On Friday, July 20, this family stopped the deportation of their brother and son, through their unstoppable will, and successfully beat the process that makes criminal courts a waiting room for immigration court. This was a long road, but their loved one will be home next week as a result, and they created a blueprint for other families. Submission Post by Raj Jayadev
Just last April, ACJP’s youngest member was at immigration court fighting deportation charges. Yesterday, he graduated eighth grade. In the fall of this year, he came back from an ICE detention facility after being referred there by San Mateo County probation. It’s been one tough year for this young man, but he’s got the love of his family and community to pull him through. Check out the campaign to stop juvenile ICE holds that ACJP De-Bug is working on with our allies in San Mateo County at www.stopdeportingyouth.com — Submission Post by Charisse Domingo
This is a photo of ACJP De-Bug’s youngest member — only 14 years old, who had an immigration court proceeding today in San Francisco. He’s been coming to our weekly meetings for months now with his family and we’ve grown to know and love his quiet strength.
Scanning the courtroom, he was also the youngest person there who was facing deportation. The air was thick with apprehension, of not knowing what was going to happen, and greater than that — of the fear of ICE agents coming into court right then and there. In the waiting room that looks like a doctor’s office, the brown faces from Mexico, Central America, and Asia are furrowed. But this young man has incredible courage, far more than what he realizes himself. He stares down at his paperwork the whole time. The pro-bono attorney of the day rapidly runs through paperwork to give him and says will ask for a continuance. She battle-runs through the same set of questions we had seen her ask the Chinese person before us, and the Latino couple right before him. “Where are you from?” “Where is your family?” — All questions that are loaded and sterile at the same time, given the place we were at this morning.
They call his name from the bench and the pro-bono attorney motions with two fingers to come to the front. “You’re not alone up there,” I told him. “I know,” he says. “God is with me.” And he smiles. It’s only 5 minutes that he’s up there, but the wait was about an hour and a half. From the audience, I tell myself it’s all procedural today, but every pause of the judge pushes me closer to the edge of my seat. At the end, another court date is set, and he breathes a sigh of relief outside. He looks up again and can’t wait to run to his mom.
Young people should be thinking about school, sports, what music they like — not deportation proceedings. I am hoping the human side of the immigration system breaks through for this young man, and for all young people and their families. — Submission Post by Charisse Domingo
Authored by Lena Graber of the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, the “All In One Guide To Defeating ICE Hold Requests” is designed to help communities disentangle local police policy and practices from immigration enforcement. ACJP at De-Bug has been one of the key organizations in the Santa Clara County FIRE (Forum for Immigrant Rights and Empowerment) Coalition that helped secure the most progressive detainer policy in the nation, spearheaded on the Board level by Supervisor George Shirakawa. Our Coalition’s yearlong efforts are featured on this guide. As we’ve always asserted, it’s not public safety vs. immigrant rights, but public safety THROUGH immigrant rights. Post submission by Charisse Domingo
With the Stanford Immigrants Rights Clinic, Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, Youth United for Community Action, ACLU North Peninsula Chapter, Comite de Padres Unidos, and Nuestra Casa, we at Silicon Valley De-Bug have helped lead efforts to stop San Mateo County Probation’s practice of juvenile ICE holds in San Mateo County. Families have come to De-Bug seeking support for their son’s or daughter’s cases where they have been caught up in juvenile hall and then sent to immigrant detention centers across the country — youth as young as 13. For the last four years, we’ve seen an increase in this number of families like no other, beginning with one mother from East Palo Alto who was so distraught at the thought of her 16 year old daughter being deported back to a country that she left when she was 3. We learned that it was her PO who reported her to ICE, and initially, we thought it was a mistake. But it turned out to be the complete opposite — this was actually routine practice. In fact, San Mateo County is the second highest referrer of juveniles to ICE in California — second only to Orange County, according to statistics obtained by Immigrant Legal Resource Center from the Office of Refugee Resettlement.
