Tag Archives: deferred action

Whither Immigration Reform?

NIYA Bring Them Home

The DREAM 9 after they were released on parole

Lets get this out of the way: Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR), with a pathway to citizenship, is dead for 2013.

Many of our friends working hard on Capitol Hill insist that immigration reform talks are moving forward despite the death of the House “Gang of 7” lawmakers who were supposedly working on a bill. I respect the undocumented youth who have been working with legislators, both Democrats and Republicans, to move the ball forward. It is not an easy task. I have been there and done that 2007-2010, watching the federal DREAM Act come up for a vote and fail to pass twice over. I have played the game with lawmakers, lobbied extensively on the issue, and organized to bring about legislative change. But the apparent failure of these efforts is also a testament to why we need people outside the institutions, such as The National Immigrant Youth Alliance (NIYA) to kick things into gear, and inject energy and enthusiasm into the debate.

I just received word from the The National Immigrant Youth Alliance that that they are not waiting for comprehensive immigration reform. To be clear, that is not what NIYA is about in the first place. NIYA’s mission is to teach immigrant communities how to fight for themselves. After the brilliant DREAM 9 action, the NIYA will be doing another border surge this coming week, Bring Them Home 2, where they will bring back dozens of families previously deported. This is in response to the very real urgency that many of us feel in our communities: we cannot face the horrors of cartel violence and live torn apart from our homes and families for another second.

As for the institutions still working towards comprehensive immigration reform, I wonder how much of that is simply the immigration non-profit industrial complex talk to keep the issue alive and not concede that the comprehensive strategy has been a dismal failure for our communities. I also wonder whether the 1,100 people deported on a daily basis can afford to wait while politicians and self-appointed figureheads pander with their lives. I have heard from many friends within the immigration reform complex that the main goal of the continuous push for immigration reform is to punish the GOP at the polls, rather than to win relief for all our communities. I could care less for the political games, and contrary to that goal, there is a real sense of urgency in a lot of immigrant communities to bring about change. Many are now looking to the so-called nuclear option — President Obama, exercising his discretionary authority, to grant relief for the 11 million, and pursue other executive remedies.

Least we forget, President Obama was compelled to issue Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), after pressure from both inside and outside groups. While it has many shortcomings and served as a way to silence a lot of critics, the program has granted relief to close to 500,000 undocumented youth. There is no reason that the President cannot expand it to cover everyone. As even Republican Marco Rubio pointed out last month,  Obama could be “tempted” into legalizing the 11 million undocumented immigrants with the “sign of a pen” if congressional reform efforts keep stalling. Many organizations, such as the National Day Labor Organizing Network (NDLON) have insisted on this temporary fix as well.

When compared to the option of eventually passing an immigration bill complete with border militarization, criminalizing future undocumented populations, and no pathway to citizenship, as many groups are now willing to compromise behind closed doors, deferred action for all may be the better temporary solution. It will remove the threat of deportation for millions of families, and allow them to reside and work legally in the United States. As more families come out of the shadows, show their contributions to society, Congress would have to create a more permanent fix, as it did with NACARA in 1997, where certain Nicaraguans, Cubans, Salvadorans, Guatemalans, nationals of former Soviet bloc countries and their dependents were granted lawful permanent resident status after their cases burdened the asylum system. A little birdie tells me that the Bring Them Home project has similar goals.

Plan A is then, to stop the deportations and grant deferred action for all. It puts more pressure on House Republicans to do something, besides drag their feet in order to kill immigration reform. It stops Democrats from using the immigration issue as a way to pander to growing Latino demographics. Deferred action for all would also create energy and enthusiasm in immigrant communities across the country. And President Obama, currently known as the Deporter-in-Chief for record-breaking deportations, gets to rewrite history books about how he granted amnesty to the 11 million, and liberated the undocumented. He shouldn’t pass it up without a second thought. That would be a mistake.

The clock is running down.

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When the U.S. Government Says “Oops We Are Sorry, We Do Not Wish to Deport You”

I’ve had an interesting few weeks.

On November 6, the DHS counsel in San Francisco filed a motion to dismiss removal proceedings in my case and told me to apply to the USCIS under de Osorio v. Mayorkas. That sounded like a fair request until DHS also filed a motion to stay the issuance of a mandate in de Osorio, until Dec 26, 2012, and it was granted by the Ninth Circuit.

If the Immigration Judge granted DHS’ motion to dismiss as well, I would be placed back into the limbo of having no status and compelled to apply for deferred action. Funnily, the DHS cannot just dismiss proceedings once jurisdiction is vested with the Court. So last week, we wrote and filed an 8-page opposition to the DHS’ motion to dismiss, laying out how dismissal of proceedings were prejudicial to me. That’s a rare occurrence.

