Report: Half of Californians Worry Somebody They Know Will Be Deported

A new report by the Capital & Main group, published at Newsweek, outlines how deeply the immigration and deportation issues are felt in California. The report also notes that”… fifty-one percent of California adults said increased federal immigration enforcement left them worried that someone they know could be deported, according to the survey from the Public Policy Institute of California. Thirty percent said they worry ‘a lot’ about it, according to the poll.

The report also notes that, under President Trump, “… deportations have actually fallen…compared with the same time period last year, but the number of arrests of undocumented immigrants has increased. Some of those people are owed a day in court, and the immigration courts are backlogged with pending cases.”

The immigration cours are designated as “civil” cases, as opposed to criminal cases. One difference is that people in civil cases lack the guarantee of a lawyer.

See the story here: http://www.newsweek.com/half-california-adults-believe-someone-know-deported-trump-619282

Getting Deported Back to Haiti Almost Killed Me

Illustration Credit: Paul Moreno

Illustration Credit: Paul Moreno

The ongoing debates over United States immigration and refugee policy is bringing many personal stories into the spotlight, mostly featuring immediate concerns. But VICE is offering a compelling story of a South Florida man who was deported back to Haiti at the age of 22. The story is counter-intuitive in many ways – he prefers Reagan to Clinton as American presidents go and offers mixed feelings about how Florida would have worked out.

Now Jean Pierre Marseille is described as a “journalist, fixer, translator, salesman” and “jack of all trades.” His story offers a lesson in how policy translates into personal history, and you can find it here:

Getting Deported Back to Haiti Almost Killed Me

The Los Angeles Times has a good deep-dive report into the Trump administration’s “expedited deportation” policy

Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly. (Jose Mendez / European Pressphoto Agency)

Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly. (Jose Mendez / European Pressphoto Agency)

The Los Angeles Times has a good deep-dive report into the Trump administration’s “expedited deportation” policy, noting that legal challenges are being planned. The report notes that “… [the] administration’s efforts to step up immigration enforcement and streamline deportation — outlined in memos from Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly — could affect far more people, including potentially most of the estimated 11 million immigrants living illegally in the United States.”
And it adds that “… one part of that effort — the expanded use of what the law refers to as expedited removal — is almost certain to face a constitutional challenge in the courts.”
The Times backgrounds that the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly said that immigrants, even those who are here illegally, are protected by the Constitution’s guarantee of due process of law. The justices cite the 5th Amendment, which says, “No person shall be … deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process of law.” Because the language refers to “no person,” not to “no citizen,” its protections cover “even one whose presence in this country is unlawful, involuntary or transitory,” the court said unanimously in 1976.
But how much process is due for immigrants who entered illegally or overstayed their visas remains “a gray area,” said UCLA law professor Hiroshi Motomura.
Read the very fine not-fake-news report here:
Trump’s fast-track deportations face a legal hurdle: Do unauthorized immigrants have a right to a hearing before a judge?

NYT Outlines Obama’s Immigration ‘Shift’

Central American immigrants who had been released from United States Border Patrol detention waited at the Greyhound bus station in McAllen, Tex., in July 2014. Credit John Moore/Getty Images

Central American immigrants who had been released from United States Border Patrol detention waited at the Greyhound bus station in McAllen, Tex., in July 2014. Credit John Moore/Getty Images

The New York Times is among those reporting that the Obama administration is “delaying deportation proceedings” for recent immigrants in cities across the United States, allowing more than 50,000 of those who fled Central American communities since 2014 to remain in the country – legally – for years. It’s not a true policy shift, but instead a cost-saving measure, experts say. They also say mostly families are the ones staying.
 
The NYT reported that: “The shift, described in interviews with immigration lawyers, federal officials, and current and former judges, has been occurring without public attention for months. It amounts to an unannounced departure from the administration’s widely publicized pronouncements that cases tied to the so-called surge of 2014 would be rushed through the immigration courts in an effort to deter more Central Americans from entering the United States illegally.”
 
The report also notes that “.. the delays are being made as a cost-saving measure, federal officials said, because of a lapse in enforcement that allowed immigrants who were supposed to be enrolled in an electronic monitoring program to go free. Some of those affected had failed to report to government offices to be fitted with GPS ankle bracelets, according to a February memo from the chief immigration judge, Print Maggard, in Arlington, Va. Now that the government will not have to pay the daily fee of $4 to $8 a person to monitor such bracelets, the immigrants’ cases have been pushed back for years, some until 2023, judges and federal officials said. The cases of those who met their reporting obligations are still being expedited, with some cases moving faster than lawyers and judges had expected.”
 

‘Border Kids’ Immigration Influx Is Once Again On The Rise

As reported by NPR: Detainees sleep and watch television in a holding cell where hundreds of mostly Central American immigrant children are being processed at a U.S. Customs facility in Nogales, Texas.

As reported by NPR: Detainees sleep and watch television in a holding cell where hundreds of mostly Central American immigrant children are being processed at a U.S. Customs facility in Nogales, Texas.

A Texas newspaper reports that the number of unaccompanied children being apprehended at the southern United States border – I’ve dubbed them “border kids” – is once again on the increase. Reporter Dylan Baddor at the Mount Pleasant Daily Tribune writes that in the Border Patrol’s Big Bend sector of Texas, “the number of unaccompanied children apprehended trying to enter the country during that period averaged 24 between 2010 and 2014. This year agents tallied 319.”
 
