Allegra Love, Director of Santa Fe Dreamers sent me this summary of what has been happening in Santa Fe, other parts of NM and other parts of the Nation. And a different kind of love and a different kind of wall. The Wall of Love comes to Eldorado.
A Report on ICE in Santa Fe, in New Mexico, and the Nation
We are living in an era of mass incarceration of immigrants, most of whom, sadly, are people of color. They are being detained in remote and corporately owned prisons where there is a devastating lack of due process and access to counsel and deteriorating commitment to human rights. National organizations are putting in law suits (a few of which we are participating in!) and scheming for litigation but it is slow moving. This summary provided by Allegra Love, Director of Santa Fe Dreamers Project will update you on developments in New Mexico and other parts of the Nation.
I’d suggest that everywhere you hear the word ‘detention’ you allow your brain to imagine coming home from home or work and finding that your mother, father, daughter or son had been detained and faces almost certain deportation. Try to fix that experience in your head, but more importantly, in your heart. Our nation is destroying families every day, in our name and with our taxes. It is our duty to remain informed and supportive. We are not including our DONATE button today. Instead we provide links to donate buttons at Santa Fe Dreamers and Somos Un Pueblo Unido. Please be as generous as you can. They are the heroes here.
- Click here, to contribute to Somos Un Pueblo Unido;
- Click here to contribute to the Santa Fe Dreamers Project (your donation will be processed by the Dreamers’ fiscal agent YouthWorks)
ICE IS ACTIVE IN SANTA FE AND ACROSS NEW MEXICO
- Starting last week, Santa Fe Dreamers, and all of our partners across New Mexico started to hear reports of increased ICE activity in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Taos, and Tucamceri. We know that several other communities across our country, notably Northern California, experienced a similar surge. It is very difficult to aggregate the information because phone calls reporting ICE contact come in with somewhat sketchy details but it seems as though there have been several early morning visits to homes in Santa Fe and that ICE has been seeking I-9 information for several local businesses. When ICE audit I-9 files they are checking that employees at a particular business are documented to work legally in the US.
- There is plenty of confusion about how this can be happening in a Sanctuary City. Remember that sanctuary policies do not control federal law enforcement. Sanctuary policies limit the cooperation that local municipalities and law enforcement agencies have with ICE investigations. Sanctuary policies are incredibly important and we are fortunate to have a strong one in our city. But they do not build a wall around the city keeping ICE out. ICE’s presence is legal, however their actions can often violate people’s individual rights.
- Remember that everyone, including those of us who are not citizens or documented, has rights when engaging with ICE. You are not required to speak to an ICE agent or let them into your home or business if they do not have a properly executed warrant. Families and workers who manage to not engage ICE agents can often avoid arrest. This can mean not opening the door of your home or refusing to speak with an agent without a warrant. These are difficult skills and there are people who can train in these skills. We urge you to contact Somos Un Pueblo Unido (424-7832) if you want to set up a training or get materials. Santa Fe Dreamers Project lawyers are also happy to show up at an event you organize. Please contact us for more information.
- If you own a business and are worried about ICE conducting an I-9 audit and how to protect your employees, we highly recommend that you attend a workshop Friday 3/9 at 7 pm at San Isidro Catholic Church. For more information you can call Somos at 424-7832.
- We are not certain if this is part of a nationwide sweep or an isolated set of actions targeting this region or if it is part of an ongoing enforcement strategy. One thing is certain: the Trump administration is dead serious about arresting immigrants in our community.
- Please remember the little kids who are deeply affected by ICE being in our communities. This is very scary for them. Our schools and organizations that hold space for the mental health of children need our support during these times. Politics may motivate ICE but the effect is families in our city being ripped apart, something so terrible that it must trump politics if we are going to keep children safe.
- Here is coverage from the Santa Fe New Mexican and KRQE
So many immigrant children who are citizens, go to school not knowing if their parents will be there when they get home. Ponder that. A fear that never goes away.
DACA DEADLINE PASSES WITH NO CONGRESSIONAL ACTION
- When the Trump Administration cancelled the DACA program in September of 2017, one of the terms of the cancellation was that only people whose DACA renewals expired before March 5, 2018 would be able to renew. At the time, this effectively meant that anyone whose DACA expired after 3/5/2018 would fall out of status. At the time 3/5/2018 signaled the arbitrary end of the program.
- There have been two court cases since September that have re-started DACA renewals, effectively eliminating the 3/5/2018 deadline. This is a positive development for all the people who were set to fall out of DACA status yesterday. The future of DACA now depends on further court decisions and our Congress.