I was justifiably outraged during this entire ordeal but I have now chosen to be amused by the government’s desire to not continue removal proceedings. Much like my undocumented friends are not allowed to “trespass” detention centers and make visits to the GEO Group headquarters, I’m not allowed to be in removal proceedings. While the U.S. government deports nearly half a million people every year and creates a human rights catastrophe in doing so, the same government would rather invest resources into terminating my removal proceedings. What makes me so special?

Maybe it scares them. Maybe it terrifies them. Maybe they are just too lazy to deal with it. Or maybe they just do not know what they are doing.

Whatever the reason, the U.S. government chose to place me in removal proceedings. And I will choose when my deportation proceedings are over. The DHS needs to deal with the end consequences of their actions. They need to waste their time in trying to deport me so they can’t pick on someone else who can’t fight back. And ultimately, they need to admit defeat when I win my green-card from under their noses.

Peace out.

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Why Dreamers Need Lawyers

Full disclosure, I’m a Dreamer. I’m also a full-time third-year law student. I work at an immigration law firm in downtown Washington D.C. and I love my job.

Like many immigrants in the United States, my family and I were screwed over by immigration lawyers and school administrators, which left me without legal status in the United States. As such, I have an inherent dislike of immigration lawyers as there are many bad ones in the profession. At the same time, I’ve had the pleasure of knowing some really great immigration lawyers who’ve helped me out on innumerable occasions.

As such, I have to come out strong against several politicians and non-profits who are spreading the dangerous and irresponsible messaging that Dreamers do not need lawyers for the new deferred action process starting on August 15. I’d strongly advise my fellow Dreamers to get a competent immigration attorney to draw them an immigration history chart to ascertain precisely what benefits they could be eligible for now and in the near future. Not doing so, would be highly irresponsible. Laura Lichter, President of the American Immigration Lawyer’s Association (AILA) does a great job of telling us why we need lawyers, but I have a few more reasons to add.

First, since June 15 2012, dozens of Dreamers have walked into our immigration law firm. Close to half of them actually qualify for better relief than deferred action. We’ve had lawful permanent residents consult with us not knowing they were in fact, lawful permanent residents. We’ve had cases of people who would not qualify for deferred action but are eligible for special immigrant juvenile status, and hence, a green card. We’ve had cases of people who’ve been victims of serious crimes and persecution, who would qualify for asylum and withholding in the U.S., and some who would qualify for U-Visas. We even had a case of a Dreamer who was actually a U.S. citizen because his dad had naturalized as a minor — he just did not know that he automatically became a U.S. citizen. And we’ve many Dreamers, including myself, who are eligible for green-cards through non-LPR cancellation of removal in immigration court.

Now most Dreamers are probably just eligible for deferred action. However, I don’t think it hurts to see an immigration lawyer, especially if you may be eligible to adjust your status to that of a lawful permanent resident. It also does not hurt to see an immigration attorney especially if you have crimes or convictions on your record. Sometimes, a lawyer can get you post-conviction relief, and USCIS will most likely honor that.

Second, in most cases, local non-profits do not have the legal expertise to answer tough legal immigration questions regarding legal terms like continuous presence, unlawful presence, advance parole in individual cases. For the most part, they have never actually practiced immigration law. To be fair, there are some good local immigration law providers, though few and far between. Moreover, legal help provided at workshops or clinics is often cursory and you need an immigration lawyer to devote more than 30 minutes to your case. Besides lack of legal expertise, there is also no way that non-profits can accommodate 1.76 million applicants. In such cases, private immigration attorneys are crucial for Dreamers to get expert advise and help.

Third, not all Dreamers are college-educated with the inherent ability to fill out immigration forms (and even college-educated Dreamers make mistakes). We could fill out forms incorrectly, which could get us a denial notice, with no appeal process. In some cases, checking the wrong box could result in a notice to appear in immigration court proceedings. In most cases, we all have only one shot at doing this right. We may as well make sure that several people look at our application before it is filed and that we have strong and highly experienced advocates to follow-up with USCIS if anything goes wrong.

And finally, regardless of what USCIS says about keeping your information private and confidential, experienced immigration professionals know that ICE will not hesitate to use your information against you if they ever initiate removal proceedings. We are talking about an agency and administration that has deported more people than ever before. During conference calls with USCIS, Director Mayorkas has made it clear that those with potentially negative immigration histories, including fraud and crimes, would be referred to ICE for removal proceedings. I don’t want to discourage anyone from applying by sounding an alarm — but this is not the easy, benevolent process that some people are painting it to be.

Application fees are $465. Some non-profits who have experience dealing with immigration law and immigration lawyers on staff, will be providing free legal services. Reasonable private immigration attorney costs should be in the range of $500-$2000, not counting any fees and depending on the complexity of the case. Immigration attorneys would need to open your files, input your information into the system, ascertain what benefits you are eligible for, get their paralegals fill several forms for you, get certified copies of your court records in some cases, gather several hundred pages of documents proving your identity and proof of presence, make copies and send them in for you. They would need to follow-up with USCIS for any notice to deny or request for further evidence. All of this requires significant time and effort, even in the most compelling cases.

