The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency announced Tuesday that it had sought custody of two MS-13 members accused of beating and stabbing a 14-year-old girl to death in Maryland last month.
Josue Fuentes-Ponce, 16, of Bladensburg, Md. and Joel Escobar, 17, of Northeast Washington D.C , both natives of El Salvador, were arrested by Prince George’s County (Md.) police last week and charged as adults with first-degree murder in the death of Ariana Funes-Diaz, whose body was found in a creek May 15.
In a statement, ICE said it had lodged a detainer with the Prince George’s County Detention Center in May 2018 after Fuentes-Ponce and Escobar were arrested and charged with attempted first-degree murder, attempted second-degree murder, participation in gang activity, conspiracy to commit murder and attempted robbery, among other offenses. However, the agency said both were released “on an unknown date and time without notification to ICE.”
“These individuals had demonstrated violent criminal behavior before, and because they were released in spite of the lawful detainer, they were afforded an opportunity to take a life.” ICE Baltimore Field Office Director Diane Witte said in the statement.
The Prince George’s County Department of Corrections did not immediately respond to Fox News’ requests for comment.
Investigators say Funes-Diaz was killed on April 18 by Fuentes-Ponce, Escobar, and 14-year-old Cynthia Hernandez-Nucamendi to prevent her from informing police about a robbery the four had taken part in the day before.
“This is not two gangs warring with each other,” Prince George’s County Police Maj. Brian Reilly told police at a news conference last week. “This is a gang that turned on itself, turned on an associate in extremely violent behavior.”
According to ICE, Fuentes-Ponce crossed into the U.S. in December 2015 “as part of a family unit” in Texas. An immigration judge ordered his removal in absentia in March 2017. Escobar was taken into custody as an unaccompanied juvenile in August 2016 near McAllen, Texas and was later released to a family member in the Washington D.C. area.
Fox News’ Robert Gearty contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News National
California lawmakers are weighing proposals this week that would offer government-funded health care to adult illegal immigrants but are at odds over how far to go.
Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom has proposed $98 million a year to cover low-income illegal immigrants between the ages of 19 and 25, but the state Assembly’s bill would cover all illegal immigrants over the age of 19 living in California – a proposal that would cost an estimated $3.4 billion.
The state Senate, meanwhile, wants to cover adults ages 19 to 25, plus seniors 65 and older. That bill’s sponsor, Sen. Maria Elana Durazo, scoffed at cost concerns, noting the state has a projected $21.5 billion budget surplus.
Of the three million in California who don’t have health insurance, about 1.8 million are illegal immigrants, according to legislative staffers. Nearly half those have incomes low enough to qualify them for the Medi-Cal program.
The proposal comes amid another measure California lawmakers are considering, which will require everyone in the state to purchase health insurance. Those who refuse would have to pay a penalty.
“We’re going to penalize the citizens of this state that have followed the rules, but we’re going to let somebody who has not followed the rules come in here and get the services for free. I just think that’s wrong,” Republican state Sen. Jeff Stone said about coverage of people in the U.S. illegally.
Many illegal immigrants are already enrolled in some government-funded programs, but they only cover emergencies and pregnancies.
The Senate and Assembly will finalize their budget proposals this week before beginning negotiations with the governor.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News National
The White House is set to unveil a sweeping new plan that would radically transform the makeup of immigrants in the United States, ending the visa lottery program and implementing a comprehensive merit-based admissions procedure, three senior administration officials told Fox News on Wednesday.
The move would more than quadruple the number of immigrants admitted because of their work-related skills, while dramatically slashing the number of immigrants admitted because of family ties. Currently, approximately 12 percent of immigrants are admitted based on employment and skills, while 66 percent are admitted based on family connections.
Those percentages, under the new plan, would shift to 57 percent and 33 percent, respectively. Ten percent of immigrants would be admitted on humanitarian or other grounds, but the plan would end the visa lottery program.
