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Public Education for Immigrant Students: States Challenge Supreme Court’s Decision in Plyler v. Doe

In June 1982, the Supreme Court issued Plyler v. Doe, a landmark decision holding that states cannot constitutionally deny students a free public education on account of their immigration status. By a 5-4 vote, the Court found that any resources which might be saved from excluding undocumented children from public schools were far outweighed by the harms imposed on society at large from denying them an education. Read more...

Published On: Fri, Jun 15, 2012 | Download File

Prosecutorial Discretion: A Statistical Analysis

In August 2011, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it would review more than 300,000 pending removal proceedings to identify low-priority cases meriting favorable exercises of prosecutorial discretion. The initiative was officially launched in November 2011 and is expected to continue for much of 2012. To date, DHS has released statistics on three occasions measuring the progress of the initiative. This fact sheet provides background information about the case-by-case review process and a statistical assessment of those figures. Read more...

Published On: Mon, Jun 11, 2012 | Download File

From Fingerprints to DNA: Biometric Data Collection in U.S. Immigrant Communities and Beyond

By Jennifer Lynch

The collection of biometrics—including fingerprints, DNA, and face-recognition ready photographs—is becoming more and more a part of society. Both the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are in the process of expanding their biometrics databases to collect even more information, like face prints and iris scans. The expansion of biometric data collection, however, is uniquely affecting undocumented immigrants and immigrant communities. Under DHS’s Secure Communities program, for example, states are required to share their fingerprint data with DHS, thus subjecting undocumented and even documented immigrants in the United States to heightened fears of deportation should they have any interaction with law enforcement.

In this report, co-sponsored by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), author Jennifer Lynch explains the different technologies for collecting biometrics, as well as how that data is collected, stored and used. She raises concerns about data-sharing, legal protection, technological problems, then proposes changes to control and limit the storage of biometrics to benefit not only immigrants, but all people in the U.S. Read more...

Published On: Wed, May 23, 2012

How to Fix a Broken Border: A Three Part Series

In this three part series, former Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard assesses current threats to our border security and calls for a coordinated, multi-dimensional, bi-national approach to cracking down on cartels. Goddard's suggestions for federal action include targeting cartel money, closing money-laundering loopholes, pursuing cartel leaders, and focusing border security on ports of entry.

Download the Executive SummaryRead more...

Published On: Thu, May 17, 2012

Falling through the Cracks

How Gaps in ICE's Prosecutorial Discretion Policy Affect Immigrants Without Legal Representation

By Joan Friedland

While the Obama administration’s has expanded use of prosecutorial discretion in immigration cases, the subject of immigrants without legal representation and their ability to access this discretion remains unresolved. In 2011, nearly half of all immigrants in removal proceedings appeared “pro se,” or without legal representation. While immigration attorneys can explain the effect of these policies to their clients, pro se immigrants may be unaware that new policies are even in effect. Immigrant advocates have thus been rightly concerned about whether pro se immigrants in removal proceedings will benefit from Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) prosecutorial discretion policies.

This paper lays out what immigration authorities can do to ensure that pro se immigrants understand what prosecutorial discretion is, how they can seek it, and what they should do after receiving (or not receiving) an offer of it.

 

Published On: Mon, May 14, 2012 | Download File

The Myth of "Self-Deportation"

How Behavioral Economics Reveals the Fallacies behind “Attrition through Enforcement”

By Alexandra Filindra, Ph.D.

The concept of “self-deportation” rests on a deceptively simple premise. According to its supporters, if the federal government invests more in enforcing immigration laws, and if states and localities take on additional immigration control responsibilities, the costs and risks of staying in the United States will increase substantially for undocumented immigrants. Faced with a high risk of being caught and imprisoned, “rational” undocumented residents will “give up and deport themselves” returning to their home countries rather than remain in the U.S.

However, preliminary evidence from studies conducted in states where such enforcement laws have been enacted shows that immigration restrictionists have gotten it wrong. Immigrant population in these states has remained in place and the predicted exodus never materialized. Economic factors, rather than enforcement, have played a far more important role in reducing the rate of undocumented entry into the United States.

This report uses important research findings from cognitive psychology and behavioral economics to explain why restrictionists have gotten it wrong and people do not behave in the “rational” way that restrictionists expect them to.

Published On: Mon, Apr 30, 2012 | Download File

Summary and Analysis of Office of Inspector General Reports on Secure Communities

In April 2012, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) released two long-awaited reports on the Secure Communities Program: Operations of United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Secure Communities and Communication Regarding Participation in Secure Communities. The reports were issued at the request of Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) in April 2011 due to concerns about the implementation of Secure Communities. Read more...

Published On: Tue, Apr 17, 2012

Q&A on Office of Inspector General Reports on Secure Communities Program

In April 2012, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) released two long-awaited reports on the Secure Communities Program: Operations of United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Secure Communities and Communication Regarding Participation in Secure Communities.

Why did the DHS OIG issue these reports?
The reports were issued at the request of Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) in April 2011 due to concerns about the implementation of Secure Communities, as well as concerns that DHS misled the public and local officials regarding whether the program was mandatory or voluntary.
Read more...

Published On: Tue, Apr 17, 2012 | Download File

Aggravated Felonies: An Overview

“Aggravated felony” is a term of art used to describe a category of offenses carrying particularly harsh immigration consequences for non-citizens convicted of such crimes. Regardless of their immigration status, non-citizens who have been convicted of an “aggravated felony” are prohibited from receiving most forms of relief that would spare them from deportation, including asylum, and from being readmitted to the United States at any time in the future. Read more...

Published On: Fri, Mar 16, 2012 | Download File

Government Agencies and E-Verify: Erroneous Results and Misuse Cost Workers Their Jobs

Making E-Verify mandatory—even for government agencies and contractors—could threaten the jobs of U.S. citizens because there are errors in the system and because employers misuse it.

E-Verify is inaccurate.Read more...

  • According to an evaluation by Westat commissioned by the Department of Homeland Security, approximately 0.8 percent of work-authorized U.S. citizens and legal immigrants received an erroneous “tentative nonconfirmation” from E-Verify. Approximately 0.3 percent of those workers were able to successfully contest their findings and keep their jobs. The remaining 0.5 percent were not able to correct their records and received an erroneous “final nonconfirmation.”

Published On: Fri, Mar 02, 2012 | Download File