donald Trump assured supporters that the executive order would be overturned on Day One of his presidency. “But here we are, six months later,” Ashman said, offering a little hope to the audience. Trump supports the proposed legislation known as the Raise Act, which would reduce immigration by half and prioritize “high-skill” applicants for entry into the United States. There was talk of that policy at the event, as well as Trump’s recent announcement that he might pardon former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was convicted of criminal contempt in July for ignoring a judge’s order to stop detaining people he suspected of being undocumented (sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 5). “Joe Arpaio was probably the worst human rights abuser and the worst elected anti-immigrant official we had in this country,” Ashman said. “To consider pardoning him and rewarding him for disobeying a federal judge is stunning to me.” U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., who also spoke at the event, said doing so would erode the rule of the law. “This should not stand,” she said. While Trump has said DACA beneficiaries shouldn’t worry about his plans for reform, there are other forces at work. Ten state attorneys general, led by Ken Paxton of Texas, sent an ultimatum to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions: Rescind the executive order or face litigation. Trump has until Sept. 5 to make a decision. “I think what they are looking at is not issuing anymore, not approving anymore or not extending anymore,” Ashman said “It would end the program. But if you have it and as long as it’s not expired, I really don’t see how they could take that away from you.” He added that dissolving the program would harm the community. “It’s almost cruel to give people employment authorization for five years, let them believe they have a place in this country, which they relied on, and then yank it out from underneath them,” Ashman said. “It’s inhuman. ... We won’t go down without a fight.” He recommended any potential DACA applicant get paperwork in order as soon as possible. Speakers expressed concern about the $500 fee to submit that paperwork, and fear about being added to a list of undocumented people. Cortez Masto said part of addressing immigration reform was breaking through the anti-immigrant rhetoric and sharing personal stories. “They are an integral part of our community,” she said. “If people would sit down with these families, if they would sit down with these kids, they would see how hardworking they are. Some are working two jobs just to put themselves through school and then go home to help their parents.” Their contribution to the workforce, she added, is significant: Deporting just Nevada’s DACA recipients could cut $5 million from the local economy annually. Cortez Masto said the best way to deal with the uncertainty about DACA’s future was to replace it. Another version of the Development, Education and Relief for Alien Minors Act, or the Dream Act, is being considered. The senator said existing and aspiring Dreamers needed to know they had allies fighting to get it passed, even though it would be just one step in the campaign to overhaul U.S. immigration policy. Potentially billions of dollars that could boost U.S. gross domestic product are tied up in the opportunities afforded people like Romero. Since applying for DACA, she has received her associate degree from the College of Southern Nevada, where she also was student body president. Now working on her bachelor’s at UNLV, she is expected to graduate in 2018. “I always knew DACA could go away,” she said. “But it helps going to events like this, knowing there are people who are there for you and that there are communities lined up to fight alongside us.” Source:
  4. On Aug. 17, six recipients of former President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration policy took to the podium at Triune Mercy Center to share their stories and experiences, and advocate for the passage of the Dream Act, a bipartisan piece of legislation introduced last month by Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Dick Durbin, D-Ill. The proposed Dream Act would “allow immigrant students who grew up in the United States to earn lawful permanent residence and eventually American citizenship,” according to a press release from Sen. Graham’s office. Requirements include that recipients graduate high school or obtain a GED and “pursue higher education, work lawfully for at least three years, or serve in the military.” Proficiency in English, knowledge of United States history, and a clean criminal record are also among the stipulations. “These young people have lived in America since they were children and built their lives here. … We should not squander these young people’s talents and penalize our own nation,” Sen. Graham said in a statement. “Our legislation would allow these young people — who grew up in the United States — to contribute more fully to the country they love.” Student immigrants and community leaders discussed the impact of former President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration policy and advocated for the passage of the bipartisan Dream Act at an Aug. 17 event held at Triune Mercy Center. Photo by Joshua S. Kelly Through DACA, which was announced in June 2012, certain undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as minors can be granted temporary protection from deportation and work authorization. Among other requirements, DACA recipients must prove they are attending or graduated from high school