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Courts Español Explainer

Después de la decisión del tribunal, ¿Qué le depara al TPS?

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Este mes, el Tribunal de Apelaciones de los Estados Unidos dictaminó que la administración de Trump puede acabar con el programa migratorio de Estatus de Protección Temporal, o TPS, de cuatro países. Este programa lleva 30 años brindando estatus migratorio temporal y asistencia humanitaria a 300,000 inmigrantes de países que enfrentan emergencias como guerras civiles, huracanes o epidemias.

Borderless Magazine habló con la abogada de inmigración Nancy Vizer sobre la decisión del tribunal y lo que eso significa para los beneficiarios de TPS. Puedes ver la entrevista completa en el último episodio de la serie de videos “Behind the Story” de Borderless Magazine.

¿Qué es TPS?

El gobierno de los Estados Unidos creó TPS como parte de la Ley de Inmigración de 1990. El programa debía brindar cierta protección a inmigrantes provenientes de países enfrentando conflictos armados, desastres ambientales u otras condiciones temporales y extraordinarias que impiden a los inmigrantes regresar a sus hogares de forma segura.

La Secretaría de Seguridad Nacional designa cuáles países son elegibles para el programa TPS. Los inmigrantes de esos países elegibles que están en los Estados Unidos el mismo día que el gobierno tomó esa decisión son elegibles para solicitar TPS. Como muchos otros programas de inmigración, los solicitantes de TPS deben pasar la verificación de antecedentes y no pueden haber sido condenados por ningún delito.

¿Cuáles países son elegibles para TPS?

Actualmente, los inmigrantes provenientes de diez países son elegibles para el TPS. Desde 1990, muchos de estos países califican para conseguir TPS. Por ejemplo, Sudán fue designado en 1997 durante su guerra civil. 

El Salvador, país hogar de la mayoría de los beneficiarios de TPS, fue designado en el 2001 después de sus terremotos devastadores. 

Una docena de países han sido revocados de el programa TPS en las últimas tres décadas, incluyendo Líbano y Bosnia-Herzegovina.

*Data de el Consejo Americano de Inmigración

 ¿Qué pueden hacer los beneficiarios de TPS?

– Pueden trabajar aquí. La autorización de empleo es parte del proceso de solicitud de TPS.

– Pueden viajar. A menudo, los titulares de TPS pueden obtener un documento de viaje que les permite visitar su país de origen y regresar a los Estados Unidos de manera segura y legal.

¿Qué es lo que no pueden hacer?

– No pueden tener tarjetas de residencia o ciudadanía americana a través del programa. A pesar de estar en los Estados Unidos, en algunos casos por más de 20 años, los beneficiarios de TPS no pueden obtener una residencia permanente. Esto difiere de los programas de refugiados o asilo, los cuales también apoyan inmigrantes enfrentando crisis humanitarias.

 – No pueden mantener su estatus de TPS por tiempo indefinido. Los beneficiarios de TPS deben volver a registrarse durante los períodos designados para mantener su estatus.

¿Por qué el tribunal dictamina ahora sobre el futuro de TPS?

Con el apoyo del presidente Donald Trump, la Secretaría de Seguridad Nacional canceló las designaciones de TPS de cuatro países a finales de 2017 y principios de 2018. Esa decisión impactó alrededor de 250,000 beneficiarios de TPS provenientes de El Salvador, Haití, Nicaragua y Sudán.

Hubo múltiples demandas en respuesta a esas decisiones que el Tribunal de Apelaciones del Noveno Circuito resolvió en septiembre. En una decisión dividida, el tribunal apoyó al Departamento de Seguridad Nacional para poder quitar a esos países del programa de TPS.

“La decisión se dio debido a la presión [de la Casa Blanca no] de si esas personas podían o no regresar a salvo a sus países de origen”. Dice la abogada de inmigración Vizer. “El presidente de los Estados Unidos expresó su animosidad hacia los países con TPS”.

¿Qué les depara a los beneficiarios de TPS?

Vizer cree que los beneficiarios de TPS no verán un cambio inmediato.

“Esto va a tomar tiempo. No van a empezar a deportar inmediatamente, van a darles otro año para que pongan sus asuntos en orden”, Vizer le dijo a Borderless Magazine. “Durante ese año, continuará el litigio y veremos si hay una nueva administración. Una nueva administración podría encontrar una razón para designar estos países nuevamente”.

Vizer cree que las organizaciones sin fin de lucro que presentaron esta demanda apelarán la decisión del tribunal y puede que terminen estando en el lado contrario a la administración de Trump.

