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Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal


  1. Another Obama Deportation Priority Brought to Justice for Overstaying His Visa

    by , 03-24-2015 at 11:25 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)

    From BuffaloNews.com:

    Tali Lopez wants a happy ending to her “fairy tale” story.

    But six months after marrying an old friend and settling in her native Buffalo, Lopez is fighting for her new husband.

    Omar Lopez, a citizen of Spain visiting here on a visa waiver, was arrested after a traffic stop last month and has been held at the Federal Detention Center in Batavia ever since.

    Lopez is battling her husband’s deportation – he could be forced to leave at any time – and plans to host a public rally at 10 a.m. Tuesday in Niagara Square to solicit support for him.

    Friends and family say Lopez’s deportation is an overreaction to a relatively minor infraction. He overstayed his visa waiver by several months.

    Even worse, they say, the government’s prosecution is tearing apart a family with deep roots in Buffalo. The family includes his infant stepdaughter, Mila, whom he plans to adopt, and dozens of relatives.

    Buffalo ICE’s field office director Michael T. Phillips made the decision to deport Mr. Lopez rather than allowing him to apply for his Green Card. ICE's official response: "As a visa overstay, his case is a priority under the agency’s current enforcement strategy, which focuses on individuals who have abused the visa or visa waiver programs. ” ICE spokesman Khaalid Walls.

    Felons not families and all.
  2. Attorneys call for Closure of Family Deportation Jail

    by , 03-24-2015 at 10:43 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    From SunHerald.com:

    A group of immigration attorneys and advocates representing mothers and children being held at a family immigration detention center in Pennsylvania have requested the state attorney general close the facility.

    The Berks County Residential Center is unlawfully imprisoning children under Pennsylvania law, according to Attorney Matthew Archambeault, who wrote the joint letter to Attorney General Kathleen Kane. He argues Pennsylvania law is clear in that only children who have been declared delinquent or are awaiting delinquency adjudication may be detained.

    Here's the letter:

  3. Iowa's "Pastor Max" Deported

    by , 03-23-2015 at 11:12 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    It has been reported that Iowa Mennonite Pastor Max Villatoro has been deported to Honduras leaving four United States children without a father. A motion to reopen was filed on his behalf to permit him to apply for asylum, and he was deported before there was a ruling on it. I'm curious to know if an emergency motion for stay of removal was also filed, as this information hasn't been included in the reports. If anyone knows please reach out to me.
  4. Obama Admin Seeking to Deport Man Raped in Custody

    by , 03-18-2015 at 07:18 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    From NotOneMoreDeportation.com:

    Douglas Menjivar-Pineda (A# 098 354 973) is currently detained at the Polk Detention Center in Texas. Before being transferred to Polk, Douglas was at the Joey Corley Detention Center where he was raped and as a result his physical and mental health has deteriorated to the point of being unbearable.

    Douglas came to the United States from El Salvador in 2004 to work and provide for his family but when his father became fatally ill in 2009, Douglas returned to look after him. His father passed away and Douglas lived in El Salvador for several years until he was threaten by violent groups in his town for serving as a police informant. If deported Douglas’s life would be in grave danger.

    Douglas has no criminal record and based on the memorandum issued by DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson on November 20, 2014 entitled “Policies for the Apprehension, Detention and Removal of Undocumented Immigrants” he is not a priority for deportation. ICE refuses to release him because Douglas was ordered removed in absentia when he missed an immigration court 10 years ago! This is not enough to send him to his death and further debilitate him.

    Click here to sign the petition asking the Houston Field Office Director to release Douglas.
  5. Attempted Suicide, Signs of Child Malnutrition at Family Deportation Jail

    by , 03-11-2015 at 09:33 PM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    From the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC)


    International human rights watchdog the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) and its legal partner in Texas are reporting an attempted suicide last week at Dilley Family Detention Center and signs of malnutrition and dehydration among Central American mothers and small children being held at Karnes Detention Center.

    UUSC and the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), San Antonio, Texas, say the asylum seekers are suffering physical and psychological harm resulting from protracted, unwarranted detention and "prison-like conditions."

    Last week a woman at the Dilley center attempted to take her own life. The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, had been held at Dilley since late December of 2014. In January of this year she and her young child both were found to have favorable credible fear findings, a process which allows for individuals to pursue their asylum cases.

    "This incident is something that could have been prevented, and unless ICE takes action, this incident will repeat itself," said RAICES Executive Director Jonathan Ryan, in reference to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which is responsible for the detention centers.

    "In response to the attempted suicide, ICE is still refusing to release the woman, instead choosing to separate the young mother from her child, and is sending her to the Laredo Detention Center," Ryan said.

    "This is inexcusable. This mother should be allowed to reunite with family in New York. She should be provided with much needed support, not extended detention."

    Rachel Gore Freed
    , senior program leader for UUSC's Rights at Risk initiative, interviewed mothers at Karnes Detention Center last week and found conditions that signal "unacceptable treatment and poor food and water quality, particularly for nursing mothers and small children."

    Signs of malnutrition among children, 'hair coming out in chunks'

    "As a human rights lawyer and a parent, I am horrified by what I saw at Karnes," she said. "The refugees said they are offered inappropriate food like hamburgers and the only thing they can stomach is the rice and beans and an occasional tortilla they are provided. A significant number of the children are showing signs of malnourishment.

    "The women I met all told me their hair was coming out in chunks, even that of their children, and that the water has a chemical taste," said Freed.

    RAICES' Ryan said there are several hundred women detained at Dilley to date. The newly opened Dilley facility has capacity for more than 2,000 detainees. Karnes Detention Center presently holds hundreds more women and children, "all of whom are fleeing extreme violence in their home countries," said Ryan.

    "These women, and often very young children, have been the victim of threats on their lives or have seen others close to them murdered. These are very vulnerable individuals who deserve the utmost care, something which the Dilley detention center cannot provide."

    ICE setting bonds up to $15,000

    UUSC and RAICES have also found that ICE has been setting bond rates as high as $15,000 for the women. "To these women, that's the same as no bond, no release," said UUSC's Freed.
    With the help of an attorney, immigrants can request a bond hearing to determine whether ICE’s bond is reasonable. "This is why finding pro bono representation for the women and children is critical," she said.

    Although judges are reportedly determining final bond fees averaging $5,000, Freed said that amount is still too high for most of the women to meet, even with help from outside sources. "That leaves them in limbo, exaggerating the anxiety and fear for their and their children's futures."

    Nationwide petition

    UUSC has issued a nationwide petition, calling on President Obama and the administration to end imprisonment of child refugees and their mothers.
    Treatment 'counter to UN Rights of the Child protections'

    UUSC believes the reports of poor conditions and treatment of the detained Central American mothers and children are counter to the protections of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

    The UNCRC requires parties to ensure that children are detained only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest possible period of time. The U.S. signed the UNCRC but is one of just two U.N. members who have not ratified it. The other non-ratifying member is South Sudan.

    UUSC's Rights at Risk initiative defends communities on the margins whose rights have been violated during large-scale humanitarian disasters and whose rights have been eradicated by genocide, man-made conflict and forced migration. The international agency seeks to humanize the plight of migrants, decriminalize the movement of those fleeing persecution across borders, and protect the safety and dignity of both refugees and internally displaced persons.


    The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) is a human rights organization powered by grassroots collaboration, working throughout the United States and more than a dozen other countries worldwide. Since 1940, UUSC has fostered social, economic, and environmental justice, protected civil liberties, worked toward a world free from oppression, delivered aid with dignity, and advanced the rights of people left behind during conflicts and natural disasters.
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