50-state resource aims to help parents prepare for possible deportation

Posted on 12. Aug, 2017 by .


CLINIC has released a new web-based resource to help guide immigrant parents and their representatives as they put legal protections in place for families in case parents are detained or deported.

Emergency Planning for Immigrant Families: A 50-State Resource, includes links to state-specific documents on guardianship, conservatorship and powers of attorney. Each state page also lists contact information for embassies or consulates for Mexico and Central American nations, as well as links to state bar associations. Some states provide handbooks or other assistance on related topics, which are linked.

“The president’s executive orders on immigration enforcement effectively put all non-citizens in the U.S, particularly those who are undocumented at risk of detention and deportation, at risk of having their families suddenly torn apart,” said Jill Marie Bussey, CLINIC’s director of advocacy.

“Parents need to assess their risk and plan in advance,” Bussey added. “They need to decide who will take care of their children, which may require naming a temporary guardian or completing a power of attorney. They also need to plan for future reunification abroad, which would require children to have proper identity and travel documents.”

Earlier this year, CLINIC released Know Your Rights materials that advise families to plan now for potential enforcement actions by immigration authorities. The new resource supplements that with key information for at-risk families as they make plans.

The resource is designed for use by legal service providers and the public. Immigration attorneys do not necessarily have expertise in the areas of law applicable to guardianship and related matters. The material can help guide non-experts to solid, qualified assistance.

“This area of law is extremely difficult,” said Lisa Parisio, CLINIC’s advocacy attorney for policy and outreach. “From the perspective of an immigration attorney or advocate, we’re not dealing in immigration law. These topics fall under family law or even estate planning.”

“On top of that,” Parisio said, “the laws, legal forms, and procedures—for naming a temporary guardian, for example—are different in each state. And those state-specific laws, forms, and procedures do not necessarily contemplate or cleanly apply to a scenario where a parent needs to name a guardian for a child because they’re at risk of being detained by ICE.”

“We strongly recommend parents contact their consulates well before any enforcement happens,” said Bussey. “This resource provides contact information for consulates and state bar associations. They are in the best position to provide referrals to attorneys in good standing who have the necessary expertise. They may also help connect people in need with accessing legal services.”

“Every parent finds it daunting to face the prospect of being forcibly separated from their children, especially to another country,” said Jeanne Atkinson, CLINIC’s executive director. “Our goal is that this resource will help families easily locate the help they need to put a plan and legal protections in place. We hope that may give them some peace of mind if the worst happens. In the meantime, CLINIC will continue to fight inhumane enforcement policies that needlessly rip families apart.”

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LA Mayor Will Defy Trump Administration On Immigration

Posted on 12. Aug, 2017 by .


From Buzzfeed –

Screen Shot 2017-08-12 at 9.38.05 AMLos Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Wednesday said he would not bend to President Trump’s threat to withhold federal funds from cities that don’t help the federal government take a harder line with undocumented immigrants.

“We will not change what we are doing and our values are not for sale,” Garcetti said during an interview with BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith at an event in Rancho Palos Verdes. “This decision was more of the kind of ideological rhetoric that actually makes us less safe.”

The comments came one day after Attorney General Jeff Sessions said cities must notify the Department of Homeland Security at least 48 hours before releasing immigrant detainees when asked. and give federal officials access to jails or risk losing millions in crime-fighting aid grants.

Garcetti said he doesn’t believe LA would lose any money by continuing with business as usual, even under the new threats from the Trump administration — pointing to multiple courts that have ruled that local police can’t hold people longer than they normally would for immigration authorities.

“What they’re asking the city to do is in violation of the Constitution,” Garcetti said.

Garcetti issued an executive directive in March barring city employees from helping immigration authorities in all but serious cases, while expanding policies that protect undocumented immigrants.

Still, Los Angeles hasn’t adopted an official “sanctuary city” ordinance like in San Francisco, which prohibits employees from collaborating with federal immigration officials. Instead, LA officials point to a long-standing policy, Special Order 40, which prohibits police from approaching people for the sole purpose of determining their immigration status.

At the same time, immigrant advocates complain that the LAPD conducts operations with Immigration and Customs Enforcement that focus on transnational gangs.

