As a general rule, Immigration and Customs Enforcement will not take enforcement action in schools, churches or similar locations in Florida or elsewhere. That's why one man lived in CityWell Methodist Church in Durham, N.C., for roughly a year in an effort to evade deportation. However, he was taken into custody on Nov. 23 while attending an immigration appointment at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USICS) office in Morrisville, N.C. After being taken into custody, he was sent to Wake County Detention Center before being moved to Georgia.
People in Florida and across the country may be concerned about the outcome of an immigration case that has reached the U.S. Supreme Court, particularly as the decision may hang on the votes of two Trump appointees, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. On Oct. 10, the high court heard arguments from Trump administration lawyers arguing for greater authority to detain immigrants pending deportation after the completion of criminal sentences. In some cases, these periods of detention could drag on for years after a jail or prison sentence expired.
Many families in Florida have been affected by immigration policy changes under the Trump administration. According to a federal report, the Department of Homeland Security did not properly plan for the "zero tolerance" policy that led to separation of over 2,500 families.
After people in Florida and across the country expressed outrage at the separation of immigrant children from their parents by the Trump administration, the government is now pursuing a policy change that would allow it to keep families detained for longer periods. The Trump administration's immigration policies and vocal rhetoric have concerned many people nationwide. Now, the Department of Homeland Security announced proposed rules that would end an agreement that has been in place since 1997.
Immigration detention practices in Florida and across the United States continue to make controversial headlines in 2018. In late July, a federal district judge ordered the Department of Health and Human Services to release all minors detained at a center in Texas after harrowing reports of child abuse were leaked to news media outlets.
Now that the Supreme Court of the United States has overturned an unconstitutionally vague law, legal residents in Florida may have greater access to due process when convicted of crimes. The law in question required the automatic deportation of legal residents found guilty of "crimes of violence."
In a 5-3 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that immigrants do not have the right to periodic bond hearings. This may be true for those living in Florida or elsewhere in the country as permanent residents. In its ruling, the court ruled that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals made a mistake when determining that immigrants were entitled to a hearing every six months.
Floridians who are taken into custody by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents may be held at detention facilities, and some of these facilities are run by private companies that have contracts with the U.S. government. One such facility that is located in Colorado is the subject of a class action lawsuit that was filed by nine detainees.
New immigration policies heightening the detention of undocumented immigrants can lead to a new problem: caring for the children of those detained. With more than 5 million children of undocumented immigrants in the U.S., the problem could worsen in the coming years. For undocumented persons in the Florida area and elsewhere, some preventive measures may be in order.
A recent class-action decision by a judge is considered a victory for detained immigrants. The decision may force law enforcement officers and ICE officials in Florida and across the country to revise their procedures.