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Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal


  1. GOP Congressman Calls to Revoke Citizenship for Individuals Ordered Deported

    by , 09-23-2016 at 01:35 PM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    Via the House Judiciary Committee:

    Washington, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) today called on Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson to investigate and begin the process of revoking citizenship for people that obtained citizenship despite being ineligible and due to the Department’s systemic failures.

    Earlier this month, the DHS Office of Inspector General (IG) issued a report finding that at least 858 individuals who were ordered deported were instead granted citizenship because they used another identity when applying for citizenship and were not caught by federal immigration authorities since their fingerprints were never digitized and uploaded to government databases. The IG report also found that about 148,000 fingerprint records have not been digitized for aliens with final deportation orders or who are criminals or fugitives.

    In their letter to Secretary Johnson, Goodlatte and Gowdy call on the Department of Homeland Security to initiate a plan to investigate and refer for criminal prosecution and denaturalization proceedings each person identified in the IG’s report who has been granted citizenship based on fraudulent identity. They also call on DHS to provide information to the House Judiciary Committee about what it has done to remedy this systemic failure.

    Below is the text of the letter. The signed copy can be found here.

    September 22, 2016

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

    Dear Secretary Johnson,

    We write regarding the September 8, 2016, U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General (IG) report entitled, “Potentially Ineligible Individuals Have Been Granted U.S. Citizenship Because of Incomplete Fingerprint Records.”

    The IG report stated that, “USCIS granted U.S. citizenship to at least 858 individuals ordered deported or removed under another identity when, during the naturalization process, their digital fingerprint records were not in the DHS digital fingerprint repository, IDENT.” In addition, the IG found that, “U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has identified about 148,000 older fingerprint records that have not been digitized of aliens with final deportation orders or who are criminals or fugitives.” Thus, still more individuals could have been naturalized despite their ineligibility to do so.

    Administration officials repeatedly tell those of us in Congress and the American people that the immigration benefits vetting process is robust and secure. Concerns we raise about the process are continuously dismissed in favor of Administration actions to expand the scope of eligibility for immigration benefits.

    Yet time and time again, those concerns are proven valid. Whether it is with the improper grant of a fiancée visa to an individual who goes on to commit a terrorist attack in California, or with the improper naturalization of hundreds of individuals whose fingerprints were never automated, there is no doubt that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) adjudication is not the secure and robust process that we are asked to believe.

    USCIS’ first responsibility is to the American people, and that responsibility is to ensure that foreign nationals approved for immigration benefits are, in fact, who they claim to be. Without such elementary knowledge of the individuals seeking immigration benefits, the U.S. immigration system and any claimed security protections therein are rendered useless.

    In addition, naturalization not only bestows rights and benefits to the individual naturalized, but also for their family members. So through chain migration, one individual fraudulently naturalized can result in hundreds of additional naturalizations. Such actions make a mockery of U.S. immigration law and policy.

    As you also know, federal law allows USCIS to refer an individual to the Department of Justice for denaturalization proceedings in the case of an individual who USCIS believes to have “illegally procured or procured by concealment of a material fact or by willful misrepresentation,” naturalization. Federal law also allows such referrals for criminal prosecution.

    Thus, we request that you initiate a plan to investigate and refer for criminal prosecution and denaturalization proceedings, each individual in the group described by the IG to have been naturalized based on a fraudulent identity and despite having fingerprints that were not previously entered into the system.

    In addition, we request the following information:

    1. For the 858 individuals who were found to have been naturalized despite being ordered deported or removed under a different identity:
      1. How many have been investigated to determine whether they were truly eligible at the time of naturalization?
      2. How many aliens have been naturalized or received other immigration benefits based on the U.S. citizenship status of the fraudulently naturalized individual? What, if any, action has been taken to denaturalize or revoke immigration benefits from such individuals?
      3. How many have been referred to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for criminal prosecution?
      4. How many have been referred to DOJ for denaturalization proceedings?
      5. Of the cases referred for criminal prosecution, how many cases has DOJ agreed to prosecute and how many have been prosecuted? Please indicate the outcomes of any such prosecutions.
      6. Of the cases referred for denaturalization proceedings, how many cases has DOJ agreed to take and how many proceedings have been initiated? Please indicate the outcomes of those cases.
      7. How many have been determined, through investigation, to have been eligible for naturalization despite the fraud used to gain naturalization? For each individual found to have been eligible, please indicate the reasons for such a finding.
      8. Please provide us monthly updated numbers on a) through g) above as the process continues.

