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Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal


  1. Prosecutors Protect Immigrants From Deportation For Minor Crimes

    by , 06-01-2017 at 11:01 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)

    Via NPR:

    Prosecutors have wide latitude when negotiating plea deals. It typically depends on the facts of each case. In several U.S. cities now, prosecutors are using their discretion to protect defendants who are immigrants. They want to ensure that immigrants, whether here illegally or seeking citizenship, don't get deported for minor crimes. NPR's Richard Gonzales reports.
  2. Martin O’Malley Launches Blistering Attack on "Un-American" Immigration Policies

    by , 05-10-2016 at 07:53 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    Governor Martin O'Malley putting principle over party.

    Via the Huffington Post:

    Today, yes today, the United States of America maintains the largest system of immigrant detention camps of any nation on the planet. Not North Korea, not Yemen, not the People’s Republic of China, but us. The People of the United States.

    Have we not learned the lessons of our shameful internment of Japanese Americans, of Irish immigrants, of our turning away of those fleeing the Holocaust in Nazi Germany?

    One year ago, the American Bar Association put forward recommendations for addressing this injustice:

    1) Immediately release families held at the Berks, Dilley, and Karnes family detention facilities, cease expansion of the facilities, and do not renew their contracts for family detention;

    2) Permanently abandon deterrence-based detention policies;

    3) Adopt a presumption against detention and treat release into the community as the general rule, particularly in the case of families, children, and asylum seekers;

    4) When release into the community alone is insufficient, employ an objective risk assessment to identify the least restrictive means of achieving the goals of ensuring appearance at hearings and protection of the community, using electronic monitoring and cash bonds only where demonstrably necessary in individual cases;

    5) Establish and adhere to clear standards of care that include unique provisions for families and children that do not follow a penal model; and

    6) Ensure meaningful access to legal information and representation for all families subjected to detention at every stage of their immigration proceedings.

    One year later, none of these recommendations have been followed. And the internment of immigrant and refugee families continues with little to no due process.

    The truth is deportation rates increase as legal representation declines. Without effective counsel, the population of the internment camps grows and expands. More and more families are interned and detained for months and months. And all of this is done in our name.

    So much for staying on message.

    As recently as yesterday, I reported that the Obama administration's official position is that jailing refugee children is necessary to "put teeth" in the immigration law. The teeth include clandestine midnight raids that tear children from their beds. As far as the Obama administration is concerned it makes no difference that toddlers were deported without a lawyer, because hey, their due process is over. Hillary Clinton's solution on refugee children escaping violence isn't much better. Her solution: deport them (just not too many) to "send a message."

    If only there were more Democrats who stood up when Obama implemented his policies that have resulted in the ethnic cleansing of almost three million people, mostly Hispanic. You can rest assured if Obama were a Republican there would have been public outrage instead of apologetic excuses.

    But thankfully, in the Democratic party, there is Martin O'Malley left to speak for me.

    Updated 05-10-2016 at 10:23 AM by MKolken

  3. ICE Pushing Hard to Deport Darwin

    by , 05-03-2016 at 11:21 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)

    MAY 2, 2016 — Darwin is trying to keep his spirits up, but it is difficult as he just spent his 21st birthday in detention. His Uncle Jose is worried about him, and having a hard time sleeping. ICE is pushing hard for a travel document so that Darwin can be deported, and he has just had his fourth consular interview. NY Senator Kirsten Gellibrand has asked for information on Darwin's case; USCIS refuses to respond. We need your help now more than ever!

    Please sign and share the petition, using the hashtag #FreeDarwin! Thank you!
  4. Moving Plea to Shut Down Obama's Family Detention Centers

    by , 04-27-2016 at 03:27 PM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    The following was posted on Facebook by immigration lawyer Carol Anne Donohoe:

    So imagine this: A mother and her 2 year old son, or a mother and her 17 year old son, or a mother and her 5 year old daughter who has been sick for months with untreated diarrhea and vomiting, or a mother and her son who just turned 12 today. Can you picture it? Now imagine that all of these mothers and children are sitting on death row.

    They have committed no crime.

    They have appealed their cases time and time again in order to get a fair hearing because the first hearing was rigged against them. While they wait, their children are getting sick, they are all becoming hopeless. Over and over their appeals are denied with no explanation.

    The government not only denies their appeals but actively makes death row more and more miserable. Every 15 minutes at night flashlights are shined in their eyes so they can't sleep, guards bang on the doors at 6:30 a.m. and they're ordered to get up whether they've rested or not, the food is inedible, and their children are sick. When they complain about their children being sick, they are told they are lying.

    The objective is to make these mothers so desperate that they will just give in and accept the injection, the electric chair, the firing squad. Better to just get on with it than to wait months and months wondering if you and your two year old will end up being executed anyway.

