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Trump’s Immigration Crackdown Is Overwhelming a Strained System

The number of pending cases in immigration courts looks poised to grow as the Trump administration begins removing undocumented immigrants who weren’t previously targeted. AILA board member Jeremy McKinney explained that the 2014 migrant wave at the southern border first put a strain on the interior immigration courts

DOJ rescinds Memorandum on Use of Private Prisons

On February 21, 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo to the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) rescinding former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates’ August 18, 2016, memo entitled “Reducing Our Use of Private Prisons,” which aimed to sharply scale back DOJ’s use of private prison contractors in the federal prison system. The memo from Sessions eliminates the review of private prison contracts at the end of their term, and directs the BOP to return to its previous approach with regard to the use of private prisons.

CBP holding people in inhuman conditions

The U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona issued an order finding that CBP is violating the constitutional rights of immigration detainees by holding them in conditions of confinement that fail to meet their basic human needs, and directing CBP to take certain steps to improve conditions in those facilities, known as hieleras. The injunction stems from a class action lawsuit filed in June 2015 by a group of immigration detainees who alleged that they were subjected to inhumane and punitive conditions during their confinement in Tucson Sector CBP holding facilities.

Former Immigration Judges and BIA Members Slam DHS on Immigration Detention System

On October 31, 2016, former Immigration Judges and BIA members sent a letter to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson to express concern and disappointment regarding the dramatic increase in the numbers of men, women, and children detained by ICE, stating, “On the basis of our experiences as immigration jurists, we know this expansion comes at the expense of basic rights and due process.”

U.S. News and World Report: Supreme Court to Consider Indefinite Detention for Immigrants

This U.S. News and World Report article reports that the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on Wednesday over whether immigrants facing deportation can be detained indefinitely for months or even years without a hearing. The case, Jennings v. Rodriguez, could have broad implications for President-elect Donald Trump’s proposals to step up immigration enforcement and ramp up deportations. If the respondents prevail, the Supreme Court could require mandatory bond hearings for detained immigrants nationwide. If the government wins, however, tens of thousands of people could be exposed to potentially indefinite periods of immigration detention.

CBP opens another holding facility

CBP announced that it is setting up a temporary holding facility adjacent to the Donna-Rio Bravo International Bridge in Donna, Texas, to provide additional capacity for unaccompanied children and family units in CBP custody at Ports of Entry and U.S. Border Patrol stations in the South Texas area. The temporary site can currently hold up to 500 people, but CBP stated that it will regularly assess whether to expand this facility or keep it operational based on the number of people arriving in the area.

Court Limits Attorney General’s Discretion to Use Mandatory Detention Provision

An equally divided en banc First Circuit affirmed the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, holding that the bar to bonded release found in the detention mandate in INA §236(c) applies only to those specified criminal undocumented immigrants whom the Attorney General took into custody when they were released from criminal custody. The court concluded that the two petitioners were not taken into immigration custody when they were released from criminal custody, because they had been released from criminal custody years before their immigration custody began. As a result, the court found that the detention mandate did not bar either petitioner from seeking release on bond pursuant to the Attorney General’s discretionary release authority.

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