HEADLINES: Immigration

Published On: Donate

Government documents obtained by the ACLU through the Freedom of Information Act and made public last week contain nearly 200 allegations of sexual abuse of immigration detainees jailed at detention facilities across the nation since 2007. While more complaints came from facilities in Texas than any other state, allegations have come from nearly every state that houses a detention center. Sexual abuse is often underreported and so these numbers likely do not represent the full scale of the issue. [Huffington Post]

Cooperating with the federal government’s immigration enforcement agenda may be mandatory for local law enforcement, but localities are finding ways around the federal government’s programs. Last week northern California’s Santa Clara County became the latest locality to pass an ordinance that will likely curb the number of its residents who get handed over to federal immigration authorities through the immigration enforcement program Secure Communities. That same week, Washington, D.C. mayor Vincent Gray signed an executive order reaffirming the rights of D.C. residents not to get harassed by law enforcement officers about their immigration status. [Color Lines]

According to immigration activists, recent changes in federal immigration policy, coupled with a downturn in the economy, may have created a need for more affordable legal assistance. This and immigrants’ combination of low legal literacy and high-stakes situations has left many vulnerable to legal scams. Notaries are particularly well positioned to capitalize on confusion among immigrants, especially those from Latin America as notaries there have considerably more legal agency than they do in the United States. Scams often go undetected because the victims are reluctant to seek help from the authorities. [NYTimes]

In response to the Alabama anti-immigration law that requires police who make lawful traffic stops or arrests to try to determine the immigration status of anyone they suspect might be in the country illegally, the Department of Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano stressed her department’s work with the Department of Justice, which is challenging the law. Federal appeals court at least temporarily blocked some provisions, including one requiring Alabama officials to check the immigration status of children in public schools. [CNN]


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