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Immigrant Info’s mission is to support a healthy and resilient community for everyone through successful integration of immigrants, refugees and asylees into our society. Our intention is to create a collaborative space that facilitates connection, cooperation and focus on our common goals. We invite the submission of information about news, classes, resources, and community events of interest to Santa Clara County immigrants.

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In the News

'It IS bad there': Emails reveal Trump officials pushing for immigrant protection terminations
8/27/18 There was a simple explanation in October 2017 when a Department of Homeland Security official was asked why a memo justifying ending immigrant protections for Central Americans made conditions in those countries sound so bad. "The basic problem is that it IS bad there," the official wrote. Nevertheless, he agreed to go back and see what he could do to better bolster the administration's decision to end the protections regardless. The revelation comes in a collection of internal emails and documents made public Friday as part of an ongoing lawsuit over the decision to end temporary protected status for hundreds of thousands of immigrants who live in the US, most of whom have been here for well over a decade.

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A 1-Year-Old Boy Had a Court Appearance Before an Immigration Judge in Phoenix
7/8/18 The 1-year-old boy in a green button-up shirt drank milk from a bottle, played with a small purple ball that lit up when it hit the ground and occasionally asked for "agua." Then it was the child's turn for his court appearance before a Phoenix immigration judge, who could hardly contain his unease with the situation during the portion of the hearing where he asks immigrant defendants whether they understand the proceedings. "I'm embarrassed to ask it, because I don't know who you would explain it to, unless you think that a 1-year-old could learn immigration law," Judge John W. Richardson told the lawyer representing the child.

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CA Pretrial Diversion for Minor Drug Charges
1/1/2018 As of January 1, 2018, California will offer a pretrial diversion program to qualifying defendants charged with minor drug offenses. See AB 2082 (2017) (Eggman), amending California Penal Code § 1000 et seq. In this process, defendants will be permitted to plead "not guilty" before they are diverted to a drug education program. If they successfully complete this and other requirements within 12 - 18 months (or more, if they request and are granted more time), then the drug charge/s will be dropped and they will have no conviction from the incident for immigration purposes or any other purpose.

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California high court rules for immigrant kids in visa fight
8/16/18 The California Supreme Court on Thursday made it easier for some immigrant children who are abused or abandoned by a parent to seek a U.S. visa to avoid deportation in a ruling that advocates said would help thousands of children. State judges cannot require that children drag an absentee parent living abroad into court in their visa application process, the justices said in a unanimous decision.

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California vs Trump over 2020 census
7/13/18 Regardless of who wins, the census results will have heavy political and economic consequences for California. The Trump administration and a Republican Congress, they say, is starving the Census Bureau of the money it would need to conduct an accurate census, especially hard-to-count poor, homeless and/or undocumented immigrant residents and children. The current plan relies on computerized responses with fewer census takers being hired to physically count those who don't respond.

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Detaining migrant kids now a multi-billion dollar industry
7/12/18 Detaining immigrant children has morphed into a surging industry in the U.S. that now reaps $1 billion annually - a tenfold increase over the past decade, an Associated Press analysis finds. Health and Human Services grants for shelters, foster care and other child welfare services for detained unaccompanied and separated children soared from $74.5 million in 2007 to $958 million dollars in 2017. The agency is also reviewing a new round of proposals amid a growing effort by the White House to keep immigrant children in government custody. Currently, more than 11,800 children, from a few months old to 17, are housed in nearly 90 facilities in 15 states; Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Washington.

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Doctors decry plans to detain immigrant kids with parents
6/27/18 Doctors are speaking out against the Trump administration's plans to stop separating immigrant families by instead detaining children with their parents. That approach, top pediatricians warned Wednesday, replaces one inhumane policy with another. "It puts these kids at risk for abnormal development," said Dr. Colleen Kraft, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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Faith Leaders Oppose Trump's Immigration Policy Of Separating Children From Parents
6/16/18 A Trump administration policy of separating children from their parents on the U.S. border has prompted a crescendo of criticism among religious leaders. They span different faiths, denominations and ages. Some of them have also helped the president gain support for his base. About 11,000 children are in shelters, according to the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Nearly 2,000 children were removed from the care of their parents and taken into federal custody between April 19 and May 31, an immigration official said Friday.

