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Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal


  1. Erika Andiola to Cecilia Munoz: "Don't use me as an excuse to deport my mother"

    by , 09-09-2014 at 10:26 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)

    Sept 8, 2014

    Erika Andiola
    (480) 278-6843
    *** STATEMENT ***

    "Don't use me as an excuse to deport my mother"

    Phoenix, AZ- After Comments from Cecilia Munoz comments about her, DREAMer Erika Andiola Responds to Obama's Immigration Advisor:

    Today, Cecilia Munoz, Obama's Immigration Advisor, appeared on MSNBC with Jose Diaz Balart. She said "the situation at the border that happened over the summer has been really, really, heavily exploited by the other side of the aisle," that the "political dynamic had changed," and that enforcement priorities would be focused on people "convicted of serious crimes and people who are recent arrivals."

    Erika Andiola, Dream Action Coalition Director, issued the following statement:

    "As a Latina, it was heartbreaking to hear Cecilia Munoz use me and the fact that I have DACA as an excuse for the President to delay deportation relief. Not only is she undermining my family, especially my mom who is currently in deportation proceedings, but also 1000 people who are deported every day under her watch. Obama's delay was not intended to protect DACA, but rather, is a cynical political calculation to protect his party's political interests."

    "The political dynamics haven't changed: the House is still completely unreasonable, and we will have no relief until after 2016 if Obama doesn't step in. As I worry about my mothers potential upcoming deportation, I find it ironic that Munoz says enforcement won't be used against people like her with no criminal record who has been here for 16 years: the majority of Obama's 2 million deportees had little or no criminal record. The excuses fall flat, and the comfort is fake."

    "Instead of talking about us on TV, why doesn't Cecilia Munoz arrange a meeting with people who are directly affected by this situation and the Presisent? We are tired of being used as a talking point, and when it comes to deciding our future, they seem to talk to everyone except us. We are our own advocates and can speak for ourselves."

    "Would the President meet with us, look at us in the eye and tell us that because of our DACA he will deport our parents?"

  2. AILA's Response to Obama's Delay of Executive Action

    by , 09-08-2014 at 10:43 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    Saturday, September 6, 2014

    George Tzamaras or Belle Woods
    202-507-7649 - 202-507-7675 -

    Washington, DC
    - The following is a statement from Leslie Holman, President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) about President Obama's announced decision to again delay any executive action that would help immigrants, their families, and our economy:

    "Through this decision to delay, President Obama has broken yet another promise to immigrants, their families, U.S. businesses, and a community largely responsible for his even having a second term. This President, who has deported more people in 5 years than any other, who has doubled down on the jailing of women and children, who has tried to gut the protections we have for trafficked children, who has failed to curb the unjustified denial of legitimate business applications or provide promised incentives to encourage entrepreneurship, has now joined the House of Representatives in profound failure regarding our immigration system.

    "By breaking his promise to exercise his authority this summer to provide some relief from the immigration system's dysfunction, the President has bowed to political pressure to the detriment of many: the businesses that are struggling, idea-generating immigrant entrepreneurs, families waiting to be reunited, and those whose lives his deportation machine is destroying each day. All of them, all of us, were waiting for him to lead.

    "Even as he once again declines to act expeditiously, President Obama is doubling down on his aggressive deportation record by turning his back on our country's moral obligation to provide refuge for the most vulnerable people fleeing unspeakable violence, by consigning families to jails and rushing women and children through deportation with little more than an impersonation of due process. Despite the Administration's best efforts to railroad these families out of the country, volunteer attorneys have been gathering at the Artesia, New Mexico detention center-a center set up hours away from the nearest legal help-to provide pro bono assistance in battling what had previously seemed to be pre-determined fates of the women and children there. And what they are seeing are people clearly qualified for, and desperately in need of, this country's protection. Similarly, attorneys are trying to keep up with the number of unaccompanied children who are being marched before immigration judges, alone and unrepresented, to face a hurried judgment of deportation.

    "The attempt to deny protection to desperate refugees, and the delay on immigration action, make absolutely no fiscal or moral sense, and are built on questionable political assumptions. The Administration's treatment of women and children refugees is leaving a stain on our country's history that can never be lifted. The President's chain of broken promises on repairing, or at least patching, our broken immigration system is a betrayal of all who put their hopes in his leadership.

