Carlos Batara – Immigration Lawyer header image

GPS Ankle Bracelets: A Temporary Immigrant Detention Policy?


Earlier this month, the Department of Homeland Security unveiled a pilot program using GPS ankle bracelets to track immigrant families caught illegally crossing the Mexican border.

Almost immediately, the announcement was criticized by immigration reform friends and foes alike. [continue reading…]

Deportation Review Panels: Legal Substance Or Political Stunt?


When the idea of a deportation review panel was initially floated, I was skeptical it would get off the ground.

Now, given recent information shared by Janet Napolitano, DHS Secretary, in testimony before Congress, I think something resembling review panels will be implemented.

Otherwise, Obama risks further alienating immigration reform advocates at a time when his need for their electoral support is growing.

However, as a Riverside immigration attorney, I still doubt the panel will live up to its advance billing. [continue reading…]

Are ICE Agents Above The Law?


Immigrants need a Dirty Harry.

From coast to coast, ICE officials act as if they are above the law.

Although the goal of the “Secure Communities” program is to remove immigrants who have been convicted of certain serious criminal offenses, many immigrants with no convictions or only low level offenses, like traffic citations, have been targeted by less-than-compassionate ICE agents.

Stories of ICE’s callous approach to law enforcement, at times, resemble robotic seek and destroy immigrant family missions. [continue reading…]

A New ICE Age: 19 Points Of Hope

Earlier this week I expressed doubts that the June 17, 2011 prosecutorial discretion memo issued by John Morton, Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, would ever become reality.

My position as expressed in More Empty Talk Or The Real Deal This Time? remains unchanged.

Yet, to be clear, I believe Morton’s guidelines are a positive development in a system far too slanted to deportation and removal, regardless of an immigrant’s equities.  As a deportation defense lawyer, I’ve seen too many instances where a little respect and dignity by immigration authorities would have prevented families from being needlessly separated.

My concern is that immigration-friendly discretion will not become reality due to a lack of true commitment by the president and ICE officers.  Without the support from above and below, Morton’s plan has little, if any, chance of succeeding. [continue reading…]

The Morton Memorandum: More Empty Talk Or The Real Deal?

On June 17, 2011, John Morton, Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued a new memorandum on prosecutorial discretion.  The memo outlines a new direction for how ICE should handle prosecutions of detained immigrants.

Nice gesture.

I don’t recommend jumping the gun.  It’s questionable whether any real changes will take place.

I’ll believe a new direction exists when I see it in action.  Not just once, twice, or three times.  Rather, I’ll believe a new direction exists when I see a widespread pattern of immigrant friendly discretion being exercised on a more-or-less regular basis.  Not a second before. [continue reading…]

2010 Department of Justice Report: Deportation, Removal, And Immigration Appeals

As a San Diego immigration lawyer, I cringe when I see immigrants without attorneys at immigration court hearings.

Even if you have a “good case,” the difficulty of winning at immigration court should not underestimated.

A new report, released by the U.S. Department of Justice this week, provided support for my views. [continue reading…]

First Immigration Pardon Panel Established For Minor Convictions

When it comes to deportation defense, immigrants need as many allies as possible.  Governor David Paterson of New York was one such ally.

In December, prior to leaving office, Person pardoned 33 immigrants.  The immigrants pardoned were lawful permanent residents who had been convicted of minor crimes several years ago.

Without the pardons, most of them faced nearly automatic removal from the United States. [continue reading…]

No End In Sight For The ICE – Escondido Police Department Secretive Partnership

A few months ago, the Escondido Police Department and the U.S. Immigration and Enforcement (ICE) entered into a secretive agreement.  Under this partnership, two ICE agents work out of the Escondido Police Department office and regularly travel on patrol with Escondido officers.

As I wrote in Escondido Police Teams With ICE: How Will It Affect Immigrant Detentions?, the partnership was hatched in the dark.  Or more precisely, those who should have know about the program origins and goals claimed ignorance. [continue reading…]

Governor Pardons: A New Defense Against Removal and Deportation?

Over the past 10 years, attorneys who defend immigrants in deportation and removal proceedings have faced several obstacles.

As a result of changes to immigration law in the mid 1990s, immigration lawyers have confronted the following:

  • Transformation of minor, non-violent convictions in state court into serious, aggravated felonies at immigration court
  • Elimination of discretion for immigration judges in determining if a criminal offense warrants taking away an immigrant’s permanent resident status
  • Addition of convictions which took place 10, 20, 30 years ago, long before the 1990 changes, as grounds to deport immigrants

With nowhere to turn, more and more immigration appeals have been filed at the Board of Immigration Appeals and the Federal Courts of Appeals. [continue reading…]

The Race Card Response: Deportation Defense In Arizona Under SB 1070


“My wife does not have immigration papers,” the frantic caller noted, “and I’m worried she might be deported.”

The caller, a U. S. citizen living in Phoenix, was responding to reports about a new law for immigrants who live in Arizona.

His worries are not uncommon. [continue reading…]