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April 11, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jose Torres-Don
NC DREAM Team Supports RECLAIM NC Act:
Coming Out of the Shadows
RALEIGH, NC—The North Carolina DREAM Team (NCDT) supports Republican led initiatives for continued dialogue on immigration matters in North Carolina. On Wednesday, Republican Representatives Warren, Jordan, Brown and Collins filed House Bill 786-the RECLAIM NC Act that includes a process for bringing undocumented immigrants in NC out of the shadows through a driving permit. As undocumented people we are living through the consequences of the failed promises in the past decade from the national Democratic Party on immigration reform. We welcome this initiative from NC Republicans as a signal of their better understanding of the value in this opportunity to move North Carolina forward in a way that is inclusive of the Hispanic Community. We call on the leadership of this state, both Republicans and Democrats, to resist the bullying tactics of extreme anti-immigrant factions and arrive at reasonable policies in the best interest of the state’s economy and public safety.
In the summer of 2006 NC changed its laws that made it impossible for our undocumented families to obtain or renew driver’s licenses. This change was made under the leadership by then Democratic Governor, Mike Easley, who signed the Technical Corrections Act on August 27th, 2006. In the years that have followed, undocumented community members have been and continue to be deported as a result of not being able to produce a driver’s license. We intend to fully engage in conversation on initiatives from both, Republicans and Democrats, for the possibility of a driving permit. All legislators must propose and pass meaningful legislation that elevates outcomes over false rhetoric of hope. We welcome all initiatives independent of party affiliation.
To address the concerns that this proposal sounds like a round ‘em up and deport ‘em type of policy, our everyday lives remind us that this is vigorously happening already to our community under the leadership of the national Democratic Party. NCDT member, Viridiana Martinez, 26, previously detained in an immigrant detention center in Florida experienced first-hand such destructive policies of the Obama administration. Martinez states, “there is a cruel deceptiveness in the “low priority for deportation” directive from Obama that is nothing more than a talking point… we seek an alternative to the status quo”. Currently NCDT is rallying to stop the Deportation of dedicated grandfather and Boy Scouts soccer coach, Eduardo Mireles Salazar (Alien Number: 200-717-517), who has been ordered deported from North Carolina as a result of merely driving without a license. For Coach Salazar and the many others that go unnoticed, we support Representatives Warren, Jordan, Brown and Collins in their initiative to seek better solutions.
We are aware there are problematic provisions within the proposed bill and we intend to provide our voice to that discussion so that there is understanding of the community directly affected. The NC DREAM Team looks forward to having a bigger conversation about the enlightened self-interest for Republicans in NC to align with the national leadership of the GOP that has signaled a more reasonable approach in dealing with immigration and with that fostering a better relationship with a growing Hispanic political base.
The NC DREAM Team is an organization composed of undocumented immigrant youth and allies who are dedicated to the creation of a sustainable, community-led immigrant rights movement in North Carolina. We aim to help undocumented youth recognize their individual and collective power to activate their communities.
Meet 9 year old Nayeli (R) and 7 year old Blanca (L). They’re fighting for their family to stay together this holiday season. Their mother, Maria Juana, is set to be deported to Mexico on December 27th. This could be their last Christmas together. All they want for Christmas is for their family to stay together. Will you help them?
Their mother, Maria Juana, came to the US in 2000. She was caught at the border when she initially tried to cross and was deported. She crossed again days later and has lived in NC ever since. Because of her initial contact with immigration, ICE is refusing to stop her deportation.
On December 22, 2010, Maria Juana was stopped by Alamance County law enforcement and charged and arrested for not having a driver’s license. This is also the county that is under investigation by the Department of Justice for the racial profiling of Latinos.
Maria Juana’s request for prosecutorial discretion has been denied by ICE and they insist on breaking up this family just because of the previous deportation .
