WBEZ | DHS http://www.wbez.org/tags/dhs Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en After Obama immigration offer, college roommates weigh risks http://www.wbez.org/news/after-obama-immigration-offer-college-roommates-weigh-risks-103257 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F75048041" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/DSC_0295cropped.jpg" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px; float: left; height: 228px; width: 350px; " title="Northern Illinois University sophomores “Marissa Castillo,” left, and Elaine Rodríguez share an apartment in DeKalb, Illinois. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)" />President Barack Obama has an offer for many undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children. Since Aug. 15, the Department of Homeland Security has been letting them apply for work papers and a deportation reprieve under a policy called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. But the department says it had received fewer than 180,000 complete applications as of Oct. 10. That represents a small fraction of the 950,000 immigrants that, according to a Pew Hispanic Center estimate, could qualify immediately for the deferred action.</p><p>That got me wondering: What would keep people from applying? I&rsquo;m hearing about immigrants having trouble gathering documents to prove their eligibility. I&rsquo;m hearing about struggles to find affordable legal advice and scrape up the $465 application fee. But there&rsquo;s another factor: fear. Many immigrants are wondering how long the policy will remain in place and whether the application information will be used for immigration enforcement. Some are also wondering whether they can count on the Obama administration, which has deported people in record numbers.</p><p>I found a pair of young roommates bound up in these questions. Both women have immigrant parents. Both grew up in Chicago. And both are college sophomores. But just one has papers to be in the United States. That woman, a U.S. citizen, wants to convince her undocumented roommate to take up Obama&rsquo;s offer and send in the application. Their story revolves around trust, immigration status and who will have a future in the United States.</p></p> Fri, 19 Oct 2012 17:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/after-obama-immigration-offer-college-roommates-weigh-risks-103257 Young immigrants line up to apply for deportation reprieve http://www.wbez.org/news/young-immigrants-line-apply-deportation-reprieve-101734 <p><p> <div id="PictoBrowser120816122822">Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer</div><script type="text/javascript" src="http://www.db798.com/pictobrowser/swfobject.js"></script><script type="text/javascript"> var so = new SWFObject("http://www.db798.com/pictobrowser.swf", "PictoBrowser", "500", "500", "8", "#EEEEEE"); so.addVariable("source", "sets"); so.addVariable("names", "Young immigrants line up to apply for deportation reprieve"); so.addVariable("userName", "chicagopublicmedia"); so.addVariable("userId", "33876038@N00"); so.addVariable("ids", "72157631082359162"); so.addVariable("titles", "off"); so.addVariable("displayNotes", "always"); so.addVariable("thumbAutoHide", "on"); so.addVariable("imageSize", "medium"); so.addVariable("vAlign", "mid"); so.addVariable("vertOffset", "0"); so.addVariable("colorHexVar", "EEEEEE"); so.addVariable("initialScale", "on"); so.addVariable("bgAlpha", "80"); so.write("PictoBrowser120816122822"); </script> </p><p>Thousands of young undocumented immigrants lined up Wednesday at Chicago&rsquo;s Navy Pier for help with paperwork as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security began taking applications for deportation deferrals and work permits under a new policy initiated by President Barack Obama.</p><p>The turnout led the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, which organized the event, to begin turning immigrants away in the morning.</p><p>The policy, called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, allows undocumented immigrants who had not turned 31 by June 15 to temporarily live and work in the United States.</p><p>Elizabeth Espinosa, a Chicago resident who arrived at Navy Pier hours before the event&#39;s 9 a.m. start time, said she was applying so she could attend college to become a registered nurse.</p><p>&ldquo;It means not just equality, but ... a better hope for us and our future children,&rdquo; Espinosa said. &ldquo;It means so much more than just a piece of paper. It means our whole lives.&rdquo;</p><p>Cristián García of Mundelein said he wanted the deportation reprieve and employment authorization so he could work as a computer technician. He also said he wanted his family to gain some peace of mind.</p><p>&ldquo;Sometimes, because we don&rsquo;t have documents and we&rsquo;re not legal we don&rsquo;t feel secure and we don&rsquo;t have the same opportunities to study,&rdquo; García said.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.wbez.org/line-dreamrelief-day-navy-pier-chicago-126-seconds-101746" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Image1_1.jpg" style="float: right;" title="The line to apply deferred-action, in 126 seconds." /></a>Applicants must prove they arrived in the United States before turning 16 and that they have lived in the country continuously for five years. They also must be a student or graduate or have served in the military, among other requirements.