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  1. Is Obama About to Change Course and Cut Back on Deportations? By Roger Algase

    In what could be a breakthrough for immigration supporters, two of POLITICO's top immigration journalists, Seung Min Kim and Reid J. Epstein, report that President Obama may be reconsidering his policy on deportations and looking for ways to give more people relief from removal. See Obama calls for review of deportations (March 13).

    Kim and Epstein write:

    "President Obama finally bowed to pressure from immigration rights activists and signaled on Thursday that he may change his deportation policy.

    The President changed course after months of claiming that there was nothing his White House could do to stem the flow of deportations of undocumented immigrants. Obama announced in a meeting readout that he has requested a review of his administration's enforcement policies for immigration laws to see if that enforcement can be done 'more humanely within the confines of the law' the White House said Thursday."

    Immigration advocates were cautiously optimistic at this development. Kim and Epstein write:

    "To immigrant rights activists, however, this is something of a victory. It means that Obama is taking steps toward changing the administration's deportation policies - though the groups won't be satisfied until the policies are in force."

    They also quote Chris Newman, legal director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, as saying:

    "Review cannot be an excuse for delay...The president has the legal authority and moral obligation to change his deportation policy, and every day he waits will be a blemish on his legacy."

    The same article reports that Obama made the announcement after a meeting with three members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

    One CHC member, Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz) said, according to the article:

    "We're responding to inertia on the part of the Republicans to do nothing as the situation continues to worsen, and look to the administration as the last option for relief."

    The inevitable backlash from the Republicans, egged on by their Tea-Party supporting, mainly older white male base, which is determined to resist demographic change in America to the bitter end, should not be long in coming.

    It would not be surprising if the Friday and weekend news cycles, not to mention the Sunday talk shows, are full of Republican accusations about Obama's assuming "dictatorial" powers over immigration and "refusing to carry out his Constitutional duty" to enforce the laws of the United States - at least the ones relating to kicking more than 11 million non-white immigrants out of the country.

    Republicans will, no doubt, also seize on this development as additional "proof" that the president allegedly cannot be trusted to follow the law on immigration - or any other issue - and that, as Senator Marco Rubio reportedly claimed recently, there can be no immigration reform while Obama is still president.

    It would also not be surprising if the Republicans ramp up the the not-so subtle threats of impeaching the president that some of them have been making from the moment that he first took office.

    But from the president's viewpoint, changing course on deportations would appear to be imperative not only morally, but also politically. As the recent Congressional election in Florida shows, Obama and the Democrats may already be going into this election under a huge disadvantage brought about by four years and unlimited amounts of money spent by the Republicans on another major issue which is beyond the scope of this post, but may indirectly help to kill immigration reform for the foreseeable future by giving the GOP control of both Houses of Congress this fall.

    If Latino and other pro-immigration voters jump ship on the administration in November, as some of them are threatening to do over Obama's record-setting number of deportations, this year's election could be an unmitigated disaster for the Democrats and the prelude to a right wing Republican presidency after the 2016 election.

    To risk this would be equivalent to burning down the house because of a dispute over whether to install a new fire extinguisher.

    Moreover, the Republicans, evidently taken in by their own racist propaganda to the effect that Latinos are allegedly intellectually inferior to whites, appear to be basing their election strategy on the notion that Latino and other minority voters either don't count or are too stupid to see through the Republicans' pretense of trying to make it look as if they are serious about immigration reform - and would pass it if only a president who deportation numbers are about to reach a record 2 million were more "trustworthy" about enforcing the law.

    Obama would be smart to call their bluff. If he can make immigration the main issue in this election, rather than some other issue such as healthcare (or Benghazi, or whatever), it can only help his party in November.

    Here's betting that the president is too intelligent to pass up this opportunity to turn this fall's election around by keeping the minority voters who are normally among his strongest supporters on board, as well as doing what is right for America by drastically curtailing or ending his current mass expulsions of immigrants of Latino, Asian or African ancestry.
    Roger Algase is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, and is a New York lawyer who has been practicing business and professional immigration law for more than 30 years. His practice includes H-1B specialty worker, O-1 and EB-1 extraordinary ability, PERM labor certification, and green card marriage cases (opposite or same sex), among others. His email address is

    Updated 03-14-2014 at 11:02 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  2. OCAHO Reduces Company’s Penalty by 60 Percent; by Bruce Buchanan, Siskind Susser

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    OCAHO is on a roll this year as it issued its third decision in just the first six weeks of 2014. This time, it reduced a home healthcare company's penalty by about 60%.

    I-9 Form Violations

    In U.S. v. New Outlook Homecare, LLC, 10 OCAHO no. 1210 (2013), ICE sought a penalty of over $21,500 for substantive violations – failing to ensure completion of Section 1 and failing to property complete Section 2 or 3 of the I-9 forms. The company asserted the errors were “minor clerical errors”; however, OCAHO disagreed and found substantive violations.

