November 24, 2018

Plainclothes officers from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested a man named Samuel Oliver-Bruno on Friday inside U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services offices in North Carolina where he was keeping an appointment with immigration officials.

Oliver-Bruno is a native of Mexico who came to the United States on a work permit two decades ago. In 2014, he was arrested attempting to enter the U.S. using a Texas birth certificate he'd purchased in an effort to be with his wife while she underwent heart surgery. While his case was appealed, Oliver-Bruno took sanctuary in CityWell United Methodist Church in Durham, North Carolina.

An aspiring Baptist minister, he participated in services and studied at Duke University's Divinity School while living in the church. However, Oliver-Bruno was eager to leave the building to support his wife and his teenage son, who is a U.S. citizen. "I need to work, do the activities I used to do, to afford medicines for my wife and doctor's appointments," he told CNN.

Friday's appointment was supposed to be a routine step in that direction, but ICE agents intervened. Supporters from the Methodist church attempted to prevent the arrest, forming a human wall around the ICE vehicle and singing "Amazing Grace." More than two dozen, including clergy, were arrested by local police.

"Mr. Oliver-Bruno is a convicted criminal," ICE said in a statement, "who has received all appropriate legal process under federal law, has no outstanding appeals, and has no legal basis to remain in the U.S."

"If deported, Samuel will be returned to the state of Veracruz, where his family has recently faced threats and which is a state that is constantly in threat of drug cartels," said immigration advocacy group Alerta Migratoria. "Furthermore, ICE is not allowing us to give Samuel his diabetic pills or insulin medication, which is further putting his life in danger." Bonnie Kristian

November 12, 2018

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is detaining an average of 44,631 people daily, The Daily Beast reported Sunday evening, citing information reported to Congress by the agency and confirmed by a congressional office. This figure is not classified but also has not been previously publicized.

The 44,631 daily average dates to Oct. 20, and is about 2,500 higher than the average daily detention rate ICE reported just over a month earlier, on Sept. 15. This time last year, the rate was 39,322 detentions daily. Congress has only funded daily detentions up to 40,520 people, declining the Trump administration's funding request for up to 51,000 detention spots.

"From a moral perspective, 44,000 is an astonishing number of people to be separated from their families and communities and held within a system that [the Department of Homeland Security's] own inspector general has criticized for abusive conditions," Mary Small of the Detention Watch Network, an immigration advocacy group, told The Daily Beast.

ICE detention rates skyrocketed in the final two years of the George W. Bush administration and reached then-record heights during former President Barack Obama's tenure. From about 20,000 daily detentions in the early 2000s, the number topped 30,000 in 2007 and has never slipped below it since. Bonnie Kristian

October 27, 2018

The caravan of thousands of mostly Honduran migrants heading toward the United States on Friday rejected an offer of temporary residency in southern Mexico, pledging instead to make an early start for another day of travel Saturday.

The "You are at home" plan proposed by Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto would have allowed migrants to apply for education, jobs, housing, medical attention, and other support if they agreed to stay in the Mexican states of Chiapas or Oaxaca.

"Today, Mexico extends you its hand," Pena Nieto said. "This plan is only for those who comply with Mexican laws, and it's a first step towards a permanent solution for those who are granted refugee status in Mexico." Bonnie Kristian

October 27, 2018

"The secretary of defense has approved providing mission-enhancing capabilities to the Department of Homeland Security" at the southern border, the Pentagon said in a statement Friday. "U.S. Northern Command will be in the lead for the duration of the operation and is in support of Custom and Border Protection."

The announcement did not say how many troops would be sent, but a Thursday report suggested it would be around 800 deployed to provide "fencing, wall materials, and other technical support."

Also Thursday, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said on Fox News there is presently no plan for the troops to shoot migrants. "We do not have any intention right now to shoot at people, but they will be apprehended, however," Nielsen said. "But I also take my officers and agents, their own personal safety, extraordinarily seriously. They do have the ability, of course, to defend themselves." Bonnie Kristian

October 26, 2018

President Trump is considering an executive action to block Central American migrants from entering the United States, several administration officials told The New York Times on Thursday.

The Times reports that as soon as Tuesday, Trump, citing national security concerns, could issue a proclamation invoking broad presidential powers to block migrants from coming into the country. The administration would also enact new rules making it so migrants who cross the border between ports of entry can no longer claim asylum. Officials stressed to the Times that the plan could be dropped or revamped.

With the midterm elections less than two weeks away, Trump has been playing to his base, claiming that a caravan of several thousand migrants from Central America, now 1,000 miles away from the southern U.S. border, is a threat. No one knows when the caravan will arrive, or how many of the people will try to enter the U.S. Most are from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, citing poverty and violence as the reasons why they left. Kerri Talbot, director of the Immigrant Hub organization, told Politico Trump is attempting to make the migrant caravan major news in order to energize his base and "distract voters from core issues like health care." Catherine Garcia

October 16, 2018

President Trump tweeted Tuesday night that the United States has sent a message to several Central American countries regarding immigration.

"We have today informed Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador that if they allow their citizens, or others, to journey through their borders and up to the United States, with the intention of entering our country illegally, all payments made to them will STOP (END)!" He didn't STOP (END) there, adding in a follow-up tweet, "Anybody entering the United States illegally will be arrested and detained, prior to being sent back to their country!"

There is a caravan of about 2,000 migrants headed to the United States from Honduras, and earlier in the day, Trump tweeted that if those people do not turn around and go back, "no more money or aid will be given to Honduras, effective immediately!" During the 2016 fiscal year, the U.S. gave Honduras $127.4 million in aid, the United States Agency for International Development says. Many people who migrate from Honduras are fleeing drug and gang violence and poverty, which would all likely grow exponentially if aid is cut off. Catherine Garcia

October 6, 2018

A federal judge on Friday ruled against the Department of Justice in a case against California concerning sanctuary cities.

At issue was Attorney General Jeff Sessions' policy of making public safety grants dependent on cities' compliance with his department's demand for cooperation of local police forces with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) efforts to crack down on illegal immigration. Sessions required grant recipient cities to share information as well as prison and jail access with ICE.

This is one of several similar losses the Trump administration has taken at court over its sanctuary city opposition. Last fall, U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick permanently blocked President Trump's executive order to cut funding to the cities, calling it "unconstitutional on its face." And in April, a federal judge likewise sided with Los Angeles against the DOJ, ruling the agency can't dole out federal funding based on whether jurisdictions follow sanctuary city policies.

Sanctuary cities limit cooperation with federal immigration agents, arguing immigrants will be discouraged from reporting crime if they are worried about deportation. Read more about sanctuary cities and how they work here at The Week. Bonnie Kristian

October 3, 2018

On Wednesday, a federal judge temporarily blocked the Trump administration from ending legal protections for more than 300,000 immigrants.

The immigrants, from El Salvador, Nicaragua, Sudan, and Haiti, have Temporary Protected Status (TPS), given to people who flee their home countries due to natural disasters and conflicts. The Trump administration claimed that the conditions that forced them to leave their home countries are no longer present, but U.S. District Court Judge Edward Chen ruled that the recipients and their children will "indisputably" suffer if they lose their status.

Many of the recipients have lived in the United States for decades, and if they have children who were born in the U.S., they would be forced to choose between leaving them or "tearing them away from the only country and community they have known," Chen wrote. El Salvador has the most TPS beneficiaries, and they were scheduled to lose their designation in September 2019, while 1,000 people from Sudan were supposed to be dropped from the program in less than a month. Catherine Garcia

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