Public News ServiceTX: Defensores del Migrante en Texas – el DREAM Act vuelve al frente

(06/18/12) Deb Courson Smith/Alfonso López-Collada, Public News Service – TX
AUSTIN, Texas – Vuelven los problemas de migración por el posible cambio de juego en esta época de elecciones. Mientras la Suprema Corte evalúa la controversial aplicación de la ley de inmigración de Arizona, los detractores acusan al Presidente Obama de extralimitar su labor ejecutiva por su decisión del viernes pasado de permitir a muchos inmigrantes sin documentos solicitar el estatus de deportación diferida. Mientras tanto en Texas, los defensores del inmigrante predicen que la jugada de la administración será envalentonar a los jóvenes “DREAMers” – individuos traídos a los Estados Unidos cuando eran niños – para que se vuelvan políticamente más activos.

Con la decisión de la administración Obama, la inmigración está surgiendo rápidamente como el problema dormido de esta época de elecciones. Los defensores de la comunidad fronteriza de Texas predicen un incremento en la actividad política por parte de los “DREAMers” porque ya se sienten libres para expresarse sin miedo de revelar su estatus legal. Esther Reyes, Directora Ejecutiva de la Coalición de los Derechos del Inmigrante en Austin y miembro de Reform Immigration for Texas Alliance (Reforma Migratoria en la Alianza de Texas), dice que el riesgo que asumen los “DREAMers” que han estado ocupando las oficinas de campaña de Obama en todo el país durante las semanas pasadas, merece gran parte del crédito por la nueva política.

“Esto es resultado del trabajo de los estudiantes, más que nada. Sin duda fue un testamento de su arduo trabajo y su audacia y valor para luchar por sus derechos y por la justicia.”

La Secretaria de Seguridad Interior, Janet Napolitano, declaró que la decisión fue el último paso del compromiso que hizo la administración hace un año para enfocar los esfuerzos de deportación en quienes cometen algún delito. Los inmigrantes elegibles pueden solicitar la prórroga de deportación en incrementos de dos años, así como solicitar permisos para trabajar.

Si bien Reyes aplaude la medida, opina que los grupos como la Austin Immigrant Rights Coalition (Coalición pro Derechos del Inmigrante de Austin), que ella dirige, estarán monitoreando su aplicación para asegurarse de que los solicitantes y sus familias no corran riesgos legales. Agrega que el impacto del cambio de política será limitado, a menos que el Congreso lo refuerce con leyes.

“También necesitamos un alivio completo, permanente, para nuestros estudiantes sin documentos, porque esto no significa un camino a la ciudadanía. Y eso es por lo que todos los indocumentados de este país luchan: por ser reconocidos.”

La legislación “DREAM Act” ganó el apoyo mayoritario en ambos Congresos, pero cedió ante un opositor filibustero. Reyes tiene la esperanza de que una revisión con otro enfoque a los problemas migratorios eventualmente llevará a una reforma integral de todo el sistema migratorio nacional.

Los detractores dicen que la política de Obama es un exceso de autoridad con motivos políticos y que oculta una amnistía. El Congresista por Texas Lamar Smith dijo que tendrá “consecuencias horribles” para los desempleados estadounidenses. Reyes opina que sacar a los migrantes de la sombra les permitirá contribuir más abiertamente a la economía.

“Estas juventudes indocumentadas han demostrado su compromiso con este país, así que tenemos que reconocerles lo que realmente están haciendo.”

El Gobierno abrió una línea para preguntas sobre elegibilidad y cómo solicitar la prórroga de su estatus. El número es 800-375-5283.

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Gotham Gazette: Bill Curtails City Role in Deportations

"With states such as Arizona and Alabama passing immigration laws that go far beyond those of the federal government, the New York City Council weighed in on the issue yesterday and took a decidedly different stand.

By an overwhelming majority, the council passed a bill sponsored by Melissa Mark-Viveritoof Manhattan that would end the Department of Correction's policy of cooperating with federal efforts to deport undocumented immigrants. The bill, said by supporters to be the first of its kind in the country, will end two decades of cooperation between the city jail system and federal immigration authorities, now called Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.

This bill, Intro 656, Mark-Viverito said shortly before its passage, 'sends a strong message we will no longer be complicit in this country's broken immigration system.'

