for immediate release // excuse cross-posting
Petition Filers Seek Rule Change from DHS to Suspend Deportations, Agency Required to Respond
The “Si Se Puede” Filing Provides Authoritative Legal Evidence of Obama Administration’s Ability to Expand Deferred Action, Grant Relief to Future Beneficiaries of Immigration Reform
The National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) and a group of undocumented people facing the threat of deportation are using a little known provision of the Administrative Procedure Act to formally request the Department of Homeland Security expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to the fullest extent permissible by law and to suspend deportations for immigrant workers and families who are likely future beneficiaries of immigration reform.
Under the law, agencies are required to allow members of the public to petition for the issuance of new rules or changes to or repeal of existing rules. DHS must provide a response to the petition and explain its decision to grant or deny petitioners’ request.
Referring to the significance of the petition drafted by the Kathryn O. Greenberg Immigration Justice Clinic at Cardozo School of Law, NDLON Staff Attorney Jessica Karp explained, “After reading this document, there is no question whether the President can stop deportations. It shows that he can and he should. The only question left is, why hasn’t he? This petition presents the dilemma to DHS formally. It gives them to opportunity to correct years of reckless enforcement and also grant relief to immigrant workers and families who the President and leaders on both sides of the isle all agree belong here.”
For Jose Luis Piscil of New Haven, CT who is scheduled to appear in immigration court on March 16th, the petition is part of his urgent attempt to remain with his family after a wrongful arrest on charges that were quickly dismissed led to his placement in deportation proceedings under the federal Secure Communities deportation quota program. “The way they are currently enforcing their laws is creating nightmares in immigrants’ lives. I want to be here for my wife and two children, to provide for them and to see them grow up. DHS uses discretion in its enforcement. I hope it will use it in my case and change their rules so that no one else faces what my family is going through.”
Many cite the “Sí se puede (Yes You Can)” rulemaking petition as the authoritative document on the President’s executive authority related to immigration enforcement. It cites extensive precedent to demonstrate the historic use of discretion and the constitutional authority of the executive branch to determine how laws are implemented.
Thomas Chew of Cardozo Immigration Justice Clinic says, ““The Constitution gives the President unilateral power to determine when it is, and when it is not, in the national interest to initiate deportation proceedings. The only question that remains is whether this President will exercise his power to protect our nation’s immigrants and our nation’s economy from the devastation his immigration policies have wrought.”
The “Sí se puede (Yes You Can)” rulemaking petition is available at http://www.notonemoredeportation.com/resources/rulemaking/
for immediate release
Mary Rose Wilcox, Pastor Stewart, Puente, ACLU Cite Pending Humanitarian Crisis, Call for Suspension of Secure Communities, Termination of All 287(g) Agreements in Arizona
PHOENIX, 6/27/2012 -- In the wake of the Supreme Court ruling in the Department of Justice SB1070 case that allowed section 2B, the racial profiling section of the law to move forward, more than one hundred Arizona-based organizations and notable individuals sent a letter calling on the state's former governor, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano, to end DHS' collaboration with Arizona to prevent a pending "humanitarian crisis."
Washington DC - Yesterday the Department of Homeland Security launched its advisory committee as part of the response to the growing controversy and resistance from states and law enforcement towards Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) “Secure Communities” program.
When ICE announced cosmetic modifications earlier this month it promoted the advisory committee made up of law enforcement, ICE agents, and advocates as a body purported to issue recommendations in 45 days on how to “mitigate impacts on community policing,” “how to best focus on individuals who pose a true public safety and security threat,” as well as how to implement a post-conviction policy for traffic offenses.
Today advocates learned that in fact the commission is limited to recommendations about minor traffic offenses—a significant departure from ICE’s announcement. The commission also appears to be tangled in levels of bureaucracy —the advisory committee reports to another DHS committee.
Sarahi Uribe of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network said: "The advisory commission launched by DHS is a sham like the rest of the ‘Secure Communities’ program. The more we learn about the commission the more we smell a rat. A committee tasked on whether they should separate and detain families pre or post conviction for broken tail lights is another embarrassment for the Obama Administration and its disregard for human rights in this country."
“Forty-five days and a few short meetings is not enough time to truly examine a vast program like S-Comm,“ said Bridget Kessler of Cardozo Law School Immigration Justice Clinic, “ICE is once again spouting superficial talking points and band-aid solutions instead of confronting S-Comm’s fundamental flaws.”
ICE recently posted a document titled “Secure Communities: Get the Facts” on its website. Advocates, questioning ICE’s “facts,” issued this response: http://tinyurl.com/4x7tnbn
“The Office of Inspector General of DHS is set to investigate the problems with Secure Communities, including whether public officials were misled by the agency,” said Sunita Patel, Staff Attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights. “The advisory committee's narrow scope ignores the concerns of public officials and civil rights groups. Advocates and community members have called for an end to Secure Communities and the administration should listen.”
Last year ICE issued a document titled “Setting the Record Straight” in response to the release of data about S-Comm. The document, which outlined a procedure to opt-out of the program, was later taken down from the ICE website. “ICE's ‘Get the Facts’ web posting is like 'Setting the Record Straight,' all spin without substance aimed at hiding the truth,” concluded Sunita Patel....
