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Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal

Why Immigrant Rights Advocates Cannot Endorse Hillary Clinton

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Via Immigration Lawyers Amoachi & Johnson:

Below is an e-mail written to the New York State Immigration Action Fund (NYSIAF) urging them to reconsider their endorsement of Hillary Clinton given that she has promised to deport children to death in Central America:

“I hope all is well. I write to you to express my outrage on reading reports that the New York State Immigration Action Fund (NYSIAF) will endorse Hillary Clinton for the upcoming primary on April 19.

As attorneys who represent over 300 Central American children with pending deportation cases in the New York Immigration Court and who have won relief for more than 200 children in the past two years, we believe it is unconscionable that NYSIAF is endorsing Hillary Clinton.

Simply put, Mrs. Clinton has stated if she were to become President, she would deport children to harm in Central America. In contrast, her opponent Bernie Sanders recently requested that President Obama designate Honduras, EL Salvador, and Guatemala for Temporary Protected Status, which would ensure that no child is sent back to death or harm in Central America.

Mrs. Clinton has appeared to “evolve” on her hawkish statements to CNN in 2014: “We have to send a clear message, just because your child gets across the border, that doesn’t mean the child gets to stay,” she said. “So, we don’t want to send a message that is contrary to our laws or will encourage more children to make that dangerous journey.”

Clinton said the main reason minors are coming is to escape violence in their home countries, predominantly Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. Amanpour asked if that meant they should be able to remain in the United States, since it is safer. “Well — it may be safer but that’s not the answer,” Clinton replied.

Yet as recently as February 12, 2016 in a nationally televised debate with Mr. Sanders “Hillary Clinton defended her past statements that Central American migrant children needed to be sent home from the border to “send a message” to other families: Don’t come.”

In a sharp about-face less than a month later, Mrs. Clinton appeared to have undergone a revolutionary change in policy when she said to Jorge Ramos “I will not deport children. I would not deport children,”…I do not want to deport family members either.”

However, Clinton’s statements are directly belied by her persistent (and current) refusal to promise temporary protected status for Central Americans fleeing the war zone of the Northern Triangle.

To wit: when pressed by NPR’s Julio Ricardo Varela on whether Mrs. Clinton agreed with Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders’ that Central Americans from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador should be granted Temporary Protected Status, she said, through a spokesperson, “NO.” Specifically, she believes it is critical that everyone has a full and fair hearing, and that our country provides refuge to those that need it And we should be guided by a spirit of humanity and generosity as we approach these issues.

By clearly refusing to even consider TPS for Central Americans, Hillary Clinton’s position is unequivocal: she will deport children to death, rape, or serious harm in Central America.

NYSIAF should not endorse a Mrs. Clinton given that she has promised to deport children to death or harm in Central America, especially when her opponent Mr. Sanders has promised to categorically prevent the deportation of children to death or harm through the enactment of Temporary Protected Status.

Thank you for taking the time to hear my concerns.”

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Updated 04-14-2016 at 05:54 AM by MKolken


  1. RMHernan's Avatar
    Thank you Atty. Kolken for this posting. I agree with your concerns and support TPS for El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. It is real and not contrive that the refugees from those three central American countries are escaping from extreme violence. They are refugees but unfortunately the court system that Sec. Clinton is referring to deals with the standards of asylum and withholding laws that is absolutely restrictive in granting these refugees protection. I can imagine how many cases for asylum/withholding/CAT are in our Immigration Courts right now, only to be denied having to go to the BIA and Circuit Appeal Court route. I look forward to this issue being raised during the NY debates.

    Additionally, I want to point out Sec. Clinton's role as Secretary of State in supporting the coup d'etat against the democratically elected Honduran President Zelaya which mainstream media has not addressed. This has contributed to the political instability in that country. "Democracy Now" has a great interview regarding Sec. Clinton's justification of the U.S. role in the coup in Honduras. Events like this contribute to the political instability in a country, empowering organized gangs, and consolidating the role of the corrupt politicians serving their own greed and the greed of international corporate interests in these countries. Here is the Democracy Now interview with a Professor who is an expert on Honduras and her response to Sec. Clinton's interview with a newspaper in New York regarding this matter.
    More power to you Atty Kolken and NYSIAF should NOT endorse Sec. Clinton.
  2. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    Hillary Ciinton has a less that ideal record on immigration, though not nearly as bad as that of her husband who signed IIRIRA, arguably one of the worst pieces of immigration legislation since the openly racist 1924 national origins quotas law.

    But the question facing America is not who would be the perfect Democratic candidate. The question is who would have the best chance of stopping Donald Trump from taking over the White House, deporting 12 million unauthorized immigrants, ending birthright citizenship, building a Berlin Wall on the Mexican Border, barring over a billion people from entering the US only because of their religious affiliation, and putting an end to most legal employment-based immigration, along, in all likelihood, with our Constitution and our democracy.

    If Trump takes power, pro-immigration advocates may have ample opportunity to reflect on how horrible they think some of Hillary's positions on immigration were, while they are sitting in jail waiting for their turn to be waterboarded or worse, as Donald has promised to do to people he considers to be enemies - a pretty long list already, and one which can be sure to grow exponentially if he becomes president.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law

    Updated 04-15-2016 at 09:10 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  3. MKolken's Avatar
    I know I've explained this to you at least once before Roger, but I'll try it again. Trump's position on immigration with regards to deportations is to create 3/10 year bar relief and a guest worker program. The far right opposes it and are billing it as amnesty.

    "So Donald Trump's position is once you deport them, it's what's called touchback. A lot of establishment Republicans had touchback," Cruz said in an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos. "Basically you make them fly back to their country for a minute, touch the ground, and then they come back with amnesty as citizens. Now, Donald is entitled to do that. He can advance that position, but he doesn't get to pretend that it's not amnesty if he's legalizing 12 million people [who are] here illegally."
  4. MKolken's Avatar
    As for ending birthright citizenship, I wonder where Trump got his talking points?
    Updated 04-16-2016 at 07:44 AM by MKolken
  5. MKolken's Avatar
    And while we are on the subject of building a wall: “I voted numerous times when I was a senator to spend money to build a barrier to try to prevent illegal immigrants from coming in,” ~Hillary Clinton
    Updated 04-16-2016 at 07:44 AM by MKolken
  6. MKolken's Avatar
    And as for Secretary Clinton's position on the undocumented community: Hillary Clinton: I am "adamantly" against "illegal immigrants"
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