Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Obama Administration Increasing Deportation Agents by 25%

It has been reported that the Obama administration is increasing the number of deportation agents by a staggering 25% in furtherance of the aggressive goal to deport as many people as humanly possible before the end of President Obama's first term in office.  

Obama already holds the all-time deportation record for a sitting President, but like Barry Bonds, the Deportation King is going to put the record so far out of reach that historians will be forced to impose an asterisk.

ICE's hiring efforts began on May 14 with the established goal of increasing the number of "fugitive operations teams" from 104 to 129. The plan is for each team to arrest 50 "criminal aliens" per month.  

It should be noted that the Obama administration's definition of "criminal aliens" includes asylum seekers who used fraudulent documentation to escape their country of persecution, and other individuals with no criminal records.

This latest move is clearly in response to what are now confirmed reports that the Obama administration fabricated claims that they have been targeting more "criminal" aliens for deportation.  

There was no press release about the recent hiring increases as President Obama is in full-fledged campaign mode mocking Romney's "self-deportation" immigration policy, and making more soon to be broken promises to meaningfully address comprehensive immigration reform in his second term.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

ACLU of Georgia Charges Obama Administration with Serious Violations of Immigrant Detainees’ Human and Constitutional Rights

The ACLU of Georgia has released a 182 page report charging the Obama administration with serious human and constitutional rights violations in immigration detention facilities in the State of Georgia.

The report "Prisoners of Profit" is dedicated to the memory of Roberto Medina Martinez (1969-2009) and all immigrants who have perished in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. 

The ACLU found that ICE’s aggressive “Operation Endgame” goal of deporting all removable aliens by 2012 has overloaded the already overcrowded immigration court dockets, and immigrant detainees’ due process rights are being violated, both in immigration court and at the detention facilities.

The report highlights the following concerns relating to:

  • Abuse of Power, including verbal and physical abuse, and retaliatory behavior from guards
  • Due process concerns during the removal process
  • ICE officers and Immigration Judges coercing detainees to sign stipulated orders of removal
  • Non-Citizens are being detained in excess of a presumptively reasonable times
  • Inadequate medical and mental health care, and unreasonable delays in provision of care
  • Treatment of detainees with mental Disabilities is punitive rather than care oriented
  • Conditions for attorney visits are inadequate and raise attorney/client violations
  • Inadequate cell conditions
  • Transfers take detainees away from family and community
  • Imposition of punitive segregation units
  • Hygiene concerns, including food concerns.

  • How many reports need to be released before this administration takes steps to eliminate the human rights violations that are a hallmark of the immigration detention system.

     I'm sure it will be a "top priority" for the administration if Obama wins a second term. 

    Alabama Immigration Law Amended with New Requirement: The Scarlet Letter 'I' for 'Illegal'

    Both Alabama's House and Senate passed amendments to the State immigration law yesterday to include a requirement to publish the names of undocumented immigrants that appear in court for violations of Alabama State law, even if criminal charges are ultimately dismissed. They might as well have imposed the requirement for immigrants to wear the scarlet letter 'I' for ILLEGAL.  Forgive me if I'm overstating, but doesn't this eerily remind you of the yellow badge of shame that Jews were required to wear in Nazi Germany.

    Other amendments include a provision to permit individuals to present credit cards or voter identification cards to prove residency if they are unable to produce a State driver’s license.  This amendment addresses the embarrassment that resulted when a Mercedes-Benz executive was arrested for not having his driver's licence available.  Papers please.

    The legislature did not remove requirements for State law enforcement to verify the immigration status of anyone suspected of immigration violations.

    I wonder if the Alabama legislature's next step is to amended their State flag from the crimson cross to the swastika.

    These are interesting times we live in.

    Wednesday, May 16, 2012

    L-1A Executive Approved Despite Criminal History without a Waiver in One-Hour

    Our client is a Canadian citizen. He is the owner of a Canadian trucking company, and is in the process of starting a U.S. trucking company to compliment his Canadian business.