It is worth your pesos to make sure that your case is handled by competent legal professionals and not notarios or staff at over-burdened non-profits who may not have the legal expertise that is required to handle your case or tell you that you actually qualify for more than just deferred action. Do yourself a favor and get yourself the best advocate you can afford. It will be well worth it.

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NIYA Youth Infiltrate Broward Detention Center

Over the course of the last month, as the National Immigrant Youth Alliance, we have been working hard to infiltrate into select detention centers around the country to see what is really happening.

On June 17th, 2011, President Obama, through ICE director John Morton, issued a memorandum outlining his administration’s enforcement priorities. These priorities specifically called for the use of discretion in many low-priority deportation cases. Just like many other promises by this administration, our organizers inside of the detention center have discovered that the Obama Administration is still deporting the same people it promises not to deport.

Our organizers have seen first hand countless cases of:

— DREAM Act eligible youth;
— Individuals with no criminal record;
— Individuals clearly detained because of racial profiling tactics used by police and border patrol, including the detention of passengers in vehicles;
— Individuals with pending U visa / VAWA applications;
— Individuals with extreme medical conditions.

Therefore, we are asking for a full and complete review of each detainee at the Broward Detention center and that all low-priority detainees immediately be released and their cases administratively closed

You can sign the national petition here.

THE CASES

NO CRIMINAL RECORD

Felipe Garcia, originally from Mexico, has been living in Florida for over 13 years.On April 26, 2012, Felipe was detained dropping off his wheelchair bound son at school, after leaving the parking lot he was pulled over by an officer without any reason. The police officer called ICE on the spot and Felipe was taken directly to Broward. Felipe has never been in trouble with anyone.http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/felipe/

Hugo Castro, originally from Mexico, has been living in Florida for 7 years. on June 21st the car Hugo was a passenger in was pulled over for running a yellow light and he was detained. Hugo has never been in trouble with anyone and is a complete low-priority deportation. http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/hugo

Cesar Hidalgo, originally from Ecuador, has been living in Florida for over 20 years. Hidalgo is 52, he has two children, both green card holders, aged 30 and 25. Earlier this summer Hidalgo was detained by ICE after hotel security called police while he was passing out flyers. He has never been in trouble with anyone. http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/hidalgo

Katealyli Paboje, originally from Honduras, has been living in Florida for 12 years. Katealyli was detained in early July, 2012, after she accepted a check as payment that had no funds. She had no idea the check would bounce, yet she was detained in jail for one night and ordered to do community service. She was soon thereafter detained by ICE.

Angel Raimundo, originally from Guatemala, has been living in Florida for 7 years.Angel was detained on May 11th for calling the police for help when he was being followed by two men. Not being able to speak english the police thought he was playing a prank on them. He has been detained since and has never been in trouble with anyone.

Leandro Cecilio, (A#205-014-4260) originally from Mexico, has been living in Florida for over 15 years. Leandro has never been in trouble with the police, he was told he rolled a stop sign and so he was detained. He has been detained at Broward since June of 2012.

Daniel Castro, originally from the Dominican Republic, has been living in Florida for more than 10 years. Daniel has been detained for no reason other than profiling, he was waiting for the bus when ICE stopped and snatched him up.He has never been in trouble with the law.

Jose Luis Vasquez, originally from Honduras, has been living in Florida for over 8 years. Jose is another victim of being nothing more than a passenger in a vehicle. His friend was pulled over after their tail-light went out on the turn pike, all 4 passengers were detained by ICE. Jose has never had any trouble with anyone.

Guilbert Mosqueda, (A# 205-128-731) originally from Costa Rica, Guilbert has been living in Florida for 2 years. Guilbert was detained when his boss’ car was pulled over and, as a passenger, he was asked for identification. He’s been at Broward since July 5th!

Milton Perez, originally from Guatemala, has been living in Florida for over 5 years. Milton was detained on July 5th for apparently rolling a stop sign, the officer discovered he had no license. Milton has never been in trouble with the police, in fact he owns his own Mechanic shop. Milton has been detained since July 5th.

Jaime Pena, originally from Mexico, has been living in Florida for over 18 years. Jaime has never been in trouble with anyone, in fact he was detained for merely being a passenger in a car. Jaime does not know why the car was pulled over, the police officer wouldn’t give them a reason. Jaime has been detained since May of 2012.

Ever Gonzalez, originally from Guatemala, has lived in Florida ever since he was 15 years old. Ever is a DREAM Act eligible student, he has requested GED coursework while in detention. Ever was detained for driving without a license, he has been inside of Broward since July 1st, 2012, two weeks after President Obama issued the deferred action memo.

Marco Moss, originally from Mexico, has been living in Florida since he was 15-years old. Marco is DREAM Act eligible, he had scheduled taking his GED two-months after he was detained. Marco has been detained since July 2nd for driving without a license.