    "I'm disappointed in the President and urge him to reconsider and to move swiftly on both fronts: fix what he can of what's broken in our immigration system and do what's right by the women and children jailed and railroaded instead of protected. Our country's values require no less."

    The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.
  3. Obama Punts on Executive Action on Deportation Relief

    by , 09-08-2014 at 08:02 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)

    September 6, 2014
    Contact: Mario Carrillo | | 915.449.6463

    BREAKING: President Obama Agrees to Deport 70,000 More People, Separate Countless More Families"Dreamers are outraged and will take action. Obama’s legacy with our communities: deporter. Dreamers are outraged and will take action like never be”

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Earlier today, reports announced that President Obama has once again delayed using his indisputable executive authority to provide deportation relief to millions of undocumented immigrants. The President is instead waiting until after the November midterm elections to make an announcement, leaving millions of mothers and fathers under the perpetual threat of deportation.

    Cristina Jimenez
    , Managing Director for United we Dream, issued the following statement,

    “The President’s latest broken promise is another slap to the face of the Latino and immigrant community. On June 30, President Obama stood in the Rose Garden and said, ‘If Congress will not do their job, at least we can do ours. I expect [Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice’s] recommendations before the end of summer and I intend to adopt those recommendations without further delay.’ Dreamers have held him accountable at every corner, but the President is more content playing politics with the lives of our families.”

    “Where we have demanded leadership and courage from both Democrats and the President, we’ve received nothing but broken promises and a lack of political backbone. To wait nine more weeks means the President has agreed to deport more than 70,000 people, more than 1,100 every day, and continues cementing his legacy as the Deporter-in-Chief.”

    “To wait nine more weeks means that I must again look my mother in the eye and see the fear she has about living under the threat of deportation every day. I must tell her that the President and the Democratic Party think that she will have to live with the threat of imminent deportation because Democratic leadership and the President are more interested in politics than in protecting immigrant families.”

    “But Dreamers will not soon forget the President and Democrats’ latest failure and their attempts to fool the Latino community, and we remain resolute in fighting for justice for our families. Dreamers across the country will escalate until the moral crisis in our community is lifted and millions of people are liberated from the fear of being torn from their families.”

    United We Dream is the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the nation, a powerful nonpartisan network made up of 55 affiliate organizations in 26 states. UWD organizes and advocates for the dignity and fair treatment of immigrant youth and families, regardless of immigration status. We seek to address the inequities and obstacles faced by immigrant youth and believe that by empowering immigrant youth, we can advance the cause of the entire community—justice for all immigrants.

    You can find more about UWD online at

    Updated 09-08-2014 at 08:12 AM by MKolken

  4. Obama Admin Sued for Violating Constitutional Rights of Mothers and Children

    by , 08-22-2014 at 01:22 PM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    From the American Immigration Council:

    Released on Fri, Aug 22, 2014

    Washington D.C.
    — The American Immigration Council, American Civil Liberties Union National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, and National Immigration Law Center today sued the federal government to challenge its policies denying a fair deportation process to mothers and children who have fled extreme violence, death threats, rape, and persecution in Central America and come to the United States seeking safety.

    The groups filed the case on behalf of mothers and children locked up at an isolated detention center in Artesia, New Mexico — hours from the nearest major metropolitan area. The complaint charges the Obama administration with enacting a new strong-arm policy to ensure rapid deportations by holding these mothers and their children to a nearly insurmountable and erroneous standard to prove their asylum claims, and by placing countless hurdles in front of them.

    "These mothers and their children have sought refuge in the United States after fleeing for their lives from threats of death and violence in their home countries," said Cecillia Wang, director of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project. "U.S. law guarantees them a fair opportunity to seek asylum. Yet, the government's policy violates that basic law and core American values — we do not send people who are seeking asylum back into harm's way. We should not sacrifice fairness for speed in life-or-death situations."

