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Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal

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  1. Complaint: Obama Admin Unlawfully Coercing Mexican Nationals into Self-Deportation

    by , 03-02-2015 at 08:38 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    The Obama administration is being sued again, this time for allegedly engaging in "abusive and illegal practices" that coerce citizens of Mexico into abandoning defenses that could prevent their deportation.

    The complaint speaks for itself:

    The immigration enforcement agencies operating in Southern California regularly pressure, deceive, and threaten Mexican nationals who are eligible to reside in the United States lawfully—and have built lives in the United States over decades—into signing their own expulsion orders through misuse of a process known as “voluntary departure.” These abusive and illegal practices rob victims of their right to seek relief from removal. As administered and practiced in Southern California, the “voluntary departure” program has become a regime of unlawful coerced expulsion—one which tears numerous families apart every year.

    Immigration officers’ misstatements and omissions are exacerbated by the fact that they regularly pressure individuals to agree to voluntary departure before they have had any opportunity to speak to an attorney. Immigration enforcement agencies in Southern California expel individuals who have taken voluntary departure as rapidly as logistically possible in many instances, on the same day. This practice violates the agencies’ governing regulations, which require that immigration officers exercise discretion to determine whether to allow an individual who has taken voluntary departure a period of up to 120 days to leave the United States. Thus, individuals who have been in the United States for decades are unlawfully ripped from their families and established lives for up to ten years without having time to consider their other legal options, put their affairs in order, or even say goodbye to family members.

    Click here to read the full complaint.

    Updated 03-02-2015 at 08:53 AM by MKolken

  2. DAPA Eligible Father of Four Citizen Children Deported

    by , 02-28-2015 at 04:26 PM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    Courtesy of Houston immigration lawyer Amy Maldonado:

    Texas immigration attorney Norma Sepulveda’s DAPA-eligible client Mr. Henry Alvarado is married to a lawful permanent resident of the United States, and has four U.S. citizen children. Mr. Alvarado had been living in Houston Texas continuously since 2005. Importantly, Mr. Alvarado does not fall under any of the enforcement priorities established in the November 20, 2014 memo. After being pulled over by the police department on his way to Corpus Christi for work (his wife who had lawful status and a driver’s license was driving), U.S. Border Patrol was called and Mr. Alvarado was taken into custody.


    Mr. Alvarado’s attorney requested his release on February 20, 2015, and received a response on February 26, 2015 from the ICE San Antonio Field Office, Enforcement and Removal Operations that her client was removed to Honduras the day prior.

    Mr. Alvarado was deported on February 25, 2015; ironically, the very same day that President Obama gave assurances at the MSNBC town hall on immigration that persons in Mr. Alvarado’s situation are not at risk, and that ICE employees ignoring directives on enforcement priorities would suffer consequences.

    Updated 02-28-2015 at 04:49 PM by MKolken

  3. DAPA Eligible Father of Four Scheduled For Deportation TODAY

    by , 02-27-2015 at 09:32 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    The following is courtesy of Houston immigration lawyer Amy Maldanado:

    Just this morning, I received an e-mail from an Attorney with a DAPA eligible, non-enforcement priority client scheduled to be deported today by St Louis ERO because he has an outstanding voluntary departure order from June of 2012. He has four USC kids under the age of five, including seven-month old twins. The attorney filed a stay of removal yesterday and got the NILC involved in helping her contact DHS Headquarters about this.

    When the attorney asked the client's ICE officer whether he knew my client was DAPA eligible and not an enforcement priority, he told her they're not following that right now. When she saw him in person as she filed the stay, she asked him if he heard about the President's town hall speech on Wed night, about how this scenario isn't & shouldn't be happening. The ICE officer told her again that they aren't following that right now. She asked why they're not following it or who they are following, and he said "the federal judge." She said that even if DAPA is halted, the enforcement priorities memo is still in place, and her client is not an enforcement priority. He said they're following some other guidelines. When she pressed him on why he's not following the guidelines set out by his Department's secretary, he told her that he's not the one who will decide my stay & they will get back to her.

    Decision and/or imminent removal pending.

    UPDATE: The immigration lawyer handling the case in St. Louis is Meggie Biesenthal. She has given permission to publish the original email sent to Amy Maldanado:
    Hi, Amy.

    I hope you are well! Nicole Cortes of St Louis' nonprofit MICA project gave me your information because I have a case where my DAPA eligible, non-enforcement priority client is scheduled to be deported today by St Louis ERO because he has an outstanding voluntary departure order from June of 2012. He has four USC kids under the age of five, including seven-month old twins. I filed a stay of removal yesterday and got the NILC involved in helping me contact DHS Headquarters about this.

    When I asked my client's ICE officer whether he knew my client was DAPA eligible and not an enforcement priority, he told me they're not following that right now. When I saw him in person as I filed the stay, I asked him if he heard about the President's town hall speech on Wed night, about how this scenario isn't & shouldn't be happening. The ICE officer told me again that they aren't following that right now. I asked why they're not following it or who they are following, and he said "the federal judge." I said that even if DAPA is halted, the enforcement priorities memo is still in place, and my client is not an enforcement priority. He said they're following some other guidelines. When I pressed him on why he's not following the guidelines set out by his Department's secretary, he told me he's not the one who will decide my stay & they will get back to me.