Delman Matute, originally from Honduras, has been living in Florida since he was 14-years old. Delman is DREAM Act eligible, yet he has been detained since July 12th, 2012. Delman was profiled while he was driving home from work at 2:00am. He was found to have no license.

Roberto Francisco, originally from Guatemala, has been living in Florida since he was 11-years old. Roberto was detained on June 16th on his way to church to sing in the choir. Roberto, DREAM Act eligible, was detained the day after President Obama promised to stop deporting DREAMers.http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/roberto/

Hugo Armando Sanchez-Olvera, originally from Mexico, has been living in Florida for 15 years. Hugo is a DREAM Act student, he has been detained since January, 2012. Hugo was arrested once before for a DUI, however it does not make him in-eligible for the deferred action as laid out by president Obama.

Juan Carlos Amador, originally from Mexico, has been living in Florida since he was 15 years old. Juan was pulled over in June of 2012 for not using his signals, he has been detained at Broward ever since. Juan is DREAM Act eligible.http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/amador/

Hilario Vazquez, originally from Mexico, has been living in Florida for 11 years.Hilario wass detained in June of 2012 for nothing more than driving without a license. He has been detained since and has been forced to sign voluntary departure. Hilario has never been in trouble, not so much as a traffic ticket.

Antonio Molina Barradona, originally from El Salvador, has been living in Florida for 11 years. Antonio was detained on May 24th after the driver of the car he was riding in was involved in a minor accident. Antonio was only the passenger and yet he was still detained.

Hugo Mello, originally from Uruguay, has been living in Florida for 10-years. Hugo was profiled by ICE, he was randomly detained as he was leaving Home Depot.He has been detained at Broward since April of 2012.

Julio Pineda blanco, originally from Mexico, has lived in Florida for 7 years. On April 25th Julio was profiled and pulled over by an officer demanding to see his license. Julio has been at Broward ever since. A year ago Julio’s brother was killed in Mexico, he fears being deported and killed.http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/blanco/

Mohammed Sooknanan, originally from Guyana, has been detained since December 6th, 2011, over 9 months! Mohammed has no criminal record, he was detained for driving with an expired tag. Mohammed’s marriage application is pending, he has never been deported before and is not a flight risk yet Judge Rex refuses to release him. http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/mohammed/

Guillermo Hernandez, originally from Mexico, has been living in Florida for the past 10 years. Guillermo’s wife just gave birth to his 3-month pre-mature child who is now suffering serious heart problems. Guillermo has no criminal record and needs to be released immediately.

Maria Leon, originally from Venezuela, has been living in Florida for over 5 years. Maria is married to a United States citizen, her marriage application has already been approved and her interview is supposed to be on Wednesday, July 25th, however ICE still refuses to release her. While living in Venezuela Maria worked as a flight attendant on the presidential plane, she worked for President Chavez.http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/maria/
Juan Bonilla: originally from Honduras, has been living in the United States for 12 years now. Juan fled Honduras, at the threat of gangs, when he was just 16. Juan was detained on June 5th as he was moving from Arkansas to Florida to provide a better life for his wife and 1-year old son.http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/bonilla/

Leobardo Benitez, originally from Mexico, has been living in Florida for 13 years. Leobardo was profiled on July 15th, he was pulled over without breaking a single law, the officer stated he knew Leobardo didn’t have a license. Leobardo was only 18 when he migrated to Florida. Despite a clean record he is set to be deported on August 6th. http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/leobardo/

Miguel Angel Salinas, originally from El Salvador, has been living in Florida for 8 years. In 2010 Miguel was deported while driving to the store to buy medicine for his sick wife. Miguel returned to Florida to provide for his family, however in April of this year he was again detained after a police officer profiled him to find he didn’t have a license. Miguel’s son has become withdrawn and misses his father dearly. http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/miguelangel

Felix Padilla, originally from Honduras, has been living in Florida for over 20 years. In 1994 Felix was deported through a work-raid but had to return to feed his family. In June of 2012 Felix’s brother, a public official in Honduras was murdered. If deported Felix worries he too will be killed. In June Felix was profiled and detained despite having a valid Maryland drivers license! Felix is the sole provider for his parents and sisters children in Honduras.http://action.dreamactivist.org/maryland/felix/

Omar Gaspar Ramirez, originally from Guatemala, has been living in Florida for over 12 years. Despite no criminal record Omar has spent the last 9-months in detention at Broward. In November Omar was profiled by local police and found to have no license. Omar’s 10-year old son suffers from Asthma and has hearing problems. http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/omar/

Luis Villanueva, originally from Mexico, has been living in the United States for over 10 years. Luis has no criminal record and yet he has been detained inside of the detention center since before Thanksgiving (November 7th, 2011)! Luis is a day laborer, he was picked up in front of Home Depot without being given any warning or anything. Luis’ father was murdered and he is currently being sought out by the same people. http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/luis/

Bernardo Beade, originally from Argentina, has been living in Florida for the past 12 years. Bernardo turned himself into ICE in March of 2012, however since he has learned he would qualify for a U-visa and is fighting his removal.