or college, and that they have no criminal background. The Dream Act is being introduced during a time when the status of DACA remains uncertain. During the 2016 election cycle, then-presidential candidate Donald J. Trump promised to revoke the executive order as one of his first actions as president. Although the policy is still in place, 10 attorneys general, including South Carolina’s Alan Wilson, notified U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in June that they would sue the Trump administration if DACA were not overturned by Sept. 5. “If DACA is revoked, that means all the students who applied for DACA all of a sudden now cannot legally work. In South Carolina, it means they can’t study at state colleges and universities, and they can also actually be deported,” said Will David of Ground Up Greenville. Ground Up Greenville, as well the Hispanic Alliance and Latinos Unidos @ Clemson University, presented Thursday’s event, called Dream On. But while DACA has expanded protections and opportunities for some undocumented immigrants, the policy has its limitations. Most notably, DACA does not provide a path to citizenship. And in South Carolina, DACA recipients are not eligible to receive in-state tuition at colleges and universities, and they are also prohibited from obtaining an array of professional licenses. Immigration reform advocates have challenged these restrictions. “They work so hard in school. They have so much more to contribute to South Carolina,” said Sarah Montero-Buria, community engagement and strategy manager at Hispanic Alliance. “South Carolina needs nurses. South Carolina needs doctors. …. We need these kids, and we need them to work. Not just for social justice reasons but also from an economic perspective.” Keny Murillo, a fifth-year senior at Furman University who hopes to attend medical school and become a doctor, addresses the audience at Triune Mercy Center. Photo by Joshua S. Kelly Two of the event’s speakers, Keny Murillo and Ilse Isidra, addressed how they will be unable to practice medicine in South Carolina under current policy. Murillo, who has lived in the United States since age 9, is a fifth-year senior majoring in biology at Furman University. He hopes to attend medical school and become a doctor. Isidra is a senior in the nursing program at USC Upstate. The Dream Act, Murillo said, “will be the solution that would allow young immigrants like myself that came here to continue our studies, to continue to stay here in this country and contribute further to our community and this nation, which we already do.” Isidra, who arrived in the United States at age 4, said the possibility that she would have to move to another state to practice nursing was “another bump in the road.” “I would like to stay in my community. I would like to be where my roots are from. I’d like to stay in my church and be able to be with my friends,” she said, before asking the audience to consider contacting their elected representatives to express support for the Dream Act. Sarai, who has lived in the United States since age 11, asks the audience at Triune Mercy Center to vocally support Sens. Graham and Durbin’s Dream Act. Photo by Joshua S. Kelly Sarai, a young woman who has lived in the United States since age 11, also urged the audience to vocally support the passage of the Dream Act. “My vision for South Carolina is one where it leads the charge in changing the status quo. It is time for us to seize our day, to make our history and say proudly that even though our past haunts us, this day we fought for a South Carolina that is inclusive, cohesive, and congruent with its values,” she said. “This is not an impossible dream, simply because I know firsthand Southerners like doing the right thing. And I believe Sen. Graham is already doing so by introducing this bill.” The DACA recipients also expressed that although they were not born in the United States, it is where they feel they belong. “Some people think that I would go to school here and go back to Honduras, but the truth is, I don’t see Honduras as my home,” Murillo said. “I see the United States as my home. … This is really all I know. This is really where I want to stay.” Source:
  5. MIAMI — In the seven months since Thomas Homan was appointed to carry out President Trump's promises to crack down on undocumented immigrants living in the U.S., he has been accused of abusing that power by targeting undocumented immigrants without criminal records. So far, the data seems to back up those accusations, with the percentage of undocumented immigrants without a criminal record arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents increasing each month, from 18% in January to 30% in June. But Homan, a 33-year law enforcement veteran who has worked along the southern border and is now the acting director of ICE, doesn't shy away from those numbers. In fact, he said they're only the start. "You're going to continue to see an increase in that," Homan told USA TODAY during a visit to Miami on Wednesday. Homan has become the public face of Trump's efforts to crack down on illegal immigration, a central theme of his presidential campaign and one of the few areas where he's been able to make wholesale changes without any help from Congress. Under President Obama, ICE agents were directed to focus their arrests on undocumented immigrants who had been convicted of serious crimes, were members of gangs or posed a national security threat. Trump and his Department of Homeland Security have vastly expanded that pool, ordering agents to focus on undocumented immigrants who have