Things That Matter

ICE Is Using Fake Facebook Accounts To Entrap Migrants Even Though Facebook Has Warned The Government To Stop

Last September, Facebook said it told the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that it must cease using fake profiles on the social media platform to monitor undocumented immigrants. Facebook claims that the company prohibits fake accounts and that DHS was violating its policy. 

“Law enforcement authorities, like everyone else, are required to use their real names on Facebook and we make this policy clear on our public-facing Law Enforcement Guidelines page,” a Facebook representative told The Guardian in April. “Operating fake accounts is not allowed, and we will act on any violating accounts.”

However, ICE and DHS have not stopped creating fake accounts, a tactic they began using in 2015. ICE has gone as far as luring in undocumented immigrants with these profiles and even creating a fake university. 

ICE uses fake Facebook profiles to track undocumented immigrants. 

According to the New York Times, ICE agents began to watch a largely Latinx community in Washington State’s Long Beach Peninsula, to properly identify the undocumented immigrants they created fake Facebook profiles. 

Glady Díaz Tadeo, a mother of three, posted a photo of piñata in the shape of a cupcake her family made, selling it for $20. Tadeo posted the item on a private Facebook group made up only of local residents. A person responded to the ad, the profile had a “Hispanic name” and a picture of a dog. 

Tadeo went to deliver the piñata and when she arrived two ICE agents showed her a printout of her Washington State driver’s license. Tadeo was taken to a private detention center, three weeks later she was deported to Mexico. 

ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) division created fake universities to lure in migrants. 

The Guardian discovered that over 600 Detroit, Michigan students, nearly all from India, were caught up in an HSI plan where they created multiple Facebook profiles tied to the University of Farmington — a fake college to lure in foreign nationals. 

The fake school had no employees save for undercover agents and described itself as “a nationally accredited institution authorized to enroll international students.”

ICE agents, posed as school officials from Farmington, would register students who had initially come to the U.S. on student visas but had them lapse. The intention, advocates believe, was to convince these migrants to commit crimes by allegedly making them believe they were legally obtaining student visas when they were not. 

Faiza Patel, the co-director of the liberty and national security program at New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice, believes that the students had no idea what they were getting into. 

“Normally, we would like our law enforcement agencies to be investigating crimes that are already occurring as opposed to spending time and resources in creating elaborate sting operations,” said Patel.

However, a 2008 ICE handbook revealed, what would usually be considered entrapment for other law enforcers, is fine. According to The Guardian, the handbook stated that “while undercover agents are advised not to induce people to commit crimes, exceptions can be made and are internally regulated.”

In 2016, ICE did the same university stunt when 1,000 New Jersey students were lured in by fake school staffers who were really ICE agents. In both cases, ICE claims the students knew that they were committing fraud. 

However, workers near the building of Farmington told WXYZ that students regularly came to the building asking when school would open and complained they could not get in touch with school staff. 

“ICE knowing this or DHS knowing this tries to ensnare as many people as possible and get them wound up in an immigration system where they know that the cards are going to be stacked against the immigrant,” said Angelo Guisado, an attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights. 

Facebook repeatedly condemns ICE’s behavior. 

The Guardian reports that, “Facebook removed the University of Farmington accounts shortly after being contacted by the Guardian and a representative said it contacted the Department of Homeland Security about its policy on fake accounts.” 

Facebook said it would take action against any law enforcement officials impersonating others. However, this was just a few days after the Associated Press reported the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services planned to create fake social media accounts again. 

“An updated Homeland Security Department review of potential privacy issues… essentially reversed a prior ban on officers creating fake profiles,” the AP stated. “A USCIS statement explaining the change says fake accounts and identities will make it easier for investigators to search for potential evidence of fraud or security concerns as they decide whether to allow someone entry into the U.S.” 

While the practice has always violated Facebook’s policy, and the company has consistently condemned it, it still remains clear if ICE will ever stop. 

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The Trump Administration Raised Fees For Immigration Cases Including For Refugees

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The Trump Administration Raised Fees For Immigration Cases Including For Refugees

Drew Angerer / Getty Images

In its continuing campaign against immigrants and refugees, the Trump administration has increased the costs of immigration proceedings – in some instances by more than 80%. These new fees could make the cost of seeking asylum protection in the U.S. or becoming a citizen out of reach for tens of thousands of immigrants.

The new fees are seen as little more than an additional tool used by the administration to further limit immigration to the U.S. and make life more difficult for those seeking to call the U.S. homes.

The Trump administration announced major changes to the fees charged for immigration proceedings.

On Friday, the Trump administration announced it would dramatically increase the fees for U.S. immigration services on everything from refugee asylum requests to naturalization services. The new fee structure, released by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), is expected to take effect on October 2.

The new fees are seen as little more than an additional tool used by the administration to further limit immigration to the U.S. and make life more difficult for those seeking to call the U.S. homes. It will also have an outsized impact on business that hire foreign workers.

The agency, which has closed offices and suspended most services during the pandemic, has said it faces a significant revenue shortfall that could trigger furloughs. Earlier this year, the agency requested $1.2 billion in emergency funds from Congress.

The U.S. will now be one of just a few countries that actually charge refugees to file asylum requests.

Credit: Gregory Bull / Getty Images

With the new fee charged to refugees and asylum seekers, the U.S. will become one of just four countries that actually charge for this application. The new fee for asylum is a blatant attack on the most vulnerable among us and is another way for the administration to target and restrict protections for those fleeing their home countries.

The $50 application fee for asylum applications now puts the U.S. in the same ranks as Iran, Fiji, and Australia. The new rule would also raise the cost for an asylum applicant to apply for an employment authorization document (EAD) from the current zero to $490, one of many policy changes to discourage potential asylum applicants. DHS commented, “DHS does not believe that the EAD fee is unduly burdensome for asylum seekers.”