Statewide, says the report, 7,390 unaccompanied children were caught crossing in those two months, and 85 percent increase over the same period last year. The newspaper quotes Marc Rosenblum, a deputy director at the Migration Policy Institute in Washington D.C., saying that“… we’re clearly seeing a significant uptick.”
 
The Border Kids crisis became a national focus last year and prompted the Obama Administration to fast-track the cases, sometimes moving them to the “front of the line” in a backed-up immigration court system. Current estimates are that more than 450,000 cases are backlogged in the courts, which are actual civil procedures held as part of the U.S. Justice Department.
 
See the Daily Tribune story here: http://www.dailytribune.net/site/about.html

Obama Immigration Case Has Implications For Presidential Race

The Christian Science Monitor, or a we call it around here “the other Monitor,” has an excellent analysis of how President Obama’s executive action case might influence the 2016 presidential race. You may have noted that a federal court sided with a lower court that the president over-reached in his actions that effected about 5 million of the estimated 11 million undocumented folks in the United States.
 
The CSM notes the timing: “If the Supreme Court opts to hear the case, it would likely issue a decision next June – just as the 2016 presidential race is heading into the home stretch. And the implications for the Latino vote could be big, not only for the top of the ticket but also in key Senate races in states with large Latino populations, such as Nevada, Florida, Colorado, and Illinois.”
 

President’s Immigration Action Headed To Supreme Court?

As reported by Reuters on 11/10/15: "U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks at an Organizing for Action event in Washington November 9, 2015. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas"

As reported by Reuters on 11/10/15: “U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks at an Organizing for Action event in Washington November 9, 2015. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas”

In a move that seems likely to bring the U.S. Supreme Court into the legal fray over President Obama’s executive actions on immigration, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans decided 2-1 to uphold a May injunction against the measure. Reuters notes that the decision “… deals a blow to Obama’s plan, opposed by Republicans and challenged by 26 states. The states, all led by Republican governors, said the federal government exceeded its authority in demanding whole categories of immigrants be protected.”
 
Millions of immigrants are effected by the court decision but “discretion” in law enforcement is expected pending further legal appeals, most likely to the Supreme Court.
 

Read more at Reuters.

SF Immigration-Murder Case May Be ‘Willie Horton’ of 2015

The broad-daylight killing of a woman by an undocumented immigrant is becoming a political football, and the San Francisco Chronicle gets it right by saying: “… from the presidential stage to California’s local political contests, it may be accused killer Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, a Mexican citizen with a string of deportations and drug-related felonies in the U.S., who becomes this year’s Willie Horton and shapes the debate over illegal immigration.”
 
The report quotes a political science professor saying that the victim’s death “… has catapulted itself onto the national stage, because it allows those who are running in the heartland to talk about all the liberal icons and all the stereotypes associated with San Francisco… in some way, this is becoming a Willie Horton moment for the country.”
 
But the story also reminds us that  more than 320 jurisdictions have sanctuary policies similar to San Francisco. Supporters say such policies help, among other things, foster trust with people living in the community without documentation. Meanwhile, the USA Today coverage tells us that more than 10,000 people have been released that federal authorities wanted held.
 
The USA Today and Chronicle stories are below.
 
 
 
 

Tomorrow’s Immigration News Today: Devil In The Details

Not to equate the United States Justice Department with Lucifer himself, but the old saying that “the devil’s in the details” is holding up with President Obama’s immigration actions. You have to read with a particular eye, but a Washington Post report by  Juliet Eilperin and Jerry Markon notes that “… one of the provisions the Justice Department lawyers included, which they also pushed for during the creation of the 2012 program, was to make clear that federal immigration officials would still have the option of deporting individuals who might otherwise qualify for a deferral.”

Wait, what? With some 400,000 cases pending in the Justice Department’s own immigration courts, they also have the option of deporting people who would “otherwise” qualify for defferral? The WaPo also reports that the “… memo states that the new policy ‘provides for case-by-case determinations about whether an individual alien’s circumstances warrant the expenditure of removal resources, employing a broad standard that leaves ample room for the exercise of individual discretion by enforcement officials.’”

One point of the story is that some people who might qualify for protection under the Obama action will no self-identify to authorities. It’s the kind of uncertainty that has kept some “Dreamers” from stepping forward. From what we’ve seen in the past year, “trust the Justice Department” is going to be a tough sell, and a future headline will be “Few Take Obama Up On Protection Offer.”

You read it here first! And you can see the excellent WaPo work here.

Journalist Notes Change In U.S. ‘Trick’ Deportations

Los Angeles-based journalist Charles Davis, writing online at VICE, has noted changes in one of the more troubling immigration polices coming to light amid the ongoing child-refugee border crisis. He reports on an Aug. 27 court settlement that “… the [U.S] government will no longer use ‘threats,’ ‘misrepresentations,’ or ‘subterfuge’ in order to trick undocumented immigrants into agreeing to voluntarily deport themselves.”

Davis quotes from written arguments by Gabriel Rivera and Mitra Ebadolahi from the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties: “For years, countless families throughout Southern California have been torn apart by immigration enforcement agencies’ coercive and deceptive ‘voluntary return’ practices… as a matter of standard practice, ICE and Border Patrol have misinformed immigrants about the consequences of ‘voluntary return,’ including withholding the fact that ‘voluntary return’ can trigger a ten year bar against returning to the United States.”

The VICE post paints a truly alarming picture of what’s been going on in our immigration process, including intimidation and suggesting that failure to “go along” might mean trouble for family members.

You can read it here.