San Francisco’s immigration court convenes in an unmarked skyscraper in the financial district. On an August morning, a list of the names for the day’s cases was tacked onto the wall of a waiting room: Manzares, Martínez, Mendoza, Misa. Eleni Wolfe-Roubatis, the director of Immigrant Legal Defense, a nonprofit, told me that about thirty per cent of the court’s cases involve Mam speakers, but they are hard to pick out. Unlike other Mayan groups, which have distinctive last names, Mam speakers were named after Spanish people whom they worked for as semi-enslaved peons. A common last name among Mam people is Pablo, for former peons of a certain Don Pablo.
Immigration lawyers throughout the US are banding together to fight Trump’s asylum restrictions (The San Diego Union-Tribune, November 21, 2019)
“It really does feel like we are all in this together,” said Siobhan Waldron, an Oakland-based lawyer. “It really is strength in numbers.”
Waldron recently used one of the Facebook groups to find out that Customs and Border Patrol agents were sending asylum seekers back to Mexico even after they had finished their court cases by writing fake future court dates on documents — an apparent violation of the U.S. agreement with Mexico under the Migrant Protection Protocols policy. Thanks to that heads up, Waldron wrote a letter to Mexican immigration officials telling them not to believe the court date on CBP documents. “I learned about the fraud before it happened to my client because [another lawyer] had posted about it,” she said. “I was able to, as best as I could, prepare my client and prepare myself for CBP’s trickery.”
Programa que envía a migrantes a esperar proceso de asilo en México tiene graves fallas, según informe (November 16, 2019)
Siobhan Waldron, ILD Managing Attorney, shares her thoughts on the Remain in Mexico Program with Luis Megid from Univision.
CBP agents wrote fake court dates on paperwork to send migrants back to Mexico, records show (The San Diego Union-Tribune, November 7, 2019)
Siobhan Waldron, an Oakland-based lawyer, wrote a letter to Mexican immigration officials explaining that her client had no future hearing date and outlined a step-by-step process Mexican officials could take to verify that her client’s case had been closed by using the Department of Justice hotline. The letter worked at first. When CBP officers tried to return Waldron’s client to Mexico on Nov. 1 with a false January 2020 hearing date, her client showed the note to Mexican officials, who refused to take her in. However, the next day, CBP officers sent Waldron’s client back to Mexico with another false court date and this time did not allow her to show Mexican officials her lawyer’s letter that she kept in a special folder, Waldron said. “They didn’t let her take it out,” Waldron said. “They said, ‘you can’t present anything from that folder.’” The lawyer plans to file, “any complaint you can imagine,” to CBP, DHS, and other regulatory agencies because, “these agents need to be held accountable.” Her client is still in Mexico, too afraid to walk outside because she has already been kidnapped and assaulted, Waldron added.
Migrants live in fear at Mexico-US border as violence flares (The Associated Press, November 6, 2019)
An Immigration Judge found that DHS improperly placed our asylum-seeking Salvadoran client in the Remain in Mexico program and has terminated removal proceedings against her. Nonetheless, DHS officials gave our client documentation with false information about an alleged future hearing date in order to convince Mexican officials to accept her back. She was returned to Mexico – a country where she was kidnapped and trafficked, and also assaulted near the home where she lives in hiding from her traffickers. We demand DHS adjudicate our request for our client’s release into the United States where she can reunite with her mother and seek asylum. Mexico is not a safe place for our client.— Siobhan Waldron, Managing Attorney at Immigrant Legal Defense
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 20 Year-Old Asylum Seeking Community Activist Subjected to “Remain in Mexico” Program now Facing Indefinite ICE Detention (October 29, 2019)
Bryan has already been subjected to months of uncertainty and danger in Mexico pursuant to the unlawful MPP program. The continued detention of Bryan is not in the public interest, and Bryan poses no security or flight risk. On the contrary, he presented himself to CBP officials at the U.S.-Mexico border in January 2019 and expressed that he was afraid to return to Honduras. Bryan was one of the first individuals sent back to Mexico pursuant to the unlawful MPP program. In response to the severe insecurity he and other Central American migrants face in Mexico, Bryan helped build a community-run shelter for asylum seekers. The Trump administration’s continued attack on asylum seekers such as Bryan is immoral and unlawful. There is no just reason for keeping Bryan, a torture survivor with a pending asylum case, detained.— Siobhan Waldron, Managing Attorney at Immigrant Legal Defense
Estudiantes y empleados recibirán ayuda legal gratuita – Students and employees will receive free legal help (August 30, 2019)
ILD Managing Attorney Barbara Pinto and Ana Navarrete from San Jose State University share more on Telemundo about the free immigration legal services ILD will provide to CSU students, staff, and faculty.
Universidades estatales de California ofrecerán servicios legales de inmigración a estudiantes – CSUs will offer immigration legal services to students (August 29, 2019)
ILD Managing Attorney Barbara Pinto and Miguel Pimentel from California State, East Bay share more on Univision about the free immigration legal services ILD will provide to CSU students, staff, and faculty.
Immigrant Legal Defense (ILD) will provide services for: Cal State East Bay, San Francisco State, San José State, CSU Monterey Bay, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, CSU Bakersfield, Fresno State and Stanislaus State.
ICE used Oakland Airport to Transport Tens of Thousands of Immigration Detainees (The Mercury News, July 21, 2019)
Despite being locating in one of the nation’s most prominent sanctuary cities, Oakland International Airport served as the staging gound for nearly 1,000 flights chartered by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement between 2010 and 2018, carrying detainees on their way to deportation or transfer between detention centers.
In total, the ICE Air operation flew nearly 43,000 people in and out of Oakland during that period. Almost 27,000 were being deported. The other 16,000 were being transferred, part of a detention and relocation system that advocates and immigration lawyers allege is designed to cut people off from legal and community support that could help them stay in the country.
[Eleni Wolfe Roubatis comments:] Having clients moved around, and having both attorneys and families looking for them, is challenging logistically. It causes additional emotional harm to people already worried about their loved ones.
“Legal assistance at ICE processing centers is a critical element in ensuring that individuals make informed decisions about their legal rights, and is often the difference between deportation and due process,” said Eleni Wolfe-Roubatis of Immigrant Legal Defense, who was among the San Francisco delegation. “ICE seemed more concerned with their own protocols than upholding the constitutional rights of individuals in custody. We are making every effort to protect the due process rights of these individuals and ICE has the duty to do the same.”