ICE kept immigrant minors in hotels
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency kept more than 577 immigrant minors in hotels before deporting them from the US during the health crisis caused by the global Coronavirus pandemic.
Local law states that unaccompanied immigrant minors must be transferred to facilities of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), where they receive professional care and can wait until their immigration cases are resolved.
The reason why minors cannot be detained by border forces, such as ICE, for more than a certain period of time is because local law tries to protect them from danger, mainly because they are normally victims of human trafficking, violence, abuse, kidnapping, inter alia.
However, the sudden arrival of the pandemic allowed the Trump administration to increase restrictions and ban the entry of immigrants, quickly deporting most foreigners who arrived at the borders or who tried to cross them without legal documentation, including immigrant minors.
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Immigrant rights advocates raised their voices
Due to the seriousness of the news, hundreds of immigrant rights advocates raised their voices and stated that keeping minors in hotels violates human rights, contradicts the Constitution of the US and does not allow them to request international protection.
The case reached a local court and in early September 2020, a federal judge ban ICE from keeping immigrant minors in hotels.
The Trump administration argues that this practice was intended to prevent another massive Coronavirus outbreak in the US. However, dozens of activists claim that the Trump government is using the health crisis as a pretext to fulfill its “anti-immigration agenda.”
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Ninth Circuit ratifies the judge’s order
On Sunday, October 4, 2020, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the federal judge’s decision and rejected the Trump administration’s request to allow border forces to keep minors in hotels during the current juncture.
Judges involved in the ruling were quite critical and stated that unaccompanied immigrant minors must have the opportunity to access legal guidance and be able to apply for protection in the US. Therefore, after the Ninth Circuit’s verdict, ICE cannot keep immigrant minors in hotels during the health crisis.
It is important to clarify that immigrant rights advocates emphasize that the problem is not the hotels, but that border forces do not allow the most vulnerable immigrant communities, such as unaccompanied minors, to request international protection through humanitarian programs.
Reliable help for your immigration case
The Trump administration has implemented several emergency measures during the health crisis, which slightly change some immigration processes. That is why we recommend for you to seek reliable help from experts, who are up to date with current immigration policies.
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