Updates

Impact of COVID-19 on the Immigration System

The past few months have been a very challenging time for almost everyone in our country, but we have seen daily how the coronavirus epidemic is disproportionately impacting the most vulnerable members of our society.  Migrants and those who serve the migrant community have been among the most impacted given the Executive Office for Immigration Review's (EOIR) failure to close all immigration courts, the conditions in immigration detention (which are not conducive to social distancing), and the government's recent actions to close the Southern border to asylum seekers and others.  To keep its members informed during this time, the Commission on Immigration has been compiling summaries of developments in the immigration system related to COVID-19. The latest summaries can be found below.  This page will be updated weekly.

June 28, 2020

Extension and Expansion of Presidential Proclamation

  • On Monday, the President issued a new proclamation extending the terms of his April proclamation until the end of the year, and expanding its reach to include several nonimmigrant visa categories.  The Proclamation also orders agencies to issue certain regulations or take certain actions.  The National Immigration Forum provides more information about who is affected by the Proclamation here.  AILA's summary of the Proclamation is here.
  • A piece in the Washington Post notes how the President's decision not to include temporary agricultural visas in the categories of those restricted by the Proclamation is consistent with our nation's historical treatment of agricultural laborers.

Status of Immigration Courts and USCIS offices

  • On Monday, EOIR announced that hearings in non-detained cases at courts without an announced opening date are postponed through July 10, 2020.  Current information on EOIR's operational status is available here.  Earlier today, EOIR released a one-page public health notice for individuals accessing EOIR facilities.
  • A group of Senators sent a letter to the Director of EOIR seeking information regarding EOIR's decision to resume non-detained hearings, and its communication of that decision to stakeholders.
  • The Washington PostCNN and other news outlets reported on a statement by USCIS' Deputy Director for Policy regarding the agency's plan to furlough more than 13,000 employees beginning August 3 if additional funding is not received from Congress. The statement says USCIS would pay back the $1.2 billion requested from Congress by adding a 10% surcharge to applications.

Detention Issues

  •  There are currently 2,521 individuals who are or were in ICE custody and who have tested positive for COVID-19; 810 individuals were in custody and in isolation or monitoring as of June 25, 2020.  Bluebonnet Detention Facility still has the largest outbreak with 253 cases, and there are 7 other facilities with more than 100 confirmed cases.  ICE had tested 8,858 individuals in its custody for COVID-19 as of June 19, 2020.  In an interview with a local ABC station, an ex-employee at the Bluebonnet facility said she warned others at the facility that COVID-19 would spread rapidly because of a lack of proper safety precautions, and that she left her position out of fear for her health.  
  • According to ICE statistics, there were 23,429 individuals in detention as of June 20, 2020, including 3,841 individuals who had established a claim for persecution or torture.  There were 4,559 book-ins in the first 20 days of June, which suggests that June's book-ins will be lower than the number in May.
  • Freedom for Immigrants continues to update its Detention Map that tracks reported COVID-19 cases at detention facilities around the country, as well as reported quarantines, inadequate sanitary conditions and other information.  
  • The Rapid Defense Network is tracking litigation around the country seeking the release of individuals who remain in ICE custody here.  Class counsel in Fraihat has filed a motion to enforce the preliminary injunction in that case.  They are seeking more aggressive remedies, including release, universal testing, prohibitions on transfer, prohibitions on use of solitary confinement as a means of infection control, intensive medical surveillance and planning for medically vulnerable people.  The expert declarations filed in support of the motion are available on the case page. They may be helpful in other cases, and counsel asks that others acknowledge in their filings that the declarations were filed in Fraihat.
  • Earlier this month DHS OIG released a report with the results of its survey of personnel in ICE detention facilities from April 8-20 regarding their experiences and challenges managing COVID-19 among individuals in custody as well as staff.  Facilities expressed their concerns about the ability to practice social distancing among detained individuals, and to isolate or properly quarantine those infected.
  • BuzzFeed reported on filings made public in the Flores case showing that 4 families at the Karnes County Residential Center have tested positive for COVID-19.  According to the ICE, the families were tested upon their arrival, have not interacted with other families detained at Karnes, and are currently in isolation.  ICE also said that it had offered COVID-19 tests to all families at Karnes, and that the results were pending.
  • The Immigrant Legal Resource Center, Immigrant Defense Project, and ACLU of California published a report showing how jails are worsening the COVID-19 pandemic by continuing to transfer individuals to ICE custody.

Effects of Southern Border Closure on Asylum Seekers

  •  Data released by CIS on the number of credible and reasonable fear case receipts from June 1-15, 2020 continue to confirm the effects of the border closure.  According to CIS, it received 262 credible fear cases from June 1-15, 2020. There were 212 reasonable fear case receipts during the same time period.  The same spreadsheet also shows the number of credible fear decisions and the type of decision (fear established vs. fear not established) for USCIS vs. USCBP since CBP started conducting some interviews, apparently in May of 2019.
  • On Wednesday, a federal district judge in Washington granted the request by the ACLU and other advocacy groups for a temporary restraining order in the first lawsuit challenging the legality of the CDC order.  The order prevents the government from removing the plaintiff, a teenager from Honduras, while the case is pending.  Attached here is the plaintiff's reply brief in support of the TRO.  CBS News reports on the hearing and the judge's ruling.  The Judge said, in part: "Even if the power to remove were read by section 265, the plaintiff has likelihood of success because the provision, in the Court's view, should be harmonized, to the maximum extent possible, with immigration statutes, including those already referenced that grant special protections to minors and also those immigration statutes that deal with communicable diseases and quarantines."
  • Yesterday Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan testified at a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs oversight hearing.  As Roll Call reports Morgan was questioned about the number of unaccompanied children excluded pursuant to the CDC order, and he answered that approximately 2,000 unaccompanied minors have been processed pursuant to the CDC order, and approximately 300 have been processed under CBP's Title 8 authority.  Morgan also stated that CBP screens all unaccompanied minors for trafficking and protection concerns, and is complying with its non-refoulement obligations when applying the CDC order. As Roll Call reports, some have noted that Morgan's testimony regarding screening for trafficking and other protection concerns appeared inconsistent with public understanding of how the expulsion process is being implemented by CBP.  
  • This week Refugees International published a field report focusing on the difficulties faced by Guatemalans returned to their country during COVID-19.

June 20, 2020

While there have been victories to celebrate in our work in the last few months - such as releases won before DHS, immigration judges, and federal courts - Thursday's victory for DACA recipients in the Supreme Court was especially sweet, and helps provide inspiration to continue the fight.  While a permanent solution for the DACA community is needed, for now, at least, the program and its benefits will continue. 

Below is an update on recent developments in the immigration system related to COVID-19.

Status of Immigration Courts and USCIS offices

  •  On Monday, EOIR announced that seven immigration courts nationwide will resume non-detained hearings on June 29, 2020.  Other courts that have not resumed non-detained hearings by that date will resume non-detained hearings on Monday, July 6.  The next day, EOIR and DHS announced that MPP hearings and in-person document service would be postponed through July 17, 2020.  DHS and EOIR currently anticipate resuming MPP hearings on July 20, 2020, as long as safety and public health conditions support resumption.  EOIR and DHS also said that they would provide 15 days notice prior to resumption.  More information regarding the factors EOIR and DHS will use to determine whether to resume MPP hearings and other information on EOIR's operational status is available here
  • Courthouse News Service reports on concerns from practitioners and immigration judges that EOIR is not being transparent about the criteria for re-opening immigration courts or the safety measures that will be used.  The article mentions a letter that AILA and other organizations sent to the Director of EOIR earlier this week regarding EOIR's premature decision to resume the non-detained docket.  The letter recommends that EOIR postpone almost all non-detained hearings for the duration of the national public health emergency; invoke a moratorium on the issuance of in absentia orders once non-detained hearings resume; and engage in open communication with stakeholders and the public regarding its procedures and decisions.  
  • In a commentary, the Migration Policy Institute examines how USCIS' budgetary problems are due to administration policies and management, which have driven significant declines in immigration petitions and fee revenues, even as other parts of the fee-funded agency’s spending increased.  According to MPI, USCIS has more than doubled spending on vetting applications and immigration benefit fraud, but has not offered evidence indicating undetected levels of fraud exist. Amid the resulting slowdown in processing, the agency’s backlog of pending cases has swelled by more than 1 million, and processing times for most types of petitions have increased.
  • The New York Times reported on bipartisan pressure on USCIS to hold virtual naturalization ceremonies or waive the requirement altogether given the number of applicants waiting due to COVID-19 closures.  The Detroit Free Press covered a group of drive-thru citizenship oaths that happened in a USCIS field office parking lot.  Roll Call covered an apparent about-face from USCIS that had paused the processing of some applications for permanent residency for individuals living in the United States during the pandemic.  

