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Deportation hearings commence in remote, for-profit detention centers

The Guardian reported today, "Behind two rows of high fencing and winding coils of razor wire, and surrounded by thick forest in central Louisiana, hundreds of miles from the nearest major city, stands a newly created court the Trump administration hopes will fast-track the removal of undocumented immigrants.

"Hearings take place in five poky courtrooms behind reinforced grey doors where the public benches, scratched with graffiti, are completely empty. There is no natural light. The hallways are lined with detainees in yellow jumpsuits awaiting their turn before a judge. The five sitting judges were quietly flown in by the US justice department from cities across the United States and will be rotated again within two weeks.

"This is the LaSalle detention facility that, since March this year, has been holding removal proceedings for hundreds of detained migrants in courtrooms adjoining a private detention center, which incarcerates more than 1,100 men and women and has the highest number of prisoner deaths of any in America over the past two years.

"The new setup is part of Donald Trump’s attempts to ramp up deportations by vastly expanding the arrest powers of federal immigration enforcement and prioritising more vulnerable groups of detained migrants in new court locations around the country."

Recent reports have severely criticized ICE for its inadequate oversight of such for-profit detention centers - a condition that has led, in recent years, to the deaths of several detainees, and which has worsened alarmingly under the Trump administration.

House Judiciary Committee approves harsh anti-immigrant bill

Last week the House Judiciary Committee approved HR 2431, a sweeping measure meant to speed the removal of undocumented immigrants - that is, the women, men, and children who make up roughly 3% of the U.S. population. With majorities in both chambers, the GOP just might enact this bill, which is named after two police officers killed by an undocumented immigrant three years ago. HR 2431 would, among many other things, (1) forbid future presidents from establishing programs like DACA, (2) shield from any liability local jails that hold immigrants for ICE to pick up later, (3) strip "criminal aliens" of the right to see an immigration judge before being deported, and (4) require all ICE officer to carry guns.

Attorney in Dallas Morning News: we're all less safe when police enforce immigration laws
The Dallas Morning News published yesterday an editorial written by the attorney denouncing the recently-enacted SB4, and arguing that, "we are all less safe in show-me-your-papers Texas."

Human Rights First: U.S. and Mexico routinely violate the rights of asylum seekers

Despite recent assurances from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials that its procedures are "are based on international law and are focused on protecting some of the world’s most vulnerable and persecuted people,” Human RIghts First reports that "U.S. border agents have turned away asylum seekers, without referring them for the required protection screening or immigration court proceedings, at official ports of entry across the southern border." The report also criticizes Mexican officials' complicity in discouraging and and even blocking refugees from claiming asylum at U.S. ports of entry. The report's findings closely track critiques published in 2014 by Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

Planning for the disaster of deportation: Appleseed posts excellent guide

The Appleseed Foundation has posted an authoritative, comprehensive guide to arranging child custody and preserving personal assets in the event of deportation.

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