July 30, 2009

Suits for wrongful deportation by ICE rise

Suits for wrongful deportation by ICE rise

"Citizens who have been wrongfully locked up in immigration jails can't reclaim the months or years they spent behind bars, but some of them are seeking restitution and suing the U.S. government." SF Chronicle, July 28, 2009.

July 23, 2009

Police chiefs press for immigration reform

Police chiefs press for immigration reform

By Dennis Wagner, USA TODAY

PHOENIX — Some of the nation's top cops on Wednesday called upon Congress to promptly adopt an immigration reform measure, saying local law enforcement agencies across America are struggling to deal with crime and confusion caused by a broken system

July 22, 2009

Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s $2 Million Bordercams Net 11 Arrests And One Spider

Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s $2 Million Bordercams Net 11 Arrests And One Spider

"125,000 people registered to serve as “virtual Texas deputies” and monitor the border cameras on the website “BlueServo.” Camera watchers found it difficult to determine the difference between animals and undocumented immigrants crossing the border. One vigilante wrote: “Just a word of warning: A moment ago I saw a spider crawl across the top of the camera…You might want to try and prevent any webs from being spun across the lens area by treating with repellent or taking other measures.”" Andrea Nill, July 17, 2009.

Health Care: Sharing the Costs, Sharing the Benefits

Health Care: Sharing the Costs, Sharing the Benefits

"This fact sheet provides basic analysis on the benefits of inclusion and the actual impact of immigrant participation on the current health care system." IPC, July 22, 2009.

Report Says Immigration Agents Broke Laws and Agency Rules in Home Raids

By NINA BERNSTEIN
Published: July 21, 2009

Armed federal immigration agents have illegally pushed and shoved their way into homes in New York and New Jersey in hundreds of predawn raids that violated their own agency rules as well as the Constitution, according to a study to be released on Wednesday by the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.

The study by the school’s Immigration Justice Law Clinic, backed by several law enforcement experts including Nassau County’s police commissioner, found a widespread pattern of misconduct by agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement after analyzing 700 arrest reports obtained from the agency through Freedom of Information lawsuits.

The raids were supposed to focus on dangerous criminals, but overwhelmingly netted Latinos with civil immigration violations who happened to be present, the study said. Raiders mistakenly held legal residents and citizens by force in their own homes while agents rummaged through drawers seeking incriminating documents, the report said.

Acting without judicial search warrants, the agents were required to obtain informed consent from a resident before they entered a private residence. But the study found that in 86 percent of the Nassau and Suffolk County arrest reports that it analyzed, and a quarter of the New Jersey cases, no consent was recorded.

“If any local law enforcement agency in the nation were involved in these types of widespread constitutional violations it would prompt a federal investigation,” said Lawrence W. Mulvey, the Nassau police commissioner, who led a panel that guided the Cardozo report. “Federal immigration agents simply need to play by the same rules as every other law enforcement officer.”

Immigration and Customs Enforcement responded with a brief e-mail statement defending the conduct of its agents and the home raids — the same kind of response it has made to similar criticism since the Bush administration vastly expanded their use in 2006.

In 2007, Mr. Mulvey sharply criticized raids that brought scores of agents from around the country to Long Island, some brandishing shotguns, and rousted many citizens and legal residents from their beds in what Nassau officials called a poorly planned antigang operation.

The report said a similar “cowboy mentality” emerged in many other raids. In Paterson, N.J., last year, legal residents from Guatemala and their 9-year-old son, a United States citizen, were threatened with guns by immigration agents who had entered their home while the boy’s mother was in the shower.

In a Staten Island case, an immigration judge recently ruled that the conduct of agents acting without a warrant was an “egregious violation” of fundamental fairness; they had entered a man’s bedroom armed with pistols, “forced him into the hall and required him to stand in his underwear before his brother, sister-in-law and their children.”

In an e-mail message obtained under a Freedom of Information request, a federal immigration agent in Connecticut invited a state trooper to join a scheduled set of raids in New Haven, writing: “We have 18 addresses — so it should be a fun time! Let me know if you guys can play!”

The report also found a strong suggestion of racial profiling in the difference between the ethnicity of the named targets — 66 percent Latino — and of the “collateral” arrests — 87 percent Latino in New Jersey and 94 percent on Long Island.

Such concerns have surfaced repeatedly around the country in news articles and lawsuits since 2006, when the Bush administration raised the arrest quota of each raiding team eightfold, to 1,000 a year.

Six months into the Obama administration, with the same spokesmen in place from the Bush years, Immigration and Customs Enforcement responded to the Cardozo report with a general defense of its agents.

