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Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal


  1. Petition Filers Seek Rule Change from DHS to Suspend Deportations, Agency Required to

    by , 02-04-2014 at 03:47 PM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    I received the following for immediate release from the National Day Laborers Organizing Network:

    The “Si Se Puede” Filing Provides Authoritative Legal Evidence of Obama Administration’s Ability to Expand Deferred Action, Grant Relief to Future Beneficiaries of Immigration Reform

    The National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) and a group of undocumented people facing the threat of deportation are using a little known provision of the Administrative Procedure Act to formally request the Department of Homeland Security expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to the fullest extent permissible by law and to suspend deportations for immigrant workers and families who are likely future beneficiaries of immigration reform.

    Under the law, agencies are required to allow members of the public to petition for the issuance of new rules or changes to or repeal of existing rules. DHS must provide a response to the petition and explain its decision to grant or deny petitioners’ request.

    Referring to the significance of the petition drafted by the Kathryn O. Greenberg Immigration Justice Clinic at Cardozo School of Law, NDLON Staff Attorney Jessica Karp explained, “After reading this document, there is no question whether the President can stop deportations. It shows that he can and he should. The only question left is, why hasn’t he? This petition presents the dilemma to DHS formally. It gives them to opportunity to correct years of reckless enforcement and also grant relief to immigrant workers and families who the President and leaders on both sides of the aisle all agree belong here.”

    For Jose Luis Piscil of New Haven, CT who is scheduled to appear in immigration court on March 16th, the petition is part of his urgent attempt to remain with his family after a wrongful arrest on charges that were quickly dismissed led to his placement in deportation proceedings under the federal Secure Communities deportation quota program. “The way they are currently enforcing their laws is creating nightmares in immigrants’ lives. I want to be here for my wife and two children, to provide for them and to see them grow up. DHS uses discretion in its enforcement. I hope it will use it in my case and change their rules so that no one else faces what my family is going through.”

    Many cite the “Sí se puede (Yes You Can)” rulemaking petition as the authoritative document on the President’s executive authority related to immigration enforcement. It cites extensive precedent to demonstrate the historic use of discretion and the constitutional authority of the executive branch to determine how laws are implemented.

    Thomas Chew of Cardozo Immigration Justice Clinic says, ““The Constitution gives the President unilateral power to determine when it is, and when it is not, in the national interest to initiate deportation proceedings. The only question that remains is whether this President will exercise his power to protect our nation’s immigrants and our nation’s economy from the devastation his immigration policies have wrought.”

    The “Sí se puede (Yes You Can)” rulemaking petition is available at
  2. Immigrant Rights Supporters Chain Themselves Together to Protest Deportation Policy

    by , 02-03-2014 at 09:37 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    I just received the following email from the National Day Laborer Organization Network:


    It's 2014 and President Obama hasn't stopped deportations yet so communities across the country are doing whatever we have to in order to stop them ourselves.

    Live streaming video by Ustream

    Right now, people in Austin, TX have locked themselves together to block the entrance of the Travis County jail
    that turns over an average of 19 people each week to ICE to be deported.

    They've launched a campaign for the Sheriff to follow the example of Chicago, New Orleans, San Francisco and other places that have passed policies refusing to submit to ICE's hold requests.

    Last week the Austin Immigrant Rights Coalition met with the Sheriff to ask for a review of and a halt to deportations in the County that he rejected. Now they're back to demand it.

    Watch the action live here

    With the President admitting that stopping deportations is an option and with multiple local examples of how rejecting ICE's hold makes for better policy and stronger communities, actions like this shouldn't still be necessary. But until they get the message, it will only get louder.

    Not. One. More!
  3. DREAM Action Coalition's Response to Release of Republican Reform Principles

    by , 01-30-2014 at 05:56 PM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    January 30, 2014

    *** STATEMENT ***
    ** Let's withhold Judgement on Republican Immigration principles until legislation is introduced **

    WASHINGTON DC- Earlier today, Republicans released their long awaited priniciples on immigration reform. The DREAM Action Coalition stated:

    "The principles are not surprising. What will matter is the substance that will make up the legislation. Republicans are taking a step forward recognizing the need to modernize our outdated immigration system. However, the party must act swiftly to produce legislation and schedule votes to ensure we start the debate process.

    Most importantly, Republicans will be warned not to produce legislation that solves a political problem rather than a policy problem by including poison pills like the SAFE Act, legislation that will empower local and state enforcement to enforce immigration law. States like Arizona and Alabama are already paying the high economic price of such failed legislation.