Detention Issues

  •  There are currently 2,210 individuals who are or were in ICE custody and who have tested positive for COVID-19; 818 individuals were in custody and in isolation or monitoring as of June 18, 2020.  Bluebonnet Detention Facility now has the largest outbreak, and there are 6 other facilities with more than 100 confirmed cases.  ICE had tested 7,364 individuals in its custody for COVID-19 as of June 12, 2020.  
  • According to ICE statistics, there were 24,041 individuals in detention as of June 13, 2020, including 3,923 individuals who had established a claim for persecution or torture.  There were 3,020 book-ins in the first thirteen days of June, which suggests that June's book-ins will be lower than the number in May.
  • Freedom for Immigrants released an analysis and update on COVID-19 in ICE custody that covers the last three weeks.  FFI also continues to update its Detention Map that tracks reported COVID-19 cases at detention facilities around the country, as well as reported quarantines, inadequate sanitary conditions and other information.  
  • The Rapid Defense Network is tracking litigation around the country seeking the release of individuals who remain in ICE custody here.  
  • The ACLU released a report discussing the sharp rise of the use of solitary confinement in incarceration during the COVID-19 pandemic, including in immigration detention.
  • In a San Diego Union Tribune article ICE confirmed that it told Core Civic, the private company that runs Otay Mesa Detention Center, to block detained individuals' access to the telephone number used by an advocacy group that helped share individuals' stories about conditions at the detention center during the large COVID-19 outbreak at the facility.
  • NBC Latino reports on concerns and criticisms in the advocacy community about high bond amounts being set by DHS during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Effects of Southern Border Closure on Asylum Seekers

  •  Earlier this week, the Acting Secretary of DHS announced that DHS would continue to limit non-essential travel at land ports of entry with Canada and Mexico, extending existing measures until July 21.  These measures are distinct from the CDC order, which applies to all individuals traveling from Canada or Mexico who would otherwise be introduced into a congregate setting in any land or coastal POE or Border Patrol station at or near the border with Canada and Mexico, and remains in effect indefinitely.
  • The Southwest Border Migration statistics have been updated for May by Customs and Border Protection. The number of unaccompanied children has increased from last month to 1,001 in May (but down from 11,861 in May 2019). Many of these children have been expelled under Title 42 without access to protection. CBS News reports that only 39 unaccompanied children were transferred to the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) shelter in May.
  • This week the government filed its opposition to one of the ACLU's lawsuits challenging the CDC order.   The opposition provides little new information about how the order is being enforced, but does reveal that the plaintiff, an unaccompanied teen from Honduras, was given an interview to determine whether he was more likely than not to be tortured if removed, and he did not pass that interview.  The brief defends the legality of the CDC order arguing that the CDC order is authorized by statute, that Congress intended the Public Health Services Act to temporarily take precedence over procedures provided in the immigration laws, and that the CDC's interpretation of the Act is entitled to deference (among other arguments).  The district court will hold oral argument on the TRO on June 24.
  • Relying on documents recently produced in litigation and government data, a fact sheet from Human Rights First shows that CBP can process migrants and asylum seekers encountered at or between ports of entry in hours, calling into question a premise of the CDC's order, that migrants must be held in congregate settings near the border for longer periods of time.
  • The National Immigration Forum summarizes the border closures and other executive actions taken during the pandemic.
  • More than 120 advocacy organizations sent a letter to the Acting Secretary of DHS objecting to measures taken during the pandemic that compromise safety and family unity for migrant children.
  • The Dallas Morning News published a moving article about activists' months-long fight to retrieve the body of a Ugandan migrant woman who died at a hospital in Mexico after being subjected to metering at the border.

June 12, 2020

Status of Immigration Courts and USCIS offices:

  •  Yesterday, EOIR issued an internal memo updating its guidance regarding practices adopted by adjudicatory components during COVID-19.  The memo supersedes an earlier March 18, 2020 memo and addresses guidelines for access to EOIR space, the phase out of e-mail filings as non-detained hearings resume, a review of existing authorities for managing and conducting hearings, and best practices for resolving as many cases as possible without a hearing.  
  • Two lawful permanent residents whose naturalization applications have been approved by USCIS and are under the jurisdiction of the Philadelphia Field Office but who have not been able to complete the final step in the naturalization process have filed a lawsuit in federal court on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated seeking an order that USCIS expedite their naturalization.  BuzzFeed has an article on the lawsuit.  Roll Call reports that USCIS resumed naturalization ceremonies last week, under restrictive conditions.
  • Fox News reports on a USCIS communication sent to its employees warning about the need for furloughs of thousands of workers on July 20 if the agency's current budget shortfall is not addressed.  An editorial in the Washington Post questions the reasons USCIS has given for its budget shortfall, pointing out agency policy decisions and advocating more Congressional oversight.

Detention Issues

  •  There are currently 1,849 individuals who are or were in ICE custody and who have tested positive for COVID-19; 785 individuals were in custody and in isolation or monitoring as of June 11, 2020.  Otay Mesa still has the largest outbreak and there are now 34 confirmed cases at PIDC, and 1 at El Valle Detention Facility.  ICE had only tested 5,096 individuals in its custody for COVID-19 as of June 5, 2020.  Earlier this week, ICE issued a press release saying that it had offered voluntary COVID-19 tests to all individuals in its custody at the Aurora Contract Detention Facility in Colorado and the Northwest ICE Processing Center in Washington state.
  • According to ICE statistics, there were 24,713 individuals in detention as of June 6, 2020, including 4,154 individuals who had established a claim for persecution or torture.  There were 1,422 book-ins in the first six days of June.
  • Freedom for Immigrants continues to update its Detention Map that tracks reported COVID-19 cases at detention facilities around the country, as well as reported quarantines, inadequate sanitary conditions and other information.  
  • The Rapid Defense Network is tracking litigation around the country seeking the release of individuals who remain in ICE custody here.  
  • As Law360 reports, last weekend a federal judge in South Florida issued a preliminary injunction ordering ICE to improve conditions at three detention centers and limit transfers to and from those facilities to address the COVID-19 pandemic.  The court did not order any detainee releases and said such requests must be pursued on an individual basis.  The preliminary injunction replaces an earlier temporary restraining order.  
  • Law360 also reported on an order from a federal judge in California granting a preliminary injunction in a case filed by individuals detained at Mesa Verde Detention Facility and Yuba County Jail.  The court ordered ICE to maintain the safety parameters put in place in an earlier temporary restraining order, including dropping the number of detainees in custody.  While the court did not grant all of the relief sought by plaintiffs, it was critical of ICE's resistance to temporary releases.
  • NBC News reported on disturbing allegations by individuals detained at La Palma Correctional Center in Arizona who said that guards forced them to clean the detention center without adequate safeguards.  Individuals also described other troubling substandard conditions.  Freedom for Immigrants and the Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice sent a complaint to the Los Angeles ICE Field Office, the warden of Adelanto Detention Center, and DHS CRCL raising concerns about complaints that individuals at Adelanto were being exposed to hazardous chemicals by staff in the facility.  The chemicals are allegedly being used to clean and disinfect the facility but numerous individuals report harmful side effects.

Effects of Southern Border Closure on Asylum Seekers

  •  According to CBP statistics, the agency expelled more than 20,000 migrants from the Southern border in May.  During the same month, CBP only processed approximately 2,500 migrants pursuant to its immigration authority under Title 8.  CBP encountered 1,000 UAC during the month of May at or between ports of entry.  It is likely that a high majority of them were or will be expelled to their home countries.  In a media release announcing the May numbers, CBP said that, in enforcing the CDC order, it had processed and returned, "in under two hours, 96 percent of those subject to the Order." 
  • Earlier this week, the ACLU and other advocacy groups filed the first two lawsuits challenging the CDC order.  The two lawsuits were filed in federal district court in Washington, DC.  One is on behalf of an unaccompanied child from Honduras who is still in the US.  The court will hold a hearing on June 24, 2020 on Plaintiff's motion for a temporary restraining order, and the Court has ordered that the child not be removed from the United States before that time.  The second is on behalf of an unaccompanied child from El Salvador who was already expelled to her home country.  The judge assigned to that case has not taken any action as the complaint does not seek a preliminary injunction.  An article from ProPublica focuses on the case of the young man from Honduras, and includes a statement from CBP that it had expelled 2,175 "single minors" under the CDC order as of June 2.  CBS News also covered the case filing.  The lawsuits argue that the statutory authorization for the CDC order does not authorize deportation, and that the order violates the TVPRA, the asylum statute, the withholding statute, and the statute implementing the United States' obligations under the Convention Against Torture. 
  • The El Paso Times published an article on the expulsion of unaccompanied minor children under the CDC order, which includes a quote from Commission member Mark Greenberg.
  • The Washington Post reports that deportation flights to Guatemala resumed earlier this week for the first time in nearly a month, though Guatemala had received some "humanitarian" flights during this time period.  All individuals on the flight came with medical certificates saying they were free from the virus.

June 5, 2020

This week the country's attention rightly has been focused on the murder of George Floyd and the protests around the nation.  The Commission stands in solidarity with those calling out our country's failure to adequately address systemic violence, racism, and injustice.  We appreciate the work all of you do to try to make this world a more just and fair place for all. 

Though the pandemic has not captured as much of the country's attention this week, it continues to impact the immigration system in many ways.  Below is an update on recent developments in the immigration system related to COVID-19.

Status of Immigration Courts and USCIS offices

  •  Many immigration courts were closed at various points this week due to demonstrations near courthouses.  Current information from EOIR regarding court closures, filing by email at individual courts, and individual standing orders can be found here.
  • Yesterday certain USCIS field offices and asylum offices resumed non-emergency in-person services to the public.  More information can be found here.  AILA sent a letter to USCIS discussing recommended measures as the agency begins to re-open. 
  • As reports continue of potential furloughs at USCIS later this summer, AILA sent a letter to Congressional appropriators regarding oversight that should be conducted before any additional funding is provided.  
  • Yesterday, AILA sent a letter to ICE officials encouraging them to continue suspending in-person check-ins for alternatives-to-detention participants and accepting I-246 stay of removal applications by mail for at least the next 90-120 days.  
  • TRAC Immigration reports on how the postponement of many immigration hearings during COVID-19 is impacting non-citizens at different stages of the process.