    The U.S. business requires his hands-on presence at this time. He hired us so that he would be able to work legally in the United States.

    He disclosed to us that he had been convicted of two relatively minor offenses in Canada a few years ago, both arising out of the same incident. Other than this blemish on his record, he has been an outstanding citizen, businessman, and family man.

    We fully investigated the nature and extent of his business interests and his criminal record. We determined that the crimes of which he was convicted did not constitute grounds of inadmissibility to the United States. We found that he was eligible to apply for L-1A status as an Intracompany Transferee as an Executive.

    We had the startup U.S. company petition on his behalf. We prepared a compelling package for presentation at the border under the NAFTA. We disclosed and dealt with his criminal record in our written presentation. We prepared him for his inspection at the border. We appeared with him to answer any questions concerning his eligibility, if necessary.

    His L-1A status was approved in approximately one hour. A Form I-94 authorizing his admission into the United States and employment by his U.S. company was issued. The client is now running the U.S. company and employing U.S. workers.

    Monday, May 14, 2012

    Visa Bulletin For June 2012

    Number 45, Volume IX
    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 charts 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 is earlier than the cut-off date listed below.)

    Family-Sponsored All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed CHINA-mainland born INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
    F1 22JUN05 22JUN05 22JUN05 15MAY93 01JUL97
    F2A 01JAN10 01JAN10 01JAN10 08DEC09 01JAN10
    F2B 15APR04 15APR04 15APR04 01JAN92 08DEC01
    F3 01APR02 01APR02 01APR02 15JAN93 22JUL92
    F4 08JAN01 15DEC00 08JAN01 01JUN96 22JAN89

    *NOTE:  For June, F2A numbers EXEMPT from per-country limit are available to applicants from all countries with priority dates earlier than 08DEC09.  F2A numbers SUBJECT to per-country limit are available to applicants chargeable to all countries EXCEPT MEXICO with priority dates beginning 08DEC09 and earlier than 01JAN10.  (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.)

    Employment- Based All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed CHINA- mainland born INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
    1st C C C C C
    2nd C U U C C
    3rd 08JUN06 08AUG05 15SEP02 08JUN06 22MAY06
    Other Workers 08JUN06 22APR03 15SEP02 08JUN06 22MAY06
    4th C C C C C
    Certain Religious Workers C C C C C
    Regional Centers
    and Pilot Programs
    C C C C C

    *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, May 11, 2012

    Alabama State Senate Delays Vote on Amending Immigration Law

    The Alabama State Senate has delayed a planned vote to amend the State’s immigration law known as HB 56.  A vote was planned for this week.  Apparently the sponsors of the Bill are divided over provisions that deal with business transactions.  At issue are provision that provide civil penalties to business owners that knowingly hire undocumented immigrants.

    As the law currently stands there are automatic statutory penalties, which include the suspension of business licenses and the imposition of probationary periods.

    I'll keep you posted as soon as more information becomes available.

    Click here for the original source of this story.

    Thursday, May 10, 2012

    Deportation Actions Against Criminal Aliens Decreasing

    Syracuse University's TRAC Immigration reports that the Obama administration is instituting fewer deportation proceedings against individuals with criminal grounds of removal.

    Here is what they found:

    During the most recent quarter (January - March 2012), ICE sought to deport a total of 5,450 individuals on criminal grounds. While this number is preliminary and is likely to increase once late reports are in, it represents a drastic decrease compared with 10,732 individuals against whom ICE sought deportation orders just two years ago (during the period January - March 2010). 

    They also determined that:

    Court filings began dropping even before ICE Director John Morton issued his June 17, 2011 directive on prosecutorial discretion (PD), which outlined the manner in which enforcement activity could be focused on deporting serious criminals. Since that announcement, however, official court records show that rather than increasing, the number of deportations ordered on the basis of criminal activity has continued to decrease. Evidence from the most recent quarter show that the agency continues to be headed in the opposite direction from its stated goal. 