PREVIOUS DEPORTATION ORDER, YET ELIGIBLE FOR DISCRETION 
Samuel Lopez: originally from Mexico, has been living in Florida for over 20 years. On July 10th, without reason, Samuel was pulled over by border patrol and sent to the detention center. Samuel’s legal options are limited as he had fallen prey to a notary public who had mis-handled his previous case. Samuel’s 3 kids miss him terribly.http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/lopez/

Victor Hernandez: originally from El Salvador, has been living in Florida for 20 years. Victor came to the U.S. fleeing the war and in hopes of earning money to send back to his father who had been incapacitated. Victor filed for asylum, however had no idea he had been ordered removed. Victor has been detained since May 8th, 2011. His now 13-year old daughter is suffering from depression.
http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/victor/

Samuel Soto, originally from Honduras, has been living in Florida for over 14 years. He has four children who miss him very much, all four of his kids are currently undergoing therapy because of their fathers detention. Samuel has only been pulled over for driving without a license. Samuel’s daughter, Eda, is having surgery on her left ear on August 8th. Samuel has been detained since May 16th, 2012. http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/samuel/

Junior Harriot, originally from Jamaica, has been living in the United States for over 18 years. Junior was once deported in 2011. In 2001 Junior was shot in the back during an attempted robbery, the bullet is still lodged in his lumbar spine.Because of his injury and lack of medical attention in detention he now has a clot in his knee, he cannot feel his right knee as it is numb. Doctors at the detention center refuse to allow him a cane, stating ‘your leg needs exercise.’ Junior could die or become handicap for life any day now because of his injuries and lack of access to proper medical care.

Carlos Castaneda, originally from Columbia, has been living in the United States for over 12 years. On May 9th, 2012, while driving a U-haul truck with his families belongings, Carlos was pulled over for no apparent reason. It was ICE, they detained him for a prior removal order and he has been at Broward ever since. Carlos has no criminal record, in fact both his 16 and 22 year old daughters are undergoing therapy and need their father home.

Cesar Leon: originally from Venezuela has been living in Florida for over 13 years. Cesar has been detained since April 20th, 2012. Cesar has no criminal record, he was detained after his asylum case was rejected. ICE has already attempted to put Cesar on a plane once, his time is running out.http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/cesar/

Alberto Rodriguez, originally from Honduras, has been living in Florida for the past 12 years. He moved to Florida after Hurricane Mitch devastated everything his family owned. Alberto was detained on April 10th because of a previous deportation order. Alberto has 9 grand kids who miss him dearly. Alberto fears being returned to Honduras as several members of his family have already been killed. http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/alberto/

Maulilio Mendez, originally from Guatemala, has lived in Florida for the past 10 years. In February, on his way to church, Maulilio was the victim of a car accident, instead of receiving care he was arrested and has been detained since. Maulilio has 4 children and is about to miss the birth of his 5th child.http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/maulilio/

Agustin Morales, originally from Mexico, has been living in Florida for the past 11 years. Agustin is married and has two United States citizen children. In 1996 he was ordered removed, however had to come back in order to provide for his family. Agustin has no criminal record and is not a priority for removal. He was detained in May of 2012 due to an attorney mis-handling his case.

Macario Gonzalez, originally from Mexico, has been living in Florida for 11 years. Macario has a previous DUI from 2002 that has been taken care of, he is otherwise clean. In December of 2011, 9 months ago, Macario was profiled by a police officer who continually changed the reason for pulling him over. At the end he found Macario had no license and detained him. Macario has 7 children who desperately need their father back.

MINOR CRIMINAL RECORD, STILL LOW-PRIORITY
Maximino Hoz: originally from Mexico, has been living in Flordia for over 19 years. He has 6 children who miss him and want him home. Maximino’s 9-year old son has been diagnosed with depression because of his dad’s detention since December of 2011, over 9 months ago! In 2003 Maximino was charged with a DUI, however he took care of it, paid all of his fines and has never been in trouble since. http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/max/ >

Aurelio Rufino Rangel, originally from Mexico, has been living in Florida for over 22 years. On May 20th Aurelio was detained dropping a friend off at home, he was charged with a DUI. Aurelio suffers from Diabetes and Gualt and has had fainting spells in detention. Aurelio’s wife needs him home, she suffers from Diabetes, Arthritis in both hands, and is losing sight in her right eye, to the point where she has not been able to take her insulin shots for 2 1/2 months, since Aurelio was detained.
http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/aurelio/

Benjamin Aguilar, originally from Guatemala, has been living in Florid for over 16 years. Benjamin made the mistake of walking outside of his home and was taken as ‘collateral’ by ICE agents looking for someone else. He was taken as ‘collateral’. Over 15 years ago Benjamin was charged with shoplifting. Benjamin has 6 children who need him and desperately miss him.