Detention Issues

  •  There are currently 1,623 individuals who are or were in ICE custody and who have tested positive for COVID-19.  ICE has started to provide more information about COVID cases among the detained population including the number of confirmed cases currently under isolation or monitoring at each facility with confirmed cases.  Otay Mesa still has the largest outbreak.  ICE has tested 3,146 detained individuals.  As the Houston Chronicle reported, one in five individuals in ICE detention at the Houston Contract Detention Facility has tested positive for COVID-19. According to ICE statistics, there were 25,421 individuals in detention as of May 30, 2020, including 4,335 individuals who had established a claim for persecution or torture.  There have been 7,134 book-ins in May as of May 30, nearly 1,400 fewer than in April.
  • The Vera Institute of Justice provided a preliminary information regarding a forthcoming study suggesting that COVID-19 is much more prevalent in ICE detention than has been reported.
  • Freedom for Immigrants continues to update its Detention Map that tracks reported COVID-19 cases at detention facilities around the country, as well as reported quarantines, inadequate sanitary conditions and other information. 
  • The Rapid Defense Network is tracking litigation around the country seeking the release of individuals who remain in ICE custody here
  • A group of Senators wrote a letter to the Acting Secretary of DHS urging ICE to halt all transfers between detention facilities, and from criminal to immigration detention, and to increase testing of individuals in ICE detention. 
  • Law 360 covered a hearing in federal court in Southern Florida earlier this week where the judge heard virtual testimony from three individuals detained at three different facilities.  The witnesses disputed the government's assertions about conditions at the detention centers and the government's compliance with the court's prior order.
  • Law 360 also covered a hearing in federal court in Massachusetts where a federal judge is being asked to reconsider his preliminary injunction ordering that all individuals in ICE detention at the Bristol County Detention Center be tested for COVID-19.  The Judge grappled with how many individuals can be detained while allowing for appropriate social distancing.
  • The LA Times reported on how federal judges have responded differently to petitions around the country seeking the release of individuals from ICE detention.
  • Earlier this week the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on "Examining Best Practices for Incarceration and Detention During COVID-19".  A video of the hearing, and the witnesses' written statements, can be accessed at the link.  ABC News and Yahoo also covered the hearing. Organizations such as Amnesty International and Witness at the Border provided copies of their statements for the record.  In advance of the hearing, Human Rights First prepared a timeline showing warnings received by the Administration about the potential for large outbreaks in ICE detention.
  • The New York Times magazine contains a feature article about the experiences of individuals detained at the Irwin County Detention Center in Georgia during the pandemic.

Effects of Southern Border Closure on Asylum Seekers

  •  Data released by USCIS on the number of credible and reasonable fear case receipts from May 16-31, 2020 continue to confirm the effects of the border closure.  According to CIS, it received 206 credible fear cases from May 16-31, 2020. There were 202 reasonable fear case receipts during the same time period.  
  • CBS News reports on the continuation of border closure measures as parts of the country continue to re-open.  The article includes an interview with a Brazilian asylum seeker who was subjected to the CDC order and did not pass an initial CAT screening interview.  His lawyer was not allowed to participate in the interview.  The article also reported on unpublished USCIS statistics showing that, between March 20 and May 27, CBP officials only allowed 85 migrants processed under the CDC directive to tell asylum officers why they fled their home countries, and just four of them were allowed to stay in the country to request CAT relief.
  • An article in the Nation considers whether COVID-19 means the end of asylum law in the United States.

May 29, 2020

Status of Immigration Courts and USCIS offices:

  •  On Friday, EOIR announced that hearings in non-detained cases at immigration courts other than the Honolulu Immigration Court will be postponed through Friday, June 26.  The Honolulu Immigration Court will resume hearings in non-detained cases on Monday, June 15. Current information from EOIR regarding court closures, filing by email at individual courts, and individual standing orders can be found here.
  • DHS sent a letter to Human Rights First clarifying when MPP participants should present at a port-of-entry to receive tear sheets and notices of hearing for rescheduled hearing dates.  The letter also clarified that notices of hearing and tear sheets are not required for entry to the United States. "Although these documents speed the entry process for the individual, CBP will process him/her into the United States to attend his/her removal hearing so long as CBP is able to confirm the individual’s identity and validate that s/he is on the docket for a given day—as has always been the case. Of course, DHS continues to encourage individuals in removal hearings to maintain the most current hearing-related documents . . . ."  
  • USCIS announced more details about its plan to begin reopening asylum offices and field offices on June 4.  That information can be found here.
  • CNN was one of many outlets that wrote articles regarding USCIS' request for an additional $1.2 billion in funding from Congress, and its threat to furlough some staff if additional funding is not received.  USCIS claims its budget shortfall is due to a decrease in revenue during COVID-19, but others blame Administration policy decisions.
  • The American Immigration Council published a comprehensive report on the impact of COVID-19 on non-citizens and all aspects of the immigration system.

Access to Legal Information and Services

  • The Vera Institute of Justice created a website, Immigrant Justice and the COVID-19 Pandemic, which includes a compilation of resources and information for the public, advocates, attorneys, government officials, and other stakeholders.

Detention Issues

  •  There are currently 1392 individuals who are or were in ICE custody and who have tested positive for COVID-19, including 158 individuals at Otay Mesa,132 individuals at Bluebonnet Detention facility in Anson, Texas, 116 individuals at Winn Correctional Center in Louisiana, and 5 other facilities with more than 50 cases. According to ICE, it has tested only 2670 detained individuals for COVID-19.  A 34-year old gentleman from Guatemala became the second individual to die after contracting COVID-19 while in ICE custody.  The gentleman had been detained at Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia.
  • According to ICE statistics, there were 25,911 individuals in detention as of May 23, 2020, including 4,449 individuals who had established a claim for persecution or torture.  There have been 5,580 book-ins in May as of May 23, which suggests that book-ins this month will be lower than April by approximately 14%.
  • Freedom for Immigrants published its fourth biweekly update on COVID-19 in ICE detention.  FFI also continues to update its Detention Map that tracks reported COVID-19 cases at detention facilities around the country, as well as reported quarantines, inadequate sanitary conditions and other information. 
  • The Rapid Defense Network is tracking litigation around the country seeking the release of individuals who remain in ICE custody here.  Last Friday, Judge Gee issued a new order in the Flores case (the order is attached).  Judge Gee found that ORR had not complied with her prior order to provisionally release any minors whose vetted sponsors are unable to obtain fingerprints due to pandemic-related closures.  Judge Gee also concluded that ICE had failed to provide sufficient individualized explanations for the failure to release minors from family residential centers.  Finally, the Court found that, although "ICE did not seek or obtain formal waivers from detained parents of their children’s Flores rights during ICE officers’ conversations with detained parents on or about May 15, 2020, those conversations caused confusion and unnecessary emotional upheaval and did not appear to serve the agency’s legitimate purpose of making continuous individualized inquiries regarding efforts to release minors."  Judge Gee ordered ORR and ICE to file reports by June 8, and required ICE's report to provide a specific explanation for the continued detention of each child detained beyond 20 days.  Finally, Judge Gee ordered the parties to meet and confer "regarding the adoption and implementation of proper written advisals and other protocols to inform detained guardians about minors’ rights under the FSA and obtain information regarding available sponsor."  The Washington Post wrote an article covering the hearing and Judge Gee's order.
  • On the COVID-19 portion of its website, ICE provided an update on providing access to free calls in detention: "ICE began providing 520 minutes of free domestic or international phone or video calls per month to detainees on April 22 at all facilities served by Talton Communications (serving approximately 57% of the ICE population), and has been negotiating with all other facilities to provide 500 minutes or more."
  • Today, UN Human Rights experts issued a statement calling on the U.S. government to release individuals from immigration detention so as to reduce health risks to detained individuals and staff, and noted that particular care and attention should be given to vulnerable groups.
  • This coming Tuesday, June 2, at 10:00 am the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on "Examining Best Practices for Incarceration and Detention During COVID-19".  Though there are no witnesses currently listed, we understand there will be government witnesses, and that the Democratic witness will be Dr. Scott Allen, an expert consultant for DHS' Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties who previously served as an agency whistleblower in 2018 during the family separation crisis.
  • Seventeen Senate Democrats sent a letter to the Acting Secretary of DHS urging DHS to halt the transfer of individuals in ICE detention between facilities, including from criminal custody to immigration custody, so as to avoid aggravating the spread of COVID-19.  The letter also urges DHS to test more detained individuals.
  • Physicians for Human Rights, Women’s Refugee Commission, and Freedom for Immigrants have prepared a new resource, “Recommendations for Safe Release Procedures from Immigration Detention During the COVID-19 Pandemic.” The document provides a guide for steps to take to prepare for and support the release of individuals or families who were in ICE detention, including measures related to transportation and housing. 
  • This week the LA Times published an article discussing how the recent trend of removals of children amounts to a new form of family separation.
  • The Gothamist reports on a Mexican gentleman who was a named plaintiff in a lawsuit seeking the release of individuals in ICE custody at the Elizabeth Detention Center in New Jersey.  He was deported to Mexico on May 19, the same day as a federal judge ordered that he not be removed.  The gentleman has not been heard from since.
  • Oxfam has prepared an online sign-on letter to the Acting Secretary of DHS encouraging the release of individuals from ICE detention.  Anyone can sign their name.
  • The National Immigration Forum hosted a press call in which faith and law enforcement leaders urged the Administration to immediately end its reported “binary choice” policy (forcing parents to choose between separation from their children and indefinite detention) and release non-violent immigrant detainees amid the public health crisis.

