Things That Matter

Customs And Border Protections Chief Mark Morgan Defended The Mississippi Raids Despite Children Left Without Parents

The video of Magdalena Gomez Gregorio, 11, weeping as she’s seen being interviewed pleading for the return of her father, went viral last week. It captured the heartbreak and outrage many felt when news broke that the Justice Department and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency apprehended over 680 people in a joint operation at several food processing plans in Mississippi. The raid was the largest single-state arrest in U.S. history with efforts to crack down on illegal immigration and left many children like Gomez without their parents.

“Government, please put your heart — let my parents be free with everybody else, please,” Gomez says as she weeps in front of reporters. “I need my dad … mommy,” the girl cries as she speaks with a local television station outside a gym. “My dad didn’t do nothing. He’s not a criminal.”

On Sunday, acting CBP commissioner Mark Morgan was put on the spot when he was interviewed by CNN anchor Jake Tapper. It was then that Morgan downplayed the emotional video of Gomez crying.

Customs and Border Protections (CBP) Chief Mark Morgan downplayed the video of a young child grieving her father's detention claiming he did break laws.
Credit: @CNNpolitics / Twitter

Tapper pressed Morgan on the issue of immigration and the outrage that has followed since news of the raids broke last Wednesday. The acting CBP commissioner said during the interview that he understands much of the anger and sorrow that people are feeling after watching the video but defended the agency’s work. 

“I understand that the girl is upset and I get that. But her father committed a crime,” Morgan told Tapper on “State of the Union.” Morgan then went on to say that the girl would be reunited with her mother shortly after the video was shot. “I know it’s emotional and I know it’s done on purpose to show a picture like that.”

Morgan noted that employment of undocumented people is not a victimless crime. He mentioned that many of them illegal citizens take part in unlawful practices such as social security and other identity fraud.

“Her father committed a crime, and just so the American people know also is that girl — her mother was home and she was reunited with her mother within a few hours that night,” Morgan said. “How about interview the people that — because a majority of time in the cases, these individuals that are here illegally, they also steal identities of US citizens, they get fraudulent documents, social security cards, and et cetera and so it is not just a victimless crime that’s going on here.”

Morgan was also pressed on the question of why ICE hadn’t conducted any raids or investigations into President Trump’s eight properties given reports that the clubs and hotels employ undocumented people.

Credit: @Vox / Twitter

The Washington Post reported last Friday that a Trump-owned construction company has been employing undocumented immigrants for a number of years. In return, this has raised questions about how the Trump Organization has followed in its own steps and on its pledge to more carefully scrutinize the legal status of its workers. Tapper asked Morgan about the report but failed to give any solid details on the investigation. 

“This is just one of many headlines about undocumented immigrants working for President Trump’s properties—whether it’s his construction crews, [people] working at his properties [or people] working at his golf clubs. There have been zero raids on any of these companies despite headline after headline after headline,” Tapper asked Morgan.

“You really can’t say that for sure,” Morgan responded. “There are investigations going on all the time that you’re unaware of. … Of course, it’s going to jeopardize the investigation if I come on here and I talk to you about an investigation that’s going on.”

The employment of workers without legal status is an issue that the Trump administration has attempted to take on. The hiring of undocumented workers gives a company a competitive advantage, industry officials told the Washington Post. they note that undocumented laborers are less likely to complain if they’re being mistreated at work or take on employers for malpractice. 

Former Trump Organization employee Jorge Castro, 55,  told the Washington Post that he left the company in April after nine years. He said that while Trump has rallied against illegal immigration he has often been the one employing them. 

“If you’re a good worker, papers don’t matter,” Castro said. Trump “doesn’t want undocumented people in the country but at his properties, he still has them.”

READ: A Man In Mexico City Was Recorded Knocking Down A Trompo After Attacking A Taquero And Tears Are Flowing

Court Orders ICE To Release Children In Their Custody As COVID-19 Tears Through Detention Centers

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Court Orders ICE To Release Children In Their Custody As COVID-19 Tears Through Detention Centers

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

COVID-19 is spiking across the U.S. with 32 states watching as new cases of the virus continue to climb day after day. California, Arizona, Texas, and Florida are among states that have set daily new infection records. With this backdrop, a federal judge has ruled that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) must release children, with their parents, by July 17.

A judge ordered Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to release children in detention by a certain date.

U.S. Judge Dolly Gee ordered ICE to act quickly in response to the rampant COVID-19 spread in detention centers to protect the health of migrants. Judge Gee is giving ICE until July 17 to comply and release all children that have been in the agency’s custody.