Isidro Saldana, originally from Mexico, has lived in Florida for 12 years. Isidro had a DUI charge from a decade ago, otherwise a clean record. On November 11, 2011, he and three friends were profiled and pulled over. All four were detained and sent to Broward. Isidro has been detained for over 8 months!

Florencio Cruz, originally from El Salvador, has been living in Florid since he was 12 years old. Florencio is a DREAM Act eligible student, he has request GED coursework in detention. In 2008 Florencio was charged with a DUI, however he has taken care of that and is otherwise clean. Florencio has been detained at Broward since June 15th, the day President Obama issued his memo on deferred action for DREAMers.

Pascual Pedro Marcos, orginally from Guatemala, Pascual has been living in Florida for over 18 years, since he was just 19 years old. In 2009 Pascual was charged with DUI, however he took care of it and has an otherwise clean record. He now has two US citizen children, ages 7 and 2. Pascual’s 2-year-old son, Steven, was born with serious developmental issues. Steven has the developmental skills of a 3 month-old, and must wear a special helmet twenty-three hours a day to help shape his little head. He can only take off the helmet for bathing and for therapy purposes. Judge Rex Ford has twice denied Pascual’s bond stating he is a ‘danger to the community.’http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/pascual

Sergio de la Cruz, originally from Mexico, has been living in Florida for over 18 years. Sergio has two United States citizen children and a wife who miss him dearly. His oldest daughter is having some health problems and needs her father by her side. Sergio was profiled and found to have no license. In 2009 Sergio was charged with a DUI, however he paid his fines and took care of it.

Rogelio Rivera, originally from Mexico, has been living in the United States for the past 10 years. Rogelio has a previous DUI that he has taken care of, he was detained after a police officer profiled him by pulling him over for without reason. Once the officer discovered he had no license he was detained and taken to Broward. He is currently fighting his deportation on appeal.

PENDING U / T OR VAWA APPLICATION Laura Escobar, originally from Honduras, has been living in the United States for over 12 years. Escobar is charged with ‘Obstructing Justice’, however the police officer who charged her is currently being investigated by anti-corruption officers as he beat her. Laura is a victim!

Gelmino Turra, originally from Uruguay, has been living in Florida for over 13 years. In 2002 Gelmino was nearly murdered. He has since filed for a U-visa, given to victims of serious crimes, however Judge Rex Ford refuses to release him. Gelmino has been detained since December 19th, 2012. Gelmino’s 7-year old son has threatened suicide over his dad’s detention.http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/gelmino/

Luis de la Cruz, originally from the Dominican Republic, has been living in Florida for more than 10-years. Luis was profiled by a police officer, randomly pulled over to find he didn’t have a license. Luis has an active U-visa case and yet he’s been detained since April 5th, 2012!

Maurino Callejas, originally from Mexico, has been living in Florida for over 10 years. Maurino is currently applying for a U-visa due to some abuse he faced growing up, according to ICE anyone with a pending U-visa case is not a priority for detention. Maurino has been detained since June 1st, 2012.

Santos Gonzalez, originally from Honduras, Santos has been living in Florida for the past 8 years. Santos was detained in March of 2012 after having been fighting his deportation from when he first entered the United States. Santos has filed for a U-visa and it is pending, however ICE refuses to release him.

Bismarck Mejia, originally from the Dominican Republic, has been living in the United States for over 13 years. He has a loving wife and child in Pennsylvania where he was a successful business owner. In 2011 Bismarck was detained and deported after driving without his headlights on. He has since returned and has a pending VAWA application. According to ICE those with pending applications should not be detained. Let Bismarck go.http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/bismarck/

Pablicio and Regis, both from Brazil. Pablicia a DREAM Act eligible student was once deported in February of 2012 for driving without a license. Now both Pablicio and Regis are fighting to stay despite both being material witnesses in a human trafficking case. Both have a T-visa pending. ICE attempted to Deport Pablicio on July 16th.

DEPORTED 
Juan Carlos: originally from Mexico Juan had been living in the U.S. for over 20 years. He was detained at home when ICE came looking for a different person who no longer lived at that address. Juan was the sole provider for his family, not only taking care of his long-time girlfriend but also providing for his 3 siblings.After 6-months in detention and $30,000 in profit for the GEO detention group Juan was deported on Tuesday, July 24th.