    Click here to see the original report with charts and graphs that organize all of the data analyzed.

    Wednesday, May 9, 2012

    Secure Communities coming to Massachusetts

    The Obama administration has notified Massachusetts law enforcement officials that the fingerprint information sharing program called Secure Communities will become active in the State on May 15, 2012.

    Gov. Deval Patrick has indicated that Secure Communities will result in racial profiling by police, and would create a wedge between immigrant communities and law enforcement officials, but that he is helpless to prevent its implementation. 

    Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren has ignored concerns of racial profiling and is supporting the program's implementation.  She issued the following statement: 
    "Elizabeth supports efforts to take dangerous and violent criminals off our street.  She understands that some law enforcement in Massachusetts and across the country have expressed concerns that the program divides police and communities, and believes we need to continue to work to improve the program as it is being implemented so that it actually does make our communities safer."

    Maybe you should rethink that position Elizabeth.

    Monday, May 7, 2012

    Army Soldier's Wife Facing Deportation

    The wife of Pfc.Guillermo Garcia, U.S. Army, Araceli Mercado Sanchez, is currently facing deportation after being stopped for a making an illegal turn to avoid a construction zone.  At the time she was on her way to buy supplies for the couple's three-year-old daughter's birthday party. After being encountered she was taken into custody and brought to Eloy jail where apparently she was held for days.  Deportation proceedings have been instituted against Ms. Sanchez who is 22.  She was brought to the United States as a 4-year-old child, and has no criminal record.  

    Pfc. Garcia is currently stationed in Germany with the 2nd Cavalry Regiment.  He is awaiting imminent deployment.  Garcia enlisted in the Army in part because he believed that it would help his wife's immigration status, and he has been working with lawyers to try to fix the problem.  The couple has been married for four years.

    Garcia responds:

    “I feel outraged that my wife and daughter had to go through something like this. I am a United States Army infantry man legally married to my wife and she presented evidence to the officer that pulled her over to show just that and was still detained. It happened on my daughter's 3rd Birthday while on her way to pick up paper plates for the party that was planned for that afternoon.” 

    It appears that once the news hit the papers Garcia's wife was released.

    Wouldn't want any bad press in an election year.

    Click here for the original source of this story.

    Friday, May 4, 2012

    DREAMer Amelio Flores Facing Deportation for Being Brown

    I just receieved the following email from DREAMer Amelio Flores, a victim of racial profiling, who is currently facing deportation.  I felt compelled to post it here in the hopes that people will take action by signing his petition asking the Obama administration to exercise prosecutorial discretion in his favor.
    My world turned upside down the day after I turned twenty. After celebrating my birthday with friends I was waiting for my ride home, when the police approached me. Without cause, they moved to arrest me and I resisted-- I was nervous and I didn’t understand why I was being arrested.  Because of this misunderstanding, I was sent to jail for resisting arrest. 
    I am paying a heavy price for being brown.  I am now facing deportation. Demand justice with me and tell the Department of Homeland Security to exercise prosecutorial discretion in my case.  
    I was put into deportation proceedings through the 287g program in my county, which allows police to racially profile and behave like ICE. After a long week in jail, ICE set a bond for me that would take away all the college savings I had worked so hard for. 
    I haven't given up! I was the first one in my family to graduate from high school. My dream is to continue my education and study education or psychology in college. I know that I can achieve my dreams and continue to give back to my community if I am allowed to remain in the only country I consider home.
    Please sign my petition and demand for prosecutorial discretion and justice in my case. 
    While I was in jail my biggest fear was not seeing my family ever again and having to go back to a country I barely remember. In detention I saw hundreds of other undocumented men having to leave their children and families behind. Please stand for justice with me and the thousands who are facing the same situation as I me as a result of the 287g and Secure Communities programs. 
    With gratitude, 
    Amelio Flores

    Thursday, May 3, 2012

    Illinois House of Representatives to Vote on Bill to Block Privately Run Immigration Jails

    In a 7-4 vote, the Executive Committee of the Illinois House of Representatives has advanced Bill SB 1064 to a floor vote.  The Bill seeks to block construction of a privately run immigration detention center located south of Chicago, as well as prohibit private firms from running detention centers in Illinois.