    According to the complaint, the Obama administration is violating long-established constitutional and statutory law by enacting policies that have:

    • Categorically prejudged asylum cases with a "detain-and-deport" policy, regardless of individual circumstances.
    • Drastically restricted communication with the outside world for the women and children held at the remote detention center, including communication with attorneys. If women got to make phone calls at all, they were cut off after three minutes when consulting with their attorneys. This makes it impossible to prepare for a hearing or get legal help.
    • Given virtually no notice to detainees of critically important interviews used to determine the outcome of asylum requests. Mothers have no time to prepare, are rushed through their interviews, are cut off by officials throughout the process, and are forced to answer traumatic questions, including detailing instances of rape, while their children are listening.
    • Led to the intimidation and coercion of the women and children by immigration officers, including being screamed at for wanting to see a lawyer.

    "Fast-tracking the deportations of women and children from immigration detention is an assault on due process. There is no way that justice can be served when so many people are being rushed through the system without any real opportunity to assert claims for relief. What we are seeing in Artesia is nothing less than a sham process that values expediency over justice," said Melissa Crow, legal director of the American Immigration Council.

    The plaintiffs include:

    • A Honduran mother who fled repeated death threats in her home country to seek asylum in the United States with her two young children. The children's father was killed by a violent gang that then sent the mother and her children continuous death threats.When she went to the police they told her that they could not do anything to help her. It is common knowledge where she lived that the police are afraid of the gang and will do nothing to stop it.
    • A mother who fled El Salvador with her two children because of threats by the gang that controls the area where they lived. The gang stalked her 12-year-old child every time he left the house and threatened kidnapping. She fears that if the family returns to El Salvador, the gang will kill her son. Some police officers are known to be corrupt and influenced by gangs. The mother says she knows of people who have been killed by gang members after reporting them to police.
    • A mother who fled El Salvador with her 10-month old son after rival gangs threatened to kill her and her baby. One gang tried to force the mother to become an informant on the activities of another gang, and when she refused, told her she had 48 hours to leave or be killed.
    • "The women and children detained in Artesia have endured brutal murders of loved ones, rapes, death threats, and similar atrocities that no mother or child ever should have to endure, and our government is herding them through the asylum process like cattle," said Trina Realmuto, an attorney at the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild. "The deportation-mill in Artesia lacks even the most basic protections, like notice and the opportunity to be heard, that form the cornerstone of due process in this country."

    The lawsuit, M.S.P.C. v. Johnson, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Co-counsel in this case includes the law firms of Jenner & Block, and Van Der Hout, Brigagliano & Nightingale, LLP; and the ACLU of New Mexico, ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties, and ACLU of the Nation's Capital.

    "Any mother will do whatever it takes to make sure her children are safe from harm's way," said Karen Tumlin, managing attorney for the National Immigration Law Center. "Our plaintiffs are no different: they have fled their homes to protect their children, only to find that the U.S. deportation system is intent upon placing them back in the dangerous situations they left. We are filing this lawsuit today to ensure that each mother is able to have her fair day in court, and that we are not sending children and their mothers back to violence or their deaths."

    The complaint, M.S.P.C. v. Johnson, and attorney declarations are available on our Artesia Resource Page.

    For press inquiries, contact:
    Wendy Feliz, American Immigration Council, 202-507-7524,
    Inga Sarda-Sorensen, American Civil Liberties Union, 212-549-2666, media@aclu.orgAdela de la Torre, National Immigration Law Center, 213-400-7822,
    Paromita Shah, National Immigration Project/NLG, 202-271-2286,

    Click here
    for more information.

    Updated 08-22-2014 at 01:27 PM by MKolken

  5. #1of11Million Campaign: Eleven Undocumented Adults to Request Deferred Action

    by , 08-20-2014 at 07:58 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    August 20, 2014



    (Washington, DC) - Define American in partnership with the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) will host a press conference to announce the launch of the
    #1of11Million Campaign at 10:00am this morning. In an unprecedented move, eleven undocumented individuals will submit applications for deferred action while putting a spotlight on the complexities of immigration in America. These eleven individuals represent the stories of the 11.5 million undocumented Americans that reside in the United States. Stories can be submitted at

    #1of11Million Coverage in New York Times, August 19, 2014 | “Advocates Seek to Delay Deportations for Millions” by Julia Preston

    WHO: Eleven undocumented individuals from across America supported by Define American and the National Immigration Law Center.

    WHAT: The eleven individuals submitted applications for deferred action to Secretary Jeh Johnson’s office at Homeland Security, which launches the national #1of11Million campaign.

