Archive for the “Deportation” Category

Sanctions law begins Tuesday
The Arizona Republic
Dec. 30, 2007

The starting bell for Arizona’s new employer-sanctions law is about to toll.

After surviving two court challenges, the law punishing businesses that knowingly employ illegal workers goes into effect in two days.

And still, many businesses are not ready.

As of Friday, 9,062 employers in Arizona had signed up for E-Verify. That is just about 6 percent of the approximately 150,000 employers in Arizona. Some don’t know about the law. Others are procrastinating. Some plan to use outside services that check workers’ status for a fee. Some are waiting to sign up until they need to hire workers, while still others would prefer to remain willfully blind about which workers are legal and which are not.

The state sanctions law is the toughest in the nation. It is aimed at turning off the job magnet that has drawn more than 500,000 undocumented immigrants to Arizona. In addition to punishing businesses for knowingly employing illegal workers, the measure requires employers to use a federal online computer program known as E-Verify to check the work eligibility of all new employees hired after Jan. 1.

The requirement is the most sweeping change Arizona’s 150,000 employers will face under the law and one that employers have been slow to warm up to as businesses groups and local officials wrangle over the law’s constitutionality and enforcement.

There is no penalty for not signing up for E-Verify, but employers that use the program are given a stronger defense against being accused of knowingly or intentionally employing illegal workers, said Jay Zweig, a Phoenix employment lawyer who advises businesses about the program.

“If you use it, you have a ‘rebuttable presumption’ that the employee is legally authorized to work,” Zweig said.

Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas says he will begin investigating complaints of illegal hiring immediately. But it could be months before any business is charged with violating the law because it will be difficult to prove that an employer knowingly hired illegal workers.

Not signing up

The sanctions law has survived two court challenges so far. On Dec. 7, U.S. District Court Judge Neil Wake tossed out the first lawsuit on a technicality. A hearing on the merits of the second lawsuit by business groups that claim the sanctions law is unconstitutional is scheduled for Jan. 16 in U.S. District Court, and a ruling from that hearing is expected by the end of January.

Many employers have been waiting to see whether the sanctions law survives legal challenges before signing up out of fear that E-Verify will be costly to use, onerous and error-prone, say business groups and lawyers.

Last year, a congressional audit found that 4 percent of the time E-Verify, then called the Basic Pilot Program, initially labeled workers ineligible for employment when in fact they had work authorization. That means that one in 25 times a name is wrongly rejected by the program……


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Mercury News

LOS ANGELES?Federal officials have signed a deal to add 400 beds to a Lancaster detention center for immigrants, making it the largest facility of its kind in California, authorities said Thursday.

The Mira Loma Detention Center will now be able to hold 1,400 people.

The facility is run by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. A change to the existing contract to add beds was signed in November and approved this month by the county Board of Supervisors.

“We still don’t know definitively” when the expansion will take place, said Virginia Kice, a spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

“We do anticipate increasing our population at Mira Loma in the coming months,” she said.

The space is needed because more immigrants are being detained for immigration violations in the Los Angeles area, and because the detention center in San Pedro, which housed more than 400 immigrants, was closed in October for repairs. The detainees there were moved elsewhere.

The Los Angeles area also has seen a crackdown on illegal immigrants who have committed crimes. The number of those detained after being released from jails and prisons has risen from 707 in October 2006 to 1,742 last month, Kice said.

However, civil rights groups note that despite the extra beds, the Mira Loma facility still will not handle detainees with violent crime convictions or those with serious health problems such as AIDS.

They are being shipped to facilities in other states.

“Even though it will be the biggest detention facility in the state, it does not replace San Pedro in terms of housing a broad range of detainees, including those with HIV or other chronic health issues,” said Nora Preciado, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California.

Nationwide, the government houses about 30,000 immigrants at its own facilities and in centers and jails run by private firms and local agencies. Those include a privately run center in San Diego that houses 1,200 immigrants.

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PHOENIX (Reuters) - Mexican illegal immigrant Lindi sat down with her husband Marco Antonio in the weeks before Christmas to decide when to go back to Mexico.

She has spent three years working as a hairdresser in and around Phoenix, but now she figures it is time to go back to her hometown of Aguascalientes in central Mexico.

“The situation has got so tough that there don’t seem to be many options left for us,” Lindi, who asked for her last name not to be used, told Reuters.

