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            who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little."       
- Franklin D. Roosevelt                          

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February Headlines

Safety for immigrant victims put on hold by U-visa delay

U-Visa applications on the rise.  Demand for the program has far outpaced a 10,000-per-year cap on the visas set by Congress, with just over 26,000 applications filed last fiscal year. There's even a wait to get on the waiting list: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which processes the applications in the order they were filed, hasn't evaluated any application submitted after December 2013. Read More

January Headlines

Don't worry DREAMers, US immigration advocates have already won

In a matter of a few years a large swath of the undocumented population in the US will be formally employed. College students, recent grads and families where one or both parents have relied on deferred deportation will have been contributing to the tax base and to their communities.
Comprehensive immigration reform has already occurred, not while Congress slept but certainly as it stood inert. Read More

Deportation for Possessing a Sock: Supreme Court Case Reflects How the War on Drugs Fuels the War on Immigrants:

The War on Drugs and the War on Immigrants have long been intertwined. Last week, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Mellouli v. Holder, where at issue is the government's broad interpretation of already harsh immigration laws related to drug offenses in a way that locks up and deports without a fair hearing thousands of noncitizens every year. Mr. Mellouli, a math teacher and lawful permanent US resident, was charged for possessing four pills of Adderall in his sock.
For legal analysis of the case, check out the Mellouli symposium on the Immigration Blog and the SCOTUS blog's analysis.
Read More

Youth migration is changing definitions of childhood
Data presented by Torres, Blue and Swanson, taken from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency, show that apprehensions of children under age 17 at the Rio Grande section of the border rose from about 14,000 to about 38,000 from 2013 to 2014."We have to think of childhood differently when dealing with these young people," she said. "They haven't had the same beginning as U.S. children. Their understandings of childhood, responsibility and the future are shaped by environments of survival. You can't attempt to integrate them without first addressing the traumas they have been through and the burdens of responsibility they carry. Most of our systems for refugee children are not yet equipped to address this important issue." Read More

US Delays Thousands of Immigration Hearings by Nearly 5 Years
In a fresh sign of the backlogs and delays pervasive in the U.S. immigration court system, the Justice Department has begun sending out notices to thousands of immigrants awaiting hearings that their cases will be pushed back nearly five years. The delay makes room for higher-priority cases caused last summer by a surge in unaccompanied minors and families crossing the border with Mexico. Read More

Immigration Offenses Made Up Nearly Half of All 2012 Federal Arrests

NEW US Department of Justice Report shows that nearly half of all U.S. federal arrests in 2012 by U.S. Marshals Service were for immigration offenses. Immigration arrests from five federal judicial districts along the U.S.-Mexico border -- which encompasses California Southern, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas Western, and Texas Southern -- made up roughly 60 percent of all federal arrests in 2012, a 15 percent hike from 45 percent of all arrests in 2006. In addition in 2012, these five districts accounted for 53 percent of suspects being investigated by U.S. attorneys and 54 percent of suspects detained prior to trial.   Read More

Migrants seeking asylum from gangs have a lot to prove

Last fiscal year, 2,797 unaccompanied minors filed asylum cases with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. That was up 385 percent from the 577 filed in 2011. But asylum cases in general are hard to win, and even harder for those fleeing gang violence, experts say. To qualify, minors will have to show not only that they feared for their lives at the hands of criminal gangs in their home country. They will also have to show that the gangs targeted them because of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or social group. Read More

'It was cold, very cold': migrant children endure border patrol 'ice boxes'
Border detention centers continue to inflict brutal conditions for migrants including children.  "You sit in the room, huddled on the cold, hard floor, seeking warmth under the sheet. The room is lit by neon lights that are kept on 24 hours a day, and after a while you lose track of time. Is it day, is it night – you no longer know. Though there are many other people in the room with you, they are all strangers and no-one speaks to you. You are utterly alone. And you are 7 years old. "      Read More