U.S. Judge Gee ruled that the threat of the pandemic is great where the children are being held.

“Given the severity of the outbreak in the counties in which FRCs are located and the Independent Monitor and Dr. Wise’s observations of non-compliance or spotty compliance with masking and social distancing rules, renewed and more vigorous efforts must be undertaken to transfer (children) residing at the FRCs to non-congregate settings,” Judge Gee wrote in her order.

Concerned politicians and public figures are celebrating the judge’s order.

The order is aimed specifically at the Family Residential Centers (FRCs) and Office of Refugee Resettlement camps across the country. The virus has been running rampant in detention centers and prisons and, according to the judge, unsurprisingly the virus has made it to the FRCs.

She continued: “The FRCs are ‘on fire’ and there is no more time for half measures.”

National leaders are calling on ICE to follow the ruling by a federal judge.

The judge’s order is aimed at the three FRCs in the U.S. Two are in Texas and one is in Pennsylvania. Unaccompanied minors in various shelters are also included in the order.

“Although progress has been made, the Court is not surprised that [COVID-19] has arrived at both the [Family Residential Centers] and [Office of Refugee Resettlement] facilities, as health professionals have warned all along,” Judge Gee wrote.

This story is developing and we will update as new information arises.

READ: After COVID-19 Shut Down Flights, A Man Sailed Across The Atlantic Ocean All So That He Could See His Dad

Supreme Court Blocks Trump Administration From Eliminating DACA

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Supreme Court Blocks Trump Administration From Eliminating DACA

Ethan Miller / Getty Images

For three years, people with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status faced an uncertain future. The Trump administration was involved in legal battles after abruptly eliminating the program. For the third time this week, the Supreme Court has handed down a major loss for the Trump administration as they protected DACA from Trump’s attack.

The Supreme Court ruled that the Trump administration cannot end DACA.

The 5-4 decision is the third major legal loss for the Trump administration this week. SCOTUS ruled earlier this week that LGBTQ+ cannot be fired for their sexual orientation or gender identity. The court also refused to take up a case challenging California’s sanctuary state law letting the law stand.

The decision to temporarily protect DACA was a split decision with all of the conservative justices (Clarence Thomas, Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch, and Samuel A. Alito Jr.) voting in favor of the Trump administration. Justice John Robert joined the liberal justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, and Elena Kagan saving the program from the Trump administration, for now.

In the ruling, written by Justice John Roberts, the court cites that the acting secretary of state violated the Administrative Procedures Act when ending the program. Basically, the announcement was lacking substance and did not address key parts of the policy. This made the announcement void of an argument supporting the dismantling of the program.

The ruling is only temporary relief for the hundreds of thousands of young people on DACA.

While the program has been spared, it is not completely saved. The decision from the Supreme Court today focuses on the way DACA was eliminated, not the actual elimination. This means that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) now has time to reevaluate its case against DACA to try again.

“The Court still does not resolve the question of DACA’s rescission,” Alito wrote in his dissent. “Instead, it tells the Department of Homeland Security to go back and try again.”

The conservative justices, while dissenting, did release statements that agreed with parts of the decision to block the Trump administration from eliminating DACA. The Trump administration first announced that they were ending DACA in 2017 with a press conference on the border led by Jeff Sessions.

Justice Sotomayor made her own headlines after calling the case a racist attack.

“I would not so readily dismiss the allegation that an executive decision disproportionately harms the same racial group that the President branded as less desirable mere months earlier,” Justice Sotomayor wrote in her concurrence of the decision.

Organizers and activists are giving credit to the DACA community for this victory.

The DACA community has led the charge to protect their status in the U.S. The movement has largely been done thanks to the work of DACA recipients fighting for their right to be here. For many, it is the only country they know after arriving to the U.S. without proper documentation when they were young children.

The president has tweeted his clear displeasure on the Supreme Court that he tried to stack in his favor by appointing two justices.

Both justice Kavanaugh and Gorsuch were Trump’s appointees. After three losses from the Supreme Court, President Trump followed his usual playbook and accused the Supreme Court of not liking him.

Now, it is time for Congress to act.

With DACA recipients temporarily spared sudden deportation, Congress must act and pass legislation protecting Dreamers from being deported. The Dream Act is one piece of legislation that offers DACA recipients a pathway to citizenship, something most Americans agree with.

READ: ICE Is Threatening To Reopen Deportation Proceedings Against All DACA Recipients Regardless Of DACA Status