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Daily Beast: Could ICE Get the Fingerprints of Nannies and Teachers?

"Immigration and Customs vows to at least quadruple the time spent searching for undocumented immigrants at their places of work next year and former officials say that means accessing an FBI database rich with 56 million fingerprints from caregivers and other prospective hires subject to background checks."

If a policy like this were put into effect it would endanger everyday workers, without any sort of criminal record, for deportation. These background checks could also cause a lot of confusion. A non-criminal background check could result in a summons to court with out the person in question knowing they are being summoned.   

NIJC Associate Director of Litigation Mark Fleming spoke to the Daily Beast about these issues and how this practice has increased deportations of immigrants without a criminal background at triple the rate Read the full story. 


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Public Radio International: The Supreme Court is considering whether immigrants detained for more than six months should have a chance at bail

NIJC client Gretta Soto Moreno, a transgender woman and asylum seeker, suffered abuse and trauma at the hands of officers while she was being held in immigration detention. Fortunately, Gretta was released on bond in 2016 due to the federal court ruling Jennings v. Rodriguez, which says that people in immigration detention deserve a chance at being released. Since her release, her life has improved dramatically. Gretta's experience is common in immigration detention centers, where many trans, gay, and female detainees are vulnerable to violence.

In this story, Public Radio International interviews Gretta, ACLU lawyers, and NIJC lawyer Keren Zwick, who represented Gretta, to talk about the importance of allowing detained immigrants to be released on bond. Read the full story

a drawing of Gretta Soto Moreno experiencing police brutality

POLITICO: Trump Sent Judges to the Border. Many Had Nothing to Do.

Politico's investigation of the Department of Justice's detailing of immigration judges to "surge courts" relied on NIJC Transparency Project data obtained via Freedom of Information Act and found that not only did the shifting of judges extend case delays at interior immigration courts, but that many judges arrived at their detail assignments and had nothing to do. Read the article.

NPR: White House DACA demands provoke strong reactions

After President Trump met with Senator Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, many thought a "deal," to protect 800,000 DACAmented in the U.S. was imminent. However, Trump's tune changed quickly after he released his list of hardline requests in exchange for a DACA deal. In those requests the administration insists on hiring more immigration agents, writing tougher laws for asylum seekers, and denying grants to sanctuary cities that limit their cooperation with federal immigration authorities. In this interview, NPR's Robert Siegel interviews people on both sides of the immigration debate. Sigel spoke with NIJC Associate Director of Legal Services Lisa Koop, who gives insight on the dangers of deporting asylum seekers back to a country where they can be killed. Listen to the story



Media coverage of community outrage as ICE agents pose as police

On October 19, 2017 the community in Southeast Chicago gathered to protest ICE agents dressing as plainclothes police officers in order to trick and detain undocumented immigrants. NIJC stood in solidarity with community members in calling ICE out for their despicable actions. NIJC lawyer Kate Ramos spoke at the rally alongside members of Centro de Trabjadores Unidos, Congresswoman Kelly, and State Representative Currie, to inform community members of their rights and let them know they are supported.  

ABC7Community protests after allegations surface of ICE agents posing as police (10/19/2017)

Telemundo NacionalAgentes de ICE se hacen pasar por policías para sus operativos (10/19/2017)

Telemundo localProtestan por presencia de ICE en Chicago (10/19/2017)

Univision localDenuncian que agentes de ICE están utilizando chalecos de la policía para sus operativos (10/19/2017)

WBEZLatinos On Southeast Side Being Racially Profiled By ICE (10/19/2017)

Chicago Tribune: 'It must stop': Officials criticize ICE's 'racial profiling' and alleged hardline tactics (10/19/2017)

Immigration Court Independence

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has an obligation to ensure due process of law in immigration proceedings. Due process rights and impartiality must be paramount in immigration court, where judges adjudicate asylum requests for individuals who fear life-threatening harm in their home countries and discretionary relief requests that determine whether American families will be subject to permanent separation.

Unlike other judicial bodies, the immigration courts lack meaningful independence from the Executive Branch: the Executive Office for Immigration Review, which manages the immigration court system, is a component of the DOJ.