    Now that you've imagined it, are you horrified? Do you find it difficult to believe?

    This is exactly what is happening to families in immigration detention. It's not Donald Trump who's in charge of this macabre scenario, it is Obama.

    If you are local, it is your county commissioners who are keeping this nightmare real. For everyone who took the time today to send Gary a birthday message, now take the time on Monday to call your acting president and ask why he is keeping two year olds on death row.

    Ask why desperate mothers and children are given jail sentences instead of shelter. Ask him how he can look himself in the mirror. Then call the Berks County Commissioners and ask them how they sleep at night. Ask them why they say the mothers are lying when all they want is medical treatment for their children. Ask them why it's so important to them to keep jailing children when they supposedly do not profit from it. Make those calls for Gary. And for Briany. And for Steven. And for Alex. And for Yeslin and Cleydi. And for Anderson and Allison and Victor and Diego and all the other children.

    Don't stop calling until we‪ #‎shutdownberks‬ and ‪#‎endfamilydetention‬

    Carol Anne Donohoe is an immigration attorney with a private practice in Reading, PA. For nearly the past two years she has represented and advocated for detained mothers, fathers, and children in the Berks Family detention center, largely pro bono. She is a graduate of Temple Beasley School of Law and the President of the Greater Reading Immigration Project (GRIP.)

    Updated 04-27-2016 at 03:45 PM by MKolken

  5. Petition Asks Reps Zoe Lofgren and Luis Gutierrez to Help Stop Another Deportation

    by , 04-12-2016 at 06:48 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    Please sign this petition that asks Representatives Zoe Lofgren and Luis Gutierrez to intervene with ICE and release Darwin to be with his family while USCIS adjudicates his green card application, and share on social media using #FreeDarwin:

    Immigration and Customs Enforcement continues its war on Central American refugee kids, and is determined to deport Darwin Mejia even though he has a pending green card application on file based on his Special Immigrant Juvenile Status.

    Darwin was born in El Salvador, and was abandoned by his father while his mother was still pregnant with him, and he has never been involved in his life. He was abandoned by his mother as a toddler, and left with his maternal grandmother, who is now elderly and resides in the United States as a lawful permanent resident.

    His uncle, Jose, is a U.S. citizen, and has supported Darwin financially since he was abandoned. Darwin fled the violence and death of El Salvador after being threatened by the gangs, risking his life to come to the safe harbor of the United States. Darwin was detained at the U.S.- Mexico border and sent to a detention center in Texas. He was eventually transferred and is currently detained at the LaSalle Detention Center in Jena, Louisiana.

    Represented by the law firm of Amoachi & Johnson, Darwin's uncle petitioned for guardianship of Darwin. The Suffolk County family court in New York issued a legal order of guardianship, based on findings that Darwin is a minor (under the age of 21) who is unable to be reunited with his parents due to neglect and abuse and that it is not in his best interests to return to his country. This resulted in Darwin's applications for legal classification as a "Special Immigrant Juvenile" and his pending green card application. Despite this, ICE ERO is determined that it will deport Darwin, and has refused to issue a stay until his green card application can be adjudicated. This has gone all the way ICE HQ, which has ordered that Darwin be deported without allowing his green card application to be adjudicated.

    After his attorneys requested review of the denial of a stay of deportation, on April 5, 2016, the retaliation began. Around midnight on Tuesday, April 5, 2016, Darwin was taken to the cell with other detainees who were designated for removal. Darwin reported that one detainee was fighting his case, and that detainee indicated that ICE officials took him to the airport to terrorize him (the detainee told Darwin that he had been taken to the airport 9 times so far).

    Darwin also reported extremely cold temperatures and stated that he was shivering even though he had a sweater. He had no bed, no blanket, and they did not turn the lights off. The cell was so small that some people were standing and some lying down, there was not enough space for them all to lie down. The officers indicated to the detainees that they were just "following orders." These conditions, known as "hieleras" have been widely reported on and are the subject of lawsuits against the government.

    At around 10:00 a.m., Darwin was taken to airport and waited around for one hour, when he and several others were told that consulate did not issue their travel documents. Most of the group of detainees was deported. Then, ICE officials returned the detainees without travel documents back to the heelers at around noon or 1:00 p.m., where they remained another 8-10 hours. Meanwhile, ICE kept Darwin's attorneys in the dark about his whereabouts and the posture of his case as well, apparently attempting to mislead them into believing that Darwin would be deported despite their knowledge that, in fact, removal would be impossible given that the El Salvadoran consulate did not issue travel documents. ICE ERO HQ affirmed that no stay would be granted thereafter.

    Click here to sign the petition.

    Updated 04-12-2016 at 07:05 AM by MKolken

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