The reality is that many in our undocumented community find themselves in this same situation. In our determination to get to the US, if we don’t make it across the border on our first attempt, we will try again and again and again. It’s not about comitting a crime over and over and becoming a repeat offender. It’s about literal survival. There is no apologizing for that. As a single mother of three US Citizen children, the only bread winner in the household and no criminal record, Maria Juana needs to stay in this country.
Blanca and Nayeli are standing up for their mother and they have a Christmas wish that Senator Hagan can make come true. Senator Hagan has the power to put an end to their nightmare and stop their mother’s deportation.
In 2010 Senator Hagan voted NO on the DREAM Act stating that she was in support of a more comprehensive approach to immigration reform. Now is the time for the Senator to leave the talking points behind and actually support this family. With the recently released numbers of nearly 205 thousand deportations of parents of US Citizens, Senator Hagan must be accountable to Nayeli and Blanca who are only asking for help so that their mom can stay home with them. Senator Hagan needs to immediately call for an end to Maria Juana’s deportation and not let her fall through the cracks of this broken immigration system.
Please join Nayeli and Blanca in making 100 calls to Senator Hagan and ICE so that they end their mom’s deportation. Sign the petition and call Senator Hagan and ICE now. We will stand with Blanca and Nayeli, will you?
Sign the petition at http://bit.ly/ncjuana!
Let us know in the comments how the calls turn out.
Washington DC: 202-224-6342
Sample Script: “Hi, I’m calling to ask that Senator Hagan support Maria Juana Perez Santiago (A 200-576-618) and stop her deportation set for December 27, 2012. Maria Juana is the sole bread winner for her family that includes three US Citizen children. In 2010, Senator Hagan killed the DREAM Act because she wanted Comprehensive Immigration Reform. We are holding the Senator accountable to that. The Senator has a responsibility to keep this family together. Maria Juana is a low-priority case and her deportation should be stopped immediately.
Call ICE – John Morton @ 202-732-3000 or 202-732-3100
Sample Script: “Hi, I’m calling to ask that ICE stop Maria Juana Perez Santiago’s (A 200-576-618) deportation. She is the mother of three US citizen children and a previous deportation order should not split this family apart. She is a low priority for deportation. Her children need her to stay here to be able to provide for them. Deporting Maria Juana threatens the future of her US born children.
Thanks for your support!
image by S. Pavey
Since June 2010, the Department of Justice announced its investigation on “allegations of discriminatory policing and unconstitutional searches and seizures.” Today, September 18th, 2012 this very investigation has reached its climax by publishing its findings. Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson has in his part repeatedly denied such claims.
Among these findings, these practices are found:
ACSO deputies target Latino drivers for traffic stops;
A study of ACSO’s traffic stops on three major county roadways found that deputies were between four and 10 times more likely to stop Latino drivers than non-Latino drivers;
ACSO deputies routinely locate checkpoints just outside Latino neighborhoods, forcing residents to endure police checks when entering or leaving their communities;
ACSO practices at vehicle checkpoints often vary based on a driver’s ethnicity. Deputies insist on examining identification of Latino drivers, while allowing drivers of other ethnicities to pass through without showing identification;
ACSO deputies arrest Latinos for minor traffic violations while issuing citations or warnings to non-Latinos for the same violations;
ACSO uses jail booking and detention practices, including practices related to immigration status checks, that discriminate against Latinos;
The sheriff and ACSO’s leadership explicitly instruct deputies to target Latinos with discriminatory traffic stops and other enforcement activities;
The sheriff and ACSO leadership foster a culture of bias by using anti-Latino epithets; and
ACSO engages in substandard reporting and monitoring practices that mask its discriminatory conduct.
We, the NC Dream Team, have been approached by many community members in Alamance County because of these practices, and most of the time we found ourselves working on individual cases of family members detained in this county by checkpoints, driving without a license, or simply driving while brown. Alamance County is one of seven counties in North Carolina that have 287(g) programs. This program is one of several ICE ACCESS (Agreements of Cooperation in Communities to Enhance Safety and Security) programs, “which provides local law enforcement agencies an opportunity to team with ICE to combat specific challenges in their communities.” However, as we can see in the case of Alamance County, these programs do far from “combating the challenges in our communities;” in fact, they do quiet the opposite by separating our families from their loved ones, subjecting them to mistreatment in violation of their civil rights, and in many cases having them locked up in detention centers for long periods of times before deporting them. Members of the National Immigrant Youth Alliance, our umbrella organization, have some findings on this very topic after infiltrating an immigration detention facility.