“Tengan fe que las cosas cambiarán”, aconseja a los beneficiarios de TPS.

Traducido por Claudia Hernández

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Courts Explainer

After Court Ruling, What’s Next for TPS?

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U.S. Court of Appeals ruled this month that the Trump administration can end the Temporary Protected Status immigration program, or TPS, for four countries. The 30-year-old TPS program provides temporary immigration status and humanitarian assistance to 300,000 immigrants from countries dealing with emergencies such as civil wars, hurricanes, or epidemics. 

Borderless Magazine spoke to immigration attorney Nancy Vizer about the court ruling and what it means for TPS holders. You can watch the full interview in the latest episode of Borderless Magazine’s “Behind the Story” video series.

What is TPS? 

The United States government created TPS as part of the Immigration Act of 1990. The program was intended to give certain protections to immigrants from countries undergoing armed conflict, environmental disasters or other extraordinary and temporary conditions that prevent immigrants from returning home safely. 

The Secretary of Homeland Security designates which countries are eligible for the TPS program. Immigrants from those eligible countries who are in the United States on the day that the government makes its designation are eligible to apply for TPS. Like in many other immigration programs, TPS applicants must pass background checks and cannot have been convicted of a felony.

Which countries are eligible for TPS? 

Immigrants from ten countries are currently eligible for TPS. Many of these countries have been TPS eligible since the late 1990s. For example, Sudan was designated in 1997 during its civil war. 

El Salvador, which is the home for by far the most number of TPS holders, was designated in 2001 after devastating earthquakes. 

A dozen countries have had their TPS designations terminated over the last three decades, including Lebanon and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

*Data from the American Immigration Council

What can TPS holders do?

– They can work here. Employment authorization is a part of the application process for TPS. 

– They can travel. Often TPS holders can get a travel document that allows them to visit their home country and return to the United States safely and legally. 

What can they not do?

– They cannot get green cards or U.S. citizenship through the program. Despite being in the United States in some cases for over 20 years, TPS holders cannot get permanent residency. This differs from refugee or asylum programs, which also supports immigrants facing humanitarian crises.

– They cannot keep their TPS status indefinitely. TPS holders must re-register during designated periods in order to keep their status.

Why is the court ruling now on the future of TPS? 

With President Donald Trump’s encouragement, the Secretary of Homeland Security terminated TPS designations for four countries in late 2017 and early 2018. That decision impacted nearly 250,000 TPS holders from countries including El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Sudan. 

There were multiple lawsuits in response to those decisions, which the Ninth Circuit Court ruled on in September. In a split decision, that court upheld the Department of Homeland Security’s ability to remove those countries from the TPS program.

“The decision came from pressure [from the White House not] whether or not those people can go back safely to their countries,” says immigration attorney Vizer. “The president of the United States expressed animosity toward TPS countries.”

What’s next for TPS holders?

Vizer believes that TPS holders won’t see an immediate difference.

“This will take some time. They don’t immediately start deporting, they will give them another year to get their affairs in order,” Vizer told Borderless Magazine. “During that year the litigation will continue and we will see if there is a new administration. A new administration might find a reason to redesignate these countries.”

Vizer believes that the nonprofit organizations that brought this lawsuit will appeal the court’s decision and may end up siding against the Trump administration.

“Have faith that things will turn around,” she advises TPS holders.

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Courts Investigation

ICE Deported a Woman Who Accused Guards of Sexual Assault While the Feds Were Still Investigating the Incident

ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for The Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox.

The U.S. government late Monday deported a crucial witness in an ongoing investigation into allegations of sexual assault and harassment at an El Paso, Texas, immigrant detention center, the witness’s lawyers said.

The 35-year-old woman has been held in the facility, which is overseen by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, for about a year and told lawyers about a “pattern and practice” of abuse there, including that guards systematically assaulted her and other detainees in areas that were not visible to security cameras.

Several guards “forcibly” kissed her, and at least one touched her intimate parts, often as she was walking back from the medical unit to her barrack, according to her complaint filed with law enforcement agencies.

“If she behaved,” she said one guard told her, “he would help her be released.”

The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General launched an investigation into the accusations after ProPublica and The Texas Tribune first reported them last month. At least two more women have since come forward with similar allegations of assault.

The inspector general requested that ICE not deport the woman and the FBI interviewed the woman extensively, according to her lawyers. Her attorneys also sent a complaint to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas and the El Paso County District Attorney’s Office, warning of a potential criminal investigation.

