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Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal

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  1. Obama Admin Deporting Mothers and Children without Counsel

    by , 07-21-2014 at 08:22 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    Former Board of Immigration Appeals judge Lory Diana Rosenberg reports the following:

    Are you aware of what is going on in Artesia New Mexico. Mothers and children are essentially being ordered deported without counsel, having credible fear exams without counsel. Decisions are being made before they are moved to Artesia, and counsel can barely get into the facility; its taking up to 6 hours to get cleared to get in; there are no lawyers or legal service providers anywhere nearby, and judges in DC/VA at EOIR are doing telephonic video hearings on small tv screens.

    Ms. Rosenberg calls the outright denial of rights a travesty. I couldn't agree more.
  2. AILA: Take Action to Protect Due Process Rights of Unaccompanied Children

    by , 07-17-2014 at 03:08 PM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    From AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 13070945 (posted Jul. 16, 2014):

    Take Action to Protect Due Process Rights of Unaccompanied Children

    Right now, Congress is debating the President’s emergency supplemental funding request to address the humanitarian crisis involving migrant children at the southern border of the United States. AILA is concerned that the process to pass this supplemental funding, which is sorely needed, will include unacceptable proposals to weaken the protections of the TVPRA for these Central American children. These proposals trade the safety of children for expediency. It would be a "round-‘em up and ship-‘em back" approach, as Senator Harkin said in opposition to such an approach.


    Please take 3 minutes today to call your Senators
    and ask them to protect these children. Subjecting Central American children to the failed Mexican screening process would be a retreat from America's commitment as a humanitarian leader and undermine our American values of putting children first and protecting them from harm.


    Congressional Switchboard: 202.224.3121

    Sample Script:
    Hi, my name is _________ from [City, State]. I am calling to urge Senator ________ to strongly oppose any rollbacks to protections for Central American unaccompanied children as Congress considers the President’s supplemental funding request.


    • The protections included in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, which passed with bipartisan support and was signed by President Bush, ensures the physical safety of unaccompanied children and the proper screening for humanitarian protection and must not be weakened.
    • Unaccompanied children fleeing violence should not be returned to unsafe situations, but must be protected and cared for humanely, while assured due process.
    • As your constituent, I expect you to stand firm against any proposal that would sacrifice a child's safety for expediency.
    • The U.S. must instead find ways to reduce the violence these children face in their home countries and ensure that children who arrive to the U.S. have access to the legal counsel and services they need.

    Updated 07-17-2014 at 03:17 PM by MKolken

  3. First Planeload of Refugee Children Deported to Honduras

    by , 07-17-2014 at 01:32 PM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)

    From Democracy Now:

    As tens of thousands of children cross the U.S. border fleeing violence in their native Central American home countries, we look at the historical roots of the crisis. The United States has a long and sadly bloody history of destabilizing democratic governments in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador — the very countries that are now the sources of this latest migration wave. This week saw the first planeload of children deported to Honduras since President Obama vowed to speed up the removal of more than 57,000 youth who have fled to the United States from Central America in recent months. The group of 38 deportees included 21 children between the ages of 18 months and 15 years, along with 17 female family members. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the experience of Cordova and others should demonstrate to Central Americans that "they will not be welcomed to this country with open arms."

    But U.S. funding and foreign policy has long shaped the lives of Central Americans. June 28 marked the fifth anniversary of the military coup that deposed democratically elected Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, which the United States did not oppose. For analysis, we are joined by University of California-Santa Cruz Professor Dana Frank, who argues it was the coup — more than drug trafficking and gangs — that opened the doors to the violence in Honduras and unleashed an ongoing wave of state-sponsored repression. We are also joined by human rights activist and lawyer Jennifer Harbury from Weslaco, Texas, about five miles from the U.S.-Mexico border. Harbury’s husband, Efraín Bámaca Velásquez, a guerrilla commander, a Mayan comandante and guerrilla, was disappeared after he was captured by the Guatemalan army in the 1980s. Harbury is the author of "Searching for Everardo: A Story of Love, War, and the CIA in Guatemala" and has spent decades pressing for classified information on her husband’s case.
  4. Obama Admin Still Turning Record Numbers of Immigration Law Violators into Criminals

    by , 07-15-2014 at 08:26 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    From Syracuse University's TRAC Immigration:

    Convictions for the petty offense of illegal entry (8 USC 1325) continue to dominate the criminal enforcement of federal immigration laws. During the first six months of fiscal year 2014, according to the case-by-case government records analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), two out of three immigration convictions — 24,647 out of a total of 36,256 criminal convictions — were for this offense. This ratio is little changed from the pattern of the last decade, which is striking given a recent surge in the number of people charged with felony illegal re-entry (8 USC 1326). While there was some year-to-year variation during the previous 10 year period from FY 2004-FY 2013, overall 65 percent of all immigration convictions were for illegal entry. During the first six months of the current fiscal year, 68 percent were convictions for the petty offense of illegal entry, which is punishable by up to six months in jail.

