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Tag: immigration

Trump’s Crackdown on Immigration Is Straining Already Backlogged Immigration Cases

File photo of a Border Patrol agent.

File photo of a Border Patrol agent.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

New federal immigration rules under President Trump are placing a heavy burden on Border Patrol agents, judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys who already had been swamped.

The USA Today reports that Trump’s crackdown on illegal immigration, which gives agents more leverage to deport undocumented immigrants, has been strain on “an immigration court system already juggling more than a half-million cases and ill-equipped to take on thousands more.”

“We’re at critical mass,” said Linda Brandmiller, a San Antonio immigration attorney who works with juveniles. “There isn’t an empty courtroom. We don’t have enough judges. You can say you’re going to prosecute more people, but from a practical perspective, how do you make that happen?”

The number of backlogged immigration cases have increased from 236,415 in 2010 to 508,036 this year, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, a data research group at Syracuse University. 

The Border Patrol also is understaffed and having trouble hiring enough agents.

Other Stories of Interest

Homeland Security Secretary Lashes Out at Critics of Trump’s Immigration Policies

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly lashed out at lawmakers and critics of President Trump’s aggressive crackdown on undocumented immigrants, saying they should “shut up” or change the country’s deportation laws, the Houston Chronicle reports. 

“If lawmakers do not like the laws that we enforce, that we are charged to enforce, that we are sworn to enforce – then they should have the courage and skill to change those laws,” Kelly said in a combative speech. “Otherwise they should shut up and support the men and women on the front lines.”

Kelly depicted his department as demoralized as the U.S. faces a dangerous world.

“Make no mistake,” he said, “we are a nation under attack.”

Kelly, a retired four-star Marine General, suggested lawmakers have demoralized his workforce with political debates over immigration policies.

“For too long, the men and women of my department have been political pawns,” he said. “They have been asked to do more with less, and less, and less.”

Arrests of Undocumented Immigrants with No Criminal Records Double

ice-agentsBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Arrests of undocumented immigrants increased 32.6% in the first weeks of Donald Trump taking office.

Included in the arrests were thousands of undocumented immigrants who have no criminal record, the Washington Post reports. 

From January through mid-March, ICE arrested 21,362 illegal immigrants, compared to 16,104 during the same period last year.

Among those arrested, 5,441 had no criminal record, a two-fold increase.

“My sense is that ICE is emboldened in a way that I have never seen,” Dan Satterberg, the top prosecutor in Washington state’s King County, which includes Seattle, said Thursday. “The federal government, in really just a couple of months, has undone decades of work that we have done to build this trust.”

An ICE Spokeswoman said no illegal immigrant is safe from deportation.

ICE “focuses its enforcement resources on individuals who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security,” spokeswoman Jennifer Elzea said in a statement. “However, as [Homeland Security] Secretary [John F.] Kelly has made clear, ICE will no longer exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement.”

AG Sessions Pledges ‘New Era’ of Stiffer Penalties for Some Illegal Immigrants

Attorney General Jeff Sessions

Attorney General Jeff Sessions

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Attorney General Jeff Sessions pledged to crackdown on illegal immigration by ushering in “a new era” of stiffer criminal charges. 

Sessions also said he plans to end the Obama-era “catch and release” practices as the Justice Department is given a more active role in the fight against illegal immigration, the Washington Times reports. 

Sessions wants to file felony charges against repeat offenders and others who have criminal convictions on their records.

“For those that continue to seek improper and illegal entry into this country, be forewarned: This is a new era. This is the Trump era,” Mr. Sessions said during a visit to the U.S.-Mexico border in Nogales, Arizona. “The lawlessness, the abdication of the duty to enforce our laws, and the catch and release policies of the past are over.”

More Than 1,000 Immigrants Held at Detention Centers Reported Being Sexually Assaulted

ice-badgeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

More than 1,000 people held at immigration detention centers reported being sexually assaulted in a little more than two years, according to an advocacy group, which cited Homeland Security data.

Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement obtained the information from a public records request, the Associated Press reports. 

The AP wrote:

  • Homeland Security inspector general’s office disclosed that it received 1,016 complaints from detainees reporting sexual abuse or assault from May 2014 to July 2016. More than 90 percent involved Immigration and Customs Enforcement, an agency within Homeland Security that has more than 30,000 beds at detention facilities nationwide.
  • The inspector general received more than 33,000 allegations of a broader range of abuses from January 2010 to July 2016, including 702 for coerced sexual contact, 714 for physical or sexual abuse and 589 for sexual harassment, according to the group. The group’s analysis showed the inspector general investigated 247, or less than 1 percent. But it was unclear how many others were taken up by agencies in the department, such as Immigration and Customs and Enforcement or Customs and Border Protection.

Gillian Christensen, a Homeland Security spokeswoman, downplayed the assaults, saying the number is relatively low compared to the number of admissions to ICE facilities.

Other Stories of Interest

Trump Administration Halts Weekly Reports on Sanctuary Cities – for Now

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Trump administration has temporarily ceased publishing a controversial weekly report about municipalities that won’t work with federal immigration officials.

The New York Times reports that the publication contained misleading and sensational information that incensed law enforcement officials in so-called sanctuary cities.

Critics have argued that the report is propaganda designed to pressure cities to cooperate with federal officials.

The agency said it’s working to “analyze and refine its reporting methodologies,” according to an ICE spokesman.

Border Patrol Seeks Drones with Facial-Recognition Technology

An example of a consumer-grade drone.

An example of a consumer-grade drone.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol is soliciting proposals for drones that have the ability to recognize and analyze faces.

The small unmanned aerial systems would be easy enough for an agent to launch the drone in less than five minutes, the Verge reports.

Th drones would be outfitted with sophisticated censors with facility-recognition capabilities. 

The consumer-grade drones would weigh under 55 pounds and could be carried in a truck.

Verge wrote:

One technical document included with the solicitation imagined a drone that could “distinguish between natural and artificial features, and between animals, humans, and vehicles at long range.” The drone would also include “facial recognition capabilities that allow it cross-reference any persons identified with relevant law enforcement databases.” The scenario meant as a hypothetical, illustrating the type of capability CBP is looking for rather than indicating a specific requirement. Still, those facial-recognition capabilities would work well with Homeland Security’s IDENT database, which currently contains more than 170 million fingerprints and facial images collected from non-citizens as they enter the United States. The FBI’s facial-recognition checks reach even further, scanning across 411 million photos in state and federal databases.

CBP officials said that kind of in-the-field identification could be immensely valuable to agents in the future, particularly crossed referenced with criminal records. “When a Border Patrol agent is out in the field, they may be very far from backup, they may not have great comms coverage,” said Ari Schuler, co-lead of CBP’s Silicon Valley office, which is managing the project. “If they encounter an armed group of human traffickers, for instance, they need to know whether those traffickers have a criminal record or are known to have assaulted an officer.”

Other Stories of Interest

Border Patrol Credits Trump’s Administration for Sharp Declines in Border Arrests

File photo of a Border Patrol vehicle, via Wikipedia.

File photo of a Border Patrol vehicle, via Wikipedia.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The number of undocumented immigrants caught crossing the border from Mexico has declined dramatically this year.

Following a burst of apprehensions at the end of last year, arrests have sharply dropped. In February, the arrests dropped to the lowest number in years.

The apprehensions continued to plummet in March to 16,600 people, which was a 30% decrease from February and a 64% decline from the same month in 2016.

“Since the Administration’s implementation of Executive Orders to enforce immigration laws, the drop in apprehensions shows a marked change in trends,” agency officials said in a statement.