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Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal


  1. Immigration Court Backlog Reaches New High

    by , 03-13-2013 at 08:12 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    Via Syracuse University's TRAC Immigration:
    (13 Mar 2013) The number of cases awaiting resolution before the Immigration Courts has risen along with the average time these pending cases have been waiting. As of the end of February 2013, the backlog has reached a new all-time high of 325,296. According to the very latest data obtained and analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), that total rose by 1,571 just during February.
    The court backlog is now 9.3 percent higher than it was at the end of FY 2011 when ICE Director John Morton announced a review of cases designed to reduce both the backlog and wait times. Instead, the backlog has increased, and the average time cases have been waiting to be heard has jumped to 553 days, compared with 489 days at the end of FY 2011 when the review began.

    Click here for the latest backlog data, now updated through February 2013.
    Click here for the latest information on new ICE filings, deportation orders and progress under the prosecutorial discretion program.
    Click here to donote to TRAC immigration.  They are worthy of your support.
  2. ICE Using a Computer Program to Determine whether to Detain Immigrants

    by , 03-08-2013 at 06:52 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    My colleague Chuck Kuck recently told me that he heard that ICE has been using an automated computer program to assess the risk of releasing immigrants from custody.  I hadn't heard about it so I did a little digging. Chuck was right.  Last July ICE implemented a new automated Risk Classification Assessment "instrument" to "improve transparency and uniformity in detention custody and classification decisions."
    ICE has incorporated the automated computer program right into the "book-in" process.  ICE claims that "objective criteria" are being utilized "to guide decision making" and further consideration is given to "any special vulnerability" to aid in the determination of whether someone should be taken to immigration detention.  If the computer determines that you should be detained a custody classification level is assigned to you, which undoubtedly impacts the amount of bond being set, or if you will be held without bond.
    I haven't been able to get my fingers on any further information detailing the specific factors utilized in the program, but ICE claims that they "reflect the agency's civil enforcement priorities."
    Isn't that comforting.
  3. Provisional Unlawful Presence Waivers Now Accepted by USCIS

    by , 03-04-2013 at 07:07 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    The new process for submitting a stateside waiver to cure the harsh consequences of unlawful presence for certain qualifying immigrants is now available.  
    From USCIS:

    Beginning March 4, 2013, certain immigrant visa applicants who are spouses, children and parents of U.S. citizens (immediate relatives) can apply for provisional unlawful presence waivers before they leave the United States. The provisional unlawful presence waiver process allows individuals, who only need a waiver of inadmissibility for unlawful presence, to apply for a waiver in the United States and before they depart for their immigrant visa interviews at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad.

    Here are the eligibility requirements:
    You must:

    Be 17 years of age or older.
    Be an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen (not a preference category immigrant who has a visa available). An immediate relative is an individual who is the spouse, child or parent of a U.S. citizen.
    Have an approved Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, or Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant.
    Have a pending immigrant visa case with DOS for the approved immediate relative petition and have paid the DOS immigrant visa processing fee.
    Be able to demonstrate that refusal of your admission to the United States will cause extreme hardship to your U.S. citizen spouse or parent.
    Be physically present in the United States to file your application for a provisional unlawful presence waiver and provide biometrics.
    Not have been scheduled for an immigrant visa interview by DOS before January 3, 2013.
    Meet all other requirements for the provisional unlawful presence waiver, as detailed in 8 CFR 212.7(e) and the Form I-601A and its instructions.

    Here are the disqualifying factors:

    You are subject to one or more grounds of inadmissibility other than unlawful presence.
    DOS initially acted before January 3, 2013, to schedule your Immigrant Visa (IV) interview for the approved immediate relative petition upon which your provisional unlawful presence waiver application is based, even if your immigrant visa interview has been canceled, you failed to appear for the interview, or your interview was rescheduled on or after Jan. 3, 2013.
    You are in removal proceedings that have not been administratively closed.
    At the time of filing, you are in removal proceedings that have been administratively closed but have been placed back on the EOIR calendar to continue your removal proceedings.
    You do not meet one or more of the requirements, as outlined in the Form I-601A and its instructions.

