What’s really in immigration “reform”?
Seth Freed Wessler of Colorlines.com posses the question: “What qualifies as “reform,” for whom and at what price?“ Those who are concerned about the well-being of immigrants should be wary of the political rhetoric starting to fly about the halls of Congress and the airwaves of the mainstream media. The dominant narrative in the US is that the immigration system is broken. This narrative helps perpetuate the view that undocumented people are criminals or lawbreakers. As a result, the policy “solutions” that are likely to be re-introduced in the next Congress focus heavily on enforcement measures. Senators Charles Schumer and Lindsay Graham, who co-authored a bill that failed in 2010, are likely to take the lead. In interviews after the election, both stated that their plan would be “heavy on enforcement and avoid anything that sounds like amnesty.” As Colorlines.com reports, immigrant advocates are prepared to take a stand against so-called reform measures that increase enforcement.
Deportation the problem, not immigration courts
A report by the Inspector General of the Justice Department highlights our nation’s broken enforcement and deportation policies. The report determined that the backlog of cases in immigration courts are due to increased deportations, not problems with the court system. Currently, immigration judges are ruling on an average of 1,200 deportation cases each year and the system still has a backlog of over 300,000 cases of individuals awaiting to see whether or not they face deportation.
Over 50,000 individuals approved under DACA
In total, over 300,000 applications have been filed. Data released by USCIS show that over 80,000 applications have been submitted by individuals in California, almost 50,000 from Texas, and almost 20,000 from New York. It is predicted that as many as 100,000 individuals will be approved by the end of the year. The New York Times predicts that the number of applicants is likely to increase now that President Obama’s re-election ensures that the policy will continue.
“Expose and Close” campaign pushes for closure of 10 detention centers
Detention Watch Network’s campaign to end the nation’s detention system has released a report highlighting the conditions in 10 of the worst detention centers in the US. They document the chronic human rights violations in these 10 centers as a means of drawing attention to the rampant abuses and lack of oversight across all 250 of ICE’s detention facilities.