Secretary Napolitano Announces Deferred Action Process for Young People Who Are Low Enforcement Priorities

Posted on by Ruby Powers in DREAM Act, Immigration Law, Immigration Trends, Interior Enforcement Leave a comment

WASHINGTON— Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano today announced that effective immediately, certain young people who were brought to the United States as young children, do not present a risk to national security or public safety, and meet several key criteria will be considered for relief from removal from the country or from entering into removal proceedings. Those who demonstrate that they meet the criteria will be eligible to receive deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal, and will be eligible to apply for work authorization.

“Our nation’s immigration laws must be enforced in a firm and sensible manner,” said Secretary Napolitano. “But they are not designed to be blindly enforced without consideration given to the individual circumstances of each case. Nor are they designed to remove productive young people to countries where they may not have lived or even speak the language. Discretion, which is used in so many other areas, is especially justified here.”

DHS continues to focus its enforcement resources on the removal of individuals who pose a national security or public safety risk, including immigrants convicted of crimes, violent criminals, felons, and repeat immigration law offenders. Today’s action further enhances the Department’s ability to focus on these priority removals.

Under this directive, individuals who demonstrate that they meet the following criteria will be eligible for an exercise of discretion, specifically deferred action, on a case by case basis:

  1. Came to the United States under the age of sixteen;
  2. Have continuously resided in the United States for a least five years preceding the date of this memorandum and are present in the United States on the date of this memorandum;
  3. Are currently in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general education development certificate, or are honorably discharged veterans of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;
  4. Have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety;
  5. Are not above the age of thirty.

Only those individuals who can prove through verifiable documentation that they meet these criteria will be eligible for deferred action. Individuals will not be eligible if they are not currently in the United States and cannot prove that they have been physically present in the United States for a period of not less than 5 years immediately preceding today’s date. Deferred action requests are decided on a case-by-case basis. DHS cannot provide any assurance that all such requests will be granted. The use of prosecutorial discretion confers no substantive right, immigration status, or pathway to citizenship. Only the Congress, acting through its legislative authority, can confer these rights.

While this guidance takes effect immediately, USCIS and ICE expect to begin implementation of the application processes within sixty days. In the meantime, individuals seeking more information on the new policy should visit USCIS’s website (at www.uscis.gov), ICE’s website (atwww.ice.gov), or DHS’s website (at www.dhs.gov). Beginning Monday, individuals can also call USCIS’ hotline at             1-800-375-5283       or ICE’s hotline at             1-888-351-4024       during business hours with questions or to request more information on the forthcoming process.

For individuals who are in removal proceedings and have already been identified as meeting the eligibility criteria and have been offered an exercise of discretion as part of ICE’s ongoing case-by-case review, ICE will immediately begin to offer them deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal.

For more information on the Administration policy reforms to date, please see this fact sheet.

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Fact Sheet: Transforming the Immigration Enforcement System Release Date: June 15, 2012

Posted on by Ruby Powers in DREAM Act, Immigration Law, Immigration Trends, Interior Enforcement, Legislative Reform Leave a comment

Direct Link

Over the past three years, this Administration has undertaken an unprecedented effort to transform the immigration enforcement system into one that focuses on public safety, border security and the integrity of the immigration system.  As the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) continues to focus its enforcement resources on the removal of individuals who pose a national security or public safety risk, including immigrants convicted of crimes, violent criminals, felons, and repeat immigration law offenders, we have taken a number of steps to transform our immigration enforcement system.

