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Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal


  1. Rep. Roybal-Allard Fighting to End Family Detention

    by , 07-09-2015 at 12:24 PM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    July 9, 2015
    Ben Soskin
    (202) 225-1766

    Rep. Roybal-Allard Statement at Subcommittee Markup of FY 2016 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill

    Washington, DC – Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), the Ranking Democrat on the House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, today delivered the following statement at the Subcommittee’s markup of the Fiscal Year 2016 Homeland Security Appropriations bill. The bill passed the Subcommittee on a voice vote.

    “Mr. Chairman, let me begin by thanking you for the extent to which you and your staff have included me and my staff in the development of your mark. You fully considered our comments, suggestions, and proposals, and accommodated us when you could. We also worked together to reach compromises wherever possible. While we did reach consensus on many issues, there are things on which we still disagree, and I hope as the legislative process moves forward, we can continue to work on these differences and hopefully craft a bill the President will sign.

    “One of my concerns is that with the end of the fiscal year fast approaching and few legislative days remaining, if a new budget agreement isn’t reached soon, we will face a very predictable crisis in September. We all know that now, rather than later, we should be working towards a new budget agreement.

    “Having said that, considering the budget he was given, I want to reiterate my compliments to the Chairman on most of the choices he made in developing this bill. The allocation he started with is $2 billion below the President’s request, and $337 million below the current year. This means certain high-priority activities are not adequately funded. For example, with a higher allocation, the bill could provide the full request for Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grants, which help reduce the impact of future disasters, and it could provide the full request for flood mapping, which is critical for ensuring communities can plan development in ways that minimize flood risks. These are common-sense programs that merit additional federal investment.

    “Another example of the impact of an inadequate allocation is the failure of the bill to provide the requested funding level for the new DHS headquarters, already under construction on the St. Elizabeth’s campus in Southeast DC. Earlier this year, the Department revised its plan for St. Elizabeth’s to consolidate the footprint and reduce costs. It makes no sense to build half the headquarters. Further delays will only cost us more in the long run.

    “Another issue is the continuation of a provision setting an arbitrary minimum of 34,000 available ICE detention beds. This limits ICE’s flexibility in managing its enforcement and removal resources in response to changing circumstances. It also limits ICE’s flexibility to use cheaper, alternative forms of supervision when appropriate.

    “ICE detention is not intended to be punitive. It is civil detention, for the purpose of ensuring attendance at immigration court hearings — and potentially removal — for those determined to be flight risks or a danger to public safety.

    “Perhaps the most significant area of disagreement in the bill is the funding for the continued use of family detention. I have personally seen ICE’s two largest family detention facilities, and have talked to the women and children incarcerated there.

    “Facilities like those at Karnes and Dilley are simply not appropriate places for families. These women and children are not flight risks or dangers to our communities. Most have come here intentionally to submit an application for asylum in accordance with our immigration laws. Instead of detention, we should be using less costly, non-detention forms of supervision, such as the ATD program or release on bond or parole.

    “I am pleased the report prioritizes ICE’s planned family ATD initiative. This will help families navigate the immigration court process and link them to support services. To ensure the success of this program, it is critical for ICE to select qualified service providers who have the proper training and disposition to support these families.

    “The bill also includes new general provisions that I believe to be unnecessary. One would prohibit Citizenship and Immigration Services from implementing the DAPA and expanded DACA programs while the federal court injunction remains in place. Since CIS has no intention of violating the injunction, the need for this provision is unclear.

    “Another provision in the bill is one we have seen added to other bills this year. It would have the effect of reversing the President’s modest loosening of the trade embargo with Cuba. This means travelers returning to the United States from Cuba could no longer bring back up to $400 worth of merchandise for personal use. This is an issue for the authorizing committee, and has no place in our bill.

    “More importantly, these provisions make our job harder by unnecessarily complicating the already difficult path facing our appropriations process this year.

    “These areas of disagreement are very important, but notably, they are relatively few. On most aspects of the bill and report, there is bipartisan agreement. The mark before us maintains the current funding levels for the first responder and anti-terrorism grants, emergency management grants, firefighter grants, and grants for the Emergency Food and Shelter Program – all of which are vitally important, and share broad bipartisan support.

