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GrassrootsLeadership.org has issued a report written by Judith A. Greene, Bethany Carson, Andrea Black entitled "Indefensible: a Decade of Mass Incarceration of Migrants Prosecuted for Crossing the Border." The report examines the widespread proliferation of federal criminal prosecutions of immigrants that have committed civil immigration law violations trying to come to the United States.
From the report:
December 2015 marked the 10th anniversary of the launch of a program to target for criminal prosecution migrants who had crossed the border without authorization. It was named “Operation Streamline.” It is known for the mass hearings (often lasting less than two hours) in which up to 80 migrants are arraigned, found guilty, convicted and sentenced for 8 USC 1325 (improper entry, a misdemeanor) simultaneously. The policy has long been decried by immigrant rights advocates. However, the mass hearings of Operation Streamline, as shocking as they are, are only the tip of the iceberg.
Lesser known by the general public, media, and even some immigrant rights and criminal justice reform advocates, is the widespread expansion of 8 USC 1326 (re-entry, a felony) prosecutions over the past decade that came with the Streamline program. Though border officials in some sectors say that Operation Streamline has ended, the numbers of migrants prosecuted in federal courts is still massive in sheer numbers.
The criminal prosecution of migrants crossing our southern border has had profound impacts on the federal courts and federal prisons over the last decade. In 2015, improper entry and re-entry prosecutions accounted for al-most half of all federal prosecutions (49 percent). Improper entry is punish-able by up to 180 days in federal jail while improper re-entry is punishable by up to two years. And if the migrant has a serious prior criminal history, many more years may be added to the sentence.
Almost a quarter of those in the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) prison population are non-citizens (23 percent). Using the data available, we conservatively estimate the incarceration costs for those convicted of improp-er entry and re-entry at more than $7 billion since the start of Operation Streamline in 2005.
This book provides an oral history of the evolution of Operation Stream-line over 10 years and its legacy today. We document the beginnings of Operation Streamline and the evolution of targeted migrant prosecutions. We explore how the program took hold across border districts in distinct ways. We examine how an already politicized issue collided with media hype and, “moral panic” over immigration levels. We describe how ambitious and powerful individuals and agencies within the newly formed Department of Homeland Security launched this huge, targeted prosecution program. We interviewed more than three dozen people who work inside the federal criminal justice system, or who have been impacted by it, for this book. We have attempted to amplify their voices by using their own words as often as possible.
In looking back at 10 years of mass prosecution of migrants, we have an opportunity to examine how and why the program emerged. We can also ex-amine the harm it has caused against the scant evidence that it has achieved the stated goal of deterring migration at the southern border. There exists in the story of migrant prosecutions an intersection where those working for immigrant rights and for criminal justice reform can join hands to work together. Finally, we can find inspiration in the ample opportunities for resistance and in this book we highlight the efforts of those who are organizing to bring an end to prosecution of migrants at the border.
Throughout the book, we found widespread wastefulness — in terms of people’s lives, taxpayer dollars, and court resources — producing few, if any, positive results. It was clear from talking to actors throughout this system that it is broken in every way. Our findings include:
Since 2005, nearly three quarters of a million people, have been prosecuted in our federal courts for the crime of improper migration: 412,240 for improper entry and 317,916 for re-entry. This escalating system of migrant prosecutions is making a significant and growing contribution to mass incarceration, and to overcrowding in our federal prison system.We conservatively estimate that just the costs entailed by the jail and prison terms that result from criminal prosecutions for improper entry and re-entry total at least $7 billion since A large share of this tax burden produces increased profits for the country’s leading private prison corporations.Economic circumstances and family responsibilities overwhelming-ly drive improper migration, and there is no convincing evidence that incarceration is a deterrent for people facing these pressures. The resulting human costs to those prosecuted, their families and communities are incalculable.The system is not seen as effective by most of the judges and lawyers that participate in the process day in and day out. They say that Operation Streamline and the related felony prosecutions are driven by politics, not by good policy.
We recommend that officials with the power to effect change take the fol-lowing actions:
The Attorney General should move to de-prioritize and ultimately end improper entry and re-entry prosecutions.U.S. Attorneys in the border districts should use their enormous power to deprioritize improper entry and re-entry prosecutions and devote their resources to focus on crimes that threaten public safety and/or cause serious harm to the well-being of our nation.The U.S. Sentencing Commission should reject any proposed amendments to increase sentences for improper entry and re-entry, and should actively seek to remedy already exorbitant sentences. The base offense level should be reduced so as to decrease sentencing recommendations relative to the many more serious offenses currently assigned to Level 8.Insofar as the current political climate does not allow for constructive legislative action, members of Congress who comprehend the harms done by these prosecutions should call on the Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorneys to end them.
Finally, until the Department of Justice, the U.S. Attorneys and the Sentencing Commission take the actions recommended above, we urge that — to the extent that they are not bound by rigid plea agreements or guideline constraints — federal district court and magistrate judges reflect about the inexorable harms these prosecutions visit upon migrants and their families. Understanding that most face immediate removal, judges should give thoughtful consideration of whether “time served” might be the most appropriate sentence.