    2. For the 148,000 fingerprint records that have not been digitized of aliens with final deportation orders or who are criminals or fugitives:
      1. What is your plan to investigate the number of those individuals who have been naturalized or have received other immigration benefits?
      2. Please provide monthly updated statistics regarding those of the 148,000 who were naturalized and the number who were naturalized under a new identity.
      3. Of the number who have already been naturalized, how many have been referred to DOJ for criminal prosecution? How many has DOJ agreed to prosecute?
      4. Of the number who have already been naturalized, how many have been referred to DOJ for denaturalization proceedings? Against how many has DOJ agreed to begin denaturalization proceedings?

    Please respond to the above questions no later than October 5, 2016. If you have questions regarding this letter, please contact Andrea Loving on the House Judiciary Committee staff at (202) 225-3926.

    We appreciate in advance, your prompt response.


    Bob Goodlatte

    Trey Gowdy
    Sub Committee Chairman

    Updated 09-23-2016 at 01:37 PM by MKolken

  2. Court rejects class-action over lawyers for immigrant kids

    by , 09-22-2016 at 09:21 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    Via the Associated Press:

    A federal appeals court panel on Tuesday rejected a class-action lawsuit brought on behalf of children who go without lawyers in deportation proceedings, despite saying that having kids represent themselves in such complex matters is "an extremely difficult situation."

    The lawsuit was filed two years ago in Seattle by immigrant rights advocates, following a flood of unaccompanied minors arriving at the U.S. border. It sought to force the government to appoint lawyers for the children; immigration judges don't have that authority now.

    U.S. District Judge Thomas Zilly ruled that the children could pursue their claims that being denied lawyers violated their due-process rights, but three judges from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned that decision. The appeals court panel said federal immigration law precludes such claims from being filed in U.S. District Court.

    Instead, the judges said, such claims must be brought individually and filed directly in federal appeals courts after deportations proceedings are exhausted.

    Click here for the full story.
  3. Overall Number of Unauthorized Immigrants Holds Steady Since 2009

    by , 09-20-2016 at 01:15 PM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    Media contact: Brian Mahl, 202-419-4372,

    Overall Number of U.S. Unauthorized Immigrants Holds Steady Since 2009
    Decline in share from Mexico mostly offset by growth from Asia, Central America and sub-Saharan Africa

    WASHINGTON, D.C. (Sept. 20, 2016) – The U.S. unauthorized immigrant population – 11.1 million in 2014 – has stabilized since the end of the Great Recession, as the number from Mexico declined but the total from other regions of the world increased, according to new Pew Research Center estimates based on government data.

    Mexicans remain the majority of the nation’s unauthorized immigrant population, but their estimated number – 5.8 million in 2014 – has declined by about half a million people since 2009. Meanwhile, the number of unauthorized immigrants from all other nations – mainly those from Asia and Central America – grew by 325,000 since 2009, to 5.3 million in 2014. The decline in unauthorized immigrants from some parts of the world, mainly Mexico, was roughly balanced by an increase in unauthorized immigrants from other parts of the world, so the total U.S. unauthorized immigrant population had no statistically significant change from 2009 to 2014.

    Most states saw no statistically significant change in the size of their unauthorized immigrant populations from 2009 to 2014. In the seven states where the unauthorized immigrant population declined – Alabama, California, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Nevada and South Carolina – falling numbers of unauthorized Mexican immigrants were the key factor. Meanwhile, among the six states that had increases in their unauthorized immigrant populations, only one – Louisiana – could trace this to a rise in the number of unauthorized immigrants from Mexico. The other states with increases were Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington.