Access to justice in the immigration court system, already crippled by backlogs and unacceptable disparities in decision making, is being further diminished by highly politicized DOJ policies. In particular, the DOJ has moved to establish case quotas as a metric for immigration judges’ success, rather than the fair administration of justice; instituted immigration judge “surge details” to detained border dockets which have worsened the case backlog; and curbed  judges’ discretion to grant hearing continuances to ensure fair adjudication and access to counsel.

NIJC and 13 other organizations detailed our concerns about these attacks on the immigration courts’ independence in November 2017 in testimony to the House Judiciary Committee.



NIJC calls on members of Congress to engage in robust oversight of the DOJ to preserve the foundational constitutional guarantee of due process of law.

Advocates Respond to Immigration Detention RFI with Information about Escalating Due Process and Civil Rights Violations

WASHINGTON, D.C. - As U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) seeks new sites for immigration detention facilities, today 14 legal service providers and immigrant rights advocates alerted the agency that adding any additional jails to the already bloated immigration detention system would severely undermine due process and civil rights for thousands of detained immigrants.

The warning was contained in a joint letter responding to ICE’s October 12 request for information (RFI) to assist in the identification of new detention sites to detain up to 3,000 people each day within 180 miles of Chicago, Detroit, St. Paul, and Salt Lake City. The letter, co-authored by representatives of the pro bono legal aid organizations primarily responsible for providing legal counsel and representation for immigrants in these regions, decries further expansion of the detention system. The organizations also inform ICE that no responders have contacted any of their organizations regarding their capacity to provide pro bono legal services to a new or expanded detention facility. The government’s RFI explicitly asks responders to submit information about access to pro bono legal services. There is no right to appointed counsel in the immigration court system, so immigrants in detention are only represented if they can retain private counsel or find free legal services.

Citing recently released data from the Syracuse University Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, the letter details the limited access to legal counsel already suffered by immigrants detained in these regions:

  • Only 18 percent of people facing removal from the detained docket in Chicago are represented.
  • Only 24 percent of people facing removal from the detained docket in Detroit are represented.
  • Only 10 percent of those facing removal proceedings on the detained docket in Salt Lake City are represented.
  • Only 21 percent of detained immigrants in Minnesota are represented.

“ICE knows what they’re doing here. They are well aware that the vast majority of detained immigrants do not have lawyers, and building new jails will deal a further blow to access to justice in immigration prisons,” said Heidi Altman, director of policy for the National Immigrant Justice Center, a co-author of the letter. “Legal service providers in these four regions are stretched beyond reasonable limits. Further expansion will mean thousands more immigrants will be deprived of legal counsel when they face deportation from the United States, which for many people means permanent separation from their American families and deportation to situations where they face persecution and death.”

The letter details the numerous human rights violations which have been documented in the immigration detention system in recent years, as the federal government’s immigration enforcement regime has become increasingly profit-driven. “Fueled by politics and the insidious consequences of campaign donations and lobbying by the private prison industry, the immigration detention system already devalues the lives, health and safety of those jailed within its walls,” the letter states. “It is well documented that for-profit private prisons companies cut corners that maximize profits and put lives at risk.”

Download the RFI response letter here.

The letter was signed by representatives from the following organizations:

Advocates for Human Rights, Minnesota | Press contact: Michele Garnett McKenzie
American Civil Liberties Union | Press contact: Mia Jacobs
ACLU of Illinois | Press contact: Ed Yohnka
ACLU of Michigan | Press contact: Rana Elmir
ACLU of Minnesota
ACLU of Utah
ACLU of Wyoming
Detainee Rights Clinic, James H. Binger Center for New Americans, University of Minnesota Law School
Detention Watch Network | Press contact: Carly Perez
Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota
Immigrant Legal Services, Salt Lake City
Michigan Immigrant Rights Center | Press contact: Susan Reed
Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid
National Immigrant Justice Center, Chicago | Press contact: Tara Tidwell Cullen

Chicago Immigration Court Update

Chicago Immigration Judge Virginia Perez-Guzman is transferring from Chicago to the Dallas Immigration Court. Her last hearing day at the Chicago Immigration Court is Wednesday, October 25, 2017.  

IJ Eva Saltzman will take over IJ Perez-Guzman's non-detained docket in full on November 1, 2017 and cases scheduled with IJ Perez-Guzman on or after that date will go forward with IJ Saltzman. IJ Saltzman's detained docket will be handled by the IJs currently assigned to the detained dockets.


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