Furthermore, the Department of Homeland Security released today a statement terminating its 287(g) program in Alamance County:
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is troubled by the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) findings of discriminatory policing practices within the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO). Discrimination undermines law enforcement and erodes the public trust. DHS will not be a party to such practices. Accordingly, and effective immediately, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is terminating ACSO’s 287(g) jail model agreement and is restricting their access to the Secure Communities program. ICE will utilize federal resources for the purpose of identifying and detaining those individuals who meet ICE immigration enforcement priorities. The Department will continue to enforce federal immigration laws in Alamance County in smart, effective ways that focus our resources on criminal aliens, recent border crossers, repeat and egregious immigration law violators and employers who knowingly hire illegal labor.
We are pleased to see the release of these findings by the DOJ and the decision taken by DHS in terminating 287 (g), but we are unimpressed. We still have 6 other counties in North Carolina that have this program and ALL COUNTIES in our state have Secure Communities, which is another type of ICE ACCESS program. Meanwhile, we still keep receiving word from families being detained for minor traffic violations; such as having a broken tail-light or being encountered by check-points organized by local police.
The Obama administration needs to come forth and terminate 287(g) in ALL COUNTIES in North Carolina and take policies like Secure Communities away. It is completely unacceptable for the Obama administration to keep empowering agencies and agents, like Alamance County’s Sheriff Terry Johnson, that keep our communities insecure.
For the full report from DOJ visit: http://www.justice.gov/iso/opa/resources/171201291812462488198.pdf
reviewed by Elizabeth Simpson and Vanessa Smart
On June 15, 2012, President Obama announced a plan to grant deferred action to undocumented youth who meet certain criteria. A similar announcement, better known as the Morton Memo, was made last year and yet undocumented youth still find themselves in the claws of the immigration enforcement machine. We have yet to see if and how effectively this new policy will be carried out. Nevertheless, below is an overview of how deferred action works and what documents to gather while you wait for the application process.
image by J. Valas
What is deferred action?
Deferred action is a discretionary practice that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) uses to defer removal action of an individual as an act of prosecutorial discretion. In addition, individuals may obtain a permit to work legally during the period their removal action is deferred. You do not need to be in deportation proceedings to qualify for deferred action. But remember, DHS has the last word. You may meet all of the requirements for the program and still be denied deferred action. Deferred action does not put you on a pathway to citizenship.
Are you eligible for deferred action?
In order to qualify, you must meet all of the requirements below:
- you must be under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012
- you must have arrived in the US before the age of 16
- if you’re not in removal proceedings, you must be at least 15 years old to apply
- you must have lived in the US for 5 consecutive years as of June 15, 2012
- you must have been present in the US on June 15, 2012
- you must not have been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, or three or more misdemeanor offenses
- you must not pose a threat to national security or public safety
- you must currently be in school or have graduated from high school or have obtained a general education development certificate or be an honorary discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or the US Armed Forces.
NOTE: There is currently no application process to apply for deferred action. Based on the 60-day timeline announced, one should be made available by August 2012. Also, deferred action is NOT the Dream Act and you should set up a consultation with an immigration attorney NOT a notario publico. BEWARE OF SCAMMERS.
If you are currently in deportation proceedings and you meet the criteria for deferred action, contact the ICE Office of the Public Advocate through the Office’s hotline at 1-888-351-4024 (Monday through Friday from 9 am to 5 pm) or by e-mail at EROPublicAdvocate@ice.dhs.gov.
