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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: 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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Joe Biden Promises To Fight For Dreamers If Elected In November

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Joe Biden Promises To Fight For Dreamers If Elected In November

Biden For President / Flickr

An overwhelming majority of Americans support protecting Dreamers. Hundreds of thousands of young adults rely on the protection from deportation and work authorization to live with dignity and out of the shadows. Presidential nominee Joe Biden wants to make sure they stay protected.

Dreamers are looking to a Biden administration to finish what an Obama administration started.

Credit: Biden For President / Flickr

According to the official Biden campaign website, the presidential nominee will work with Congress to reinstate DACA protections and to create a pathway to citizenship. DACA was won by undocumented activists putting fear aside and publicly fought to change the minds of Americans and politicans.

“Undocumented ‘youth’ are no longer youth,” says Moises Serrano, DACA activist and the man profiled in the documentary “Forbidden.” “DACA recipients and undocumented immigrants have been living in fear and instability for decades now. We survived eight years under the Obama administration and four years under the Trump administration. Immigration reform was promised under the Obama-Biden platform; a promise that is still unfulfilled.”

He added: “We hope that President Biden puts an end to the instability in our lives once and for all, or we are ready to hold him accountable in the same way we held Obama accountable in our fight for Administrative Relief.”

Biden’s policy proposes protecting Dreamers and helping them advance in this country.

Credit: Biden For President / Flickr

Biden promises to reinstate DACA to protect Dreamers and will be looking into ways to protect their families. The policy put forth by a potential Biden administration is pivotal in giving those who are DACA recipients a chance to live without fear and with all of the rights as their fellow citizens.

“After living through a deep loss in 2016 after losing my second mother and only being granted access to be on her deathbed in Mexico through my ability to get advanced parole through DACA I learned that no loss would ever be greater than that,” said Cindy Nava, a DACA recipient, political operative and policy advocate. “However, November rolled around and another loss took place. One that impacted my life, that of my family and my community.”

DACA is a very important issue as hundreds of thousands of Dreamers are on the line.

Credit: Biden For President / Flickr

People like Nava are hopeful that a Biden administration will bring that dignity back to the immigrant community. It is a community that is vibrant and has contributed vastly to American culture. A BIden administration would be a chance for Nava to see herself reflected in government.

“I am hopeful to see the daughter of immigrants, a woman of color, and a woman I can finally feel represented by be sworn in as the first woman VP of this country,” Nava says. “I will look forward to an administration that listens to the communities it intends to represent. An administration that empowers the entire country to work with each other to support, strengthen, respect and uplift each other each and every day. An administration that values and is grateful for the contributions that immigrants bring to the foundation of our country each and every day.”

Nava wants to see an immigration reform that puts immigrant humanity at the forefront. One that understands the needs for people to seek refuge and a better life in a foreign country.

“No immigrant seeks to find a fix on a silver platter. Nor do they believe that this will be an easy task,” Nava says. “The only thing our families ask for is a chance. Una oportunidad para recordarle a este pais that their lucha and determination comes from a deep sense of ganas to create a life filled with more opportunities than they ever had.”

The battle over DACA is far from over but it is clear that the Trump administration is on the wrong side of public opinion. Biden’s plan would strengthen DACA and restore the program to its full functionality.

READ: Trump Administration Limit DACA Renewals, Blocks New Applications

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President Trump Falsely Claimed That Covid Is To Blame For Ending DACA

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President Trump Falsely Claimed That Covid Is To Blame For Ending DACA

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In 2017, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions held a press conference terminating Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) on behalf of the Trump administration. Since then hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients have lived in uncertainty. President Donald Trump tried to rewrite history at his town hall event Oct. 15.

President Donald Trump blamed the end of DACA on Covid during his town hall.

The truth is that President Trump’s administration attempted to end DACA in 2017. Former Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions was the attorney general at the time and made the announcement in a press conference. Since then, the Trump administration has continued to advance a lawsuit to terminate the program. DACA allows for hundreds of thousands of adults to work and live in the U.S. without fear of deportation.

Long before Covid, the Trump administration was told to resume DACA as intended.

Instead, the Trump administration has violated federal orders and continued to restrict DACA and those who can apply. The Supreme Court refused to hear arguments against DACA meaning that the lower court’s ruling stood. The ruling was that the Trump administration had to reinstate the program in full. However, the Supreme Court did not dismiss the case allowing for the administration to come back.

President Trump also claimed that DACA recipients and Dreamers are not that same.

Another falsehood by the president at the town hall. DACA recipients are indeed Dreamers. The term Dreamers does apply to DACA recipients who would benefit from the DREAM Act. The legislation would legally enshrine the protections of DACA and was introduced by Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois in 2001. Over the course of 19 years, the piece of legislation has not moved despite the overwhelming support from the American public.

People watching the town hall were quick to call out President Trump.

People are not letting President Trump get away with trying to rewrite history about DACA. His administration is the one trying to strip DACA recipients of their protections. At one point, President Trump tried using DACA recipients as political pawns in an attempt to secure funding for his border wall.

Voters are calling on other voters to help protect the program in November.

The two nominees have very different DACA plans. President Trump has and will continue to try to take away the protections from DACA recipients. Former Vice President Joe Biden has a plan to offer citizenship to DACA recipients, something American voters support. DACA is a wildly popular program that gives some of the most vulnerable people in our society a chance to live a normal life.

READ: The Trump Administration Has Officially Rescinded DACA. Here’s What You Need To Know.

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