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Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal

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  1. 29 Democrats to Obama: You have the Power to "Pause" Deportations and Should Use it.

    by , 12-06-2013 at 07:59 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    Twenty-nine Democratic members of Congress have written a letter to President Obama urging him to take "the sensible and moral step" to "pause" deportations for undocumented immigrants.

    Rep. Gutierrez has specifically called for "a cessation on deportations for the parents of young people who have received DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and those who would be eligible for legal status under the terms of the Senate bipartisan immigration bill (S. 744) passed in June of this year."

    Here is the full text of the letter:

    December 5, 2013

    President Barack Obama
    The White House
    1600 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
    Washington, D.C. 20500
    Dear Mr. President,

    The undersigned Members of Congress respectfully request that you suspend any further deportations and expand the successful deferred action program to all those who would be potential citizens under immigration reform.

    We stand by the 543 faith-based, labor, neighborhood, legal, and civil rights organizations, including the AFL-CIO, MALDEF, United We Dream, and NDLON that support this proposal, and agree that this is the best way to advance the path to citizenship for undocumented individuals across the country.

    We appreciate your commitment to reforming our nation’s broken immigration policies for the benefit of all. In the context of the intransigence of a small number of legislators that are willing to hold the legislation hostage unless we pass a series of incredibly extreme proposals, a cessation of the deportation of the 1,100 potential citizens expelled daily would do a great deal to set the parameters of the conversation.

    Let us not take these policies lightly. Every deportation of a father, a sister, or a neighbor tears at our social consciousness; every unnecessary raid and detention seriously threatens the fabric of civil liberties we swore to uphold. We are talking about American families and American communities. Criminalizing American families or giving local law enforcement the responsibility to choose who stays and who goes, is not the right option.

    Our efforts in Congress will only be helped by the sensible and moral step of stopping deportations.

    As we have seen with deferred action for childhood arrivals, such relief brings with it the benefit of active participation in the debate by undocumented people themselves. When their stories are known and voices are heard, we have witnessed how the debate shifts. The fear and xenophobia that block progress only shrink in the display of their courage. But left unchecked, the threat of deportations will prevent so many from coming forward and contributing to the national conversation. Instead, the specter of deportation removes the human and grounding element in any political discussion—those individuals who are most directly impacted.

    The senseless opposition that neither reflects the public will, nor the moral responsibility we hold, should not allow us to prolong the needless suffering of those who could so soon have their place in our society fully recognized. In fact, taking a strong step toward granting relief would move us in the direction of where the immigration debate rightfully should start, with the legalization of eleven million men and women who call the United States their home.

    As the debate proceeds, it is necessary to expand the protections of our future citizens that were established by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and grant it to the family and neighbors and all of those who have made their lives here but are yet to be fully recognized.

    We cannot continue to witness potential citizens in our districts go through the anguish of deportation when legalization could be just around the corner for them. We look to you to firmly contribute to advancing inclusion for immigrants by suspending deportations and expanding DACA.

    Sincerely,

    The undersigned

    Raúl M. Grijalva
    Yvette Clarke
    Madeleine Bordallo
    Tony Cárdenas
    John Delaney
    Lloyd Doggett
    Eni Faleomavaega
    Sam Farr
    Alan Grayson
    Luis Gutiérrez
    Alcee L. Hastings
    Filemon Vela
    Eleanor Holmes-Norton
    Rush Holt
    Michael Honda
    Sheila Jackson-Lee
    Barbara Lee
    John Lewis
    Alan Lowenthal
    Gwen Moore
    Grace Napolitano
    Beto O’Rourke
    Mark Pocan
    Charles Rangel
    Bobby L. Rush
    Jan Schakowsky
    Mark Takano
    Dina Titus
    Marc Veasey
  2. Rachel Maddow and Erika Andiola Talk about the Impact of Obama's Record Deportations

    by , 12-04-2013 at 10:41 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    The following segment from the December 3, 2013, Rachel Maddow Show includes Erika Andiola, co-founder of the Arizona DREAM Act Coalition, addressing the human impact of President Obama's record deportations, and the advocacy that is necessary to keep families together.