    Only around one out of every four immigration convictions have been for the more serious charge of illegal re-entry (8 USC 1326), a felony. During the first six months of FY 2014, 9,716 out of the total of 36,256 immigration convictions were for illegal re-entry — or 27 percent. This is little changed from the average of 26 percent during the previous 10 years.

    Updated 07-16-2014 at 07:38 AM by MKolken

  5. Groups Sue over Failure to Provide Lawyers for Children in Deportation Proceedings

    by , 07-09-2014 at 09:14 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    The following press released was originally published on American Immigration Council's website.

    Released on Wed, Jul 09, 2014

    Washington D.C. – The American Civil Liberties Union, American Immigration Council, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, Public Counsel, and K&L Gates LLP today filed a nationwide class-action lawsuit on behalf of thousands of children who are challenging the federal government's failure to provide them with legal representation as it carries out deportation hearings against them.

    Each year, the government initiates immigration court proceedings against thousands of children. Some of these youth grew up in the United States and have lived in the country for years, and many have fled violence and persecution in their home countries. The Obama Administration even recently called an influx of children coming across the Southern border a "humanitarian situation." And yet, thousands of children required to appear in immigration court each year do so without an attorney. This case seeks to remedy this unacceptable practice.

    "If we believe in due process for children in our country, then we cannot abandon them when they face deportation in our immigration courts," said Ahilan Arulanantham, senior staff attorney with the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project and the ACLU Foundation of Southern California. "The government pays for a trained prosecutor to advocate for the deportation of every child. It is patently unfair to force children to defend themselves alone."

    The plaintiffs in this case include:


    • A 10-year-old boy, his 13-year-old brother, and 15-year-old sister from El Salvador, whose father was murdered in front of their eyes. The father was targeted because he and the mother ran a rehabilitation center for people trying to leave gangs.
    • A 14-year-old girl who had been living with her grandparents, but was forced to flee El Salvador after being threatened and then attacked by gang members.
    • A 15-year-old boy who was abandoned and abused in Guatemala, and came to the United States without any family or friends.
    • A 16-year-old boy born in Mexico who has lived here since he was 1 year old and has had lawful status since June 2010.
    • A 16-year-old boy with limited communication skills and special education issues who escaped brutal violence exacted on his family in Honduras, and who has lived in Southern California since he was 8 years old.
    • A 17-year-old boy who fled gang violence and recruitment in Guatemala and now lives with his lawful permanent resident father in Los Angeles.

    All are scheduled to appear at deportation hearings without any legal representation and face a very real risk of being sent back into the perilous circumstances they left.

    While the Obama Administration recently announced a limited program to provide legal assistance to some youth facing deportation hearings, this proposal does not come close to meeting the urgent need for legal representation for all children whom the government wants to deport. And there is no guarantee that additional funding proposed by the administration yesterday will materialize or meet the overwhelming need. In the meantime, children continue to appear alone in court every day.

    "While our law firm, and others around the country, provide free legal services to children facing the injustice of appearing alone in court, we can help only a small fraction of the children in need," said Theo Angelis, a partner at K&L Gates LLP.

    Kristen Jackson, senior staff attorney with Public Counsel, a not-for-profit law firm that works with immigrant children, added, "Each day, we are contacted by children in desperate need of lawyers to advocate for them in their deportation proceedings. Pro bono efforts have been valiant, but they will never fully meet the increasing and complex needs these children present. The time has come for our government to recognize our Constitution’s promise of fairness and its duty to give these children a real voice in court."

    The complaint charges the U.S. Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Department of Health and Human Services, Executive Office for Immigration Review, and Office of Refugee Resettlement with violating the U.S. Constitution's Fifth Amendment Due Process Clause and the Immigration and Nationality Act’s provisions requiring a "full and fair hearing" before an immigration judge. It seeks to require the government to provide children with legal representation in their deportation hearings.

    "Deportation carries serious consequences for children, whether it is return to a country they fled because of violence and persecution or being separated from their homes and families. Yet children are forced into immigration court without representation – a basic protection most would assume is required whenever someone’s liberty is at stake. Requiring children to fight against deportation without a lawyer is incompatible with American values of due process and justice for all," said Beth Werlin, deputy legal director for the American Immigration Council.

    "It is simply unacceptable that children are forced to stand alone before an immigration judge, pitted against trained attorneys from the federal government," said Matt Adams, legal director for Northwest Immigrant Rights Project. "Any notion of justice or fair play requires that these children be provided legal representation."

    The case, J.E.F.M. v. Holder, was filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle, Wash.

    ###
    For press inquiries, contact:

    Wendy Feliz, American Immigration Council, 202-507-7524202-507-7524 or wfeliz@immcouncil.org
    Inga Sarda-Sorensen, American Civil Liberties Union, 212-549-2666212-549-2666 or media@aclu.org
    Matt Adams, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, 206-501-6249206-501-6249 or matt@nwirp.org
    Kristen Jackson, Public Counsel, 213-385-2977213-385-2977 ext. 157 or kjackson@publiccounsel.org
    Michael Rick, K&L Gates LLP, 412-355-6455412-355-6455 or Michael.Rick@klgates.com
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