On Aug. 21, the Trump administration announced a new rule allowing U.S. immigration officials to detain migrant families in Florida and elsewhere indefinitely while their asylum cases await a hearing before an immigration judge. Previously, the government was required to release detained migrants within 20 days.
For people in Florida dealing with the immigration system, immigration detention can be a particularly troubling concern. This is especially true as reports come in that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is detaining 52,398 immigrants, a record-breaking number that exceeds the number of detention places that Congress already agreed to fund for the year. The administration of President Donald Trump has widely publicized immigration crackdowns, and that rhetoric is reflected in the reality of detention for the largest number of people in the history of ICE.
Over the past three years, more than 2,500 pregnant women have been taken into custody by ICE. This may leave those held in Florida and throughout the country at risk of developing health problems. Furthermore, a lack of treatment may also result in health problems for their babies as well. In some cases, women held in custody have miscarried. However, a spokeswoman for ICE says that the agency spends $250 million each year on medical care for those detained.
Under the Trump administration's policies, DACA recipients in Florida and the rest of the country are not permitted to travel outside the United States. When a 28-year-old flight attendant for Mesa Airlines traveled on a flight to Mexico for work, she was detained by immigration on the flight's return to Texas. She was released on March 22 after more than a month in custody.
A Supreme Court ruling has prompted concern among immigrants and their loved ones in Florida, especially if they are close to someone with a previous criminal conviction. According to the ruling, the government can detain immigrants with prior criminal records, even if years have since followed their release from criminal detention. They can be held in immigration detention without a bond hearing according to the 5-4 decision, split along common political lines.
For many immigrants in Florida, worries about detention may loom large. An increasing amount of attention has been drawn to detention and deportation due to the shifting immigration policies of the Trump administration, even as migrant justice advocates have been working for years to change the conditions and reduce the usage of detention for immigrants.
People in Florida may find themselves facing a deportation order after committing a crime or overstaying a visa. Both documented and undocumented immigrants may be deported from the United States.
Immigrants in Florida who are seeking asylum might be less likely to be placed in detention if a budget amendment introduced in Congress is successful. Rep. Pramila Jayapal, a Democrat from Washington, introduced the amendment, which was approved by the House of Representatives in January.
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.