This Week in U.S. Immigration News: May 19, 2017

Each week we collect stories related to U.S. immigration, and we provide a brief summary of each story in our weekly blog edition. Below you will find snapshots of stories that range from Trump’s administration to changes in U.S. immigration laws. We then give you fresh links at the bottom that relate to each story within our summary. Let’s dive in!

Stories from the Border

This week, we saw an extensive amount of support for immigrants across the country. In Fort Collins, Colorado, an ordinance with the goal of protecting immigrants was reviewed. The ordinance is meant to protect immigrants from police officers and city employees if they attempt to ask them about their immigration statuses. Also, there was support from Crisanta Duran, Speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives, for undocumented immigrants as she sought to change the rhetoric that is currently used when referring to the immigrant population in the United States.  As an advocate for undocumented immigrants gaining access to in-state tuition and driver’s licenses, Duran made her support known at the Colorado legislative session. Following the example set by the Los Angeles school board last week, an elementary school in Queens, New York, rejected an ICE official who was not authorized to enter the school. We could see more of these cases surface as cities throughout the country have established policies to protect immigrants in school systems. Additionally, three resolutions were approved in a southeastern Michigan county to help undocumented immigrants living in the state. Among the resolutions, one included the improvement of opportunities regarding legal routes to citizenship.

Research revealed that immigrants held in detention centers are extremely distanced from access to legal help. As attorney Marty Rosenbluth mentioned, “Without an attorney, it’s almost impossible to win your case in the immigration courts.” This highlights a crucial need for immigrants to have this access, especially with the Trump administration’s strategic plan to build detention centers in rural areas. More news on detention centers this week revealed that Adelanto Detention Facility in California has a high number of sexual assault claims that were reported on its premises. This is an escalating concern for the growing number of immigrants entering detention centers across the country.

In the United States, there are numerous nonprofits that provide free legal assistance to undocumented immigrants. One of these groups was challenged by the U.S. Department of Justice when they sent a cease-and-desist letter to the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project last month. The DOJ claimed that the group has to formally represent immigrants in court in order to offer them legal assistance. The DOJ’s action was combated this week by a U.S. judge when he temporarily blocked their decision by arguing that the DOJ violated the group’s rights to freedom of speech and association.

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