    In Illinois, the management of the criminal detention facilities may only be overseen by the government.  Should SB 1064 become law civil detention centers utilized by ICE to lock up undocumented immigrants awaiting deportation would have to be run by the government, and not private contractors.  Something tells me that if this Bill becomes law there will be exponentially fewer immigrants locked up in the great State of Illinois.

    The proposed law specifically targets a contract negotiated by Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) who intends to erect a detention center that would hold 788 ICE detainees.  CCA is the same company that Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz is backing over her constituents who oppose the building of a detention facility in her district.

    I'll keep you posted as soon as I hear more.

    Wednesday, May 2, 2012

    Immigration Prosecutions Increase by 26% in January 2012

    Syracuse's TRAC Immigration has determined that in January 2012 there was a 26% increase in criminal prosecutions for immigration-related crimes, and a 33% increase in convictions from the previous month.  They found that the substantial growth of immigration-related criminal prosecutions is attributed to an increase of filings in U.S. Magistrate Courts.

    Here are some of their findings:
    • 100% of all federal criminal prosecutions for immigration offenses in January 2012 were referred by the Department of Homeland Security through recommendations of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).  
    • The most frequent criminal charge (56.8%) was violation of 8 U.S.C §1325: Entry of alien at improper time or place.
    • 37.9% of the criminal prosecutions were for violation of 8 U.S.C. §1326: Reentry of deported alien.
    • The third most prosecuted criminal charge was violation of 18 U.S.C. §1546: Fraud and misuse of visas, permits, and other documents.  
    • Over the past year there was an 800% increase in prosecutions for violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1028: Aggravated Identity Theft, and 826.7% increase of prosecutions for violation of 18 U.S.C. §1544: Misuse of passport.
    Click here to donate to TRAC.

    Tuesday, May 1, 2012

    Components of Immigration System Seeing Bipartisan Agreement

    Obama Admin Deported More than 14 thousand kids to Mexico in 2011

    NBCLatino Reports: Helping immigrant children who are detained and deported from NBC News on Vimeo.

    Supreme Court to Revisit Ruling in Padilla v. Kentucky to Determine if it Applies Retroactively

    The United States Supreme Court has granted cert in a case for the purpose of clarifying whether the Court's previous decision in Padilla v. Kentucky applies retroactively to persons whose convictions became final before its announcement.  Click here to read the Petition for Writ of Certiorari. 

    The Court in Padilla ruled that criminal defendants receive ineffective assistance of counsel under the Sixth Amendment when their attorneys fail to advise them that pleading guilty to an offense will subject them to deportation.  Subsequent to the Supreme Court's decision, there has been a split in the lower courts regarding the effect of Padilla, and whether it applies retroactively.

    The current case, Chaidez v. United States, arises out of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, which focused on the singular issue of whether Padilla created a new constitutional rule of criminal procedure.  A rule is "new" when it was not dictated by precedent existing at the time the defendant's conviction became final. 

    The 7th reasoned that if Padilla created a new rule it would only apply to cases on direct review, unless one of two exceptions applies: (1) it is substantive or (2) it is a watershed rule of criminal procedure implicating the fundamental fairness and accuracy of the criminal proceeding.

    The 7th found that Padilla created a new rule, that an exception to non-retroactivity did not apply, reversing the District Court's decision.  The Supreme Court granted cert yesterday.

    I'll be following the case closely and will keep you updated.