With Comprehensive Immigration Reform possibilities becoming a reality, the immigrant rights movement has a decision to make — will the movement be inclusive, or will immigrants with criminal records be sacrificed in the negotiations? In alot of ways, CIR, as it’s currently being discussed, could very well make things more difficult for immigrants who are entangled in the criminal justice system. These families are ACJP families, and we hope CIR becomes an opportunity for all, and that our immigrants rights movement can be advocates for all. Here is a piece on the topic by Valeria Fernández of New America Media.
PHOENIX — In Arizona, more and more immigrants find themselves joining the ranks of a group that could be excluded from immigration reform: undocumented immigrants with criminal records.
The local grassroots pro-immigrant group PUENTE is calling on Congress to enact an immigration reform package that includes those whose criminal records are related to the state’s crackdown on undocumented workers.
But the question is a controversial one, and one that some immigrant rights advocacy groups may not be willing to touch. A movement that has long touted the motto, “We are not criminals,” may not want to fight for the legalization of those who have any kind of criminal record. Continue reading
“It was the policy of the San Mateo County juvenile probation department to report youth to immigration enforcement officials regardless of the nature of their juvenile offense and before youth had even seen a juvenile court judge or met with their defense attorneys. In Yareli’s case, she had no idea that she was talking to an ICE official. She explained, “My probation officer asked me ‘do you have papers?’ I said no. I can’t lie to them, so I said no. Then they told me to go talk to this person. He just started asking me questions, and at the end he said, ‘By the way, I’m an ICE agent.”
…The underlying purpose of the juvenile justice system is to rehabilitate youth and protect the community. In California, for example, the goals of the juvenile justice system include providing treatment that is in the minor’s best interest, rehabilitating youth, and preserving and reuniting families. Reporting youth to ICE directly undercuts these goals because it renders youth vulnerable to physical and emotional harm, undermines their prospects for rehabilitation, weakens family ties, and violates the foundational principles of the juvenile justice system to help youth successfully transition into adulthood.”
— Excerpt from “Two-Tiered System for Juveniles”, co-written by Angie Junck (ILRC), Charisse Domingo (De-Bug), and Helen Beasley (CLSEPA)
The Sentencing Project and First Focus released a new publication this month called “Children In Harm’s Way” that highlights the experiences of those caught in the crossroads of the criminal justice, immigration, and child welfare systems. One of the articles, “Two Tiered System for Juveniles” was co-authored by Charisse Domingo with Silicon Valley De-Bug’s ACJP, along with Angie Junck from the Immigrant Legal Resource Center and Helen Beasley from Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto. This article highlights the practice of juvenile ICE holds in San Mateo County and the local coalition’s efforts to stop it. It also features the story of an ACJP family who directly experienced the effects of this policy, and won her case through family, community and legal support. To read their article and the full report, click here….