Small steps towards immigrants’ rights in the first week of the New Year, 1.1.2012 – 1.8.2012

11 Jan
Latino speaking to LULAC

Obama speaking to LULAC. AFP/GETTY IMAGES

The Obama administration proposed new rules this week to modify the green card application process for some undocumented immigrants – giving advocates for immigrants’ rights a bit of hope as we enter the New Year. Under the current rules, undocumented immigrants must return to their home country before applying for a green card, and may have to wait up to ten years before returning to the United States. Obama’s proposal will allow some undocumented immigrants, with parents or spouses who are U.S. citizens, to remain in the U.S. while they go through the green card process. This rule change, if approved, will help prevent harmful family separations.

California and Massachusetts faced, and rebuffed, attempts to roll back immigrants’ rights. In California, groups seeking to repeal the California Dream Act – which enables undocumented immigrants to receive financial aid at State universities – announced that they did not collect the signatures needed to put a repeal measure on the ballot. In Massachusetts, the State Supreme Court ruled that legal immigrants must be covered through the State’s health insurance program Commonwealth Care.

Though these are small victories, following a year of increasing deportations and harsh immigration policies, it is heartening to start off with some good news from the first week of 2012.

In Other News:

Agents’ Union Stalls Training on Deportation Rules, NY Times, 1.8.12
ICE, in a program pushed by President Obama, is organizing a training course for immigration officers and prosecutors to target deportation cases on those immigrants convicted of violent crime. However, the ICE union (the National ICE Council) will not allow its members to partake in the training.

Migrants’ New Paths Reshaping Latin America, NY Times, 1.5.12
The economy, safety, and immigration policies are changing immigration trends across Latin America – with fewer people coming to the U.S., and more people migrating within their home countries, or to other Latin American countries such as Chile, Argentina, and Mexico.

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