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Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal

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  1. Obama Admin Sued for Violating Constitutional Rights of Mothers and Children

    by , 08-22-2014 at 01:22 PM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    From the American Immigration Council:

    Released on Fri, Aug 22, 2014

    Washington D.C.
    — The American Immigration Council, American Civil Liberties Union National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, and National Immigration Law Center today sued the federal government to challenge its policies denying a fair deportation process to mothers and children who have fled extreme violence, death threats, rape, and persecution in Central America and come to the United States seeking safety.


    The groups filed the case on behalf of mothers and children locked up at an isolated detention center in Artesia, New Mexico — hours from the nearest major metropolitan area. The complaint charges the Obama administration with enacting a new strong-arm policy to ensure rapid deportations by holding these mothers and their children to a nearly insurmountable and erroneous standard to prove their asylum claims, and by placing countless hurdles in front of them.


    "These mothers and their children have sought refuge in the United States after fleeing for their lives from threats of death and violence in their home countries," said Cecillia Wang, director of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project. "U.S. law guarantees them a fair opportunity to seek asylum. Yet, the government's policy violates that basic law and core American values — we do not send people who are seeking asylum back into harm's way. We should not sacrifice fairness for speed in life-or-death situations."


    According to the complaint, the Obama administration is violating long-established constitutional and statutory law by enacting policies that have:


    • Categorically prejudged asylum cases with a "detain-and-deport" policy, regardless of individual circumstances.
    • Drastically restricted communication with the outside world for the women and children held at the remote detention center, including communication with attorneys. If women got to make phone calls at all, they were cut off after three minutes when consulting with their attorneys. This makes it impossible to prepare for a hearing or get legal help.
    • Given virtually no notice to detainees of critically important interviews used to determine the outcome of asylum requests. Mothers have no time to prepare, are rushed through their interviews, are cut off by officials throughout the process, and are forced to answer traumatic questions, including detailing instances of rape, while their children are listening.
    • Led to the intimidation and coercion of the women and children by immigration officers, including being screamed at for wanting to see a lawyer.

    "Fast-tracking the deportations of women and children from immigration detention is an assault on due process. There is no way that justice can be served when so many people are being rushed through the system without any real opportunity to assert claims for relief. What we are seeing in Artesia is nothing less than a sham process that values expediency over justice," said Melissa Crow, legal director of the American Immigration Council.

    The plaintiffs include:


    • A Honduran mother who fled repeated death threats in her home country to seek asylum in the United States with her two young children. The children's father was killed by a violent gang that then sent the mother and her children continuous death threats.When she went to the police they told her that they could not do anything to help her. It is common knowledge where she lived that the police are afraid of the gang and will do nothing to stop it.
    • A mother who fled El Salvador with her two children because of threats by the gang that controls the area where they lived. The gang stalked her 12-year-old child every time he left the house and threatened kidnapping. She fears that if the family returns to El Salvador, the gang will kill her son. Some police officers are known to be corrupt and influenced by gangs. The mother says she knows of people who have been killed by gang members after reporting them to police.
    • A mother who fled El Salvador with her 10-month old son after rival gangs threatened to kill her and her baby. One gang tried to force the mother to become an informant on the activities of another gang, and when she refused, told her she had 48 hours to leave or be killed.
    • "The women and children detained in Artesia have endured brutal murders of loved ones, rapes, death threats, and similar atrocities that no mother or child ever should have to endure, and our government is herding them through the asylum process like cattle," said Trina Realmuto, an attorney at the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild. "The deportation-mill in Artesia lacks even the most basic protections, like notice and the opportunity to be heard, that form the cornerstone of due process in this country."


    The lawsuit, M.S.P.C. v. Johnson, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Co-counsel in this case includes the law firms of Jenner & Block, and Van Der Hout, Brigagliano & Nightingale, LLP; and the ACLU of New Mexico, ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties, and ACLU of the Nation's Capital.


