A New York Times story is detailing how an influx of Central American refugees is complicating the Obama Administration’s immigration policies, including how building family detention camps to send an anti-immigration signal in 2014 has come back to challenge legal and political situations in an election year. In particular, the report notes that Jude Dolly M Gee of the Federal District Court of the Central District of California ordered back in August that migrant children could not be held in a locked detention center and had to be released, with their parents, “without unnecessary delay.”
Instead of moving away from the camps, the government doubled-down win increased capacity. The NYT report is also interesting in noting that the camps were meant to send a “stay away” message to potential asylum seekers. It says that the “… Obama administration devised a strategy to manage the influx, putting them in detention centers to convince others that illegal crossers would be caught and sent back.”
Read the report here: A Rush of Central Americans Complicates Obama’s Immigration Task
The Associated Press is releasing a Los Angeles-based investigative report that pretty much indicts the entire U.S. government effort to deal with those unaccompanied kids seeking a sanctuary in the United States. The tale of epic fail begins “… as tens of thousands of children fleeing violence in Central America crossed the border in search of safe harbor, overwhelmed U.S. officials weakened child protection policies, placing some young migrants in homes where they were sexually assaulted, starved, or forced to work for little or no pay, an Associated Press investigation has found.”
Responding to public pressure, the U.S. simply cut some corners. The AP notes that “… first, the government stopped fingerprinting most adults seeking to claim the children. In April 2014, the agency stopped requiring original copies of birth certificates to prove most sponsors’ identities. The next month, it decided not to complete forms that request sponsors’ personal and identifying information before sending many of the children to sponsors’ homes. Then, it eliminated FBI criminal history checks for many sponsors.”
The AP found dozens of children who were placed in abusive situations and reports that “Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, who chairs the Senate’s bipartisan Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, said he will hold a hearing on the agency’s child placement program Thursday because he is concerned that the failures are systemic.”
A leading California charter schools group is suing the Los Angeles School District for $224 million in bond money it claims was earmarked for charters but diverted. The L.A. based Courthouse News Service reports that the California Charter Schools Association claims in a Jan. 11 lawsuit that “… the LAUSD violated Proposition 39, the Smaller Classes, Safer Schools and Financial Accountability Act. The 2000 proposition amended the state constitution to reduce the voter threshold needed to approve school bonds from two-thirds to 55 percent.”
The CNS offers background: “Almost 20 percent of LAUSD school students attend independent charter schools, and in the past 10 school years enrollment in charter schools has increased by 400 percent, the association says. In that time, L.A. public schools decreased by 150,000, according to the complaint. The association says charter schools and students desperately need public funds to stay open and maintain their facilities. In 2008, California voters approved a $7 billion bond measure that included $450 million earmarked for charter schools.
Read the CNS coverage here:
Writing in the Connecticut Law Tribune, the president of the Connecticut Bar Foundation is adding his voice to the calls for a “civil Gideon” program for the poor. James T. Shearin first reviews the massive funding cuts to state and federal programs aimed at helping the disadvantaged then notes that “… there is also an important discussion underway about the viability of adopting Civil Gideon legislation, an effort to provide state-funded counsel to clients who meet the federal poverty level. Chief Justice Chase Rogers commented in her address to the CBA in June 2015. The civil Gideon movement, named after the case that guaranteed legal representation in criminal cases, is already being tested in San Francisco and other cities.
In that address, Justice Rogers said: “I believe strongly that it is time for Connecticut to accelerate serious and comprehensive discussions regarding representation for people who cannot afford certain types of cases. I say this in full recognition of the financial limitations that exist in contemplating ‘Civil Gideon,’ but also in the hope that a dialogue—with the bar as an active participant—will lead to further enhancement of access to justice.”
Shearin writes that “… urging consideration for Civil Gideon, she [Rogers] joins CBA President William Clendenen, who in 2014 wrote a two-part article titled “A Civil Right to Counsel—The Time Has Come for Connecticut to Provide Access to Justice for Connecticut’s Economically Disadvantaged.” Clendenen noted that the 2012 World Justice Project’s Rule of Law Index ranked the United States near the bottom of the list in providing access to justice in comparison to similarly developed countries. While probably years away from passage, Civil Gideon legislation is the best, long-term solution to addressing the critical need of ensuring that the rule of law is available to all.”
Sweeping immigration reform implemented by President Obama’s executive order, which was frozen by federal courts, will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. The court announced this week that it will hear the case that would impact tens of millions of people. CNN notes that “the Supreme Court — which already has a docket bursting with consequential issues — will likely rule on the case by early summer. If the Court greenlights the programs that are considered a centerpiaece of the President’s second term, they will go into effect before he leaves office.”
The CNN report offers background: “At issue is the implementation of the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) aimed at the approximately 4.3 million undocumented immigrants who are parents of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents, as well as an expansion of the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) targeting teenagers and young adults who were born outside of the U.S. but raised in the country. The President’s actions allow eligible participants to obtain temporary lawful presence and apply for work authorization as well as some associated benefits.”
See the report here: Obama immigration reform: SCOTUS to hear actions – CNNPolitics.com
Back in December, CCM Publisher Sara Warner joined Buena Park School District, Children Giving Hope & Brentwood Home to deliver Brentwood Mattress to families in need. This is her post about that visit:
The weekend before Christmas, a group of 50 volunteers loaded Premier Chevrolet trucks with Brentwood Home mattresses to deliver to some very deserving families in Buena Park, California. Hundreds of families were surveyed to find out if there were family members in need of a warm bed to sleep on. With the assistance of Brentwood Home and volunteers, the event was able to provide a joyful Christmas surprise to 70 families!
According to Vy Wynn, CEO of Brentwood Home, ” Christmas is all about caring for those in need and the less fortunate. I’m glad that we decided to partner up with the school district & Giving Children Hope.” Even though the parents had been notified of the gift they would be receiving, most of the mothers shed tears of delight when the team arrived with a memory foam Brentwood Home mattress and bedding.
It was humbling to see many of the living situations these families were in: multiple children in sharing one bed and parents on couches or the floor. Even in light of these tough ciircumstances, there was so much light in every room we entered. One single mother of four mother stated, “Receiving this bed is a blessing from God. I don’t sleep well as it is, but I know this will make such an impact, not only on my sleep, but my attitude throughout the day as well.” (Children Giving Hope http://www.givingchildrenhope.org/beds-for-christmas/)
It was such a honor to join Buena Park, Children Giving Hope & Brentwood Home in a event that gave back to a community. We are very passionate about issues involving education at the California Courts Monitor and it was nice knowing these mattresses would ensure that some children would get a better night’s sleep for the challenging school day ahead.
We made a donation to Children Giving Hope as we were so touched how they are changing the lives of so many school children.. I hope you join us by visiting www.givingchildrenhope.org and making a generous contribution today.
Sara Warner CCM Publisher at Buena Park Mattress Giveaway Event-video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5vDSKksPXQ (spanish interview)
http://www.givingchildrenhope.org/beds-for-christmas/ (link to their blog)