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Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal


  1. Stop the Deportation of the Workers in the Buffalo Restaurant Raids

    by , 10-27-2016 at 09:31 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)

    On Tuesday, October 18, 2016, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) raided several Mexican restaurants in and around the City of Buffalo, detaining at least 25 people connected to the restaurants. This petition requests that DHS exercise discretion in terminating their deportation proceedings.

    Sixteen of the twenty-five individuals arrested have not been charged with any crime. At least four of these workers have been placed in deportation proceedings despite appearing to be the victims – not the perpetrators – of their employer’s criminal scheme. The criminal complaint states that these workers were working 16 hours per day, 6 days per week and being paid as little as $500. This amounts to far less than the minimum wage and no overtime pay.

    DHS claims that it raided these restaurants in part to protect workers from exploitation. In addition, DHS has recognized that effective “enforcement of labor law is essential to ensure proper wages and working conditions for all covered workers regardless of immigration status.” Revised Memorandum of Understanding between the Dept. of Homeland Sec. and Labor Concerning Enforcement Activities at Worksites (Dec. 7, 2011).

    Consequently, we request that DHS exercise discretion and terminate the deportation proceedings against the workers who were not criminally charged in the raids. DHS has broad prosecutorial discretion to enforce immigration law, and to exercise discretion to terminate deportation proceedings. According to DHS guidance, this is an appropriate circumstance to do so - and as early in deportation proceedings as possible. DHS has ruled that termination of deportation proceedings is appropriate when individuals are victims of certain crimes, or are victims of civil rights and labor violations. Memorandum, Prosecutorial Discretion: Certain Victims, Witnesses, and Plaintiffs (June 17, 2011). ICE has made clear that it is generally preferable to exercise such discretion as early in the case or proceeding as possible to preserve government resources.

    The arrest and deportation of these low-wage workers is both out of line with the clear enforcement priorities of DHS and a gross misuse of government resources. The individuals arrested during the raids are hardworking members of the community. Their families have been severely impacted by the raids; some of the children of those arrested have been placed into the custody of Child Protective Services. DHS should not target contributing members of the community and their families when they have committed no crimes and are, in fact, the victims of unfair labor practices. Justice can be carried out in this case by terminating these workers' deportation proceedings and allowing the Department of Labor to investigate the allegations of abusive labor practices. We ask that DHS take these steps immediately.

    Click here to sign the petition.
  2. Justice Department to announce significant law enforcement action

    by , 10-27-2016 at 07:49 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    WASHINGTON – Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell, U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson of the Southern District of Texas and other law enforcement officials will hold a press conference TODAY, THURSDAY, OCTOBER 27, 2016, at 11:00 a.m. EDT, to announce a significant enforcement action.

    Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Criminal Division
    Kenneth Magidson of the Southern District of Texas

    U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations Executive Associate Director Peter T. Edge
    U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration J. Russell George
    Department of Homeland Security Inspector General John Roth

    Press conference announcing a significant law enforcement action.

    11:00 a.m. EDT

    Department of Justice

    7th Floor Press Conference Room
    950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
    Washington, DC 20530



    NOTE: All media must present government-issued photo I.D. (such as driver’s license) as well as valid media credentials.
    Media must enter the department at the visitor’s entrance on Constitution Avenue NW between 9th and 10th Streets. Media may begin arriving at 10:00 a.m. EDT and cameras must be pre-set by 10:45 a.m. EDT. Press inquiries regarding logistics should be directed to the Office of Public Affairs at (202) 514-2007 or
  3. Syrian Refugees Capture Terrorism Suspect in Germany

    by , 10-11-2016 at 08:19 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    Via the L.A. Times:

    A Syrian refugee suspected of planning a terrorist attack in Germany on behalf of Islamic State was captured by police early Monday in the eastern city of Leipzig after another Syrian lured him to an apartment, tied him up with the help of other refugees and turned him over to police.

    Jaber Albakr, a 22-year-old refugee, had been on the run and the subject of a nationwide manhunt since Saturday, when he fled an apartment in Chemnitz, near the Czech border, just as police stormed it. Authorities said they found a cache of explosives and other bomb-making material inside the apartment.

    Albakr was taken to Dresden, the capital of Saxony state, and charged with being an accomplice in preparations for a major act of violence.
  4. Senators Call for the Release of Children Held in Deportation Internment Camps

    by , 10-05-2016 at 01:27 PM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    WASHINGTON (Tuesday, October 4, 2016) – A group of leading Senators pressed the Obama administration to end the detention of women and children who have fled gang violence in their home countries. The letter led by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) came after world leaders met in New York for the United Nations Summit for Refugees and Migrants.

    In their letter to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, the lawmakers note that women and children as young as two-years-old have been in detention for nearly a year or longer at the Berks County Residential Center in Pennsylvania. The letter expresses concern that children at the detention facility are exhibiting serious health problems and experiencing psychological harms associated with prolonged detention.

    In addition to Leahy and Hirono, the letter is signed by: Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Senator Robert P. Menendez (D-N.J.), Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Senator Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Senator Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.), Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Senator Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), and Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.).

    A copy of the September 27 letter to DHS Secretary Johnson is below and online.

