Detainees Complain of Harsh Conditions

prisoner in jailThere is a privately-run detention center in Colorado that houses immigrants that have been detained. Former detainees of the center say that the practices inside could nearly be described as modern-day slavery. They have won the right to sue the center after challenging the practices in federal court. The lawsuit will be filed on behalf of what is estimated to be a population of 60,000 that have been held for more than 10 years.

The former detainees who have decided to file the lawsuit allege that the group that owns the center is exploiting people. There is one full-time janitor in the building, leaving the detainees responsible for cleaning, landscaping and more. The inmates’ pay is the same no matter what job they perform or how long they work: $1 a day.

Detention centers that house immigrants are similar to jails that house criminals. The people in the detention center are accused of violating immigration law and are waiting until their cases can be resolved. The U.S. Justice Department’s National Institute of Corrections has said that those in jails may generally not be forced to work as they have not been convicted. Those in the immigration detention center have not been convicted either.

Despite the filing, there are some detainees who have agreed to work for the $1 a day. These detainees would prefer something to do, and many of those who work voluntarily have money for commissary coming in from the outside. Private prisons and detention centers around the country will be keeping a close eye on the case.

If you need assistance with immigration in Washington state or elsewhere, please reach out to our team of experienced attorneys. We understand the complexity of immigration law and will put our knowledge to work for you. Call today to schedule a case evaluation.

Cubans Facing Same Deportation Risks as Other Immigrants

Cuban flag hanging on a door in Trinidad, CubaCuban immigrants living in the United States have enjoyed something of a favored status since the end of Cold War. These Cubans are now facing a new reality: facing the same risks of deportation as any other immigrant in the country. Many Cubans are laying the blame at the feet of former President Barack Obama who they say took away what was close to automatic citizenship, both for those Cubans with visas and those without.

Some Cubans in the country have found themselves detained in immigration offices during routine appointments. Others are afraid that they will be caught in the wave of immigrant crackdown arrests that have been taking place across the country. While no one is exactly sure how the relationship between Cuba and the United States will fare under the new administration, most do not expect that President Donald Trump will restore immigration privileges.

According to officials, there are more than 36,000 Cubans facing deportation. Of those, 7,000 are considered non-criminal violators. Despite the fears, only 57 Cubans have been officially deported in the last eight months. Just over 330 have been arrested. Experts say that President Trump has a stance on immigration that makes things equal across the board. It is expected that the immigration privileges previously provided to Cubans will come to a complete end under this administration.

If you are dealing with immigration issues in Washington State, we understand the stress and anxiety you are feeling, and we are here to help you. We have been providing assistance to those with immigration issues for more than a decade. If you need help with any facet of immigration law, please reach out to our office to schedule a consultation. We will review your case, advise you of your legal rights and help you take the next steps applicable to your unique situation.

Dozens of Chaldeans Arrested by ICE

detroit on a mapU.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Officials arrested dozens of Chaldeans in southeastern Michigan. ICE is declining to say exactly how many people were arrested, but advocates say that the number reached at least 40. About 100 people protested the arrests last Sunday in from of a detention center in Detroit.

A United States demographer, Kurt Metzger, says that Detroit is home to one of the largest communities of Chaldeans in the country. An official survey puts the number of Chaldeans at about 120,000 in and around the city.

In a statement released by ICE, officials said that those detained and arrested all had criminal convictions. Those convictions included rape, murder, burglary, assault, drug trafficking and weapons violations. An immigration judge ordered that the arrested be deported.

That judge, according to ICE, determined that those taken into custody were not privy to any type  of relief under the nation’s laws. The Chaldeans, Iraqi Christians, who were arrested had deportation orders signed prior to the sweep, but they could not be removed from the country prior to having reached an agreement with Iraq.

According to Judy Rabinovitz, with the American Civil Liberties Union’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, the deportation orders could be several years old. Those orders don’t consider the current conditions of the home countries of the immigrants. ICE officials said the sweep was an attempt to begin clearing the backlog they have been experiencing.

If you need assistance with immigration issues in Washington state, reach out to our office. We will review your case and advise you of your legal options. Our team is here to help you in any way we can. Please call today.

Immigration Arrests Up Under Current Administration

Officer Arresting Young ManA recent report has shown that, in President Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office, more than 41,000 illegal immigrants were arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. On average, that is more than 400 immigrants per day. That is an increase of over 37 percent over the same time last year.

While many of the people arrested were taken into custody due to violent offenses, the largest increase in arrests were immigrants with no criminal convictions at all. In President Trump’s first 100 days, nearly 11,000 immigrants who had never been convicted of a crime were arrested. In the same time period last year, just over 4,200 immigrants with no criminal convictions were arrested.

Immigration officials say they have been able to conduct more arrests because the current administration has loosened restrictions and, therefore, offered more latitude for officers to do their job.

Perhaps surprisingly, deportation rates are actually down about 12 percent this year compared to the same time last year. During the current administration’s first 100 days, just over 56,000 immigrants have been deported. This phenomenon is attributed to two factors. One, there is a backlog in immigration courts across the country. In addition, the deportation for some immigrants who have committed crimes is sometimes longer, since they are serving sentences in jail.

