A few weeks back, our blog took a closer look at the important issue of how long a person can be held by a law enforcement agency on an immigration detainer issued by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
If you or a loved one has been detained by a local law enforcement agency or by officers from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, you probably have a lot of questions, including where a person can be taken during detention, whether they can receive any visitors and what rights a detainee has.
While it isn't likely that unfair deportation proceedings will stop any time soon, President Obama's administration recently announced that it would review current deportation practices. Obviously, one major problem is that immigrants who have lived in the U.S. a long time and who have not committed a crime are being deported, even though the proposed immigration reform would make those same immigrants eligible for legal status.
Reporters from EFE just pulled data on immigration enforcement actions by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement last year and found some surprising trends. Nationwide, the number of unauthorized immigrants arrested dropped by 23 percent during the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2013. Notably, the ICE office in Miami prosecuted 33 percent fewer people for immigration offenses. Arrests of undocumented people also dropped substantially in Miami, as well as in Chicago, Houston, Atlanta and San Diego.
According to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, a certain Honduran man has "checkered immigration history in the United States," but he's not guilty of being "voluntarily present and found in the United States" after deportation or of criminal reentry. In 2012, a federal jury in Buffalo had convicted him of both offenses, which carry potential penalties of two and 20 years in prison, respectively. The 2nd Circuit, however, has just reversed those convictions and ordered him acquitted.
According to E! entertainment news, 19-year-old pop superstar Justin Bieber is currently living in the U.S. through an O-1 visa, a temporary work visa for people with extraordinary ability or achievement. As we discussed on this blog recently, not every talented person qualifies for an extraordinary ability visa, but Bieber's international commercial success would certainly qualify him.
On Nov. 19, the New York Court of Appeals ruled that judges must inform criminal defendants who are not citizens that, if they plead guilty to certain crimes, they could be deported. This ruling could help provide a valid deportation defense to hundreds of people that would otherwise be at risk for removal.
One of the many concerns immigrant rights advocates have about the detention of unauthorized migrants by the Department of Homeland Security is that it separates families. In many cases, immigrants detained by ICE are held in DHS detention facilities far away from their American homes and families, and a number have been denied visitors or even access to legal counsel.
Immigration reform groups in New York told the New York Daily News recently that they plan to fight even harder for change in upcoming weeks, even after the extraordinary Oct. 8 Rally for Immigrant Dignity and Respect on the National Mall. At that rally more than 200 people, including eight members of Congress, were arrested for refusing to move from outside the closed Capitol building.
In a welcome development, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, has issued substantive new policy limits on its use of solitary confinement on immigrants awaiting deportation and removal hearings. As the New York Times has reported, every day, some 300 immigration detainees are held in solitary in ICE's 50 largest facilities. They are kept isolated in small cells with little human contact for 22 to 24 hours a day -- at least half for two weeks or longer -- for disciplinary infractions or for protection.