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ICE Launches Billboards With Images Of Undocumented Migrants In An Unprecedented Attack On The Community

In what many say is an unprecedented move, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced Friday it is launching a billboard campaign in Pennsylvania highlighting immigrants who have been labeled “at-large immigration violators.”

The billboard campaign is taking place in one of the nation’s most hotly contested swing states, just weeks out from the 2020 presidential election. And ICE says they’re want to highlight immigrants who were released by local law enforcement under so-called sanctuary policies who ICE says, “may pose a public safety threat.”

The agency has launched the billboard campaign as a boost to Trump’s “law & order” campaign, despite evidence showing that so-called sanctuary policies often have a positive impact on crime rates.

ICE has plastered immigration billboards across Pennsylvania.

In its continued attacks on the immigrant community in the country, the Trump administration has launched a billboard campaign across Pennsylvania that highlights immigration violators. ICE announced that it had placed several “WANTED” billboards across the state depicting immigrants recently arrested by local authorities in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

Experts are calling this an unprecedented move taken in a swing state a month before the November election.

The immigrants, who ICE said were not authorized to be in the U.S., were released after being charged — but not convicted — with crimes ranging from public intoxication and disorderly conduct, to robbery and aggravated assault. The billboards don’t attach a name to the mugshot but include charges like assault. A phone number for an ICE hotline is also listed.

According to John Sandweg, former acting ICE director, in an interview with CNN, billboards singling out immigration violators raise questions about what purpose they serve. “How are they getting funding for it? How does that advance their mission?” he said. “Running billboards, it’s political messaging.”Hotlines to solicit tips or campaigns to recruit personnel are common, Sandweg noted, but those are more clearly linked to helping to advance the agency’s enforcement mission.

The move is meant to target sanctuary cities and to bolster Trump’s campaign message of ‘law & order.’

The billboard campaign is part of a larger strategy meant to target the policies of so-called “sanctuary cities,” which limit cooperation between local law enforcement and federal immigration authorities. Trump has repeatedly gone after these jurisdictions, arguing that they put public safety at risk, despite several studies that contradict his claims.

“Too often sanctuary policies limiting cooperation with ICE result in significant public safety concerns,” said Tony Pham, the senior official performing the duties of the ICE director. “ICE will continue to enforce immigration laws set forth by Congress through the efforts of the men and women of ICE to remove criminal aliens and making our communities safer.”

Many of the largest cities in the country have sanctuary policies in place. The leaders behind them argue that such policies make communities safer because undocumented immigrants are more likely to report crimes  if they don’t fear deportation.

Several ex-officials have come out against the move, calling it “wildly inappropriate.”

As many experts call the billboard campaign an unprecedented move, several former U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials have criticized the Trump administration for erecting the billboards. They say that the public messaging campaign exacerbates concerns about the politicization of immigration enforcement.

“The placement and the timing — the placement being Pennsylvania and the timing being a month before the election — make it clear that this is a political move, not related to operational matters,” David Lapan, a retired U.S. Marine colonel and former DHS press secretary during the Trump administration, told CBS News. “We’re almost four years into the administration. Why wasn’t this done sooner if that was something they thought was important?”

John Sandweg, who led ICE on an acting basis during the Obama administration, said he doesn’t believe the agency “has ever done anything” like the billboards. “It’s a political advertisement in favor of the president or at a minimum, against politicians that they disagree with. And that’s just wildly inappropriate,” Sandweg told CBS News.

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Undocumented Residents Could Be Excluded From The 2020 Census After All, Thanks To New Supreme Court Case

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Undocumented Residents Could Be Excluded From The 2020 Census After All, Thanks To New Supreme Court Case

Phil Roeder / Getty Images

The drama over the 2020 Census continues.

First, was a Supreme Court decision that found the Trump administration wasn’t being totally honest about it’s reasoning for including the citizenship question on the 2020 Census – so the court effectively removed the question from the census. 

Then, Trump tried to delay the constitutionally mandated census to give his administration more time to come up with a better reason to tell the courts.

None of that worked as planned by the administration, and the Census has continued as normal. However, so many in minority communities – particularly migrant communities – have been fearful of completing this year’s census. Well, a new Supreme Court case could erase all the progress we made to make sure all residents – regardless of immigration status – were fairly counted.

The Supreme Court will hear a case that could allow the Trump Administration to exclude undocumented residents from Census data.

On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments next month over whether President Trump can exclude undocumented immigrants from the census count used to apportion congressional districts to the 50 states.

The court’s announcement means that the court – which could soon have a 6-3 conservative majority – will hear arguments in the case on November 30.

In July, Trump issued a memorandum asking the Census Bureau to subtract undocumented immigrants from the count for the purposes of congressional apportionment — the reallocation of the nation’s 435 House districts every 10 years. Trump’s memo came after the Supreme Court had rejected his last minute efforts to add a citizenship question to the census.

By the time the high court hears this case, federal Judge Amy Coney Barrett could be confirmed as the ninth justice, cementing a conservative majority. Senate Republicans hope to confirm her nomination to the Supreme Court before the election on Nov. 3.

However, the U.S. Constitution explicitly calls for the counting of all residents within the country.

Credit: Tetra Images / Getty Images

The 14th Amendment requires districts to apportion congressional seats based on “counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed.”

Since the first U.S. census in 1790, the numbers of U.S. residents who are counted to determine each state’s share of congressional seats have included both citizens and noncitizens, regardless of immigration status.

“President Trump has repeatedly tried — and failed — to weaponize the census for his attacks on immigrant communities. The Supreme Court rejected his attempt last year and should do so again,” said Dale Ho, a lead plaintiffs’ attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union who successfully argued against the now-blocked citizenship question the administration wanted on the 2020 census forms.