    "Any mother will do whatever it takes to make sure her children are safe from harm's way," said Karen Tumlin, managing attorney for the National Immigration Law Center. "Our plaintiffs are no different: they have fled their homes to protect their children, only to find that the U.S. deportation system is intent upon placing them back in the dangerous situations they left. We are filing this lawsuit today to ensure that each mother is able to have her fair day in court, and that we are not sending children and their mothers back to violence or their deaths."


    The complaint, M.S.P.C. v. Johnson, and attorney declarations are available on our Artesia Resource Page.


    ###
    For press inquiries, contact:
    Wendy Feliz, American Immigration Council, 202-507-7524, wfeliz@immcouncil.org
    Inga Sarda-Sorensen, American Civil Liberties Union, 212-549-2666, media@aclu.orgAdela de la Torre, National Immigration Law Center, 213-400-7822, delatorre@nilc.org
    Paromita Shah, National Immigration Project/NLG, 202-271-2286, paromita@nipnlg.org


    Click here
    for more information.

    Updated 08-22-2014 at 01:27 PM by MKolken

  2. #1of11Million Campaign: Eleven Undocumented Adults to Request Deferred Action

    by , 08-20-2014 at 07:58 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    August 20, 2014

    ***MEDIA ADVISORY***

    DEFINE AMERICAN IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE NATIONAL IMMIGRATION LAW CENTER TO ANNOUNCE LEGAL NEXT STEPS OF DEFINE AMERICAN FOUNDER, JOSE ANTONIO VARGAS


    (Washington, DC) - Define American in partnership with the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) will host a press conference to announce the launch of the
    #1of11Million Campaign at 10:00am this morning. In an unprecedented move, eleven undocumented individuals will submit applications for deferred action while putting a spotlight on the complexities of immigration in America. These eleven individuals represent the stories of the 11.5 million undocumented Americans that reside in the United States. Stories can be submitted at http://bit.ly/1of11M



    #1of11Million Coverage in New York Times, August 19, 2014 | “Advocates Seek to Delay Deportations for Millions” by Julia Preston


    WHO: Eleven undocumented individuals from across America supported by Define American and the National Immigration Law Center.

    WHAT: The eleven individuals submitted applications for deferred action to Secretary Jeh Johnson’s office at Homeland Security, which launches the national #1of11Million campaign.

    WHEN: Wednesday, August 20, 2014 | 10:00am ET

    WHERE: National Press Club (529 14th St. NW, Washington, DC)

    WHY: Each of the 11 cases is one of eleven million undocumented individuals in America who could potentially be overlooked by any Executive Action issued by President Barack Obama. By highlighting their narratives, Define American and NILC intend to start a conversation and humanize the complexities of immigration in America.

    NOTE: If you would like to be added to the press distribution list or attend the press conference, please email Maria Cruz Lee (maria@defineamerican.com).

    Spokespeople Available for Comment:
    Jose Antonio Vargas, Define American, Founder
    Ryan Eller, Define American, Campaign Director
    Shiu-Ming Cheer, National Immigration Law Center, Campaign Legal Advisor
    Mony Ruiz-Vasquez, Campaign Legal Advisor

    PARTICIPANTS:
    Erika Aldape, Age 24 (Attorney: Rocio Alcantar)
    Arrived in 1997 from Guadalajara, Mexico (17 yrs. in US, arrived at the age of 7)
    Currently lives in Griffith, Indiana
    Erika came to the United States at age 7 with a visitor’s visa. She does not qualify for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals due to attending college in Mexico for three years from 2008 to 2011. She is not in any deportation proceedings and is affirmatively filing for deferred action as part of this campaign.

    Maria Guadalupe Arreola, Age 55 (Attorney: Jose Peñalosa)
    Arrived in 1998 from Durango Mexico (16 yrs. in US)
    Currently lives in Mesa, Arizona
    Guadalupe is the mother of prominent DREAMer activist, Erika Andiola. She fled to the United States after being physically abused by her husband. She came in search of of a better life for herself and her children. Earlier this year, Guadalupe was stopped and arrested by ICE agents. They put her on a bus to be deported to Mexico. Erika organized a national outcry which stopped Guadalupe’s deportation. She was given one year of deferred action but faces deportation orders this year.