  • April 30, 2009: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released a new worksite enforcement strategy which moved away from large worksite raids and toward more effective auditing and investigations.
  • July 10, 2009: Secretary Napolitano announced reforms to the 287(g) program, including increased training, data collection, and the standardization of the agreements with state and local law enforcement agencies.
  • August 2009: DHS created two new offices within ICE, the Office of Detention Policy and Planning as well as an independent Office of Detention Oversight, to focus on oversight and provide specific attention to detainee care. ICE also established two advisory boards of national and local stakeholders.  These working groups have met for nearly three years and provide feedback to ICE on a variety of detention issues. You can learn more about the numerous detention reforms implemented by ICE, by clicking here.
  • September 2009: ICE issued new protocols to increase transparency in the reporting and notification of detainee deaths.
  • January 4, 2010: ICE revised its policy for granting parole to individuals found to have a credible fear of persecution if they establish their identities, pose neither a flight risk nor a danger to the community, and have no additional factors weighing against release.
  • June 30, 2010: ICE Director John Morton issued a Memorandum entitled “Civil Immigration Enforcement: Priorities for the Apprehension, Detention, and Removal of Aliens” articulating ICE’s commitment to prioritizing the use of its enforcement personnel, detention space, and removal resources to promote national security, public safety, and border security—with the removal of aliens who pose a danger to national security or a risk to public safety constituting the highest enforcement priority.
  • July 2010: ICE launched the first-ever online detainee locator system enabling attorneys, family, and friends to find a detainee in ICE custody and to access information about the facility, including its location and visiting hours.
  • August 20, 2010: ICE issued a Memorandum entitled “Guidance Regarding the Handling of Removal Proceedings of Aliens with Pending or Approved Applications or Petitions”—outlining a framework for ICE to request expedited adjudication of an application or petition (I-130) for an alien in removal proceedings that is pending before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) if the approval of such an application or petition would provide an immediate basis for relief for the alien.
  • June 17, 2011: On June 17, 2011, ICE Director Morton issued a new memorandum that provides guidance for ICE law enforcement personnel and attorneys regarding their authority to exercise prosecutorial discretion where appropriate to ensure greater consistency in the treatment of individuals who do not fit within ICE’s enforcement priorities.
  • June 17, 2011: ICE, in consultation with the DHS Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, developed a new policy designed to protect victims of domestic violence and other crimesand to ensure that these crimes continue to be reported and prosecuted. This policy directs all ICE officers and attorneys to exercise appropriate discretion to ensure that victims of and witnesses to crimes are not penalized by removal.
  • August 18, 2011: ICE initiated an unprecedented review of all immigration cases pending in the immigration courts and incoming cases. fact sheet
  • November 7, 2011: USCIS issued revised guidance on referral of cases to ICE and issuance of NTAs.
  • November 17, 2011: ICE issued further guidance on how they would conduct the case by case review.
  • January 4, 2012: ICE issued a new policy related to transferring individuals between detention facilities that established that if an individual has family-members or counsel nearby, he/ she will not be transferred absent extraordinary circumstances.
  • February 2012: ICE issued its detention standards, now known as the Performance-Based National Detention Standards 2011, to improve medical and mental health services, increase access to legal services and religious opportunities, improve communication with detainees with limited English proficiency, improve the process for reporting and responding to complaints, and increase recreation and visitation.
  • February 7, 2012: ICE announced the creation of their first Public Advocate to assist individuals and community organizations in addressing complaints and inform stakeholders of ICE policies and initiatives.
  • March 13, 2012: ICE opened its first-ever designed and built civil detention center in Karnes City, Texas. The Karnes County Civil Detention Center is a civil immigration detention facility for low-risk, minimum security detainees.
  • May 2012:  ICE, in collaboration with the DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Libertiescreated new trainings for state and local law enforcement on issues related Secure Communities. The goal is to provide actionable information to state and local law enforcement about the civil rights and civil liberties issues that may arise when ICE begins using federal information sharing capability through Secure Communities in their jurisdictions.
  • May 2012: ICE, after consultation with the DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, promulgated a new directive on Sexual Abuse and Assault Prevention and Response in order to comprehensively address and clarify procedures at the agency level relating to investigation, coordination, and response of sexual assault and abuse in immigration detention facilities.
  • May 17, 2012: DHS announced it would undertake its own rulemaking to apply the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) to immigrant confinement facilities, building upon the zero tolerance policy for sexual assault and abuse in confinement facilities that DHS previously adopted.
  • June 15, 2012: Secretary Napolitano announces that effective immediately, certain young people who were brought to the United States through no fault of their own as children, do not present a risk to national security or public safety, and meet several key criteria will be eligible for relief from removal from the country or from entering into removal proceedings. Those who demonstrate that they meet the criteria will be eligible to receive deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal. Click here for the press release.

Obama Offers Two Years of ‘Deferred Action’ to Illegal Immigrants

Posted on by Ruby Powers in DREAM Act, Immigration Law, Immigration Trends, Legislative Reform Leave a comment

Those who are in the U.S. illegally, but meet certain criteria, won’t face prosecution

Some young illegal immigrants living in the United States will be eligible for a reprieve from federal prosecution, according to a Friday announcement by the Obama administration.

It’s a move ripe with election year politics as both President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney ramp up efforts to woo Hispanic voters ahead of the November presidential election.

Republicans have made hay out of the fact that Obama promised comprehensive immigration reform would be one of his top priorities in the White House and yet, in reality, he prioritized healthcare legislation instead. They say he never delivered for Latinos.

[See a collection of political cartoons on immigration.]

Friday’s announcement, made by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, is certainly aimed at placating disappointed Hispanic voters but also continues an effort her agency has made to change America’s deportation priorities.

Napolitano said the move is “consistent with our existing use of prosecutorial discretion” despite cries from some conservatives that it is unconstitutional.

Immigrants who were brought to the United States before the age of 16, who have lived here for at least five years, are in school, have a high school diploma or GED, or were honorably discharged from the military and are younger than 30 are eligible for the “deferred action,” she said during a conference call with reporters. In addition to deferred action on deportation, many young illegal immigrants would be eligible for work permits.

Verifiable documentation must be provided, and those with felonies or extensive criminal records are not eligible.

[Romney ‘Still Deciding’ on Immigration Stance]

“Over the past three years, the administration has undertaken an unprecedented effort to transform our nation’s immigration enforcement system into one that focuses on public safety, border security, and on the integrity of the immigration system,” Napolitano said.

The Obama administration, which has already deported more illegal immigrants than did the George W. Bush administration, has focused its efforts on those who pose a danger to national security, are a risk to public safety, or those with serious or multiple criminal convictions, she said.

