Tag Archives: Immigration courts

“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.


Immigration courts pose yet another challenge for immigrants 4/4-4/10

10 Apr

Immigration courts: troubled system, long waits, SFGATE, 4-4-11
This article in the SFGATE covers several common experiences within the immigration courts. The average length of an immigration case to be resolved is 639 days. Many of the troubles are due to lack of time, and intensified pressure from ICE to increase deportation rates.
In addition to fears of deportation, anti-immigrant attitudes, the immigration courts are another way in which undocumented immigrants are reminded of their second-class status in this country. The article reports many inadequacies of the immigration courts such as long waits, and inadequate preparation by attorneys, that often lead to decisions before all the facts are in. In several circumstances, individual’s medical conditions were not attended to in detainment. One man, a diabetic from Guinea, was denied medical attention and was given spoiled food. This is the collateral damage, of the Obama administration’s increase in the number of deportations.

CA anti-immigrant bills die in committee, SFGATE, 4-5-11
Assemblymember Tim Donnelly from San Bernardino tries to get two pieces of legislation through committee but fails. The first would have required identity check for any one applying for public benefits; the second would have allowed cities to be sued for Sanctuary city policies.

Unfair to immigrants, costly to tax payers, NYTIMES, 4-4-11
Opinion piece by Scott Stringer and Andrew Friedman that suggests that the money spent on detaining and deporting undocumented immigrants is misspent. The authors notes that over half of the people held at Rikers with immigration related charges do not have criminal charges.

Alabama house passes Arizona style immigration law, AL.com, 4-5-2011
Not to be outdone by their counterparts in the Arizona, many representatives are pursuing anti-immigrant policies in their own states. In this article the republican sponsor of the bill explained: “…bill attacks every aspect of an illegal alien’s life.” The ultimate purpose of these new sets of laws is to make life so unbearable for undocumented immigrants that they leave on their own accord. Little regard is taken for the fact that these laws often impact all brown people, those with and those without the right documents.

7 Students arrested for protesting anti-immigrant laws in Georgia, CNN, 4-5-2011
Students blocked traffic at an Atlanta intersection to draw attention to immigration reform, and specifically the DREAM act. Of note: according to recent census data ¼ of children under 18 are Hispanic. Included in the article  was Obama’s reaction to the failure of the DREAM act, to make it clear that he had not completely forgotten about the Latino vote: “We didn’t get it passed this time, but I don’t want young people to be giving up because if people in the past had given up, we probably wouldn’t have women’s rights, we wouldn’t have civil rights,” Obama said during a Univision-sponsored town hall meeting at a High School in Washington.