Immigration and Customs Enforcement

A 57-year-old Salvadoran man who was held at the Otay Mesa Detention Center in California died from COVID-19 on Wednesday. It is the first confirmed death from the disease of an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainee in an ICE detention center.

Carlos Escobar-Mejia had been in ICE custody since Jan. 10, when he was stopped in a car by the Border Patrol in Chula Vista. Before then, he had been living in the United States for 40 years.

Obtained by the Miami Herald

Last month immigration rights groups sued the federal government to release migrants in South Florida detention centers because of the risks of infection from the new coronavirus. That’s what a U.S. judge is now ordering the Trump Administration to do.

Dieu Nalio Chery / AP via Miami Herald

Earlier this month, the U.S. deported a group of Haitians back to Haiti – and some tested positive for the new coronavirus. Immigrant advocates are now demanding the U.S. not send another flight of Haitian deportees this week.

Updated at 6:47 p.m. ET

President Trump said he plans to "temporarily suspend immigration into the United States," in an attempt to protect American workers from the coronavirus' economic toll.

Trump first announced his proposal in a late-night tweet Monday, then added details at the White House coronavirus task force briefing on Tuesday.

A federal judge in California on Monday ordered U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to "identify and track" every person in ICE detention at an elevated risk of complications from COVID-19 and to consider releasing those detainees, regardless of their legal status.

Risk factors identified by the court include pregnant women, people older than 55 and those with chronic health conditions.

C.M. Guerrero / Miami Herald

The federal government has designated farm workers as "essential" to the U.S. food supply chain during the COVID-19 crisis. Ironically, about two-thirds of U.S. farm workers are undocumented immigrants from Latin America. Either way, they do most of our food picking and processing, especially in Florida.

So Paulino Gallegos has a question: If undocumented workers like him are “essential” to the cause – why was he recently locked up?

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials announced on Wednesday agents will temporarily postpone most arrests due to the coronavirus pandemic. Instead the agency will focus on only pursuing people who pose public safety risks and individuals subject to mandatory detention on criminal grounds.

It is unclear how long the new strategy will be in place but officials explained in a statement the move is designed to "ensure the welfare and safety of the general public as well as officers and agents."

The State Department plans to deny tourist visas to pregnant women if officials believe they are traveling here to secure American citizenship for their child by giving birth on U.S. soil.

The Trump administration says it is targeting the practice known as "birth tourism." The State Department says that traveling to deliver a child in the U.S. is not "a legitimate activity for pleasure or of a recreational nature."

When a government expert in mental health visited one of the largest immigration detention centers in the U.S. in 2017, she knew the conditions that detainees there sometimes face. A past inspection had found that staff often failed to obtain adequate mental health histories, leading to faulty diagnoses and, in some cases, treatment plans that were incorrect.

A federal judge in California ruled Wednesday that the Trump administration may not divert $3.6 billion in Defense Department funds for construction of the wall on the southern border.

A Chinese businesswoman who was incarcerated for eight months for trespassing at President Donald Trump’s Palm Beach club was transferred Wednesday from a federal lockup to the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for deportation to China.

Yujing Zhang, 33, was moved to the Glades County Detention Center in Moore Haven after being held at the Paul Rein Detention Facility in Broward County following her sentencing last week, according to an ICE website.

It was not clear when Zhang, who faces a removal proceeding, would be deported to China.

When José moved his family to the United States from Mexico nearly two decades ago, he had hopes of giving his children a better life.

The number of people apprehended by U.S. authorities, either attempting to cross the southwest border illegally or presenting themselves at a port of entry, declined for the fifth consecutive month, according to new figures released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Just over 45,000 people were apprehended in October, down from a spike of 144,000 in May — an almost 70 percent decline.

Authorities also report a significant demographic shift among those apprehended.

John Hart / Wisconsin State Journal via AP

A new study says allowing the estimated 750,000 undocumented immigrants living in Florida to obtain driver’s licenses would not only ease their lives, but also increase state revenue and public safety.

The findings of the study by nonpartisan Florida Policy Institute (FPI) could play a large part in upcoming legislation being introduced by state Sen. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, aimed at allowing driver’s licenses for all.

The bill would align Florida with 14 other states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, all of whom have passed similar laws.

The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Tuesday in a highly anticipated set of cases that threatens the legal status of some 700,000 young immigrants — often called DREAMers — who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children. It's a program that President Trump tried to rescind seven months after taking office, only to have the lower courts block his action.

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