HIAS PA Issues Digest #5: RAISE Act and more

Fifth Edition                                                                                  August 9, 2017

HIAS Pennsylvania Immigration Issues Digest 

Senators Officially Unveil RAISE Act Targeting Legal Immigration


The Trouble with ICE: A Government Agency With Fewer and Fewer Restrictions 

We’re putting more people into that overburdened system just because we can. There’s just this school of thought that, well, we can do what we want.” That is what an anonymous ICE agent had to say about the troubling direction the agency is heading in under the Trump Administration.
While the Obama Administration was active in detaining and deporting undocumented immigrants, the investigations were focused and careful to follow the law. However, ICE is seeing a dramatically different attitude under the Trump administration, undocumented immigrants are being targeted indiscriminately, leaving a lot of leeway in the hands of ICE agents (hear about the complexities of those decisions in this podcast ).
Even more worrisome, ICE agents are given the freedom to act contemptuously towards immigrants. Standards and protocols are being ignored.

What does this mean?

ICE officials acting without the oversight that used to keep them in check does not bode well for those whose futures are threatened by ICE’s actions. The brother of a HIAS PA client is an example:
One of the clients HIAS Pennsylvania is working with to gain humanitarian relief was targeted and picked up by ICE while he was spending time with his brother outside his home. When they came for him, he cooperated and left with them with no trouble. However, one of the ICE officials remained to question his brother. His brother knew his rights, so when the ICE officers asked for his name he didn’t tell them. One of the ICE officers then stole his wallet from his pants pocket in order to learn his name and threatened to come back.
ICE officers now feel comfortable blatantly not following the law. Encouraging aggression and harshness will only lead to more ICE officers breaking the law and violating the rights of the people they encounter, regardless of status.

What can you do?

Join the New Sanctuary Movement to learn how to become active witnesses to ICE arrests. Donate to HIAS Pennsylvania so that we can continue to provide legal services to fight back against injustices like these.

Trump Rhetoric Paints MS-13 As Representative of Undocumented Immigrants

In a recent campaign style rally in West Virginia, President Donald Trump told the assembled crowd of his plan to “crack down” on the violence of the street gang MS 13 as an example of what happened as a result of past administrations “not being tough enough” on “illegal immigration”. In fact, the reason that there are any MS-13 gang members in this country is because of the United States’ home grown gang members who taught immigrants what they knew about gang behavior and violence. After the lessons were learned, the U.S. deported gang members who then spread their learning in their countries of origin, allowing the gang to flourish and become an international threat. Once again this President is proposing policies based on myths rather than facts.

What can you do?

Educate your friends and family about the ways that indiscriminate detention and deportation of undocumented immigrants diverts resources from real problems, separates families and does absolutely nothing to make us safer – from gangs or any other criminal.

HIAS Pennsylvania In The News

Congratulations Ayodele Gansallo!
​Ayodele Gansallo, senior staff attorney at HIAS PA, was recently given the Philadelphia Bar Association's 2017 Foundation Award. Carole Wilder, a pro bono attorney who volunteers at HIAS Pennsylvania said it best, “Ayo’s depth of knowledge and experience as an immigration lawyer has been invaluable, but it is her passion for her work and her willingness to give so much of herself and her time that is so extraordinary.”


Congratulations Isabel Abreu!
In a recent  Penn Law feature , our very own Isabel Abreu’s vital work at HIAS PA with immigrant survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault is covered. She will be continuing the work that she started with a Penn Law fellowship with HIAS PA thanks to  the Equal Justice Works Fellowship sponsored by Merck & Co., Inc. and Covington & Burling LLP to extend her project for two more years.


“Refugee Resettlement on Hold”
As described in earlier digests, thanks to the Trump Administration and recent Supreme Court announcements, much of refugee resettlement in the US is on hold as nonprofit organizations wait on refugees who may never come.  Vox  interviews HIAS PA’s director of refugee resettlement Rona Buchalter, who describes the struggles of resettlement agencies unsure of what the future brings for refugee resettlement in America.



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