In its place: a new “Build America Visa” program that would recognize “extraordinary talent” and “people with professional and specialized vocations,” including exceptional students, Fox News has learned.
Potential immigrants would be assessed using a point-based system, accounting for factors including age, English proficiency, whether each candidate has an offer of employment above a certain wage threshold, and educational and vocational certifications. Pledges to invest and create jobs also would be considered.
The average yearly wage of immigrant families currently is approximately $43,000. The officials said immigrants admitted based on education and skills would have an average family income of $126,000, and they would expect the average yearly wage of all immigrant families to rise to roughly $96,000.
The Trump administration also said it has considered other similar immigration systems. When Canada implemented a merit-based system, it largely resulted in a “pooling” of immigrants from East Asia and the Indian subcontinent. To avoid pooling, the White House said it would add points to immigrant candidates from under-represented countries, but it would not impose caps on certain countries.
Trump is set to deliver a major immigration address Thursday afternoon, Fox News has learned, amid previous reports that Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner has been working to finalize a plan that focuses on border security and changes to the legal immigration system.
“I do believe that the president’s position on immigration has been maybe defined by his opponents by what he’s against as opposed to what he’s for,” Kushner said at the Time 100 Summit in New York City last month. “What I’ve done is, I’ve tried to put together a very detailed proposal for him.”
Kushner presented the plan to senators on Capitol Hill on Tuesday.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told reporters after the presentation that White House officials seemed “well on their way” to winning consensus for a plan that would unite Republicans on the contentious issue. But, he added, “Whether it will or not, I don’t know.”
One Republican official briefed on Tuesday’s meeting said Kushner provided few details.
Fox News has been told the reason for the push for a skill-based system would be to attract the best and brightest talent, protect American wages, increase the gross domestic product (GDP), and preserve humanitarian values.
Other than adopting a merit-based admissions procedure, the plan also would update the asylum admissions procedure and expedite the adjudication process for people with legitimate asylum claims, the sources told Fox News.
Fox News’ Adam Shaw and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News Politics
Former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and a top immigration official challenged a previously secret White House plan to arrest thousands of migrant parents and children in nearly a dozen U.S. cities, Fox News confirmed Monday.
The Trump administration wanted to target migrant families that had crossed into the U.S. from Mexico in attempt to show that the U.S. wasn’t going to back down on its border stance and detain and deport illegal immigrant families, The Washington Post first reported, citing several current and former Homeland Security officials.
The operation included fast-tracking immigration court cases and allowing the U.S. to deport those who failed to show up in their hearings as well as coordinating raids against parents with children in several cities, including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and several other major metropolitan areas, Fox News confirmed.
Nielsen and top immigration official Ronald Vitiello pushed back on the administration’s plan, citing lack of preparation, public outrage and worries that the operation could use border resources. Stephen Miller and ICE Deputy Director Matthew Albence were supportive of the plan arguing that such an operation could deter migrants from crossing into the U.S., according to The Washington Post.
Nielsen and Vitello’s were concerned over the operation and logistics over the plan and not the ethical reasons behind it, according to the newspaper. Nielsen also worried that going after parents and children might detract from the White House’s goal of going after so-called “criminal aliens.”
“There was concern that it was being hastily put together, would be ineffective and might actually backfire by misdirecting resources away from critical border emergency response operations,” a Homeland Security official told The Washington Post.
Nielsen and Vitello’s push back was reportedly part of the reason why Trump pushed both officials out of the administration.
Neither Homeland Security nor the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement have commented on the report. Miller, through a White House spokesman, declined comment to The Post.
Nielsen left her position after only 16 months on the job. The Associated Press, citing two sources, reported that Nielsen had been frustrated with the difficulty of getting other departments to help deal with the growing number of families crossing the southwestern border.
Fox News’ John Roberts and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News Politics
The Trump administration on Friday moved forward with a proposed rule to make it harder for illegal immigrants to access federally subsidized housing — the latest crackdown by the administration on immigrants who use public assistance.
