President Obama’s $3.7B funding request is not on the calendar but other proposals are scheduled for hearings before summer break

Despite inaction on the President’s funding request, some other immigration proposals are on the schedule, courtesy of several House Republicans.

Despite inaction on the President’s funding request, some other immigration proposals are on the schedule, courtesy of several House Republicans.

As the final days and hours of the current legislative session wind down, it looks like there may not be any action on President Obama’s request for funding. The House will finish the current session on Friday, July 31, at which time members will be on summer break. The House of Representatives online schedule currently does not list any scheduled hearing next week on the President’s request for $3.7B border request. House Speaker, John Boehner, says he does not believe the funding request will go anywhere in the remaining time, “I would certainly hope so, but I don’t have as much optimism as I would like to have.” Boehner added, “There’s just been some comments made by our colleagues across the aisle that are going to make this much more difficult to deal with.[i]

Summary of President Obama’s $3.7B funding request:

The Washington Post published a graphic summary of President Obama’s request of $3.7 billion for “deterrence, enforcement, repatriation, public information campaigns and efforts to address the root causes of migration,” according to the article linked above.

Departments to receive funding under the current request for emergency relief:

  • Health and Human Services – $1.8B – care for unaccompanied children and refugee services;
  • Homeland Security – $1.536B – detention and removal, transportation, ICE enforcement, Customs and Border Patrol employee funding, border security task force programs and increased drone surveillance;
  • State Department – $300M – repair and strengthening of the borders and media campaigns in Mexico and Central America;
  • Justice Department – $64M – additional judges, expanded orientation program, legal representation of immigrants, immigration litigation lawyers for federal agencies.

Despite inaction on the President’s funding request, some other immigration proposals are on the schedule, courtesy of several House Republicans.

On Wednesday, July 29, the House Judiciary Committee, lead by Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) will host hearings on a proposed bill, (H.R. 5137), the Asylum Reform and Border Protection Act, to end several of the current immigration policies enacted under President Obama’s administration, under the assumption that those policies are attracting undocumented immigrants to U.S. borders, according to a press release issued on July 17[ii].

A video on the House Judiciary Committee website claims President Obama has not taken sufficient action and that his plan to address the border crisis is nothing but smoke and mirrors: Watch Video. Whether there is enough bipartisan support for H.R. 5137 as a proposed solution to current and future immigration and border problems remains to be seen and it will likely be covered in the media next week.

Another currently scheduled hearing[iii] to take place on Friday, July 31, will be hosted by the Committee on Science, Space and Technology, Subcommittee on Research and Technology. The hearing will focus on the technology that may be needed to secure U.S. borders.

Cable news shows love talking about all the legislative proposals, often regardless of the chances they will get enough votes to pass.

As members of Congress lend their support to the variety of proposed bills, you may wonder if they are making a good faith effort to pass legislation, or whether some of the bills simply provide an opportunity for debate and dialogue, which unfortunately turns into political gamesmanship and attack.

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tx), for example, would like to see the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) program terminated, to send a message to people in Central America, “making it clear that we won’t give amnesty to those who are here illegally.[iv]

Beware of political chatter blaming current immigration problems on current policies.

Cruz may be errant in his statement however, in the sense that DACA does not apply to the people currently arriving on U.S. soil, fleeing grave danger in their home countries. To learn more about misconceptions about immigration law and policies and the current border surge, you may read our article, Immigration law and policy is complex and there are frequent misunderstandings on both sides of the fence. Attorney KiKi M. Mosley works diligently to follow the latest news on immigration reform and share valuable information.

Attorney KiKi M. Mosley is licensed to practice law by the States of Illinois and Louisiana. She is skilled and experienced in complex immigration law issues including DACA and related options for children arriving in the U.S. For more information about the law firm, please visit www.KiKisLaw.com, and do not forget to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” on Twitter. You can also review Attorney Mosley’s endorsements on her Avvo profile.

 

[i] PBS.org, Recess looming, lawmakers appear stuck on Obama’s immigration funding request, By Rachel Wellford, Jul. 22, 2014.

[ii] U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, Chaffetz and Goodlatte Introduce Bill to Stop the Border Crisis, Jul. 17, 2014.

[iii] U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, Subcommittee on Research and Technology.

[iv] See PBS.org article (FNi) above.

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Immigration law and policy is complex and there are frequent misunderstandings on both sides of the fence

Chicago immigration attorney, KiKi M. Mosley frequently hears misconceptions about immigration law and policy and she works diligently to inform the public about the real law and policy available to applicants for immigration relief.

Chicago immigration attorney, KiKi M. Mosley frequently hears misconceptions about immigration law and policy and she works diligently to inform the public about the real law and policy available to applicants for immigration relief.