    "We need to withhold judgement criticizing Republicans to give them an opportunity to work legislation, including their legalization and border security components. In the end, we have to wait for Republicans since the President's record deportations has undermined our negotiating capital by placing our community in fear of being separated from their family," said Erika Andiola, Co-director, Dream Action Coalition.

    Dream Action Coalition serves as a voice for undocumented youth and lobbying arm of the dream movement. Our work ensures that undocumented youth are represented in the halls of power and are correctly and directly informed of the actions of Congress, Executive Agencies, and the Courts.

    Tags: -1' Add / Edit Tags
  4. Mapping the Shift from Border to Interior Enforcement during the Obama Presidency

    by , 01-27-2014 at 10:59 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    Tanya Golash-Boza of the University of California, Merced has written about the shift of immigration enforcement from the border to the interior of the United States.

    She writes:

    In Fiscal Year 2011, immigration law enforcement agents apprehended over half a million non-citizens. For the first time, ICE apprehended nearly half of them: just over 300,000. The decrease in Border Patrol apprehensions is due to the fact that fewer people are crossing the border illegally. Deportations have continued to rise because ICE has enhanced its efforts in the interior of the United States. This has happened in two ways: 1) funding for programs targeting criminal aliens has skyrocketed; and 2) increases in Police/ICE cooperation. ICE can’t do this alone. There are only 20,000 ICE agents nationwide, with only 5,000 actively employed in enforcement and removal operations. To achieve 400,000 deportations, ICE has to rely on Border Patrol apprehensions and police arrests. As Border Patrol apprehensions decrease, ICE increasingly relies on local law enforcement.

    She explains that the definition of "criminal deportees" includes individuals deported after being convicted for minor crimes, 23% of which stem from traffic offenses (speeding and driving while brown), and 20% for immigration related crimes (illegal entry and re-entry).

    Click here to read the entire article.

    You can follow Professor Golash-Boza on Twitter at @TanyaBoza

    Updated 01-27-2014 at 01:40 PM by MKolken

  5. An Open Letter to the Immigrant Rights Movement: Our Families Can’t Wait

    by , 01-16-2014 at 03:36 PM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    Dear Friends and Allies in the Immigrant Rights Movement,

    We are writing this letter to open a dialogue about the direction and strategy of the immigration reform campaign in the New Year. For us, this is not a question of ideology, but our own and our families’ lives. We hope that this letter will agitate your thinking and that we can move together in a new direction in 2014.

    First, we want to recognize the collective work of our movement last year. From lobbying members of Congress, to infiltrating detention centers, to stopping individual deportations, we have each done our part to make this movement stronger and to advance the rights of the immigrant community. We want to thank you, every person and organization, that has dedicated themselves to this cause.

    Despite all the hard work that we did last year, we cannot ignore that we did not win a legislative policy change. In the same year we lived through close to 370,000 undocumented immigrants being deported by the Obama administration. We saw toddlers carry signs asking for their parents to be released from detention; we saw families taken in the middle of the night after a simple knock at the door; we saw ICE taking parents while working, and then labeling them as felons. Their only crime was to work to provide food for their family. As leaders, we need to have the humility to reassess our strategy and make changes when something is not working.

    How did we get to this point where we haven’t passed immigration reform? Entering 2013, we felt confident. We were all on a high from the 2012 elections. We were sure that the Tea Party’s defeats, including Mitt Romney’s loss due to his “self deportation” stance, would finally move the Republican Party to act on immigration legislation. Like you, we, DREAMers, undocumented youth-led and parent-led organizations, remember feeling confident that we could achieve immigration reform with a path to citizenship for all eleven million undocumented immigrants.

    While the Senate immigration bill was not perfect, we were hopeful that its passage meant we were halfway there and that a bipartisan deal was taking shape in Congress. The logic at the time was that passing the Senate Bill would increase momentum to pass it in the House. This, however, did not happen.

    Looking for a way to keep the pressure, a number of organizations asked Democrat leadership to introduce H.R. 15 in the House with the hopes that it would pressure Speaker Boehner to allow a vote or introduce his own legislation. While we thank these organizations for doing what they thought was right at the time, unfortunately, it was a miscalculation. Speaker Boehner refused to bring the Senate bill to the floor, and no Republican had the courage to introduce their own bills. Despite all of our efforts, we didn't have the power to get the Speaker to bring up the Senate bill.

    Democrat leadership, meanwhile, has established hard lines like “citizenship or nothing,” making it politically impossible for both parties to come to the table on a real solution. Blaming Republicans for killing CIR became good propaganda for the Democratic Party, and alienated the few Republicans who were interested in moving legislation forward.