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Federal Judge Orders that Children Must be Returned to Their Parents Within 30 Days.
6/27/18 Judge Dana M. Sabraw granted a preliminary injunction sought by the American Civil Liberties Union, saying all migrant children separated from their parents must be returned to their families within 30 days, allowing just 14 days for the return of children under age 5. He also ordered that parents be allowed to speak by phone with their children within 10 days. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and other top Homeland Security officials have repeatedly insisted the country's immigration impasse requires urgent legislative attention. But the country's border security and immigration agencies now find themselves pressed by Trump's June 20 executive order and the new court order to reunite the migrant families they have spent the past six weeks pulling apart.

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Federal court blocks ICE treatment of asylum seekers
7/2/18 Judge James Boasberg issued a preliminary injunction ordering the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency to stop what opponents called the arbitrary detention of legitimate asylum seekers. The case in question continues, but the injunction opens up yet another legal front in the multi-directional battle being waged by the Trump administration over immigration. "This ruling means the Trump administration cannot use indefinite detention as a weapon to punish and deter asylum seekers," said Michael Tan, senior staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union's Immigrants' Rights Project.

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H-1B: U.S. officials cracking down on Indian citizens, report says
8/17/18 A crackdown on the controversial H-1B visa intended for skilled workers has struck Indian citizens harder than other foreign nationals, with federal officials hitting them with more visa denials and demands for proof of their eligibility to work. That's according to a report that found U.S. gatekeepers ramping up their rate of visa refusals at the end of last year and slapping applicants from India with more "requests for evidence" of eligibility than applicants from other nations. The increased denials and scrutiny were "likely due to new Trump administration policies," said the group that produced the report, the National Foundation for American Policy.

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House immigration bill threatens to undermine sanctuary city policies
6/16/18 Congressional Republicans are pushing a new tactic to combat sanctuary cities: make it easier to sue them. That effort, part of a major immigration bill in the House of Representatives, threatens to undermine sanctuary policies across California by making jurisdictions that refuse to cooperate with immigration authorities liable for some crimes committed by undocumented immigrants they release. The bill, scheduled for a vote next week, also provides a path to citizenship for young undocumented immigrants but restricts legal immigration, limits asylum claims and budgets $25 billion for the construction of a border wall and other border security measures.

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ILRC DACA Update Augusst 31, 2018
8/31/18 The purpose of this advisory is to provide service providers with an update on the status of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and how to counsel clients now. In it we include information on the current status of the DACA program, what to tell clients, factors to consider in deciding when and if to renew DACA, and ideas for what people should do now if they have never had DACA.

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Immigrants and Their Children Use Less Welfare than Third-and-Higher Generation Americans
6/4/18 Research by the Cato Institute shows that immigrants, in the first and second generations consume an average of 33 percent fewer welfare benefits, per capita, than native-born Americans who are in the third-and-higher generations for these TANF (Welfare), SNAP (Food Stamps), SSI and Social Security.

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Immigrants as Economic Contributors: Immigrant Tax Contributions and Spending Power
9/6/18 Immigrants play an increasingly pivotal role in the U.S. economy. Every American benefits from the taxes that immigrants pay and from the money they spend on consumer goods and services. Their participation in the economy creates a demand for goods and services, thereby boosting job growth. This fact sheet is one of a series of papers examining the various roles immigrants play in our economy. It highlights research illuminating the role that immigrants play in helping cover the cost of public services at the local, state, and federal level, and how their spending contributes to the U.S. economy. These immigrant contributions are often overlooked, but they significantly benefit all Americans.

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It Is Legal to Seek Asylum
7/17/18 As thousands of asylum-seeking parents were separated from their children in recent months, the Trump administration actively portrayed them as law breakers who must be prosecuted and punished for coming to the United States. Left out of the narrative is one well-established fact: it is legal to seek asylum. The Immigration and Nationality Act, which governs our nation's immigration law, makes clear that anyone arriving at the U.S. border or within the United States is permitted to apply for protection. U.S. law embraces both international and domestic legal obligations not to return any person to a place where they face persecution on account of one of several protected grounds.

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Judge could halt arrests of immigrants seeking green cards
8/22/18 US District Judge Mark Wolf heard testimony Tuesday from people who had been unexpectedly detained when they sat for marriage interviews as part of the application process to prove that their marriages to US citizens were legitimate. Emails entered as evidence in the case show what appear to be efforts between US Citizenship and Immigration Services employees and Immigration and Customs Enforcement employees to coordinate the interview appointments and arrests.

