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Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal


  1. Statement from on the Warehousing of Children on the Border

    by , 06-18-2014 at 01:43 PM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    For Immediate Release: June 18, 2014

    Contact: Lucia Allain, 703.220.2903,

    Pressure Increases for President Obama to Address the Humanitarian Crisis on the Border

    Statement from Mariana Ruiz Firmat, Managing Director of, about the warehousing of children on the border:

    “It is morally reprehensible that children found crossing the border by themselves continue to be warehoused inhumanely inside of military bases sleeping on cold concrete floors. Meanwhile, our politicians are using their fate as policy bargaining chips, and a broken immigration system is trying to deport them. members are calling on President Obama and DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson to end this humanitarian crisis, and do the right thing by granting these children immediate asylum and uniting them with their families in the United States."

    Nearly 14,000 members have called on the President to bring an end to the suffering that’s happening to children on the border.

    ### is the nation’s largest online Latino organizing group with more than 300,000 members, all working to amplify the political voice of Latino communities.
  2. 58 Members of Congress Urge President to Enact Humane Deportation Policies

    by , 06-13-2014 at 08:26 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    From Rep. Quigley's website:

    Jun 12, 2014

    Press Release

    WASHINGTON – Today U.S. Representatives Mike Quigley (IL-05) and Suzan DelBene (WA-01) sent a letter with 56 of their colleagues urging the Obama Administration to take greater action to revise immigration enforcement procedures and provide relief from unnecessary detention and deportation.

    “The president must act where House leadership has not and improve our broken immigration system by promoting more humane and cost-effective deportation and detention policies,” said Rep. Quigley. “Every day we fail to act is another day that families are needlessly torn apart, entire communities are disrupted and America moves further away from our founding principles of fairness and justice.”

    “Our broken immigration system is hurting Washington state’s economy and families. Today far too many individuals, who pose no risk to the public’s safety, are being detained or face deportation, needlessly tearing them away from their loved ones,” said Rep. DelBene. “The Administration should focus on dangerous individuals, not honor students and skilled workers contributing to our economy. What’s more, executive action is not enough. House leadership must stop delaying and move forward to enact comprehensive immigration reform legislation.”

    The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) currently uses a one-size-fits-all approach, detaining and deporting hundreds of thousands of immigrants each year who pose no threat to public safety, separating families and disrupting communities. The letter urges the Obama Administration to exercise its legal authority to provide additional relief from detention and deportation, prioritizing our resources to remove those who pose a public safety or national security risk. Among the recommendations included in the letter are an expansion and more consistent application of prosecutorial discretion, as well as increase in the use of more humane and cost effective secure alternatives to detention.

    Over the last five years, DHS has removed a record two million people at a time when border crossings are at a 40-year low. DHS is currently detaining 430,000 individuals each year. These record-high detention levels are costing American taxpayers $2 billion annually, despite the availability of alternatives to detention at a fraction of the cost.

    The full text and signatories of the letter can be found here.
  3. Reps. Roybal-Allard and Schiff Offer Amendment to Defund Deportation of Parents

    by , 06-11-2014 at 01:36 PM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    June 11, 2014

    Ben Soskin
    (202) 225-1766

    Measure to Keep Families Together Falls Short in House Appropriations Committee

    Washington, DC – Today, Reps. Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40) and Adam Schiff (CA-28) offered an amendment during the Homeland Security Appropriations Act markup which failed by a vote of 23-26, but which garnered votes from two Republican members of the Committee. The amendment would have defunded the deportation of parents of U.S. citizen and legal permanent resident children. The amendment would ensure that funds provided to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would be spent on those who represent true public threats rather than deporting individuals with deep roots in the community and tearing apart families.

    "I am proud to cosponsor this amendment. It will prevent the deportation of parents who have young children and who pose no threat to their communities or our country,” said Rep. Roybal-Allard. “Today, about 5,000 American citizen children are in the child welfare system because of the deportation of a parent. This situation is both heartbreaking and completely unnecessary. Instead of tearing families apart, ICE should focus its limited resources on criminal offenders and others who endanger our families and our communities. It is critical that we take action on this issue. With every day that we wait, more families will face severe financial hardships, and more loving mothers and fathers will be unjustly separated from their kids."

    “Our current immigration system is broken – and until we can come together to act on comprehensive immigration reform legislation, we have a humanitarian duty to mitigate the harm we are doing to millions of families – and in particular, the practice of deporting the parents of American kids,” said Rep. Schiff. “Inaction has exacted a terrible toll on innocent families and children – over 5.5 million children who themselves are in this country legally as citizens or lawful permanent residents, have at least one undocumented parent, and the stress caused by fear of deportation, or actual deportation, of a parent places enormous strain on a child’s well-being, disrupts developmental process and negatively impacts educational outcomes. It also runs deeply contrary to our devotion to family.”

    The lawmakers plan to offer a similar amendment on the House floor during the debate on this appropriations act.

    According to a Family Unity, Family Health study, “How Family-Focused Immigration Reform Will Mean Better Health for Children and Families,” in 2012 alone, 88,517 immigrants who reported to have at least 1 U.S. citizen child were removed from the U.S. Per a June 2013 report by Human Impact Partners, last year the U.S. spent more than $1.2 billion to deport parents of U.S.-citizen children.