    At the end of the year, as Congressmen went home for recess, we were left with nothing for our families. What could we tell the people in deportation who kept calling us, even on Christmas Eve? Tens of thousands of parents across the country spent their Christmas behind bars in cold jail cells in detention centers, the hopes of immigration reform fading from their hearts. Tens of thousands of peoples tried to make the best of Christmas, but couldn’t really smile because a loved one was missing. People like the Zuniga family, whose son Joel was deported. Joel’s mom Marypaz said the food didn't taste the same and she didn’t feel like putting up Christmas lights this year. People like Naira, who’s husband Ardany was deported in the middle of the night the week before Christmas. While a group of us held vigil outside of Florence detention center, ICE snuck Ardany out the back to deport him. Naira was left with her 2 year old son and newborn daughter, fighting back the tears so that the children could enjoy Christmas morning.

    Lupita Arreola, Erika’s mother, Mario Montoya, Reyna’s father, Mario Andrade and Hareth’s father are all still in deportation proceedings. How many more will it take before we stop this? How many more families will be torn apart? How many more children traumatized?

    We don’t know what’s going to happen in 2014, but we know that the status quo is unbearable. We cannot stand by and watch another 2 million people get deported while we try to pass an ideal immigration reform.

    As people who are directly affected, we ask you to revisit your strategy:

    1. Focus on a practical legislative solution for immediate relief for families, even if it doesn't include a special path to citizenship. Our families and communities need relief now, not ideological hard lines.
    2. Allow bills that are already amenable to citizenship for Dreamers and legalization for parents without blocking existing citizenship channels. We will not accept a proposal that blocks, bans or bars citizenship.
    3. Use our power and political capital to call on Democrats and the President to expand administrative relief and stop unjust deportations. NDLON has already laid out what this could look like
    4. Focus on advancing substantive policy this year, not on advancing the electoral efforts of the Democratic Party. Let go of HR 15 and SB 744 and focus on winnable pieces of legislation in the House. No, we will not take ‘just anything.’ We want to see the Republicans proposals on the table and then we will decide if its good for our community or not.

    As undocumented advocates, we do want citizenship rights. We believe that this is our country, and our family’s home. We do want to be able to vote and voice our opinions. We cannot, however, wait for that to happen while our families are being persecuted. Walking away with nothing is not an option for us; “citizenship-or-nothing” is not an option. We can’t ask our communities to wait for “citizenship” while we see our mothers, our fathers and our children being taken from our homes by immigration. We can’t wait while we see our families being taken into detention centers for months and even years while our children are being traumatized.

    Through this letter we are asking that you stand with us. Fight with us for immediate relief for our families. Let’s together hold President Obama accountable for every deported parent. Let’s find a way to work with both parties to find an immediate solution, even if it’s a solution that doesn't include a “special” pathway to citizenship.

    Together lets achieve a level of peace for our families and our communities, a peace that will allow us to live free from persecution, that will allow us to live, work, travel like a human being. We want our mothers to see their parents, to be able to hug them and not arrive to visit their grave. We want to be able to drive without the panic of seeing a police officer in our rearview mirror. We want to be able to live knowing that we will come home and see our children at the end of the day.

    Once we achieve this level of relief/stability, there is no question that we will keep fighting for more- for what rightly belongs to our families. Our families are not conformist. Our mothers crossed borders, risked their lives for something better. We need to survive but will never settle, we will always fight for the betterment of our families.


