Things That Matter

Two Government Agencies Are Being Sued For Arresting Undocumented Spouses Of US Citizens Seeking Legal Status

A United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office in Boston appears to have been coordinating with local Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials to arrest undocumented spouses of US citizens when appearing at interviews for legal status. According to a class action lawsuit against ICE and USCIS by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), documents show the agencies discussed scheduled interviews with immigrants at times that were convenient for ICE agents who would be waiting to arrest them. The ACLU criticizes these efforts as a deportation “trap” that violates the constitutional rights of immigrants otherwise following the rules to become legal citizens.

Emails show that ICE officials asked to spread out immigration interviews over time to best accommodate deportation efforts.

Credit: ACLU Massachusetts

The lawsuit filed Monday was part of a Massachusetts federal case involving Lilian Calderon, 30, who was taken into ICE custody in January when she and her husband went into a marriage interview so that she could begin the process of trying to become a lawful permanent resident. The couple visited a USCIS office in Rhode Island and just after sitting down for her interview, she was “unexpectedly detained by ICE,” the lawsuit alleges. In one case, the emails show ICE officials requesting USCIS to delay an immigrant’s meeting by 15 minutes because ICE agents were “getting a late start.”

The ACLU lawsuit claims that the government created this path to citizenship and is now using it to deport immigrants.

“The government created this particular path to lawful immigration status, and then arrested people for following that path,” Matthew Segal, legal director for the ACLU of Massachusetts, said in a statement to mitú. “These were coordinated arrests – and the marriage interviews that our clients had to go through were set-ups.”

 The ACLU lawsuit argues that Homeland Security regulations created under former President Barack Obama allow immigrants with U.S.-citizen spouses to stay in the country while they seek a green card — even if they’re already subject to deportation.

“That regulation is still the law of the land,” Segal said. “So arresting these folks is not about law and order. These are people with a path to legalization and the government is trying to block that.”

ICE officials say the coordination between the two Department of Homeland Security agencies is “lawful and legitimate.”

Andrew Graham, a Boston-based ICE officer, told the AP, the agency usually receives lists of immigrants from the USCIS seeking legal residency who have already been ordered for deportation, had re-entered the country illegally.

Graham said ICE then works with USCIS to schedule legal status interviews so that ICE agents can be present to make an arrest. He says ICE agents like to spread out these interviews to help the workload on agents and to prevent generating “negative media interest” from arrests.

The lawsuit is bringing the “negative media interest” immigration officials were trying to avoid during their arrests.

Many on social media are denouncing coordination between ICE and the USCIS calling it “inhumane” and “unconscionable.” This lawsuit comes amidst other controversies for ICE officials who have faced public backlash this year for the separation and treatment of immigrants.

The ACLU’s findings are the latest in the class-action suit filed earlier this year on behalf of immigrants who have been or fear being separated from their U.S.-citizen spouses. The case will be argued on Aug. 20 in Boston federal court and will include five couples named in the case.


READ:Trump Administration Targeting Immigrants Who Use Obamacare And Food Stamps To Deny Green Cards

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Five Migrant Girls Were Found Left Alone And Abandoned In The Texas Heat

Things That Matter

Five Migrant Girls Were Found Left Alone And Abandoned In The Texas Heat

This past March, according to El Pais, migrants crossed the Rio Grande at an all-time high not seen in the past 15 years. US government reports underlined that a total of 171,000 people arrived at the southern border of the United States in March. Eleven percent were minors who made the journey by themselves.

Reports say that this vulnerable group will continue to grow in size with recent shifts in the Biden administration child immigration policies. Five migrants girls recently found by the river recently became part of this group.

An onion farmer in Quemado recently reported that he found five migrant girls on his land.

The girls were each under the age of seven, the youngest was too small to even walk. Three of the girls are thought to be from Honduras, the other two are believed to have come from Guatemala.​ Jimmy Hobbs, the farmer who found the girls, said that he called the Border Patrol gave the children aid by giving them water and food and putting them in the shade.