If you are not in deportation proceedings, you will need to submit a request for review of your case to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Again, this process is not yet in effect so do not submit requests for review of your case at this time. If you have questions or to request more information on this new process, you can call the USCIS hotline at 1-800-375-5283, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. The hotline offers assistance in English and Spanish. Individuals seeking more information on the new process should visit USCIS’s website (at http://www.uscis.gov).
What can you do to prepare for the deferred action application process?
Start collecting your documents:
- passport from your country of origin
- birth certificate
- proof of date of entry to the US before your 16th birthday (documents like financial records, medical records, school records, and employment records)
- proof of continuous presence for the last five consecutive years in the US (documents like financial records, medical records, school records, and employment records)
- letters from employers, teachers, ministers, and school records and awards certificates may also come in handy
- if you do know that you do have a criminal history, getting certified copies of the convictions, and finding people who can say that you have reformed — if that is necessary, for instance, probation officer or other person.
NOTE: There is currently no application process to apply for deferred action. Based on the 60-day timeline announced, one should be made available by August 2012. Also, deferred action is NOT the Dream Act and you should set up a consultation with an immigration attorney NOT a notario publico. BEWARE OF SCAMMERS.
For more information, check out this post on DreamActivist.org. Feel free to sign up for updates as well.
One of the most prominent features of the “Secure” Communities program is the fear that it spreads in our communities. Last Thursday night, Griselda (Javier’s sister) stood up to that fear, and the head of those responsible for it. She stood up before the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, to plead her brother Javier’s case and call for his release.
She sat as Secretary Napolitano spoke about the the challenges of running the department trying to deport her brother. From the complexities of national security, to protecting against racial/religious profiling at airports and the difficulty of enforcing a set of horribly broken immigration laws. During the Q&A portion of the night- Secretary Napolitano heard the reality of what those same policies do to real people.
Here, Alicia interprets Griselda’s question to Secretary Napolitano:
Under the much-hyped Morton Memo. Javier, a father of 3, husband, sole provider, with a clean criminal record and a long-time member of the community shouldn’t be part of DHS/ICE’s ‘high-priority’ list. Except, he’s still facing ICE’s deportation machine. Secretary Napolitano’s response to why there is such a discrepancy between the memo’s suggestion of discretion and ICE’s continued attempt to remove Javier from his sick wife and newborn? Getting local offices to follow our lead is hard.
As we watch ICE proudly boast over nearly 400,000 deportations this year, those numbers and a clear explanation of their power deserves to a look. ICE reports that about 55% of those nearly 400,000 people had felony or misdemeanor convictions. So, 178,608 people (at least) had no felony or misdemeanor convictions…. For the others, the conflation of felony and misdemeanor helps to bolster their numbers but confuses the perceived ‘threat’ that they are create in their narrative of enforcement. Keep in mind, misdemeanor includes such infractions as jaywalking.
While we understand that the Morton Memo is not law, and not to be confused with a law- we are left to wonder what good is a policy or suggestion from a national office that local offices can ignore? How many more families need to be separated because of such superfluous things as broken license plate lights?
To her credit, Secretary Napolitano did collect the 2,000+ signatures that you all have signed in support of Javier (if you haven’t signed, you still can) and promised that Javier’s case would be looked into. The real question will be whether it is the national DHS office or the local ones who really hold power over whether Javier becomes 1 of 400,000 other people deported or returns to his wife and children.
by Victoria Bouloubasis
(Read below for Spanish/ En español abajo)
Regardless of the issues at stake, our nation’s political debate seems to be fueled by bloated jargon and calculated strategy. Among them, the “family unit” has become a political label, a contrived moral badge and, at times, a shield, used by conservatives, liberals and all that fall in between.
So why is this nation still tearing families apart?
As we’ve detailed in an earlier post, Javier Santos entered the Mecklenburg County Jail in Charlotte, NC, after being stopped for a broken tail light—and consequently arrested—while driving home from work on Sept. 6. That same day, ten undocumented youth were arrested for participating in a sit-in. Members of the NC DREAM Team met Javier in jail. Overnight, the team was released. Javier was transferred to an Atlanta detention center, where he sits awaiting deportation. (Click here to sign the petition to bring him back.)