Effects of Southern Border Closure on Asylum Seekers

  •  More than 260 organizations sent a letter to the Acting Secretary of DHS and the Director of the CDC opposing the indefinite suspension of protections for asylum seekers and unaccompanied children reflected in the latest CDC order.
  • The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights issued a statement expressing concern about the "paralysis" of the asylum system in the United States and the conditions facing migrants waiting in Mexico.  The statement also reminded states of their obligations under international law with regard to access to asylum and human rights protection for individuals in their jurisdiction.
  • The LA Times reported on Cuban asylum seekers with medical training who are tending to fellow migrants in the Matamoros tent camp while waiting for their immigration hearings.  

May 22, 2020

Status of Immigration Courts and USCIS offices 

  • Current information from EOIR regarding court closures, filing by email at individual courts, and individual standing orders can be found here.
  • An article from Roll Call discusses the perilous situation for migrants in MPP proceedings, who, due to the postponement of all MPP hearings during the pandemic, must wait longer in Mexico.  The article includes a statement by the Acting CBP Commissioner that the Administration is reassessing the structure of MPP given safety concerns surrounding the pandemic, but did not provide any further details. 

Detention Issues

  •  There are currently 1201 individuals who are or were in ICE custody and who have tested positive for COVID-19, including 155 individuals at Otay Mesa, 111 individuals at Bluebonnet Detention facility in Anson, Texas, and 6 other facilities with more than 50 cases.  According to ICE, it has tested only 2,394 detained individuals for COVID-19.  A 74 year old gentleman with severe health problems committed suicide at the Mesa Verde Detention Facility in Bakersfield, California earlier this week.  The ACLU provided more information about this tragic death.
  • According to ICE statistics, there were 26,660 individuals in detention as of May 16, 2020, including 4,616 individuals who had established a claim for persecution or torture.  There have been 3,899 book-ins in May so far, which suggests that book-ins this month will be slightly lower than April.
  • Freedom for Immigrants continues to update its Detention Map that tracks reported COVID-19 cases at detention facilities around the country, as well as reported quarantines, inadequate sanitary conditions and other information. 
  • In a letter to members of Congress, the DHS Inspector General said that his office will be conducting a review to determine whether ICE effectively managed the crisis at its detention facilities and adequately safeguarded the health and safety of both detainees in their custody and their staff.  The Inspector General also said that it was conducting a remote inspection of U.S. Customs and Border Protection and its ability to manage the COVID19 pandemic at their facilities with respect to staff and the detainees in their custody.
  • The Rapid Defense Network is tracking litigation around the country seeking the release of individuals who remain in ICE custody here.    
  • Late last week, reports surfaced that at ICE's three family residential centers, officers had given detained parents the choice of having their children released to sponsors, or staying with them in detention indefinitely.  Amnesty International published an accounting of what occurred, based on interviews with legal service providers.  These accounts seemed to be confirmed in a May 15, 2020 filing by ICE in the Flores case (attached here) where ICE listed "parent does not wish to separate" as the first reason for denying parole for almost all children remaining in FRCs.  But ICE released a press statement yesterday generally denying these reports and saying that it used a form previously disclosed to the court to interview parents as part of individual parole decisions to comply with the May 15 filing deadline.  Judge Gee held another hearing in the case today.  Members of Congress sent a letter to the Acting Secretary of DHS and the Acting Director of ICE expressing concern about the reports and asking a number of clarifying questions.
  • Members of Congress wrote a letter to the Acting Secretary of DHS and the Acting Secretary of ICE urging them to ensure that individuals in all facilities be given access to the 520 free minutes of phone access per month that had been promised by ICE.
  • A Cuban gentleman detained at the Joe Corley facility in Houston published a moving editorial in the Houston Chronicle about the dangers he and his fellow detainees face because of the pandemic.
  • On Monday, Pro Publica published an article about removals of children during the pandemic that references two ProBAR cases and includes a quote from ProBAR's Legal Director, Carly Salazar.  The LA Times also published another article about the government deporting children with removal orders from MPP proceedings.
  • This article from AP News contains comments from the Guatemalan President regarding his frustration that the U.S. government continues to remove people to Guatemala who end up testing positive for COVID-19, even after the U.S. had promised to start testing all individuals before allowing them to board removal flights.  The Congressional Hispanic Caucus sent a letter urging the Acting Secretary of DHS and the Secretary of State to halt deportations and expulsions during the pandemic.
  • News outlets continue to report on how transfers of individuals is contributing to outbreaks at detention centers, including an article from the Miami Herald and a video piece from Vice News Tonight.
  • In this article from NBC News a guard from an ICE detention facility describes his fear of contracting COVID-19 due to inadequate safety measures at the facility.

Effects of Southern Border Closure on Asylum Seekers: 

  •  On Tuesday, the Director of the CDC issued an order extending the border closure indefinitely.  The Amended Order and Extension expands who is covered to include all persons traveling from Canada or Mexico who would otherwise be introduced into a congregate setting in any land or coastal POE or Border Patrol station at or near the border with Canada and Mexico, with the same exceptions as the earlier order.  It went into effect on May 21, 2020 and will remain in effect until the CDC Director determines "that the danger of further introduction of COVID-19 into the United States has ceased to be a serious danger to the public health, and the continuation of the Order is no longer necessary to protect the public health." The amended order is to be reassessed every 30 days, but says that the public health risks that are the basis for the amended order "are unlikely to abate in the coming months."  DHS also published a notice that continues to temporarily limit the travel of individuals from Mexico into the United States at land ports of entry along the United States-Mexico border to "essential travel."  This notice is in effect from May 21-June 22, 2020.  A similar notice was published regarding the Northern border.
  • The day before the amended order was announced, a group of public health experts sent a letter to the Secretary of HHS and the CDC Director urging them to withdraw the border closure order because it does not protect public health.  The same groups also published a list of recommendations for safely managing asylum seekers and unaccompanied children at the border.
  • Data released by CIS on the number of credible and reasonable fear case receipts from May 1-15, 2020 continue to confirm the effects of the border closure.  According to CIS, it received 248 credible fear cases from May 1-15, 2020. There were 227 reasonable fear case receipts during the same time period.  The same spreadsheet also shows the number of credible fear decisions and the type of decision (fear established vs. fear not established) for USCIS vs. USCBP since CBP started conducting some interviews, apparently in May of 2019.
  • The Congressional Research Service published an updated version of a Legal Sidebar examining the laws generally governing the admission and exclusion of non-citizens at the border, which includes a discussion of the border closure.
  • Yesterday, UNICEF issued a statement calling out the United States' expulsion of children, and called on all governments to end pushbacks and deportations of unaccompanied or separated children, as well as children with their families without prior adequate protection and health screenings. The New York Times' Caitlin Dickerson published a moving article about the expulsion of unaccompanied children during the pandemic.
  • This interesting post from the Bipartisan Policy Center examines data to demonstrate how DHS has increasingly relied on the CDC order to turn away migrants, but questions whether it is viable long-term, since it relies on the cooperation of other governments, such as Mexico and Guatemala.
  • On Tuesday, CBP announced  that the San Diego sector will begin transporting Mexican nationals with repatriations back to Mexico City via airplane. All individuals will be medically screened to ensure they are fit for travel and surgical masks will be provided prior to boarding and worn throughout the flight.  The government of Mexico selected Mexico City as the destination, and one of the goals is to reduce the strain on Mexico’s resources along the border.  CBP said it has observed an increase in Mexican nationals making repeated attempts to enter the U.S.
  • A number of advocacy organizations issued an explainer discussing why deportations during the pandemic are dangerous and expelling migrants from the U.S. border is unlawful.
  • Border Report discusses how the extension of the border closure is hurting asylum seekers the most.  The article also covers challenges for migrants waiting in the Matamoros tent camp, and the work of Global Response Management to prepare to treat any migrants at the camp who may become infected with COVID-19.  There have been no confirmed cases at the camp.

May 15, 2020

Status of Immigration Courts and USCIS offices

  • Today, EOIR announced that all hearings in non-detained cases are postponed through, and including, Friday June 12, 2020. On Sunday, EOIR announced that all MPP hearings will remain postponed through Friday, June 19.  It also announced that, beginning that day and until June 8, MPP migrants would not need to travel to a U.S. port of entry to retrieve new court dates. In the announcement, EOIR tells individuals with a hearing date prior to June 22nd to present themselves at the port of entry identified on their tear sheet one month later than the date indicated on their most recently noticed date. For example, if the hearing date is May 10, individuals should present themselves on June 10.  Law 360 published an article about the announcement with interviews from advocates recounting that migrants continued to present at ports of entry this week to pick up tear sheets, and discussing why the need to re-schedule hearings int his way reveals one of the inherent flaws and injustices of MPP.  Current information from EOIR regarding court closures, filing by email at individual courts, and individual standing orders can be found here.
  • An immigration attorney discusses her personal battle with COVID-19 while trying to defend and protect her detained clients in this moving opinion piece for Newsweek.

