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Syracuse University's TRAC Immigration has reported that in the first six months of fiscal year 2013 there have been 50,468 new immigration prosecutions, which is an estimated 9% increase from the previous year.
TRAC provides the following a historical perspective:
They report that in March 2013 alone there were 7715 criminal defendants in immigration related cases filed in U.S. Magistrate Courts. Statistics show that 66.4% of all charges alleged violation of 8 U.S.C § 1325, Entry of alien at improper time or place, and 29.5% of all charges were for violation of 8 U.S.C. § 1326, Reentry of deported alien.
As for charges filed in District Court, there were 915 new immigration related cases in the U.S. District Courts during March, and an additional 1169 cases moved to District Courts from magistrate courts after the filing of an indictment or information. The most common charge, 8 U.S.C § 1326, Reentry of deported alien, followed by 8 U.S.C. § 1324, Bringing in and harboring certain aliens.
...And please consider donating to TRAC.
The true obstacle to due process and fundamental fairness in civil removal proceedings is the harsh consequences of mandatory detention, and the administration's overtly castigatory immigration hold and detention policy that removes aliens from their support network vitiating both their ability and will to fight removal.
Current detention policies are penal in nature, and erode an individual’s ability to obtain counsel where an individual may be detained for months if not years while challenging removal. The elimination of the mandatory detention provisions of INA § 236(c), especially as applied to lawful permanent residents, will immediately address this concern. This change should be coupled with the vesting of jurisdiction to immigration judges over custody review of aliens charged as arriving aliens. In the spirit of fundamental fairness, an immigration judge, not the agency seeking removal, should be the final arbiter of whether an alien is a risk of flight or a threat to the United States precluding release from custody.
Administrative closure or conditional termination should be mandated in cases involving unaccompanied minors, or individuals that are legally incompetent to stand before the Court pro se. Closure or termination should be followed by an immediate sua sponte custody review performed by the immigration court. In these cases the burden should shift to the Department to establish that the alien is either a risk of flight or a threat to the United States.
In sum, if mandatory detention is removed, and detention policies softened detained aliens will have the ability to seek counsel in the approximately year and a half period between the scheduling of master calendar hearings, and due process will be served.
Our immigration courts must also be provided with the resources necessary to ensure hearings are being conducted fairly. This would require the allocation of sufficient funding to enable Courts to spend adequate time at each hearing to ensure cases are prosecuted fairly and that the rights of unrepresented individuals in detained settings are being protected. To this end, the hiring freeze on immigration judges and support staff should be lifted to provide efficient and effective operation of the Court. As it currently stands removal proceedings take years to complete.
According to Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) the average time removal cases wait to be heard before the immigration court has increased to 553 days, compared with 489 days at the end of FY 2011. The number of cases awaiting resolution before the Immigration Courts has risen along with the average time these pending cases have been waiting. As of February 2013, the backlog has reached a new all-time high of 325,296. That total rose by 1,571 in February 2013 alone.
Office of Chief Counsel may also be utilized as an asset to assist pro se aliens by advising the Court of potential relief available after a review of the record. Office of Chief Counsel should be reminded that the trial attorney’s obligation is to see that justice is done, which does not mean winning the case at all costs.
IJs should be required to educate pro se aliens to ensure a knowing, intelligent, and voluntary waiver of rights. Include a mechanism for automatic reopening of proceedings should it be subsequently discovered that an alien was not properly advised by either counsel or the Court prior to a waiver of available defenses.
As for availability of legal counsel, Court Administrators should be required to properly monitor the Free Legal Service Provider list to ensure that those appearing on the list are fulfilling their pro bono obligations. Each individual lawyer appearing on the list should be mandated where practicable to take at least one case per month on a pro bono basis. The time provided could be coordinated with State and local bar associations to include satisfaction of continuing legal education reporting requirements.
IJs and the BIA should be required to correct counsel errors without the necessary filing of an attorney grievance with a disciplining tribunal, especially when the error is clear on its face.
These are just a few simple, commonsense solutions to the problems immigrants currently face, and that serve the interests of justice.
I can only hope that someone is listening.
NATIONAL—After being infiltrated and exposed by the National Immigrant Youth Alliance, Immigration and Customs Enforcement will now have to comply with a civil rights investigation by the Department of Homeland Security into five separate incidents of detainee mistreatment. NIYA will make the communication from DHS (with personal case information redacted) available to reporters upon request.
