Federal Government Reportedly Tracked Immigration Activists, Lawyers, and Journalists in Secret Database
By ERIK SHERMAN 9:10 AM EST
The federal government has been secretly tracking immigration activists, lawyers, and journalists covering the topic, KNSD-TV, an NBC station in San Diego, reported on Wednesday evening.
Leaked documents from a Homeland Security source showed that the U.S. created and maintained a secret database of activists, journalists, and social media influencers the government had associated with the migrant caravan that traveled from Central America to the U.S.-Mexico border at the end of 2018. Following the event, a number of people who were among the 50 in the database said they seemed to be targeted for higher scrutiny at the border. Most of the people monitored are U.S. citizens.
Early in 2019, two journalists and two immigration rights attorneys who had worked with members of the caravan were denied entry into Mexico, according to the Los Angeles Times. Their passports had been flagged.
No Emergency at the Border as House Says they Reject Emergency Move
Yesterday, US House of Representatives wield their power when they passed legislation to terminate the emergency declared at the U.S.-Mexico border by president Trump in a bid to build a border wall there.
The House passed the resolution following a vote of 245-182 to set up a vote in the Senate, with a Republican majority.
Democratic House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, reveled in the victory but is aware that the tally falls short of what would be needed to override a possible veto from the President, a Republican. The move to stop the president’s declaration was supported by only 13 Republicans.
The main force behind the controversial legislation, Democratic Representative Joaquin Castro, said “Border crossings are at a 40-year low. There is no emergency at the border, he said.
The Outlook On Immigration In 2019
Continued Attacks on H-1B Visa Holders and Their Employers: In interviews, employers and immigration attorneys cannot name any favorable actions the Trump administration has taken toward high-skilled immigrants. Expect this two-year streak to continue into 2019. In December 20, 2018, testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen made it clear U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) would keep viewing high-skilled foreign-born professionals more as threats to U.S. workers than as assets to the U.S. economy.
Democrats want investigation of immigration officials force-feeding immigrants
Nearly 50 Democratic lawmakers called for a watchdog investigation of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Tuesday after the agency confirmed it had been force-feeding immigrant detainees on a hunger strike.
Reporting by The Associated Press revealed late last month that nine Indian men who were refusing food at a Texas detention facility were being force-fed through nasal tubes against their will.
Denver immigration court cases delayed by shutdown may not go before judges until 2020
USCIS Announces Online Case Status Feature for Asylum Applicants
WASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that applicants who have a pending affirmative asylum application with USCIS can now check the status of their applications online at uscis.gov/casestatus. Only asylum applicants with an application pending with USCIS will be able to use this new feature to check their case status online. It will not cover defensive asylum applicants whose cases are pending in immigration court.
“The new capability increases transparency and assures applicants that they have the most up-to-date and accurate information about their case, 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said USCIS Director L. Francis Cissna. “We strive to adjudicate all applications and petitions in a timely manner and are working to reduce the impact on processing times by aligning resources appropriately.”
New USCIS Tool Calculates Fees, Helps Avoid Incorrect Payments
WASHINGTON-- USCIS has launched a new Online Fee Calculator to assist members of the public in calculating the correct fee amount to include when filing their forms with USCIS at an agency lockbox facility. A list of forms processed at USCIS Lockbox facilities is available on the USCIS website.
USCIS developed the Online Fee Calculator to help reduce the number of applications rejected due to incorrect fee amounts. The Online Fee Calculator will determine the exact filing and biometric fees an individual needs to include with their forms and will always have the most up-to-date fee information.
JTF-W STC Arrests USCIS Target Tied To Illicit Funds, Marriage Fraud
MCALLEN, TEXAS – On January 8, 2019, agents assigned to the Joint Task Force - West, South Texas Corridor’s McAllen Joint Targeting Team (JTT) in coordination with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and Hidalgo County Precinct 2 Constables Office, arrested Edsgardo Coss-Vallejo on suspicion of marriage fraud and currency smuggling.
Effective immediately, the categorical CNMI parole programs are terminated. This affects USCIS parole programs for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens and certain stateless individuals; CNMI permanent residents, immediate relatives of CNMI permanent residents, and immediate relatives of citizens of the Freely Associated States (Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of the Marshall Islands, or Palau); and certain in-home foreign worker caregivers of CNMI residents.
Lapse in Federal Funding Does Not Impact Most USCIS Operations
The current lapse in annual appropriated funding for the U.S. government does not affect USCIS’s fee-funded activities. Our offices will remain open, and all individuals should attend interviews and appointments as scheduled. USCIS will continue to accept petitions and applications for benefit requests, except as noted below.
Some USCIS programs, however, will either expire or suspend operations, or be otherwise affected, until they receive appropriated funds or are reauthorized by Congress.