Sofronio Garcia, originally from Mexico, had been living in Florida since he was 14. Sofronio was DREAM Act eligible, yet he was deported on July 27th, 2012.Sofronio contacted the Public Advocate’s office as instructed by the Obama administration’s deferred action policy, yet he was still deported.http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/sofronio

Virigilio Caranza, originally from Mexico, has been living in Florida for over 10 years. In January of 2012 Virigilio was detained by ICE while doing community service for a driving without a license charge. On July 24th Virigilio was deported. http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/virigilio

Jose Castro: originally from Honduras, has been living in Florida for the past 10 years. Jose was detained on the 4th of July on his way to church, he was just pulled over by Border Patrol without reason and taken directly to the Broward Detention Center. Jose’s brother, a gang member in Honduras, has already kidnapped his own father and has made death threats against Jose. Jose fears for his life if deported! Jose was deported on July 23rd, 2012.
http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/castro/

Miguel Angel Amparo, originally from the Dominican Republic, has lived in Florida for over 10 years. On July 24th Miguel was deported. Miguel had no criminal record and in fact qualified for a U visa. Miguel was initially detained on his way to the store to pick up medicine for his wife.http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/miguel

Miguel Rodriguez, originally from Honduras, has been living in Florida for over 11 years. Miguel had an outstanding deportation order that led to his detention in March of 2012. Miguel has no criminal record and is otherwise eligible for low-priority status. Miguel was deported on July 30th, 2012.

RELEASED

Arlondo Felix Perez, originally from Guatemala, has been living in Florida for over 10 years. Arlondo was profiled and found to be driving without a license, he had been detained since May 9th. On July 27th Arlondo was released from the Broward detention center and is reunited with wife and 4 kids!http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/arlondo/

Luis Cardona, originally from Honduras, has been living in Florida for the past 6 years. On July 6th Luis was detained on his way to work, he was profiled and found to have no license. Luis has a month old child he has hardly seen, his partner of 5 years is struggling to make ends meet. Luis has no criminal record.http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/cardona

Charles Rodriguez, originally from Nicaragua, has been living in Florida for over 15 years. Charles has no criminal record, he’s been detained since May 9th, 2012. On July 25th Charles was released with a $5,000 bond!http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/charles/

Marcial Bautista-Paz, originally from Mexico, has been living in Florida since he was 14 years old. In February Marcial was detained for being in a park after hours. Despite being DREAM Act eligilbe Marcial was detained for a month and a half after Obama’s deferred action memo was issued. Marcial was released on July 27th. http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/marcial/

Deported:

Juan Solis Vazquez, originally from Guatemala, has been living in Florida since he was 14-years old. Juan is DREAM Act eligible, he has requested GED coursework in detention. Juan’s only record is a charge of petty theft, not something that makes him ineligible for discretion as laid out by President Obama. Juan’s Stay of Removal was rejected on July 25th.

Jose Matute and Roger Anael, originally from Honduras, both lived in Florida or 10 years. On June 23rd Jose and Roger were detained at the airport while waiting for their sister-in-law. Apparently they ‘looked suspicious.’ After having spent a month in detention both were finally released.

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New On The Deferred Action Front

Published: 10 Things You May Not Know About Deferred Action and Napolitano Appearing Before the House Judiciary Committee, declaring that Deferred Action Applications Will Be Available on August 15; with additional guidance out on August 1.

And more backdoor meetings with “stakeholders.”

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Obama’s Immigration Announcement Creates New Generation of “Undocumented and Unafraid”

President Obama’s directive to affirmatively issue deferred action to DREAM Act eligible youth is fostering a new generation of “undocumented and unafraid” students who will be spared from deportation. But it isn’t just young people who are coming out in throes. It is also our parents.

At the National DREAM Graduation in Washington D.C., which was the largest gathering of undocumented students ever, Alejandra Pimentel, an undocumented mother, addressed an audience of undocumented youth. She spoke about fighting her son’s deportation, and shared some great words with the young people in the room, telling us that her dream was our success and that we should never give up. She told us that because of us, she was undocumented and unafraid.

But Pimental is not the only mother who is coming out as undocumented and unafraid. Across the country, at community gatherings, workshops and town-halls about the new deferred action program, undocumented parents are showing up in large numbers with their undocumented and U.S. citizen children to gain some understanding of what the new Obama announcement does for them.

This bold new coming out by undocumented parents is ironic given that young undocumented immigrants have often been accused of being selfish for advocating for the DREAM Act as opposed to comprehensive immigration reform. Maybe we have always been right. Maybe piecemeal immigration reform is the way to go, adding ingredient by ingredient till everyone can share in the pie. Undocumented parents coming out of the shadows to seek some sort of status for their kids certainly cements our claim that our dreams were never selfish–they are in fact, tied to the dreams that our parents had for us in bringing us to this land of opportunity. And deferred action for DREAMers is emboldening them as much as young people into coming out of the shadows.

I was at JEB Stuart High School in Northern Virginia last week, helping my law firm conduct a workshop about deferred action for members of the community and over 400 parents showed up to listen intently, ask questions and seek help for their children. We stayed for over 3 hours and ran out of our materials. The next day, our phones at the office did not stop ringing.

