will be held on Monday, March 9 at 7:15PM at the Congregational Church, 1154 Great Plain Ave.  PLEASE send me any items you wish to have included in the Agenda as soon as possible.


Our Spring Program on April 1st featuring Retired Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall will be held at Temple Beth Shalom, 670 Highland Ave, Needham.  Copy of the flier is attached.  If you have a question you would like to ask, please send it to Karen Price (karenprice.ma@gmail.com)

There is  only ONE SPOT LEFT on our  team  to join the LWV Civics Bee.  It’s a lot of fun and a study guide is provided.  Time is running out for the Task Force to submit its application.

The next installment of “From the Chair” will be published on Friday, March 13.


AILA reports on Prompt Asylum Case Review (PACR) and Humanitarian Asylum Review Process (HARP) Programs
On October 7, 2019, the Trump administration began a pilot program called “Prompt Asylum Case Review,” in the El Paso area to speed up the asylum process for certain non-Mexican immigrants. At the same time, the administration rolled out the “Humanitarian Asylum Review Process,” a virtually identical program which applies to Mexican nationals. Under these program, individuals are kept in holding cells (known in Spanish as hieleras) or are taken to a local 1,500-bed soft-sided facility operated by CBP and receive a decision on their request for protection in 10 days or less without going through the formal asylum process.

Asylum seekers are provided access to a phone in the first 24 hours to call family members or a lawyer before an initial asylum screening. After 24 hours of detention, asylum seekers receive an interview with an asylum officer to determine whether they have a credible fear of persecution and can stay in the U.S. Immigration lawyers and advocates say the pilot program denies asylum seekers proper due process, because immigration lawyers are not allowed to meet with their clients in person and are limited to brief phone conversations.

These pilot programs reportedly apply to individuals subject to the recent interim final rule that bars most migrants traveling to the U.S. Southern land border from seeking asylum unless they are first denied asylum in one of the countries they passed through on their way to the U.S. The rule effectively ends the possibility for Central American asylum seekers to seek asylum in the U.S first. Both of these programs are set to expand across the entire border region in February 2020.


Good news for those in CA:  2020.02.18. District Court Permanently Enjoins ICE from Relying on Inaccurate Federal Databases to Issue DETAINERSThe U.S. District Court for the Central District of California permanently enjoined ICE from issuing detainers to Probable Cause Subclass members based solely on database searches that rely upon information from sources that lack sufficient indicia of reliability for a probable cause determination for removal. The court also declared null and void immigration detainers previously issued against members of the Probable Cause Subclass. (Roy, et al. v. County of Los Angeles, et al., 2/5/20) The Probable Cause Subclass is comprised of all current and future persons who are subject to an immigration detainer issued by an ICE agent located in the Central District of California, where the detainer is not based upon a final order of removal signed by an immigration judge or the individual is not subject to ongoing removal proceedings and the detainer was issued solely on the basis of electronic database checks.


CNN reports (https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/12/politics/unaccompanied-children-deportation/index.html) that the Trump administration is reinforcing a tight deadline for immigration cases of unaccompanied migrant children in government custody in an effort to make quicker decisions about deportation, according to an email obtained by CNN. The message seems designed to apply pressure on immigration judges to wrap up  cases within a 60-day window that’s rarely met and falls in line with a broader effort by the administration to complete immigration cases at a faster speed. Immigration Judge Ashley Tabaddor, president of the National Association of Immigration Judges, said deadlines are “putting the judge between a rock and a hard place.”The only thing that can get done within 60 days is if someone wants to give up their case or go home or be deported,” Tabaddor told CNN.

CNN has also reported (https://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2020/02/18/therapy-notes-against-minors-court-wapo-lead-tapper-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/this-week-in-politics/?utm_) that  President Trump’s administration using confidential therapy notes from minors, detailing trauma they’ve faced related to gang activity, against them in court trials. CNN’s Jake Tapper interviews Washington Post reporter Hannah Dreier about the policy.


And finally a  Federal District Court Judge has ordered CBP to CHANGE THE WAY it detains all people in the Tucson Sector. He found that the conditions in CBP holding cells in the Tucson Sector violate the U.S. Constitution and ordered that CBP can no longer hold individuals for over 48 hours without providing a bed, blanket, shower, meals that meet acceptable dietary standards, and a medical assessment. See article published in The Hill,    https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/483749-federal-judge-sides-with-migrants-in-lawsuit-over-unsanitary?utm_


Following up from the last meeting of the Task Force, I am attaching a copy of a chart listing benefits that are or are not included in the new Public Charge rule.


CONTINUING WEDNESDAY WITNESS:    WHERE?:  First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church, Parlor Room (downstairs, past the double doors, the first room on the left), 23 Dedham Avenue, Needham, MA  02494. Plenty of parking spaces are available, behind the church, in the Great Plain Ave. CVS parking lot.]  WHEN?  Continuing on Wednesdays, continuing April, 29, 2020 (except Feb. 19 & April 22), we gather indoors for postcard writing to federal, state and local government officials and legislators.))

MARCH 12, 7:00PM. The Current State of Immigration. Where: Boston Public Library Main Branch, 700 Boylston Street, Boston (Back Bay), MA 02116  Who:  WBUR reporter Shannon Dooling and Mark Hetfield, Executive Director of Hebrew Immigration Aid Society will be the speakers.  Mr. Hetfield has a wealth of hands-on experience in placement of refugees.  Free. Registration Requested (https://app.donorview.com/Event/EventInfo?prm=v0YWlu4M8X0GLRaAvR8incVW4Yy0aRmeGon2fpwiGx4mB1_xYbjMmZxYy10f_-oczK1lSADZVPe1qyW3cIW-d-l2-tIwY-vCXzZrV9YrOGeIjNiY3Z-1QV7woDo20HrDi3O6MnrCUF7d5TiO1Kv-3NxOFh6MsaX35OMOwrtULVOgy4V_gWHT93xTn3FAwLhqct2oozgeKdYR0SGEBVx6rzHI13DaVsBI7I7BAyFCfz8RmtIBJux5tjY3L7qZH2fe0).

MARCH 22: The Needham League of Women Voters is again sponsoring a Civics Bee on Sunday, March 22d.

Gerry Rovner