    “The bill also increases funding for critical Coast Guard acquisitions to recapitalize aging assets; maintains funding for the Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties; fully funds the proposed increase for the Secret Service to begin addressing the Protective Mission Panel recommendations; provides additional funding for ICE investigations into child exploitation, human trafficking, financial crimes, and drug smuggling; and restores funding to maintain the current number of University Centers of Excellence.

    “I particularly commend the Chairman on his continued efforts in the bill and report to push the Department to develop and institutionalize more rigorous, consistent, and comprehensive processes for planning, budgeting, acquisition, evaluation, joint requirements, and operational coordination. Secretary Johnson has been our partner in pushing the Department to mature, and he needs the support and direction contained in the chairman’s mark to do it.

    “It is my hope we can reach a point in the process where bipartisan agreement extends to the whole bill, based on an allocation that is sufficient to address all of the Department’s requirements. In the meantime, I want to again underscore my appreciation for the efforts of the Chairman and his excellent staff to work with the Minority throughout the bill-drafting process.”

  2. Report: The Criminalization of Immigration in the United States

    by , 07-08-2015 at 03:18 PM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    For Immediate Release

    The Criminalization of Immigration in the United States
    Immigrants are (still) less likely to commit serious crimes or be behind bars than the native-born

    July 8, 2015

    Washington D.C. - Today, the American Immigration Council releases the report, The Criminalization of Immigration in the United States by Walter A. Ewing, Ph.D., Daniel E. Martínez, Ph.D., and Rubén G. Rumbaut, Ph.D. The report is a sequel to our 2007 report and confirms that anecdotes are simply no substitute for hard data. For years, the quantitative data has established two key facts with respect to the relationship between immigrants and crime: immigration is associated with lower crime rates and immigrants are less likely than the native-born to be serious criminals.

    The new report also describes the ways in which U.S. immigration laws and policies are driven by misconceptions and have re-defined the notion of “criminal” as it applies to immigrants. As a result, our immigration enforcement programs are designed to round up even long term residents whose only infraction is being undocumented.

    To view the report in its entirety, see:

    To view a blog post on the report, see:


    For press inquiries, contact Wendy Feliz at or 202-507-7524
  3. Memorandum Regarding Care of Transgender Immigrant Detainees

    by , 06-30-2015 at 08:37 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    A June 19, 2015, memorandum providing guidance regarding the care of transgender immigrant detainees has been released.

    Here is the propaganda:

    “The Transgender Care Memorandum reaffirms ICE’s commitment to provide a safe, secure, and respectful environment for all those in our custody, including those individuals who identify as transgender,” said ICE ERO Executive Assistant Director Thomas Homan. “We want to make sure our employees have the tools and resources available to learn more about how to interact with transgender individuals and ensure effective standards exist to house and care for them throughout the custody cycle.”

    The memorandum includes the following:

    • Data Systems: appropriate data systems will be updated to record an individual’s gender identity, assisting the agency in data collection and informed decision-making.
    • Identification and Processing: comprehensive officer training and tools will be provided to ensure an individual’s gender identity can be identified early in the custodial life cycle to ensure care in accordance with the new guidance.
    • Housing Placements: the memorandum includes a voluntary ICE detention facility Contract Modification that calls for the formation of a facility-based multidisciplinary Transgender Care Classification Committee that will be responsible for making decisions related to searches, clothing options, housing assignments, medical care, and housing reassessments for transgender individuals.

    It should be noted that the transgender and undocumented protester spoke out of turn on June 24, 2015, five days after the memorandum was allegedly signed by Executive Associate Director Thomas Homan. Wouldn't it have been a better choice for the President to have announced the signing of the memorandum that addressed her concerns, rather than attacking her shamelessly?

    And Mr. President, that's the taxpayers' booze you've been drinking at the "People's House" while the rest of your supporters drink the cool aide.

    Click here to read the full memorandum.

