Tuesday, February 21, 2017

We Will Not Be Doing Mass Deportations -Yet, says ICE !

Major John Kelly: Secretary of DHS
“We do not have the personnel, time or resources to go into communities and round up people and do all kinds of mass throwing folks on buses. That’s entirely a figment of folks’ imagination,” said the official, who was joined on the call by two others, all of whom spoke on condition of anonymity to answer questions. “This is not intended to produce mass roundups, mass deportations.”
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-administration-seeks-to-prevent-panic-over-new-immigration-enforcement-policies/2017/02/21/a2a695a8-f847-11e6-bf01-d47f8cf9b643_story.html?utm_term=.f5d08ed0ef62     Washington Post.

The new regulations,

Currently, deportation depend upon persons arrested agreeing to be quickly deported.  DHS will be significantly increasing the number of Border Patrol and Immigration Hearing Officers. Unless they have convicted of prior felony,  persons arrested are immediately offered a “voluntary” departure.  If you sign it, most people will be deported within 2-3 days. ( In California it is usually the same day.)
The new rules call for the immediate deportation of  "undocumented immigrants who have been charged with crimes but not convicted, those who commit acts that constitute a “chargeable criminal offense,” and those who an immigration officer concludes pose “a risk to public safety or national security.”

These rules changes make it possible to deport millions of  immigrants. Have you used a false social security number ?  Have you accepted a “voluntary departure”, and then returned to the U.S. to be with your family ?  Does the arresting officer think that you might be a risk to public safety or national security ? Any one of these issues could make it possible to deport you- although you have a good reason to be in this country.
One  strategy to defeat these mass deportations is for those arrested to refuse to sign the “voluntary” departure.  Note; This is a serious decision.. Each individual will have to make their own decision.  Persons refusing to sign may have to remain in jail for months.
The jails will fill within days- even the private prisons.  And, the courts will be overloaded. 
Then what?  Those arrested must ask for attorneys.  Under the current system, over 90%  arrested sign the “voluntary “ departure.  They do not receive attorney’s or legal counsel.

When those arrested have an  attorney,  some 40% of those with representation win the right to stay.  And, another 40% will not win, but they will delay deportation for 2-5 years ( long enough for the children to grow up).
Immigration hearing officers currently have a backlog of 453, 948 cases in 2015.  It takes some 635 days to process the average case.  While Trump will expand the case officers, the hearings will create a back log of years.

So, what do we as DSA do?
The entire deportation process is built upon the assumption that most of those apprehended do not know their rights, will waive their rights, and will be deported.  The choice to not sign the “voluntary” departure and to insist on hearing  is up to the person being arrested.  Immigrant rights groups are educating about this.
Our intervention should be to assist those arrested and who decline to sign the “voluntary” departure to get legal counsel.  We can do this by working to get cities and states to fund programs to provide legal representation.  Los Angeles and San Francisco have already done this.  New York City is moving in this direction. 
Without a funded legal defense fund, many of the sanctuary city resolutions mean much less than they appear to offer. 
There are numerous groups working to protect the rights, the safety, and the families of  residents.
Cities and governments are passing legislation to provide budgets for providing counsel.  There are often volunteer organizations providing this information for free. California, for example, has a bill to provide millions for legal defense and preparation of public defense and numerous cities and counties are preparing to provide counsel.  This will slow the deportation process so much that most of those arrested will not even get a court hearing until after Donald Trump is defeated in 2020 and the laws can be changed.

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