    Felipe Jesus Diosdado, Age 35 (Attorney: Mony Ruiz Velasco)
    Arrived in 1997 from Morelia, Mexico (17 yrs. in US)
    Currently lives in Chicago, Illinois
    Felipe is a hard working family man and father to two United States citizens. He presented himself to the Illinois Secretary of State to apply for a Temporary Visitors Driver’s License (TVDL, which is legal in that state) and was turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement due to an error by the Secretary of State Office. He has been in removal proceedings since May 2014. His union, SEIU Local 1 as well as Secretary of State Jesse White have written to ICE to advocate for a stay of deportation and deferred action for Felipe.

    Maria del Rosario Duarte Villanueva, 54 (Attorney: Jonathan Eoloff)
    Arrived in 2000 from Durango, Mexico (14 yrs. in US)
    Currently lives in Albertville, Alabama
    Maria del Rosario supports her three grandchildren, one of which needs constant medical support. Their parents were deported five years ago and she has been trying to legally adopt them. Maria originally fled to the United States to escape her abusive husband who followed her around the country and continued to assault her. She is affirmatively filing for deferred action as part of this campaign.

    Michaela Graham, 52 (Attorney: Brigit Alvarez)
    Arrived in 1986 from Hamburg, Germany (28 yrs. in US)
    Currently lives in San Pedro, California
    Michaela is the founder of Atlanta Underground Market and prides herself on supporting budding entrepreneurs. She first came on a work visa in January 1982. After going through a divorce, she returned to Germany in 1985, but then returned to the US when her company sent her to live in Houston in 1986. She is affirmatively filing for deferred action as part of this campaign.

    Noemi Romero, 23 (Attorney: Shiu-Ming Cheer)
    Arrived in 1995 from Villahermosa, Mexico (19 yrs. in US, arrived at the age of 4)
    Currently lives in Glendale, Arizona
    Noemi was arrested during a raid by Sheriff Joe Arpaio at her workplace and was charged with identity theft (under Arizona’s new laws those falsifying their own documentation for any purpose are charged with identity theft). This prevents her from qualifying for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Since Noemi is undocumented, she used her mother’s work permit to get a job to help support their family. She was also working to save money for a lawyer to review her DACA application.

    Eduardo Samaniego, 22 (Attorney: Charles Kuck)
    Arrived in 2009 from Zacatecas, Mexico (5 years. in U.S., arrived at the age of 16)
    Currently lives in Kennesaw, Georgia
    Eduardo Samaniego is the Executive Director of Freedom House Georgia, an organization focused on advocacy for education and youth civic engagement (not affiliated with Freedom House International). He has been awarded a scholarship for this fall to attend Hampshire College and is currently being filmed as part of a documentary project. Eduardo is affirmatively filing for Deferred Action because he doesn’t qualify for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

    Jose Antonio Vargas, Age 33 (Attorney: Mony Ruiz Velasco)
    Arrived in 1993 from Antipolo, Philippines (21 yrs. in the US, arrived at the age of 12)
    Currently lives in San Francisco
    Jose Antonio Vargas is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, filmmaker, founder of the nonprofit media and culture campaign Define American and a member of the LGBT community. Jose discovered he was undocumented at the age of 16 and is the only undocumented member of his family. He was apprehended at the airport in McAllen, Texas and issued a “Notice to Appear” in immigration court and is filing for deferred action. He has been in the United States since he was twelve and missed the age cut-off for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals by just months.

