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Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal

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  1. FREE Alisson a 7 year old girl trapped in family detention

    by , 08-24-2016 at 05:05 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)


    Most seven year-olds celebrate their birthdays with cake. Alisson celebrated hers in an immigrant detention center, where she has been held for over 6 months.

    As Alisson’s attorney, I can tell you that her detention is unlawful and cruel – she remains in detention in spite of having been approved for a visa to stay in the U.S.

    Sign to demand that Alisson be released from Berks Detention Facility.

    Alisson and her mother migrated from El Salvador, a country where violence against women and children has become so rampant that it’s known as the murder capital of the world. The Salvadoran government has failed time and again to protect people like Alisson and her mother, and now the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is punishing them for trying to escape.

    When they arrived here, Alisson not only applied for asylum, but also for a special visa on the basis of her being an abandoned child subject to harm and violence, should she be deported to El Salvador. That visa application has been approved! Because of this approval, she has filed for her permanent residency in the United States, and her application is pending right now.

    It is almost guaranteed that she will be granted permanent residency, yet this seven-year-old is still being held in detention and subject to imminent deportation back to her death – for no apparent reason.

    ICE has waged a war against a 7-year-old girl. Sign to demand that they free Alisson.

    Though they have the discretion to release her at any time, ICE has shown us that they intend to keep subjecting Alisson to physical and emotional harm, cooped up in a prison designed for children. I know that the only way they will free her is if enough of us sign and shame them into treating this little girl like a human being.

    Sign and ask that ICE free Alisson.
  2. AILA Urges DHS to Follow DOJ Lead and End Use of Private Prisons

    by , 08-22-2016 at 05:22 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    AILA Doc. No. 16081830 | Dated August 18, 2016

    CONTACTS:

    George Tzamaras
    202-507-7649
    gtzamaras@aila.org

    Belle Woods
    202-507-7675
    bwoods@aila.org


    WASHINGTON, DC - Today, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it would sharply scale back the use of private prison contractors in the federal prison system. While welcoming DOJ's decision, AILA urges the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to follow DOJ's lead and end the use of private prisons to detain non-U.S. citizens.

    AILA President William A. Stock said, "DOJ took an important step today to reduce its dependence on private prison contractors in the federal justice system. DOJ's own inspector general determined there were serious concerns about safety and security in private prisons. This is a step forward, but as it stands, this change by DOJ will impact only a small number of immigrants who are currently detained by the federal government. Left behind are thousands of vulnerable individuals, including asylum seeking mothers and children who continue to be detained in private prisons at the behest of DHS. In light of DOJ's acknowledgment that it makes no sense to pay billions of dollars to private companies to provide substandard care and conditions, there is no justification for continuing their use in the immigration system."


    Benjamin Johnson, AILA Executive Director, noted, "Strikingly, DHS has remained silent about the use of private contractors in the detention of immigrants, and DHS's total detention of immigrants has grown rapidly to 38,000 people per day, far above the amount for which Congress provided funding. For years now, the Obama Administration has been championing prison reform and reducing the incarceration rates of non-violent offenders, while continuing to enter into more and more contracts with private companies to expand immigration detention. This disparity must end. The president should ensure that the phase-out of private prisons from the Bureau of Prison system is extended to DHS operations. There is no justification for continuing to incarcerate the immigrant population in a setting that has been deemed unfit. "

    ###

    The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.
  3. Federal Judge Asked to Compel Disclosures About Deportation Interment Camps

    by , 08-16-2016 at 08:32 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    For Immediate Release
    August 15, 2016,

    Contacts: Armando Carmona, armando@ndlon.org, 951.966.6500; Angela Chan,angelac@advancingjustice-alc.org, 503.358.2795 (press only)

    Immigrant Rights Groups Ask Federal Judge to Compel DHS Disclosures About Embattled Jail-Based Deportation Program
    Pressure Grows on Obama Administration to Reconcile Conflicting Messages About Immigrant Rights, Criminal Justice Reform, and Transparency

    New York City – In response to the refusal of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to provide information about promised reforms to its controversial jail-based deportation program, immigrant rights groups asked a federal judge Monday to compel urgent disclosures required under the Freedom of Information Act. The move comes as President Obama’s history of broken promises on immigration and transparency is coming into sharper focus in his final months in office, and he seeks to turn attention to criminal justice reform.

    In November 2014, DHS formally ended the disgraced Secure Communities (S-Comm) deportation program, relying on entanglement with local law enforcement, and announced a new program, the Priority Enforcement Program, or PEP. Many of the details that led to the revolt against S-Comm were initially kept secret by the government and only uncovered as the result of prior FOIA litigation. Now DHS and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) again seek to keep from public disclosure—for years—critical information about its modified jail deportation program even as evidence increasingly suggests that the new program suffers from the same fatal flaws that led to the termination of S-Comm, and as there are increased calls for police to cease actions undermining police-community relations.