    Updated 12-04-2013 at 11:12 AM by MKolken

  3. State Push-Back Against Immigration Holds for Minor Crimes

    by , 12-03-2013 at 10:41 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    Two States are pushing back against the Obama administration's overtly punitive deportation hold policies bringing some "common sense" to the enforcement of our immigration laws.

    At the State level in Massachusetts, two Bills have been introduced. The Trust Act, H.1613, prevents State officials from handing over immigrants released by judges and magistrates to Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers. The Safe Driving Act, H.3285, allows undocumented immigrants to obtain a driver’s license if they pass the test and have liability insurance.

    At the local level in the State of Washington, the King County Council voted on Monday to refuse to honor federal immigration authorities’ requests to hold immigrants arrested for low-level crimes. Individuals convicted of serious crimes, such as violent assaults, sex crimes, and mid-level offenses including burglaries, still may be subject to an immigration hold. The purpose of the measure is to afford individuals the ability to report crimes that they would ordinarily overlook out of fear that a family member would be deported if the police got involved. The hope is to build trust between local police and the immigrant community.

    Common sense indeed.

    Statistics show that only about a third (38%) of all individuals subject to an ICE immigration hold nationwide have any criminal record. This statistic includes individuals convicted for minor traffic violations, i.e., driving while brown. If you exclude traffic violations and marijuana possession from the 38% statistic only 26% of all individuals subject to an ICE detainer have any conviction. Considering the fact that only a small percentage of the deportation filings in the Immigration Courts are based on alleged criminal activity, these State-wide efforts should be supported.
  4. Deported and Exiled U.S. Citizen Gets Passport Back

    by , 12-02-2013 at 10:19 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    The New York Daily News reports that formerly deported and exiled United States citizen Blanca Maria Alfaro has finally had her passport returned to her, again. Ms. Alfaro was born in Texas, but her family moved to El Salvador when she was a child. Her ordeal includes having her passport stripped on multiple occasions, being detained by immigration officials for over two weeks, and being threatened with jail to coerce her to make a sworn statement that she was not a United States citizen at the airport.

    From the article:

    According to Alfaro, an immigration officer told her that the U.S. passport she carried was not hers. An officer said that she should write down her correct name on a piece of paper.

    She penned "Blanca Maria Alfaro" but officers laughed and ripped it up, she said.

    "I told them I was from here, from the United States. They insisted, no, I was from El Salvador," she said.

    After hours, they told her that if she didn't tell them her correct name she'd go to jail — where there were "a lot of bad women," Alfaro said. Tired, scared and frustrated, she wrote down her half-sister Mayra's name.

    Great work by immigration lawyer Bryan Johnson to get this matter straightened out.

    Updated 12-02-2013 at 10:27 AM by MKolken

  5. Immigration Activist Ju Hong's Appearance on Democracy Now!

    by , 11-27-2013 at 11:59 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    From Democracy Now!:

    Two days after he interrupted a speech by President Obama, Ju Hong, an immigrant rights activist from South Korea, joins us to talk about how Obama’s immigration policies have torn apart his family. As Obama continued his campaign for comprehensive immigration reform with a speech in San Francisco, Hong interrupted him to call for an end to deportations. Obama then turned around to address him directly, and Hong continued talking, pleading for Obama to stop separating families through deportations. Those who placed Hong behind Obama during the speech may not have realized he is one of the most outspoken young immigrant activists in California. Hong has been arrested previously during immigration protests — most recently over the summer when he opposed the confirmation of former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano as president of the University of California system. Hong is a member of ASPIRE–Asian Students Promoting Immigrant Rights Through Education. "I thought about my family, I thought about my personal struggle as undocumented, and I thought about my friends and my communities who have been deported and who are currently in detention centers," Hong says about why he spoke out. "I felt I was compelled to tell the truth to President Obama that he has the ability stop the deportations for all."

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