Prosecutorial discretion on the rise in immigration courts

Immigration_and_Customs_Enforcement_arrestThe Los Angeles Times, 01/15/2013

Immigrants facing deportation are increasingly likely to have their cases dismissed because of mitigating factors such as having U.S. citizen children, according to an analysis by researchers at Syracuse University.

In some courts, at least 20% of case closures involved prosecutorial discretion. Of the roughly 35,000 cases closed in Los Angeles over the last two years, nearly 24% were prosecutorial discretion cases.

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Dems Tell Obama: Pause Deportation If You Want Congress To Act

International Business Times, 12/5/2013

immigration marchMore than two dozen Democrats on Thursday sent a letter to President Barack Obama, calling on him to help restart the immigration reform debate in Congress by suspending deportation. They also asked the nation’s chief executive to go a step further and expand “deferred action,” a program that would grant these immigrants reprieve.

The lawmakers’ formal request to the president came more than a week after he was heckled at a California event by an immigrant who asked that Obama use his executive power to protect immigrants from the laws under what they describe as a broken system.

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Immigrants Closely Tied to Military Get Reprieve

Statue of Liberty HorizThe New York Times, 11/15/2013

The Obama administration issued a new policy on Friday that will allow immigrants in the United States illegally who are close relatives of active military troops and veterans to stay and move toward becoming permanent residents.

The long-awaited memorandum, coming after three years of deliberations by Department of Homeland Security officials, was an effort to untangle knots in immigration law that left many soldiers worried that their immigrant family members could be deported while they were deployed.

Study: Local immigration policing efforts caused few exits from U.S.

Hundreds of thousands of immigrants 2 participate in march for Immigrants and Mexicans protesting against Illegal Immigration reform by U.S. Congress, Los Angeles, CA, May 1, 2006The Los Angeles Times, 11/11/2013

When local police started quizzing people about their immigration status, some immigrants relocated – but they usually did not leave the United States, a new study finds.

A working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that when state and local officials took on the power to enforce some immigration laws by investigating immigration violations on the street, immigrants were more likely to relocate within the country.

But only in Arizona’s Maricopa County, known for the controversial immigration policies of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, were immigrants more likely to abandon the United States entirely, the study found.

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Immigration Reform 2013: Activists Attempt To Shut Down ICE Deportations

Hundreds of thousands of immigrants 2 participate in march for Immigrants and Mexicans protesting against Illegal Immigration reform by U.S. Congress, Los Angeles, CA, May 1, 2006International Business Times, 10/15/2013

They are “undocumented and unafraid.” That’s the message six immigration reform activists sent authorities at the Eloy Detention Center in Arizona on Monday. Their method of delivery once more was in the form of an act of civil disobedience: they chained themselves outside the facility to protest against the deportationo f undocumented immigrants held there. Their goal: to shut down the deportation process by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

“Even with the government shut down, the deportation machine keeps running,” said Marisa Franco, campaign organizer for the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, or NDLON. “Keeping our families together is essential to our community even if tearing them apart is still seen as an essential aspect of the government.”

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Searching for the American Dream in Mexico

immigration marchCNN, 7/4/2013

After awaiting reforms that may or may not come, thousands of young undocumented immigrants have abandoned their American Dream voluntarily or because they were deported. They still consider themselves DREAMers, but now they dream in Mexico. “I returned (to Mexico) because in the U.S. I always wanted to study dentistry. When I graduated from college, I ran into the problem that my great hope, the DREAM Act, still had not been approved,” said Pedro Hernandez, who lived in Los Angeles for eight years.

The DREAM Act — Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors — would remove a roadblock to education and a future in the United States for such youths. Undocumented immigrant youths have the right to study through high school. After that, they can study at private universities — with high costs and without access to student loans — or in public universities — most of which charge them tuition at an “out-of-state” rate, which can be double what in-state students pay. Only some states have laws allowing undocumented students to attend state universities at in-state rates.

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Irving mother from Mexico gets a deportation break for one year

shutterstock_52513291Dallas Morning News, 5/12/2013

Anatolia García, a 48-year-old Irving mother of three U.S.-born citizens, has received a one-year deportation suspension from federal authorities.

She was viewed in late 2011 as a potential beneficiary of prosecutorial discretion — a move by the Obama administration to review cases of immigrants who are in the U.S. unlawfully but have no serious criminal violations.

Critics deemed the measure as “backdoor amnesty.” Others viewed it as a break from a deportation crackdown unseen in the U.S. for five decades. Now, García is one of the few to have benefited.

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