The rule, proposed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and posted in the Federal Register, would require that those seeking public housing would be subject to verification of their immigration status. Only families in which every member is either a citizen or a legal resident would qualify for federally subsidized housing. Currently families where at least one person is either a citizen or green card holder can get federal assistance, even if other family members are not.
The administration says that regulations “presently excuse individuals from submitting documentation if they do not contend to having eligible immigration status. This results in no actual determination of immigration status being made.” The rule would also require current participants who have not previously proven their eligibility to do so at their next evaluation of their need for public assistance.
An agency analysis, reported by The Washington Post, found that approximately 25,000 households, representing about 108,000 people, now live in subsidized housing with at least one person who would be ineligible.
Among those “mixed-status” households, 70 percent are legally eligible for benefits — approximately 76,000 people including 55,000 children. The majority live in California, Texas and New York, the Post reported.
“HUD expects that fear of the family being separated would lead to prompt evacuation by most mixed households,” the agency’s analysis said. “Temporary homelessness could arise for a household, if they are unable to find alternative housing.”
HUD Secretary Ben Carson defended the proposal this week, telling Fox Business’ Stuart Varney that illegal immigrants are limiting assistance that could go to “legitimate American citizens.”
“We have a long list of people we can only serve right now one in four of the people who are looking for assistance from the government,” he said. “So obviously we want to get those people taken care of. And we also want to abide by the laws.”
An administration official told The Daily Caller, which first reported the proposal last month, that “we need to take care of our citizens.”
“Because of past loopholes in HUD guidance, illegal aliens were able to live in free public housing desperately needed by so many of our own citizens. As illegal aliens attempt to swarm our borders, we’re sending the message that you can’t live off of American welfare on the taxpayers’ dime,” the official said.
However, the HUD analysis reportedly found that that the rule could cost up to an additional $227 million a year because mixed-status families would then receive higher subsidies.
The proposal is likely to face fierce opposition from Democrats. On Friday, 13 Democratic members of Congress from New York said in a letter to Carson that it would “needlessly inflict hardship” on families.
“Your approach represents a major shift from current HUD policy and by design makes it more difficult for families to have access to assistance for which they would otherwise be eligible,” the letter says.
It is the latest proposed crackdown by the administration on the use of public assistance by immigrants. Reuters reported last week that the administration is considering making it easier to deport legal permanent residents who have used public benefits.
A draft regulation, which is still subject to change, would reportedly allow for the deportation of some permanent residents who have used certain public benefits within five years of admission into the U.S. Those benefits include Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), Section 8 housing vouchers, certain Medicaid benefits; and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News Politics
Ilton Rodrigues, a 48-year-old citizen of Brazil, is accused of brutally stabbing his wife, Telma Bras, 43, inside their Stoughton apartment on Friday in front of their two children.
He pleaded not guilty to a charge of murder Monday during an arraignment from a Boston-area hospital, where he has been after attempting to take his own life after the alleged killing, Boston 25 reported.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said they placed an immigration detainer on Rodrigues and will seek to deport him after the criminal charges against him end. The agency did not immediately say when he first arrived in the U.S.
Police said they received a 911 call after the couple’s 17-year-old daughter called a family member during the incident.
When they arrived, officers found Bras in the living room, dead from apparent stab wounds. Rodrigues was nearby with a knife protruding from his body and injuries consistent with a suicide attempt, prosecutors said.
The 17-year-old and a 7-year-old boy were in the home at the time of the attack. They were not injured.
Rodrigues was taken to a Boston hospital with life-threatening injuries. There he underwent surgery and remains in police custody.
He is slated to appear in Stoughton District Court on June 11.
Source: Fox News National
Leading 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden said this week that the U.S. must provide health care to everyone in the country, “regardless of whether they are documented or undocumented.”
Biden made the remarks while campaigning in Los Angeles, as he fielded questions from the media.