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn cited another message as well. 'When signed by the mayor,' she said, 'the entire government of New York will send a message the city of New York is supportive of, friendly to and welcoming to immigrants.'"  Read more.

 

Huffington Post: Deportations Leave Behind Thousands Of Children In Foster Care

"An unprecedented increase in the deportation of undocumented immigrants has left an estimated 5,100 children languishing in U.S. foster homes — a troubling figure that could triple in the coming years, according to a November report from a New York-based advocacy group. 

The "Shattered Families" report from the Applied Research Center, which the activist group says is the first to analyze national data related to the separation of families involved in deportations, offers a look at the human dimension of the highly contentious immigration debate.

The Obama administration deported 46,000 parents of children who are U.S. citizens in the first six months of 2011, the ARC report says. Government data shows a total of 397,000 expulsions in fiscal year 2011, with half involving people with criminal records.

'This means that almost one in four people deported is the parent of a United States citizen child,'saidSeth Freed Wessler, the report's chief investigator and author. 'ARC's research has uncovered a troubling collateral effect of these deportations: Thousands of children enter the child welfare system and are often stuck there.'"  Read more …

 

Huffington Post: DHS Documents State Local Police Not Required To Hold Undocumented Immigrants For U.S. Government

"WASHINGTON — Local law enforcement agencies are not required to hold undocumented immigrants at the request of the federal government, according to internal Department of Homeland Security documents obtained by a coalition of groups critical of the Secure Communities enforcement program.

The documents could provide ammunition for jurisdictions that no longer want to participate inSecure Communities, which allows federal immigration authorities to use fingerprints to scan those arrested by local law enforcement. They also support recent actions by Cook County, Ill., Santa Clara, Calif., and San Francisco, all of which decided this year to stop adhering to federal requests to hold undocumented immigrants who were either low-level offenders or were accused of felonies.

The National Day Laborer Organizing Network, Center for Constitutional Rights and Benjamin Cardozo School of Law received the documents after a Freedom of Information Act request and plan to release them this week. The three documents, from October 2010 and January 2011, clarify DHS policy on detainers — requests from federal immigration officials for police to hold those arrested, in some cases after being detected by enforcement programs.

'A detainer serves only to advise another law enforcement agency that ICE seeks an opportunity to interview and potentially assume custody of an alien presently in the custody of that agency,'according to an undated document.

Another document, notes from a briefing to Congressional Hispanic Caucus staff in October 2010, says 'local [law enforcements] are not mandated to honor a detainer, and in some jurisdictions they do not.' The third document, a series of questions and answers emailed in January 2010, says ICE detainers are 'a request,' and 'there is no penalty if they [local law enforcement] do not comply.'" Read more …

 

Austin Statesman: Religion leaders see immigration as ‘God’s call’

"ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A Unitarian church in New Mexico sends supplies to the border for recent deportees. A coalition of church leaders gathers under a statue of colonial America religious figure Anne Hutchinson at the Massachusetts Statehouse to denounce immigration checks by police. A Methodist minister in Texas recites Isaiah 58:6, a passage about loosening the bonds of injustice, as she's thrown in jail after protesting alongside illegal immigrant students outside a U.S. senator's office.

As some states pass laws aimed at cracking down on illegal immigration and federal lawmakers balk at passing any immigration reforms, religious leaders from various denominations are jumping into the debate. They're holding rallies, walking in the Arizona desert, gathering testimonies from immigrants. The leaders fast, get arrested, and sometimes put their own health on the line in an attempt to draw attention to what they see as inhumane treatment of immigrants and to the laws that target them." Read more …

 

Houston Chronicle: ICE blamed for Texas parolee law delay

"The state has been unable to enforce a new law designed to increase the deportations of illegal immigrants from the Texas prison system amid concerns that federal immigration officials are unprepared to handle the anticipated influx of convicted criminals, state officials said.

Under the new law, which was scheduled to take effect Sept. 1, state prisoners who are granted parole and turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials must either be deported or leave the country voluntarily – or risk being returned to state custody to serve out the remainder of their sentences.

The law was crafted to address a vexing problem identified by the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, which reported granting parole to some illegal immigrants and turning them over to ICE – only to later learn that they were not removed from the country, said state Rep. Jerry Madden, R-Plano.