    WHEN: Wednesday, August 20, 2014 | 10:00am ET

    WHERE: National Press Club (529 14th St. NW, Washington, DC)

    WHY: Each of the 11 cases is one of eleven million undocumented individuals in America who could potentially be overlooked by any Executive Action issued by President Barack Obama. By highlighting their narratives, Define American and NILC intend to start a conversation and humanize the complexities of immigration in America.

    NOTE: If you would like to be added to the press distribution list or attend the press conference, please email Maria Cruz Lee (

    Spokespeople Available for Comment:
    Jose Antonio Vargas, Define American, Founder
    Ryan Eller, Define American, Campaign Director
    Shiu-Ming Cheer, National Immigration Law Center, Campaign Legal Advisor
    Mony Ruiz-Vasquez, Campaign Legal Advisor

    Erika Aldape, Age 24 (Attorney: Rocio Alcantar)
    Arrived in 1997 from Guadalajara, Mexico (17 yrs. in US, arrived at the age of 7)
    Currently lives in Griffith, Indiana
    Erika came to the United States at age 7 with a visitor’s visa. She does not qualify for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals due to attending college in Mexico for three years from 2008 to 2011. She is not in any deportation proceedings and is affirmatively filing for deferred action as part of this campaign.

    Maria Guadalupe Arreola, Age 55 (Attorney: Jose Peñalosa)
    Arrived in 1998 from Durango Mexico (16 yrs. in US)
    Currently lives in Mesa, Arizona
    Guadalupe is the mother of prominent DREAMer activist, Erika Andiola. She fled to the United States after being physically abused by her husband. She came in search of of a better life for herself and her children. Earlier this year, Guadalupe was stopped and arrested by ICE agents. They put her on a bus to be deported to Mexico. Erika organized a national outcry which stopped Guadalupe’s deportation. She was given one year of deferred action but faces deportation orders this year.

    Felipe Jesus Diosdado, Age 35 (Attorney: Mony Ruiz Velasco)
    Arrived in 1997 from Morelia, Mexico (17 yrs. in US)
    Currently lives in Chicago, Illinois
    Felipe is a hard working family man and father to two United States citizens. He presented himself to the Illinois Secretary of State to apply for a Temporary Visitors Driver’s License (TVDL, which is legal in that state) and was turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement due to an error by the Secretary of State Office. He has been in removal proceedings since May 2014. His union, SEIU Local 1 as well as Secretary of State Jesse White have written to ICE to advocate for a stay of deportation and deferred action for Felipe.

    Maria del Rosario Duarte Villanueva, 54 (Attorney: Jonathan Eoloff)
    Arrived in 2000 from Durango, Mexico (14 yrs. in US)
    Currently lives in Albertville, Alabama
    Maria del Rosario supports her three grandchildren, one of which needs constant medical support. Their parents were deported five years ago and she has been trying to legally adopt them. Maria originally fled to the United States to escape her abusive husband who followed her around the country and continued to assault her. She is affirmatively filing for deferred action as part of this campaign.

    Michaela Graham, 52 (Attorney: Brigit Alvarez)
    Arrived in 1986 from Hamburg, Germany (28 yrs. in US)
    Currently lives in San Pedro, California
    Michaela is the founder of Atlanta Underground Market and prides herself on supporting budding entrepreneurs. She first came on a work visa in January 1982. After going through a divorce, she returned to Germany in 1985, but then returned to the US when her company sent her to live in Houston in 1986. She is affirmatively filing for deferred action as part of this campaign.

    Noemi Romero, 23 (Attorney: Shiu-Ming Cheer)
    Arrived in 1995 from Villahermosa, Mexico (19 yrs. in US, arrived at the age of 4)
    Currently lives in Glendale, Arizona
    Noemi was arrested during a raid by Sheriff Joe Arpaio at her workplace and was charged with identity theft (under Arizona’s new laws those falsifying their own documentation for any purpose are charged with identity theft). This prevents her from qualifying for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Since Noemi is undocumented, she used her mother’s work permit to get a job to help support their family. She was also working to save money for a lawyer to review her DACA application.

