Many people constantly fleeing persecution in their home countries have created a backlog concerning illegal immigration processes which U.S. border officials are trying to work through, but they can go only as fast as migrants can be processed and moved from temporary holding cells to immigration detention.

An official with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said the agency remains committed to meeting the care and safety needs of people in custody, and is working actively with partners, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), to resolve the backup. “There are potentially a number of reasons causing the San Diego area ports of entry to reach capacity; we do not have a definitive reason to offer at this time,” the official added.

Because of the backlog, close to 100 migrants lined up last week in the plaza outside the walkway that leads to PedWest, the pedestrian border crossing that opened earlier this year, Tijuana media outlets reported. Migrants slept in line, afraid of losing their places and having to wait longer for U.S. Customs and Border Protection  to process them.

 

  1. C. Sheriff No Longer Checking Immigration Status of Inmates

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) is making several changes to its custody procedures starting today.

The new custody operations are in response to the passage of SB54, otherwise known as the “sanctuary state” bill that goes into effect January 1st. Going forward OCSD deputies will not screen inmates for immigration status and will not alert U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement of undocumented offenders.

“Sheriff Hutchens strongly opposed the legislation, but now has the legal obligation to abide by the provisions of the law,” the OCSD said in a statement.

 

 

After Judge Blocks Trump’s “Sanctuary’ Order, Jeff Landry Joins State Attorneys General to Back It

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry joined 10 other state attorneys general in pressing a federal appeals court to side with President Donald Trump’s order against so-called “sanctuary” cities, a move that was declared unconstitutional by a federal judge last month.

In a brief filed this month with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Landry and attorneys general from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and West Virginia want the courts to overturn the ruling.

“Sanctuary cities undermine the rule of law and rob our law enforcement officers of the tools they need to effectively protect our communities,” Landry said in a statement. “We have seen too many crimes occur against our own State’s citizens due to sanctuary city policies; which is why I have been actively fighting back against these policies since taking office.”

 

Chicago Police Admission Exposes Loophole in the City’s Sanctuary Protection

A controversial database maintained by the city that purports to track gang membership has ensnared at least one immigrant who the city now admits was wrongly designated a gang member. Mere inclusion on the list can be reason for Chicago police to report an immigrant to federal immigration officials, even without any criminal charges or convictions. Wilmer Catalan-Ramirez is now facing deportation after he was allegedly flagged for Immigration and Customs Enforcement based the database.

The admission by Chicago police is a significant revelation for immigration advocates who have long said the gang database was over-inclusive, and introduces a potentially gaping loophole into Chicago’s sanctuary city policy. It also sheds limited light on a secret city list that implicates hundreds of thousands of residents in wrongdoing without giving them an opportunity to challenge the determination. In many cases they don’t even know they’re on the database.

“We have CPD (data center) admitting that they made a mistake for Wilmer and we know they didn’t just make a mistake for Wilmer. There are a lot of Wilmers out there,” said Vanessa del Valle, an attorney with the MacArthur Justice Center and one of Catalan-Ramirez’s attorneys.

 

94% of Non-Citizen Federal Prisoners Are Illegal Aliens

A surprising 94% of foreign-born federal prisoners are in the United States illegally, according to a new report by the departments of Homeland Security and Justice. Illegal alien prisoners could make up as much as 19% of the total number of prisoners in the federal system.

A total of 58,766 known or suspected aliens were in federal custody at the end of fiscal 2017, including 39,455 persons in Bureau of Prisons custody and 19,311 in U.S. Marshals Service custody, the report said.

Of this total, 37,557 were confirmed as aliens by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, while 21,209 foreign-born people were still under investigation to determine whether they are deportable. An alien is a non-citizen and non-national, according to ICE.

 

Trump Administration Is Set to Add Another Burden on Immigrants

The Trump administration is poised to make it harder for members of Congress to help immigrants deal with the government, according to an agency official email sent to Hill staffers and reviewed by The Daily Beast.

The email, sent Dec. 18 from a top official at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), says the agency will put new restrictions on how members of Congress can help immigrants looking to get green cards or citizenship. It indicates that the agency will soon be demanding extra forms in many circumstances, as well as requiring certified translations and notarized signatures.

USCIS insists this is all to protect immigrants’ privacy and that any claims it’s intended to make things more difficult for them are “baseless.” Advocates say it’s yet another indication that the Trump administration is finding creative ways to make legal immigration harder.

 

 

Cuomo Pardons 18 Immigrants in Face of Trump Crackdown On Illegal Immigration

More than a dozen immigrants who faced deportation over prior convictions now have a chance of staying in the United States after they were granted pardons by Governor Andrew Cuomo. The 18 recipients of pardons were in the crosshairs of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

“These New Yorkers have proved their rehabilitation, in some cases for decades, but have been unable to gain legal status or fully reenter society due to the stigma of conviction,” Gov. Cuomo said. “While the federal government continues to target immigrants and threatens to tear families apart with deportation, these actions take a critical step toward a more just, more fair and more compassionate New York.”

This isn’t the first time Cuomo has granted pardons to immigrants. He gave clemency to an undocumented immigrant from Columbia who worked as a Ground Zero recover worker. Cuomo also pardoned 39 people who had committed misdemeanors for non-violent crimes when they were 16 or 17 years old and have been crime free for 10 years or more. He also commuted two sentences.