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Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal

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  1. The President Does Have the Power to Limit Deportations

    by , 11-26-2013 at 11:41 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    Yesterday, President Obama gave a speech in San Francisco where he was confronted by California Berkeley graduate Ju Hong who pleaded with the President to do something to stem the tide of deportations hallmarking his presidency. Mr. Hong specifically asked: "Mr. President, please use your executive order to halt deportations for all 11.5 undocumented immigrants in this country right now."


    The President's response was as follows:

    But we’re also a nation of laws. That’s part of our tradition. And so the easy way out is to try to yell and pretend like I can do something by violating our laws. And what I’m proposing is the harder path, which is to use our democratic processes to achieve the same goal that you want to achieve. But it won’t be as easy as just shouting. It requires us lobbying and getting it done. (Applause.)

    In sum, the President said that he is bound to enforce our nation's immigration laws, and is powerless to do anything to limit the carnage of his own deportation grinder. It appears that the President has forgotten about the Morton memo, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, Provisional Unlawful Presence Waivers, and the most recent memorandum providing Parole in Place for Military Families.

    So clearly there is precedent that this President has the authority to favorably exercise prosecutorial discretion on behalf of deserving groups of immigrants. Point being, the President was being disingenuous at best, and lying at worst when he said that you would have to "pretend" that he can do something. He clearly can do something. He already has. Four times. Unless of course he is now saying that his previous prosecutorial initiatives were in violation of law. But I'm sure he wasn't saying that. No, he certainly was not.

    It is firmly established that the President decidedly has the authority to exercise prosecutorial discretion, and he should exercise that authority to an expanded group of undocumented immigrants. For example deferred action for parents of DACA recipients, and parents of United States citizen children under the age of 21. He could also expand parole in place for immediate relatives of citizens that are statutorily ineligible to adjust status because they entered without inspection. These are just a few examples, but they are a start.

    A CNN/ORC poll that was released this week found that a majority of Americans think President Obama is not honest or trustworthy.

    His latest appearance isn't helping matters.

    Updated 11-26-2013 at 05:11 PM by MKolken

  2. Report: Dignity Denied, LGBT Immigrants in U.S. Immigration Detention

    by , 11-25-2013 at 09:56 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    The Center for American Progress has released a report entitled: Dignity Denied, LGBT Immigrants in U.S. Immigration Detention that reveals that LGBT immigrants in immigration detention facilities face an increased risk of abuse.

    From the introduction:

    The U.N. Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment went as far as finding the treatment of LGBT
    immigrants in U.S. detention facilities in violation of the Convention Against Torture after it received information on gay and transgender individuals who had been subjected to solitary confinement, torture, and ill-treatment—including sexual assault—while detained in U.S. immigration facilities.

    The report details incidents of sexual assault, denial of adequate medical care, long-term solitary confinement, discrimination and abuse, and ineffective
    complaints and appeals processes.

    Click here to read the full report.

    Updated 11-25-2013 at 05:14 PM by MKolken

  3. Obama Willing to Support Piecemeal Immigration Reform

    by , 11-20-2013 at 09:06 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    In a move that may signal real progress on the immigration reform front, President Obama indicated yesterday that he would be willing to support the House GOP's piecemeal approach to comprehensive immigration reform so long as key components are addressed in smaller bills.

    He stated: "If they want to chop that thing up into five pieces, as long as all five pieces get done, I don't care what it looks like." He then qualified his statement saying: "What we don't want to do is simply carve out one piece of it…but leave behind some of the tougher stuff that still needs to get done."

    This is a very positive sign in my opinion, as the House GOP is quietly working on their own version of reform legislation. Hopefully we will see something introduced if not this year, in early 2014.

    I am on record with my immigration reform solution that would immediately provide legal status to the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country. My solution would provide a temporary renewable status that brings people out of the shadows, protects them from deportation, and also provides employment and travel authorization so that people can lead normal lives. The status could be renewed indefinitely in the absence of disqualifying criminal grounds of removal. It would require a one-time payment of a penalty fee, and a substantially lower filing fee for renewals, which would be required every ten years.

    Although there would be no independent pathway to citizenship baked in, you would not be precluded from obtaining a Green Card and ultimately citizenship through the normal channels. This solution would allow undocumented immediate relatives of United States citizens to immediately apply for a Green Card the moment they receive their status. Spouses of United States citizens would be eligible to apply for citizenship three years after they get their Green Card. It is a real path to citizenship, unlike the illusory one provide in the Senate Bill.

    For this solution to work properly we need more immigrant visa numbers as well as a robust skilled and guest worker program to afford future immigrants an opportunity to come to this country legally. I have articulated this solution to GOP members of Congress and it has been received favorably.

    Here's to 2014: the year of immigration reform.

    Updated 01-09-2014 at 10:23 AM by MKolken

  4. Congressional Bed Mandate Requires 34,000 Immigrants to be Held Each Day

    by , 11-19-2013 at 09:04 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    NPR News reports that a Congressional bed mandate requires Immigration and Customs Enforcement to fill 34,000 beds in 250 immigration detention facilities across the country, each day. It costs taxpayers at least $120.00 per detainee per day, for a total yearly cost of $2 billion.

    Click here for the full report.

    Updated 11-19-2013 at 09:10 AM by MKolken

  5. Another DREAM 30 Update from David Bennion

    by , 11-18-2013 at 03:33 PM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    From Mr. Bennion's Facebook page:

    "I just got word from the Houston Asylum Office that Alfredo's request for reconsideration of his negative credible fear determination was denied. Since ICE has already denied his requests for a stay and parole, he will likely be deported soon in the absence of intervention by legislators like Rep. Gutierrez or Senators Menendez or Durbin, which I have no reason to believe is forthcoming."

    Let's hope for a miracle.

    Updated 11-18-2013 at 03:36 PM by MKolken

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