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Much damage to undo in family separations
8/15/18 We are hearing reunification stories from the front lines. Accounts from families, journalists, activists, political leaders and clinicians tell of the enormous distress that refugee children and parents have endured. Media: Wibbitz Not only young children will show the ill effects of separation and detention. Children of all ages have suffered in different ways depending on age, health and the conditions of separation and detention. But younger children will not grasp why this happened to them as well as older children. Their young minds cannot comprehend immigration policy and enforcement. They'll ask, "What did I do?" or "Why did my mommy or daddy leave me?"

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Not on our watch': Lawyers fight to keep Trump from dismantling migrant child protections
9/20/18 Now as the federal government works to rewrite the rules spelled out under the so-called Flores Settlement —a lawsuit agreement that settled a 1997 lawsuit over child detentions — she worries what might become of children separated from parents or who have arrived unaccompanied if the Flores protections are diminished. “The obligations are very clear and the government is obligated to issue regulations that are consistent with Flores, all the things it is doing now are seriously inconsistent with Flores; they violate the contract they signed,” Frye told NBC News in a telephone interview.

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Now the Trump administration wants to limit citizenship for legal immigrants
8/7/18 WASHINGTON - The Trump administration is expected to issue a proposal in coming weeks that would make it harder for legal immigrants to become citizens or get green cards if they have ever used a range of popular public welfare programs, including Obamacare... Details of the rulemaking proposal are still being finalized, but based on a recent draft seen last week and described to NBC News, immigrants living legally in the U.S. who have ever used or whose household members have ever used Obamacare, children's health insurance, food stamps and other benefits could be hindered from obtaining legal status in the U.S. Key Words: Public Charge, ALLIES3

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Plan to strip H-1B visa holders' spouses of right to work hits final stage
8/22/18 A policy change to strip spouses of H-1B visa holders of their right to work has entered its final review, with senior leaders in the Department of Homeland Security moving toward approval, according to a new court filing. The proposed rule change was set in motion by President Donald Trump's "Buy American and Hire American" executive order, according to Homeland Security. Those affected hold the H-4 visa, a work permit for spouses and under-21 children of H-1B workers. It remains unclear if all spouses of H-1B holders will be banned from working, as Homeland Security has only said "certain H-4 spouses" will be targeted by the new rule.

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Scanning immigrants' old fingerprints, U.S. threatens to strip thousands of citizenship
6/13/18 According to USCIS officials and documents reviewed by The Washington Post, Homeland Security investigators are digitizing fingerprints collected in the 1990s and comparing them to more recent prints provided by foreigners who apply for legal residency and American citizenship. If decades-old fingerprints gathered during a deportation matches those of someone who did not disclose that deportation on their naturalization application or used a different name, that individual could be targeted by a new Los Angeles-based investigative division.

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Separated Parents Were "Totally Unaware" They Had Waived Their Right To Be Reunified With Their Chil
7/25/18 Immigrant parents who were separated from their children at the border told attorneys they were misinformed, coerced, or tricked into waiving their rights to be reunified with their kids. Key Words: Asylum, Deport, Undocumented

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Separated migrant families suing Trump administration for mental health treatment: report
6/8/18 Migrant families who were separated at the U.S.–Mexico border under the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy are suing the Trump administration to cover the costs of their mental health treatment, according to a new federal class-action lawsuit.

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Sessions Says Domestic Violence Is Not Grounds for Asylum
6/11/18 Attorney General Jeff Sessions said on Monday that fear of domestic violence is not legal grounds for asylum in a closely watched immigration case that could have a broad effect on the asylum process, women who have endured extreme violence and the independence of immigration judges. His decision echoes remarks he made earlier Monday morning at a gathering of immigration judges in Virginia. While there, Mr. Sessions said he would soon issue a decision that restores sound principles of asylum and long standing principles of immigration law.

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Some migrant children are reunited with parents as Trump administration misses court deadline
7/10/18 The federal government on Tuesday began its first major wave of reuniting migrant children with their parents amid continued chaos, confusion and legal wrangling over when and how the rest of the thousands of families separated on the border would be brought back together. The Trump administration said only 38 of 102 children younger than 5 had been reunited with their parents by the Tuesday deadline set by a federal judge in San Diego. The same judge has ordered that thousands of older children should be reunited by July 26..