About 90 percent of last year’s deportations applied to those kinds of illegal immigrants, Napolitano said. Immigrations enforcement officials were also given the discretion to close low-priority cases last year so they could focus resources on dangerous individuals.

Napolitano was also quick to point out that this deferred action, which would initially be for a period of two years, would “not provide permanent lawful status or start them on a pathway to citizenship” and “is well within the framework of our existing laws.”

“This grant of deferred action is not immunity. It is not amnesty,” she said. “It is an exercise of discretion so that these young people are not entering the legal system. It will help us continue to streamline immigration enforcement.”

[Rubio’s DREAM Act Gamble]

Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona, an outspoken critic of the Obama administration, said on CNN on Friday that the move amounted to a “first step towards amnesty.”

“I’m just more concerned about the politics of this,” he said. But, he added, if the president’s move prompts Congress to move forward with an immigration reform plan, it’s a good thing.

Arizona is one of several states to enact aggressive state policies on removing illegal immigrants because they feel the federal government has failed to adequately address the problem. The Supreme Court is expected to rule on the constitutionality of Arizona’s immigration law this summer.


DHS will formally announce this morning that it will offer deferred action to DREAMers.

Posted on by Ruby Powers in Immigration Law Leave a comment

DHS will formally announce this morning that it will offer deferred action to DREAMers.

Preliminary information indicates that eligible applicants must:

Be 15-30 years old, and have entered before age 16
Have been present in the U.S. for 5 years as of June 15, 2012
Have maintained continuous residence
Have not been convicted of one serious crime or multiple minor crimes
Be currently enrolled in high school, graduated or have a GED, or have enlisted in the military
The deferred action offer will be available to those in proceedings as well as to those who apply affirmatively.

The White House is expected to make a formal announcement this afternoon at 1:15 EST.

AILA will provide further details today.


STARS Act Highlights Potential Pitfalls of Rubio DREAM Proposal

Posted on by Ruby Powers in DREAM Act, Immigration Law, Immigration Trends, Legislative Reform Leave a comment

When news broke yesterday that a Florida congressman introduced an alternative version of the DREAM Act, many assumed it was Sen. Marco Rubio, who has been promising for months to introduce such legislation. In fact, the bill in question—dubbed the STARS Act—was introduced by Rep. David Rivera, a member of the House who introduced similar legislation (the ARMS Act) last January. Although Rivera’s proposals would benefit fewer people than the original DREAM Act, they would put qualified applicants on a path that would ultimately lead to permanent residency. From that perspective, they differ significantly from the proposal Senator Rubio has been discussing, which reportedly does not include a dedicated path to permanent residency.

More..


Teen stuck in Mexico over ‘Leap Day’ error may miss graduation speech

Posted on by Ruby Powers in Consular Processing, I-601 Waivers, Immigration Law Leave a comment

By Miranda Leitsinger, msnbc.com

A teen who is slated to give the salutatorian speech at her high school graduation Saturday may miss the big event because of an immigration deadline that she missed by a day.

More..


Almost-deported valedictorian Daniela Pelaez helps introduce immigration reform bill

Posted on by Ruby Powers in DREAM Act, Immigration Law, Legislative Reform Leave a comment

By James Eng, msnbc.com

A little more than two months after she came close to being deported, high school valedictorianDaniela Pelaez joined a Florida congressman on Capitol Hill on Wednesday as he introduced a bill to allow undocumented students to remain in the U.S. if they get a college degree.

 

More..


Minorities now account for most U.S. births, census data show

Posted on by Ruby Powers in Immigration Law Leave a comment

New 2011 census estimates due to be released indicate that ‘an important landmark’ has been reached in U.S. demographic evolution as longtime immigration growth ebbs, an expert says.

Associated Press

May 16, 2012, 11:06 p.m.


Mexican immigration to U.S. at a standstill, report says

Posted on by Ruby Powers in Immigration Law Leave a comment

By msnbc.com staff and news services

WASHINGTON — Faced with a persistently weak economy, the number of immigrants flowing into the United States from Mexico has declined for the first time in decades, according to a study released on Monday.

 

In all, the Mexican-born population in the U.S. last year — legal and illegal — fell to 12 million, marking an end to an immigration boom dating back to the 1970s, when foreign-born residents from Mexico stood at 760,000. The 2007 peak was 12.6 million.


Wow, fees decreased??! Effective April 13, 2012, the Department of State will decrease the immigrant visa application processing fees for all immigrant visa categories.

Posted on by Ruby Powers in Immigration Law Leave a comment

http://travel.state.gov/visa/immigrants/info/info_3906.html

Important Notice – New Application Fees: Effective April 13, 2012, the Department of State will decrease the immigrant visa application processing fees for all immigrant visa categories. Fees paid on or after April 13, 2012 will reflect the new fee amounts. The National Visa Center will resend the Immigrant Visa Application Processing Fee bill to those individuals who have yet to pay.

Immigrant visa application processing fees will be reduced to the following amounts:

  • Immediate relative and family preference visa applications– $230 per applicant
  • Employment-based visa applications – $405 per applicant
  • Other immigrant visa applications (including I-360) – $220 per applicant

For more information, review the Press Release and Fees for Visa Services.


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