    I'm still waiting on a stay decision (last time a denial came at 7am and they put my client on a plane that day). If we get a denial, the NILC has suggested we start getting media involved to call & let the local ICE office know that they're watching.

    Thank you so much for your time and this connection!

    Meggie

    Updated 02-27-2015 at 12:15 PM by MKolken

  4. ICE No Longer Honoring New Prosecutorial Discretion Memo

    by , 02-26-2015 at 07:39 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    Immigration lawyer Bryan Johnson has shared that a Deportation Officer at the Varick Street Detention Center in New York advised that Immigration and Customs Enforcement is no longer honoring the November 20, 2014 prosecutorial discretion memorandum due to Judge Hanen's injunction. The officer went so far to say that, and I quote, the memo has been "ripped off the wall." Newark Enforcement and Removal has confirmed this change in policy.

    I have also been told that individuals that are considered a level 3 priority (the lowest priority) are being taken into custody for removal when they report for supervision. This includes parents of United States citizens that are DAPA eligible. Immigration lawyer Matthew Archambeault has indicated that this has been confirmed by ICE in Charlotte. There have been reports from immigration lawyers all over the country of their clients being taken into custody.

    From the Carolinas Chapter of the American immigration Lawyers Association:

    "ICE is now implementing it’s new policy of enforcement in accordance with the November Executive Action. But for those who have not yet received that desperate call from the client who has been taken into custody at his ICE check in, this is it: If the foreign national has a significant misdemeanor (most often arising in the form of a DUI/DWI) conviction or 3 misdemeanors or a final order after 1/1/14, he will be taken into custody when he checks in with ICE. If he is not checking in with ICE, he stands a chance of getting the knock on the door at 5:00 am. Individuals are being taken into custody even if they are currently in removal proceedings in Charlotte. They are being transferred to Stewart with no holds. ICE has been given the instructions NOT to take into consideration DACA or DAPA eligibility in such detention decisions."

    Immigration lawyer Marty Rosenbluth responds: "It is happening all over. And of course if you don't show up for your appointment you are a fugitive and they knock on your door at 5:00 in the morning."

    These directives have apparently come directly from HQ in Washington and are not the acts of rogue agents. It is absolutely imperative that you advise your clients accordingly.

    UPDATE: Immigration lawyer Mo Goldman reports that Tucson/Phoenix ICE ERO has indicated they are no longer honoring the Nov. 20, 2014 memo as it relates to Expanded DACA/DAPA applicants (except they are making an emphasis on Deportation Priorities).

    UPDATE: New Orleans ICE office is ignoring prosecutorial discretion memo and is taking DAPA eligible parents into custody to effectuate removal. Assistant Field Office Director Brian Acuna stated that ICE NOLA no longer needed to consider eligibility for DAPA since the court had enjoined the DAPA and expanded DACA programs.

    UPDATE: Immigration lawyer Amy Maldanado has advised that a St. Louis Enforcement and Removal Officer has indicated that
    ICE isn't following the prosecutorial discretion memorandum even for non-priority cases due to the Federal Court injunction. He further advised that they are following "some other guidelines." The Officer did not elaborate further.

    UPDATE:
    ICE has confirmed that it was instructed to remove expanded DACA and DAPA flyers from detention areas. AILA Doc. No. 15022762

    UPDATE:
    The ICE ERO Detention Reporting and Information Line confirms the following: "Until further guidance is given, ICE will not consider the new DAPA and expanded DACA guidelines in cases for exercising prosecutorial discretion.”

    UPDATE: Courtesy of Charlotte immigration lawyer Benjamin Snyder. Office of Chief Counsel in Charlotte has declined prosecutorial discretion for an individual that is not a priority under the Nov. 20, 2014 memo. Moreover, Charlotte ICE is raiding homes looking for individuals with prior removal orders and is taking people into custody regardless of the nonexistence of a criminal record or DACA/DAPA eligibility.

    UPDATE: Courtesy of St. Louis immigration lawyer Raymond Reza Bolourtchi: A St. Louis Enforcement and Removal Officer (ERO) has advised that 1. The November 20, 2014, REMOVAL PRIORITY MEMO remains in full force and effect; 2. ERO has received an e-mail from Headquarters informing all officers that (prospective) DAPA eligibility is NOT to be used any longer as a factor or criteria for the time being; and 3. DWI-DUI convictions remain a priority for removal enforcement.

    Updated 03-02-2015 at 03:43 PM by MKolken

  5. Growing "Horde" of Deportees Living in a Sewage Canal Near Border

    by , 02-24-2015 at 11:05 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    From The Telegraph:

    "On the outskirts of Tijuana, Mexico, a few yards from the US border, a growing horde of deportees live in a sewage canal amid the stench of rotting detritus. Across a fence they can see America, the country that until recently they called home."

    Updated 02-24-2015 at 11:33 AM by MKolken

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