• Judge rebukes Sheriff Arpaio, his deputy for mocking, defying court orders

    Grant Murray Snow, District Judge for the United States District Court for Arizona, earlier this week rebuked Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County and chief deputy Jerry Sheridan for defying and mocking Snow’s order, issued last year, to stop targeting Latinos during routine patrols, traffics stops and work raids. “Whether or not the sheriff likes it, there is a distinction in immigration law that was not understood by the population and, with all due respect to you, it is not understood by the sheriff, which is that it is not a criminal violation to be in this country without authorization,” Judge Snow said pointedly.

  • Debate intensifies over Obama deportation instruction to ICE

    President Barack Obama’s recent instruction to DHS to find “more humane” ways to deport illegal immigrants has sparked yet another debate between immigration supporters and critics as to what exactly Obama’s directive meant. Supporters of undocumented immigrants hope DHS will cease all deportations deemed unnecessary, while opponents of Obama’s immigration policies urge DHS to carry out the country’s immigration laws as written by Congress.

  • White House to reassess deportation policy internally

    President Barack Obama, after his meeting with key Latino leaders last Friday to discuss further implementation of reform under current law, has announced that the administration will take another look into current deportation policies.

  • Washington State offers college financial aid to children of undocumented immigrants

    Governor Jay Inslee of Washington State yesterday signed legislation which will offer college financial aid to students brought into the United States illegally by their parents. California, Illinois, Texas, and New Mexico have passed similar legislations. The measure represents a shift in the position of State Senate Republicans: last year, the GOP-controlled Senate blocked a similar measure,called the Dream Act of Washington State, but earlier this month the Senate passed its own version of the bill, which the the governor, a Democrat, signed.

  • Secure Communities triggers deportation of undocumented immigrants with no criminal records

    The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Secure Communitiesprogram sends fingerprint data from local law enforcement and the Federal Bureau of Investigationto immigration officers to identify and deport illegal immigrants who commit major crimes. The program has expanded from fourteen jurisdictions in 2008 to more than 3,000 today. Immigration advocates say that the program’s emphasis on identifying and deporting undocumented immigrants who have committed crimes in the United States notwithstanding, it has also triggered the deportation of 5,964 undocumented immigrants with no criminal records.

  • U.S. to use more discretion applying terrorism-related inadmissibility immigration rules

    The Obama administration has relaxed the rules for would-be asylum-seekers, refugees, and individuals who want to come to the United States or remain in the country despite their classification as having provided “limited material support” to terrorists or terrorist organizations.DHS says that rigorous s security and background checks will still be applied to asylum seekers, including those already in the United States, but officials will take into consideration“routine commercial transactions or routine social transactions,” Arab Spring-related anti-regime activities, and more. Current rules already allow exemptions for providing medical care to terrorists or acting under duress.As of 2011, 4,400 immigration cases are on hold as a result of the old terrorism-related inadmissibility rules.

  • Obama uses executive power to changes immigration policy

    President Barack Obama is using executive power to tackle the country’s immigration issues while Congress makes little progress on immigration overhaul. The president issued executive orders prohibiting deportations of individuals who arrived in the United States illegally as children, individuals who care for children, and individuals who have no criminal records. Recently, some relatives of military service members living in the country illegally have been allowed to remain in the country as a way to lessen stress on the military and reward veterans.

  • Modernizing DHS border enforcement systems may cost more than $1.5 billion

    TECS is the primary DHS system that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel use to screen foreigners against a variety of watchlists, and it manages case files for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). ICE assignments tracked include money-laundering probes, online pornography investigations, and phone data analyses. A GAO audit last month found that the planned $1.5 billion upgrade to TECS now has no foreseeable end-date or final cost estimate.

  • U.S. defense industry pushes for immigration reform

    CEO Linda Hudson of BAE Systemsis making a plea for immigration reform as she links the defense industry’s urgent need for skilled engineers to the push for the United States to develop a simpler path to citizenship for skilled and educated immigrants. She also says that “if we’re forced to forgo international talent we damn well ought to be doing something to produce that talent domestically.”

  • Local enforcement of immigration law does not achieve intended goals

    A new study found that when local law enforcement agencies begin to inquire immigrants about their immigration status, some immigrants relocate within the United States but few go back relocate to their home country. Those who move to other states tend to be educated – and legally in the United States. The only exception is Arizona’s Maricopa County — which made a name for itself owing to Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s controversial approach to immigration policies — where immigrants are likely to leave the country, perhaps due to unusually intense enforcement and a short distance to the border.

  • Strike Two: The CBP’s failure to polygraph its future employees

    Two recent reports – one by the DHS OIG, the other by the GAO — raise an alarm not just about CBP’s failure to monitor and ameliorate the use of excessive force by its agents and officers, but also call into question the quality and character of CBP’s current work force. Rather than reassure the public that the CBP is transitioning into a modern, professional law enforcement agency, these two reports highlight the need for increased congressional oversight and study of an agency which is so vital to our national security.

  • Decline in U.S. unauthorized immigrant population halted

    The sharp decline in the U.S. population of unauthorized immigrants which accompanied the 2007-9 recession has bottomed out, and the number may be rising again. As of March 2012, 11.7 million unauthorized immigrants were living in the United States, according to a new report.

  • Gov. Jerry Brown: only U.S. citizens on juries

    In recent days, Governor Jerry Brown of California approved bills allowing driver’s permits to illegal immigrants and allowing illegal immigrants with a law degree to practice law in the state. Yesterday, however, he drew a tight line around jury service by vetoing a bill which would have made it possible for legal immigrants who are not citizens to serve on juries.

  • House Dems propose comprehensive immigration bill

    House Democrats last week released a proposed immigration bill aiming to tighten border security and provide a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants. The House Judiciary Committee has advanced several bills offering narrower changes to the current immigration law. It is not clear whether the rancor characterizing the budget debate would allow for a bipartisan consideration of either side’s immigration legislative preferences.

  • Immigration court cases in limbo during government shutdown

    The shutdown of the U.S. federal government has left hundreds of thousands of immigration cases in limbo. Immigration lawyers note that it is likely that political asylum cases and deportation cases would be deemed non-urgent, and could thus be put off for months if the government shutdown continues. “Situations change. Memories fade. Evidence gets lost,” one immigration lawyer said. “If you have a court date now, and it is kicked off the calendar, it could be a matter of life and death.”