- The issue with eliminating the 3/5/2018 deadline is that it took the pressure off of our Congress to act to create permanent protections for Dreamers and so we head into the spring without the much needed Dream Act and the frustrations of millions of people who have been fighting for a change in our immigration policy for the last six months
- Bottom line: Dreamers, and there are 7,000 of them in NM, are effectively able to renew their permits right now but the future of the program and their future abilities to work and live in this country remain in jeopardy. We need to keep continuous pressure on our Congress to act wisely and pass a clean Dream Act.
- Santa Fe Dreamers Project continues to process DACA applications for free at two legal clinics in Albuquerque and Santa Fe on Monday and Friday afternoons, respectively. Please call 490-2789 for more information.
- Coverage on this issue is easy to find. Here is a taste from the Guardian.
DETENTION ISSUES ACROSS NEW MEXICO AND WEST TEXAS
- There are two immigration detention facilities worth noting in New Mexico, the Cibola County Correctional Center in Milan, NM, and the Otero County Processing Center in Chaparral, NM, directly outside of El Paso. Although there are no rules governing where people are detained, these are the patterns that we see: Although Cibola is relatively near to most of our population in Northern, NM, generally when people are arrested in their communities, they are transferred to Otero County or to El Paso Processing Center or a jail in West Texas called Sierra Blanca and are ordered to appear in El Paso Immigration Court. Cibola County is holding people who were arrested crossing the border or, more often, those who turned themselves in at a Port-Of-Entry seeking political asylum. In all of these locations, it is incredibly difficult to find legal services and low-cost legal aid and in the case of Cibola and Sierra Blanca, there are no private immigration attorneys in a fifty mile radius.
- The Cibola County facility only opened in 2017 and for almost the entire year there were hundreds of asylum seekers detained there and while the facility is disgusting and lawyers are nearly impossible to find, the inmates were being ordered to appear and present their asylum cases in the Denver Immigration Court. Denver in in the 10th Circuit. With the 10th Circuit Court is not the most liberal court in the country, we were seeing a lot of success in the asylum adjudications at Cibola. Now inmates are being processed at Cibola when they first enter and re-assigned to facilities in Texas where they find themselves in the dreaded 5th Circuit and assigned to El Paso Immigration Court, one of the most horrible immigration courts for asylum seekers where they only approve 1% of cases.
- The population that remains permanently at Cibola are transgender women. Cibola has our country’s trans pod, as it is known, which is designed to be a safer place for transgender women to be detained, because general male populations can be physically dangerous and segregated housing is unbearable. The women detained in Cibola appear for their asylum cases in the Denver Immigration Court. Along with New Mexico Immigrant Law Center, we are trying to provide representation to every woman detained there, an incredibly difficult task considering the pace that hearings are being scheduled. We are always seeking volunteer lawyers willing to be mentored through a case. The only real qualifications are being brave and compassionate.
- The Supreme Court made a huge decision last week in Jennings v. Rodriguez which was a little tricky to understand. The first key to understanding it is knowing that when an immigrant is detained, they are not always entitled to a bond hearing in front of a Judge. One example of people who don’t get bond hearings are asylum seekers who turn themselves in at the border. This causes them to face indefinite lengths of detention at the hands of ICE and there is little review of that decision. ICE is allowed to grant them a bond called “parole” but under the Trump Administration it is not happening. For example, in Cibola, where we work with a lot of detained people ineligible for bond, there has been a blanket denial of parole for the last year, meaning the men and women detained there would receive boilerplate notices that their parole was denied because they are “flight risks”. But there was a decision in the 9th Circuit in California that gave immigrants facing prolonged detention an automatic bond hearing in front of a judge after six months of detention to evaluate whether their continued confinement is justifiable. Again, they were not released at six months but rather given an opportunity to be in front of a judge who would fairly evaluate whether they were a threat to the community or a flight risk. The hope with the Supreme Court hearing Jennings, would be that that rule in the 9th Circuit would become the law of the land and our clients in Cibola and all the people detained indefinitely all over the country would start to get fair hearings over their confinement at 6 months. Unfortunately last week, SCOTUS questioned the reasoning and rationale behind the 9th circuit’s rule sent the case back to California into the circuits, effectively forestalling any hope that our clients would get bond hearings any time soon.
- One emerging issue on the national stage is that the Trump Administration is separating parents and their children on the border. We are seeing this in Cibola and hearing reports of it all over the country.
- To learn more about issues of immigration detention, the source is Detention Watch Network
Paul & Roxanne