Obama Plan To Protect Immigrants Backed By Over 30 Democratic Mayors

More than 30 Democratic mayors plan to file an amicus brief in support of President Barack Obama's efforts to shield more than 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation in an ongoing legal battle in Texas to overturn the White House policy.
The amicus brief opposes a lawsuit filed in Texas by Republican governors who claim Obama's executive action on immigration announced in November is illegal because the measure was not approved by the GOP-controlled Congress. The National League of Cities and U.S. Conference of Mayors, as well as Democratic leaders including Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel claim Obama's immigration measures serve public interests across the nation. Read More

Anti-Immigration Lawsuit on Shaky Ground: Anti-immigrant lawyers file Brownsville lawsuit against

Last November, President Barack Obama issued an executive order that would halt the immediate deportation of 4.4 million undocumented immigrants and render another 290,000 eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. In response, opponents – a coalition of 25 states, led by Texas – filed suit in federal court challenging the president's authority to unilaterally act on the matter. Last Thursday, Jan. 15, in Brownsville, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen heard arguments on the injunction; he said he wouldn't issue a ruling on the request before Jan. 30. But this latest salvo isn't exactly striking fear in the hearts of Austin's immigrant rights advocates. Instead, it's seen as nothing more than a political statement with little chance of prevailing in court. Read More

No Asylum: Immigrants Locked Up in U.S. after Fleeing Violence

Watch the Reason TV video for a glimpse at who exactly is being held in border detention centers at record rates. The video profiles the story of Marquez and her three daughters, who came to the U.S. from El Salvador after facing violent threats and extortion from gang members. While Maria and her family were seeking asylum from a dangerous gang that operates unchecked by an incompetent and often corrupt government, they almost immediately found themselves locked up in a family detention center in the small Texas town of Karnes, where they've spent the past six months fighting to avoid deportation. Read More

Undocumented Migrant Children in Europe

The European Parlimentary Research Service has issued a report  undocumented migrant children in Europe, including recommendations on how to improve the coherence between migration policies and moral issues. This guide provides an overview over undocumented migrant children’s “triple vulnerability”, as defined by the Council of Europe: ‘as migrants, as persons in an irregular situation and as children’. The paper is useful to inform efforts in the U.S. in implementing strategies for improving the lives of undocumented migrant children.  Read More

Funding will train local attorneys to represent Central American children

Little more than half of the nearly 13,000 children who have faced deportation proceedings in California since 2005 have had attorneys. Now, a state law passed in September gives local attorneys the means to represent more of the growing wave of Central American children crossing into the United States. The new law completes an about-face in state policy 20 years after Proposition 187 barred those in the country illegally from public services like health care and education. “It’s a major political change by the state of California to recognize that this really is a human rights situation,” Read More

Coalition to push DREAM Act in 2015  (Legislative Gazette, January 12, 2015)

 The New York Immigration Coalition will be pushing the DREAM Act this coming legislative session, as well as other reforms they say would help unaccompanied immigrant children and prepare the state to meet President Obama's executive action that expands who can apply for deferred status.
Members of the coalition joined state lawmakers during separate events in New York City, Westchester and Long Island to announce its new "Immigrant Equality Agenda" which holds passage of the DREAM Act as the top objective in Albany this year.
Read More

How to Talk to Your Kids About the Immigration (Time Magazine, January 13, 2015)
News stories about the debate over the DREAM act, the tens of thousands of children who arrive unaccompanied in the U.S. each year and even the backlash against immigrants in Europe after the Charlie Hedbo killings can raise all kinds of questions and stir up all kinds of emotions for kids. This is especially true when they involve children being separated from their parents. Read more

Seven Southern communities that are welcoming immigrant children  (Facing South, January 5, 2015): 
On Jan. 5, 2015, Durham became the latest city to officially welcome 215 unaccompanied immigrant children who have arrived there from the border. Working with local civil rights advocates, the Durham City Council passed a resolution to welcome the unaccompanied children and the broader immigrant community to the city. It also expressed appreciation to schools, churches, nonprofits, and local agencies for providing services to them ... Read more

Guatemala Minister of Foreign Affairs
Speaking at the United Nations General Assembly's General Debate, Guatemala's foreign affairs minister said the influx of undocumented immigrant children to the United States should not be considered a crime. (read full speech)

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