    Yestel Velasquez, 38 (Attorney: Jennifer Rosenbaum, Julie Mao, Daniela Conde)
    Arrived in 2005 from Honduras (9 yrs. in US)
    Currently lives in New Orleans, Louisiana
    Yestel Velasquez is a reconstruction worker from New Orleans, Louisiana who helped rebuild the city after Hurricane Katrina and a member of the Congress of Day Laborers and the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice. Yestel was arrested in May 2014 at an auto-body shop while getting his car repaired as part of a pattern of racial profiling based community raids coordinated with local law enforcement and relying on mobile biometrics devices. From detention, Yestel filed a civil rights complaint urging an investigation of the unconstitutional raid. In response, ICE granted him a 3 month stay of removal in detention. When Yestel spoke from detention at a civil rights briefing urging an end to these raids, ICE retaliated by revoking his stay and expediting his deportation. After public outcry, Yestel was finally released from ICE detention and granted a new one year stay of removal. He is affirmatively filing for deferred action as part of this campaign.

    Aly Wane, Age 37 (Attorney: Mony Ruiz Velasco)
    Arrived in 1985 from Dakar, Senegal (25 yrs. in the US, arrived at the age of 8)
    Currently lives in Syracuse, New York
    Aly Wane is an established community organizer in Syracuse, New York. He originally came to the US as the son of a diplomat that worked at the United Nations. He eventually traded his diplomat visa for a student visa and completed his studies with a BA in Political Science from Le Monye College in Syracuse. He missed the age cut-off for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and is filing affirmatively for Deferred Action consideration as part of this campaign.

    Jong-Min You, 34 (Attorneys: Michael Ross, Jared Manes and Andrew Banks)
    Arrived in 1981 from Seoul, South Korea (approximately 33 yrs. in the US, arrived at the age of 1)
    Currently lives in Bensonhurst (Brooklyn), New York
    Jong-Min You came to the United States as a child, under his parents’ student visas in 1981. Though he has a university degree, with honors, in sociology, with a concentration in criminal justice, and a minor in psychology, his undocumented status has prevented him from working in his desired fields. He currently manages the family grocery store, as well as, the two apartments that his parents rent out above his family’s property. Jong-Min has actively worked to raise awareness on immigration issues and appeared on the cover of Time Magazine as part of a group of undocumented immigrants featured in the cover article. Jong-Min narrowly missed the age cut-off for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and is filing affirmatively for Deferred Action.

    Define American, founded by Jose Antonio Vargas in 2011, is a media and culture campaign using the power of story to transcend politics and shift conversation around immigration, identity, and citizenship in America. Learn more at www.defineamerican.com.

    National Immigration Law Center defends and advances the rights and opportunities of low income immigrants and their family members. Learn more at www.nilc.org.

    #1of11Million Campaign Coverage
    August 19, 2014 | “Advocates Seek to Delay Deportations for Millions” by Julia Preston


    ###
    Contact:
    Maria Cruz Lee / Director of Communications and Engagement, Define American
    (347) 882-3225 / maria@defineamerican.com

    Adela de la Torre / Communications Manager, National Immigration Law Center
    (213) 400-7822 / delatorre@nilc.org
  3. Next Steps for Jose Antonio Vargas' Deportation Case

    by , 08-19-2014 at 09:21 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    August 19, 2014

    ***MEDIA ADVISORY***
    DEFINE AMERICAN IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE NATIONAL IMMIGRATION LAW CENTER TO ANNOUNCE LEGAL NEXT STEPS OF DEFINE AMERICAN FOUNDER, JOSE ANTONIO VARGAS
    (Washington, DC) - Define American in partnership with the National Immigration Law Center will host a press conference to announce next steps in the legal case of Define American founder, Jose Antonio Vargas after his detainment in McAllen, TX on July 15, 2014. Detailed media advisory to follow.

    WHO:Define American and the National Immigration Law Center
    WHAT: Announces legal next steps of Define American founder, Jose Antonio Vargas
    WHERE:National Press Club (529 14th St. NW, Washington, DC)
    WHEN:Wednesday, August, 20, 2014 | 10:00 am ET

    NOTE: If you would like to be added to the press distribution list or attend the press conference, please email Maria Cruz Lee (maria@defineamerican.com).