The justification for those operations is that they target criminal activity rather than immigration status. However, a BuzzFeed News investigation found that some people caught up in the operations — who are not charged with, convicted of, or suspected of committing any crime — were arrested by LAPD officers and transferred to the custody of ICE, which began deportation proceedings against them.

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Undocumented immigrant driver’s licenses near milestone in California

Posted on 30. Jul, 2017 by .


Nearly a million undocumented drivers could be licensed in California by the end of the year.

Through June 2017, the Department of Motor Vehicles has issued approximately 905,000 driver’s licenses under Assembly Bill 60, the law requiring applicants to prove only their identity and California residency, rather than their legal presence in the state.

Passed in 2013, after more than 15 years of lobbying by advocates, AB 60 was intended to bolster driver-1public safety and reduce penalties for undocumented immigrants who drive. When it finally took effect at the beginning of 2015, making California the 10th state to offer driver’s licenses to immigrants living in the country illegally, the response was so immense that it doubled initial expectations.

That pace has since slowed considerably. The DMV issued about 11,000 AB 60 licenses last month, the lowest number since the program launched. There have been approximately 83,000 issued in the first half of 2017, only slightly more than March 2015, when the monthly total peaked with 76,000.

A study released by Stanford University researchers in April credited the law with reducing hit-and-run accidents statewide by at least 7 percent in its first year of implementation. Supporters have suggested it may also be a responsible for a surge in organ donors.

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Iraqi man facing deportation takes sanctuary at local church

Posted on 30. Jul, 2017 by .


An Albuquerque man who moved here as a refugee from Iraq in 1994 faced deportation and expected to be detained by immigration officers, but took sanctuary from a local church.

Rebecca Kitson, a lawyer for Kadhim Al-bumohammed, said he decided to skip his immigration hearing.

Kitson says Immigration and Customs Enforcement knows where he is. His family can visit him at the church whenever he wants but he can’t leave the premises.

The U.S. government says 1,400 Iraqis are under deportation orders nationwide. Al-bumohammed was convicted on domestic violence charges in the 90’s but came under ICE’s radar when he missed an immigration hearing.

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El Paso bishop: Stop deportations until immigration is fixed

Posted on 30. Jul, 2017 by .


From America 20170718T1218-0026-CNS-MIGRANTS-BORDER-BISHOPMagazine –

The bishop whose diocese sits on the stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border visited by Pope Francis last year is urging Catholics and elected officials to take action against “a dark night of fear and uncertainty” facing undocumented migrants currently living there.

“Our border community knows the reality of a broken immigration system,” Bishop Mark J. Seitz of El Paso writes in “Sorrow and Mourning Flee Away,” a pastoral letter published on July 18. In it, he condemns “the militarization of our border” and he calls for a “moratorium on the deportation of non-violent immigrants” until comprehensive immigration reform is enacted.

Bishop Seitz also announced the creation of a scholarship program for undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children, known as Dreamers, to attend Catholic schools, and he announced that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Border Patrol officers would not be allowed on diocesan property without a warrant.

The letter, which the bishop describes as “just the beginning of a deeper solidarity with the poor and excluded,” comes as Texas prepares to implement a new law aimed at dismantling so-called sanctuary cities as the Trump administration moves forward with plans to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. In May, Catholic bishops vowed to continue fighting many Trump-backed immigration policies, and the mandate for a temporary working group of bishops focused on migration was renewed by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and archbishop of Galveston-Houston.

Bishop Seitz told America he wrote the letter because immigration is “a topic that is on the minds of many in our country. Sometimes it feels like the narrative of those who say that immigration is the cause of every problem in our country and that the border is a fearful place seems to be winning out.”

In reality, he writes in his pastoral letter, the border is “beautiful, rich in history and culture, faith and natural wonder.”

“This is a place where people of many cultures, languages and nationalities coexist and thrive,” Bishop Seitz said. “I ask lawmakers and policymakers in other parts of the country to end the demonization of our border, our border residents and migrants.”

He said that people living in his diocese tell him that fear among immigrant communities living on the border is on the rise.

Discussing the plight of contemporary undocumented immigrants, he said, “They’re afraid every time they leave home, even to come to church sometimes.

“I was approached by a number of teachers, not only from our area but beyond, asking for advice: What do I tell my children who come to school crying, fearful that their parents won’t be there when I return from school? They said that they’re even seeing kids having panic attacks and things like that.”

“It’s a very real fear,” he added.

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