Javier left behind a pregnant wife and two children, ages 8 and 11. His wife, Leticia, gave birth to their third child, a premature baby girl. She had many complications during the birth that doctors have attributed to stress and a surprise onset of diabetes. The family of four lost their sole provider in Javier and have since moved from their home to a new apartment because, according to Javier’s sister, Griselda, they couldn’t afford to make rent payments with Javier in detention.
“So many of us don’t have a driver’s license,” Griselda said. “If we don’t drive, we can’t work and feed our family. If you can’t work, you have no place to live, nothing to eat.”
She spoke of her sister-in-law—-a woman who is literally sick and tired, a mother worried about her children and a wife missing her husband and trying to maintain hope of his return home.
“It’s not the same, living without your partner. She needs him. The kids need him.”
Griselda worries about her niece and nephew. When Leticia doesn’t have the strength to talk about their father, Griselda steps in. “My own kids had someone come speak to them at school about the effects of an absent parent. It made me think of my niece and nephew,” she explained. “[My nephew] was happy before. From what I’ve seen now, he’s a bit more rude. If something bothers him, he pushes or hits his cousin. And my niece was never like that, but now she is always bothered about something.”
“Leticia says ‘there are days when I feel so alone,’” Griselda continued. “She sees them crying and asking for their father. They are deporting so many people that are fathers of families and that don’t have any criminal backgrounds.”
According to recent ICE statistics provided by an article in the Winston-Salem Journal, “Nearly half of the immigrants processed by an immigration court in the United States were not convicted of criminal offenses […] for federal fiscal year 2011, which started Oct. 1”
With a brave voice, she tells me she plans to address this issue at the source, in person. Griselda will attempt to speak with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano at Duke University this Thursday on behalf of her brother and his family.
Will you be there to support her?
“So many families are being separated. Those who suffer are the children.”
Please join us as we support Griselda on Thursday. Please, please sign the petition to stop Javier’s deportation and the separation of his family. Urge your friends to do the same. And, like Griselda, confront DHS. Make the call to keep the de los Santos family together.
A pesar de los problemas que están en juego, el debate político de nuestra nación parece ser estimulado por estrategias tan calculadas. Entre estas cosas, “la familia” se ha convertido en una etiqueta política, en una insignia artificial de la moralidad y, a veces, en un escudo usado por los conservadores, los liberales y todos aquellos que se encuentran en medio.
Entonces, ¿Por qué esta nación sigue separando a familias?
Como hemos detallado antes, Javier Santos entró a la cárcel del condado de Mecklenburg en Charlotte, NC, después de haber sido parado por tener una luz trasera de su auto rota el 6 de septiembre en camino a casa y, por consequencia, fue arrestado. Este mismo día diez jóvenes indocumentados fueron arrestados por participar en una desobediencia civil.
Miembros arrestados del NC DREAM Team conocieron a Javier en la cárcel. Durante la noche, los miembros del equipo fueron liberados ya que su acción fue un acto publico televisado por las noticias locales y nacionales. Sin embargo y a la misma vez, Javier fue traslado a un centro de detención en Atlanta, donde ahora espera su deportación. Haz clic aquí para firmar la petición para que Javier regrese a casa.
Al estar detenido, Javier dejo a su esposa embarazada y sus dos hijos de 8 y 11 anos de edad. Su esposa Leticia dio a luz a su hija prematuramente. Ella tuvo muchos problemas durante el nacimiento cuales los médicos han atribuido al estrés. También, ahora hay en Leticia un comienzo de diabetes. Sin Javier, esta familia de cuatro perdieron el apoyo financiero del que dependían y se han tenido que mudar a un apartamento nuevo porque, según Griselda, la hermana de Javier, ellos ya no pudieron pagar la renta que tenían.
“Varios de nosotros ya no tenemos licencia. Si no manejamos, no podemos trabajar y darles comida a la familia,” dijo Griselda.