Click here to read the entire report.
Updated 01-06-2017 at 01:55 PM by MKolken
by Chris Musillo
CGFNS has just announced that Jasper Tolarba, DNP, RN, NEA-BC will be their new Director of Credentials Evaluation Services. Dr. Tolarba will manage the operations of the Credentialing Service programs. From their press release:
Dr. Tolarba will be responsible for managing the operations of the Credentialing Service programs including VisaScreen®, Credentials Evaluation Service and International Consultants of Delaware. Along with CGFNS’ Executive Team, Dr. Tolarba will establish and coordinate the Foreign Educated Professionals Advisory Group, providing a more robust voice on a global scale.
Dr. Tolarba’s alma mater, Bicol Univerity in Legazpi City, Philippines, also highlighted the appointment. Bicol notes that Dr. Tolarba earned his first bachelors and masters from Bicol and also taught nursing there from 2002-2004, whereupon he moved to Cincinnati and enrolled at Xavier University. He later obtained his Ph.D from Yale University in Connecticut. Bicol also notes that Dr. Tolarba is the first foreign-educated nurse to join CGFNS leadership team.
Please read the Musillo Unkenholt Healthcare and Immigration Law Blog at www.musillo.com and www.ilw.com. You can also visit us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
Update, July 21, 1:26 pm:
Another indication of the danger that America could turn into a country where, as in ancient Rome and many modern dictatorships, losers in political battles are not only jailed, but executed, see Washington Post, July 21:
Republican debate: Kill Hillary, or merely jail her?
(I don't have the link handy right now - please go to www.washingtonpost.com)
Just another indication of what Donald Trump and company might have in store, not just for 12 million immigrants who are in this country without authorization, but for America's democracy and the American people.
Update, July 20, 1:06 pm:
In addition to mass expulsion of unwanted foreign populations (see below), the ancient Romans, especially in the last days of the Republic (1st century B.C.) and during the Empire. were proficient at another practice that is increasingly being advocated by Donald Trump and his supporters - locking up their political opponents, beginning, but not necessarily ending with Hillary Clinton.
In ancient Rome, as well as in modern dictatorships, it was and is not uncommon for the loser in an election campaign to wind up in prison (if not with a considerably worse fate).
Is America in danger of becoming that kind of a country?
For a frightening Daily Kos report on how fascism (a word with ancient Roman origins dating from the earliest days of the Republic) could very well come to America under a Donald Trump administration that might have no compunction about locking up opponents for political reasons, see:
My original post follows below:
Donald Trump's proposal to carry out ethnic cleansing or mass expulsion of an estimated 12 million mainly Mexican and other Latin American immigrants who are currently in the US without legal status is unprecedented in US history in sheer terms of numbers (even though America has engaged in previous mass deportations of Mexican immigrants - and US citizens).
However, mass expulsion of unwanted foreign populations from a given country, albeit in smaller numbers than the one which Trump is proposing in order to thrill and excite his followers and supporters on white supremacist websites and at the Republican convention, is hardly a new concept in history. This post will be the first in a series which will look at how mass expulsion has been carried out in the past, as well as the probable motivations for it, according to historians.
I will began with examples from the ancient world, all involving expulsions of the Jews from Rome. The first of these expulsions took place in 139 B.C.
The ancient writer Valerius Maximus, who was active during the reign of the Emperor Tiberius (14-27 A.D.) writes as follows:
"During the consulship of Marcus Popillius Laenas and Gnaeus Calpurnius, the praetor for froeigners, Gnaeus Cornelius Hispanus, issued an edict ordering the Chaldaeans to leave the city and Italy within 10 days. The praetor felt that they deceived frivolous and silly people with their dishonest inrepretation of the stars and cultivated a money-making air of obscurity with their lies. The Jews had tried to corrupt Roman values with their cult of Jupiter Sabazius, so the praetor forced them to go back to their home...
Cornelius Hispanus expelled the Chaldaeans from the ciry and ordered them to leave Italy within ten days to prevent them making money out of their foreign science. The Jews had tried to pass their religion on to Romans, so Hispanus expelled them from the city and demolished their private alters in all public places."
This site interprets the terms "Chaldeans" (i.e. Mssopotamians, stemming from what was then part of present-day Iraq), as referring in the above passage to more secular or assimilated Jews, while "Jews" refers to religious, more traditional ones.
The above website also explains that Valerius Maximus most likely confused Jewish worship of Yahweh with the cult of Sabazius (Dionysus), a mistake often made by early Roman writers according to the same site.
The same site also suggests that antipathy toward the Jews (in contrast to a larger group of immigrants, Syrians, who were not expelled from Rome), may have been related to the visit to Rome of envoys of the great Jewish independence fighter Simon Maccabee three years earlier, in 142 B. C.