Many people are misinformed and confused about U.S. immigration law and policy. Misunderstandings among large numbers of people may contribute to the recent increase of undocumented children, and families arriving on U.S. soil primarily from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. Some of the people crossing the border are fleeing deadly conditions in their native countries and have little expectation other than survival once arriving in the U.S. Other people may incorrectly believe false propaganda about immigration law and policy in the U.S.  American Citizens watching the news may be just as confused as politicians play the blame game, pointing fingers at one another for failing to pass immigration reform and for allegedly encouraging the influx of recent children arriving on U.S. soil. Common misconceptions about the complex immigration system involve the policy of Prosecutorial Discretion; Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, Asylum, Withholding of Removal and Protection under the Convention Against Torture (“Asylum”), and a lesser-known option called Special Immigrant Juvenile Status.

Many people falsely believe the policy of “Prosecutorial Discretion” gives new arrivals a safe haven.

Prosecutorial Discretion is a policy, not a law, that the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) announced, which directs Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) to focus on arresting and detaining undocumented immigrants charged with serious crimes and who generally pose a security risk. The purpose of the policy is to encourage general law-abiding individuals to participate in a path to legal status and/or citizenship without fear of leaving the house because ICE might deport them. What is important to understand is that prosecutorial discretion is a policy, and ICE may still detain and deport any individual who is not in the U.S. legally. Prosecutorial discretion is not a policy designed to protect the recently arriving immigrants from Central America. To learn more, read our article, Prosecutorial Discretion in Immigration Enforcement.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) is not available to recently arriving immigrants.

The word on the street among people, who are somewhat familiar with immigration law and policy, is that the DACA policy will apply to children arriving on U.S. soil on any given day. This is not the law. DACA guidelines under the current law and policy as listed below, DO NOT APPLY to currently arriving undocumented immigrants. For more information about DACA, please read our article, USCIS announces DACA renewal process: First time applications are also accepted.

The guidelines for requesting DACA are as follows[i]:

  1. Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
  2. Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
  3. Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
  4. Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
  5. Had no lawful status on June 15, 2012;
  6. Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
  7. Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

The Special Immigrant Juveniles (“SIJ”) Status is a limited program for children.

Foreign children in the U.S., who are victims of abuse and neglect, and worse, abandonment, may qualify for a green card. Critics of immigration policies often incorrectly assume that children apply for legal status and green cards solely for bringing the rest of the family to the U.S. Some people even suggest some applicants for relief lie about their life status or condition to get an approval for the benefit of their other family members. The SIJS program, however, excludes parents and siblings. This is another example of immigration relief that is limited in scope. If an individual obtains a green card through SIJS, they would only be able to petition for a green card for brothers and sisters if the SIJ participant becomes a U.S. citizen[ii].

Chicago immigration attorney, KiKi M. Mosley frequently hears misconceptions about immigration law and policy and she works diligently to inform the public about the real law and policy available to applicants for immigration relief.

Attorney KiKi M. Mosley is licensed to practice law by the State of Illinois and Louisiana. She is skilled and experienced in complex immigration law issues including DACA and related options for children arriving in the U.S. For more information about the law firm, please visit www.KiKisLaw.com, and do not forget to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” on Twitter. You can also review Attorney Mosley’s endorsements on her Avvo profile.

[i] USCIS website: Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

[ii] USCIS website: Special Immigrant Juveniles (SIJ) Status.

Major U.S. cities, counties and states refuse to cooperate with ICE and the number is growing

Not everyone is happy about Philadelphia’s actions thwarting the feds, particularly ICE officials.

Not everyone is happy about Philadelphia’s actions thwarting the feds, particularly ICE officials.

Refusing to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) may be the step in the right direction to signal to Congress that we need to move forward and pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform (“CIR”). If ICE does not have the cooperation of local police to hold “immigration detainees,” Congress may have to wake up and fix the underlying problems with our terribly out of date and broken system. Residents of cities and states all over the U.S. are standing up and saying NO!

City officials in several cities like Philadelphia are telling ICE they will no longer cooperate.

In response to local pressure to respond to the increase in immigrant arrivals cities like Philadelphia, Newark, N.J., Cook County (Chicago, IL) and in California launched ICE non-cooperation policies. This spring, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter signed an executive order[i] ending the city’s cooperation with ICE and ending the practice of municipalities holding suspected immigration offenders for periods of time while they await transfer to federal facilities. Nutter explained that their police officers could not adequately conduct investigations of crimes, protect, and serve its communities when undocumented residents are scared to talk to the police.

In response to Mayor Nutter’s order, Philadelphia Council member, Maria Quinones-Sanchez, strongly praised the announcement and stated, “This victory is so huge, not only for the city of Philadelphia, but for the rest of the country…and for those of you who do immigrant work and know the faces behind the stories, the people who suffered that we couldn’t save before.[ii]

Not everyone is happy about Philadelphia’s actions thwarting the feds, particularly ICE officials.