    Click here for the filing instructions.
  4. Increase in Federal Criminal Prosecutions for Immigration Related "Petty" Offenses may reflect "a harsher policy for sanctioning individuals who have been caught."

    by , 03-01-2013 at 07:55 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    Syracuse University's TRAC Immigration has released another report that reveals that there has been a "spike" in federal criminal prosecutions for immigration related crimes that resulted from an increase in federal criminal referrals from Customs and Border Protection (CBP). There was a total of 15,313 federal prosecutions in December 2012, which was an increase of 14 percent from the previous month.  The largest charged criminal offense is for violation of 8 U.S.C. 1325: Improper Entry by Alien, i.e., sneaking into the country.
    From the report:

    Included in the case-by-case records obtained by TRAC is information about what the Justice Department calls the "lead charge" and the sentence that was imposed. The data show that the majority of defendants received no prison time other than time served while waiting for their cases to be resolved (see Table 2). During the first three months of FY 2013, nearly three out of four prosecutions (73 percent) were for illegal entry, a petty offense under Title 8 Section 1325 of the United States Code. In second place were prosecutions for illegal re-entry, a more serious felony charge. A total of 20 percent were re-entry prosecutions. For those convicted on the basis of the second charge the median prison sentence was 6 months.

    TRAC believes that the increase in federal criminal prosecutions may be a result of the administration's employment of "a harsher policy for sanctioning individuals who have been caught."
    Click here to read the rest of the report. 
  5. Yet another "low priority" "non-criminal" immigrant is facing deportation and needs your help.

    by , 03-01-2013 at 06:21 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)

    The Petition
    To Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security, John Morton, and Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano:

    I am writing to call for the immediate release of Agnaldo Batista de Andrade (A#205-345-159) from Broward Transitional Center and urge ICE to immediately stop his deportation. Agnaldo is a low priority for deportation, has an approved I-130 application and a pending green card application with a March 4th appointment date. Despite all this, he has not been released while his U.S. citizen wife, Claudia, continues to suffer emotionally in his absence.

    Agnaldo came to the United States from Brazil in March, 2004 in search of a better life. Growing up one of 12 children in an impoverished village, Agnaldo's family sometimes did not have enough money to put food on the table or shoes on their feet. When he came to the U.S., Agnaldo wanted nothing more than to be able to support his family in Brazil, and along the way, he found the love of his life, who he married in March, 2012. 

    Everything came crashing down in 2012, when his mother passed away in January. In April, Agnaldo's wife took care of her mother in Brazil, at which time, she found out that she had severe appendicitis and had to have an emergency appendectomy without her husband. Grief-stricken on Mother's Day, having been separated from all of the women he loves, he went to a friend's house to be consoled. Agnaldo consumed a small amount of alcohol while at his friend's house. On his way home, after swerving to miss hitting a dog in the road, he lost control and crashed his car. Agnaldo was injured, but no other passenger or car was involved in the crash. Agnaldo, however, was summarily arrested by local sheriff's office and soon transferred to ICE custody.

    Other than this infraction, Agnaldo has never been in trouble with the law and is therefore a perfect candidate for prosecutorial discretion, as laid out by John Morton, the Director of Immigration Customs and Enforcement. In addition, Agnaldo received approval for his I-130 petition and has a pending Green Card application with a March 4th appointment to pursue approval of his adjusted status.

    In the year that Agnaldo has been detained, his wife Claudia has shown signs of depression - she's not sleeping or eating well, and spends every last penny to support her husband. Claudia was not able to continue paying for her house, and is now living with her children, still trying to keep herself afloat.

    Millions of citizens across the country are arrested for this same offense every year, however they do not have to fear being separated from their families. Claudia has made it clear that she will not leave her husband's side, and will be forced to leave the U.S. if Agnaldo is deported. 

    According to the memo issued by John Morton, Agnaldo is not a priority for deportation, has an approved I-130, a pending green card application, and should be released immediately and granted favorable exercise of prosecutorial discretion. I urge you to release Agnaldo from Broward Transitional Center immediately and stop his deportation. 

    Click here to sign the petition, and/or call John Morton, Director of ICE @ 202-732-3000

    Sample script:
    "I am calling to ask ICE to release Agnaldo Batista de Andrade (A#205345159). He has an approved I-130 and has already applied for a green card. His U.S. citizen wife, Claudia, continues to suffer from depression and is fighting to keep a roof over her head. Agnaldo is a low priority for deportation and should be released immediately." 

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