The couple are among a growing number of illegal immigrants across the United States who are starting to pack their bags and move on as a crackdown on undocumented immigrants widens and the U.S. economy slows, turning a traditional Christmas trek home into a one-way trip.

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La Raza

It will be a sad Christmas for thousands of children in the United States whose families have split apart. They suffer psychological damage, educational setback and trouble of all kinds, showing clearly that their parents? presence is irreplaceable.

Outbursts of crying, distress, signs of depression and, above all, feelings of bitterness overpower children, whom society calls ?the nation?s future.? These little ones are US citizens who have seen their dreams of being in this country, together with their parents, shattered by a deportation.

Scarred for life

After their parents have been arrested or separated, children suffer from feelings of abandonment, separation disorder, post-traumatic stress and suicidal moods.

Eddy Borrayo, a mental health and substance abuse specialist at the Pilsen-Little Village Mental Health Care Center, pointed out that when a nuclear family is separated, it produces a shock in the family, even more so if their American dream turns into a nightmare.

?There are cases where the kids start having panic and anxiety attacks. This causes not just emotional problems but also trouble at school, because the kids aren?t focused on their studies,? said Borrayo.

If one of the parents has been deported, the child is always fearful of not finding the other parent upon coming home from school; all this anxiety never stops. This is why, when the family gets a deportation order, they need to start discussing with the children the imminent change in their lives, reaffirming that it is a family transition, the specialist explained.

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Inside Bay Area

Immigration agents detained a pregnant mother Tuesday morning at an East Oakland elementary school. The woman’s frightened 6-year-old daughter was told to go to class as her mother was led away for questioning, according to staff at Melrose Bridges Academy.

“She walked out, sobbing, down the hall,” said Suki Mozenter, an English-language coach who witnessed the event.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Virginia Kice said the agents wanted to talk with Maria Ramirez about her husband’s small business. Her husband, Jose De Jesus Guzman-Baez, faces federal charges of knowingly employing illegal immigrants. He has been in custody since November and faces deportation.

Ramirez was released before noon on Tuesday, but she could be ordered to return to Mexico as well. During questioning, Kice said, it became clear that she was in the country illegally.

Kice _ who was originally told the agents detained Ramirez on her way out of Melrose Bridges after she had dropped off her daughter _ later said the officers accompanied her into the school.

They did so for her child’s sake, she said. “The officers wanted to ensure that the child was not left unattended,” Kice said.

But on Tuesday afternoon after school, dozens of parents, teachers and students came together to decry the event.

“This is supposed to be a safe place,” Noemi Contreras, whose children attend the nearby middle school, Melrose Leadership Academy, said in Spanish. “They are scaring people with everything that is happening.”

Moyra Contreras, principal of Melrose Leadership Academy, helped organize Tuesday’s demonstration.

Ramirez’s son is an eighth-grader at her school, but he isn’t the first student to fear the deportation of a mother or father. In the last month, Contreras said, three parents have been detained or placed in detention.

“The fact that parents and children don’t know if they’re going to see each other at the end of the day is very difficult, psychologically, for our kids,” Contreras said. She added, “We want our students and our families to come to the schools without fearing arrest.”

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The following article is extremely biased. I cut and pasted the relevant facts of Costa Mesa’s immigration policy. The rest of the article is whining about the “community” like you see in italics below.

“It’s fracturing the community,” said Jean Forbath, a social activist who founded the Costa Mesa charity Share Our Selves. “The future of Costa Mesa and Orange County and all America is to accept each other. This program does not create communities.”

OC Register

The law that allows federal immigration officials to deputize local police as immigration officers dates to 1996, shortly after the first World Trade Center bombing. Under the program, known as 287g, the federal government also reimburses local agencies for most of the costs of jailing illegal immigrants.

Florida and Alabama were the first to sign up, in 2003. Today, more than 26 agencies in 12 states are participating.

Last December, after extensive lobbying by Mayor Mansoor, ICE stationed an immigration agent full time at the Costa Mesa jail. In January, sheriff’s deputies trained by ICE began conducting checks on inmates at the county jail.