Based on this assumption, one could speculate that Jewish immigrants might have been perceived as a "security" threat in Rome of that period, just as, ironically, Syrians, who were not deported from ancient Rome, are perceived to be in America today, more than 2,100 years later, by Donald Trump and his Islamophobic supporters.
Two other points in the above quoted passage are worthy of note. First is the charge that the Jews had allegedly tried to "corrupt Roman values",
How often do we hear today that members of immigrant groups which are being targeted by Donald Trump, such as Muslims and Mexicans, are unable to adopt or assimilate to "American values" (a charge which also a familiar one in the history of American immigration for being made so often against other immigrant groups such as Irish, Asians, Italians, Middle Easterners, Eastern Europeans and, last but not least, Jews).
Another statement of Valerius Maximus in the above passage worth noting is that, allegedly:
"The Jews had tried to pass their religion on to Romans."
Does anyone notice a certain parallel to the current hysteria by some of Trump's supporters over the fantasy that Muslim immigrants might try to impose "Sharia Law" on the United States?
The next part of this series will look at some of the statements that Ovid, one of the greatest poets of all time in any country or civilization and the author of the incomparably beautiful, immortal work Metamorphoses, had to say about the Jews, which also reflected Roman attitudes toward Jewish immigrants around the same time as Valerius Maximus, with whom Ovid was roughly a contemporary.
Ovid, ironically, was also expelled from Rome even though he was a native-born Roman citizen - by Tiberius' predecessor, Emperor Augustus, for what Ovid referred to as carmen et errorr (a poem - no doubt one of the erotic verses that Ovid is still famous for 2,000 years later - and a "mistake" the exact nature of which historians are still not clear about).
Ovid's own exile, so far as is known, had nothing whatsoever to do with any writings about the Jews, which, as will be explained, appear to reflect negative Roman stereotypes toward the Jews that were current in his time.
But in his heartbreaking series Tristia and many other exile poems, Ovid wrote eloquently about the sufferings and hardship of being deported in words that even today give at least some sense of what Donald Trump has in store for 12 million minority immigrants and their families in America.
To be continued in Part 2.
Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. For more than 35 years, beginning in 1978 (A.D.), he has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants obtain work visas and green cards. Roger's email address is email@example.com
Updated 07-21-2016 at 12:27 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
From the New York Times Editorial Board, published on July 18, 2016:
"The family detention centers the Obama administration has been operating in Texas and Pennsylvania have been an expedient way to handle the soaring numbers of Central Americans, many of them young children, who have arrived at the Southern border since 2014. They give a sense that Homeland Security has the border situation under control, and they supposedly send a message to other would-be refugees not to come.
But these privately run, unlicensed lockups are no place for children. Or mothers. Their existence belies President Obama’s oft-professed concern for the humane treatment of people fleeing crime and violence in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador."
Click here to read the entire article.
Updated 07-19-2016 at 03:07 PM by MKolken
By Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law
OCAHO issued another recent decision in U.S. v. East Coast Foods, Inc. d/b/a Roscoe’s House of Chicken N Waffles, 12 OCAHO no. 1281 (2016), wherein it reduced ICE’s proposed penalty of $38,708 to $18,350 for a variety of reasons.
As it sounds, Roscoe’s is a small restaurant in California which got served with a Notice of Inspection on June 19, 2013. By July 29, ICE served Roscoe’s with a Notice of Discrepancies for two employees. Roscoe’s resolved those situations.
At this point, ICE served Roscoe’s with a Notice of Intent to Fine (NIF) alleging in Count I - 31 violations of failing to ensure employees properly completed Section I, Count II – one instance where the employee failed to properly complete Section 2, and Count III – failure to prepare and/or present I-9 forms for four employees. ICE sought a penalty of $38,709 based upon a baseline penalty of $935, which was enhanced by 5% each for the seriousness of the violations, its lack of good faith and employment of unauthorized workers.
However, it refused to mitigate the fine for being a small business even though it qualified as such with 60 employees. The enhancement for unauthorized workers was mystifying because ICE failed to allege the employment of any unauthorized workers.
Of the 31 violations in Count I, the employees failed to check an immigration status box – a blatant violation. In Count II, the employer only recorded a List C document and failed to record an accompanying List B document. Concerning Count III, all parties agreed no I-9 forms were presented for four employees.
Concerning the five aggravating / mitigating factors, OCAHO awarded a 5% reduction for Roscoe’s being a small business. On lack of good faith, it is well-known case law that a company’s poor rate of compliance does not equal bad faith. Thus, OCAHO declined to aggravate the penalty by 5% due to bad faith. OCAHO agreed the violations were serious; thus, the 5% enhancement.
Overall, OCAHO believed a lower fine was appropriate and assessed the penalties accordingly – Count I - $500 each x 31 = $15,500; Count II - $450 for 1 violation; and Count III - $600 each x 4 = $2,400. Thus, OCAHO assessed a penalty of $18,350.