Removing those immigrants from the population counts would shift power to less diverse states. A Pew Research Center study last year found that it could result in House seats that would otherwise be assigned to California, Florida and Texas going instead to Alabama, Minnesota and Ohio — each of which is set to possibly lose a House seat in the next decade due to population shifts.

And drawing new districts within the states based only on the counts of citizens and legal immigrants would likely benefit Republicans, shifting power from cities and immigrant communities to rural parts of the states, which vote for GOP candidates at higher rates

The announcement comes shortly after the court also allowed the Trump Administration to end the Census count early.

Earlier last week, the Supreme Court allowed the Trump administration to stop the census count, blocking lower court orders that directed the count to continue through the end of the month. 

The decision, which the Trump administration favored, came with a candid dissent from Justice Sonia Sotomayor – the court’s only Latina justice.

“Meeting the deadline at the expense of the accuracy of the census is not a cost worth paying,” Sotomayor wrote in her dissent. “Especially when the Government has failed to show why it could not bear the lesser cost of expending more resources to meet the deadline or continuing its prior efforts to seek an extension from Congress. This Court normally does not grant extraordinary relief on such a painfully disproportionate balance of harms.”

But it wasn’t long ago that Trump tried to completely derail this year’s census.

The Trump administration has decided to print the 2020 census forms without a citizenship question, and the printer has been told to start the printing process, Justice Department spokesperson Kelly Laco confirms to NPR.

The move came shortly after the Supreme Court ruled to keep the question off census forms for now and just a day after printing was scheduled to begin for 1.5 billion paper forms, letters, and other mailings.

President Trump had said he wanted to delay the constitutionally mandated headcount to give the Supreme Court a chance to issue a more “decisive” ruling on whether the administration could add the question, “Is this person a citizen of the United States?” A majority of the justices found that the administration’s use of the Voting Rights Act to justify the question “seems to have been contrived.”

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ICE Is Launching A New Round Of Raids To Boost Trump’s ‘Law And Order’ Campaign

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ICE Is Launching A New Round Of Raids To Boost Trump’s ‘Law And Order’ Campaign

Gregory Bull / Getty Images

Despite a growing number of immense challenges across the country, the Trump administration is planning a major offensive against the migrant community. Although he’s in the hospital battling the Coronavirus, Trump’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency is working to instill fear in the undocumented community with a new round of immigration raids.

The new operation is set to launch this week and will specifically target sanctuary cities and counties to help support Trump’s campaign talk of ‘law & order.’

Already, the nation’s immigrant communities – particularly the Latinx community – are reeling from increased risk of Coronavirus infection to higher rates of unemployment. Now, the community is being forced to consider their next steps as ICE agents roll into major cities across the country to step up enforcement actions.

ICE is launching a new round of immigration raids just weeks before the election.

In what is an obvious attempt to cast himself as the ‘law & order’ president, Trump’s ICE agency is planning a large scale immigration campaign beginning this week. The new campaign will target arrests in U.S. cities and jurisdictions that have adopted “sanctuary” policies, according to three U.S. officials, who spoke to the Washington Post.

The operation, known informally as the “sanctuary op,” will likely launch in California before expanding to other cities, including Denver and Philadelphia. Chad Wolf, acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, probably will travel to at least one of the cities where the operation will take place to boost President Trump’s claims that leaders in those cities have failed to protect residents from dangerous criminals, two officials told The Post.

Two officials told The Post anonymously that the operation is more about getting a political message across than a major operation by ICE, stressing that the agency is already working hard to combat violators of immigration policy daily, often without much publicity.

Trump hopes to target sanctuary cities to send the message that Democrats are weak on crime.

The Trump Administration has made no secret of its contempt for cities and other jurisdictions that have enacted so-called sanctuary policies. In fact, ICE has repeatedly threatened cities and counties with such policies with increased enforcement actions, saying they’ll send more agents to make arrests in their jurisdictions if they continue advocating such policies.

Cities that normally operate with sanctuary policies usually refuse to hold immigrants in jail longer than they are required so that ICE officers can take them into custody. Although ICE agents are still able to pick up people suspected of immigration violations, they do so without the help of local law enforcement such as a coordinated handover. It means that ICE agents usually have a much harder time picking up wanted people in cities which do not officially cooperate with the agency.

“Generally speaking, as ICE has noted for years, in jurisdictions where cooperation does not exist and ICE is not allowed to assume custody of aliens from jails, ICE is forced to arrest at-large criminal aliens out in the communities instead of under the safe confines of a jail,’ said Mike Alvarez, an ICE spokesman.

ICE has long floated possible campaigns meant to capture as many migrants as possible.

The idea for a campaign publicizing criminal arrests in sanctuary cities has been floated repeatedly during the Trump administration, two officials said, and was under consideration actively this spring before the Coronavirus pandemic. After the outbreak, ICE deferred some of its enforcement plans, citing health risks, and during that time, the agency’s arrests dropped by about one-third, statistics show.

Just last year, the White House had pushed for a “family op”, with the intent of targeting migrant parents with children. However, the operation failed to gain the number of arrests that Trump had wanted so it was scrapped. The president tipped off that operation, announcing it in a tweet. Some ICE officials privately attributed the operation’s underwhelming results to Trump’s boasting and indiscipline.

Another such plan – meant to punish sanctuary cities – was to bus asylum-seeking migrants from the border and drop them off in San Francisco, a city with a sanctuary policy. It was met with widespread ridicule.

However, operations such as these do have profound impacts on migrant communities. As news of enforcement operations such as these spread, many immigrants go deeper underground, living in fear that they may be arrested and deported while their children – often times U.S. citizens – will be left behind.

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