The sheriff’s program snared 2,874 illegal immigrants between April and October, 60 percent of them (1,717) accused of felonies. Among those tagged: 45 people accused of homicide, 66 accused of robbery and 64 accused of child molestation. One 22-year-old reputed gang member was accused of participating in the killing of two 14-year-old boys.

Costa Mesa flagged 289 illegal immigrants between December 2006 and June, 11 percent of the total arrests. Thirty-nine percent of those on ICE hold (112) were accused of felonies. Costa Mesa didn’t find any accused of homicide in that period, but one man was arrested on suspicion of child molestation and four were arrested on suspicion of strong-arm robbery. Police arrested 177 on misdemeanor or infraction charges, including 44 picked up on suspicion of driving under the influence, 32 on suspicion of being drunk in public and 29 on suspicion of driving without a valid license. On Thursday, Costa Mesa released figures showing 520 deportable immigrants were picked up during the full year.

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Nice job Officer! We have to deport them before they drop their anchors.


ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) A Roswell police officer was removed from school campuses after turning a pregnant 18-year-old student over to immigration authorities.

Police Chief John Balderston defended the action by Officer Charlie Corn, a 10-year veteran who was working at Roswell High School as a student resource officer.

But he said Roswell Independent School District Superintendent Michael Gottlieb asked for Corn’s removal “because he didn’t want the officer checking on the immigration status of the students.”

Last week, the district and police department made a joint decision to remove all school resource officers, the Roswell Daily Record reported.

Gottlieb had no comment Thursday. (Coward)

The incident began after senior Karina Acosta was cited Nov. 29 for a parking violation and driving without a license. Balderston said she was given several days to produce a license, and when she did not, Corn pulled her from class Dec. 5.

While trying to confirm her identity, Corn learned she was an illegal immigrant, Balderston said. Corn detained her at the school before notifying federal immigration agents, the chief said.

Balderston said Acosta, who is five months pregnant, was deported to Mexico.

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LA Times

When 24-year-old Yuliya Kalinina turned to the Internet in search of a husband, she made it absolutely clear what she was looking for in a relationship:

“Green Card Marriage — Will pay $300/month. Total $15,000,” the Russian national living in Los Angeles wrote in an ad placed on the Craigslist website. “This is strictly platonic business offer, sex not involved.”

Just in case any would-be Romeos weren’t taking the hint, she added, “NOT required to live together.”

Kalinina’s direct approach was very attractive, drawing the attention not only of the man who would marry her, but also of agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

After nearly two years of what federal prosecutors allege was a sham marriage, Kalinina and her 30-year-old husband, Benjamin C. Adams, were arrested last week at separate residences.

Prosecutors say Kalinina leased Adams a new Ford Mustang for his trouble.

She also took care of the wedding arrangements: Performing the ceremony was Dmitri Chavkerov, an Internet-ordained minister who also happened to be Kalinina’s live-in boyfriend.

“I’d say it’s a fairly blatant example of marriage fraud,” said Assistant U.S. Atty. Curtis A. Kin, one of the prosecutors on the case.

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AZ Central

A day after Mayor Phil Gordon proposed sweeping changes to a controversial police immigration-enforcement policy, Phoenix struggled with the implications.

Gordon’s announcement Monday that he no longer supports Operations Order 1.4, which prevents police in most cases from asking about a person’s immigration status, drew national attention to Phoenix.

His move also drew a variety of responses from across the city.

Gordon now advocates a policy that would allow police to notify Immigration and Customs Enforcement when any law has been violated by a person whom police suspect of being an illegal immigrant. Today, in most cases, ICE is contacted only when a felony is committed.

The Gordon announcement’s biggest impact has been felt among the city’s Hispanics, who make up about 42 percent of Phoenix’s population.

“I’ve heard nothing but concern,” said Mary Rose Wilcox, a Maricopa County supervisor. “What does it mean? That is the big question. People understand that nothing has been changed yet. But what is going to change?”

Wilcox is working with state Rep. Steve Gallardo, D-Phoenix, to organize the town-hall meeting where residents can express their concerns. The mayor’s advisory panel, along with Police Chief Jack Harris, will be invited to attend.

The forum, to be held either Monday or Wednesday, is expected to draw 2,500 people, Gallardo said.

“What the mayor has done is just turn the screws a little tighter for the Hispanic families that are a mix of immigrants and citizens,” said Tom Donovan, who is organizing a separate prayer vigil for immigrants Monday evening at the headquarters of the Catholic Diocese of Phoenix. “There’s just going to be more fear on their part and less trust for law enforcement. It’s just so hard for them.”

