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Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal


  1. Central American Families Fear Deportation As Raids Begin

    by , 01-06-2016 at 03:36 PM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    Via NPR:

    "Federal immigration agents have initiated a controversial roundup of Central American families who were part of the border surge that began in 2014.

    They are mainly young mothers with children whose asylum claims have been rejected. "

  2. The Obama Administration’s Deportation Resolution

    by , 01-05-2016 at 02:28 PM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    Originally published on National Public Radio's Latino USA:

    By now you’ve probably heard that President Barack Obama is ringing in the New Year by delivering Central American refugees the clear message that they are going to be swiftly deported back to their home countries, most likely to their deaths. Deportation raids commenced over the weekend with 121 refugees being taken into custody. The new operation specifically targets mothers and children who have already been ordered removed (deported) by an immigration judge. The operation is being overseen by Obama appointee Sarah Saldaña, the first Latina director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

    Despite the claims that this operation is being done humanely, there are reports that children are being taken from their homes in the middle of the night, without a warrant, and are being transported in unmarked cars. At least one Obama administration official remarked that to achieve their mission they will bring fugitive teams with car seats to arrest families.

    Triggered by the exploding outrage in response to the Obama administration’s targeted attack on the most vulnerable members of the immigrant community, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson issued a lengthy January 4 statement, which among other things, identified the focus of the raids. He explained:

    The focus of this weekend’s operations were adults and their children who (i) were apprehended after May 1, 2014 crossing the southern border illegally, (ii) have been issued final orders of removal by an immigration court, and (iii) have exhausted appropriate legal remedies, and have no outstanding appeal or claim for asylum or other humanitarian relief under our laws.

    Secretary Johnson justified the raids by stating that “if you come here illegally, we will send you back consistent with our laws and values.” On paper, that doesn’t necessarily sound unreasonably xenophobic. But a closer examination reveals that Secretary Johnson is deceptively painting refugees fleeing violence as lawbreakers who are abusing the system. To the contrary, our laws specifically provide a legal mechanism that allows non-citizens to present themselves at our borders for the purpose of seeking protection from persecution on account of race, religion, national origin, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. The point being, the law is being followed, and these women and children are asylum seekers, not lawbreakers as the Obama administration would have us believe.

    Hypocritically, Secretary Johnson acknowledged that the subjects of the raids are in fact refugees, commenting that DHS and the Department of State are currently in the process of accelerating the development of new mechanisms to process and screen Central Americans in the region.

    Secretary Johnson further justified the administration’s actions by stating that they are merely enforcing the law in a way that is “consistent with American values, and basic principles of decency, fairness and humanity.” You would think that enforcing the law in accordance with American values, and basic principles of decency, fairness and humanity would not include jailing unaccompanied refugee children in deportation internment camps where they are neglected and abused, while depriving them of due process of law.

    Since the initial wave of Central American refugees in the summer of 2014, the Obama administration has systematically fast-tracked toddlers through the immigration courts, and needless to say that without the protection of a lawyer, their deportation is an almost certainty. Unsurprisingly, statistics reveal that when children go into court without a lawyer they tend to lose their case. This process is euphemistically called the Rocket Docket.

    Immigration lawyer Bryan Johnson explains that the Rocket Docket is used to expedite the deportation of unaccompanied children who came to the United States after January 2014, as well as mothers fleeing violence with their children. If you are among this group, your deportation is prioritized, and immigration judges are held to strict case completion deadlines to ensure the swiftness of the result. This is what Bryan Johnson calls the “first seeds sown for today’s raids.”

    He notes that “the purpose of the expedited docket was made clear immediately: to physically overload and overwhelm the existing legal provider network (including for-profit and non-profit lawyers) so that the maximum amount of children and/or mothers would not be able to hire or be appointed a lawyer.”

    Basically, the Obama administration has been tossing immigrant children into a deportation grinder, and the latest enforcement operations are little more than cleaning the blood off the floor. If all of this makes you want to scream, you aren’t the only one. Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley strongly criticized the Obama administration during Christmas. At a January 3 campaign event in Iowa, O’Malley took the rhetoric even further, stating, “What the hell have we come to as a country that you’re talking about rounding up women and children fleeing death gangs at Christmas time?”
    So much for American values.

    In his November 20, 2014 address to the nation, President Obama said, “Tracking down, rounding up, and deporting millions of people isn’t realistic. Anyone that suggests otherwise isn’t being straight with you. It’s also not who we are as Americans.”