    Updated 06-30-2015 at 08:40 AM by MKolken

  4. House Democrats Recap Trip to Family Detention Facilities

    by , 06-24-2015 at 02:31 PM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    June 24, 2015
    Ben Soskin
    (202) 225-1766

    Rep. Roybal-Allard, House Democrats Recap Trip to Family Detention Facilities

    Washington, DC Today, Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40) joined seven of her fellow Democratic House Members – Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (MD-05), Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27), Rep. Raúl Grijalva (AZ-03), Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (IL-04), Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (CA-19) – to recount a trip they took this week to visit two private family detention facilities in Texas used to detain mothers and children awaiting disposition of their asylum claims. The Members are among the 136 House Democrats who recently signed a letter to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson calling for an end to family detention. Listen to an audio recording of the press conference here.

    During their trip, the members met with detainees at the Karnes County Residential Center in Karnes City on Monday, June 22nd, and at the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley on Tuesday, June 23rd, to discuss their experiences, living conditions, and more. At today’s press conference, members released videos and pictures they took during their visit, which show women and children pleading for their freedom. Click here to see pictures from the Dilley and Karnes visits. You can also see videos of the Dilley visit here, here, and here.

    Congresswoman Roybal-Allard’s remarks from today’s press conference are below.

    “I’d like to start by, first of all, responding to a description that ICE released yesterday about these facilities. And I want to do that by going back to when I was in the State Legislature. And I toured a place that, if I were to describe it, it had a gym, it had a library, it had classrooms where people could get their GEDs and even go to college. It had private rooms. It sounded really, really nice, if you had just gone by the description.

    “What I’m describing is a California State Prison.

    “Yesterday, ICE released a description of the facilities very similar to what I just described, and if you were just to go by that description, you’d say, what’s the problem? There’s recreation, there’s all these kinds of things. The problem is, as my colleagues have said, they are prisons. And when you go there, there’s a playground, but you know what? We didn’t see any children playing on that playground. They were holding on to their mothers.

    “And the stories that you heard from these mothers as to why they came: the stories of rape, of being threatened by gangs – not only threatening their own lives, but threatening their children, threatening their parents – they had absolutely no alternative.

    “But one of the things that was the saddest for me was the trauma they described once they got here – the treatment that they are getting in these facilities. One mother told me, ‘They treat us like we’re stupid. They yell at us and they demean us in front of our children, who are already traumatized.’ And they talked about the fact that any time their child was ill, they were basically told, ‘Well, just go drink some water.’

    “When we were out in the courtyard and we were talking with them, I asked them what was one of their biggest complaints, and one of them said, ‘I can’t get help for my daughter.’ And she showed me what she was talking about. She lifted a two- or three-year-old little girl, and she lifted her dress, and her entire back was just covered in a terrible, terrible rash. And she said, ‘They just told me that it’s okay, just drink some water.’

    “Another mother, unfortunately, who we met with, and then Zoe got word yesterday that she tried to commit suicide, talked about the fact that her daughter had an infection, and again, they kept telling her, ‘Well, tell your daughter to drink water. It’ll go away.’

    “This is happening here, in this country. Because the facility that they are in is a private facility, for profit, and they could care less about the human aspect of those who are there. And that has to stop. We have to get those children out of these facilities.

    “And I just want to end with this. During one of our private meetings, there was an eight-year-old girl who was just sitting there, and she was drawing as the women were talking about their plight and how long they had been there, what they were experiencing. As I was getting ready to leave, she hands me this. It was something she had been drawing. Her name is Helen. And over here, there are eyes with tears, and it says in Spanish, ‘Quiero ser libre.’ ‘I want to be free.’”


    Ben Soskin
    Communications Director
    Office of Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40)
    2330 Rayburn House Office Building
    Washington, DC 20515
    (p) 202-225-1766
    (f) 202-226-0350
  5. Deported teen mom who attempted suicide talks about time in family detention

    by , 06-22-2015 at 01:53 PM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    "In an exclusive interview, Lilian Oliva Bardales, 19, speaks out about her treatment at a Texas family detention center after she cut her wrist, was put on suicide watch and then abruptly deported." Nincy Perdomo/McClatchy

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