In response to infiltration of ICE facilities in Florida and Michigan, ICE has accused NIYA twice of making false allegations. Every single detainee ICE releases because of our organizing, however, stands as a small admission of guilt from the agency. With this forthcoming investigation into five separate incidents of mistreatment, we may finally get a deeper admission of wrongdoing from DHS and their private contractor, GEO Group, Inc.
Yesterday, Michigan ICE informed us that they will release our infiltrator there, Claudia Munoz. We have obtained information of serious mistreatment—including verbal abuse that authorities internally have tried to correct—that we will make public in the coming days. Everilda Calvo-Sanchez, a detainee from Guatemala who is eligible for legal residence, was released two weeks ago after NIYA exposed her case as a failing of local ICE officials to follow national ICE policy.
NIYA will continue to organize against the attacks on immigrant communities and the indignities immigrants must face in detention. We know local ICE officials, like Regional director Rebecca Adducci, do not follow policies set forth by their national office until we hold them accountable. We stand by our demand that Adducci be fired or resign, and we will continue to bring ICE’s wrongdoing to light, anywhere and everywhere.
Last summer, 26 members of Congress supported our call for a full review of all cases inside Broward Transitional Center. While that demand has not yet been met, this investigation is admission that the behavior of their local officials is too repugnant to ignore, even by their supervising department.
Click here to donate to DREAMActivist.org.
I was just followed on Twitter by @TheDreamisNow, an organization that is advocating for common sense immigration reform that includes the principles of the DREAM Act. They filmed a documentary consisting of a collection of stories of undocumented immigrants in America that are desperate to become citizens of the only country they have even called home.
The documentary is set to premiere this month in Washington DC, and will then be screened on college campuses and in communities to raise awareness in the hope of garnering support for immigration reform.Pretty moving stuff. I'll be watching.
The University of Arizona’s Center for Latin American Studies has issued a report entitled The Shadow of the Wall: Family Separation, Immigration Enforcement and Security.
The report resulted from interviews of 1,113 recent deportees regarding their encounters with U.S. immigration officials from being caught through their return to Mexico. The interviews were conducted at ports of entry immediately following deportation, and also in migrant shelters in Mexico.
The focus of the report was to determine:
The investigation concluded that:
Click here to read the report in its entirety.
It has been reported that private prison corporation GEO Group, which maintains a strategic partnership with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to oversee deportation detention jails, has withdrawn a $6 million dollar donation it made to Florida Atlantic University to obtain naming rights for the university's football stadium.
This move comes in response to mobilized efforts and criticisms from students, faculty, alumni, and civil rights groups that protested allegations of abuse at GEO Group run prisons. Opponents of the donation came up with their own name for the stadium "Owlkatraz" after the school's mascot. A federal judge has called one of GEO Group's prisons "a cesspool of unconstitutional and inhuman acts and conditions."
A report commissioned by the Northwest Defenders Association questions the Obama administration's continued claim that ICE mainly targets immigrants with serious criminal charges and histories. The report was written by Katherine Beckett, Ph.D., and is entitled Immigration Detainer Requests in King County, Washington: Costs and Consequences.
From the executive summary:
Nearly two-thirds of the people flagged by ICE were not charged with a felony offense associated with their booking, and approximately one in eight were not charged with any crime at all. Moreover, only one in five people subject to ICE detainer requests and who were charged with a crime had been previously convicted of a felony in Washington State; only 18% had been convicted of a crime against a person in the state. These findings suggest that most people flagged by ICE have not been convicted of a serious crime.
Dr. Beckett also determined that on average people subject to ICE detainers stay in jail 29.2 days longer than others, and that ICE detainer requests result in the increase of an immigrant's detention by 161%.
This isn't anything that readers of this blog don't already know, as there have been numerous reports debunking the administration's claims that the "vast majority" of deportations involve criminal aliens.
Click here to read the full report.
The Texas Tribune reports that there has been a 300% drop in the number of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) applications. Last September there were more than 5,700 DACA applications submitted to USCIS each day. The number of application has dropped to 1,680 applications per day.
There have been 453,600 DACA applications filed, 73,260 of which originated from applicants living in Texas, and 128,400 applications originating from people living in California.
Nationals from Mexico make up the largest percentage of applicants accounting for 338,300 filings. National from El Salvador make up the second largest percentage at 18,500 applications filed. In total, only 16,000 DACA applications have been denied.
Click here to read the original Tribune article.