    Eduardo Samaniego, 22 (Attorney: Charles Kuck)
    Arrived in 2009 from Zacatecas, Mexico (5 years. in U.S., arrived at the age of 16)
    Currently lives in Kennesaw, Georgia
    Eduardo Samaniego is the Executive Director of Freedom House Georgia, an organization focused on advocacy for education and youth civic engagement (not affiliated with Freedom House International). He has been awarded a scholarship for this fall to attend Hampshire College and is currently being filmed as part of a documentary project. Eduardo is affirmatively filing for Deferred Action because he doesn’t qualify for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

    Jose Antonio Vargas, Age 33 (Attorney: Mony Ruiz Velasco)
    Arrived in 1993 from Antipolo, Philippines (21 yrs. in the US, arrived at the age of 12)
    Currently lives in San Francisco
    Jose Antonio Vargas is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, filmmaker, founder of the nonprofit media and culture campaign Define American and a member of the LGBT community. Jose discovered he was undocumented at the age of 16 and is the only undocumented member of his family. He was apprehended at the airport in McAllen, Texas and issued a “Notice to Appear” in immigration court and is filing for deferred action. He has been in the United States since he was twelve and missed the age cut-off for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals by just months.

    Yestel Velasquez, 38 (Attorney: Jennifer Rosenbaum, Julie Mao, Daniela Conde)
    Arrived in 2005 from Honduras (9 yrs. in US)
    Currently lives in New Orleans, Louisiana
    Yestel Velasquez is a reconstruction worker from New Orleans, Louisiana who helped rebuild the city after Hurricane Katrina and a member of the Congress of Day Laborers and the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice. Yestel was arrested in May 2014 at an auto-body shop while getting his car repaired as part of a pattern of racial profiling based community raids coordinated with local law enforcement and relying on mobile biometrics devices. From detention, Yestel filed a civil rights complaint urging an investigation of the unconstitutional raid. In response, ICE granted him a 3 month stay of removal in detention. When Yestel spoke from detention at a civil rights briefing urging an end to these raids, ICE retaliated by revoking his stay and expediting his deportation. After public outcry, Yestel was finally released from ICE detention and granted a new one year stay of removal. He is affirmatively filing for deferred action as part of this campaign.

    Aly Wane, Age 37 (Attorney: Mony Ruiz Velasco)
    Arrived in 1985 from Dakar, Senegal (25 yrs. in the US, arrived at the age of 8)
    Currently lives in Syracuse, New York
    Aly Wane is an established community organizer in Syracuse, New York. He originally came to the US as the son of a diplomat that worked at the United Nations. He eventually traded his diplomat visa for a student visa and completed his studies with a BA in Political Science from Le Monye College in Syracuse. He missed the age cut-off for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and is filing affirmatively for Deferred Action consideration as part of this campaign.

    Jong-Min You, 34 (Attorneys: Michael Ross, Jared Manes and Andrew Banks)
    Arrived in 1981 from Seoul, South Korea (approximately 33 yrs. in the US, arrived at the age of 1)
    Currently lives in Bensonhurst (Brooklyn), New York
    Jong-Min You came to the United States as a child, under his parents’ student visas in 1981. Though he has a university degree, with honors, in sociology, with a concentration in criminal justice, and a minor in psychology, his undocumented status has prevented him from working in his desired fields. He currently manages the family grocery store, as well as, the two apartments that his parents rent out above his family’s property. Jong-Min has actively worked to raise awareness on immigration issues and appeared on the cover of Time Magazine as part of a group of undocumented immigrants featured in the cover article. Jong-Min narrowly missed the age cut-off for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and is filing affirmatively for Deferred Action.

    Define American, founded by Jose Antonio Vargas in 2011, is a media and culture campaign using the power of story to transcend politics and shift conversation around immigration, identity, and citizenship in America. Learn more at

    National Immigration Law Center defends and advances the rights and opportunities of low income immigrants and their family members. Learn more at

    #1of11Million Campaign Coverage
    August 19, 2014 | “Advocates Seek to Delay Deportations for Millions” by Julia Preston

    Maria Cruz Lee / Director of Communications and Engagement, Define American
    (347) 882-3225 /

    Adela de la Torre / Communications Manager, National Immigration Law Center
    (213) 400-7822 /
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