Ella habló de su cuñada Leticia, una mujer que está literalmente enferma y cansada, una madre preocupada por sus hijos y una esposa que extraña a su esposo y que trata de mantener fe que el regresará.
“No es lo mismo sin su pareja. Lo necesita, lo necesitan los niños,” dijo Griselda. Griselda se preocupa mucho por sus sobrinos. Cuando Leticia no tiene la fuerza de hablarle a sus hijos sobre su papa, Griselda le ayuda.
“Mis hijos tuvieron a alguien en la escuela hablando de cómo afecta la ausencia de una mama o un papa,” contó Griselda. “Me empiezo acordar de mis sobrinos. Antes mi sobrino era alegre, pero como que he visto que se porta un poco más grosero. Si algo le molesta, lo empuja o le pega a su primo. También, mi sobrinita antes no era así, ahora ella siempre se muestra molesta por algo.”
“Leticia me dice “hay días en que me siento sola en este momento,’” Griselda siguió. “ Los ve llorando y preguntan por su papa. Están deportando a muchas personas que son padres de familia y no tienes incidentes criminales.”
Según un reporte sobre inmigración (ICE) en el Winston-Salem Journal, “Casi la mitad de inmigrantes procesados por una corte de inmigración en los Estados Unidos no fueron declarado culpables de ofensas criminales […] en el ano fiscal del 2011, que empezó Oct. 1”
Con una voz valiente, Griselda me dice que planea enfrentar este problema en directo y en persona. Griselda tratará de hablar con la Secretaria del Departamento de Seguridad Interna (DHS), Janet Napolitano, en la Universidad de Duke este jueves en Durham. Griselda hace esto por parte de su hermano y su familia.
Estarás allí para darle tu apoyo?
“Pues muchas familias las están separando. Los que están sufriendo son los niños.” Por favor vengan con nosotros para apoyar a Griselda este jueves. Por favor, firme la petición para parar la deportación de Javier y la separación de su familia. Pidan a sus amig@s y familia que hagan lo mismo y, al igual que Griselda, se enfrenten a DHS sin miedo. ¡Llama hoy para reunir a la familia Santos!
If you have heard of the ‘Morton Memo’, you have probably heard it as something to be happy about. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton has urged his agency to utilize “prosecutorial discretion”, meaning that it may not pursue deportations as vigorously as it has. Unfortunately, this memo isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. There aren’t any guarantees that undocumented youth are now safe from deportation–it shouldn’t be thought of as anything remotely reassuring. In fact, President Obama just deported asylum-seeker Andy Mathe the day after personally finding out about the case.
Here’s a brief overview of this much talked about memo and what it means for you.
The Memo, ICE and Obama
On June 17, John Morton put into writing what President Obama and DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano have been saying for months: that DREAM Act-eligible youth are not a deportation priority. Despite that, as you’ve seen from the continued need for petitions, undocumented youth are still winding up in proceedings (and deported, as mentioned above).
Overall, ICE has been taking heat for two of its programs under the ICE ACCESS umbrella of law enforcement partnerships, 287(g) and Secure Communities, making the Morton Memo appear to be a concession to satisfy critics who have rightly accused ICE of rounding up immigrants without respect their civil rights and civil liberties or the due process of law, let alone the nuances of their cases. As the National Day Laborers Organizing Network pointed out, President Obama has now deported more immigrants than President Eisenhower under Operation Wetback in the early 1950s.
A Brief History of Prosecutorial Discretion
The Morton Memo is another development in a history of prosecutorial discretion that goes back to the Clinton Administration and changes to immigration law in the past two decades.
