Tag Archives: Comprehensive Immigration Reform

“Reform” for whom?; deportation is the problem; DACA update; and the 10 worst detention centers 11/12-11/18

18 Nov

Senators Charles Schumer and Lindsay Graham

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.

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Economic strategy in Georgia welcomes immigrants*. [*Only applies to detention centers]

18 Apr

Irwin Detention CenterGeorgian economic strategy welcome immigrants*.( *Only applies to detention centers), The Nation, 4.10.12
As Georgia’s state legislature advances anti-immigrant laws, one small impoverished county tried to stake its future on immigrants. The annual per-capita income in Irwin county is just under $15,000, creating a need for any type of economic growth. However, they are not talking about bringing in immigrant labor to work in poultry processing or in farming. Local leaders wanted to bring in the immigrant detention business. County leaders tried to sell the idea of a detention facility to ICE, even though the location is less than ideal. Irwin County is far removed from legal services and other similar facilities in rural Georgia have been plagued with human rights abuses. With millions of dollars at stake, leaders of Irwin County are only considering the bed-spaces they might be renting to ICE. Illustrating the how the detention industrial complex pits a poor community against immigrants.

Nine Undocumented Immigrants Die in Car Crash, AP, 4.12.12
Last week, a teenager crashed a van with undocumented immigrants in Southern Texas. The teen was stopped at a border checkpoint, at which point several passengers escaped, leading border agents on a chase. The teen drove away in the van, only making it three blocks before crashing, tossing the remaining passengers from the van. Three went to hospital, nine died in the accident. In court proceedings he said that he was forced to drive the van because of threats by smugglers. The tragedy demonstrates the intersection of two immigration policies: 1) the economic situation that drives immigrants to enter hazardous situations, 2) militarized border leading to dangerous border crossings. The 15 year old boy has been charged with 9 counts of murder.

Camouflaged men gun down two immigrants at the border, LA Times, 4.13.12
In another demonstration of the danger at the border, two men in camouflage opened fire on a Chevy pick-up truck Northwest of Tucson, Arizona. The truck was carrying 20-30 undocumented immigrants when attacked. Two of the men in the truck died: one was from Toluca, Mexico, and the other from Guatemala. Although exact cause for the attack has not been determined, authorities are pointing blame to the lawless nature of the drug smuggling and border crossing common in the area.

Obama pledges to do more comprehensive immigration reform in his second term, The Hill, 4.14.12
“I can promise that I will try to do it in the first year of my second term,”  said Obama when interviewed by Univision on comprehensive immigration reform. He faces the challenge of building support among Latinos, while explaining immigration policies, such as deporting over one million immigrants in the first three years of his presidency. Candidate Obama made a similar promise about enacting immigration reform his first year of office while he was running for president in 2008.