The lack of municipal locations to keep immigrants does not seem to bother ICE whose representatives say they will continue detaining undocumented immigrants. “The release of serious criminal offenders to the streets in a community, rather than to ICE custody, undermines ICE’s ability to protect public safety and impedes us from enforcing the nation’s immigration laws,[iii]” according to a spokesperson Nicole Navas.

The trend is spreading among cities, counties and states from coast to coast.

More municipal jurisdictions have adopted similar orders and ICE non-cooperation plans alongside their neighbors as the public servants listen to constituents who are fed up with revenue and resources being spent acting on the request and behalf of the federal government and the ICE who lack the facilities to house all the suspects of immigration violations.

The conversation continues in several communities of people demanding that Congress take responsibility for the problem and pass CIR which remains stuck in the House of Representatives with a pack of GOP objectors who are now lead by a tea party house majority leader after he beat Eric Cantor, one Republican who many thought would be able to help pass a reform deal.

Chicago immigration attorney, KiKi M. Mosley closely follows news and policy in immigration that affects everyone affected by our failed system.

Attorney KiKi M. Mosley is licensed to practice law by the State of Illinois and Louisiana. She is skilled and experienced in complex immigration law issues including DACA and related options for children arriving in the U.S. For more information about the law firm, please visit www.KiKisLaw.com, and do not forget to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” on Twitter. You can also review Attorney Mosley’s endorsements on her Avvo profile.

[i] Newsworks.org, Philly police will no longer hold immigrants on behalf of ICE, by Emma Jacobs, Apr. 16, 2014.

[ii] NPR, More Municipalities Deny Federal Requests, Won’t Detain Immigrants, by Emma Jacobs, Jul. 5, 2014.

[iii] See Jacobs NPR article FNii

Update on the immigration crisis and surge of unaccompanied children coming to the U.S.

House Republicans did not make any significant progress to pass immigration reform.

House Republicans did not make any significant progress to pass immigration reform.

Late this spring, President Obama asked Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) Secretary, Jeh Johnson to hold off on a comprehensive report on how DHS manages deportations and what recommendations should be considered to cure the failures in the immigration system. The President delayed the report while House Republicans had the summer session of Congress to collect enough votes to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

Congress failed to vote to pass reform and the border problem is worse.

House Republicans did not make any significant progress to pass immigration reform. Some political news contributors report that immigration reform is not likely to pass in the House due to the election of a tea party candidate, Dave Brat, replacing Eric Cantor (R) as House Majority Leader. “Eric Cantor is saying we should bring more folks into the country, increase the labor supply – and by doing so, lower wage rates for the working person,” Brat stated[1].

Members of Congress are holding a House Homeland Committee “field committee” hearing in McAllen, Texas last week to discuss options and plans to address the surge of Latin American children crossing the border. Rick Perry (R) Texas Governor, who will testify at the hearing called on President Obama to secure the south Texas border. Recent news reports that Texas is a main point of entry for more than 50,000 children from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador who crossed the border in the Rio Grande Valley since October.[2]

The U.S. government response includes a request for funding to address the problems and an ad campaign to Spanish speaking viewers on both sides of the border.

President Obama is asking congress for more than $2 billion to better handle the surge of child immigrants arriving in the U.S. The money would be used to facilitate quicker deportations so the children can be reunited with families. Additionally, the requested funds would be used to enact tougher punishments for the human smugglers and to better screen and house the children being smuggled[3].

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is launching an advertising campaign warning that the trip to the U.S. is dangerous and when you arrive you will not be allowed to stay. Spanish language television ads targeting immigrants on both sides of the border. The ads state that “Those who risk such journeys could be easy prey for ‘coyotes’ and criminal organizations, be robbed or subjected to violence, sexual assault, sex trafficking or forced labor.[4]

Chicago immigration attorney, KiKi M. Mosley closely follows news and policy in immigration that affects the population of people fleeing violence and oppression in their home countries as they risk everything for a chance at a better life in the U.S.

Attorney KiKi M. Mosley is licensed to practice law by the State of Illinois and Louisiana. She is skilled and experienced in complex immigration law issues including DACA and related options for children arriving in the U.S. For more information about the law firm, please visit www.KiKisLaw.com, and do not forget to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” on Twitter. You can also review Attorney Mosley’s endorsements on her Avvo profile.

[1] NBC News, Eric Cantor a Casualty of Immigration Reform, by Mark Murray.

[2] USA Today, Child immigrant crisis prompts hearing at Texas border, by Rick Jervis, Jul. 3, 2014.

[3] The Wall Street Journal, Obama Seeks More Than $2 Billion in Border Control Funds, by Laura Meckler, Jun. 29, 2014.

[4] NBC News, Feds to Wage Ad Campaign to Stem Dangerous Treks to U.S. Border, by Suzanne Gamboa.