“I don’t think they would have made it if I hadn’t found them,” Hobbs told US Rep. Tony Gonzalez (R-Texas) in a New York Post. “Because it got up to 103 yesterday.”

“My thoughts are that it needs to stop right now. There are going to be thousands. This is just five miles of the Rio Grande,” Hobbs’ wife added in their conversation with Gonzalez. “That’s a huge border. This is happening all up and down it. It can’t go on. It’s gonna be too hot. There’ll be a lot of deaths, a lot of suffering.” 

“It is heartbreaking to find such small children fending for themselves in the middle of nowhere,” Chief Border Patrol Agent Austin Skero II explained of the situation in an interview with ABC 7 Eyewitness News. “Unfortunately this happens far too often now. If not for our community and law enforcement partners, these little girls could have faced the more than 100-degree temperatures with no help.”

According to reports, the Customs and Border Protection stated that the five girls​ ​will be processed and placed in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services.​

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A Group of Volunteer ‘Fairy Godmothers’ Threw a Lavish Quinceañera For This Homeless Teen Girl

Things That Matter

A Group of Volunteer ‘Fairy Godmothers’ Threw a Lavish Quinceañera For This Homeless Teen Girl

Photo via Getty Images

For most Latinas, having a quinceañera is a right-of-passage. Your quinceañera is the official milestone that proves you’re finally a woman. It’s a party that you look forward to your entire childhood. It’s that one time in your life that you, and only you, get to feel like a princess.

Unfortunately, not every girl has the luxury of having a quinceañera. Some girls’ families don’t have the finances to throw a huge party.

In Miami, a group of “fairy godmothers” organized a quinceañera for a homeless teen girl whose family recently emigrated from Mexico.

The girl, Adriana Palma, had moved with her family from Mexico to Miami in early 2020. But because of the pandemic, her father lost his job. Adriana, her parents, and her three younger brothers spent the next four months living in their SUV.

Relocating to another country is hard enough, but Adriana faced another challenge by being homeless, struggling to learn English, and chasing down random Wi-Fi signals in order to complete her homework assignments. It was a struggle, to say the least.

And to make matters worse, Adriana’s fifteenth birthday was coming up. Adrian’s parents told her that, since they were homeless, they wouldn’t be able to throw her a quinceañera. “We will be together as a family,” her mother, Itzel Palma, told her. “That will be my gift to you.”

Luckily, the Palma family had a group of guardian angels watching out for them. Being homeless wouldn’t prevent Adriana from having a quinceañera.

A charity called Miami Rescue Mission had already hooked up the Palmas with a small apartment for the family to get back on their feet. “Cover Girls”, a subgroup of the Miami Rescue Mission, dedicate their time to help women and children who are in tough circumstances.

When Lian Navarro, leader of the Cover Girls, found out about Adriana’s situation, she knew she had to help. Cuban-Amercian herself, Navarro knew how important quinceañeras are to young Latinas. She called up her group of volunteers and they got to work making Adriana’s dream come true.

The 60 “fairy godmothers” decided to throw Adriana the quinceañera of her dreams in a local Miami church. They settled on a theme: Paris.

The volunteers decorated the bare church in gold Eiffel towers, supplied pink macarons and French pastries, they topped off each table with a floral centerpiece. They gifted Adriana with every item on her wish list. Not to mention, Adriana was able to be dressed up in a frilly pink quinceañera dress. Her hair and makeup were professionally done. A professional photographer captured her special day.

“We want them to have these memories,” said Cover Girl volunteer, Tadia Silva, about children and teens who grow up homeless. “They have to believe they are worth all that because they are.”

After her beautiful quinceañera, Adriana appeared to know her true worth. At the end of the party, she gave her “fairy godmothers” personalized notes of thanks. “I felt like a princess,” she said.

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