    Jose Patiño, Dreamer, Dream is Now
    Erika Andiola, Dreamer & Co-Director, Dream Action Coalition
    Cesar Vargas, Dreamer & Co-Director, Dream Action Coalition
    Reyna Montoya, Dreamer, Father is in deportation
    The Arizona DREAM Act Coalition
    The Arkansas Natural DREAMers
    Yadira Garcia, Dreamer & Co-Founder of the Arizona Dream Act Coalition
    Ola Kaso, Dreamer, The Dream is Now
    Julio Zuniga, Dreamer, deported Dreamer brother
    Rosario Reyes, Undocumented Parent, Arizona Original Dreamers
    Juana Torres Paura, Original Dreamers Moms
    Rocio Andiola, Undocumented Parent, Arizona Orginal Dreamers
    Diana Duran, Undocumented Mother, Arizona Original Dreamers
    Raul Leon, Undocumented Father in deportation, Arizona Original Dreamers
    Maria de los Angeles Diaz Ochoa, Undocumented Parent, Arizona Original Dreamers
    Alma Vega, Arizona Original Dreamers
    Yanet Rodriguez, Dreamer, Arizona Original Dreamers
    Fatima Ramirez, Dreamer, Arizona Original Dreamers
    Guadalupe Arreola, Undocumented Mother, President - Arizona Original Dreamers
    Rocio Duran, Undocumented Mother, Arizona Original Dreamers
    Eva Maria, DREAMers' Moms Virginia
    William Palacios, Arizona DREAM Act Coalition
    Lily Marín
    Nora Hernandez, Undocumented Community Organizer, El Centro de Igualdad y Derechos
    Jesus Iñiguez, Undocumented & Unafraid,
    Alan Salinas, Operations Manager, Arizona DREAM Act Coalition
    Carolina Canizales, Undocumented Dreamer
    Isaias Vasquez, Dreamer
    Hareth Andrade, Virginia Dreamer, Father in Deportation Proceedings
    Excy Guardado, University Student, Dreamers of Virginia
    Ivan Godinez Reyes, Dream Act OK Tulsa
    Lizardo Buleje, DACAmented
    Belen Sisa, Dreamer
    Pedro Gutierrez Santaman
    Sagar Patagundi, Undocumented & Co-Founder Kentucky Dream Coalition
    Juana Pinyol, Undocumented/Board Member, Hudson Valley Community Coalition
    Adriana Garcia, DREAMer & Community Organizer, Team Awesome
    Hina Naveed, Dreamer, Staten Island DREAM Coalition
    Alejandra Saucedo, DREAMers' Moms National Network
    Francisco Luna, Undocu*****, Arizona ***** Undocumented Immigrant Project
    Erick Garcia, Undocumented & Technology Director, DREAM Action Coalition
    Peter Lin-Marcus, Supporter/Ally
    Sigifredo Pizana, Dreamer
    Delia Patiño, Dreamer Mom
    Ileana Salinas, DACAmented & AZ Worker Rights Center
    DREAM Army
    DREAM Bar Association
    Bibiana Vazquez, DREAMer, Arizona Dream Act Coalition
    Viridiana Hernandez, Undocumented Community Organizer/Co-Founder of Team Awesome Arizona
    Ignacio Frias, DACAmented
    Prerna Lal, Board Director, Immigration Equality
    Ana Aguayo, Dreamer/Interim Executive Director, Northwest Arkansas Workers' Justice Center
    Ana Patiño, Dreamer
    Camila Quariwarmi Munayki, Writer, Artist Painter, Activist
    Alex Aldana, Movement Organizer and Jota Strategist, East Bay Immigrant Youth Coalition, San Francisco Undocuworkforce
    Ramiro Luna, DREAMer & Veteran Activist, North Texas DREAM Team
    Jessica Rubio, Undocumented Community Organizer, Team Awesome
    Celso Mireles
    Yovany Diaz, Activist, Georgia Undocumented Youth Alliance
    Maria Campos, DREAMers Moms USA
    Carla Chavarria, Dreamer, IDREAM
    Dulce Matuz, President/Chair of Arizona DREAM Act Coalition
    Ernestor De La Rosa, DREAMer & Community Organizer, Sunflower Community Action
    Tania Unzueta, Undocumented Organizer
    Francisco Salcido, DREAMer & Community Organizer
    Lilly Romo, Undocumented, Phoenix DREAMers
    Alina Cortes, Military DREAMer, DREAM Army
    Giancarlo Tello, DREAMer, New Jersey Dream Act Coalition
    Lucy Allain
    Aldo Gonzalez, Organizer, Team Awesome
    Irvin Camacho, Executive Director, Arkansas Natural Dreamers
    Cairo Mendes, Organizer/Dreamer, Student Immigrant Movement
    Marco A. Malagon, President/Co-Founder, North Texas Dream Team
    Carlos Vargas, DREAMer, Staten Island Dream Coalition
    Yajaira Saavedra, New York City
    Juan Deoses, Undocumented Organizer, New Mexico Dreamers In Action
    Carmen Irene, Padres y Jóvenes en Acción
    Mario Montoya, AZ Dreamer Dad, Parents and Youth in Action
    Rossy Sandoval, AZ Dreamer Mom, Parents and Youth in Action
    Maxima Guerrero, AZ Dreamer
    Abraham Ponce, Online Coordinator, NTDT
    Jesus Gutierrez, Voces of Norristown
    Alejandro Morales, DREAMer, The Dream is Now
    Alfredo Garcia, President, Council for Minority Student Affairs
    Claudia Rodriguez, Undocumented Mother, Arizona Original Dreamers
    Maria Castro, Fighting for Undocumented Mother

    Click here to add your name to the above list.

    Updated 01-16-2014 at 04:06 PM by MKolken

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