While some organizations are discouraging young immigrants and their parents from seeing immigration attorneys regarding the new program, within the last week alone, we’ve told a DREAMer that he is in fact, a U.S. citizen, assisted someone in registering for the GED, discovered an in absentia order of deportation, discouraged a DREAMer from engaging in marriage fraud, and discovered a entire undocumented family that should have received their green-cards a long time ago. An undocumented mother told me last week after consulting with our law firm that she was finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel. It is thus, critical, that we should straddle the fine line between warning people of scammers and notarios, while encouraging people to seek legal advice.

At DreamActivist.org, we released a FAQ explaining deferred action, which received over 10,000 downloads within a couple days. Well over a thousand people have emailed to ask whether they are eligible for the program and to request legal support for more complicated cases. For perhaps the first time, people who were not already “undocumented and unafraid” are coming out to seek legal advice regarding their immigration history, and that is a good thing that we should all encourage especially since it is quite likely that many people qualify for far more than just deferred action.

Additionally, the renewed coming out is not restricted to community forums and law firms. The USCIS has already stated that the parents of everyone granted deferred action will not be put into deportation proceedings, so there is nothing to fear by seeking information. The government agency reports getting over 75,000 calls concerning the program. They have hired over 100 new staff to process applications, which could take anywhere from 5 to 9 months. Despite criticism that DREAMers would take away jobs from American citizens, the new program is already creating jobs for Americans.

From undocumented and unafraid, we are increasingly becoming documented and unafraid. Immigration attorney, Andres Benach, has suggested that by applying and receiving deferred action, young immigrants and our parents will further integrate themselves into American society. We would have driver’s licenses, social security numbers, and jobs. We would be able to rent apartments, go to college, buy homes, pay more taxes, take care of our parents, invest in our communities, get married and have children.

As our roots grow, it would be much harder than it is now to uproot us from America and the appetite for the social disruption of deporting us will will decrease exponentially. Hence, even if a Republican such as Mitt Romney is elected to office, it is doubtful that she or he would order the deportation of millions of DREAMers, along with our families. Congress will have to act as it did with NACARA, and grant permanent residency to DREAMers living in an amorphous legal state under deferred action.

Thus, I believe that any future DREAM Act would be short, simple and sweet: anyone granted deferred action under the premises of the DREAM Act or anyone who was eligible for DREAM Act deferred action in 2012 shall be eligible for permanent residency.

If you haven’t come out as undocumented and unafraid, come out of the shadows. The only thing you have to lose is your chains.

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“The Right Thing To Do”

Crossposted at Huffington Post

President Obama took a stand last Friday to stop deporting certain young people from the United States and allow them the right to live and work here. Behind his pronouncement was a simple idea – that deferred action for a certain class of young people was “the right thing to do.” But he didn’t arrive at this thought overnight. Undocumented youth organizers, who have been organizing for this change for more than a decade, were the real catalysts for this change.

No one person or organization deserves credit for a powerful movement that has spawned multiple locales and geographical archipelagos. Undocumented youth took to the streets, came out and proclaimed themselves as undocumented and unafraid, conducted civil disobedience actions in offices and ICE buildings and challenged the system at every turn. We were adamant that we are a part of America, not leaving and no longer willing to be ignored. We created social and political spaces, took politicians to task and stuck by our principles of holding both Republicans and Democrats accountable to immigrant communities. Every single person who came out of the shadows and worked on this campaign deserves to celebrate and give themselves a pat on the back.

But even after the announcement, many undocumented youth organizers continue to be skeptical and rightly so. After all, this is not an order from the President, who has deported over a million people. It is merely a memo from DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, quite similar to the unsuccessful memo issued by John Morton last year, which resulted in a reprieve of only 1.5% of cases in deportation proceedings. Attorney Dave Bennion lays out the problems with the new memo, noting that those who are denied deferred action may still be subject to deportation proceedings and far too many people will be excluded for simply having a felony or misdemeanor, terms that Immigration and Customs Enforcement is choosing to define much more broadly in the implementation of this policy. Additionally, the fact that the process is highly discretionary means that there is no way to appeal even illegitimate denials.

However, if executed right, this new deferred action plan for a class of young undocumented people promises to be a pilot program for how the government would carry out the implementation of any future legalization program. It also raises questions as to why the federal government cannot grant the same relief to same-sex bi-national couples, many of whom have lived here for a long time and face separation from their homes and their U.S. citizen partners.

We have won a tiny victory – a simple reprieve – but the war is far from over. My own personal thoughts go out to everyone who has aged out, everyone the Obama Administration has deported ruthlessly, everyone who has grown tired of waiting for their life to begin and left us, and everyone who is still languishing in detention without hope. Additionally, undocumented youth do not live single-issue lives and immigration is not our only problem. We are personally affected by a slow economy, a pitiful healthcare system and an education system that leaves far too many of us behind, among a myriad of other issues.

In the meanwhile, I’m still fighting deportation proceedings–not just my own, but that of many worthy clients who come through the doors of America on a daily basis, yearning to live out their dreams. When the celebrations die down, I’ll still be here, fighting for their dreams. That is also, the right thing to do.

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