“Look, I think that anyone who is in a situation where they are in need of health care, regardless of whether they are documented or undocumented, we have an obligation to see that they are cared for,” Biden said in response to whether illegal immigrants “should be entitled to federal benefits like Medicare, Medicaid.”
“Look, I think that anyone who is in a situation where they are in need of health care, regardless of whether they are documented or undocumented, we have an obligation to see that they are cared for.”
“By the way, a significant portion of undocumented folks in this country are there because they overstayed their visas,” the former vice president continued.
“It’s not people breaking down gates coming across the border, so the biggest thing we’ve got to do on this thing is tone down the rhetoric. We know why it’s happening. It’s to create fear and concern.”
Biden’s remarks were likely to somewhat boost his standing among progressive Democrats, many of whom view his candidacy as a step backward — especially with Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren also in the running.
The former veep, however, hasn’t yet endorsed Medicare-for-all, a rallying cry of most Democrats running for president in 2020.
During the same campaign stop in California, Biden also accused President Trump of engaging in fear tactics at the U.S.-Mexico border and not delivering solutions.
“The idea that we are just trying to scare the living devil out of the American public — ‘My God, hordes are coming,’ the way [Trump] characterizes it — is just simply wrong,” Biden said.
He added he will soon release a plan to address the long-running problems at the border. Part of his proposal would call for a way to quickly determine whether an immigrant is qualified to enter the U.S.
Fox News’ Louis Casiano contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News Politics
Former acting ICE director Tom Homan said on “Fox and Friends” Thursday morning that Congress needs to get its act together amid the news that over 100,000 migrants were apprehended or turned away at the southern U.S. border with Mexico in April.
“First of all, Congress needs to act. Look at those numbers, two thirds of those numbers are family units or Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC). Family units are coming because the word is out you bring a child you won’t be detained,” he said.
“Over 80 percent don’t show up in court and they are going to remain in the United States illegally until the next DACA comes up because this is your next DACA population, these children are brought into the country no fault of their own. If you look at the numbers, this all started in FY2012 and DACA was awarded by the Obama administration. That’s when the surge even started,” he added.
“Over 80 percent don’t show up in court and they are going to remain in the United States illegally until the next DACA comes up because this is your next DACA population, these children are brought into the country no fault of their own.”
In the figures released by immigration officials, 109,144 people were encountered trying to enter the U.S. illegally last month. Of those trying to cross, 58,474 were with families, and 8,897 were unaccompanied children.
Another 31,606 were single adults, according to border patrol figures. Of the nearly 110,000, 10,167 people were turned away at ports of entry, as they were deemed “inadmissible” by immigration authorities.
Homan says the reason there were nearly 9,000 children trying to enter the U.S. is due to the laws that provide incentives for parents to leave the fate of their children with smugglers.
“When the FY19 budget was signed, remember, the president shut the border down, put the committee together, came up with a bill. They put language in that bill, Democrats put language in the bill that clearly said ICE cannot take action against a parent responsible for UAC, they couldn’t do any enforcement action at a household of UAC,” Homan said.
“When that happened, I was screaming that week a lot on this program that that’s going to result in an increase of children being smuggled into the United States because now parents and sponsors who hire a criminal organization to smuggle their child into the country can’t be held accountable. It was ridiculous addition to the bill.”
“When that happened, I was screaming that week a lot on this program that that’s going to result in increase of children being smuggled into the United States because now parents and sponsors who hire a criminal organization to smuggle their child into the country can’t be held accountable.”
He added: “I’m not surprised all the UACs are increasing. They put these children in the hands of criminal organizations. Parents and sponsors are here illegally. Their children are in Central America.”
The former ICE Director also said that if Congress isn’t going to its job, “we need to do operationally what Congress has failed to do legislatively.”
“ICE needs to do a nationwide operation. Look for family units and single adults who had their day in court or didn’t show up in court and ordered removed by a federal judge. If those orders don’t mean anything, if those orders aren’t executed there is no integrity to our system,” Homan suggested.