only been charged with crimes and allowing them to arrest any undocumented immigrant they happen to encounter. ICE agents are also targeting undocumented immigrants who have been ordered removed from the country by a federal judge — a group that the Obama administration largely left alone. And they're targeting people who have illegally entered the country more than once, which raises their actions to a felony. Using that new metric, Homan said 95% of the 80,000 undocumented immigrants they've arrested so far fall under their newly-defined "priority" categories. "That's pretty close to perfect execution of the policies," Homan said. "The numbers speak for themselves." Homan was visiting Miami with Attorney General Jeff Sessions to publicly thank local leaders who changed their so-called "sanctuary" policies. That is a general term used to describe about 300 cities, counties, states and local law enforcement agencies that limit their cooperation with federal immigration efforts in various ways. Sessions is threatening to withhold millions of dollars in federal law enforcement grants from those cities if they don't change their policies. Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez was the first in the nation to give in to Trump's demands, arguing that his county could not risk the $355 million in federal grants it receives each year. "Thank you for your leadership, sir," Homan said to Gimenez, a Cuban-American immigrant who is the mayor of a county where the majority of people are foreign-born. But other major cities, including Los Angeles, New York and Chicago, have fought back, arguing that the federal government cannot force them to carry out a federal function, and that the Trump administration is asking them to employ practices that violate federal law. Leaders from those cities say it's misguided for Washington to withhold desperately-needed law enforcement dollars from cities like Chicago that are facing surges in violent crime. Homan sees it differently, saying that cities like Chicago are putting his ICE agents at risk because they can't arrest undocumented immigrants in the safe confines of the city's jails and are forced to conduct the dangerous work of arresting them in their homes or on the street. "The way I see it, we're not taking federal funding away from them, the mayor took it away from himself," Homan said, referring to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. During his speech, Sessions frequently cited the surging murder rates in Chicago, which he deems a sanctuary city, with the plummeting murder rates in Miami, which he declared on Wednesday was no longer a sanctuary city. Sessions didn't provide any evidence that undocumented immigrants were contributing to the murders in Chicago, but Homan said that question is irrelevant. "The question is always asked, 'Do illegal immigrants commit more crimes than U.S. citizens?' I don’t know," Homan said. "But what I can say is every crime an illegal alien commits wouldn’t have been committed if he wasn’t here. That’s a preventable crime." Source:
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  10. Despite the first known deportation of a DACA recipient, President Donald Trump said Friday that so-called Dreamers should “rest easy.” Trump told the Associated Press in an interview that he administration is “not after the Dreamers, we are after the criminals.” He said “that is our policy,” according to the AP. “Dreamer” was originally a term applied in reference to DREAM Act, first introduced in 2001, which would have gradually granted legal status to undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States at a young age. Today, it generally refers to young undocumented people registered with the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which protects registrants from deportation and allows them, among other things, to apply for a Social Security number and a drivers license. Trump has put forward similar assurances before, telling ABC News days after his inauguration, referring to Dreamers: “They shouldn’t be very worried. They are here illegally. They shouldn’t be very worried. I do have a big heart. We’re going to take care of everybody.” Trump told AP that the case of Juan Manuel Montes, whose lawyers say he is the first known DACA recipient to be deported, was “a little different than the Dreamer case,” though AP said he did not specify why. Montes’ lawyers sued the government Tuesday, accusing U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Citizenship and Immigration Services of withholding information related to his deportation despite a FOIA request in mid-March. Montes says he was deported on Feb. 17 without seeing a lawyer or immigration judge after he failed to produce identification for a border patrol agent, having left it in a friend’s car. DHS has said there is no record of that deportation, USA Today reported Tuesday when it broke the story. Both Montes’ lawyers and DHS agree that Montes climbed over a border fence to cross into the United States on the Feb. 19, the Los Angeles Times reported. He was then returned to Mexico. Montes’ lawyers noted that he suffered a traumatic brain injury as a child. The Department of Homeland Security originally incorrectly stated that Montes had not renewed his DACA status through this year. In fact, Montes had, DHS now acknowledges. “There was a time in his life that this individual was a DACA registrant,” DHS Secretary John Kelly said Thursday in reference to Montes, according to the Washington Times. “But he gave that up in his behavior, by his illegal actions. He’s no longer covered by the DACA arrangement.” The judge assigned to the lawsuit is Gonzalo Curiel, who also oversaw the multi-million dollar settlement between former students of the Trump U. wealth seminar courses and Trump in November, and whom Trump smeared as “a Mexican” during the campaign, though he was born in Indiana. Source:
