SAN DIEGO — The Department of Homeland Security has long said that its priority is to deport criminals and immigrants who pose a threat to national security. But enforcement of immigration laws has tightened beyond that guideline, with almost 80,000 non-criminal immigrants across the country deported since 2009.
New guidelines on "prosecutorial discretion" grant law-enforcement agents the ability to decide, on a case-by-case basis, whether an undocumented immigrant ought to be deported.
"The Administration is talking about cases that are pending in every immigration court around the country, not just the border regions," said Melissa Crow, director of the Legal Action Center at the American Immigration Council, a Washington-based nonprofit advocacy group.
"They're talking about cases at various stages of proceedings, and also on appeal to the federal courts. And also all different kinds of cases, definitely not just DREAM Act-eligible students."
Among other effects, the new rules would mean undocumented students could be allowed to stay and even apply for work permits. Military families, victims of crime, gay couples and others who pose no threat to public safety are also included. DHS says the move will prevent low-priority cases from continuing to clog the court system.
Arizona v. United States, 567 U.S. ___, 132 S. Ct. 2492 (2012)
In a 5-3 decision written by Justice Kennedy, the Supreme Court found that three provisions of Arizona SB 1070 were preempted by federal immigration law and so allowed a preliminary injunction against those provisions to become permanent. The Court found that an additional section of the law was not preempted, but did not preclude future legal challenges to that provision. The decision affirmed in part and reversed in part a decision by the Ninth Circuit, see United States v. Arizona, 641 F.3d 339 (9th Cir. 2011).
The Court found that Sections 3, 5(C), and 6 of Arizona SB 1070 were preempted by federal law. Section 3, which would have made it an Arizona state offense for unauthorized immigrants to violate the federal law requiring them to apply for registration with the federal government and to carry a registration card, was found to intrude upon an area of law that Congress has entrusted entirely to the federal government. The Court also held that Section 5(C), which would have made it a state crime for immigrants without work authorization to apply for work, solicit work in a public place, or perform work in Arizona, was preempted by the comprehensive federal system that regulating unauthorized employment of noncitizens. Finally, the Court found that Section 6, authorizing law enforcement to arrest immigrants without a warrant where probable cause existed that they committed a public offense making them removable from the United States, was preempted by the federal immigration enforcement scheme, which only allows local police to perform the functions of federal immigration officers in limited circumstances. In so finding, the Court implicitly rejected Arizona’s argument that local police have inherent authority to make arrests for civil violations of the immigration laws.Read more...
Members of the Latino community in Alabama closed their businesses and stayed away from work and school Wednesday to make a point about their contribution to Alabama’s economy. A closer look reveals it is a significant contribution, regardless of legal status.
Alabama’s unduly restrictive new illegal immigration law has prompted a backlash from many in the state’s Latino community, who rightly contend they are an important part of the state’s economy.
Latino-owned businesses closed their doors Wednesday, and many Latino workers and students stayed home in a show of solidarity against what is considered the nation’s strictest immigration law.
A three-judge federal panel temporarily blocked enforcement of parts of the law Friday, but most of the objectionable portions of the law that give police sweeping powers to detain people suspected of being in Alabama illegally were left intact. The court will review the law in the coming months.
So, what of Latinos’ claims that their businesses and labor are an important part of the state’s economy?
A survey of information compiled by the Immigration Policy Center bears out their arguments. For example, unauthorized immigrants in Alabama paid $130.3 million in state and local taxes in 2010.
A breakdown of that number is:
• unauthorized immigrants paid $25.8 million in Alabama income taxes in 2010.
• unauthorized immigrants paid $5.8 million in Alabama property taxes.
• unauthorized immigrants paid $98.7 million in Alabama sales taxes.
Statistics compiled by the Pew Hispanic Center showed that unauthorized immigrants make up approximately 4.2 percent of the state’s workforce with 95,000 workers in 2010.
Most Latino business owners are legal residents, but many of them entered the country illegally years ago looking for work.Read more...
If all unauthorized immigrants were removed from the United States, the country would lose $551.6 billion in economic activity, $245 billion in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and approximately 2.8 million jobs.
Jan. 30, 2012 - Today, an en banc panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit rejected the government’s attempt to bar noncitizens from seeking to reopen their cases from outside the United States. This is the seventh appellate court to find the “departure bar”—a regulation barring noncitizens from pursuing their cases after departure or deportation—unlawful and is a step forward in protecting the right to a fair immigration hearing. The decision is particularly significant because the Tenth Circuit had been the only court at odds with the majority. The court had granted rehearing en banc to reconsider its prior decision.
Despite the overwhelming rejection of the departure bar, however, the government continues to defend the regulation and apply it to cases outside the circuits that have invalidated the bar. The American Immigration Council's Legal Action Center (LAC) and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIPNLG), which filed amicus briefs in the Tenth Circuit and argued before the court, renew their call for the agency to strike this unlawful regulation.
Read more about the LAC and NIPNLG’s challenges to the departure bar:
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NEW HAVEN, Conn. (CN) - Immigration lawyers want the Department of Homeland Security to release information on its Criminal Alien Program, which is believed to be involved in nearly half of all the "removal proceedings."
The American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association Connecticut Chapter sued the Department of Homeland Security in a federal FOIA complaint.
Critics have said that the so-called "criminal alien program" does not target criminals at all, but is used to enlist local governments in deportations.
"The Criminal Alien Program ('CAP') is an enormous, nationwide initiative of the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement ('ICE'), a component of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and is implicated in approximately half of all removal proceedings," the complaint states. "CAP's enforcement operations take place in tandem with law enforcement in every state, and as a result of CAP, individuals are often detained by ICE and deported before they have been convicted of a crime or have had the opportunity to speak with an immigration attorney. Despite CAP's role in facilitating the removal of hundreds of thousands of individuals each year, and despite serving as ICE's 'bedrock' enforcement initiative, very little information about CAP is available to the public. What little is known about the program suggests that CAP exacerbates racial profiling and other abusive police practices."
The complaint adds: "Congress never enacted legislation authorizing CAP. Nor did DHS officially promulgate regulations to govern CAP. As a result, little publicly available information exists that could illuminate how CAP functions. Instead, DHS and ICE stitched CAP together from interpretations of vague congressional appropriations provisions and a patchwork of administrative initiatives, thwarting public understanding of the program."Read more...