Detention Issues

  • There are currently 965 individuals who are or were in ICE custody and who have tested positive for COVID-19. According to ICE's website, it has tested only 1804 detained individuals for COVID-19.  This means that more than half of the individuals who ICE has tested have tested positive for the virus.  The data also shows confirmed cases at many more detention centers than in previous weeks.
  • According to ICE statistics, there were 27,908 individuals in detention as of May 9, 2020, including 4,835 individuals who had established a claim for persecution or torture.  There have been 2,278 book-ins in May so far.
  • Freedom for Immigrants' third update on COVID-19 in ICE detention is now available. It includes information from April 30 to May 14 on the continuation of transfers between facilities with known cases of COVID-19, medical neglect, and retaliation for internal organizing.  The organization also continues to update its Detention Map that tracks reported COVID-19 cases at detention facilities around the country, as well as reported quarantines, inadequate sanitary conditions and other information. 
  • The Rapid Defense Network is tracking litigation around the country seeking the release of individuals who remain in ICE custody here.  Earlier this week, a federal judge in Massachusetts issued an opinion explaining the reasons for ordering ICE to test all individuals in its custody at the Bristol County House of Corrections, as well as all staff who come into contact with them, and not admit any new individuals into ICE custody there.  The Court found that withholding the injunction would cause irreparable harm, and that ICE's conduct likely showed a deliberate indifference to a substantial risk of serious harm to detainees' health.  Wendy quoted from this decision at the beginning of this afternoon's meeting.   
  • This week, the House Judiciary Committee Democrats hosted a virtual roundtable on ICE's response to COVID-19.  The House Members heard from a gentleman recently released from ICE detention, a Colorado nurse whose husband is currently detained by ICE, and Heidi Altman from NIJC.
  • Mother Jones reports on the case of a gentleman from Honduras who died from COVID-19 soon after being released from ICE custody at a detention center in Ohio that now has 47 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among those in immigration custody.
  • The LA Times reports on a trend of ORR refusing to release UAC, and instead deporting them.   The story also reports that there are only 1,800 children in ORR care.  BuzzFeed also highlighted the story of two young girls, 8 and 10, who were in MPP proceedings and who DHS is trying to quickly deport.
  • This article from an NBC affiliate discusses an open letter to ICE signed by more than 4,000 doctors urging it to release people from detention.  The article includes video taken by a LPR detained in California discussing the conditions he and others faced.

Effects of Southern Border Closure on Asylum Seekers

  • Earlier this week, Democratic members of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and Senator Menendez published a letter to the Secretary of State, the Secretary of HHS, and the Acting Secretary of DHS criticizing what they described as a "deeply flawed" legal justification for the border closure that they had received in late April.  The legal justification provided by the State Department states that the CDC order complies with domestic law and that the federal government is not obligated to conform its conduct to International treaties that are not self-executing or not otherwise implemented into domestic law by an Act of Congress.  Professor Oona Hathaway criticizes the Administration's rationale in a piece for Just Security.
  • The Washington PostAP News, and the New York Times, about the real-life impacts of the border closure, the number of migrants who have been expelled, and the potential that the Administration will seek to extend the CDC order indefinitely.
  • Human Rights First also published a new report that updates its prior reporting on MPP and metering, and also contains accounts from migrants expelled under the new border closure policy.  It also attacks the legal and public health rationales for the order.
  • Lucas Guttentag and Dr. Stefano M. Bertozzi published an opinion piece in the New York Times explaining why the border closure does not protect public health and represents an abdication of the country's legal and humanitarian obligations.

May 8, 2020

First COVID-related death in ICE detention

Earlier this week, Carlos Escobar Mejia passed away in a California hospital after contracting COVID-19 at the Otay Mesa Detention Center. 

Carlos Escobar Mejia—whose sister Rosa called him Netio—was not just kind, but "one-of-a-kind." Over thirty years ago, Netio came to the United States from El Salvador, and while his sisters became citizens, he never got his green card. He entered the Otay Mesa Detention Center in January, after Border Patrol stopped a car in which he was a passenger; Netio was wheelchair-bound, after diabetes led to the amputation of a foot, and he could not drive. Three weeks ago—after the facility had become a COVID-19 hotspot—Netio was denied bond because of an arrest from the 1990s that was dismissed in court. Netio lived for his mother while she lived, and for his sisters once his mother had passed. His 58th birthday was later this month, and he wanted to get out to celebrate with his sisters. On Tuesday, Netio joined his mother instead, as Carlos Escobar Mejia was the first person in ICE custody lost to COVID-19

May he rest in peace, and may we feel his presence as we keep fighting for the liberation of those still inside. 

Status of Immigration Courts and USCIS offices

  •  EOIR announced on Monday that non-detained hearings through May 29, 2020 will be rescheduled.   Current information from EOIR regarding court closures, filing by email at individual courts, and individual standing orders can be found here
  • The DOJ Office of Inspector General is conducting a limited scope review of EOIR's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The review "will assess EOIR’s communication to staff, parties to proceedings, and the public about immigration court operations; its use of personal protective equipment; its use of worksite flexibilities; and its ability to mitigate health risks while maintaining operations during the COVID-19 pandemic."  

Detention Issues

  •  There are currently 753 individuals who are or were in ICE custody and who have tested positive for COVID-19, including 133 individuals at the Otay Mesa Detention Center.  On Tuesday, the LA Times published an article about conditions at Otay Mesa during the pandemic. Senator Feinstein has called for a hearing on the death of Mr. Escobar Mejia and conditions in ICE detention during the pandemic.  According to ICE's website, it has tested only 1528 detained individuals for COVID-19. ICE also has started reporting on its website on the number of "judicial releases" or the number of individuals ICE has released pursuant to court order. The information ICE provides regarding these releases includes the criminal charges or records of some of the individuals released.  Freedom for Immigrants provides a map on its website that tracks reported COVID-19 cases at detention facilities around the country, as well as reported quarantines, inadequate sanitary conditions and other information. 
  • According to ICE statistics, there were 28,865 individuals in detention as of May 2, 2020, including 5,040 individuals who had established a claim for persecution or torture.  There were 8,510 book-ins in the month of April.  In other months this fiscal year the number of book ins has ranged between 19,368 and nearly 25,000.
  • ICE leadership told congressional staffers earlier this week that they are providing 520 free minutes of phone time per month to every person in ICE custody at all facilities during the course of pandemic.  Advocates report uneven access at facilities around the country since ICE's announcement.
  • An article on the CDC's website discusses COVID-19 in correctional and detention facilities in the United States from February-April, 2020.  The article uses data to approximate the incidences of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country's correctional and detention facilities, and provides guidance for facilities.
  • The Rapid Defense Network is tracking litigation around the country seeking the release of individuals who remain in ICE custody here.  The Ninth Circuit largely stayed a preliminary injunction that had ordered that the Adelanto detention center not accept any new detainees and reduce its population to such a level so as to allow for proper social distancing.  That order is attached.
  • The Miami Herald published an article discussing how ICE is transferring many individuals from detention centers in South Florida covered by a recent court order, rather than releasing them, after a federal judge clarified that her prior ruling ordering ICE to reduce the population of the detention centers permitted ICE to transfer individuals from those centers, in addition to releasing them.
  • This article from Politico focuses on Natchez, Mississippi and Lumpkin, Georgia as examples of small, rural, Southern communities that have become concerned at continued transfers of individuals into ICE custody at nearby detention centers, and the implications it could have for local COVID-19 transmission and the already strained health systems.  According to ICE's website, there are currently 15 confirmed cases at the Adams County Correction Center, in Natchez, and 11 confirmed cases at the Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin.  An article from the Colorado Independent also focuses on transfers in an out of a detention facility in Aurora.
  • On Wednesday, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus sent a letter to the Acting Secretary of DHS and the Secretary of HHS regarding the treatment of unaccompanied children during COVID-19.  The letter also asks the Secretaries to provide answers to more than 10 questions.
  • On Monday, Veronica Escobar and other members of Congress sent a letter to the Acting ICE Director and the DHS Inspector General.  The letter encourages ICE to release non-violent detainees, follow CDC guidelines, and halt the transfer and removal of individuals in detention during the pandemic.  The letter also asks the OIG to include these issues in the remote inspection it has initiated of ICE's efforts to address the pandemic.  
  • On Wednesday, AILA and other organizations sent a letter to the Acting Secretary of DHS and the Acting ICE Director asking for a coordinated and timely plan to release individuals in ICE custody.  
  • Yesterday, the Immigration Justice Campaign and its local partners filed a complaint with DHS CRCL and DHS OIG about conditions for migrants in ICE detention during the pandemic.  The complaint documents ICE's persistent failure to provide required hygiene and cleaning supplies, PPE, and access to testing and medical care.