  11. Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King, a hawkish conservative on immigration, warned President Trump that he could face a lawsuit over the administration's unwillingness to cancel an Obama-era program that provides relief from deportation for certain young, undocumented immigrants. In an interview with The Daily Caller, King drew battle lines when told that Trump said in an interview with The Associated Press that "Dreamers" can "rest easy." Under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), qualifying undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. with their families at a young age can be granted protection from deportation and be eligible for a work permit. They are often referred to as Dreamers. King expressed frustration about Trump's refusal to cancel the program despite repeated campaign promises to do so, arguing that "defenders of the Constitution" may need to sue Trump to block the implementation of the program. "That's what it looks like right now and that's disappointing to me," he told The Caller. "It is impossible to return the respect of the rule of law in regards with immigration [with DACA on the books]." Trump's conservative base has long shared frustration over his apparent leniency to Dreamers — applications are still being processed as part of the program. There have been several reports of DACA recipients being detained by immigration agents, including news this week that a Dreamer had been deported. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has said that DACA recipients are not guaranteed protection from deportation, but that they are not a priority. Past legal action against DACA has had mixed results. While a deadlocked Supreme Court blocked the expansion of the program to allow parents of these undocumented immigrants protections, court challenges to the original DACA policy were unsuccessful. Source:
  12. Illegals enrolled in the President Barack Obama’s “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” DACA program can “rest easy,” Trump said, because “this is a case of heart.” Federal enforcement agencies are “not [going] after the ‘dreamers,’ we are after the criminals,” he said, using the Democrats’ ‘dreamer’ euphemism for young illegal immigrants. “That is our policy,” he added. The Friday comments confirm Trump’s reversal of his 2016 campaign promise to stop the DACA quasi-amnesty created by Obama during his 2012 reelection campaign. He created the program in 2012 by telling his immigration enforcement officers to provide young illegals with free work permits instead of repatriation orders. The program has allowed at least 770,000 illegal immigrants to find jobs in major U.S. cities, even though tens of millions of Americans outside the cities are unemployed or have given up trying to find work. Since his inauguration, Trump’s deputies at the Department of Homeland Security have awarded new work permits to illegals who claim they arrived before age 16, despite Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” slogan. Trump’s support for the DACA program is one of his biggest “flip-flops,” said Mark Krikorian, director of the Center for Immigration Studies. “During the campaign, now-President Trump had said he was going to end that on day one because it’s an unconstitutional action by the president,” Krikorian told Breitbart News Daily SiriusXM host Alex Marlow on Friday. Krikorian continued: And of course he’s right, it’s illegal. And they’ve done nothing to it. They’ve done absolutely nothing.” Trump’s post-inauguration turnabout on DACA means that pro-American reformers who want to reduce the impact of illegal-alien workers in the job market will need to bring a lawsuit arguing that the federal government illegally awarded work permits to illegal immigrants, say advocates. Trump’s refusal to reverse or even stop the DACA program is also a bad sign for future immigration reforms, says Krikorian. That’s because he could stop the program and then use the resulting public outcry to pressure Democrats to establish pro-Americans immigration policies. Those policies could include a mandatory requirement that employers check that job applicants are legal residents in the United States. In August 2016, Obama’s chief economist said the federal is imposing the economic pain of five simultaneous recessions on less-educated Americans, thereby pushing millions of working-age men off jobs, out of the workforce, and into poverty. Roughly 10 percent of American “prime age” men, or 7 million men aged 25 to 54, have dropped out of the nation’s workforce of 150 million. They are not trying to get jobs, and are not participating in the nation’s labor force. “This [dropout] is caused by policies and institutions, not by technology,” admitted Jason Furman, an economist who chaired the president’s Council of Economic Advisors. “We shouldn’t accept it as inevitable,” he told a Brookings Institute expert, Dave Wessel on August 10. The primary reason for reduced employment is that “the amount [of money] that employers would want to hire them for some reason has gone down,” he said. In February, Trump told that the AP that “DACA is a very, very difficult subject for me … It’s one of the most difficult subjects I have because you have these incredible kids.” Source: