Friday, March 30, 2012

Immigration, and the Health Care Debate: Part 2

Roger Algase's blog yesterday asked the question: "What does President Obama's position on health care reform have to do with immigration?" 

An excellent question Roger, because if you recall immigration reform played a key part in the health care debate.  Specifically, the Hispanic Caucus, lead by Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill), threatened to withhold their vote for Health Care Reform because it contained xenophobic anti-immigrant provisions.

His exact words: "I would find it extremely difficult if not impossible to vote for any measure that denies undocumented workers health care purchased with their own dollars."

The good Congressman ultimately pledged his support for the President's signature legislation in return for an empty (and now broken) promise from President Obama that he would meaningfully address immigration reform...  and no, the President's meeting with a pop star and a desperate housewife should not in any way be interpreted as satisfaction of his debt to the Caucus.

As such, immigration reform minded Democrats were deceived into relinquishing their one legitimate bargaining chip to force the President's hand to effectuate an end to the rampant deportations that have hallmarked the Obama Presidency.

In this regard, in the Senate during the lame duck session, five Democrats fillibustered the DREAM Act: Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Montana Democrats, Jon Tester and Max Baucus.  

To add insult to injury, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) skipped the DREAM Act cloture vote to attend a Christmas party.

Merry Christmas DREAMers.

Parenthetically, three Republicans crossed party lines in favor of the DREAM Act, enough to get it through if the Democrats where whipped in line.

So you may ask, what fallout resulted from Freshman Senator Manchin's act of indifference to DREAM? Well, appointments to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, the Senate Armed Services Committee, and the Senate Special Committee on Aging of course.

Can you name one Senator that even lost a committee appointment over their failure to vote for DREAM?

I know I can't.

This was the last chance that the Democrats had to get immigration reform through Congress, and they couldn't force unanimity from their members over something as obvious as the DREAM Act.  They certainly got their votes for health care though, by beg, borrowing, and most importantly, stealing from the immigration reform caucus.


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Amnesty International Report: Obama Administration Committing Human Rights Violations through Immigration Enforcement

Amnesty International has released an 86-page report entitled: In Hostile Terrain: Human rights violations in immigration enforcement in the US Southwest that examines the human rights violations perpetrated by the Obama administration through immigration enforcement at the southern border and in the interior of the United States

They research conditions in Texas and Arizona throughout 2010 and 2011, interviewing individual immigrants and their families, survivors of abuse, advocates, activists, service providers, academics, public officials, and medical examiner personnel.

They also interviewed federal and local law enforcement officials at the US Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection (USCBP), Harris County Sheriff’s Office, Houston Police Department, and Tucson Police Department.

Finally, they reviewed media reports of incidents involving human rights violations of immigrants, documenting current and pending federal and state legislation relating to immigration enforcement and immigrants’ rights.

The following is a sampling of the examples of human rights violations perpetrated by the Obama administration as set forth in the report:
  • Racial profiling and discrimination based solely on ethnic or racial characteristics, such as skin color, accent, ethnicity, or a residential area known to be populated by a particular ethnic group;
  • Latinos and members of other communities of color along the border are disproportionately targeted for stops, identity checks, and searches for the purpose of immigration enforcement;
  • ICE agents are doing linguistic profiling by asking people waiting for the buses basic questions in English. If the person can’t answer in English, the agents ask for papers;
  • Officers are making inquiries about immigration status without 287(g) authority or training to assess someone’s immigration status. Or they will assume that a person is undocumented merely because they don’t speak English.
  • U.S. citizens of color are being adversely impacted by discriminatory practices of racial profiling;
  • Immigrants are being abused during detention and deportation;
  • Allegations of excessive use of force during apprehension, detention and deportation;
  • Deprivation of the right to counsel and due process protections are being denied through verbal intimidation;
  • Thousands of children will never be reunited with parents detained or deported by ICE because there are no protocols to keep families united;
  • Survivors of crime are being denied access to justice;
  • Trafficking survivors are never told of the immigration remedies available to them; and
  • DHS enforcement interrogations often take place without defense counsel being present.
I have just started researching Third Party candidates for President in 2012.  I suggest that you all do the same.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

In the Presidential Election the Lesser of Two Evils is Still Evil

I had a very spirited exchange in the comment section to my friend and colleague Roger Algase's recent blog.  Roger is an excellent attorney, and much smarter than I, so I appreciate the opportunity to voice a response to his always well written blogs.  We mostly agree on both the facts and the law, but there appears to be one sticking point where we simply can't get over the hump.  It relates to the upcoming Presidential election.

I'll take the liberty of paraphrasing Mr. Algase, and Roger please feel free to chime in with a response, as your thoughts are always welcomed and appreciated.  In sum, Mr. Algase is throwing his support behind President Obama's reelection campaign as a result of his justifiable fears that the eventual Republican nominee will be adversely detrimental to the cause of immigration reform, and most importantly, immigrant rights.  Of this there is no disagreement.

Our disagreement is principally over whether it is short sighted to turn our backs to President Obama, akin to throwing the baby out with the bathwater.  I argue that, to the contrary, supporting President Obama's reelection will in the long term retard the advancement of immigration reform and immigrant rights, that President Obama's administration is the one making the water dirty, and that they all need to be thrown out, dirty suds and all.  

Although Mr. Algase points out that President Obama is the lesser of two evils (this point is debatable), this does not in any way detract from the fact that Obama's immigration enforcement and deportation policies ARE EVIL.  

Should Obama win reelection immigration reform will continue to be ignored, and the Administration will deport another million immigrants. As such, supporting Obama's campaign for his second term sends the message to the Democratic party that they can continue to turn their back to immigration reform, while ignoring the torture, rape, abuse, and in some instances murder of immigrants unlawfully detained in immigration detention, while the Administration advances the goal of deporting more immigrants than at any time in history, enforcing racist and homophobic policy positions in the process.

Because the Democrats (rightly) believe that the immigration reform vote will come regardless of their (in)action(s), there is no motivation for the party to champion the issue after the election.  The only way that this reality will change is if the Democrats lose the CIR vote to a third party candidate, and subsequently the Presidency in 2012.  If this does happen, in 2016 the Democrats will finally be forced to understand the significance of effectuating fair and humane immigration reform, championing the issue, and putting an end to the destruction of hundreds of thousands (millions) of families through deportation, while taking meaningful steps to clean up the abuses permeating the immigration enforcement and detention system.

That is called foresight.

If Obama wins reelection while garnering the immigration reform electorate, I can tell you with 100% certainty that there will be another million+ immigrants deported, and we will be no closer to immigration reform than when he promised to address the issue in his first 100 days in office.

The point being, supporting the Deporter in Chief enables this President, and his party to ignore the very issue that he absolutely needs to maintain the office.

Respectfully, I implore all of you to stop being the enabler.  Do not support this President.
If it means that we will see no immigration reform in the next four years under a Republican administration, so be it, because I guarantee you one thing, we won't ever see it in an Obama Presidency, and there is no possible way that a Republican can do worse than what we have seen under Obama.

To be blunt, Obama has done more damage to immigrants, the cause of immigration reform, and to the Constitution than any President in history, and that specifically includes George W. Bush.

Needless to say, labeling Obama as a disappointment, or a failure, is the understatement of the millennium.

So I ask you this, how many immigrants need to be rounded up, and thrown into solitary confinement, where they are raped, tortured, abused, and murdered before the issue is no longer an inconvenience to the goal of reelecting a man merely because he is the lesser of two evils.

Vote third party in 2012, and give a voice to the voiceless.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Report: Obama Administration Fails to Clean-Up Deeply Flawed Immigration Detention System

NYU's School of Law Immigrant Rights Clinic in cooperation with the New Jersey Advocates for Immigrant Detainees has issued a report about the Obama administration's failed efforts to reform the immigration detention system in Essex County New Jersey.  They reviewed two facilities, Delaney Hall and the Essex County Correctional Facility (ECCF).  They found that both detention facilities fail to meet the bare minimum of humane treatment and due process. 

The report also found that not only has the Administration broken their 2009 promise to meaningful review the system, they have taken steps to expand it.
Here are the key findings of the report:
  • The current conditions for immigrant detainees in Delaney Hall and ECCF do not fully comply with the ICE Performance-Based National Standards for 2008 or for 2011.  
  • Although the purported purpose of immigration detention is not punishment but rather ensuring the appearance of immigrants at removal proceedings, the lack of liberty and conditions of immigrant detainees in Essex County, NJ mirror those of inmates in prison facilities for serious crimes.
  • In 2011, the number of immigration detention beds in Essex County increased by 150 percent from 500 to 1,250 detainees per day. Essex County now holds over half of all immigrant detainees in New Jersey.
  • Immigrant detainees in Delaney Hall and ECCF are not treated with the human dignity and respect they deserve. Many reported verbal abuse and mistreatment from guards and jail staff.
  • During 2011, immigration detainees in ECCF filed 158 written grievances. These grievances included allegations of mistreatment from ECCF staff, inadequate access to special diet meals, and delayed or unanswered requests for medical attention.
  • According to written grievance records, ECCF has been in violation of at least five detention standards in 2011 concerning medical attention, food service, religious services, access to legal counsel, and visitation services.
  • From October 2011 through December 2011, detainees in Delaney Hall filed 46 written grievances. These included allegations of mistreatment from Delaney Hall staff, cold dormitories and inadequate blankets during the winter, and unacceptable food quality. 
  • According to written grievance records, Delaney Hall has been in violation of at least five detention standards in 2011 concerning medical attention, food service, religious services, access to legal counsel, and visitation services.
  • In both ECCF and Delaney Hall, violations of detainees’ rights to due process and access to justice were reported including obstacles to detainees contacting their attorneys after transfers and the negative impact of video conferencing on attorney-client confidentiality and due process rights.
  • These conditions underscore the need for oversight of ECCF and Delaney Hall, and lend support to the community’s criticism of the lack of transparency through which ICE, Essex County, and Community Education Centers contracted to expand detention in these facilities.
So here is the bottom line, not only has the Obama administration completely failed to address the acknowledged problem that immigrants are being abused in substandard detention facilities, but their deportation policies have jammed more immigrants into the system than at any time in history. It should be noted that a significant percentage of the individuals being detained by the Administration have no criminal grounds of removability, and have been merely charged with civil immigration violations.

Another epic fail from the office of the Deporter in Chief.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Supreme Court Reaffirms Right to Competent Counsel During Plea Negotiations

The United States Supreme Court has issued two decisions (Missouri v. Fry, and Lafler v. Cooper) that reaffirm the constitutionally protected right to effective assistance of counsel in the criminal context during plea negotiations.

Both cases cite Padilla v. Kentucky, where the Court ruled that an attorney must inform their non-citizen client of the risk of deportation for consideration in taking a criminal plea, or the plea will be rendered constitutionally deficient.  

In Missouri v. Fry the Court held that: "The Sixth Amendment right to effective assistance of counsel ex­tends to the consideration of plea offers that lapse or are rejected and that that right applies to “all ‘critical’ stages of the criminal proceedings.” No. 10–444. Decided March 21, 2012.

In Lafler v. Cooper the Court held that: "Where counsel’s ineffective advice led to an offer’s rejection, and where the prejudice alleged is having to stand trial, a defendant must show that but for the ineffective advice, there is a reasonable probability that the plea offer would have been presented to the court, that the court would have accepted its terms, and that the conviction or sentence, or both, under the offer’s terms would have been less severe than under the actual judgment and sentence imposed." No. 10–209. Decided March 21, 2012.

We are coming up on the two-year anniversary of the Court's decision decision in Padilla v. Kentucky (March 31, 2010).  Since the decision, there has been a split in the Circuits over whether the Court's ruling applies retroactively.  

The Court addresses retroactivity in Lafler stating that the decision will not open the "floodgates to litigation," that the system will not be "overwhelmed," and that defendants will not receive "windfalls" as a result of the decision citing Padilla.

The Tenth Circuit and Seventh Circuit have ruled that Padilla doers not apply retroactively.

The Third Circuit has ruled that Padilla does apply retroactively.

Due to the fact that the Court's most recent decisions prominently cite Padilla, I think it is safe to say that the Court will ultimately clarify their position by finding that a non-citizen has a guaranteed right to effective assistance of counsel during plea negotiation, and that a constitutional violation cannot stand regardless of when it occurred.

What I find amazing is the length that certain Courts will go to undermine a non-citizen's Constitutionally protected right to counsel.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Obama Administration Seeking to Destroy Another Gay Couple Through Deportation

NBC news reports that the Obama administration is unwilling to recognize the validity of the marriage of Brian Willingham and Alfonso Garcia, by continuing to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

The couple has been together for ten years, marrying last August in the State of New York where same sex marriages are legally recognized.  Apparently, they aren't recognized in the White House.

A routine traffic stop has resulted in the institution of removal proceedings against Alfonso.  An immigration court hearing is scheduled this afternoon in San Francisco.

Now that this case is receiving press coverage I'm sure that the administration will make Alfonso one of the lucky 1%ers to qualify for a favorable exercise of prosecutorial discretion.

Nothing like bad press in an election year.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

UN Report: Obama Administration Allegedly Tortured 16 Gay and Transgender Immigrants Held in Immigration Detention

The United Nations Human Rights Counsel has issued a shocking report alleging that the Obama administration has tortured 16 gay and transgender immigrants detained in U.S. immigration detention facilities, charging direct violations of articles 7 and 12 of the Convention against Torture. The 81 page report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, was released on February 29, 2012.  

Apparently, the Special Rapporteur notified the Obama administration of the allegations of torture and abuse all the way back on August 19, 2011, but the Administration declined to respond to the communication. 

As a result, a demand was made in the released report for the Obama administration to immediately investigate the conditions of detention, solitary confinement and ill-treatment of the immigrants, and to prosecute and punish the individuals in the administration that are allegedly responsible for torturing immigrant detainees.

Heartland Alliance’s National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) was responsible for exposing the administration issuing the complaint that immigrant detainees were victims of sexual abuse, solitary confinement and the withholding of HIV medication and hormone therapy.

  • A guard sexually assaulting an immigrant detainee that was locked in solitary confinement;
  • Guards refusing to unshackle an immigrant detainee during a medical visit disrupting the safe draw of blood during an HIV examination.  The victim remarked: ""Even though the nurses and doctors asked them, [explaining] that they could not withdraw blood like that, the officers from CCA [Corrections Corporation of America] didn't care, and they had to take blood from my hand, and even though I cried from pain, they didn't care";
  • A transgender asylum seeker being denied hormone therapy, which resulted in a suicide attempt in February 2011; and
  • Taunting immigrants with "jokes" about them "dying of AIDS."
 I'm speechless.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Will Former Rutgers Student Dharun Ravi be Deported?

I just watched the following news clip about former Rutgers University student Dharun Ravi who apparently was convicted under New Jersey’s hate crimes statute for using a webcam to spy on his freshman roommate, Tyler Clementi, who allegedly committed suicide as a result. 

The question posed in the video is whether Ravi, who appears to be a lawful permanent resident (LPR), is deportable as a result of his convictions.  They specifically ask the question: Is he deportable for having been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude (CIMT).

I'll limit my response to the question asked.

Mind you, I haven't seen the certificate of conviction setting forth Mr. Ravi's conviction(s), but I have read that he was convicted under the New Jersey statute for invasion of privacy, and  “bias intimidation” (the New Jersey hate crime).

Both appear to be issues of first impression with respect to their designation as CIMTs.

For the sake of hypothetical, let's assume that both convictions are CIMTs, that Mr. Ravi has no prior convictions with immigration consequences, and that he has been lawfully admitted for more than 5 years.

If the convictions arise out of a single scheme of criminal misconduct occurring more than five years after Mr. Ravi's lawful admission he isn't deportable under INA § 237(a)(2)(A)(i), which states that any non-citizen is deportable who:
(I) is convicted of a CIMT within 5 years of admission after the date of admission, and
(II) is convicted of a crime for which a sentence of one year or longer may be imposed.
If Mr. Ravi has multiple CIMTs that do not arise out of a single scheme of criminal misconduct he would be deportable under INA § 237(a)(2)(A)(ii) which states that:
Any alien who at the any time of admission is convicted of two or more CIMTs, not arising out of a single scheme of criminal misconduct, regardless of whether confined therefor and regardless of whether the convictions were in a single trial, is deportable.
So the bottom line is at this point I don't have enough information to be able to answer the question posed in the video.  Depending on the facts, there could be a silver immigration lining for Mr. Ravi inside the dark cloud of deportation.

I don't have the time today to dig up any more of the facts, but feel free to contact me with them if you are interested in doing the leg work.  I'll be happy to do a follow-up blog.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Dispelling ICE Misinformation about Deportation Priorities

I just stumbled upon a quote from ICE spokesman Vincent Picard reiterating the party line that the Obama administration "has adopted commonsense policies” by focusing enforcement efforts on deporting individuals with convictions for violent crimes.


TRAC Immigration (and anyone else with a pulse) begs to differ.

TRAC analyzed available records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request covering deportation (generic) proceedings filed in Immigration Courts. 
This is what they found:
During FY 2011 ICE initiated deportation proceedings against 188,770 individuals who were charged only with violating immigration rules. This amounted to 83.4 percent of the total cases. The proportion charged only with violating immigration rules was up slightly over levels in FY 2010 when 81.9 percent were so charged.
TRAC also found that the number of removal proceedings instituted against individuals with criminal grounds of removal has been steadily declining throughout the past year:
  • 15.8 percent were charged with engaging in criminal activity during the first quarter period (October - December 2010);
  • 15.1 percent during the second quarter (January - March 2011); 
  • 14.9 percent during the third quarter (April - June 2011); and
  • 13.8 percent during the fourth quarter (July - September 2011). 
  • The average rate across the four quarters for FY 2011 was 14.9 percent.
 TRAC put together the following charts to summarize the data:

Table 1. Deportation Proceedings Initiated in Immigration Courts by ICE,
October - December 2011
Most Serious Charge by Category by Type
Total Individuals Charged 39,331
National Security / Terrorism 4
Terrorism 0
National Security 4
Criminal 5,493
Aggravated Felons 1,300
Other Criminal 4,193
Immigration 32,957
Entry Without Inspection 24,073
Other Immigration 8,884
* FY 2012 counts based on EOIR records as of 12/31/2011 can be expected to rise slightly once late reporting is incorporated. Total includes miscellaneous or incomplete charge information.

Table 2. Trends in Charges Brought by ICE in Immigration Courts
Most Serious Charge Percent of Total (First Quarter)
FY 2010 Q1 FY 2011 Q1 FY 2012 Q1
Total Individuals Charged* 100% 100% 100%
National Security / Terrorism 0.03% 0.02% 0.01%
Criminal 17.3% 15.9% 14.0%
Immigration Only 81.2% 82.2% 83.8%

ICE is blocking the release of immigration enforcement data covering all individuals who had been arrested, detained, charged, or deported from the country since FY 2005.  The stonewalling undoubtedly is to prevent us from being able to dispel the misinformation and propaganda that is being spewed by mouthpieces of the agency for political gain.  

It is an election year.

Here is TRAC's press release that summarizes the lengths that the Obama Administration is going to hide the facts.
Syracuse, N.Y. — On January 4 the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) appealed to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) concerning its response to TRAC's previous request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for case-by-case information covering all individuals who had been arrested, detained, charged, or deported from the country since FY 2005 (see TRAC's January 4 statement).
In our FOIA appeal, TRAC asked the agency to provide all of the information we had requested almost two years before and noted that what ICE had produced showed that many fewer individuals had been apprehended, deported or detained by the agency than had been claimed in its official statements. While not expressing an opinion about whether the discrepancies meant that ICE's public claims were grossly exaggerated or that it had improperly withheld records, we requested a formal investigation be instituted, perhaps by the Office of Inspector General. 
On January 6, we received ICE's highly critical statement attacking Syracuse University's TRAC and the facts laid out in our appeal. 
ICE's statement — while couched as criticisms of TRAC's "intellectual integrity" — did in essence acknowledge that TRAC's analysis was correct: the data released by the agency accounted for far fewer apprehensions than the agency stated it had carried out. That statement, however, did not explain why ICE's FOIA Office had earlier claimed that data to be complete. And ICE has not yet released the alleged missing data for the period in question. Thus, the public is still in the dark as to whether the agency actually has records that would back up its claims1.
I implore you to consider donating to TRAC.  They are leading the charge in the fight for truth and accountability.  Something this President promised to do when he was campaigning for office.

How things "Change."

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Did Justice Department Lawyers Lie to the Supreme Court?

The Wall Street Journal reports that a District Court Judge has called out the Justice Department for allegedly making "misleading statements" to influence the Supreme Court in an immigration related decision.  The case invovled the applicable standard that a Court of Appeals must consider in issuing a stay of removal that would block an immigrant's deportation while their petition for review is being considered.

The case was Niken v. Holder, and was argued on January 21, 2009, just one day after President Barack Obama was sworn into office promising to usher in a new era of government transparency and accountability.

Petitioner Nken sought an order from the Fourth Circuit staying his removal to Cameroon while his petition for review of a Board of Immigration Appeals order denying his motion to reopen removal proceedings was pending. Nken acknowledged that Circuit precedent required an alien seeking such a stay to satisfy 8 U. S. C. §1252(f)(2), which sharply restricts the availability of injunctions blocking the removal of an alien from this country, but argued that a court’s authority to stay a removal order should instead be controlled by the traditional criteria governing stays. The Court of Appeals denied the stay motion without comment.
Here are the arguments:
The parties dispute what standard a court should apply when determining whether to grant a stay. Petitioner argues that the “traditional” stay standard should apply, meaning a court should consider “(1) whether the stay applicant has made a strong showing that he is likely to succeed on the merits; (2) whether [he] will be irreparably injured absent a stay; (3) whether issuance of the stay will substantially injure the other parties … ; and (4) where the public interest lies.” Hilton v. Braunskill, 481 U. S. 770. The Government argues that §1252(f) should govern, meaning an alien must show “by clear and convincing evidence that the entry or execution of [the removal] order is prohibited as a matter of law.” Pp. 5–6.
The Court held that: "Traditional stay factors, not the demanding §1252(f)(2) standard, govern a court of appeals’ authority to stay an alien’s removal pending judicial review. Pp. 3–17."

In arguing their case Justice Department lawyers advised the Supreme Court that the government "facilitates" the return of deportees who have been forcibly removed from the United States during the pendency of their appeal, and who ultimately win their case.

Parenthetically, no immigration lawyer I know has ever heard of such practice.

Chief Justice John Roberts relied on that statement specifically finding that: "Aliens who are removed may continue to pursue their petitions for review, and those who prevail can be afforded effective relief by facilitation of their return, along with restoration of the immigration status they had upon removal."    

Justice Roberts reasoned that:
Although removal is a serious burden for many aliens, that burden alone cannot constitute the requisite irreparable injury. An alien who has been removed may continue to pursue a petition for review, and those aliens who prevail can be afforded effective relief by facilitation of their return, along with restoration of the immigration status they had upon removal. [Emphasis added].
On December 17, 2009, Immigrant rights groups filed FOIA requests with the DOJ, DHS, and DOS seeking release of the factual basis for the un-cited representations made to the Supreme Court.

The FOIA yielded a "mostly-redacted" chain of emails between the attorneys who argued the case before the Supreme Court and government officials.  Presumably, the redacted portions of the emails relate to the information relayed to the Supreme Court.   The FOIA contained no record of the existence of any written policy.

The FOIAs did reveal some interesting facts, however.
  • Citizenship and Immigration Services stated that "USCIS doesnot have a specific policy, program and/or guidance memo regarding a process for aliens wrongfully removed/deported from the UnitedStates."   
  • Customs and Border Protection stated that it has no set procedure for facilitating return, does not track cases referred for judicial action, and has no method for identifying whether an alien has succeeded on appeal.  
  • ICE records show that officials frequently do not know whom they should contact to facilitate return.  
  • In some situations where ICE used parole, agency employees still expressed confusion about how to physically return a deportee.  
  • Other records admit that the Government’s use of parole would not restore the status that removed aliens had prior to their removal.  
  • ICE records do not contain any publicly accessible forms or instructions for individuals whose removal orders have been reversed or vacated.  
Immigrant rights groups have filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York demanding full disclosure of the emails.

The Administration has sought summary judgement arguing that the withholding of information was justified under the work-product privilege, the attorney-client privilege, and the deliberative-process privilege.  

U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff isn't buying any of it stating that government lawyers "made a factual representation, unsupported by any citation to the record, and intended that the Court rely on it, which the Court did," and that there is "substantial evidence that the judicial process may have been impugned if the Supreme Court relied upon what may well have been inaccurate or distorted factual representation."

Judge Rakoff ordered disclosure of the portions of the emails containing the factual statements that specifically relate to the alleged policy and practice of facilitating deported aliens' return and restoring their prior immigration status if they successfully appeal their removal decisions. 

It should be noted that this is not the first example of the Obama administration blocking the release of information relating to its deportaion policies through FIOAs. 

So much for transparency and accountability.

Click here for the original source of this story.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Only 1% of all Reviewed Deportation Cases Have Received a Favorable Exercise of Prosecutorial Discretion

On March 8, 2012, ICE Director John Morton spoke before the House appropriations subcommittee on homeland security where he announced, among other things, that only 1% of all pending deportation cases reviewed have received a favorable exercise of prosecutorial discretion.  This means that the Obama administration has moved to administratively close only 1,500 of approximately 150,000 reviewed deportation cases.

I'm calling the lucky few the 1%ers.  

I wonder how many of the 1%ers had their cases publicised in the media.  Nothing worse than bad publicity when you are trying to paint yourself as pro-immigrant during an election year.

Morton also stated that ICE was implementing a nationwide uniformed standard to classify immigrants according to risk to assist in the determination of what aliens to detain when encountered.

I'm sure the new standards will work swimmingly.

Click here for the source.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) rep makes example of deportation case

April 2012 Visa Bulletin

First: (F1) Unmarried Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens: 23,400 plus any numbers not required for fourth preference.
Second: Spouses and Children, and Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Permanent Residents: 114,200, plus the number (if any) by which the worldwide family preference level exceeds 226,000, plus any unused first preference numbers:
A. (F2A) Spouses and Children of Permanent Residents: 77% of the overall second preference limitation, of which 75% are exempt from the per-country limit;
B. (F2B) Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 years of age or older) of Permanent Residents: 23% of the overall second preference limitation.
Third: (F3) Married Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens: 23,400, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences.
Fourth: (F4) Brothers and Sisters of Adult U.S. Citizens: 65,000, plus any numbers not required by first three preferences.
On the chart below, the listing of a date for any class indicates that the class is oversubscribed (see paragraph 1); "C" means current, i.e., numbers are available for all qualified applicants; and "U" means unavailable, i.e., no numbers are available. (NOTE: Numbers are available only for applicants whose priority date isearlier than the cut-off date listed below.)
Family-SponsoredAll Chargeability Areas Except Those ListedCHINA-mainland bornINDIAMEXICOPHILIPPINES
F101APR0501APR05 01APR0508MAY9322JUN97
F2B15JAN0415JAN0415JAN0401DEC92 08DEC01
*NOTE:  For April, F2A numbers EXEMPT from per-country limit are available to applicants from all countries with priority dates earlier than 01SEP09.  F2A numbers SUBJECT to per-country limit are available to applicants chargeable to all countries EXCEPT MEXICO with priority dates beginning 01SEP09 and earlier than 08OCT09.  (All F2A numbers provided for MEXICO are exempt from the per-country limit; there are no F2A numbers for MEXICO subject to per-country limit.)
5. Section 203(b) of the INA prescribes preference classes for allotment of Employment-based immigrant visas as follows:

