Things That Matter

In Its Next Cruel Move Against Migrants, Trump Administration Threatens Half Million Dollar Fines Against Undocumented Migrants

From separating families at the border, deporting children’s parents, holding migrants in deplorable for-profit prisons, denying kids basic necessities, the Trump administration hasn’t been kind to immigrants.

And the cruelty of the administration’s policies are the point.

The administration has admitted that the policies they’re enforcing are meant to deter more migrants from attempting to come to the US.

So the latest move by the government, although not a surprise, is just adding insult to injury.

The Trump administration threatens hefty fines on undocumented immigrants who haven’t left the country.

Credit: @NPR / Twitter

The Trump administration is threatening to impose hundreds of thousands of dollars in civil penalties on immigrants who ignore deportation orders by seeking refuge in churches or elsewhere in the United States, according to a report by NPR.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Washington headquarters on Monday notified a woman seeking sanctuary in a North Carolina church that the agency intends to fine her more than $300,000. An immigrant in Colorado faces a fine of more than $500,000.

It’s the latest hard-line effort by the administration as it clamps down on immigration at the border and increases interior enforcement.

Apparently, the administration has been sending out these notices since December of last year.

Federal officials said they quietly began assessing the penalties in December as part of a rolling effort to curb sanctuary jurisdictions that have thwarted Trump’s efforts to deport undocumented immigrants and to hold immigrants accountable for breaking the law.

Trump called for enforcing the penalties in an executive order days after taking office in 2017.

Because yea, fining people who are fleeing poverty and violence makes total sense.

Credit: @robinskyleigh / Twitter

Immigration advocates argue the Trump administration is trying to instill fear and confusion in immigrant communities, expecting the immigrants will leave. They report similar letters being received by immigrants in similar situations in North Carolina, Utah, Virginia, and Texas.

Edith Espinal, 42, told NPR she could not believe the U.S. government thought she would have almost half a million dollars. She has been living in sanctuary at an Ohio church since an immigration judge ordered her removed two years ago. The church, its congregation, and the community have largely supported her and her family.

“They want to scare me,” Espinal said, adding, “because they know I am in sanctuary. And they know I don’t have this amount of money.”

Many on Twitter shuttered to think what the administration’s next move against migrants could be.

Credit: @dunekacke / Twitter

Espinal’s attorney told NPR, “It’s almost half a million dollars. Are they for real? Do they really think that she’s going to pay this? I laughed because there has to be someone in some basement in D.C. thinking, ‘Oh, what else can I do to mess with immigrants? What else can I do to hurt them?’ “

While other’s pointed out that Trump is doing exactly what he promised he’d do…

Credit: @mariasacchetti / Twitter

At the beginning of his term, Trump signed an executive order promising, “as soon as practicable, and by no later than one year after the date of this order,” that the administration would begin collection of all fines and penalties that the Secretary is authorized under the law to assess and collect from aliens unlawfully present in the United States.

This is him following up on that order.

Other’s suggested that perhaps this was just a plan to help increase revenue since the administration gave that massive tax cut to the nation’s wealthiest people.

Credit: @NPR / Twitter

I mean it would make sense. The tax cut was a massive loss of revenue for the government and with the Trump administration’s cruel treatment of immigrants since he took office, of course he’d make them pay for his mistake.

At least one Twitter user had a plan that we think many people could get behind.

Credit: @washingtonpost / Twitter

To be honest, I think many people rather see the president behind bars than paying fines but it would definitely be a step in the right direction.

READ: A Secret Facebook Group For Immigration Officers Mocking Dead Migrants Has Been Exposed

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Smugglers Are Tagging U.S.-Bound Migrants With Color Coded Wristbands And Here’s Why

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Smugglers Are Tagging U.S.-Bound Migrants With Color Coded Wristbands And Here’s Why

As the United States experiences a so-called surge of people attempting to enter the U.S., human traffickers and smugglers are working double time as they try to capitalize on the increased movements.

Cartels and human traffickers have long run their smuggling operations like a legitimate business but they’ve only got more advanced in how they move people across the border region and one key tool: color-coded bracelets. These bracelets almost act as passports for migrants to safely cross a cartel’s territory without interference or threats of violence. But what do these bracelets mean and how are they fueling the problem of human trafficking?

Plastic bracelets are being used by cartels to identify migrants in their territory. 