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Starting Today (9/12/18), Legal Immigrants Face New Hurdles to Citizenship
9/12/18 Set to take effect today, new changes to U.S. immigration policies appear likely to block increasing numbers of legal immigrants from potential citizenship by ratcheting up penalties for mistakes on applications and then accelerating the process for deportation, according to immigration experts. The new policy language — written specifically to trigger on the anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 — gives broad authority to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service administrators to deny a legal immigrant’s application for a green card or citizenship over simple clerical errors.

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Supreme Court upholds Trump travel ban
6/26/18 The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld President Donald Trump's ban on travel from several mostly Muslim countries, rejecting a challenge that it discriminated against Muslims or exceeded his authority. Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in a dissent that based on the evidence in the case "a reasonable observer would conclude that the Proclamation was motivated by anti-Muslim animus." She said her colleagues arrived at the opposite result by "ignoring the facts, misconstruing our legal precedent, and turning a blind eye to the pain and suffering the Proclamation inflicts upon countless families and individuals, many of whom are United States citizens."

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The Government Has No Plan for Reuniting the Immigrant Families It Is Tearing Apart
6/18/18 Every undocumented immigrant who enters government custody is assigned what's called an alien number. But the girl's family didn't know hers. Armed with only the girl's name and birth date, Kephart dialed a 1-800 hotline set up by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (O.R.R.), the federal body in charge of handling unaccompanied immigrant children. This hotline, Kephart told me, is difficult to access for parents who are in a detention facility (hold times can last half an hour; it's impossible to leave a call-back number) or who have been deported (international calls are expensive, and 1-800 numbers don't often work from abroad).

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Thousands march in "Families Belong Together" rallies across Bay Area
6/30/18 Calling on President Donald Trump to reunite more than 2,000 immigrant children separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, Bay Area residents on Saturday joined hundreds of thousands of people across the nation to protest - some for the first time ever - a policy many say is a haunting reminder of America's darkest moments in history. Braving scorching heat, local protesters delivered a clear and loud message to the president: "families belong together."

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Thousands of Vietnamese, Including offspring of U.S. Troops, Could be Deported Under Trump Policy
9/4/18 The Trump administration, in a policy shaped by senior adviser Stephen Miller, has reinterpreted a 2008 agreement reached with Vietnam by the George W. Bush administration — that Vietnamese citizens who arrived before the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1995 would not be “subject to return.” Now, the White House says, there is no such immunity to deportation for any non-citizen found guilty of a crime. Key Words: Asian

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Trump Administration Launches Effort to Strip Citizenship From Those Suspected of Naturalization Irr
6/11/18 The Trump administration is not only doing everything it can to discourage immigration of all sorts, it intends to launch an effort to identify naturalized American citizens it believes cheated the naturalization process and strip them of their American citizenship. The extraordinary process of denaturalizing an American citizen has occurred very rarely, with the Justice Department filing an estimated 300 civil denaturalization cases since 1990. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director L. Francis Cissna, however, told the Associated Press that the agency is ramping up its efforts to identify citizens who, for instance, assumed new identities in order to avoid deportation and claim a green card or citizenship.

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Trump calls for depriving immigrants of due-process rights
6/24/18 In a pair of tweets sent while being driven to his Virginia golf course, Trump described immigrants as invaders and wrote that U.S. immigration laws are a mockery and must be changed to take away trial rights from undocumented migrants. When somebody comes in, we must immediately, with no Judges or Court Cases, bring them back from where they came.

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U.S. is denying passports to Americans along the border, throwing their citizenship into question
It’s difficult to know where the crackdown fits into the Trump administration’s broader efforts to reduce legal and illegal immigration. Over the past year, it has thrown legal permanent residents out of the military and formed a denaturalization task force that tries to identify people who might have lied on decades-old citizenship applications. Now, the administration appears to be taking aim at a broad group of Americans along the stretch of the border where Trump has promised to build his wall, where he directed the deployment of National Guardsmen, and where the majority of cases in which children were separated from their parents during the administration’s “zero tolerance” policy occurred. The State Department would not say how many passports it has denied to people along the border because of concerns about fraudulent birth certificates. The government has also refused to provide a list of midwives whom it considers to be suspicious.