“I did this three and a half years ago and took a lot of heat from the democratic administration but it worked. Numbers on the borders dropped dramatically almost immediately. We have to show a consequence. Central Americans need to see families coming home. Brian: “
Source: Fox News Politics
A day after the acting Homeland Security secretary estimated that more than 1 percent of the populations of Guatemala and Honduras had entered the U.S. since September, President Trump declared an “invasion” at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Meanwhile, his administration expects record numbers of migrants to arrive from Central America in the coming months.
“When you see these caravans starting out with 20,000 people, that’s an invasion,” Trump said at his Wednesday evening “Make American Great Again” rally in Panama City, Fla., defending his declaration of a national emergency at the border earlier this year. “No nation can tolerate a massive organized violation of its immigration laws. And no one should run for office without an ironclad pledge to protect and defend America’s borders.”
The White House recently proposed charging asylum-seekers a fee to process their applications in an effort to crack down on the surge of Central American migrants trying to cross into the U.S.
In a speech Tuesday to the 49th Washington Conference of the Americas, acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan described why most migrants arriving at the U.S. border come from Guatemala, Honduras or El Salvador.
“Guatemala and Honduras have seen over 1 percent of their total population migrate to the U.S. in the first seven months of this fiscal year,” McAleenan said, citing government-funded research completed by Vanderbilt University. He said most migrants come to escape extreme poverty and stay because of a flawed U.S. immigration system.
“One department of Guatemala, Huehuetenango, has seen almost 35,000 of its residents — close to 3 percent of the population — migrate to the U.S. in that time frame,” McAleenan added.
The flawed U.S. immigration system often permits families and unaccompanied minors to live in the United States for months or years as their asylum claims are processed, even though most will never obtain legal status. Central Americans notice family or neighbors leave and successfully make it into the U.S., so they too choose to embark on the journey, the DHS chief explained.
“In March, we had over 103,000 irregular arrivals of undocumented migrants — 90 percent crossing the U.S. border unlawfully and unsafely in the hands of human smugglers. We will see similar numbers in April,” McAleenan continued, explaining that he expects current trends to continue in the upcoming months.
According to the study carried out by Vanderbilt’s Latin American Public Opinion Project in Guatemala earlier this year, 1 in 4 Guatemalans intend to migrate from Guatemala, with 85 percent of them indicating the U.S. as their preferred destination.
“That’s over 4 million Guatemalans who intend to migrate to the United States,” McAleenan said. The DHS head is working with Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, on an immigration bill designed to overhaul the legal immigration system, the Washington Post reported.
The proposed legislation will include “an aggressive and holistic strategy” to work together with Central America officials in order to identify “pushes” that drive migrants out of Central America.
“We want to work closely with all three countries’ customs administrations to help increase the efficiency of cross-border trade by reducing supply chain barriers and support exports and job creation,” McAleenan said Tuesday, according to the Washington Examiner. “From an infrastructure, technology, automation, and legal perspective, DHS’s Customs and Border Protection is pursuing broad support for the region’s customs administrations to modernize practices in all of these areas.”
Fox News’ Victor Garcia contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News Politics
The agency sent a helicopter to look for the man after learning around midnight Tuesday that the man needed help. The name of the injured man hasn’t been disclosed.
The man, who appeared to be in the U.S. illegally, reportedly called 911 to report that he got injured and was “unable to walk further,” officials told Tucson, Ariz.’s KVOA television.
It took nearly five hours for the agents to find the man stranded on the mountain, which peaks at 3,848 feet high and takes nearly seven hours to climb.
According to Arizona newspaper the Sahuarita Sun, after locating the man, the agents determined that he had to be airlifted because of his injuries.
A couple of hours later, the man was in a hospital and was to be processed through the U.S. immigration system, officials said.
Source: Fox News National