August 2014 Immigration News Roundup
Justice For Immigrants:
Facts, Fictions, And Falsehoods
The Immigration Hot Topics Shortlist
Here are links to interesting articles, random tidbits of news, and useful resources we found online in August that you may have missed.
In this immigration news roundup, you’ll learn about:
- Domestic Violence Is New Basis For Asylum Protection
- Fair Play Reinstated: Deported Immigrants Allowed To Return To U.S.
- The Push For An Independent Immigration Court System Continues
- Government Corruption Inside Immigration Agencies?
- Secrets Of Immigrant Smugglers Revealed
- The Impact Of Deportation On U.S. Citizen Children
- Honduras Consulate Deportation Bribes
- An Easy Choice: Save The Party Or Save Families?
- Why Immigrants Should Be Less Trusting With Presidential Promises This Time Around
- Once Again, The American Public Wiggles On Immigration Reform
1. Domestic Violence Is New Basis For Asylum Protection
Top Immigration Court Hands Huge Win to Battered Women Seeking Asylum. Conservatives Freak Out, Molly Redden, Mother Jones, August 28, 2014
In Matter of A-R-C-G, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) surprised most immigration attorneys by ruling that domestic violence can be a basis for granting asylum to immigrants.
Although the BIA’s decision only applies to “married women in Guatemala who are unable to leave their relationship,” its impact will likely be far greater and more positive.
For a fuller discussion, read our blog post: Why The BIA Landmark Asylum Ruling Falls Short For Immigrant Women
2. Fair Play Reinstated: Deported Immigrants
Allowed To Return To U.S.
U.S. To Ease Some Deportations To Mexico Under Settlement
Alex Dobuzinskis, Yahoo News, August 27, 2014
Wow! This settlement between the ACLU and the U.S. government allowing some deportees to return to the United States is an unexpected surprise and carries potentially huge ramifications.
This is an issue, if you’re an immigrant rights advocate, that I recommend getting on top of as quickly as possible. The settlement has the potential to keep many immigrant and mixed status families together.
In my deportation defense practice, over the years, I have heard several stories from immigrant spouses claiming their husbands or wives were tricked or intimidated into agreeing to leave the United States on a voluntary basis.
For a fuller discussion, read our blog post: Deportation Fair Play Reinstated: Second Chance For Family Unity
3. The Push For An Independent
Immigration Court System Continues
Immigration Judges’ Union Wants Courts Independent Of Justice Department
CBS Local, August 27, 2014
The idea of an independent immigration judiciary is long, long overdue.
Would independence guarantee fairness, neutrality, impartiality, and due process in immigration court proceedings?
Of course not.
But the odds of these characteristics showing up more often in immigration cases would be more likely.
For more, continue here: The Push For An Independent Immigration Court System Continues
4. Government Corruption Inside Immigration Agencies?
Former Border Protection Insider Alleges Corruption, Distortion In Agency
Carrie Johnson, NPR, August 28, 2014
Insider U.S. Customs and Border Protection corruption?
This is ugly, yet not surprising, news.
For those who doubt complaints about government abuse towards immigrants, you’re encouraged to read on.
A high-ranking whistleblower recently went public with damaging allegations of inside agency corruption.
In a normal situation, these allegations would get heads rolling. Of course, this is immigration, where nothing is ever normal.
In fact, I expect government attorneys to raise the sour grapes defense.
For more, continue here: Government Corruption And Deception Inside Immigration Agencies?
5. Secrets Of Immigrant Smugglers Revealed
A Coyote Speaks: A Rare, Exclusive Interview With A Human Smuggler
Dan Lieberman and Roberto Daza, Fusion, August 20, 2014
A coyote, under condition of anonymity, discusses inside secrets of immigration smuggling on television.
How much of it is true? That’s the million dollar question.
The smuggler’s interview may be contrived. Yet, it may also be true. Based on my secondhand and thirdhand knowledge about what takes place, I think there is a good deal of truth in what is disclosed in this interview.
For more, continue here: An Inside Look At The Secrets Of Immigrant Smugglers
6. The Impact Of Deportation On U.S. Citizen Children
Till I.C.E. Do Us Part
Yana Kunichoff, In These Times, August 25, 2014
Family unity, in my view, must be front and center if immigration reform is to be truly meaningful, compassionate, and comprehensive.
Yet, excessive deportation and detention policies, currently in effect, move in an opposite direction.
About 400,000 immigrants per year have been deported during Obama’s tenure. Many of these individuals have established deep family and community ties in the U.S., and several have married and have children.
According to recent research, about 23 percent of those deported between July 1, 2010, and September 31, 2012 – about 200,000 immigrants – had U.S. citizen children. The research also showed nearly 4.5 million U.S. citizen children have at least one parent who is undocumented and therefore vulnerable to deportation.
Personally, I think the numbers of USC children who have lost their parents are higher. But even at the level cited in this article, the numbers are already too high.
The worst part: most of the reform proposals floated in and by Congress to date have not addressed fixing these problems.
7. Honduras Consulate Deportation Bribes?
Detained Immigrants Advised To Self-Deport
Ed Williams, KUNM, August 5, 2014
The allegations in this news story are weird on many levels, and I’m not sure what to believe about this report.
“The Honduran consulate was stating to people that the president was promising people jobs and a bonus upon returning if people would agree to the deportation order.”
What jobs? What type of bonus?
Has President Obama privately told Honduran officials that the U.S. will help invigorate their economy and lower their crime rates?
Is the consulate pushing such promises in hopes of a new asylum program for Honduras?
Are a few Honduran citizens fabricating the charges? Or is the media just blowing smoke?
8. An Easy Choice: Save The Party Or Save Families
White House Reportedly Considering Pushing Deportation Changes To Post-Election, Elise Foley, Huffington Post, August 29, 2014
If Obama decides, yet again, to delay supporting immigration reform measures, the meaning is unmistakable.
It means, in the president’s world view, vulnerable Democratic candidates are more important than vulnerable immigrant families.
9. Why Immigrants Should Be Less Trusting With
Presidential Promises This Time Around
Undocumented Might Reject Obama Executive Orders On Immigration
Linda Valdez, Arizona Central, August 21, 2014
Finally, a reporter who thinks like me. As a lawyer, I’m trained to be cautious about what steps my clients might take.
So if the new Obama plan is simply a play on the old, and he wants immigrants to come out of the shadows in exchange for temporary green cards, is that really a fair trade? Is that something we immigration advocates are going to advice those who follow our recommendations?
Maybe this time folks will calculate matters differently because the president is leaving in two years. They should, unless they are willing to bet their futures on a fantasy that the next administration will put its neck on the line for immigration reform.
10. Once Again, The American Public
Wiggles On Immigration Reform
70 Percent Of Americans See Immigration As Threat To American Way Of Life
Noelle Swan, Christian Science Monitor, August 7, 2014
Generally speaking, it is hard to believe in polls. After all, how many pollsters are hired to conduct a truly neutral and objective analysis, especially on hot topic political issues? Not many.
However, I think the trend shown in this poll is likely correct, even if the percentages are off.
As I tried to warn my pro-immigrant colleagues, the sensationalistic news surrounding the Central American immigrant children was bound to spark some negative reaction. Incidents like the one in Murrieta were not unexpected.
Coupled with the push for free public assistance for the refugee children, government subsidies for immigrant defendants who are incarcerated, and public confessions of human smugglers, a shift in the support for immigration reform was inevitable.