Madden, chairman of the House Corrections Committee, said the law also aims to save taxpayers millions of dollars by paroling primarily 'low-risk, nonviolent' prisoners who are in the country illegally after they become eligible for parole."  Read more …

 

 

Color Lines: Counties Defy Feds, Vow Not to Detain Immigrants on ICE’s Behalf

"Cooperating with the federal government’s immigration enforcement agenda may be mandatory for local law enforcement, but localities are finding ways around the federal government’s programs.

Last week northern California’s Santa Clara County became the latest locality to pass an ordinance that will likely curb the number of its residents who get handed over to federal immigration authorities through the immigration enforcement program Secure Communities. That same week, Washington, D.C. mayor Vincent Gray signed an executive order reaffirming the rights of D.C. residents not to get harassed by law enforcement officers about their immigration status.

These announcements are the latest in a string of similar moves from other counties which have attempted to push back on the federal government’s interpretation of its Secure Communities program. S-Comm, as the initiative is often called, allows immigration officials to check the fingerprints of everyone booked into a local or county jail against federal immigration records. Even if the person is wrongfully arrested or never charged with any crime, they become subject to deportation if they’re found to be undocumented. If a match is found, Immigration and Customs Enforcement — if it doesn’t already have an agent posted inside the local jail — will call local law enforcement and ask them to detain a person while ICE agents come down to the jail to take them away for detention proceedings.

Santa Clara County has now determined that enforcing such detainers for ICE are 'requests' from the federal government which it’s under no obligation to carry out. It’s further argued that holding onto people in county jails for ICE is a costly financial burden that localities, which are not reimbursed by the federal government, should not to have enforce."  Read more …

 

 

Austin Statesman: Three Predator drones added to border fleet

BORDER SECURITY

Three Predator drones added to border fleet

"WASHINGTON — The Homeland Security Department is adding three drone aircraft, including one in Texas, to a fleet used mostly to patrol the border with Mexico, although it doesn't have enough pilots to operate the seven Predators it already has. The drones are being purchased after lobbying by members of the so-called drone caucus in Congress, many from Southern California, a hub of the drone aircraft industry. 'We didn't ask for them,' a Homeland Security official told the Tribune Washington Bureau on condition of anonymity. A new Predator B will arrive in Corpus Christi within days. Another Predator is slated for delivery to Arizona by year-end. A third drone will be based at Cape Canaveral, Fla., early next year." Link to article.

 

Houston Chronicle – TexMessage: Ted Poe says it’s time to deport all illegal residents of US — NOW!

Good morning, TexMessagers. Ted Poe is looking for strict punishment on immigration. What do you think?

TEXclusive

There are thousands of illegal immigrants that need to be deported, Rep. Ted Poe said on the House floor Tuesday, and he’s not just talking about Mexican nationals.

Poe announced his introduction of the Deport Convicted Foreign Criminals Act- legislation that would punish nations that refuse to repatriate their criminals out of the United States within 90 days by refusing to issue visas to their citizens until they comply.

Poe, R-Humble, was reacting to what he called the “astonishing” news from the Federal Bureau of Prisons that more than 25 percent of federal prisoners are foreign nationals in the United States Illegally.

“These criminals serve their sentence in out of our state or Federal prisons, Poe said. “Then after they serve that sentence and they are ordered deported, here’s what happens: many of their native countries refuse to take back their deported criminals. Why would they take them back? They’ve got enough criminals of their own.”  Read more …

 

 

ACLU Blog of Rights: Immigration Detainees Fear Rape and Death

"Every year for at least the last four years, an officer, guard or other employee at an immigration detention center in Texas has been criminally prosecuted for sexually assaulting an immigration detainee. Every time, the government issues a press release about the prosecution and trumpets its efforts to protect detainees and punish bad actors — the implication being that sexual assault in detention is limited in scope and due merely to the actions of a few bad actors.

But it isn't.

Government documents obtained by the ACLU through the Freedom of Information Actand made public last week contain nearly 200 allegations of sexual abuse of immigration detainees jailed at detention facilities across the nation since 2007 alone. While more complaints came from facilities in Texas than any other state, allegations have come from nearly every state that houses a detention center. And because sexual abuse is something that is widely underreported, there can be little question that the information we have thus far received is only the tip of the iceberg. What is clear is that the sexual abuse of immigration detainees is a widespread problem and that immigration detainees are particularly vulnerable to abuse." Read more …