    “Today, well over 5.5 million children in the United States have at least one undocumented parent and the stress caused by the fear of deportation, or the actual deportation, of a parent is uniformly negative to a child’s health. It is unconscionable and un-American to expose a single child, let alone millions, to this cruel and unusual anguish and Congress should play no part in funding it,” said Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition For Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA). “The Schiff/Roybal-Allard amendment would protect the sanctity and integrity of the family unit here in the United States by defunding the deportation of parents and legal guardians of LPR/U.S. citizen children and other minors and those with deep community ties. Not one more American tax payer dollar should be allowed to be spent on the demise of our greatest institution, the family.”

  4. On Immigration Reform, President Obama Is Betting On The Guys In The Black Hats

    by , 06-03-2014 at 02:50 PM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    The following was originally published on Fox News Latino.

    President Obama’s decision to delay the release of the results of the review of his administration’s deportation policies is political folly and has been interpreted as a knife in the back of his most ardent supporters.

    The response from the immigration reform community has not been favorable. United We Dream, the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the nation, expressed “outrage” at the president’s decision. They see him “cowering” to House Republicans while demonstrating “complacency and willingness to deport more than 1,100 people every day and separate countless families, cementing his legacy as the Deporter in Chief.”

    Erika Andiola of the Dream Action Coalition was "appalled" by the president's decision stating that “while we keep waiting, more and more families continue to be detained and deported.”

    The New York Times editorial board called the delay “ridiculous” and “infuriating” commenting that the move has resulted in individuals being forced to live in fear as Obama’s deportation machine continues to grind up families, while also expressing skepticism of the president’s “oft-repeated, oft-failed strategy of waiting for Republican legislators to do their jobs.”

    The irony is that House Republicans aren’t happy with the delay either. House Judiciary member Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) complained that “When the president says that he’s going to set a time limit and then consider taking actions himself … that makes doing immigration reform harder, not easier.”
    So much for giving the GOP space to move on reform.

    Director of the White House's Domestic Policy Council Cecilia Munoz exercised damage control stating that "The president really wants to maximize the opportunity to get a permanent solution enacted, which requires Congress." Absent from her explanation is an acknowledgment that the president maintains the constitutional authority to expand prosecutorial discretion initiatives in a way that would provide immediate and permanent solutions to what could be millions of undocumented immigrants who either have strong family or employment ties to the country.

    Specifically, an expansion of “parole in place” already extended to family members of military personnel.

    Parole in place is a legal mechanism that circumvents the harsh consequences of the 1996 immigration law signed by President Clinton. It confers temporary legal status to individuals that enables them to apply for a Green Card from inside the United States if otherwise eligible. This is necessary because Clinton’s law established penalties for individuals that either entered the United States without inspection or overstayed their visa, cutting off the ability to apply for legal status from inside the country. The Catch-22 is that in most instances departure automatically triggers a 10-year bar, preventing those same individuals from applying for immigration benefits from home absent a waiver, which may or may not be available, and is difficult to obtain.

    Should the president expand the parole in place initiative beyond family members of military personnel, undocumented immigrants with certain United States citizen relatives would be afforded an opportunity to get right with the law from inside the country without needing a waiver and without having to endure extended and destructive separation from their family. These are the same people who the administration has purportedly deemed a low priority for deportation, and the polls show the majority of Americans want to protect.

    The point being, the president doesn't need the Republicans to act to start fixing problems now. More importantly, the immigrant community can’t wait another three months and approximately 100,000 deportations for him to stop destroying immigrant families with deportation.

    So what would the political fallout be if the president unilaterally implemented constitutionally permissible prosecutorial discretion initiatives? From what I’ve seen very little, as the window for immigration reform in 2014 is only open a crack, and the Republicans are quickly slamming it shut with calls for more interior immigration enforcement.

    The only thing I can tell you with absolute certainty is that if it were my parent or spouse facing an immediate threat of deportation I wouldn’t put my money on the guys wearing the black hats. Suffice it to say, the time has long past for someone to ride in on a White House horse with six-guns a blazin’ to save the day.

    It’s high noon Mr. President.
  5. Immigration Reform Group "Outraged" by Obama's Decision to Delay Deportations Review

    by , 05-29-2014 at 10:03 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    The following Press Release was issued by United We DREAM:

    WASHINGTON D.C. – As reported in an Associated Press article published yesterday, President Obama has asked Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to delay completing his review of U.S. deportation policies, which have now deported more than 2 million people and separated hundreds of thousands of families.

    The news came after a statement released yesterday afternoon by the National Immigration Forum, the Service Employees International Union, and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, among others, which asked President Obama to wait until August to use his executive authority to expand administrative relief and stop deportations.

    Lorella Praeli, Director of Policy and Advocacy with United We Dream, issued the following statement:

    “United We Dream is outraged at the President’s decision to halt the deportation review he ordered in March of this year, as he continues cowering before House Republicans who show no real commitment to move immigration reform forward . His decision demonstrates his complacency and willingness to deport more than 1,100 people every day and separate countless families, cementing his legacy as the Deporter-in-Chief.

    President Obama’s enforcement machine has continually criminalized our community, and his failed policies like Secure Communities continue tearing our families apart.

    The immigration reform movement and its allies are united in the need for President Obama to take executive action to deliver affirmative relief and deportation reforms. Those asking us to wait are denying the moral crisis that exists in our community and the urgency of having the President move now.

    To say that we can wait is to be complacent with the more than 97,000 deportations that will happen between now and August. To say that we can wait is to tell Oneeka Johnson that it’s acceptable for her father to be taken from his home and sent to a detention center a thousand miles away to await deportation only weeks after being granted deferred action for one year.

    We can’t wait. United We Dream remains committed to keeping our families together, and we will escalate and hold any politicians and organizations accountable that stand in the way of justice and dignity for our communities.”

    Updated 05-30-2014 at 07:31 PM by MKolken

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