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Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal


  1. 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.”

  2. 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.
  3. 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

  4. Obama Delaying Deportation Relief Until End of Summer

    by , 05-28-2014 at 07:57 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    It has been reported that President Obama has ordered DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson to delay the introduction of deportation relief policies until the end of summer to afford House Republicans a full opportunity to introduce their own reform legislation. Cecilia Munoz, director of the White House's Domestic Policy Council, said that the President wants "to enact a permanent solution for people currently living in the shadows and that can only come with immigration reform ... He believes there’s a window for the House to get immigration reform done this summer."

    Ms. Munoz failed to mention that the President has the power to expand parole in place to undocumented immediate relatives of citizens and beneficiaries of employment based petitions that would provide an immediate and permanent solution. Apparently the White House would prefer to see another 100,000 deportations before Hell freezes over this August.

    This latest move received the blessing of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Service Employees International Union, and the National Immigration Forum, who called on Obama to delay his review of deportation policies.

    The response on the internet has not been favorable.

    Erika Andiola of the Dream Action Coalition is "appalled" by the President's decision stating that:

    While we keep waiting, more and more families continue to be detained and deported. As advocates, our job is to hold both parties accountable for what they are doing to our families; we cannot just forget about deportations.

    The National Immigration Youth Alliance had the following to say:

    Several groups campaigning for immigration reform, including SEIU and the National Immigration Forum, have killed Obama's planned reforms to deportation policy this year.

    If your mother or father gets deported in the next few weeks, blame SEIU. It's time to tell these organizations that they don't speak for immigrant families.

    Community Organizer Carlos E. Rojas Rodriguez of the PICO National Network, and New Jersey DREAM Act Coalition was similarly outraged:

    It is shameful to see how far these sellout national organizations are willing to go in order to keep their relationships with the White House. To sacrifice another 100,000 immigrant families who will face deportation when we ALL know there is ZERO chance of any decent immigration bill passing from now till August. SHAME ON THESE ORGANIZATIONS!!! STOP DISGUISING YOURSELVES AS COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS WHEN IN REALITY YOU ARE JUST DEMOCRATIC OUTREACH ORGANIZATIONS DESIGNED TO PROTECT YOUR OWN INTERESTS!!!

    United We Dream's Lorella Praeli: "Now they want us to cater to the Republicans’ strategy of death-by-delay for immigration reform and continue to put our families at risk. The time for space has come and gone."

    Arise Chicago Campaign Organizer Jorge Mújica Murias:

    It's obvious. If Obama acts now, there's nothing else to blame the Republican Party for. The election game dictates that we shall continue listening to "Speaker Boehner, please give us immigration reform" until close to election time, when our "savior" Barack Obama will finally use his executive powers, save the world and win all Latino votes for the Democratic Party... revolting.

    Former United We DREAM Coordinator Carlos Saavedra Diaz:

    Let the real battle for the control of the immigrant rights movement begin now!

    This year just now is going to get much more interesting. It is sad that so many of these organizations have taken the wrong strategy, every terrible move like this has bad consequences. It is useful for us as movement to learn from this moment and know that organizations that are too close to the Democratic party, too close to the Obama administration and to close to the Republican party are using a strategy that favors those groups instead of the community at large.

    Let the season of direct action begin now, we know the addresses of their offices.

    Nationally Syndicated Columnist Rueben Navarrette:

    The Latinos who are least concerned with President Obama's dreadful, Dirty Harry-style approach to deportations are the same ones who don't personally know any undocumented immigrants.

    It's brilliant and cynical. Obama has done a splendid job of dividing Latinos, citizens and immigrants.

    I'll post more responses as I see them.

    Updated 05-28-2014 at 09:25 AM by MKolken

  5. Obama Admin Continues to Block Release of Enforcement Data

    by , 05-27-2014 at 02:06 PM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    From Syracuse University's TRAC Reports:

    For Immediate Release:

    Syracuse, NY, May 19 — The co-directors of the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University have filed suit charging ICE and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with multiple violations of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the Administrative Practices Act and the administrative rules of both agencies.

    The effect of the unlawful and arbitrary actions by the agencies is to deny the public the records it requires to better understand how the government's massive effort to regulate immigration is actually functioning.

    One of TRAC's co-directors is Susan B. Long, an associate professor of managerial statistics at the University's Martin J. Whitman School of Management. The other is David Burnham, a long-term investigative reporter with the New York Times who now is an associate research professor at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at the University.

    The suit filed by Long and Burnham in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Thursday follows up on a court action filed against ICE and the Customs and Border Protection (CPB) on February 3 on a different but related withholding matter.

    Last week's lawsuit challenges ICE's recent decision that when TRAC's co-directors were seeking data on how the agency was enforcing immigration laws, they were not acting on behalf of an educational institution operating a program of scholarly research, nor were they acting as representatives of the news media seeking to inform the public about agency activities. Instead the agency claims they were seeking records to further a commercial trade for profit.

    For more than 25 years, Long and Burnham as co-directors of TRAC — a part of Syracuse University — have provided news organizations, academic groups, Congress and the government itself with reports and data about a wide range of long-hidden government activities. TRAC maintains a website at where the results of its research and reporting on immigration enforcement are made widely and publicly available. Neither

    TRAC nor its co-directors have ever sought ICE records for a commercial purpose. TRAC's co-directors derive no personal income from their immigration research and reporting apart from their regular salary as Syracuse University professors.

    By incorrectly categorizing TRAC as "commercial" the government erects a major cost hurdle, blocking the public dissemination of records that are required by the FOIA and other laws to be made public. The FOIA mandates that educational and media requesters can only be charged duplication fees. However, when records are being sought for a commercial profit-making purpose, then the requester can also be required to pay for the time taken to search for the records and review them, in addition to copying fees.

    TRAC's still-pending February suit asks the court to order the government to make public an array of information, including a comprehensive directory of the information collected about all immigration investigations and enforcement activities, along with data extracts from several ICE and CBP data repositories. That suit was made on a pro bono basis by Jehan A. Patterson and Scott L. Nelson of the Public Citizen Litigation Group.

    For this suit, TRAC is being represented on a pro bono basis by David L. Sobel.

    Click here to follow TRAC on Twitter.

    Updated 05-27-2014 at 02:51 PM by MKolken

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