    Tom Fritzsche, clinical teaching fellow at the Immigration Justice Clinic of the Cardozo School of Law, stated: “The Obama Administration has refused to provide basic information about a program that has radically altered not only immigrants’ relationship with local police, but also local law enforcement’s relationship with ICE.”

    In support of the motion to urgently release information, the organizations provided more than a dozen declarations from lawmakers, organizations, and victims of the divisive program. These statements detail the devastating impact of the program on individuals, families and communities. In one declaration provided to the court, Xochitl Hernandez, currently imprisoned and facing deportation in Adelanto, California, described being taken into custody by ICE after an arrest by the LAPD, even though she does not fit any of DHS’ stated deportation priorities.

    Policymakers explained the pressure imposed by DHS on lawmakers to toe the line regardless of legitimate concerns, the utter lack of oversight, and DHS’ blatant violations of its own rules. Cook County Commissioner Jesús “Chuy” García affirmed to the court that DHS “imposed public pressure” to urge his county to abandon a local policy intended to preserve family unity and protect against violations of the rights of immigrants.

    New York City Council Member Carlos Menchaca added, “It is very important that we as New Yorkers have accurate information about how immigration enforcement is operating in our city. As chair of the immigration committee, I have serious concerns that PEP is continuing to harm communities.”

    “DHS’ refusal to provide even basic information regarding its jail deportation program brings to light two of President Obama’s biggest broken promises—his promise to pass immigration reform and his pledge to be the most transparent administration in history,” said Emi MacLean, staff attorney at the National Day Laborer Organizing Network. She continued: “In reality, DHS under Obama has used coercion, misinformation, and deception to enlist local police as frontline immigration enforcers.”

    “The President continues to boast that he is deporting ‘felons not families.’ This disregards the reality that felons have families,” said Angela Chan, policy director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus. “PEP further serves to doubly burden immigrant families by fusing together the worst elements of our mass deportation and mass incarceration systems.”

    “The Obama Administration needs to be held accountable for the transparency of its policies,” said Anthony Diana, Partner at Reed Smith LLP who is co-counsel in the case. “Policymakers should have the information they need to effectively establish policies regarding immigration and the criminal justice system. Local communities should be able to access information to protect their residents from the impact of such policies, particularly when there is a fear of potential constitutional violations.”

    The filing Monday comes the week after the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse reported that DHS has failed to live up to its promises in the rocky implementation of PEP—heavily targeting people with no or minimal criminal history and relying disproportionately on requests that local police hold people in custody beyond their release dates, a practice which federal courts have found to violate the constitution under S-Comm. Additionally, California lawmakers are considering a bill, the Truth Act, designed in part to provide greater information to immigrants and communities impacted by the deportation program.

    NDLON, et al. v. ICE, et al. was filed in January 2016 by the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus and the Immigration Justice Clinic of Cardozo School of Law. Reed Smith LLP is co-counsel. The complaint is available here.
    ###

    Individual declarations that accompanied the motion are available in the following links:

    http://ndlon.org/images/docs/Angelica Salceda ACLU Fresno Declaration - NDLON v. ICE.pdf
    http://ndlon.org/images/docs/Angelica Salceda ACLU Fresno Declaration - NDLON v. ICE.pdf
    http://ndlon.org/images/docs/Chris Newman Declaration - NDLON v. ICE.pdf
    http://ndlon.org/images/docs/Chris Rickerd Declaration NDLON et al v ICE et al.pdf
    http://ndlon.org/images/docs/Commissioner Chuy Garcia declaration - NDLON v. ICE.pdf
    http://ndlon.org/images/docs/Councilmember Menchaca Declaration Declaration NDLON et al v ICE et al.pdf
    http://ndlon.org/images/docs/David Grosso Declaration_NDLON-v-ICE_DC City Council.pdf
    http://ndlon.org/images/docs/Felicia Arriaga Declaration - NDLON v. ICE.pdf
    http://ndlon.org/images/docs/Fernando Lopez NOWCRJ New Orleans NDLON vs ICE_Declaration.pdf
    http://ndlon.org/images/docs/Jamie Eldridge Letter - NDLON v ICE.pdf
    http://ndlon.org/images/docs/Laura Polstein Declaration - FOIA litigation_8_11_16.pdf
    http://ndlon.org/images/docs/Mia-lia Kiernan - Declaration NDLON et al v ICE et al.pdf
    http://ndlon.org/images/docs/Saira Hussain Declaration NDLON et al v ICE et al.pdf
    http://ndlon.org/images/docs/Xochitl Hernandez Declaration - NDLON v. ICE - FINAL.pdf
  4. Billion Dollar Deal to Jail Central American Mothers and Children

    by , 08-15-2016 at 06:19 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    Via the Washington Post:

    "As Central Americans surged across the U.S. border two years ago, the Obama administration skipped the standard public bidding process and agreed to a deal that offered generous terms to Corrections Corporation of America, the nation’s largest prison company, to build a massive detention facility for women and children seeking asylum.