This crackdown on illegal immigrants is a sharp departure from the previous administration. While President Barack Obama lobbied for an easier road to legal residency for the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the US, President Trump has instead focused on deporting those same immigrants. However, part of this effort has led to parents who are illegal immigrants being deported, even though their children are protected by Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) laws.

Immigrants who are facing deportation have legal options. If you are worried that you or a family may be deported soon, contact the Washington immigration attorneys at Elliot Law Group today for a consultation.

Feds to Sanctuary Cities: Cooperate Or Else

statue of liberty in the sunsetYou may have heard about sanctuary cities. These are areas in the country that have refused to cooperate with immigration enforcement, instead choosing to protect the rights of immigrants that were in place before President Donald Trump took office. Recently, the Justice Department fired off letters to eight sanctuary cities, demanding proof that they are cooperating with enforcement.

According to reports, letters were sent to officials in: New Orleans; Philadelphia; Chicago; Miami; Las Vegas; New York; Milwaukee; Cook County, Illinois; and the California Board of State and Community Corrections. Each of these areas has policies or laws in place that have restricted law enforcement from freely handing over illegal immigrants to federal officials.

The Justice Department says that these cities are areas with increased violent crime and illegal immigration. Specifically mentioned were New York City and Chicago. The release said, in part, “And just several weeks ago in California’s Bay Area … officials seemed more concerned with reassuring illegal immigrants that the raid was unrelated to immigration than with warning other MS-13 members that they were next.” Charges in the raid included drug trafficking, murder and extortion.

Cities that receive grants from the Justice Department and don’t comply with immigration policies could see those grants taken away due to violations. The department gives out more than $2 billion each year in an effort to help certain locations deal with crime. While some cities may comply due to pressure from the department, others, like Seattle, have filed federal lawsuits. Whether or not the government follows through with its threats to pull grant funding remains to be seen.

If you need assistance with immigration or asylum in Washington state, contact our team of experienced immigration attorneys. We are here to help you in a way that is compassionate and fair. Call today to schedule a case evaluation or for more information on the laws surrounding your status.

Washington Trooper Did Not Violate Detainment Policy

Police Body Camera on Tactical vest for law enforcement officersWhen a person is pulled over in the state of Washington, it is reasonable to say that they experience stress and anxiety. No one wants to have a run in with law enforcement if it can be avoided. This may be even more true for immigrants who may not be in the country legally. Unfortunately, this is what occurred for one such man in February of this year.

The Washington State Patrol reported that a man was in a car accident on Interstate 5 on February 9. The accident occurred in Tacoma, and a trooper responded to the scene. As part of his routine duties, the trooper ran a check of the man’s driver’s license and discovered that he was a previously deported felon. That information was obtained via a warning from federal authorities.

In the state of Washington, officers are not permitted to detain a person longer than necessary to wait for federal agents to arrive on scene. That is what the trooper was accused of doing after Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers arrived to arrest the man on a felony drug warrant. The trooper was investigated by the department, and it was ultimately decided that she had not violated the department’s policy.

However, the trooper was recently found to have violated two other policies. One of the policies she was found to have violated was turning off her vehicle’s camera prior to issuing the man a ticket for driving without car insurance. The department says that they followed policy, not making an arrest of their own, instead, contacting ICE. A spokesperson for the department said that the trooper did not have the man in custody at any time.

If you or a loved one has been detained under federal immigration laws and need assistance, reach out to our team. We have experience in dealing with immigration laws and issues and will use our knowledge on your behalf. Schedule a case evaluation and discover your legal options.

Texas Wins Bid for Immigrant Center

Inside of a large bus used by the department of justice to transport prisoners for public safetyAs more illegal immigrants are being arrested and detained under the current administration, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is finding it more difficult to house them all while they await trial. As such, the federal government is being forced to build more facilities. Texas recently won a federal contract to build a $110 million detention center for immigrants.

According to reports, the 1,000-bed center will be built just north of Houston in the city of Conroe. It is planned to be open by the end of 2018. President Donald Trump has promised a crackdown on immigrants that includes their detention, and the center is part of that plan. Not only will immigrants who are in the country illegally be detained, but also those who are seeking asylum.

Officials say that there are an additional 21,000 beds that it will use to house immigrants. It is reported that ICE currently has the funding for 3,000 empty beds throughout the country, and is seeking money for the additional space. Those on the side of immigrants were surprised that funding was located for the multi-million dollar center when ICE officials have difficulty finding monies to pay for beds that already exist.

President Trump has issued an order that all immigrants who are suspected of violating the country’s immigration laws be detained. An executive order said, in part, “Aliens who illegally enter the United States without inspection or admission present a significant threat to national security and public safety.”

If you have been arrested for violating immigration laws in Washington or need more information with regards to your status as an alien in the country, call our team of experienced attorneys. We will review your case and advise you of your legal options. Call today.