Effects of Southern Border Closure on Asylum Seekers

  •  CBP has released its border statistics for April, which show the impact of the border closure.  In April, Border Patrol expelled 14,416 individuals, and apprehended only 1,446 people under its Title 8 authority.  In March, Border Patrol expelled 6,444 individuals and apprehended 23,558 individuals.  The CBP  data on border apprehensions for April also show that only 762 unaccompanied children were encountered compared to 9,715 in April of 2019. Of those, only 58 children were transferred to an ORR shelter. The rest were removed directly from the border.
  • A CBS News article mentioned in the preceding paragraph discusses the expulsion of unaccompanied children through the eyes of the case of a 10 year old boy from Honduras, whose mother sent him across the U.S. border after they were denied protection in MPP proceedings.  The boy was returned to Honduras after four days in U.S. custody, but the mother did not find out about her son's expulsion and return until a week later. 
  • Data released by CIS on the number of credible and reasonable fear case receipts from April 16-30, 2020 continue to confirm the effects of the border closure.  According to CIS, it received 229 credible fear cases from April 16-30, 2020, as compared to more than 4,000 credible fear cases from April 16-30, 2019 and 433 cases from April 1-15, 2020.  There were 244 reasonable fear case receipts from April 16-30, 2020.   The same spreadsheet also shows the number of credible fear decisions and the type of decision (fear established vs. fear not established) for USCIS vs. USCBP since CBP started conducting some interviews, apparently in May of 2019.
  • This article from the New York Times discusses how migration has slowed worldwide during the pandemic.

May 1, 2020

Presidential Executive Order

  •  The American Constitution Society published a helpful analysis of the Proclamation on its website.
  • The Evangelical Immigration Table sent a letter to President Trump opposing the Proclamation, as well as other recent efforts to restrict immigration, including the closing of the border to asylum seekers and unaccompanied children.

Status of Immigration Courts and USCIS offices

  •  EOIR announced yesterday that MPP hearings through June 1, 2020 will be postponed.  Individuals with hearing dates in May must still present themselves at the bridge on their court date to receive a tear sheet with the rescheduled date.  Advocates report that, as recently as this week, CBP was handing out new tear sheets to migrants with rescheduled court dates in the second half of May.  Those individuals will end up presenting at a port of entry again later this month, only to be told their next hearing date has been rescheduled, again.  Current information from EOIR regarding court closures, filing by email at individual courts, and individual standing orders can be found here
  • The USCIS website contains updated information on deadlines for certain requests, notices, and appeals.
  • On April 28, 2020, a federal judge in Washington, DC denied the request for a TRO by AILA, IJC, the NIPNLG, and several detained individuals challenging EOIR’s operation of in-person immigration court hearings and ICE’s conditions of confinement during the COVID-19 pandemic.  That opinion is attached.  The next day, Legal Aid Services NYC filed a lawsuit against EOIR for requiring advocates and respondents to comply with filing deadlines in non-detained cases in the New York City immigration courts during the pandemic.  The lawsuit seeks a court order prohibiting EOIR from enforcing filing deadlines in non-detained New York City Immigration Court cases, or from taking any adverse actions against litigants who don’t meet a deadline.

Access to Legal Information and Services

  • This article from the Indypendent discusses how migrants' access to humanitarian services has been impacted by the pandemic, including at the tent camp in Matamoros.

Detention Issues

  • There are currently 490 individuals who are or were in ICE custody and who have tested positive for COVID-19, including 98 individuals at the Otay Mesa Detention Center.  This article from the Wall Street Journal discusses the situation at Otay Mesa.  According to ICE's website, it has tested 1030 detained individuals for COVID-19. Freedom for Immigrants provides a map on its website that tracks reported COVID-19 cases at detention facilities around the country, as well as reported quarantines, inadequate sanitary conditions and other information. Freedom for Immigrants also produced its second biweekly update on COVID-19 in ICE detention.
  • According to ICE statistics, there were 29,675 individuals in detention as of April 25, 2020, including 5,261 individuals who had established a claim for persecution or torture.  There have been 7,185 book-ins in the month of April.  In other months this fiscal year the number of book ins has ranged between 19,368 and nearly 25,000.
  • Several federal courts issued orders this week requiring the release of vulnerable individuals who remain in ICE custody.  The Rapid Defense Network is tracking litigation around the country here.  A federal judge in Northern California granted provisional class certification and a temporary restraining order requiring ICE to provide information regarding all detained individuals at two facilities so that the court can begin considering requests for release. Judge Dana Sabraw granted a provisional subclass of medically-vulnerable individuals at Otay Mesa Detention Center and found that current conditions at Otay Mesa for subclass members violate the Fifth Amendment because the conditions of their confinement place them at serious risk for substantial illness or death.  Judge Sabraw entered a TRO that requires, among other things, that the government consider members of the subclass for release and report to the court on any individuals considered not appropriate for release.  
  • The government has appealed a federal judge's preliminary injunction ordering, among other things, that the Adelanto detention center not accept any new detainees and reduce its population to such a level so as to allow for proper social distancing.  A group of law professors and medical experts, including Physicians for Human Rights, filed an amicus brief in opposition to the government's motion for a stay pending appeal.
  • Last week, the ACLU issued a report showing why reducing the incarcerated population is key to reducing the spread of COVID-19.  
  • A new paper released on Monday has received a lot of attention because its estimate of the likely spread of COVID-19 in ICE detention facilities and resulting impacts on regional ICU capacity shows an "optimistic scenario" of 72% of detained individuals becoming infected by day 90.  The paper will be published in the Journal of Public Health
  • On April 24th, Judge Gee, the federal judge who oversees the Flores Settlement Agreement, ruled that ORR must work faster to reunify children with their sponsors due to the coronavirus pandemic (including children with MPP removal orders where removal is not imminent). 59 children in ORR care have tested positive for COVID-19. As of last Friday, there were 2,100 children in ORR shelters.
  • The United Nations Network for Migration issued guidance for states on preventing and responding to COVID-19 in the context of immigration detention. The guidance calls on states to stop new detentions, implement non-custodial, community-based alternatives to detention, release detainees into these alternative settings, and improve conditions in detention until alternatives can be implemented.  On Monday, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants urged the U.S. government to use readily-available alternatives to detention for detained migrants, and specifically noted repeated reports of unsanitary conditions and lack of proper healthcare at the Northwest Processing Center in Takoma, Washington.
  • Articles from Buzzfeed and the Dallas Morning News discuss how transfers of individuals between ICE facilities has likely contributed to outbreaks at other detention centers.
  • This interesting article on the website of the Center for Economic and Policy Research tracks ICE Air deportation flights during the pandemic.  Buzzfeed reporter Adolfo Flores also writes about the precarious situation for Guatemalans, who are caught between ICE detention and being quarantined upon return to Guatemala.  The Guatemalan Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that a "humanitarian" deportation flight would be arriving in Guatemala yesterday with 92 individuals aboard, all of whom tested negative for COVID-19 prior to the flight.  The 92 individuals included three unaccompanied children, 20 members of family units, and 69 men.
  • The ACLU, Human Rights Watch, and NIJC also issued a report this week on immigration detention under the Trump Administration.  The report examines how the immigrant detention system has grown since 2017, the poor conditions and inadequate medical care — even before the COVID-19 outbreak — and the due process hurdles faced by immigrants held in remote locations.  It combines quantitative and qualitative data from visits to five detention centers in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arizona, interviews with over 150 detained people, public government documents, and documents received through Freedom of Information Act requests.  The report has received a lot of media coverage, including this article from CBS News, which also discusses detention conditions during COVID-19.
  • The AP reported on the deaths of two guards at the Richwood Correctional Center in Louisiana, where 55 individuals in ICE detention have tested positive for the virus.

Effects of Southern Border Closure on Asylum Seekers

  • In this CRS Insight the Congressional Research Service explains the restrictions on travel at U.S. land borders and the implications for migrants without valid documents.
  • On Monday, Refugees International published an issue brief arguing that the border closure order is not justified on public health grounds and illegally targets asylum seekers.
  • This article from Vox discusses the situation of migrants who were metered or subjected to MPP who are now stuck on the Mexican side of the border for longer periods of time due to the border closure.  Another article discusses the challenges for MPP participants who want to request a non-refoulement interview during the border closure.

April 24, 2020

Presidential Executive Order

  •  On Wednesday evening, the President issued a proclamation that suspends for 60 days the entry of any individual seeking to enter the U.S. as an immigrant who does not have a valid immigrant visa as of April 23, or an official travel document valid as of April 23 or issued after that date.  The proclamation does not apply to nonimmigrant visas but requires the Secretaries of Labor and DHS, in consultation with the Secretary of State, to review nonimmigrant programs and recommend other appropriate measures.  The Proclamation exempts certain categories of individuals, including: LPRs, spouses and children of US citizens under age 21, and individuals (and their families) seeking to enter on an immigrant visa as a healthcare professional or other worker essential to the COVID-19 effort.  While the Proclamation does not impact the ability of individuals to apply for asylum, withholding of removal, or relief under the Convention Against Torture, those avenues of relief have been effectively shut off since March 20, as discussed further below.  The Proclamation also is concerning because it is subject to continuation beyond 60 days "as necessary."
  • CNN notes in this article that the Acting DHS Secretary told Fox News in an interview that DHS has been examining measures related to nonimmigrant temporary visas for several months, and would be ready to present recommendations to the President under the Proclamation.
  • This posting on Boundless Immigration provides a good explanation of who is most affected by the Proclamation.

