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Report | Code Red: The Fatal Consequences of Dangerously Substandard Medical Care in Immigration Detention

Code Red(June 2018)- The Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has a history of human rights violations. A new report released by Human Rights Watch, the American Civil Liberties Union, Detention Watch Network, and the National Immigrant Justice Center, further proves ICE’s recklessness is costing people their lives.

Based on the analysis of independent medical experts, the 72-page report, Code Red: The Fatal Consequences of Dangerously Substandard Medical Care in Immigration Detention, examines the 15 “Detainee Death Reviews” ICE released from December 2015 through April 2017. Eight of the 15 public death reviews show that inadequate medical care contributed or led to the person’s death. The physicians conducting the analysis also found evidence of substandard medical practices in all but one of the remaining reviews.

Read the full report here.

Read press release here. 

NIJC Condemns SCOTUS Ruling to Uphold Muslim Ban

The National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) is deeply disappointed in today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling upholding the Trump administration's Muslim ban.

NIJC Litigation Director Chuck Roth offered the following reaction and analysis:

“It is a shameful day to be an American. The majority of the U.S. Supreme Court considered the Trump administration’s xenophobic policies blocking visitors from predominantly Muslim countries, and swallowed the government’s rationalizations hook, line, and sinker. It refused to look behind the official government-speak to what was really going on—a policy of animus toward Muslims and a practice of operationalizing the spurious decisions of the president.

“It is ironic that today’s decision finally overturns Korematsu, that notorious decision which permitted the internment of citizens of Japanese ancestry during World War II. The issues are of course distinct, but the similarities are clear. Korematsu, like the Muslim ban, was premised on animus, shielded behind weak national security rationalizations, and rationalized by the Court in a decision which, we now know, did not stand the test of time. Future generations will not look kindly on today’s shameful abdication regarding the Muslim ban.

“There was one silver lining in today’s decision. The Court did not adopt the government’s attempts to limit judicial review over the ban, allowing full statutory review over the ban’s legality, finding that U.S. citizens have standing to challenge the ban, and reviewing the ban’s constitutionality. NIJC filed an amicus brief with the American Immigration Lawyers Association, represented by Sidley Austin LLP, urging that the ban is reviewable. We are glad that the Court agreed, even if we profoundly disagree with the ultimate result.”

DACA Renewal Clinic 07/17/2018

During this free legal clinic, private attorneys from Chicago's top law firms will join with the National Immigrant Justice Center to complete and file applications for qualified individuals to RENEW their Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Registration must be completed as soon as possible.  For more information about updates to the DACA program, refer to our community advisory

Supreme Court Rules For Immigrant In Removal Case

CHICAGO – The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling today in Pereira v. Sessions rejects Department of Justice efforts to use procedural shortcuts to eliminate protections for people who have lived for decades in the United States.

“Cancellation of removal” is a form of relief available to Mr. Pereira and to hundreds of other immigrants who face deportation after living much of their lives in the United States. It allows immigration judges to decline to order deportation of a noncitizen who has lived in the country for at least 10 years, has no criminal record, has “good moral character,” and shows “exception and extremely unusual hardship” to a U.S. citizen family member.

Pereira considered one technical aspect regarding how the 10 years are calculated. The Department of Justice argued that it was not required to adhere to the statute when it issues charging documents to start removal proceedings, cutting off the individuals’ ability to seek cancellation. Several appeals courts deferred to the agency, but the Supreme Court rejected that approach 8-1.

“This is one more example of the immigration agencies attempting to make a draconian statute even more harsh through misinterpretations of the law,” said Chuck Roth, director of litigation for the National Immigrant Justice Center. “Today’s decision undoes that error, but the immigration statute still fails to make room for DREAMers and other long-term members of our communities who face deportation and permanent separation from their families. The U.S. desperately needs to enact sensible and forgiving immigration reform.”

NIJC submitted an amicus brief in the case explaining that immediate scheduling of hearings is not technologically impossible , and explaining that the immigration agency used to employ such a system. The Supreme Court cited this part of NIJC’s amicus brief in its decision.

Justice Kennedy concurred separately to express his concern with the “reflexive deference” which some federal courts granted to the federal agencies. He suggested that judicial deference to agencies is something that should be reconsidered in an appropriate case, a point also urged by NIJC in its brief.

NIJC was represented by Lindsay Harrison, Zachary Schauf, and Jonathan Langlinais, of Jenner & Block.

Trump’s Executive Order Continues Imprisonment of Asylum Seekers and Families

Statement by National Immigrant Justice Center Executive Director Mary Meg McCarthy

The National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) condemns the Trump administration’s human rights abuses toward parents and children who have fled to the United States to seek asylum.

Under the president's new executive order, the administration intends to continue to prosecute any asylum seeker who enters the United States outside a port of entry, and to indefinitely detain those who request protection at ports of entry. As long as prosecutions continue, parents and families will remain at risk of separation. The administration also intends to attempt to roll back the child welfare protections that have been in place under a decades-old federal court order.

Americans must keep fighting to end inhumane detention once and for all. NIJC calls on Congress to cut funding for the Department of Homeland Security’s immigration detention system and stop spending Americans’ tax dollars to terrorize children and families.

Take Action: Tell Congress to #DefundHate and cut spending on the DHS immigration detention system

Media Coverage of NIJC Lawsuit Against ICE for Unlawful Arrests During ICE Raids in Chicago

On May 29 NIJC filed a class action lawsuit against ICE for arresting immigrants unlawfully during targeted raids in Chicago based on racial profiling. Local media spoke with NIJC's lawyers about the lawsuit and how community members can help families and victims who have been arrested by ICE. 


Telemundo Chicago: Demandan a ICE por redadas en la zona de Chicago (6/11/18)

WGN: Anti-ICE operation protest held as Durbin criticizes new immigration policy (6/11/18)

WTTW: Chicago Tonight: Chicago Groups Challenge Trump Administration on Immigration (6/11/18)

Univision: Presentan argumentos en demanda colectiva contra ICE por arrestos en Illinois (6/11/2018)

Policy Brief | The Real Alternatives to Detention

Immigration detention is growing at an unprecedented rate despite more humane, cost-effective alternatives that ensure due process. ICE jails families and others seeking protection at our southern borders as well as those caught up in the Trump administration’s expanded immigration raids. Immigration detention has been proven to traumatize vulnerable populations, jeopardize the basic health and safety of those detained, and undermine meaningful access to counsel in isolated, remote facilities. Immigration detention is driven by profit and politics, not public safety. It continues to be used despite the availability of effective and cost-efficient alternatives to detention.

This policy brief discusses available alternative forms of custody, and makes the case for why they should be employed as true alternatives to incarceration, not as a way to expand the population of individuals under government supervision and control.

A spectrum of alternatives to detention has long existed as the option the government should use in place of mass detention. Many apprehended immigrants and asylum seekers already have strong community ties. Asylum seekers and those with credible legal claims and family and community in the United States have strong incentives to appear in immigration court and comply with requirements. Consequently, for many, release on recognizance or a minimal bond is appropriate because they pose little flight risk or risk to the community.

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