First: Priority Workers: 28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required for fourth and fifth preferences.
Second: Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability: 28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required by first preference.
Third: Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers: 28.6% of the worldwide level, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences, not more than 10,000 of which to "*Other Workers".
Fourth: Certain Special Immigrants: 7.1% of the worldwide level.
Fifth: Employment Creation: 7.1% of the worldwide level, not less than 3,000 of which reserved for investors in a targeted rural or high-unemployment area, and 3,000 set aside for investors in regional centers by Sec. 610 of Pub. L. 102-395.
On the chart below, the listing of a date for any class indicates that the class is oversubscribed (see paragraph 1); "C" means current, i.e., numbers are available for all qualified applicants; and "U" means unavailable, i.e., no numbers are available. (NOTE: Numbers are available only for applicants whose priority date isearlier than the cut-off date listed below.)
Employment- BasedAll Chargeability Areas Except Those ListedCHINA- mainland bornINDIAMEXICOPHILIPPINES
3rd08APR06 01MAR0501SEP02 08APR0608APR06    
Other Workers08APR0622APR0301SEP0208APR0608APR06
Certain Religious WorkersCCCCC
Regional Centers
and Pilot Programs
*Employment Third Preference Other Workers Category: Section 203(e) of the Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) passed by Congress in November 1997, as amended by Section 1(e) of Pub. L. 105-139, provides that once the Employment Third Preference Other Worker (EW) cut-off date has reached the priority date of the latest EW petition approved prior to November 19, 1997, the 10,000 EW numbers available for a fiscal year are to be reduced by up to 5,000 annually beginning in the following fiscal year. This reduction is to be made for as long as necessary to offset adjustments under the NACARA program. Since the EW cut-off date reached November 19, 1997 during Fiscal Year 2001, the reduction in the EW annual limit to 5,000 began in Fiscal Year 2002.

Friday, March 9, 2012

11th Circuit Temporarily Blocks Two More Parts of Alabama Immigration Law

U.S. District Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has issued an order temporarily halting two more sections of the Alabama Immigration law known as HB 56.  The two blocked sections include a provision that prevents courts from enforcing contracts between an undocumented immigrant and a legal resident or citizen, and another section criminalizing the act of conducting business in Alabama while undocumented.

The practical application of the second blocked portion has far reaching consequences.  For example, hypothetically, if a German executive for Mercedes-Benz working at the Alabama manufacturing plant falls out of immigration status due to a clerical error relating to the filing of immigration paperwork, and continues to work in the United States they would become subject to criminal prosecution for a felony.
If this provision stands Mercedes-Benz better hope their attorney doesn't make any mistakes filing paperwork.

Here is a list of sections of HB 56 that Judge Blackburn has also temporarily blocked:
  • Sections relating to the harboring, transportation, or encouragement of illegal immigrants in the State of Alabama;
  • Sections creating tax penalties for employers;
  • A requirement for schools to check students' immigration status;
  • Sections criminalizing the act of looking for work without employment authorization; and
  • A provision that prevents undocumented immigrants from attending State Universities.
The provision of HB 56 requiring law enforcement officers to determine the citizenship and immigration status of individuals encountered or arrested should the officer maintain a "reasonable suspicion" that the individual is in the country illegally remains in effect.

The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments on Arizona's immigration law (SB 1070) next month.  The decision on the Arizona case will most likely directly impact the constitutionality of Alabama's immigration law, and it is safe to say that Judge Blackburn is waiting to see what the Supreme Court does before issuing a decision.

Interesting times we are living in.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Obama Admin Shamed into Stopping Deportation of Florida DREAMer

Why does it take national press coverage for this administration to actually do what it is telling the world that it is already doing?

If this story didn't make national news, this young girl's bright future would have been extinguished by this administration. Mind you, she is not out of the woods yet, remaining in immigration limbo, and will face deportation again in 2014.

I find it absolutely sickening.

Here's the story:

"The valedictorian of a Florida high school who was close to being deported has won a reprieve from the Department of Homeland Security, which is deferring action for two years.

Attorney Nera Shefer's office received notification from the Department of Homeland Security Tuesday that Daniela Pelaez was given a deferred action for two years."

Click here for more of this US immigration news update.