As part of the coalition’s efforts in the last nine months, we at De-Bug created this page, www.stopdeportingyouth.com, to highlight not just the practice of referring youth to ICE, but the strong stance that a broad-based coalition has taken to urge our county to do otherwise. We believe San Mateo County can do better. Submission Post by Charisse Domingo
Click here or on the picture below to take you to the site.
Debug ACJP team met with a group from Philly who calls themselves “One Love Movement.” They’re fighting against deportations; does this sound familiar? We shared strategies, heart-felt stories. We embraced them with Debug family love. Thank you “One Love Movement” for coming down to San Jose, CA for taking the time to be part of our movement and sharing with us what you’re doing up in Philly. We are “One Love” and with the power of the community and people who care, we shall make a difference. – Post Submission by Blanca Bosquez
Check out this video of our friends our in Philadelphia:
Are the prosecutorial discretion guidelines issued by the Obama administration last year having an effect on the number of deportation cases that the administration is pursuing?
By Leslie Berestein Rojas, New America Media — A new Syracuse University report suggests yes, federal immigration officials say no, and some lawmakers are calling “amnesty” nonetheless.
First, the report: Issued in recent days by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University, the number of deportation proceedings begun in the nation’s immigration courts between October and December of last year (the first quarter of federal fiscal year 2012) “fell sharply to only 39,331 — down 33 percent from 58,639 filings recorded the previous quarter,” a drop of more than 10,000 cases filed. The report notes that since filings are typically lower at that time of year, the numbers were adjusted for seasonal drop-off. It continues:
This substantial drop may have been caused by the steps needed to implement the June 17, 2011 agency directive on prosecutorial discretion or as the indirect effect of the review announced August 18, 2011 by the Administration of all pending Immigration Court cases. The objective of these twin initiatives was to better target enforcement resources on high priority cases. Continue reading
In a recently released media alert, ICE has presented new features to the ICE immigration detainer (Form I-247). Detainer requests are the device ICE uses to request local jails to hold people beyond their local sentence in order for ICE to then pick them up and place them in detention. The new form, and press release, may be in response to the national criticism of their Scomm (Secured Communities) program. Counties such as Santa Clara County and Chicago have lead the charge against ICE’s detainer policies.
The new features may represent positive impact for counties across the United States, if actually enacted. Here in Santa Clara County, the Santa Clara coalition against SCOMM has been working hard in advocating for all immigrants that could be impacted by detainers. We also see the same hard work being done in countless counties across the nation. This new ICE detainer form has potential in shifting who will eventually get deported and who will not in other counties – again depending on how counties and states respond to the announced changes, and how sincere ICE is in these changes. First off, the document does state that the detainer request form is in fact a request. Many county officials across the county did not know that a detainer is an actual request, rather erroneously thinking it was legally mandatory. And in an interestingly worded statement, the press release states that “the new form allows ICE to make the detainer operative only upon the individual’s conviction.” ICE, through SCOMM, currently sends people into detention regardless of conviction or not. Another interesting part of the form is that they have now incorporated a hot-line one could call to lodge a complaint or any issues that one may have with their hold, although I wouldn’t trust a hot-line made by the same department of the government that is trying to work so hard in getting immigrants deported out of. Continue reading
Submission Post and video by Charisse Domingo
After four months in immigration detention, 13 year old Elias comes home. After facing charges, he was placed on an immigration hold, and unlike other Bay Area counties, San Mateo enforces detainer requests regardless of age. But because of his mom’s advocacy and supported by community, Elias is coming home to spend Christmas with his family.
A longer story on juvenile ICE holds is coming, but we wanted to share with you the moment that Patricia and Elias were reunited at the San Francisco Airport on Wednesday, December 21.
On October 21, 2011, just days after the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors passed a detainer policy praised by many community members, legal service providers, and immigrant rights advocates as one that balances public safety, honors civil rights, and protects immigrants, County Counsel Miguel Marquez sends off a letter to ICE notifying them of our County’s official stance. Click below to read the letter….