However, one asylum officer who spoke with BuzzFeed News on condition of anonymity said the fee was discouraging.

“The larger problem is that humanitarian applications by their nature should be free,” the officer said. “The idea of charging people who are fleeing — and not helping if they don’t pay up — is disgusting.”

Another asylum officer said it will cost the agency more to collect the fee than $50, “which doesn’t come close to covering the cost of adjudicating an asylum application.”

Other fees – from green card replacements to citizenship applications – will also be going up.

The new fee changes impact several categories of services offered by USCIS that will impact our community. Two of the most common types of visas issued by the agency (L and H-1B visas) will increase by 75% and 21% respectively.

The L visa – which is used for short term work in the U.S. – will increase from $460 to $805. The fee for an H-1B petition (which is used by employers to hire highly-skilled workers) will rise from $460 to $555.

For season workers in the U.S., of which there are hundreds of thousands, their fees will also increase by almost 50%. The current fee for these visas is $460 but the H-2A (season agricultural) will rise to $850 and the H-2B (seasonal non-agricultural) will rise to $715.

USCIS would increase the cost of the application (N-400) to become a U.S. citizen by more than 80%, rising from $640 to $1,160 (for online filings, although a separate $85 biometrics fee would be eliminated). 

The new increased fees come as the agency faces a financial crisis that many say are of its own making.

Many are concerned about the timing of these fee increases because USCIS is in the midst of historic mismanagement, that has face the agency from a substantial surplus to a deficit so severe USCIS has requested a $1.2 billion bailout from Congress.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, chair of the House Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship, held a July 29, 2020, oversight hearing that helped explain how the Trump administration caused the financial problems at USCIS through its policy choices on immigration.

“Under the Trump Administration, USCIS has issued a flurry of policies that make its case adjudications more complicated, which reduces the agency’s efficiency and requires more staff to complete fewer cases,” testified Doug Rand, a founder of Boundless Immigration and a senior fellow at the Federation of American Scientists. “There are dozens if not hundreds of such policies.” 

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A California ‘Karen’ Harasses Landscape Worker As She Demands To See His Papers

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A California ‘Karen’ Harasses Landscape Worker As She Demands To See His Papers

Juan Carlos Andrade Mendez / YouTube

Yet another white woman has been outed as a ‘Karen’ thanks to a now viral video showing off her ignorant and racist behavior. The woman, who hasn’t yet been identified, decided it was OK to harass a landscape worker who was tending to her lawn at her California apartment complex.

‘Karen’ knew she was being recorded, but that didn’t stop her one bit from acting like a rogue ICE agent, demanding to see this man’s papers and questioning him on his citizenship. The video has since been seen more than a million times and officials are investigating the incident.

Another ‘Karen’ harassed a man doing his job and demanded to see his ‘papers.’

Landscape worker Juan Carlos Andrade Mendez was working at an apartment complex in Rancho Mirage, California when the woman seen in the video approached him. The unidentified woman first blows a kiss towards Mendez as he worked before approaching him and beginning her racist interrogation.

In the video you can see the woman with no mask and no respect for social distancing as she stands in front of him and his equipment, demanding to see his citizenship status.

“Like any other complex, I was just doing the work for all of them, mowing the lawn. I passed by her apartment and when I turned around to do the second round that’s when I saw her standing,” Mendez told NBC Palm Springs. “When she was harassing me, I started to feel mad because I was just doing my work,” said Mendez.

The smiling woman then circles Mendez before blocking his way, prompting the man to ask her to step aside as he shuts off his mower. “Can you move?” Mendez said. “I’m doing my work. Can you move?”

The woman then walked away briefly before returning and continuing to ask where the man was from. “No, you’re not Mexican,” she told Mendez after he made a playful reference to Mexico. “What am I?” Mendez replies. “I don’t know, you tell me,” said the woman, who later surmises he may Filipino or Vietnamese, according to the clip.

The woman stares at Andrade before the video ends with her saying, “Show me your papers, mariposa.” Mariposa is Spanish for “butterfly” and can also be used as a slang term for homosexual.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time that the woman has harassed Andrade.

According to Mendez, this woman has caused issues for him in the past. About three months ago, according to Mendez, the same woman told him to “go back to his country.”

In an interview with NBC Palm Springs, Mendez said: “Based on what I have seen from her, I think she thinks she didn’t do anything wrong. She believes she’s in the right, so I don’t think she’ll ever apologize.”

Immigration lawyers who have seen the video said some people think they’re acting as makeshift police, but their actions are simply racist.

“Unless you are law enforcement, but aside from that, they are using that conversation as just another way to intimidate and create objects out of human beings who appear to be different from them,” Megan Beaman Jacinto, an immigration lawyer from Coachella Valley, told NBC Palm Springs.

The now viral video has sparked an investigation that had been “pretty much” completed as of Sunday, the Desert Sun reports.

“It wasn’t very difficult,” city attorney Steve Quintanilla told the newspaper.

The investigation centered on city housing policy and whether any steps needed to be taken to prevent similar encounters from occurring, but officials decided it was an isolated incident. Still, property managers at the development are conducting a separate investigation that could lead to the woman’s eviction.

“I can say action will be taken,” Quintanilla told the newspaper, declining to elaborate.

Quintanilla also refused to identify the woman. City officials have said, however, she was a resident of the complex for people 55 and over.

“This matter will not be ignored, nor tolerated,” Mayor Dana Hobart said in a statement. “It is appalling to learn of the hateful misconduct of one of Rancho Mirage’s senior living residents. Racist conduct if any sort is strictly prohibited and not taken lightly in our public housing.”

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