Adventures of a Forced Migrant Contact Me
“There’s really no such thing as the ‘voiceless’. There are only the deliberately silenced, or the preferably unheard.”
Ju Hong’s “yelling” to issue an executive order to stop deportations echoed across the country, and has sparked a series of actions mostly calling on the President to use his executive authority to stop deportations. Over 500 national organizations (and growing), including the Mexican American Legal and Education Defense Fund, United We DREAM, the National Day Labor Organizing Network and AFL-CIO, have signed on to a letter asking the President to exercise discretion in stopping his deportations. Even House Democrats joined the chorus yesterday, with 29 House Democrats signing a letter to the President to suspend deportations and expand DACA:
If your child has received DACA, you should not be deported. If you qualify for legalization under the Senate bill — a bill the President and the rest of the country supports — you should not be deported. We cannot continue to witness potential citizens in our districts go through the anguish of deportation when legalization could be just around the corner for them. We look to you to firmly contribute to advancing inclusion for immigrants by suspending deportations and expanding DACA.
President Barack Obama said during a trip to New Orleans, “We should be fighting to make sure everybody who works hard in America, and hard right here in New Orleans, that they have a chance to get ahead.” However, instead of trying to reduce deportations, the Obama Administration is piloting a new, unprecedented and extraordinarily harsh effort to hunt down and deport thousands of hardworking undocumented immigrants in New Orleans.
The Obama Administration’s hypocrisy on immigration knows no limits. Instead of taking action, the President would rather hide behind the “rule of law” discourse, and pretend that he doesn’t have power to do anything. Invoking the “rule of law” is not only disingenuous but dangerous because it is used to quell the demands of the lesser privileged for real, tangible, social change. President Obama says he can’t stop deportations because it isn’t within his powers. Yet, he finds it within his power to carry out mass surveillance, drone attacks, topple regimes, and order extra-judicial killings.
However, short of placing a moratorium on deportations, there are many things the Administration can do to relief the pressure on immigrant families across the country that are well within executive powers. These include:
- Detention: Redefine “in custody” as inclusive of ankle-monitoring programs, in order to let people–62 percent of whom have no criminal records–out of detention;
- Enforce existing memos that allow for parole of asylum seekers who have passed their credible fear interviews;
- Stop the Department of Justice (DOJ) assault against undocumented law school graduates such as Sergio Garcia, Caesar Vargas, and so on;
- Issue “Notice to Appear in Removal Proceedings” only in the most severe criminal cases, which would reduce the immigration court docket over time by more than 60 percent;
- Work on crafting a narrower definition of “aggravated felon” — a catch-all phrase that now includes both serial rapists and lawful permanent residents who have committed non-violent crimes in the past;
- Put an end to Secure Communities (S-COMM), an administrative deportation program that targets persons with minor criminal records, and has led to the ICE detention of over 3000 U.S. citizens;
- Roll back new harsh effort “Criminal Alien Removal Initiative”;
- Pardon prior re-entry;
- Expand Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) to cover all childhood arrivals rather than place an arbitrary age cap;
- Stop assault on lawful permanent resident parents by giving full meaning to the Child Status Protection Act so that thousands of young people, including many Dreamers, can finally reunite with their parents.
And the list goes on. This week, a judge ruled that the President’s uncle, Omar Obama, could stay in the U.S.
But justice is nowhere in sight for those of us with no ties to the President, our deporter-in-chief.
I am a little late on this one, courtesy the holidays and a visit from my awesome in-laws. They treated us to some great dinners and then bought a nice gym membership for both of us. I get the message since I am not as dense as the immigration system in the U.S.
If you want to check out how convoluted and utterly ridiculous U.S. immigration can be, look no further than this story of a deported U.S. citizen, who finally has her passport back.
President Barack Obama said during a trip to New Orleans, “We should be fighting to make sure everybody who works hard in America, and hard right here in New Orleans, that they have a chance to get ahead.” So why is the Obama Administration piloting a new, unprecedented and extraordinarily harsh effort to hunt down and deport thousands of hardworking undocumented immigrants in New Orleans?
Ju Hong, an undocumented graduate of U.C. Berkeley, interrupted President Barack Obama during his stump speech on immigration reform in San Francisco earlier this week. His “yelling” echoed across the country, and has sparked a series of articles, mostly calling on the President to use his executive authority to stop deportations:
And there are many more. Ju also wrote an open letter to the President pointing out the many contradictions between Obama’s words and actions.
The National Day Labor Organizing Network (NDLON) unveiled various images for the holiday season that should resonate with families torn apart by deportations:
Almost half of all persons facing deportation lack access to counsel and cannot afford to get counsel. The figures are worse for those who are detained. But help is on the way. In New York, a new pilot program is finally providing support for people who find themselves in removal proceedings. Deportations to Mexico are expected to spike in 2014, such that even the Mexican government is now pouring resources into deported adults and children. These efforts need our continued support and funding.
Educators for Fair Consideration (E4FC) in the Bay Area has released a comprehensive guide containing 52 pages of up-to-date information about scholarships available for immigrant students who don’t have U.S. citizenship or legal permanent residency as well as advice and tips for writing winning scholarship applications.
DRM Action, a political group for Dreamers, is working on breaking the current lock-jam in Congress over immigration reform, and suggests halting deportations and passing the GOP KIDS Act as alternatives to the Senate’s S.744 bill. Dreamers are also warming up to Rep. Joe Heck’s piecemeal proposal to direct the government to cancel the deportation of those who were in the United States as of Dec. 31, 2011, and who were 15 or younger when they arrived.
Immigration is not just a Latino issue. Thousands of American Muslims have been targeted for “voluntary interviews” since September 11, 2001–interviews unconnected to any specific criminal investigation. These interviews, predominantly by the FBI, have become increasingly coercive. In an effort to help attorneys deal with representing clients for these “voluntary interviews,” the Muslim Advocates will be hosting a webinar on December 11, 2013 at 12 PM PST / 3 PM EST.
The DREAM 9 ripple effects continue. DreamActivist has identified a long list of abuses and misappropriation of priorities at the Eloy Detention Center. These include:
- Over 100 cases where detainees are granted Credible Fear, provide sponsorship documents, and ICE officials still refuse to release. This in direct violation of Immigration And Customs Enforcement (ICE) Directive No.: 11002.1;
- 3 cases of pregnant women detained in conditions detrimental to the health of their unborn babies;
- Several instances of harassment based on the individuals religious or sexual identities;
- Documentation only being provided in English, without access to interpreters. A majority of detainees are primary, non-English speakers;
- Over 20 cases of individuals being held despite clearly being eligible for discretion under the Morton Memo, issued in 2011;
- A case of a male detainee being refused proper medication;
- Arbitrary Credible Fear rulings; instances of two individuals with identical cases (detained together) with one granted and another failed;
- Over a dozen instances of long-term, unjust, detention resulting in the deportation of discretion eligible individualss
As such, the organization is calling for a complete review of cases at Eloy Detention Center.