Donovan’s vigil, organized through the Catholic peace advocacy group Pax Christi, was being planned before Gordon’s announcement and will advocate compassion for all immigrants.

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Washington Post

More people seeking asylum in the U.S. could be detained and then jailed longer under a new Homeland Security Department policy for people wanting safe harbor.

The new policy applies to people placed in so-called expedited removal, a broad post-Sept. 11 category for immigrants who arrive in the U.S. seeking asylum or whose immigration paperwork is incorrect, invalid or nonexistent.

The U.S. generally grants safe harbor to refugees fleeing persecution because of their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion. Last year, the country granted asylum to 26,113 people, according to Homeland Security Department statistics. Most were from China, followed by Haiti and Colombia.

Asylum seekers are in detention in federal immigration facilities and county jails around the country. Exactly how many is unknown because ICE has not released statistics for two years, despite congressional mandates.

A total of 5,252 people claimed to have a credible fear of persecution in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30. Sixty-three percent of those claims were handled by ICE’s asylum office in Houston, according to Homeland Security Department statistics.

Of the total, 3,182 people established credible fear and 1,062 did not. The remainder of the claims were withdrawn.

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Boston Herald

A federal appeals court today upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by immigrants arrested in a factory raid in New Bedford, but scolded the government for the clumsy way it conducted the operation.

The March raid at Michael Bianco Inc. led to the arrest of 361 of its 500 employees, mostly Central American women, on federal immigration charges. The leather goods manufacturer allegedly used illegal immigrants to fuel a massive expansion that followed an increase in orders after the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with a federal judge who ruled that the district court has no jurisdiction over the case.

The appeals court also said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials did not violate the constitutional rights of the immigrants who were detained after the raid.

The appeals court rejected the immigrants? claim that their detention and quick transfer to holding centers in Texas interfered with their right to make decisions on the care and control of their children.

The court said ICE took steps before and after the raid to work with social service agencies to make sure their children were taken care of. The appeals court also said, however, that ICE should treat the raid as a learning experience and try to devise less heavy-handed ways of carrying out its mission.

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Mercury News

The family of a Los Gatos woman whose legs were mangled this summer by an invader believed to be driving drunk is stepping up its campaign for stricter deportation rules, hoping to push lawmakers to close a little-known loophole that excludes DUIs.

Sara Cole’s family has met with a handful of lawmakers, including Rep. Mike Honda, D-Campbell, since the Sept. 9 incident in which Lucio Rodriguez allegedly slammed into her while she was standing outside her sport-utility vehicle at a Little League event, nearly severing her legs. The mother of four is recovering from her injuries, but may never regain full use of her legs.

The case outraged her family after the Mercury News reported that Rodriguez - believed to be in the country illegally - had spent 10 days in a Santa Clara County jail in March on a misdemeanor drunken-driving count but had never been interviewed by immigration officials to begin deportation proceedings.

The story also shone a light on cracks in an immigration system that doesn’t always whisk illegal immigrants away after convictions, but instead bases its priorities on the seriousness of the charges against them.

Officials said one of the key problems is a lack of funds to hire more immigration agents to monitor all cases, resulting in agents focusing on serious felonies like murder and rape.

“Had he been deported, this wouldn’t have happened to Sarah,” longtime Cole family friend Dave Burt said of Rodriguez. Burt is helping head a movement with Cole’s ex-husband, Bill Cole, to change state law so drunken-driving charges are automatically flagged by immigration officers.

DUIs, most of which are misdemeanors, are not part of a little-known California health-and-safety law in which authorities alert immigration agents about inmates who could be in the country illegally. Charges involving marijuana and cocaine distribution, for example, result in alerts.

“We obviously have a broken system, and piece by piece, we need to fix it,” said Bill Cole, who remains amicable with his ex-wife. “We think DUIs are a significant enough offense that it should warrant deportation.”

The two are starting a non-profit to educate others about gaps in the immigration process, and they want to rally state legislators behind a movement for what they are calling Sara’s Law.

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México, Nov. 23 (PL).? In the latest anti-immigration operation in the United States, dubbed “Zero Tolerance,” 100 Mexican citizens were jailed and charged with crimes, it was announced today.

