Frustrated with both President
Trump and Congress, immigrant-rights activists are increasingly turning to the
courts to try to alter the country’s immigration policies —
with three new lawsuits filed on Thursday alone against the
Department of Homeland Security.
One of the suits demands deportation officers stop arresting illegal immigrants
at courthouses, while another accuses Homeland Security of unfairly detaining
asylum-seekers while their cases are being heard.
A third challenge asks a court to overturn Homeland Security’s decision
to end special humanitarian protections for some 50,000 Haitians who will
become illegal immigrants in 2019, after their Temporary Protected Status runs out.
They join dozens of other lawsuits already ongoing, challenging everything
from big decisions such as
Mr. Trump’s travel ban to individual deportations of Somalis, Indonesians
and Iraqis. Challenges to his sanctuary city policy, attempts to revoke
the DACA deportation amnesty, treatment of illegal immigrants in detention,
the border wall and access to abortions for illegal-immigrant children
are also pending.
The fierce pushback underscores just how much of a break the Trump administration
made with its predecessors on immigration policy, as it sought to make
good on the president’s campaign promises of stiffer enforcement,
a better-protected border and safer communities.
In the new courthouse action, filed before a Massachusetts judge, three
groups asked for a “writ of protection” to prevent immigrants
from being detained while they’re at a courthouse.
The complaint cites one woman who says she’s scared to go to court
to renew a restraining order against her abusive ex-husband because she
fears being nabbed by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
“When people fear our judicial system that undermines the very fabric
of our society and weakens communities,” said Ivan Esinoza-Madrigal,
executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, which
was one of the groups filing for the writ.
ICE says it doesn’t target migrants at schools, hospitals or churches,
but it does permit arrests at courthouses — a practice that predates
the Trump administration.
With the growth of sanctuary cities, however, ICE said it’s increasingly
looking to use courthouses as safe locations.
“Individuals entering courthouses are typically screened by law enforcement
personnel to search for weapons and other contraband. Accordingly, civil
immigration enforcement actions taken inside courthouses can reduce safety
risks to the public, targeted alien(s), and ICE officers and agents,”
the agency said in a policy update earlier this year.
ICE did say it would try to avoid arrests in non-criminal settings such
as family court.
In another of Thursday’s court actions the American Civil Liberties
Union and allies filed a class action lawsuit in Washington, D.C., arguing
that the Trump administration has a new policy of detaining asylum seekers,
rather than releasing them while their cases proceed.
More than 1,000 people were detained under the policy, the groups say.
And the National Lawyers Guild filed a lawsuit in federal court in New
York arguing the administration broke the law in deciding to phase out
protected status for Haitians who’ve been free from fear of deportation
since the 2010 earthquake.
That lawsuit cites
Mr. Trump’s alleged characterization of Haiti, El Salvador and some African
nations as “s—hole” countries during a White House meeting
on TPS policy.
Homeland Security’s decision on Haiti came months before
Mr. Trump’s remarks, but the new lawsuit says the president’s views
have poisoned his administration’s decision-making, causing the
department to short-circuit the process.
“His administration’s rescission of Haiti’s TPS is part
of his irrational and discriminatory agenda,” the lawsuit charges.
REVILLA LAW FIRM, P.A.
Miami immigration lawyers and deportation defense firm
The Miami immigration attorneys at Revilla Law Firm, P.A., represent clients
in all areas of immigration law. Even though our law office is located
in Miami, Florida, we can handle immigration cases throughout the United States.
Call our office today to schedule a free in-office consultation. Telephone consultations can also be scheduled for a small fee.
(305) 858-2323 or toll free (877) 854-2323