Long before the Morton Memo, a previous memorandum on prosecutorial discretion written by INS Commissioner Doris Meissner in 2000 established significant authority for prosecutorial discretion in immigration cases. After Congress amended the Immigration and Nationality Act in 1996, judges in immigration court lost a lot of their ability to use, well, judgment on individual cases. INS was forced to make better decisions about where it allocated its resources now that immigration judges would no longer be able to grant as much relief from removal as they once had. Meissner’s memo places a greater emphasis on “substantial Federal interest,” meaning that prosecutorial discretion permits ICE not to pursue cases–even “legally sufficient” ones–which don’t benefit the federal government in any way. Meissner’s memo also lists cases in which discretion should be used and categories of people that should “trigger” favorable discretion. Some of those triggers should sound familiar: “Juveniles;” “Aliens with lengthy presence in United States (i.e., 10 years or more); and “aliens present in the United States since childhood.” The memo also notes that “community attention” is a factor to consider when discretion might be possible.
The Morton Memo and today’s politics
In 2011, what does the Morton memo say? Nothing too different from the previous policy directive. It doesn’t say anything about the DREAM Act. However, many of the factors ICE should use to consider backing off would apply to undocumented youth:
the circumstances of the person’s arrival in the United States and the manner of his or her entry, particularly if the alien came to the United States as a young child;
the person’s pursuit of education in the United States, with particular consideration given to those who have graduated from a U.S. high school or have successfully pursued or are pursuing a college or advanced degrees at a legitimate institution of higher education in the United States;
whether the person, or the person’s immediate relative,has served in the U.S. military, reserves, or national guard, with particular consideration given to those who served in combat;
the person’s criminal history, including arrests, prior convictions, or outstanding arrest warrants;
the person’s ties and contributions to the community, including family relationships;
But as previously noted, there are no guarantees that undocumented youth will not be deported. In fact, Meissner’s memo was far more rooted in looking at the merits of individual cases and the radical idea that law enforcement officials ought to do more than round people up and ship people out. The Morton Memo is based more in budgetary concerns rather than humanitarian ones.
Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama and several other senators have claimed that the Morton Memo was an attempt to “grant administrative amnesty“, but this is the same Jeff Sessions that lied on the Senate floor when he said that undocumented immigrants could already join the military during the December DREAM Act vote. There’s no reason to take him seriously on this. As a member of the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Citizenship, Sessions is supposed to be an expert on immigration, so the only explanations are that he’s a liar or that he is completely undeserving of his position.
The history of prosecutorial discretion and its present reiteration reveal the root of the problem: a system that is too narrowly focused on deportations. Such a narrow focus is ill-fit for the present reality, and one that we wouldn’t tolerate from any other law enforcement agency. Police have to do more than make arrests–immigration officers have to do more than raids and deportations. Prosecutorial discretion isn’t a solution, or even really a benefit. One way or another, it shouldn’t be thought of as a pro-migrant accomplishment by the Obama Administration.
UPDATE: Via VivirLatino: 15,000 documents on Secure Communities have been released after litigation by the National Day Laborers Organizing Network brought forward under the Freedom of Information Act. The documents reveal blatant federal manipulation of local law enforcement as they suggest that S-Comm is involuntary.
The Secure Communities program, or S-Comm, has been adopted by the North Carolina counties of Beaufort, Carteret, Craven, Hyde, Pamlico, Tyrrell and Washington. That means 92% of North Carolina counties participate in the program. It is likely that the remaining eight counties will join in the next few weeks.
Secure Communities is a program that began in 2007 in Texas and North Carolina that allows local officials to place a detainer on individuals that police believe are in the country without a current visa. Biometric identification is used to verify the immigration status and criminal history of those arrested by local law enforcement and supposedly allows Immigration and Customs Enforcement to prioritize the deportation of violent criminals. According to the ICE website:
“If fingerprints match DHS records, ICE determines if immigration enforcement action is required, considering the immigration status of the alien, the severity of the crime and the alien’s criminal history.”
However, local jurisdictions across the country have taken issue with the program, saying that it encourages racial profiling and the deportation of a large number of non-criminals. After San Francisco requested to opt-out of the program, ICE was unsure in its response as to whether or not the program was voluntary, and which jurisdiction (either local or state) was responsible for choosing to opt-out of the program.
President Obama has stated his support for Secure Communities and hopes to expand the program over the next few years.