Those government agencies did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Jeanette Harper, a spokeswoman for the FBI’s El Paso office, said the agency’s policy prevents it from commenting on an ongoing investigation. She said the lead agency into the woman’s allegations is now the Justice Department’s Inspector General, which oversees accusations of civil rights abuses. That office did not immediately return a call seeking comment.


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Last Friday, lawyers filed a habeas petition in federal court asking that the woman be freed on supervised release and held in an immigrant shelter in El Paso.

They said in an interview that guards and inmates had been making intimidating comments to her following her accusations and that she felt unsafe.

She gave investigators a tour of the facility, showing where the assaults occurred in security camera blind spots, her lawyers said. Shortly after she quoted one guard telling her: “You need to watch out for yourself.”

“Everybody knows, and it just made things very difficult for her,” said her lawyer, Linda Corchado.

Three days after her habeas was filed, DHS’ inspector general reversed its earlier position and told ICE that the agency could deport the woman and investigators would further interview her by telephone from Mexico if necessary, her lawyers said.

Within hours, she had been sent back even though she says she fears persecution from drug cartels there. A high-ranking cartel member sexually assaulted her and threatened her after she reported the attack to police, according to statements she gave the U.S. government.

The government “allowed their most powerful witness to be deported,” Corchado said. “How can we possibly take this investigation seriously now or ever pretend that it ever was from the outset?”

Ranjana Natarajan, who directs the Civil Rights Clinic at the University of Texas at Austin’s School of Law and who filed the woman’s habeas petition, wrote in an email that the government’s decision was “extremely disappointing.”

The woman had waived her right to appeal her deportation in July, long before the allegations became public. She told ProPublica in a telephone interview last month that she worried about being targeted in the detention center for speaking up about the abuse.

In August, her lawyers filed an application with ICE requesting the agency not remove her and that it release her until the investigation is complete. She could also qualify for a legal status known as a U visa, which is intended for immigrant victims of crime.

Instead, the government deported her.

“We hope that the government does not abandon its investigation of disturbing and egregious allegations of sexual misconduct at the El Paso detention center,” Natarajan said.

ProPublica and the Tribune are not identifying the deported woman because she said she is a victim of sexual assault. She repeatedly told reporters, lawyers and investigators the same account, identifying the officers who abused her and other detainees.

When she complained to a captain, she said he dismissed her. One officer who had assaulted her briefly disappeared from her area of the detention center only to later return, becoming “increasingly aggressive and intimidating.” She told lawyers that the same officer was still working in her area of the facility last week.

“She has lived in constant panic that he may do something against her again,” according to her complaint.

The allegations detailed by her and two other detainees in that filing also involved a lieutenant who detainees said was promoted even after women complained. At least one other woman was deported after a guard assaulted her, detainees told lawyers.

A spokesperson for ICE has said that those allegations would be investigated, including by its Office of Professional Responsibility. The agency has “zero tolerance” for abuse, she wrote in an email last month. “When substantiated, appropriate action is taken.”

A spokesperson for Global Precision Systems, a subsidiary of Bering Straits Native Corporation, which contracts with ICE to run the El Paso facility, has said that she could not comment on pending legal matters.

The El Paso allegations are the latest instance of sexual abuse complaints related to detention centers run by ICE, which imprisoned an average of 50,000 immigrants daily across the country in 2019. Most are operated by contractors at taxpayer expense.

Another woman also said she was repeatedly harassed while in the El Paso detention center and that guards continued to reach out to her even after she was released.

She told ProPublica and the Tribune in a telephone interview that officers encouraged detainees to sign up for anti-anxiety pills because they oversee the dispensing of medication at night and have access to an enclosed off-camera area.

“Most women who are still there are scared of saying anything,” she said. “You don’t know what they can do.”

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Courts Video

Immigration Judges Sue Over Censorship

Above: Judge Samuel Cole of Chicago’s Immigration Court and director of communications of the National Association of Immigration Judges, pictured on April 10, 2020 outside his home in suburban Chicago. Photo by Michelle Kanaar.

The union representing immigration judges sued the Department of Justice this month over a policy that limits their ability to speak publicly about their work.

“Part of the job of an immigration judge is to educate the public about the immigration courts and the role they play in society,” said Judge A. Ashley Tabaddor, president of the National Association of Immigration Judges, in a statement. “This policy prevents us from doing this critical work, undermining public understanding of and trust in the immigration courts in the process.”

Judge Samuel Cole is a judge at the Chicago Immigration Court and serves as the director of communications at NAIJ.

Borderless Magazine reporter Diane Bou Khalil spoke to Judge Samuel Cole about the lawsuit and what it means to be an immigration judge at this moment.

 

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