In case you missed it, here is a recap of some of the immigration-related news around the U.S. this week.
1: ICE accidentally releases thousands of immigrants’ personal info online
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is in hot water again after accidentally posting the names, birthdates, nationalities and detention locations to its website on Nov. 28 of more than 6,000 immigrants who claimed to be fleeing torture and persecution.
The unprecedented data dump could expose the immigrants—all of whom are currently in ICE custody—to retaliation from the very individuals, gangs and governments they fled, according to attorneys for people who have sought protection in the U.S. The personal information of people seeking asylum and other protections is supposed to be kept confidential; a federal regulation generally forbids its disclosure without sign-off by top officials in the Department of Homeland Security. ICE officials say they are investigating the incident and will notify the affected immigrants about the disclosure of their information. The agency also has said it will not deport immigrants whose information it mistakenly posted until it is determined whether the disclosure affects their cases.
2: Martha’s Vineyard immigrants add plane company, high-level Florida officials to lawsuit
Attorneys from Lawyers for Civil Rights (LCR) have filed an amended complaint in the federal class action challenging the scheme perpetrated by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and others to fly immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard under false pretenses.
Since the filing of the original complaint, the LCR has been joined by the Boston-based firm Foley Hoag LLP, which is providing representation pro bono in this litigation.
In addition to adding new factual allegations and claims under federal and state law, the amended complaint adds the plane company that flew the migrants (Vertol Systems Company, Inc.); its CEO; Florida’s “Public Safety Czar”; Gov. DeSantis’s chief of staff; and Perla Huerta, who spearheaded the deceptive recruitment of immigrants, as defendants.
The amended complaint also outlines a web of involvement from Vertol Systems Company, Inc., the politically connected plane company that chartered the Martha’s Vineyard flights, and the infamous “Perla,” now identified as Perla Huerta. To date, Vertol has received over $1.5 million from the State of Florida for the scheme.
3: First Black Democratic house leader acknowledges Caribbean American great
The U.S.’s first black Democratic House Leader, Brooklyn-born Hakeem Jeffries, began his first public speech by thanking a Caribbean American lawmaker on whose shoulders he said he stands.
Jeffries paid tribute to Shirley Chisholm, who was born in Brooklyn to immigrant parents from Guyana and Barbados, on what would have been her 98th birthday, Nov. 30.
“Growing up in that Crown Heights neighborhood, the first member of Congress I was ever aware of was the Honorable Shirley Chisholm and I eventually was able to be elected to represent many neighborhoods in Brooklyn that she formerly represented,” Jeffries said. “I stand on the shoulders of people like Shirley Chisholm and so many others as we work to advance the ball for everyday Americans and get stuff done, because that’s what Democrats do.” He also pledged to continue to work to fight for all Americans, especially immigrants.
Of course, beyond the rhetoric, it’s unclear exactly what Jeffries will be able to accomplish in a Congress that will be controlled by Republicans come January, who have made a point of insisting they will aim to make it harder for immigrants seeking to enter the U.S.
4: Kingdom of Eswatini added to US H-2A and H-2B visa program
The Kingdom of Eswatini, formerly Swaziland, has now been added to the nations the U.S. deems now eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B visa programs in the next year.
The Department of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Department of State, recently announced the Kingdom of Eswatini is on the list of eligible countries in the Federal Register as of Nov. 10, 2022. Each country’s designation is currently valid from Nov. 10, 2022, until Nov. 9, 2023.
The writer is publisher of NewsAmericasNow.com – The Black Immigrant Daily News.