Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Last Week: In Our Community

Immigration news and updates from Monday May 18 through Tuesday May 26.

Deportations Carried Out in the Middle of Immigration Cases

This LA Times article reports that ICE agents have taken to arresting people at Immigration Court in downtown LA and deporting them immediately, before an immigration judge has had the final word on the defendant's case. Lawyers claim that this is a clear violation of due process.

Fingerprinting Plan Will Dramatically Increase Deportations
While fingerprinting and deporting hardened criminals may seem like a benign idea, lawyers and other advocates fear that the new Secure Communities program plan of fingerprinting everyone who enters a local jail will lead to increased deportations for minor infractions like running a stop sign. As this article states, " immigrants don’t have the right to have an attorney represent them in immigration proceedings. So if someone is acquitted of a crime but shows up in a database as being in the United States illegally, he can be deported even if he’s here legally, simply because he can’t prove his legal status and doesn’t have the right to a lawyer who can help him."

Immigration Duties Undermine Police Role: Study
A new report by the nonpartisan Police Foundation deeply criticizes the 287(g) program--a program which trains local police officers to act as immigration agents--for undermining the police role of community safety. The report claims that the program diverts scarce resources away from fighting crime and exposes agencies to "increased liability and litigation."

US Senators Seek to Reunite Torn Immigrant Families
On Wednesday, US Senators introduced legislation "aimed at bringing together immigrant families who are often torn apart for years due to a severe backlog." The bill will place a priority on getting visas to the spouses and minor children of green card holders. It would also provide more visas by "recapturing" visas lost in past years due to bureaucratic backlogs and provide a special category for the children and grandchildren of Filipino veterans.

White House, Lawmakers to Meet on Immigration
On June 8, leaders from both parties will head to the White House to talk shop on immigration. The administration says they hope to establish where varying interests have common ground and where they still have work to do.

Mentally Ill Detainees' Treatment at Hospitals Worries Advocates
Disability-rights lawyers say that the treatment of mentally ill immigrant detainees is illegal, violating both state and federal laws. In a little known network of hospitals around the country where ICE agents hold mentally ill immigrants, immigrants are kept out of reach of lawyers and family, and remain shackled to their beds 24 hours a day, prohibited from watching TV or making telephone calls.

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