Immigration update

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Spending bills

Congress has not yet approved a funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), so it will likely pass a continuing resolution (CR) to keep the agency funded through December 7. As of this writing, the CR does not include additional funds  for border security or immigration enforcement. However, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has reportedly asked for an additional $1 billion for arrests and deportations.

Meanwhile, reports surfaced that in Fiscal Year 2018, DHS quietly transferred $200 millionfrom other agencies to ICE including $10 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). As for spending levels beyond December 7, a House DHS spending bill contains $5 billion for border security, whereas the Senate is debating a bill with $1.6 billion.

Local stories, events and resources

Learn, Pray, Join: Mennonite Church USA storiesfrom Georgia | Brownsville, Texas | Denver | Denver | San Antonio

Georgia: City of Atlanta stops accepting ICE detainees

Idaho: Hamdi Ulukaya of Chobani talks Greek yogurt and the American dream

Pennsylvania: Hazleton’s evolution through immigration is a lesson for other cities (Hazleton is now a “place of renewal and hope”)

Texas: North Texas company raided by ICE says it treats immigrant workers well, is a ‘pillar’ of the community(company founders are from a Mennonite community in Mexico)

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Additional resources on congressional spending and family separation

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Updates & news

Family separation: The Trump administration is seeking to circumvent a 21-year-old court agreement in order to detain children for months or years (backgrounder on the Flores Agreement). More than 400 children remain separated from their parents; some parents have been incorrectly flagged as being gang members when, in fact, they were fleeing gang violence. According to The Columbus Dispatch, approximately two thirds of parents already deported would rather leave their children in the U.S. because it is “just too dangerous” for them back home. Nearly 1,000 parents previously separated from children may get another chance to apply for asylum due to a court settlement.

Children in detention: The death of an 18-month-old toddler is being blamed on negligent medical care while she was held in a family detention center. In a recent court filing, advocates contend immigrant children are still being held in a facility plagued with abuse allegations and are still being forcibly drugged without parental consent. A record number of immigrant children, 12,800, are currently in government custody. A tent city in Texas holding 1,200 children is expected to triple in size in the coming months.

DACA: A judge in Texas refused to halt the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Opponents of DACA could appeal the decision or wait for other cases to reach the Supreme Court. In the meantime, DACA recipients can continue to renew their status.

Border: One of many Texas landowners impacted by construction of U.S.-Mexico border walls may see his property cut in half. “We’d lose the renters,” his sister said. “We’d lose the cattle without access to the river.”

No mistakes: A recent policy change means immigration officials can reject visa and green card applications without giving applicants and their lawyers a chance to correct errors. Applicants will have to refile, costing hundreds or thousands of dollars, and could be put into deportation proceedings.

Iowa murder: The father of a young woman killed by an immigrant has pleaded with politicians and pundits not to use her death to push an anti-immigrant agenda. “Let’s turn against racism in all its ugly manifestations both subtle and overt. Let’s turn toward each other with all the compassion we gave Mollie. Let’s listen, not shout. Let’s build bridges, not walls. Let’s celebrate our diversity rather than argue over our differences.”

Enforcement/detention: On Sept. 7, the House passed H.R. 6691 which seeks to expand the federal definition of a “crime of violence” in order to circumvent a recent Supreme Court ruling which made it more difficult to deport some immigrants. The bill is overly broad and dangerously expands the definition of violent crime. Deportations of Vietnamese and Cambodian immigrants has increased, many of whom have been in the U.S. for decades. A federal court has ruled that a private prison company can be held liable for forcing detained immigrants to work for as little as $1 a day.

Other news

Upcoming events

November 7-17, 2018: MCC learning tour to Guatemala and Honduras

December 10-14, 2018: Advanced Immigration Law Training

For me, there is still space to be fair, and to provide opportunities for people. But at this point, I can’t yet fathom what will happen next. I don’t want to, but I’m sure it will come. I never thought they would take kids away from their parents. What else could they do? They did that, so they could do anything.

–From a first-person account of an anonymous U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services asylum officer in When I say I’m complicit, this is what I mean

New resources

MCC articles

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Asylum and family separation


Public charge

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Immigration resources

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MCC immigration advocacy resources

Update created September 21, 2018, by Tammy Alexander, Senior Legislative Associate for Domestic Affairs.

Sign up for immigration action alerts and updates from the MCC U.S. Washington Office here.

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