"The men and women of I.C.E. are sworn to uphold the laws of our nation,” the agency said in an e-mailed statement. “We do so professionally, humanely and with an acute awareness with the impact enforcement has on the individuals we encounter. While I.C.E. prioritizes our efforts by targeting fugitives who have demonstrated a threat to national security or public safety, we have a clear mandate to pursue all immigration fugitives."

The Cardozo report said that Janet Napolitano, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, had changed some policies that contributed to the abuses it found, like eliminating the arrest quota. But the report recommended more drastic steps.

Home raids should be “a tactic of last resort, reserved for high-priority targets,” and then only after agents have obtained judicial warrants, the report urged. A high-level supervisor should be on site, and home raids should be videotaped, it recommended.

Agents should have to note why they initially seized and questioned any person, the study said. “That’s the bread and butter of any arrest report,” said Peter L. Markowitz, who teaches at Cardozo and is one of the report’s authors. Such a note was missing from two-thirds of the arrest reports analyzed in the study.

July 21, 2009

ICE: Above the Law?

ICE: Above the Law?

"Duarnis Perez, a native of the Dominican Republic, became a U.S. citizen at 15 when his mother was naturalized. But he didn't know that meant he was also a citizen. He thought he was an illegal immigrant, and so did the authorities.He was deported and subsequently arrested trying to sneak back into the U.S. from Canada. Perez spent almost five years in prison for unlawful reentry. But when he was released in 2004, an official of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) reviewed his file and told him he had been a citizen all along. The Perez case is one of a growing chamber of horrors coming under increasing scrutiny by Congress, the Courts, and civil liberties advocates" William Fisher, The Huffington Post, July 21, 2009.

July 16, 2009

New Policy Permits Asylum for Battered Women

New Policy Permits Asylum for Battered Women

"The Obama administration has opened the way for foreign women who are victims of severe domestic beatings and sexual abuse to receive asylum in the United States. The action reverses a Bush administration stance in a protracted and passionate legal battle over the possibilities for battered women to become refugees." New York Times, July 15, 2009.

July 14, 2009

Judge gives immigrant suit class-action status

Judge gives immigrant suit class-action status

"A federal judge in San Francisco has granted class-action status to a lawsuit by hundreds of thousands of Central American immigrants who say the United States illegally overcharged them for the right to stay in this country." San Francisco Chronicle, July 14, 2009.

July 13, 2009

A race between protection and deportation

A race between protection and deportation

"The U-visa program is designed to safeguard undocumented crime victims. But advocates say government approval comes too late for some." L.A. Times, July 12, 2009

Visa Bulletin for August 2009

Visa Bulletin for August 2009

"SEPTEMBER VISA AVAILABILITY: Heavy applicant demand for numbers in the Employment Fourth preference is likely to require the establishment of a cut-off date, or the preference becoming "Unavailable" for September. This action would be necessary to keep visa issuances within the annual preference numerical limits. The preference can be expected to return to a "Current" status for October, the first month of the new fiscal year." DOS, July 9, 2009.

July 09, 2009

Immigration laws are breaking families apart, deporting too many parents with US-born children

Immigration laws are breaking families apart, deporting too many parents with US-born children

"An estimated 3.1 million U.S.-citizen children have at least one parent who is undocumented. Many others have at least one parent who is a permanent legal resident who can be subject to deportation for minor legal infractions upon filing for a change of immigration status. Every year, thousands of children are separated from a parent who has been deported." Albor Ruiz, July 9, 2009.

July 08, 2009

AILA Opposes Sessions Amendment

There He Goes Again--Sessions and E-Verify

"The Sessions amendment calls for a permanent reauthorization of the Basic Pilot/E-Verify program, and mandates its use for all federal contractors and subcontractors - including the verification of all existing employees. This amounts to a massive expansion of a program that is still not ready for prime-time." Charles Kuck, July 7, 2009.

July 06, 2009

Give Us Your Huddled Masses - But Battered Women Need Not Apply!

Give Us Your Huddled Masses - But Battered Women Need Not Apply!

"For more than a decade, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice have been playing musical chairs with a new asylum regulation that would cover victims of domestic violence." William Fisher, July 4, 2009.

Undocumented Miami resident gets one-year reprieve from deportation

Undocumented Miami resident gets one-year reprieve from deportation

Walter Lara, an undocumented Miami resident scheduled to be deported Monday, gets to stay in the United States for another year.

July 01, 2009

Stop the deportation of DREAM student Walter Lara

Stop the deportation of DREAM student Walter Lara

"Walter Lara is an honor student who has lived in the U.S. since his parents brought him here from Argentina when he was just 3 years old. Almost 20 years later, Walter is set to be deported this July 4th weekend." SEIU, July 1, 2009.