With the 2020 elections coming nearer, the United States immigration debate is heating up. Many news stories involving immigration have come to light in the last few weeks. The constant and often hostile public immigration debates can cause stress among immigrant groups. The fear among immigrants in the U.S. is not unfounded.
The ICE raids that have been happening throughout the nation have left many immigrants terrified of deportation. Then-acting ICE director Thomas Homan declared that under the Trump administration, ICE would attempt to increase worksite immigration raids by 400%. Immigrant families worry about their undocumented relatives facing deportation. Immigrant children have watched ICE arrest one or both of their parents.
If you are an undocumented immigrant or a documented immigrant who needs legal assistance, we can help. The skilled Miami immigration attorneys at Canero Immigration Law firm advocate effectively for clients in a wide range of immigration issues. Whether you are seeking an immigrant visa or a non-immigrant visa, our experienced professionals will help solve your immigration issues.
The Trump Administration and Family Separations
In August, the Trump administration released a regulation that would allow federal immigration centers to detain migrant families indefinitely. On August 21, 2019, the Trump administration revealed that it would override a court agreement known as the Flores settlement. The Flores settlement limited how long the federal government could detain migrant children held in custody. The proposed rule would abolish the 20-day detention limit for families. Critics of the potential new policy contend that it will face a reversal in a federal court.
President Trump also announced the possibility of abolishing “birthright citizenship.” The Constitution provides that anyone born in the United States is automatically considered an American citizen. In the same press conference, President Trump also pressed for the building of a border wall on the American-Mexican border.
Mississippi ICE Raids Separated Breastfeeding Mothers From Their Children
On August 7, ICE raided seven food processing plants in Mississippi. ICE officials acknowledged that this is the largest single-state immigration raid ever and the most massive raid of its kind in over a decade. They arrested 680 people, including parents of babies and young children. ICE officials later released over 300 detainees for humanitarian reasons, including single parents and breastfeeding mothers.
USA Today found at least three cases in which breastfeeding mothers are still in detention while their children are cared for by others. An ICE spokesperson stated that agents asked all of those arrested in the Mississippi raids whether or not they are breastfeeding or have minor children in their processing. Nonetheless, many have criticized ICE for not doing enough to screen for potential detainees so that they do not arrest parents of tender-age children.
ICE Raids Show the Trump Administration’s Focus on Deportation
ICE released 303 of those immigrants arrested in Mississippi on August 7 while 377 of those arrested remain in custody in Louisiana and Mississippi ICE detention facilities. Parish priest Father Roberto Mena and Mark Bowman, a local pastor, say that the ICE raids have left parishioners frightened. Many immigrants in the affected area will not even open their doors due to fear of arrest and deportation.
As of August 17, over 40 detainees who ICE agents arrested as a result of the August 7th raid have been charged in federal court. The charges include entering the United States illegally and failing to depart the U.S. upon a visa expiring.
The raids took place at Mississippi chicken processing plants, yet none of the companies that ICE raided have been charged with hiring undocumented workers. Under U.S. law, employers who have a “pattern and practice” of knowingly hiring undocumented immigrants can face a fine of up to $3,000 per employee. Company officials who knew about the hiring of undocumented immigrants face up to six months in prison each. Critics of the Trump administration point out that while the President has increased the number of immigration raids and deportations, it has not increased the prosecution of businesses that employ undocumented workers.
How Did ICE Determine Which Companies to Raid?
ICE tracked the ankle monitors of an employee of the chicken processing facility who had been arrested elsewhere. Using GPS, they determined that the employee and others worked at that location. Before the raid, ICE officials subpoenaed the company for a list of employees. ICE agents found that many employees used Social Security numbers in their applications that did not match with their names. Further, ICE investigators also staked out the location.
Ice officials discovered that only eight of the 26 license plates they say entering and leaving the facility belonged to current employees. They also talked to former and current employees, some of whom admitted to having an undocumented immigration status or paying for fake I.D. cards and other documents.
ICE Recently Shut Down an Immigrant Hotline
For years, a non-profit organization named Freedom for Immigrants has operated a toll-free hotline for immigrants. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) recently shut down The Freedom for Immigrants’ National Immigration Detention Hotline. The non-profit hotline allows immigrants who have been detained to make a free call to the Freedom for Immigrants’ number. Since 2013, immigrants who call the free hotline receive free legal counsel.
In addition to providing counsel to immigrants, immigrants use the hotline to expose government abuses in federal detention centers. Detainees do not just utilize the helpline for legal advice; they also use it to report medical abuse. One immigrant used the hotline to report medical negligence he suffered while in detention. ICE representatives have not yet commented on the removal of the hotline from its list of the approved list of free legal service providers.
ICE Immigration Raids Under the Trump Administration Will Not Stop
According to ICE reports released in December 2018, ICE made 2,300 arrests at workplaces. This statistic indicates that workplace immigration raids increased seven times in 2018 than in 2017. ICE also quadrupled the amount of opened investigations and audits of employee application paperwork in 2018. President Trump’s rhetoric regarding illegal immigration indicates that his administration will continue to increase the number of workplace immigration raids.
If You Need Assistance with an Immigration Issue, We are Here
The attorneys at Canero Immigration Law Firm understand that this is a stressful time for immigrants in the United States. If you are concerned about your citizen status or you have been arrested by ICE and are being detained, we may be able to help. Contact our law firm today to set up an initial consultation with one of our experienced immigration attorneys.