The operation was carried out by the U.S. Border Patrol along the area dividing Laredo, Texas and Mexican territory, and had been officially announced 20 days previously.

Instead of simply deporting Mexicans caught trying to cross the border without documentation, under the new policy they are incarcerated in distant federal prisons and charged with crimes that can be punished with further prison time and large fines.

This new policy is an intensification of Washington?s repressive policies against those who go north seeking work and was condemned by participants in the recently-held Parliament of Migrant Workers of Mexico. They described it as a violation of human rights because of the unjust manner in which they are kept incarcerated for an undetermined time and without the possibility of returning to their nation.

The U.S. Border Patrol itself confirmed to local media that 100 Mexicans had been arrested to date and charged with the federal crime of trying to enter the United States illegally.

Immigrant-rights activists also said that these operations include the placement of all types of barriers along the border, causing immigrants to take more dangerous routes to make the crossing.

From 1986 to date, 10,000 Mexicans have died of hunger, thirst or in the course of being pursued in desert and mountain areas, including women and children.

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Invader and baby

NY Times

The decision to separate a mother from her breast-feeding child drew strong denunciations from Hispanic and women?s health groups. Last week, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency rushed to issue new guidelines on the detention of nursing mothers, allowing them to be released unless they pose a national security risk.

The case exposes a recurring quandary for immigration authorities as an increasing number of American-born children of illegal immigrants become caught up in deportation operations. With the Bush administration stepping up enforcement, the immigration agency has been left scrambling to devise procedures to deal with children who, by law, do not fall under its jurisdiction because they are citizens.

?We are faced with these sorts of situations frequently, where a large number of individuals come illegally or overstay and have children in the United States,? said Kelly A. Nantel, a spokeswoman for the agency. ?Unfortunately, the parents are putting their children in these difficult situations.?

Yesterday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement released new written guidelines for agents, establishing how they should treat single parents, pregnant women, nursing mothers and other immigrants with special child or family care responsibilities who are arrested in raids.

The guidelines, which codify practices in use for several months and apply mainly to larger raids, instruct agents to coordinate with federal and local health service agencies to screen immigrants who are arrested to determine if they are caring for young children or other dependents who may be at risk. The agents must consider recommendations from social workers who interview detained immigrants about whether they should be released to their families while awaiting deportation.

The new guidelines were a response to intense criticism from officials in Massachusetts about one raid, at a backpack factory in New Bedford in March. They do not specifically address the American citizen children affected by raids, whose numbers have only become clear in recent months.

About two-thirds of the children of the illegal immigrants detained in immigration raids in the past year were born in the United States, according to a study by the National Council of La Raza and the Urban Institute, groups that have pushed for gentler deportation policies for immigrant families.

Based on that finding, at least 13,000 American children have seen one or both parents deported in the past two years after round-ups in factories and neighborhoods. The figures are expected to grow. Over all, about 3.1 million American children have at least one parent who is an illegal immigrant, according to a widely accepted estimate by the Pew Hispanic Center in Washington.

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Federal immigration authorities have laid down new guidelines that will reduce the number of suspected illegal immigrants handed over from cities like Irving for possible deportation.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials in Dallas e-mailed a set of guidelines to the Irving Jail asking officials not to refer suspected illegal immigrants to them if they were arrested for a Class C misdemeanor.

Because of that change, the number of suspects Irving turns over to ICE could drop by 60 percent, city officials said.

“We are surprised by this action,” Irving Mayor Herbert Gears said. “In fact, we cannot imagine how the federal government will state that they will not enforce the law.”

ICE spokesman Carl Rusnok that the move was made to use the agency’s limited resources better and that the agency will still try to process people arrested for Class C misdemeanors when it can.

Class C misdemeanors include having an open container of alcohol in a vehicle, failing to appear in court for a traffic citation and writing a bad check.

Gears said police may still keep records of suspected illegal immigrants arrested for Class C misdemeanors.

Police spokesman David Tull said police won’t change anything until they get something more official from ICE than an e-mail. But he said Irving police will follow the federal agency’s lead.

“We always said ICE will be the one to determine any changes,” Tull said. “Our procedure and guidelines are set, based on what they have. We can’t change federal law or federal guidelines.”

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