Manuel Madrid

Manuel Madrid is a writing fellow at The American Prospect

Recent Articles

Trump to Puerto Ricans: Go Hungry

The administration opposes extending food stamp funding for the islanders. 

trickle-downers_35.jpg The clock ticks for Puerto Rico’s poor since the Trump administration has announced it won’t support supplemental funding for the storm-ravaged island’s food stamps program. Emergency food aid for an estimated 1.4 million Puerto Ricans will dry up at the start of March if a $600 million appropriation isn’t approved by Congress and the White House. Without the additional funding, about 1.3 million U.S. citizens will face a steep drop in food assistance. Roughly 100,000 will be kicked off program entirely, according to an analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP). Attempts by congressional Democrats to secure the emergency funding have been blocked by a White House hell bent on building a border wall. The compromise spending bill signed by Trump last week will keep the government open, but does not include any disaster aid for Puerto Rico. Responding to the devastation left by Hurricanes Maria in 2017, the White House...

21 Savage and the 50,000 ICE Detainees

The Atlanta-based rapper’s untimely run-in with immigration enforcement agents offers a window into the world of the tens of thousands of immigrants currently locked in ICE jails. 

Rapper 21 Savage could not be counted among the throng of artists and celebrities looking on from the audience at Sunday’s Grammy awards in Los Angeles. Nor was he watching from home. Instead, the Atlanta-based artist, real name She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, spent the day locked up in an immigrant detention center in Georgia. His eighth day, to be exact. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) took 21 Savage into custody on February 3 and subsequently placed him into deportation proceedings. The federal agency alleges that Abraham-Joseph, a citizen of the United Kingdom, is guilty of overstaying his visa and has a felony drug conviction on his record. The musician’s legal representatives contested that account, arguing that Abraham-Joseph has no prior criminal convictions and that his overstay was through no fault of his own. Inside a closed hearing on Tuesday in Atlanta, Immigration Judge J. Dan Pelletier decided to release 21 Savage, whom his lawyers confirmed as a...

Trump Is Tough on Venezuela—but Won’t Let Fleeing Venezuelans Into the U.S.

Millions of Venezuelans have fled their country, but Trump’s anti-immigrant, anti-refugee stance has closed America’s door to them.

Though they heard President Trump condemn the brutality of the Venezuelan government in his State of the Union speech last week, Venezuelans around the world are in for some disappointment if they expect a warm welcome from his administration. Once one of Latin America’s most prosperous and stable nations, Venezuela has been reduced to a pit of human suffering. The country’s ongoing economic crisis has led to a collapse of its healthcare and school systems, widespread food shortages, and an epidemic of violence that’s given Venezuela one of world’s highest murder rates. Millions of Venezuelans have fled the the authoritarian government of President Nicolás Maduro, with millions more projected to do so in the coming months. You can’t blame Venezuelans for being confused about United States policy, however. Under Trump, the U.S. was the first of 50 some countries (and counting) to recognize Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó as interim...

Border Wall or No, Immigrants Will Soon Have to Scale a Paywall

Proposed new Trump administration rules could keep low-income immigrants from applying for green cards or citizenship.

trickle-downers_54.jpg Just in case his border wall won’t be sufficient to keep out immigrants, President Trump is erecting a paywall as well. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services plans to restrict access to fee waivers used by low-income immigrants applying for U.S. citizenship, green cards, and various other immigration benefits, potentially pricing out tens of thousands of low-income applicants as a result. The USCIS proposal , which was published last October, would reverse an Obama-era policy that loosened eligibility requirements for waiving agency fees. The types of applications affected by the reversal range from more mundane activities, like replacing a green card or registering a permanent residence, to matters of vital importance. USCIS waivers can be used by immigrants to cover fees for more than two dozen separate applications, including applications to apply for citizenship, file a legal appeal, receive employment authorization, and even suspend a...

ICE Now Locks Up Everyone

The agency no longer recommends release for detainees with no criminal records, and refuses to release information about its shift to mandatory detention for all.

As the Trump administration continues its anti-immigrant salvos at the border, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has ramped up its aggression domestically. ICE is now not only arresting more people than it has in years, it’s also opting to lock them up whenever possible, whether they’re criminals or not. In an attempt to accommodate President Trump’s anti-immigrant posture, the agency has launched indiscriminate raids on immigrant communities, borrowed funds from other Homeland Security agencies to pay for more jail beds, and even tweaked its own risk assessment software to recommend mandatory detention for every person in its custody. It’s this last change, carried out silently by by the agency in 2017, which has become the target of a recent lawsuit by the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), the state branch of the American Civil Liberties Union. The Risk Classification Assessment (RCA) program has been used by field agents since 2013 to help...

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