U.S. border agents carried out nearly 100,000 apprehensions or rapid expulsions of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border in February, which is the highest monthly total since mid-2019. With the increase in people attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border, cartels are managing this migration of people over their territory and trying to make money off the humanitarian crisis. 

Many cartels have implemented a color-coded bracelet system that identifies those migrants who have paid for permission to cross their territory. In the Rio Grande Valley sector, Border Patrol agents have recently encountered immigrants wearing the bracelets during several apprehensions, Matthew Dyman, a spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, told Reuters.

The “information on the bracelets represents a multitude of data that is used by smuggling organizations, such as payment status or affiliation with smuggling groups,” Dyman said.

The color-coded system isn’t totally understood.

Credit: ED JONES/AFP via Getty Images

Migrants can pay thousands of dollars for the journey to the United States and human smugglers have to pay off drug cartels to move people through parts of Mexico. This is a money-making operation and cartels want to pay close attention to who has paid. The bracelets may just be a new way to keep track.

Criminal groups operating in northern Mexico, however, have long used systems to log which migrants have already paid for the right to be in gang-controlled territory, as well as for the right to cross the border into the United States, according to migration experts. In fact, in 2019, smugglers kept tabs on rapidly arriving Central American migrants by double checking the names and IDs of migrants before they got off the bus to make sure they had paid. 

One man, a migrant in Reynosa – across the border from McAllen, Texas – who declined to give his name for fear of retaliation, showed Reuters a picture of a purple wristband he was wearing. He told them that he had paid $500 to a criminal group in the city after he arrived from Honduras to ensure that he wasn’t kidnapped or extorted. He said once migrants or their smugglers have paid for the right to cross the river, which is also controlled by criminal groups, they receive another bracelet.

“This way we’re not in danger, neither us nor the ‘coyote,’” he told Reuters.

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Despite Promises, President Biden Looks To Reopen A Child Migrant Center Facing Sexual Assault Allegations

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Despite Promises, President Biden Looks To Reopen A Child Migrant Center Facing Sexual Assault Allegations

Since taking office in January, President Biden has been hard at work addressing everything from the nation’s COVID vaccine program and economic response to comprehensive immigration reform. However, several of his planned changes have hit major roadblocks as federal judges (many appointed by Trump) strike down his new policies.

But despite much of his administration’s progress on issues that affect the Latino and immigration communities, the administration is seriously considering reopening one of the country’s largest child migrant detention centers.

The Biden administration looks to reopen the Homestead facility for children.

The Biden administration is facing a sharp increase of unaccompanied child migrants arriving at the US-Mexico border and they’re considering reopening one of the nation’s most controversial detention centers.

The Miami Herald reported that the feds might reopen the Homestead site under the name Biscayne Influx Care Facility, an announcement that has caused outrage among advocates working towards ending the detention of children altogether.

“That place has a history of all kinds of abuse and profiting off the lock-up of children,” said Lis-Marie Alvarado, program director of the Miami-based organization American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), which led the call for Homestead’s closure in 2019. A move to reopen the facility is “appalling and a slap to our faces,” she said.

The center has a troubling history of sexual assault allegations.

The facility was in the news in 2019 following shocking allegations of sexual abuse and prison-like conditions, which drew the condemnation of several Democratic candidates for president, including current Vice President Kamala Harris.

Detaining children, particularly in such dire conditions, “is a human rights abuse being committed by the United States government,” she told a small crowd. Harris later described seeing “children lined up like prisoners” as heartbreaking. 

Homestead first opened as a temporary shelter in 2016 under President Barack Obama, closed the following year, and was reactivated in 2018. Between March 2018 and August 2019, it housed more than 14,300 unaccompanied minors ranging from 13 to 17 years old, including dozens who had been torn from their parents under Trump’s policy of separating families. The average length of stay in the facility was 52 days by March 2019, with some minors spending almost four times as long.

The hypocrisy of the administration is truly frustrating.

Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

In June 2019, then-Senator Kamala Harris (and candidate for president) visited the Homestead facility demanding that it be shut down. She, along with several other Democratic lawmakers, joined a series of rallies at the center to denounce Trump’s cruel immigration policies. The facility was subsequently shut down just a month later after mounting public pressure.

But now, a year and half later, the facility might be reopened under the Biden-Harris administration.

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