Posted on November 15, 2011 by SC Appleseed Legal Justice Center
November 14, 2011
In a briefing with Latino journalists last week, President Obama directly acknowledged that his administration’s immigration enforcement practices break up families and exclude parents from decisions about the custody of their children. His comments affirmed the central findings of a yearlong investigation by the Applied Research Center, which publishes Colorlines.com, released earlier this month. The investigation concludes that there are at least 5,100 children currently in foster care who are stuck there because their parents were detained or deported by immigration officials.
The president said parents should have access to their children if they are detained and that he has directed the Department of Homeland Security to examine its family unification practices to ensure that happens. The White House declined to comment today on the details of that examination or what policy changes it may produce.
But in his comments last week, the president said that there are administrative actions that the Department of Homeland Security can take to address the separation of families.
“I’m not here to pretend that this hasn’t happened,” said Obama, in response, according to a journalist present, to a question about the issues raised in the Applied Research Center investigation. (more…)
Filed under: Deportation, immigrant community, Law Enforcement | Tagged: American Immigration Lawyers Association, Applied Research Center, deportation, detention, families, foster care, ICE, immigration enforcement, Latino | Leave a Comment »
Posted on July 13, 2011 by SC Appleseed Legal Justice Center
From The Nation:
Renée Feltz–July 8, 2011
On June 17, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced a slate of reforms to its Secure Communities program that director John Morton said are about prioritizing its limited resources and “making sure we focus on those people it makes the most sense to remove.” In reality they amount to a political attempt to salvage Obama’s flagship immigration program, which despite a multimillion-dollar mandate to target “dangerous criminal aliens,” has been undermined by ICE’s own data, which show that the majority of those it deports have no criminal record or were charged with minor offenses like traffic tickets. Critics argue that the program has re-established racial profiling as a legitimate policing practice. If the 1990s catchphrase was “Driving While Black,” now it could be “Driving While Immigrant.”
Take the example of Salvador Licea. Last August he was returning to his construction job in McGregor, Texas, after a lunch break when a routine traffic stop turned into a check of his immigration status. A local police officer noticed Licea’s expired inspection sticker and pulled him over, then checked to see whether his driver’s license was also expired. It was. Recent changes in Texas law make it impossible for undocumented immigrants to renew their once valid licenses. So instead of getting a ticket, Licea was arrested and booked into a McLennan County jail that participates in Secure Communities. His fingerprints were automatically shared with federal immigration agents and he was marked eligible for deportation.
“What crime did I commit?” Licea asks. “I was just doing my thing, just trying to get to work.” He says he often felt nervous when he saw a police officer while driving, even when he had a valid license. “Is he going to stop me for breaking the law?” Licea says he would ask himself. “Or is he just going to stop me for the color of my skin?” (more…)
Filed under: immigrant community, Law, Law Enforcement | Tagged: American Immigration Lawyers Association, Andrew Cuomo, Center for Constitutional Rights, David Leopold, Deval Patrick, End Racial Profiling Act, Illinois, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, John Morton, Margaret Huang, Massachusetts, New York, Pat Quinn, Rights Working Group, Secure Communities, Sunita Patel | Leave a Comment »
Posted on June 29, 2011 by SC Appleseed Legal Justice Center
Suzy Khimm–Mon Jun. 27, 2011 3:00 AM PDT
Has President Barack Obama found a way to enact the principles of the DREAM Act—the bill that would prevent the deportation of young undocumented immigrants who are students or military veterans—without passing the measure itself? Unable to move this legislation through the Republican-controlled Congress, the Obama administration has used its executive authority to shape immigration policy in line with the DREAM Act. This month, in a little-noticed move, Obama’s immigration chief advised Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials to use discretion when considering whether to deport certain undocumented immigrants who are particularly vulnerable or have strong community ties to the country. That is, go easy on the sort of undocumented immigrants that the DREAM Act could benefit, among others.
Since taking office, Obama has prioritized the deportation of undocumented immigrants who have committed serious crimes and threaten public safety. Now his administration has moved to ensure that federal immigration agents and attorneys are following such guidelines in the field—while empowering them to take their focus off certain undocumented immigrants who meet a host of criteria. In a June 17 memo to ICE employees, the agency’s director, John Morton, outlined 19 factors that could warrant the use of “prosecutorial discretion” and prevent certain immigrants from being deported, on a case-by-case basis. (more…)
Filed under: immigrant community, Law, Law Enforcement | Tagged: American Immigration Lawyers Association, Barack Obama, Center for American Progress, David Leopold, Doris Meissner, Dream Act, Gillian Christensen, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Immigration and Naturaliza, Immigration Policy Center, John Morton, Kris Kobach, Marshall Fitz, Mary Giovagnoli | Leave a Comment »