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US deporting crime victims while they wait for special visa
7/19/18 For victims of crime on U.S. soil who are living here illegally, a special visa program encourages them to help solve their cases and catch criminals, and often provides their only clear path to citizenship. But as Republican President Donald Trump's administration has taken a harder line on immigration, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement appears to be stepping up the detention and deportation of people who have applied for the so-called "U visa."

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What went wrong with Trump's family-separation effort at the border?
7/29/18 They weren't sure who the families were, let alone what to call them. Customs and Border Protection databases had categories for family units, and "unaccompanied alien children" who arrive without parents. They did not have a distinct classification for more than 2,600 children who had been stripped away from their families and placed in government shelters. So agents came up with a new term: "deleted family units". ...Compounding failures to record, classify and keep track of migrant parents and children pulled apart by President Donald Trump's "zero-tolerance" border crackdown were at the core of what is now widely regarded as one of the biggest debacles of his presidency. The rapid implementation and sudden reversal of the policy whiplashed multiple federal agencies, forcing the activation of an HHS command center ordinarily used to handle hurricanes and other catastrophes.

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Commentary: How Trump is really changing immigration: Making it harder for people to come here legal
5/13/18 Here's an overview of key ways Trump has made it more difficult and expensive to come here legally for foreign students, skilled temporary workers, green cards holders, refugees and others. Yes, Trump still wants his big, beautiful wall to stop illegal border crossings. But he's been railing against all forms of immigration since his campaign. And he's having a much easier time chipping away at legal immigration than funding his wall. In some cases, the methods are strict quotas or new rules. But paperwork and red tape work, too. For instance, this administration tripled the number of pages in green card applications. Forms for sponsoring a foreign-born spouse are nine times longer than they used to be.

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FAMILY CASE MANAGEMENT - a Cost Effective and Humane Alternative for Asylum Seeking Families
9/18 The Trump administration continues to present a false choice between separating asylum-seeking families at the border or detaining them. That premise ignores the many alternatives to detention the government can turn to while an individual or family goes through their asylum or immigration case, and in particular, a program Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) operated that was specifically designed for families seeking protection in the United States. For families where the government seeks to mitigate a demonstrated flight risk or who may need additional support, the administration should turn to — and Congress should fund —the Family Case Management Program.

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In Europe, a Push to Fight Discrimination Through Living Libraries
6/22/18 ...a growing citizen movement known as Living Libraries designed to smash stereotypes and prejudice through dialogue. 'They allow you to actually speak to a black, or an Arab or a Jew, and discover what it's like to be that person," Along with newer targets like Africans and Arabs, the study authored by the 47-member Council of Europe finds older prejudices also linger against Jews, Roma and the LGBT community, despite strides in some countries. The initiative coincides with a new report by Europe's top rights watchdog that shows rising levels of xenophobia and hate speech across the region, partly driven by populism, terrorist attacks and the massive influx of migrants, the subject of a European Union summit next week.

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Judge orders U.S. to reunite families, stop border separations
6/26/18 A federal judge in San Diego ordered immigration agents on Tuesday to stop separating migrant parents and children who have crossed the border from Mexico and to work to reunite families that have already been split up while in custody. The judge blamed the "chaotic circumstance of the government's own making" for the turmoil surrounding the separation of migrant children from their parents.

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Raising Teens in a New Country Handbook
Published by the Office of Refugee Resettlement for parents and teens who are new to the United States and for service providers working with them. The handbook covers topics such as cultural identity, discipline, online and cyber safety, dating and relationships, and self-esteem and body image. Key Words: ALLIES7

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The House and Senate speak out against charging migrant parents up to $8/min. to speak with their ki
7/27/18 Immigrants held in detention centers are being charged up to $ 8 per minute to make a phone call to talk to their children, from whom they have been separated by the authorities, under the Zero Tolerance policy. A group of 145 legislators led by Congressmen Jared Polis and Luis Gutiérrez, as well as by Senator Patty Murray, sent a letter to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) to put an end to this practice. Read Entire Letter

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Fraud Alert - Federal Trade Commission warns of new scam from 'Chinese Consulate'
4/28/18 A new scam is making the rounds and this time the scammers claim to be from the Chinese Consulate office. The callers are targeting people with Chinese last names however, anyone can become a victim, according to the Federal Trade Commission. People across the country are getting calls and messages saying they have to pick up a package at the Chinese Consulate office or they need to avoid being in trouble with the Chinese Consulate. The caller then asks for your bank account or credit card information, or they tell you to make a bank transfer to them.

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