    The four-year, $1 billion contract — details of which have not been previously disclosed — has been a boon for CCA, which, in an unusual arrangement, gets the money regardless of how many people are detained at the facility. Critics say the government’s policy has been expensive but ineffective. Arrivals of Central American families at the border have continued unabated while court rulings have forced the administration to step back from its original approach to the border surge."

    Click here for the rest of the story.
  5. 22 Mothers in Deportation Jail Launch Indefinite Hunger Strike

    by , 08-11-2016 at 09:33 PM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    UPDATE at bottom of post.

    The following call to arms is via immigration lawyer Carol Anne Mauer Donohoe:

    The following is an open letter of demand to Jeh Johnson written by 22 mothers detained at Berks Family Residential Center:

    The reason for this letter of demands is to make it known to you that since Monday August 8th we have started an “INDEFINITE HUNGER STRIKE.”

    The Immigration Department has made a public announcement stating that in family detention center parents and children are detained no longer than 20 days.

    WE WANT TO DISPROVE THIS INFORMATION!!

    We are 22 mothers who are detained at Berks Family Residential Center being mothers who have been from 270 days to 365 days in detention with children ages 2 to 16 years old, depriving them of having a normal life, knowing that we have prior traumas from our countries, risking our own lives and that of our children on the way until we arrived here, having family and friends who would be responsible for us and who are waiting for us with open arms and that immigration refuses to let us out.

    Seeing these injustices, we have decided to go on an indefinite hunger strike until we obtain our immediate freedom because all of us left our countries of origin fleeing violence, threats and corruption that not even the government of each of our countries in Central America can control.

    On many occasions our children have thought about SUICIDE because of the confinement and desperation that is caused by being here. The teenagers say BEING HERE, LIFE MAKES NO SENSE, THAT THEY WOULD LIKE TO BREAK THE WINDOW TO JUMP OUT AND END THIS NIGHTMARE, and on many occasions they ask us if we have the courage to escape.

    Other kids grab their IDs and tighten them around their necks and say that they are going to KILL themselves if they don’t get out of here. The youngest kids (2 years old) cry at night for not being able to express what they feel. For a long time, the children have not been eating well, but they have never paid attention to our complaints about the food until now.

    We are desperate and we have decided that: WE WILL GET OUT ALIVE OR DEAD.

    If it is necessary to sacrifice our lives so that our children can have freedom: WE WILL DO IT! Putting aside the threats we are receiving from one of the psychologists and some doctors in this facility.

    We are calling on the government to take action on this matter and open their eyes, letting them know that IMMIGRATION is acting against the law and is mocking them, making arguments that are false; besides our children are entitled to freedom according to the case of Flores, and still they are here with us.

    We hope that our voices are heard, so that we can have the FREEDOM that we NEED so much.

    Signed,


    HEY! Everyone who pretends to, or actually does, care about the fact that our government has imprisoned mothers and children who have committed no crime but to ASK FOR SAFETY, here's your chance to actually DO SOMETHING. Call Field Office Director Thomas Decker at 215-656-7164 and tell him to release these families. Call your spineless Berks County Commissioners at 610-478-6136 and ask why they're spending our tax dollars to make this suffering continue. Email Ted Dallas from the PA Department of Human Services, in charge of the WELFARE OF CHILDREN in the Commonwealth and ask why they are allowing the refugee prison to remain open even though the license has been revoked at tdallas@pa.gov.

    Hunger strike day 14:

    Mothers are still striking. One mother recommended to stop due to deteriorating health.

    14 year old child was threatened by ICE officer - told that the mothers don't know who they are dealing with, that the moms are going to be in trouble, that they are going to prison and immigration will take their kids.

    Families had social visits today with staff sitting right next to them with paper waiting to write down the name of any mom who ate. Families brought tons of food for the kids and the moms ate

    NOTHING. Just drank coconut water. Smart families!

    Drs are on day 4 of monitoring and evaluations.

    Madres Berks are strong. They are united. And they are ready to keep talking and fighting back.

    Hunger strike day 15:

    THEY HAVE CUT OFF ALL COMPUTER AND INTERNET ACCESS IN THE FACILITY FOR THE MOMS.

    Updated 08-22-2016 at 10:19 AM by MKolken

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