Status of Immigration Courts and USCIS offices: 

  • This week, EOIR announced that hearings in non-detained cases will be postponed through May 15, 2020.  Hearings for detained cases continue to take place.  There has been no update regarding MPP hearings, which are currently still scheduled to resume on May 4, 2020.  Current information from EOIR regarding court closures, filing by email at individual courts, and individual standing orders can be found here
  • USCIS has extended the suspension of in-person services through June 4.  More information is available here.
  • The Harlingen and PIDC courts continue to allow for telephonic appearances.  ICE has not transported individuals at El Valle Detention Facility to appear in person at PIDC court hearings.  It is unclear whether El Valle is using VTC for PIDC court hearings. 
  • According to a Politico article, the union for BIA lawyers and support staff filed a complaint with OSHA about working conditions at EOIR during COVID-19.  The same day, the National Association of Immigration Judges and the same Union issued a press release calling on EOIR to implement workplace safety precautions recommended by OSHA and the CDC, and to provide greater transparency in how it is making critical workplace safety decisions related to COVID-19.  That statement is attached.
  • Law360 published an interesting article about the continuation of dockets for detained migrant children during the epidemic, as did CNN

Detention Issues

  •  There are currently 297 individuals who are or were in ICE custody and who have tested positive for COVID-19, including 42 individuals at the Otay Mesa Detention Center.  According to ICE's website, as of April 19, ICE had administered 407 COVID-19 tests. Freedom for Immigrants provides a map on its website that tracks reported COVID-19 cases at detention facilities around the country, as well as reported quarantines, inadequate sanitary conditions and other information.  
  • According to ICE statistics, there were still more than 30,700 individuals in detention as of April 18, 2020, including more than 5,400 individuals who had established a claim for persecution or torture.  There have been fewer than 5,400 book-ins in the month of April.  In other months this fiscal year the number of book ins has ranged between 19,368 and nearly 25,000.
  • According to a press release, when ICE Acting Director Albence testified before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform last Friday he said that the agency did not intend to release any more medically-vulnerable detainees as it might encourage a rush at the borders.  This article has more information about Albence's testimony and ICE's refusal to release more individuals from detention. As the article notes, ICE may not have a choice in the matter, as a federal judge in the Central District of California issued an order earlier this week in the Fraihat case granting emergency class certification and injunctive relief.  Among other things, the court has ordered that defendants identify and track all ICE detainees with identified risk factors for COVID-19 (which are broader than the risk factors previously identified by ICE), make timely custody determinations for detainees with the risk factors, and issue standards defining minimum acceptable detention standards for detainees with the risk factors, pending individualized determinations.  The team litigating the case has circulated a FAQ about the decision as well as a template request for custody redetermination based on the decision.  These are attached. 
  • Organizations have continued to seek relief in federal court for individuals who remain in ICE custody.  The Rapid Defense Network is tracking litigation around the country here.  New cases include a putative class action in Southern California that seeks the release of medically vulnerable individuals from the Otay Mesa Detention Center and the Imperial Regional Detention Center, as well as the orderly release of a sufficient number of individuals from each facility so as to permit adequate social distancing.  Yesterday, a federal judge in the Central District of California entered a preliminary injunction ordering, among other things, that the Adelanto detention center not accept any new detainees and reduce its population to such a level so as to allow for proper social distancing.  The injunction suggested certain priorities for releases.
  • On Wednesday, members of Congress sent a letter to the Secretary of HHS and the Acting Secretary of DHS urging them to take all reasonable steps to protect children in their custody and expeditiously release children in HHS custody to sponsors.
  • This article from the Miami Herald discusses the transfer of individuals in ICE detention amidst the epidemic as another way that the virus can spread.  ICE has continued to transfer individuals in detention despite the pandemic.
  • This Washington Post article discusses how the US is deporting individuals infected with COVID-19 to countries that are not equipped to handle the crisis.  According to this Reuters article ICE plans to begin testing more individuals for COVID-19 before they are removed, but will only receive 2,300 tests per month.  In the same article, Guatemala's President is quoted as saying that the country will allow a removal flight to arrive today, as an exception to the country's current refusal to accept removal flights, as a humanitarian gesture because of the vulnerable state of those who will be on the flight (including unaccompanied minors).

Effects of Southern Border Closure on Asylum Seekers

  • On Monday, the CDC entered an order officially extending the border closure for at least another 30 days, through May 20.  DHS also issued a notice extending the restrictions on land travel from Mexico into the United States through ports of entry through May 20. DHS also released an updated fact sheet regarding the border closures.  The updated fact sheet makes clear that CBP will not detain unauthorized migrants in its facilities at or near the border but rather will expel them immediately to Mexico or Canada, or return them to their country of origin.  UNHCR criticized the extension of the CDC's order, and issued a statement on Wednesday warning against long-term damage to refugee rights in the midst of the pandemic.
  • Yesterday was the deadline to submit comments on the CDC Interim Final Rule released by the CDC on March 20 that provides a procedure by which the CDC can enter an order like the one extended Monday, temporarily suspending the introduction of certain persons from designated countries or places when required in the interests of public health.  A number of advocacy organizations submitted comments, which can be viewed here.
  • Data released by CIS on the number of credible and reasonable fear case receipts in the first two weeks of April, 2020 confirm the effects of the border closure.  According to CIS, it received approximately 400 credible fear cases from April 1-15, 2020, as compared to nearly 1,600 credible fear cases in the second half of March, 2020, and just over 4,000 credible fear cases from April 1-15, 2019. 
  • The U.S. Immigration and Policy Center released a report this week that uses empirical data to debunk the idea that measures such as closing the Southern border will produce beneficial public health outcomes.  The data from the study show that neither the monthly total number of persons entering the U.S. through southern border ports of entry, the monthly total number of persons requesting asylum, the monthly total number of asylum seekers who establish credible fear, nor the quarterly total number of USCIS approvals across all visa application types have any effect on the monthly percentage of patients who present at healthcare providers with influenza-like illnesses.

April 17, 2020

Status of Immigration Courts and USCIS offices:

  • Today ABA President Judy Perry Martinez followed-up on her March 25, 2020 letter to DHS and EOIR urging additional steps to protect the health and safety of all individuals involved in the immigration adjudication and detention systems.  Specifically, today's letter recommends the suspension of all in-person immigration proceedings, and urges that all detained matters be postponed, except for bond proceedings and individual hearings (where the respondent and counsel, if any, wish to proceed).  The letter also asks DHS to implement a process to consider the release from detention of those individuals who are medically vulnerable or who pose no danger to public safety or national security.  The letter is attached.
  • Hearings for detained cases continue to take place. Current information from EOIR regarding court closures, filing by email at individual courts, and individual standing orders can be found here
  • The Otay Mesa Detention Center continues to have the most confirmed COVID-19 cases among the detained population of any facility with ICE detainees in the country.  On Monday, the Otay Mesa Immigration Court announced its closure and instructed that filings should take place at the San Diego Immigration Court. Additionally, all scheduled master and individual hearings in the next 2-3 weeks were sua sponte continued. 

Detention Issues

  • There are currently 100 individuals who are or were in ICE custody and who have tested positive for COVID-19.  This information is updated daily on ICE's website: https://www.ice.gov/coronavirus.  Freedom for Immigrants provides a map on its website that tracks reported COVID-19 cases at detention facilities around the country, as well as reported quarantines, inadequate sanitary conditions and other information.  Freedom for Immigrants also has started publishing a biweekly analysis on COVID-19 issues in ICE custody.
  • According to ICE statistics, there were still more than 32,300 individuals in detention as of April 11, 2020, including nearly 5,600 individuals who had established a claim for persecution or torture.  On its coronavirus website, ICE notes that it has "released nearly 700 individuals after evaluating their immigration history, criminal record, potential threat to public safety, flight risk, and national security concerns. This same methodology is currently being applied to other potentially vulnerable populations currently in custody and while making custody determinations for all new arrests. Additionally, ERO has limited the intake of new detainees being introduced into the ICE detention system. ICE’s detained population has dropped by more than 4,000 individuals since March 1, 2020 with a more than 60 percent decrease in book-ins when compared to this time last year." 
  • On April 10, ICE released a manual addressing requirements for detention centers in dealing with COVID-19.
  • Organizations have continued to seek relief in federal court for particularly vulnerable individuals who remain in ICE custody.  The Rapid Defense Network is tracking litigation around the country here.  New cases include putative class actions in Southern Florida and Central California, and a habeas petition filed in South Texas (with one PIDC detainee as a petitioner).  Yesterday, a federal judge in Central California also refused to dismiss a putative class action lawsuit challenging access to medical care, confinement practices, and disability accommodations in ICE detention facilities.  The case, Fraihat, includes an emergency request for ICE to address the deficiencies in its response to COVID-19.  Some recent filings regarding the emergency request are attached, including a declaration from an ICE official regarding ICE's response.
  • After a conference last week in the Flores case, Judge Gee issued an order saying that, because ICE and ORR's recent data disclosures brought new issues to light, defendants would be given the opportunity to respond before the court rules on plaintiffs' request for a preliminary injunction.  Defendants' response will address issues raised by the court as well as plaintiffs' supplemental declarations about conditions in the FRCs.  The court extended certain aspects of the March 28, 2020 TRO until a April 24, 2020 order to show cause hearing, and ordered that ORR and ICE must make every effort to promptly and safely release class members.  The Court's April 10 order is attached. 
  • In a hearing earlier this week in the O.M.G. lawsuit filed in federal court in Washington, DC seeking the release of all families held in ICE family residential centers, a federal judge declined to order the release of all individuals held in FRCs but did order the filing of an additional notice by the government addressing, among other things: updated statistics on the number of individuals detained and released, compliance with CDC guidelines, their medical capabilities (including testing), treatment plans, coordination with local health care, and PPE supplies.  The court has scheduled another hearing for April 27, 2020.
  • On Monday the President issued a memorandum allowing for visa sanctions against countries that refuse to accept the return of their citizens, nationals, subjects, or residents.  This PRI article discusses the danger that deportation flights from the US will hasten the spread of the virus to other countries. The AP reports today that Guatemala has put another pause on the receipt of deportation flights from the United States over concerns about the number of COVID-19 infections among individuals who arrived on removal flights this week, and that personnel from the CDC are in Guatemala verifying test results of individuals removed to Guatemala.
  • This CBS news article has interviews with several women currently detained in Louisiana.  The Associated Press also has an article containing interviews with individuals in ICE detention.
  • In this article Mother Jones interviews 3 doctors about ICE's response to COVID-19.  
  • AILA and AIC, along with advocacy organizations, sent letters to the governors of ColoradoNew Jersey, and New Mexico calling on them to take any and all steps possible to compel the release of people held in several private detention facilities in their respective states. 
  • A group of evangelical leaders have sent a letter to DHS urging the release of individuals from ICE detention.  This editorial in USA Today also recommends the release of nonviolent individuals from ICE detention.
  • ProPublica reported on the increasing numbers of COVID-19 infections of children in ORR custody.

