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Immigrant advocates protest deportation of young student, call for prosecutorial discretion

Published on Tue, Oct 25, 2011

South Florida immigrant advocates will be at the Broward Transistional Center today to take part in a national day of action to protest the deportation of Shamir Ali.

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ICE recently announced that it had deported 396,000 people during fiscal year 2011. The agency’s own numbers indicate that, “of these, nearly 55 percent or 216,698 of the people removed were convicted of felonies or misdemeanors” and “this includes 1,119 aliens convicted of homicide; 5,848 aliens convicted of sexual offenses; 44,653 aliens convicted of drug related crimes; and 35,927 aliens convicted of driving under the influence.”

However the Immigration Policy Center argues that, “while the raw number is not in doubt, its meaning is far from clear,” adding that, according to ICE, 55 percent of those deported (approximately 218,000) were “criminal aliens,” but the definition of ‘criminal’ is overly broad.”

The Policy Center adds that ICE numbers show that “40% of criminal deportations were convicted under the four categories of homicide, sexual offenses, drug-related offenses, or driving under the influence (DUI). The other 60% of ‘convicted criminals’ fall into other categories including immigration crimes and traffic crimes.”

According to the Policy Center, “the real dilemma” for the Department of Homeland Security “is how it plans to reconcile its criminal deportation statistics with its new initiatives on prosecutorial discretion.”

Published in the The Florida Independent

Impact of Deportations

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View our resources on the economic and humanitarian impact of deportations.

Northern, Southern Border Residents Unite in Detroit

Published on Fri, Feb 24, 2012

A few days ago I wrote a blog about life along the border since 9/11, calling it a “Constitution-free zone”—a term coined by the ACLU. Life in the “Zone”—defined as a 100-mile wide area that wraps around the external boundary of the United States—is like living in an occupied zone, border residents tell me. Where the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which protects Americans from arbitrary stops and searches, doesn’t always apply.

Unfortunately, the voices of residents living along the international borders seldom penetrate the Washington echo chamber. Today, in Detroit, more than 100 delegates from the northern and southern borders are meeting to “form a national picture of what’s happening along the border,” according to Ryan Bates, an organizer for the newly formed Northern Border Coalition. The goal of the two-day conference, which began February 23, is to hammer out a political strategy so that border residents can lobby Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to rein in U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents whom they say are out of control.

As the number of Border Patrol agents has skyrocketed, so has the confusion about their role in border communities. Residents are unsure of their rights when border agents stop them. Lawyer Ben Winograd, a staff attorney with the American Immigration Council in Washington D.C. wanted to clarify in an email the notion of a “Constitution-free zone” I’d written about in my previous blog.Read more...

Published in the the Texes Observer

2008 Winner, Cameron Busby

 

“America is a Refuge”

By Cameron Busby

Tuscon, Arizona

 

 A small child holds out a hoping hand,

a crumb of bread,

or even a penny just to be fed

Hoping America is a refuge.

 

A child weeps over her mother's lifeless body,

the tears streaming down her face

Praying America is a refuge.

 

A child's torn sock blows in the wind,

as a bomb explodes the tiny sock catches a flame and begins to

burn to ash

Can America be a refuge?

 

A thirsty father and son seeking shade from the blazing sun,

all they want is a job

and for America to be a refuge.

 

America can be a refuge for you.

It can be a refuge for me.

I am glad that America is a refuge for all.

 

SFCC students join national movement that puts immigrant youth in the spotlight

Published on Wed, Mar 14, 2012

Luzhilda Campos, 3.8 grade-point average. Triple major in psychology, human services and Spanish language.

Jesús Chávez, 3.8 grade-point average. Psychology major.

Héctor Zambrano, 3.2 grade-point average. Architectural design major.

Campos, Chávez and Zambrano are all undocumented students who are enrolled at Santa Fe Community College. Along with high school student Udell Calzadillas -- 3.7 grade-point average -- they have joined a national movement dubbed "Coming Out of the Shadows."

They are asking the community to support comprehensive immigration reform and the federal Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, known as the Dream Act, which would provide a legal path to citizenship for youth who complete two years in the military or two years at an institution of higher learning, and fulfill certain other requirements.

In May 2011, the Dream Act was re-introduced to Congress by Democratic Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois and Democratic Rep. Howard Berman of California. Although the legislation has failed to gain enough support in Congress, several states such as California allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition and to qualify for some state financial aid.

In New Mexico, a student without a Social Security number also can pay in-state tuition.

"I have a dream of becoming somebody in the future, of being the example for my family," said Zambrano, 20. After working in the hospitality industry, he knew he didn't want a future there, he said. So he enrolled at the community college and plans to keep working toward a four-year degree.

"Sometimes I question myself. Should I keep studying? For what? I won't be able to work," Zambrano said. "But I'm still here."

Young adults like him have joined "Coming Out" campaigns in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York to push the campaign's slogan: "Undocumented, Unafraid, Unapologetic." Read more...

Published in the Santa Fe New Mexican

Quick Tips

Student Banned from Returning to U.S. for Graduation

Published on Wed, May 30, 2012

IPC Senior Analyst Michele Waslin was quoted in an Indianapolis Star article about a star student who exemplifies the problems with our immigration system: Read more...

Published in the Indianapolis Star

2012 Creative Writing Contest 1st Place Winner

 

America, The Magical Land

By: Alexander Tymouch

Chicago, IL

 

There is a magical place in this world,

Where people come to look for freedom and happiness.

They sail for weeks through the swaying ocean,

When they finally arrive at the mesmerizing new land,

They try to keep their own ways at first.

They celebrate the same holidays,

Wear the same clothes,

And eat the same food.

They do everything the same as before,

But eventually…

They start to learn from one another

And exchange their cultures.

It’s like an experienced cook came and learned to dance,

While a graceful dancer came and learned to sew.

A talented tailor came and learned to bake,

While a baker came and learned to farm.

They thought they were doing it for their own benefit,

But in fact they were making history.

These people learned different cultures

And shared their own cultures too.

And while they were as different as they could be,

They became friends more quickly

By teaching one another

And learning from one another.

And just like that, a new country was born.

But what is truly unbelievable,

Is the fact that this was all created

By ordinary families of immigrants

In that same beautiful, magical place,Read more...

Deferred action information session to be held

Published on Sun, Sep 23, 2012

AIC's Wendy Sefsaf gives insight and advice to those interested in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals initiative in this Central Florida Future article:  Read more...

Published in the Central Florida Future