Groups Ask Federal Court to Block Deportation Hearings for
Children Without Legal Representation Move Comes as Immigration Courts are Speeding Up Deportation Hearings
Against Children, Raising Serious Concerns
August 1, 2014
Washington D.C. – The American Immigration Council, American Civil Liberties Union, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, Public Counsel, and K&L Gates LLP have asked a federal court to immediately block the government from pursuing deportation proceedings against several children unless it ensures those youth have legal representation. The move comes as immigration courts are speeding up deportation hearings against children in an expedited process sometimes referred to as a “rocket docket.” Continue reading →
The U.S. is experiencing a growing humanitarian crisis as thousands of children arrive at our southern border after making the harrowing journey from Central America and Mexico to the north. The number on unaccompanied minors arriving has risen at a concerning rate in the past few years and data shows us that the “push” factors that force them out of their home countries are the most likely explanation for why these kids make such a risky journey north.
A report released by the Assessment Capacities Project in May contrasted the homicide rate in Afghanistan with that of the three countries where the vast majority of unaccompanied minors are coming from. In 2012, Afghanistan’s homicide rate was 6.5 per 100,000 people. In Honduras, it was 90.4. Murder rates in El Salvador and Guatemala were 41.2 and 39.9, respectively. These unaccompanied children are as much victims of the violence of their countries as Afghan children in refugee camps on the other side of the world. Continue reading →
Today, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the renewal process for hundreds of thousands of young noncitizens who received a grant of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Renewal of DACA ensures current DACA holders will continue to be safe from deportation for another two year period. In addition, they will continue to have work authorization and to be eligible to receive a social security number, and, in nearly every state, a driver’s license.
The renewal announcement comes not a moment too soon. Because DACA recipients are encouraged to request renewal between four to five months ahead of their expiration date to avoid a lapse, the earliest major wave of DACA recipients – who received their DACA grants in September and October of 2012 – will need to act right away. Although DACA recipients who seek to renew must complete multiple applications and submit to a background check, most will be pleased to discover that the renewal process is relatively straightforward and that most DACA recipients should qualify for renewal.
USCIS has made clear that individuals who initially qualified for DACA will be eligible to renew unless they engaged in certain criminal activity, departed the country without the government’s permission, or stopped residing in the United States. No one with DACA will be too old to renew – indeed, as previously explained, it is impossible to age-out of the DACA program. Moreover, individuals enrolled in school at the time of their initial application will not be disqualified if they had to stop attending to see to other life responsibilities. Continue reading →
Young undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children—often referred to as DREAMers—have grown up here, gone to school here, and formed deep roots in local communities. And while their immigration status prevents them from voting or even accessing affordable higher education in some states, DREAMers are civically active in pushing for reforms to the nation’s immigration policies that personally affect them and their families. A new report based on surveys of young immigrants found that 35 percent of DREAMers polled said they were part of an immigrant rights group. According to “In Their Own Words: A Nationwide Survey of Undocumented Millennials” by Tom Wong and Caroline Valdiva, that civic action does not translate into an automatic alignment with one political party.
About 40 percent of respondents said they aligned with the Democratic Party based on its immigration positions. Five percent said they were closer to the Republican Party because of its position. The other half of young immigrants surveyed said they were independents or had no party affiliation. As The New York Times explains, the political views of undocumented immigrants are significant because they still have an impact: Continue reading →