This week in immigration news – January 23, 2020

Immigrant youth at a Virginia detention center are speaking out about the harsh treatment they have received—including being tied to a chair with a bag over their head.

Attorneys from around the country have filed a brief citing youth’s claims about the treatment they received there. While a 2018 lawsuit allowed a trial over the excessive use of force in the facility, the courts ruled against the claim that better mental health care was needed for immigrant youth. Now that the case is being appealed, immigrant advocates hope to change that.

The Trump administration is deporting a Honduran mother and her two young children to Guatemala to wait out their asylum case.

Due to an “Asylum Cooperative Agreement” the United States has with the Guatemalan government, refugees are forced to choose between refuge in Guatemala (which has its own problems with violence and poverty), and returning home.

Advocates have charged that it is cruel to send the family to Guatemala, especially since both children have been battling illnesses in the United States—the youngest child, at 18-months, became ill after a time in the custody of Customs and Border Protection. Similarly, they have raised concerns about the cooperative agreement, as conditions in Guatemala are not safe for many migrants.

In Colorado, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been arresting immigrants at courthouses, which previously ICE had left alone.

Immigrant advocates say that arrests at courthouses deter undocumented people from reporting crimes. ICE has claimed that they have no choice but to set up at courthouses because of so-called sanctuary cities (areas where local police decline to cooperate with ICE agents). Colorado Senator Julie Gonzales (D-Denver) has introduced a bill that would prohibit courthouse arrests.

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