    As the U.S. unauthorized immigrant population has stabilized, it also has become more settled. In 2014, two-thirds of unauthorized immigrant adults (66%) had lived in the U.S. for 10 years or more, compared with 41% in 2005. An estimated 14% of unauthorized immigrant adults had lived in the U.S. for less than five years in 2014, compared with 31% in 2005. Overall, unauthorized immigrant adults in 2014 had lived in the U.S. for a median of 13.6 years. In 2009, the median had been 10 years, compared with eight years in 2005.

    Among the report's findings:

    • Unauthorized immigrants accounted for 3.5% of the overall U.S. population and 26% of the nation’s 43.6 million foreign-born residents in 2014.
    • The country of birth that saw the greatest increase in unauthorized immigrants since 2009 is India – with a rise of about 130,000, for a total of 500,000 in 2014. Overall, the top five birth countries of unauthorized immigrants are Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, India and Honduras.
    • In 2014, 59% of unauthorized immigrants lived in just six states – California, Texas, Florida, New York, New Jersey and Illinois. More than a third (36%) lived in California and Texas combined.
    • The states with the highest shares of unauthorized immigrants in their overall populations in 2014 were Nevada (7%) and California (6%).

    Read the report:

    For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Brian Mahl or 202-419-4372.

    Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world. It does not take policy positions. The Center is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts, its primary funder. Subscribe to our daily and weekly email newsletters or follow us on our Fact Tank blog.
  4. Potentially Ineligible Individuals Have Been Granted Citizenship

    by , 09-20-2016 at 07:12 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    The Office of the Inspector General has issued a report that determined that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approved applications for naturalization for at least 858 individuals who committed fraud or a material misrepresentation by failing to disclose that they had been previously ordered deported or removed under another identity. The error was blamed on the unavailability of digital fingerprint records.

    The following explanation was given:

    The digital records were not available because although USCIS procedures require checking applicants’ fingerprints against both the Department of Homeland Security’s and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) digital fingerprint repositories,neither contains all old fingerprint records. Not all old records were included in the DHS repository when it was being developed. Further, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has identified, about 148,000 older fingerprint records that have not been digitized of aliens with final deportation orders or who are criminals or fugitives. The FBI repository is also missing records because, in the past, not all records taken during immigration encounters were forwarded to the FBI. As long as the older fingerprint records have not been digitized and included in the repositories, USCIS risks making naturalization decisions without complete information and,as a result, naturalizing additional individuals who may be ineligible for citizenship or who may be trying to obtain U.S.citizenship fraudulently.

    As naturalized citizens, these individuals retain many of the rights and privileges of U.S. citizenship, including serving in law enforcement, obtaining a security clearance, and sponsoring other aliens’ entry into the United States. ICE has investigated few of these naturalized citizens to determine whether they should be denaturalized, but is now taking steps to increase the number of cases to be investigated, particularly those who hold positions of public trust and who have security clearances.

    Click here to read the full report and the recommendations.
  5. Immigration Courts Overwhelmed by Priority Deportation Cases

    by , 09-16-2016 at 01:53 PM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    Via Syracuse University's TRAC Immigration:

    (15 Sep 2016) The number of judges continue to prove insufficient to handle the growing backlog in the Immigration Courts. The problems are particularly acute for handling even priority cases like those involving unaccompanied children and women with children according to the latest court data updated through the end of August 2016 and analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University.

    The backlog of pending cases involving unaccompanied children reached 73,649 at the August 2016, while the backlog of cases involving women with children is even larger and rose to 83,949 last month. Together they now account for nearly one third (31%) of the court's overall backlog of a record 512,190 cases.

    For more details, including the top ten states with the largest overall Immigration Court backlog, see this month's snapshot report at:

    For cumulative details through August 2016 of priority cases since July 2014 involving women with children see:
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