Lorenzo Zazueta-Castro

Lorenzo Zazueta-Castro covers immigration and federal courts for The Monitor. He can be reached at lzazueta@themonitor.com or (956) 683-4452.

Harvard, MIT sue to stop new visa rule

On the heels of an order that would deny visas to international students if their coursework is “online-only,” Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have filed a federal lawsuit to stop it from being implemented. Such action comes after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced plans in a news release Monday to deny visas for international students enrolled in schools whose programs are fully online for the fall semester. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, educational institutions across the country are already scrambling to prepare for the 2020-21 school year. Read the full story at themonitor.com

ICE expanding COVID-19 testing in facilities

On the heels of an unfavorable federal court ruling, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement completed voluntary COVID-19 testing at three of its jails at...

21-year-old RGC man charged with murder in connection with Garciasville shooting 

Starr County Sheriff’s Office investigators have one man in custody after a shooting in Garciasville left one unidentified person dead, according to Major Carlos Delgado with the sheriff’s office.  According to Delgado, Maximiliano Gazca, 21, faces one count of murder, and one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon related to the shooting that took place sometime Saturday.   Read the full story at themonitor.com

Border Patrol deputy chief exits

Less than a year into his post as U.S. Border Patrol deputy chief patrol agent in the Rio Grande Valley, Austin L. Skero II is moving “upriver” to take over as Chief Patrol Agent in the Del Rio sector, according to a release from U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials. Skero was named deputy chief patrol agent of the Rio Grande Valley sector in late September 2019, during a large influx of migrants and asylum seekers arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border. Skero coincidently is taking over for Raul Ortiz, who Skero replaced as the RGV deputy chief patrol agent after Ortiz left for Del Rio sector to take over as chief patrol agent — the spot Skero is now taking over. Read the full story at themonitor.com

Migrant children at family facilities must be released, court rules

A federal judge ruled Friday that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security must release the children currently held in family detention centers for failure to meet the standards for children’s care in the facilities. Amid outbreaks of COVID-19 in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement facilities — two in Texas, the Karnes County Family Residential Center and the South Texas Dilley Family Residential Center, and the Berk’s facility in Pennsylvania — U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee ordered DHS officials to release all children at these facilities by mid-July as the virus has caused thousands of infections. Karla Vargas, a senior attorney with the Texas Civil Rights Project, which was active during the 2018 family separations at the U.S-Mexico border, said the order is like others Gee has handed down before.  Read the full story at themonitor.com.

Virus, fewer applications may lead to CIS furloughs

Officials with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said they will be forced to furlough as many as 13,000 employees beginning in August if Congress does not provide more than $1.2 billion to cover a budget shortfall.  The USCIS is the agency tasked with administering the country’s naturalization and immigration system.  Citing COVID-19, as well as policy changes from the Trump administration with regard to legal immigration, USCIS officials said an emergency $1.2 billion is the infusion the department would need from Congress to avoid sending up to 80% of its workers home for an extended period of time.  Read the full story at themonitor.com.

La Villa detention officer dies amid COVID-19

A detention officer at the East Hidalgo Detention facility has died as a result of contracting COVID-19 while 18 more have been confirmed to...

Appeals court reaffirms border wall injunction

In a setback for the Trump administration, an appeals court ruled the administration could not circumvent Congress by transferring billions in Department of Defense funds for border wall construction, records show. On Friday, judges for the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that it was unlawful for the Trump administration to transfer Department of Defense money, specifically military pay and pension funds, for border wall construction. The three-judge panel held that the Executive Branch lacked “independent constitutional authority to authorize the transfer of funds” — and reaffirmed a lower court’s ruling that halted construction related to those funds with a permanent injunction. Read the full story at themonitor.com

SCOTUS rules certain asylum seekers cannot get review in ‘fast’ deportations

In a clear 7-2 decision, the Supreme Court of the United States of America ruled certain asylum seekers cannot seek a federal review of expedited deportations. On Thursday, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Samuel Alito delivered the Supreme Court’s opinion in a case of a Tamil man, Vijayakumar Thuraissigiam, who fled Sri Lanka to avoid torture and likely death; stating that certain asylum seekers cannot make court petitions after already exhausting their credible fear screening. Read the full story at themonitor.com

Appeals court rules in favor of fast-track deportations

An appellate court ruled Tuesday that a lawsuit filed against the Trump administration seeking to end “fast-track” deportations without legal process can continue, but also overturned an earlier injunction that barred the administration from doing so, court records show. Last August, the American Civil Liberties Union together with La Unión del Pueblo Entero, a local immigrant-advocacy group based in San Juan, the American Immigration Council and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP filed a federal lawsuit in Washington on behalf of immigrant community organizations Make the Road New York, and We Count! Read the full story at themonitor.com