See Complete Report Here: http://altopolimigra.com/s-comm-shadow-report/
After a firestorm of controversy over the Secure Communities deportation program (or "SCOMM"), a committee charged with providing recommendations to the Department of Homeland Security has failed to reach consensus with taskforce members beginning to resign.
Sarahi Uribe of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network praised the first to resign, ""Arturo Venegas is setting the example and leading the way for taskforce members to match the courage of those who stood up at taskforce hearings calling for an end of the program. His resignation today makes him a hero in the immigrant community."
The Secure Communities Task Force was widely viewed as an effort by DHS to dampen growing criticism of the discredited program rather than an earnest attempt to seek input from the program's detractors. In contrast to the DHS task force, a broad coalition of experts achieved complete consensus in a shadow report recommending the complete termination of SCOMM.
Chris Newman, Legal Director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network issued the following statement:
"Rather than sweep SCOMM's catastrophic flaws under a rug, the administration should end the program. DHS has used unprecedented deception to sell a dangerous program to the American public, and its use of this task force is no different. It is clear DHS set the task force up as a ruse to cover up its colossal failure, but it didn't work.
"The task force report will only lead to more controversy over SCOMM as questions are raised about why it couldn't achieve consensus, and as everyone now watches to see whether the White House will finally hold DHS accountable.
"S-Comm is leading to the 'Arizonification' of the United States. Immediate suspension pending a genuine review by the Inspector General will be required to regain public trust in DHS. An end to the program will be required to advance the goal of immigration reform."
Background on Parallel Report:
"The Secure Communities program should be ended," is the central recommendation of a report authored by broad coalition of prominent local and national immigrant rights group and endorsed by over 150 organizations. The report, which features the voices of law enforcement, judges, academics, and directly impacted individuals, chronicles the deception of Immigration and Customs Enforcement uncovered through FOIA litigation, local organizing, and advocacy. The report clearly lays out demonstrable negative impacts SCOMM has had on community safety and civil rights.
For example, Ron Hampton president of Black Law Enforcement in America writes in the report, "Opposition to Secure Communities “is rooted in common sense: counties and states across the country rely on the relationships of the communities they serve to combat and solve crime. It is foolish to sever this tie in order to enforce civil immigration law."
Echoing the concerns of other law enforcement officials and experts, Robert Morgenthau, former New York City District Attorney, wrote in the report, "When immigrants perceive the local police force as merely an arm of the federal immigration authority, they become reluctant to report criminal activity for fear of being turned over to federal officials."
The report also included the testimony of Joaquin, a resident of Homestead, Florida who was wrongfully arrested and assaulted by police and now faces deportation because of the Secure Communities program. He wrote, "I never committed a crime but now I am facing going back to my country. My plans, my dreams, everything was changed.
Background on the Secure Communities Task Force:
The task force has been discredited by the immigrant rights movement since its inception. Shortly after its creation 200 organizations, including civil rights groups, labor, faith as well as some law enforcement leaders sent a letter to John Morton, ICE's director, on July 20th raising concern about the scope of the task force, its lack of transparency, and its inadequate process to review the program in light of the pending Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General audit. Groups urged ICE to immediately suspend the program.
A second letter with over 160 groups was sent to the task force asking them to resign following the August 5th, announcement by ICE that the agency would unilaterally terminate all agreements and impose the program on all cities and states despite objections that the program damages public safety and the decisions of Illinois, New York, and Massachusetts to not participation in the program. (attached) The agency's shift to make the program an unfunded mandate after two years of operation and over 43 Memorandums of Agreements signed with states (they included termination clauses), defied basic democratic principles and further exposed the agency as rogue and lacking any regard for the "nation’s courts, local and state law-makers, law enforcement, and communities—much less this task force."
At community hearings held this summer by the task force in Dallas, Los Angeles, Illinois, and Arlington, Virginia the members were met with massive protests, walk outs, acts of civil disobedience, and calls to resign from the "sham" task force and to end the program.
Today the Department of Justice concluded its three year investigation into civil rights violations in the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. In response to the detailed report, Pablo Alvarado of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network issued the following response:
“The Department of Justice report formally and forcefully describes a civil and human rights crisis in Maricopa County; one that has moved hundreds of thousands to demonstrate around the globe over the past several years.
It is a ringing indictment of a Sheriff’s office that has 'treated all Latinos as if they were undocumented' and the federal immigration contracts that have made such prejudice possible. It is the most detailed chronicle of the failed end result of the federal programs that make monsters out of local law enforcement.
We have waited three years for federal intervention to restore justice in Maricopa County. Now that the Department of Justice has outlined the symptoms, it is time for the Department of Homeland security to terminate its immigration contracts with the Sheriff as a first step toward a cure.”
The Department of Justice report outlines years of biased policing that created “a chronic culture of disregard for basic legal and constitutional obligations (page 2).”
It goes on to detail that deputies used excessive force against Latinos and built a “wall of distrust between MCSO officers and Maricopa County Latino residents (page 2).”
The report finds, “Since roughly 2007, in the course of establishing its immigration enforcement program, MCSO has implemented practices that treat Latinos as if they are all undocumented, regardless of whether a legitimate factual basis exists to suspect that a person is undocumented (page 6).”
“Sheriff Arpaio has promoted a culture of bias in his organization and clearly communicated to his officers that biased policing would not only be tolerated, but encouraged (page 9).”
The Full Report can be read: http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/spl/mcso.php