    Apparently, it is, Mr. President, and it is you who hasn’t been straight with us.
  3. Call for Ending Family Detention as “Wish for the Holidays”

    by , 12-08-2015 at 09:43 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    December 7, 2015
    Ben Soskin
    (202) 225-1766

    PRESS ADVISORY - Congressional Immigration Leaders and Children to Call for Ending Family Detention as “Wish for the Holidays”
    Capitol Hill Press Conference Will Exhibit Children’s Letters to Families in ICE Custody

    Washington, DC – On Wednesday, December 9, at 12:00 PM ET, the Congressional Women’s Working Group on Immigration Reform and the We Belong Together Campaign will be joined by children at a Capitol Hill press conference to call for an end to America’s family detention system. Nine members of Congress will speak out about the need to end family detention, as will a child who was held in a detention facility.

    The press conference will also display enlargements of handwritten cards that elementary school-aged children have written to children who will spend this holiday season inside detention facilities. The children’s cards, which are part of We Belong Together’s “A Wish for the Holidays” letter-writing campaign, express the children’s holiday wish that the families in detention be released. Some of the local children who wrote cards will also speak at the press conference.

    WHAT: Press conference by congressional immigration leaders and children to call for an end to family detention.

    WHEN: Wednesday, December 9, 2015, at 12:00 PM ET.

    WHERE: 2103 Rayburn House Office Building.

    WHO: The Congressional Women’s Working Group on Immigration Reform in conjunction with the We Belong Together Campaign. Speakers include:

    · Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), chair of the Congressional Women’s Working Group on Immigration Reform
    · Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (CA-19)
    · Congressman Luis Gutiérrez (IL-04)
    · Congresswoman Grace Meng (NY-06)
    · Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13)
    · Congresswoman Norma Torres (CA-35)
    · Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01)
    · Congresswoman Dina Titus (NV-01)
    · Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27)
    · Sameera Hafiz, policy director at We Belong Together
    · Wendy Cervantes, vice president of immigration and child rights at First Focus
    · A child who was held in a detention facility
    · Local children who participated in the letter-writing campaign

    VISUALS: Congressmembers and children, as well as handwritten children’s letters enlarged for display.

    RSVP TO: Ben Soskin,

  4. Resettled Refugees Help To 'Bring Buffalo Back'

    by , 12-02-2015 at 03:09 PM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    Fantastic story on the positive impact refugees have had on my own community in Buffalo, New York.

    Via NPR

    "If you want to see how refugees are changing Buffalo, N.Y., the West Side Bazaar is a good place to start. It's an incubator for immigrant-owned businesses. And it's the only place in town where you can eat Ethiopian sponge bread, Burmese noodles and Peruvian chicken at the same table. It's also a market with clothing and gifts.

    'We are like family here — families from different countries,' says Nadeen Yousef, who moved to Buffalo from Iraq last year. Yousef now has a booth at the bazaar, where she sells handmade macrame wall hangings and art.

    There's been a vigorous debate in this country about refugee resettlement, much of it focused on whether Syrian refugees pose a security threat. There's been less talk about what happens when refugees put down roots in their new country, in places like Buffalo's west side."

    Tags: buffalo, npr, refugees Add / Edit Tags
  5. Hispanic Caucus 'Irate' Over NBC Exec's Use of Illegal, Hillary Clinton Gets a Pass

    by , 11-19-2015 at 08:16 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    Six members of the Hispanic Caucus left a meeting with an NBC executive "irate" after the executive used the term "illegals" to describe the undocumented population.

    From Politico:

    NBC News President Deborah Turness committed a major blunder — as far as the Hispanic lawmakers were concerned — when she described undocumented immigrants as “illegals," a term that many in the Latino community find highly offensive.

    Turness was describing NBC's integration with their Spanish-language network Telemundo, which included coverage of Pope Francis’ visit to the U.S. and his interaction with a young girl who was afraid her parents would be deported because they’re “illegals.”

    “I’m going to stop you right there. We use the term undocumented immigrants,” Rep. Juan Vargas (D-Calif.) interrupted.

    Turness apologized.

    Funny, but I don't recall similar outrage from the Hispanic Caucus when Hillary Clinton uses the racial slur. But that's the point. At the heart of the matter Democratic lawmakers are really only upset with NBC because they gave a platform to a Republican Presidential candidate, not because of what he has said about immigrants, which at the root is not so dissimilar to what Hillary Clinton repeatedly says.

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