Effects of Southern Border Closure on Asylum Seekers: 

  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection reports that 3,195 unaccompanied children were apprehended at the southern border in March 2020. CBP is now tracking Title 42 expulsions for "public health" reasons. CBP has confirmed that unaccompanied children are subject to these expulsions, and almost 400 children have been expelled under these new rules.
  • If you haven't yet read Lucas Guttentag's analysis of the border expulsions, circulated earlier this week by Mary Giovagnoli, I highly recommend it.  Today a researcher with Physicians for Human Rights published another article on Just Security questioning the health justifications for the CDC orders.
  • A number of advocacy organizations sent a letter to DHS urging it to halt the expulsion of asylum seekers under the March 20 CDC order.  Another letter from advocacy organizations focuses on the impact of the CDC order on survivors of domestic and sexual violence, and a third focuses on the expulsion of unaccompanied children.  The third letter is attached.
  • NIJC has issued a FAQ document on the CDC order.
  • Human Rights Watch and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild filed a formal complaint with DHS CRCL earlier this week and asked it to investigate DHS' policy of expelling asylum seekers at the border.  The Complaint is attached.
  • A number of advocacy organizations sent a letter to DHS and EOIR urging DHS to parole individuals subjected to MPP into the United States due to the COVID-19 pandemic, or, in the alternative, not make individuals subjected to MPP present at ports of entry to receive their re-scheduled hearing dates.

April 10, 2020

Status of Immigration Courts and USCIS offices:

  • On April 3, EOIR issued a policy memo updating its policy on signatures on documents filed with immigration courts and the BIA. As of March 31, 2020, EOIR will accept electronic and digital signatures on all filed documents, including documents filed by mail and in person. EOIR will also accept electronically re-produced copies of documents containing digital, electronic, or wet signatures. The PM does not override specific provisions of law or application instructions that might require a certain form of signature.  
  • EOIR also established temporary email accounts for filing Briefs, Motions to Accept a Late Filed Brief, Motions for Summary Affirmance, and courtesy copies of the EOIR-27 with the BIA in both detained and non-detained cases. More information on filing with the BIA by email can be found here
  • Hearings for detained cases continue to take place. Current information from EOIR regarding court closures, filing by email at individual courts, and individual standing orders can be found here
  • On April 3, 2020, AILA filed a lawsuit against USCIS in federal district court in Washington, DC seeking the immediate suspension of immigration benefit deadlines and the maintenance of status for nonimmigrants in the US amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The complaint can be found here.

Access to Legal Information and Services:

  • In mid-March, EOIR began a pilot project to force all Houston-area detained children to appear by video teleconference (VTC) to an Assistant Chief Immigration Judge in Atlanta, Georgia. The pilot project also aims to fast-track immigration proceedings for detained unaccompanied children. The rocket docket VTC hearings are continuing despite the coronavirus pandemic, requiring that children and attorneys appear in person at the Houston non-detained immigration court while ACIJ Sirce Owen appears by screen from Atlanta. Children are given a short continuance to find an attorney and must respond to the Notice to Appear at the second hearing. Judge Owen requires that children apply for all relief by the following hearing after taking pleadings without taking into account the reunification status of the child. Most children in ORR care are released within 56 days.
  • AILA, the Immigration Justice Campaign, and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, as well as a group of detained noncitizens, moved for a TRO in their lawsuit seeking an order that provides for either remote hearings or the release of detainees, increased safety within detention, and safe and effective access to counsel. The court will hold a hearing on the TRO on April 15.

Detention Issues

  • Other organizations have continued to seek relief in federal court for particularly vulnerable individuals who remain in ICE custody. Cases were filed in Georgia, Houston, and Virginia, among others. While many of these cases have been successful, there were mixed orders issued this week out of cases in Maryland (attached), Pennsylvania (attached), Michigan (attached), Washington (attached), Massachusetts (attached), and California.
  • There are currently 50 individuals who are or were in ICE custody and who have tested positive for COVID-19, including 10 individuals at the Otay Mesa Detention Center. This information is updated daily on ICE's website: https://www.ice.gov/coronavirus.  Freedom for Immigrants provides a map on its website that tracks reported COVID-19 cases at detention facilities around the country, as well as reported quarantines, inadequate sanitary conditions and other information.
  • CLINIC, RAICES, Aldea, and Proyecto Dilley filed a complaint with CRCL earlier this week requesting an investigation into the prolonged detention of children in FRCs, in violation of the Flores settlement and the March 28, 2020 order in the Flores litigation. That complaint is attached.
  • ICE guidance from April 3 and 4 regarding considerations for release of detainees during the COVID-19 pandemic was produced in litigation and is attached. According to Buzzfeed ICE notified Congressional representatives on Tuesday that it had instructed field officers to consider more detainees for release, using guidance from the CDC regarding those individuals who are at greater risk of exposure. Similar statements can be found in the "Detention" section of ICE's online guidance on COVID-19.
  • Amnesty International released a report on COVID-19 in immigration detention centers. 
  • According to ICE statistics, there were just under 34,000 individuals in detention as of April 4, 2020, including more than 5,800 individuals who had established a claim for persecution or torture. 
  • Yesterday it was confirmed that a contract worker at PIDC tested positive for COVID-19 in late March. The contractor did not have contact with detainees.
  • Mexican authorities planned to move the Matamoros MPP tent community today.  People resisted when authorities arrived and INM backed down.  The tent encampment remains in its same location, within a block of the Gateway Intl. Bridge. 
  • Earlier this week 7 staff members at a Houston area ORR shelter were revealed to have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • A Reuters article discusses the rural locations of many detention centers and the impact this could have on rural hospitals if there should be an outbreak of COVID-19 at detention centers requiring hospitalization of large numbers of affected individuals. 
  • This week the Chairwoman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform sent a letter to Acting Secretary Wolf, Acting Director Albence and Acting Commissioner Morgan requesting information about plans to protect individuals in ICE and CBP custody during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Effects of Southern Border Closure on Asylum Seekers

  • On March 20, in a series of actions, the government effectively closed the Northern and Southern borders to asylum seekers for a period of at least 30 days due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  First, a notice published by the Department of Homeland Security, Customs & Border Protection (CBP) limits land travel between the United States and Mexico through ports of entry to "essential travel." That notice is in effect through April 20 (there is a similar order that applies to the Canadian border). Also on March 20, the CDC issued an order suspending for 30 days the entry of persons traveling from Mexico or Canada who would otherwise be placed in CBP custody at or near the border. The March 20, 2020 CDC order was authorized in part by an Interim Final Rule released by the CDC on the same date that provides a procedure by which the CDC can enter an order for the temporary suspension of the introduction of certain persons from designated countries or places when required in the interests of public health. The Interim Final Rule went into effect on March 20 and will be in effect until the earlier of one year after the date of publication or when the HHS Secretary determines there is no longer a need for the rule. Last week, ProPublica published an article describing how CBP officers are carrying out the recent orders, based on a leaked CBP memo.  Under the policy, CBP immediately expels individuals who they encounter at or between ports of entry who do not have proper entry documentation, with limited exceptions.  If the individual affirmatively states a reasonably believable fear of torture in her home country the individual is referred to an asylum officer for a screening interview.
  • Yesterday, CBP released enforcement statistics that show the number of border "expulsions" in March 2020 pursuant to the CDC orders, as compared to the number of apprehensions during March.  The statistics show that CBP expelled nearly 6,400 individuals pursuant to the orders in March alone.
  • Earlier this week 10 Democratic Senators sent a letter to Acting Secretary Wolf asking for more information about DHS' implementation of the CDC orders. The letter is attached.
  • Today, Representatives Engel, Thompson, and Nadler issued a statement asking the Administration to explain the legality of the CDC's orders. The statement says that prior requests for the legal justifications for the orders have not resulted in any explanation being offered.
  • The Congressional Research Service released a Legal Sidebar analyzing the legal issues surrounding the CDC orders.
  • Reuters reports that CBP has expelled nearly 400 migrant children under the orders. 
  • More than 60 organizations signed on to a statement denouncing the closure of the border to asylum seekers, and calling for a halting of deportations and the release of individuals from detention during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Jennie Kneedler

Staff Attorney, Commission on Immigration