    # # # #

    September 27, 2016

    The Honorable Jeh Johnson
    Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security
    U.S. Department of Homeland Security
    Washington, D.C. 20528

    Dear Secretary Johnson:

    We write to reiterate our strong belief that the policy of family detention is wrong and should be ended immediately. Although we were encouraged to hear your announcement in August that the average length of detention for asylum-seeking mothers and children from Central America’s Northern Triangle has been reduced to 20 days or less, the ongoing use of family detention remains unacceptable.

    We are particularly concerned about the children who have been detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for prolonged periods at the Berks County Residential Center in Pennsylvania. These children range in age from two to sixteen and many have been in detention for nearly a year or longer. Recent reports from a number of media sources indicate the children are exhibiting serious health problems and experiencing psychological harms associated with prolonged detention.

    Detention of families should only be used as a last resort, when there is a significant risk of flight or a serious threat to public safety or national security that cannot be addressed through other means. We urge you to review these cases individually and release these children with their mothers immediately unless there is compelling evidence that they pose a specific public safety or flight risk that cannot be otherwise ameliorated through alternatives to detention.

    The mothers of these children fled three of the most dangerous countries in the world to seek refuge in the United States. The brutal physical, gender-based, and sexual violence in the Northern Triangle is well-documented. Many of these mothers have asylum claims based on rape, severe domestic violence, and murder threats, and the Third Circuit Court of Appeals has issued a stay barring the deportation of some of them until those claims can be fully resolved. The decision by ICE to detain these women and children while they pursue their claims has placed these mothers in the impossible position of choosing between their legal right to seek long-term refuge in the United States and the immediate well-being of their children. It is unconscionable to keep these children locked up and goes against our most fundamental values.

    There is strong evidence and broad consensus among health care professionals that detention of young children, particularly those who have experienced significant trauma as many of these children have, is detrimental to their development and physical and mental health. This evidence has been reinforced by specific examples of children in the Berks County facility who are experiencing adverse health outcomes due to detention. Reports indicate that room checks conducted by facility staff every fifteen minutes lead to habitual sleep deprivation among the
    children,[1] and a pediatric assessment of a six-year-old child suffering from chronic Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder indicates that after prolonged detention the child is now showing signs of extreme stress and anxiety.[2]

    Last week, the President hosted the Leaders’ Summit on the Global Refugee Crisis. During this summit, the United States asked other countries to follow our lead and provide protection and increased resources for the millions of people currently facing persecution around the world. However, this summit took place against the backdrop of a system of family detention in the United States that is inconsistent with our country’s longstanding commitment to provide safe and humane refuge to those fleeing persecution. The ongoing use of family detention is wrong. The prolonged detention of the mothers and children in Berks is taking a significant toll on their mental and physical well being. We urge you to review these cases immediately and use your authority to release these children with their mothers unless there is compelling evidence that they pose a specific public safety or flight risk that cannot be mitigated through alternatives to detention.


    United States Senator
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    United States Senator

    cc: The Honorable Sarah R. Saldaña
    Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement
    Press Contact

    Press Contact
    David Carle: 202-224-3693

    Updated 10-05-2016 at 01:30 PM by MKolken

  5. Report of the DHS Advisory Committee on Family Residential Centers

    by , 10-04-2016 at 09:49 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    Immigration and Customs Enforcement has released a report of the DHS Advisory Committee on the use family residential centers, a.k.a. deportation interment camps for children.

    From the introduction to the report:

    Prompted by controversy over DHS’s policies and practices relating to family detention, Secretary Jeh Johnson announced the establishment of the DHS Advisory Committee on Family Residential Centers (ACFRC or the Committee) on June 24, 2015.

    Secretary Johnson explained that:

    ICE Director Saldaña and I understand the sensitive and unique nature of detaining families, and we are committed to continually evaluating it. We have concluded thatwe must make substantial changes to our detention practices when it comes to families.

    Among the responses he announced was the formation of this Committee, “to advise Director Saldaña and me concerning family residential centers.” The Committee’s charter confirms a broadscope for our advice-giving:

    The Committee provides advice and recommendations to the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through the Assistant Secretary for U.S.Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on matters concerning ICE’s family residential centers as it relates to primary education, immigration law, physical andmental health, trauma-informed services, family and youth services, detention management, and detention reform.

    And similarly, our March 2016 tasking directed the ACFRC to:

    Develop recommendations for best practices at family residential centers that will build on ICE’s existing efforts in the areas of educational services, language services, intake and out-processing procedures, medical staffing, expansion of available resources and specialized care, and access to Legal Counsel . . . Detail mechanisms to achieve recommended efficiencies in the following focus areas:1) educational services . . . 2) language services . . . 3) detention management . . .4) medical treatment . . . 5) access to counsel.

    The recommendations include:

    DHS’s immigration enforcement practices should operationalize the presumption that detention is generally neither appropriate nor necessary for families – and that detention or the separation of families for purposes of immigration enforcement or management, or detention is never in the best interest of children. DHS should discontinue the general use of family detention, reserving it for rare cases when necessary following an individualized assessment of the need to detain because of danger or flight risk that cannot be mitigated by conditions of release. If such an assessment determines that continued custody is absolutely necessary, families should be detained for the shortest amount of time and in the least restrictive setting possible; all detention facilities should be licensed, nonsecure and family-friendly. If necessary to mitigate individualized flight risk or danger, every effort should be made to place families in community-based case-management programs that offer medical, mental health, legal, social, and other services and supports, so that families may live together within a community.

    Click here to read more of their report.

    Updated 10-04-2016 at 09:51 AM by MKolken

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