    Calculation of Penalties and Company’s Arguments

    ICE calculated the penalties with a baseline penalty of $935 per violation because over 50% of the I-9 forms had substantive errors. ICE mitigated the penalty by 5% due to the small size of the business but enhanced the penalty by 5% based on the seriousness of the violations.

    The company argued the penalty was “unreasonable and excessive.” It argued for a penalty of $150 per violation because ICE did not give the company sufficient credit for following the law and not hiring unauthorized workers. Furthermore it asserted it possessed good faith.

    OCAHO Decision

    Although OCAHO found the violations to be serious, it determined the penalty was near the maximum allowed of $1100 per violation and that level of penalty should be reserved for “more egregious violations.” OCAHO did not find the violations to be egregious in this case. Finally, it noted that small companies should be given leniency under the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act. Thus, OCAHO reduced the company’s penalty to $9450.

    The reduction in the penalty of about 60% is greater than OCAHO’s average reduction of 46.5% and 45% in 2012 and 2013, respectively.
  3. Jeh Johnson already Mischaracterizing the Nature of Obama's Deportations

    by , 03-13-2014 at 09:34 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    It has been reported that newly coined Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson had the following to say about the administration's deportation priorities:

    We are enforcing the law. We are enforcing the law vigorously and effectively, which results in the removal of over 300,000 people a year over the last several years. We are using the resources Congress gave us to remove those we believe are threats to national security, public safety and border security. And they result in the numbers that you see.

    I guess he didn't read the latest press release from the Immigration Policy Center that shows that most immigrants deported by ICE in 2013 were a threat to no one.

    From the press release:

    Despite claims by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that it prioritizes the apprehension of terrorists, violent criminals, and gang members, the agency’s own deportation statistics do not bear this out. Rather, most of the individuals being swept up by ICE and dropped into the U.S. deportation machine committed relatively minor, non-violent crimes or have no criminal histories at all.


    Secretary Johnson also claims that recent deportation numbers mostly consist of individuals apprehended by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the border, attempting to enter illegally.

    Or maybe not.

    The Immigration Policy Center (IPC) has concluded that immigrants apprehended by CBP that have been living and working within the interior of the country for years are lumped into the "border crossers" statistic. The IPC explains that the distinction between “border removals” and “interior removals” is not "clear-cut" because border removal statistics include all removals of individuals taken into custody by CBP. CBP statistics include arrests of individuals generated by roving patrols “near” the border. CBP also generates arrest from checkpoints set up in the interior of the country. Moreover, the definition of “recent border crossers” includes individuals that entered the United States within the last three years.

    The more things "Change" the more they stay the same.

    Click here if you want to see the actual facts about the nature of the Obama administration's recent deportations.

    Updated 03-13-2014 at 04:40 PM by MKolken

  4. Separated families protest Obama's Deportation Record at Border

    by , 03-11-2014 at 02:59 PM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    March 11, 2014 2:53 PM EDT — "At the California border, families expressed frustration with the pace of efforts to overhaul U.S. immigration laws and protested the growing number of deportations under President Obama." (Reuters)

    Updated 03-11-2014 at 03:01 PM by MKolken

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  5. Most Immigrants Deported by ICE in 2013 Were a Threat to No One

    by , 03-11-2014 at 07:20 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    The Immigration Policy Center has issued the following press release relating to two fact sheets that highlight the aggressive expansion of immigration enforcement since 1996, and expose the lie that the Obama administration is focused on deporting serious criminals illustrating that most immigrants detained by ICE in 2013 were a threat to no one. They explain that "ICE’s own statistics make clear, the agency is involved primarily in the apprehension and deportation of people who have committed immigration violations and minor crimes—not terrorist operatives or violent criminals."

    Here is the release:

    For Immediate Release.

    March 10, 2014

    Washington D.C. -
    Today, the Immigration Policy Center releases two publications. One highlights the programs and policies that have vastly expanded U.S. deportations over the past two decades. The second dissects the removal numbers from Fiscal Year 2013 and puts them into context.

    The first fact sheet, The Growth of the U.S. Deportation Machine, shows how the U.S. has rapidly expanded enforcement programs since 1996—programs that now run on auto-pilot and are removing noncitizens at a record pace.

    The second fact sheet, Misplaced Priorities, shows how, despite the Administration’s claims that they are deporting the most dangerous, high-priority individuals, the system does in fact focus primarily on immigrants with low-level or no criminal histories at all.

    Taken together, these two publications clearly illustrate the federal government’s enforcement-first approach to immigration control. The end result has been a relentless campaign of imprisonment and expulsion not of terrorist operatives or violent criminals, but noncitizens who have committed immigration violations and minor crimes. While this campaign precedes the Obama administration by many years, it has grown immensely during his tenure in the White House.

    To view the publications in their entirety see:

    Read a blog that summarizes the findings at

    For more information, contact Wendy Feliz at or 202-507-7524202-507-7524.

    Updated 03-11-2014 at 08:53 AM by MKolken

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