    Define American, founded by Jose Antonio Vargas in 2011, is a media and culture campaign using the power of story to transcend politics and shift conversation around immigration, identity, and citizenship in America. Learn more at www.defineamerican.com.

    National Immigration Law Center defends and advances the rights and opportunities of low income immigrants and their family members. Learn more at www.nilc.org.

    Coverage of Jose Antonio Vargas in McAllen, Texas
    July 11, 2014 Politico | “Trapped on the Border” by Jose Antonio Vargas
    July 15, 2014 Buzzfeed | “Prominent Undocumented Immigrant Jose Antonio Vargas is Released After Being Detained In Texas” by Allison Vingiano & Adrian Carrasquillo
    July 15, 2014 New York Times | “Immigration Advocate, Detained on Texas Border, Is Released in Visa Case” by Julia Preston and Laura Tillman

    ###
    Contact:
    Maria Cruz Lee / Director of Communications and Engagement, Define American
    (347) 882-3225 / maria@defineamerican.com

    Adela de la Torre / Communications Manager, National Immigration Law Center
    (213) 400-7822 / delatorre@nilc.org
  4. Child Refugees Enduring Poor Conditions and Lack of Due Process

    by , 08-18-2014 at 08:12 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)

    From Democracy Now!:

    The Obama administration has opened two new family detention centers to hold hundreds of women and children from Central America who fled to the United States reportedly to escape violence in their home countries. While most of the 63,000 unaccompanied minors detained at the border since January have now been placed with family members as their cases are processed, those caught with their mothers are being held without bond. A 600-bed detention center run by GEO Group in Karnes City, Texas, opened at the beginning of August and is reportedly already full. Democracy Now! producer Renée Feltz visits a second detention center in Artesia, New Mexico, to report on the poor conditions and lack of due process for migrants, and the lawyers mobilizing to assist them. "Children were not eating. Children were getting very sick," says attorney Megan Jordi. "Every child I saw looked incredibly emaciated and had a hollow look in their eyes."
  5. Iranian-American Immigration Judge Sues Obama Admin for Racial Discrimination

    by , 08-13-2014 at 08:29 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    The following press release was posted on the Cooley LLP website regarding Immigration Judge A. Ashley Tabaddor's pending lawsuit against the Department of Justice alleging discrimination on account of her race, religion, and national origin.

    Department of Justice Challenged over Order Indefinitely Recusing Immigration Judge from Hearing Cases Involving Iranian Nationals

    San Diego – August 12, 2014 – Cooley LLP announced today that it filed suit against the Department of Justice ("DOJ") on behalf of sitting Immigration Judge A. Ashley Tabaddor. The lawsuit raises challenges under the First Amendment and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to an order recusing Judge Tabaddor indefinitely from all cases involving Iranian nationals.

    Tabaddor v. Holder et al., filed in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, asserts that the DOJ ordered the blanket disqualification in a racially discriminatory fashion, based on Judge Tabaddor's national heritage and association with the Iranian-American community, including her speaking, educational and volunteer activities within that community. The recusal order runs counter to federal laws and regulations and contradicts written DOJ policies applicable to immigration judges, including those encouraging civic engagement and providing that recusal determinations are to be made by the presiding immigration judge on an individualized case-by-case basis, not superimposed by DOJ officials based on generalized or arbitrary criteria.

    "Not only in this case, but more broadly, the actions of the DOJ will have a chilling effect on federal public servants' constitutional rights of free speech and association and will call into question both the independence of the judges sitting on the immigration courts and their ability to exercise their judicial decision-making consistent with constitutional dictates," said Cooley partner Ali Mojdehi. In addition to Mr. Mojdehi, the Cooley team includes associates Janet Gertz, Brian Byun and Allison Rego.

    View a copy of the complaint here.

    Updated 08-13-2014 at 08:33 AM by MKolken

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