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Republicans have called the policy an election-year maneuver that bypasses Congress and favors illegal immigrants over U.S. citizens. They also point to the fact that legislation known as the Dream Act, which would have provided a path to citizenship for many of the youths that are now applying for deferred-action, failed in the U.S. Congress.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Prominent Illinois Republicans &mdash; including U.S. Reps. Judy Biggert (R-13th), Aaron Schock (R-18th), Randy Hultgren (R-14th), Adam Kinzinger (R-11th) and Peter Roskam (R-6th) &mdash; did not make themselves available for comment.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Mitt Romney &mdash; the party&rsquo;s presumed presidential nominee &mdash; has talked about vetoing the Dream Act if it were ever passed and has suggested pushing undocumented immigrants, as he puts it, to &ldquo;self-deport.&rdquo; Romney has not promised to keep Obama&rsquo;s deferred-action policy in place.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The election and its possible impact on the deferred-action policy has Chicago immigration attorney Robert Cotter calling Wednesday&#39;s Navy Pier event &ldquo;reckless.&rdquo; He adds that the immigrants ought to wait to submit the paperwork until they see who wins November&rsquo;s election.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&ldquo;We could have a new president,&quot; Cotter said. &ldquo;That new president could undo what&rsquo;s been done in one day. One signature could undo everything. So I&rsquo;m counseling my clients, &lsquo;Look, you survived this far. If you can wait another 10 - 11 weeks, you&rsquo;re going to be a lot more certain that you&rsquo;re really going to get that work permit and that you&rsquo;re not going to get a notice to appear in immigration court.&rsquo;&rdquo;</div><p><img a="" achieve="" afford="" all="" alt="" be="" because="" become="" can="" class="image-original_image" correct="" enough="" finally="" get="" i="" is="" job="" my="" not="" paperwork="" pray="" said.="" school="" she="" so="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS6169__PHO4197sm.jpg" style="height: 264px; width: 175px; margin: 5px; float: left; " the="" this="" time="" title="Yulizma Mendoza, 27, arrived at 2:30am to wait for a workshop on preparing her application for deferred deportation at Chicago's Navy Pier on Wednesday, August 15, 2012. (WBEZ/Peter Holderness) " to="" two="" want="" will="" years="" />This sentiment didn&rsquo;t sit well with U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), one of the principal sponsors of the Dream Act. The senator attended Wednesday&rsquo;s event and gestured to hundreds of young people filling out their applicants in the ballroom, saying it will be politically unfeasible to reverse this policy.</p><p>&ldquo;I will tell you the force that they are creating is a moral force here, beyond a legal force,&rdquo; Durbin said. &ldquo;It is a moral force that, I believe, that as the American people support this 2 to 1, that&rsquo;s what the polls tell us. They will support these young people being protected. If someone later comes along and tries to exploit the fact that they did the right thing, they did what they were told legally.&rdquo;</p><p>Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-4th) said the scene at Chicago&#39;s&nbsp;Navy&nbsp;Pier&nbsp;resembled Ellis Island.</p><p>Immigrant advocates and others cautioned that the applications for deferred-action include all sorts of things &mdash; fingerprints, information about family members &mdash; that would be useful for deporting people.</p><p>The Department of Homeland Security says it won&rsquo;t use such information for enforcement unless there&rsquo;s evidence of criminal activity.</p></p> Wed, 15 Aug 2012 09:05:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/young-immigrants-line-apply-deportation-reprieve-101734 ICE nabs 29 in Chicago-area sweep for gang members http://www.wbez.org/news/ice-nabs-29-chicago-area-sweep-gang-members-98557 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/ICE_1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is talking up 29 Chicago-area arrests that were part of a national operation targeting transnational gangs.</p><p>Gary Hartwig, special agent in charge of ICE’s Chicago-area Homeland Security Investigations, said the operation began April 9 and lasted three days. He said police in Wheeling, Waukegan, Joliet and Elgin took part.</p><p>“I don’t have the time and resources to just go round up everybody who happens to be in the country illegally,” Hartwig said. “Our job is to focus our resources on criminal gangs and criminal organizations — in this case, transnational gangs — who are operating in our communities and making our streets unsafe.”</p><p>As a result of the Chicago-area arrests, ICE says, a 26-year-old U.S. citizen and two foreign nationals face criminal charges. Officials say the other 26 detainees are in deportation proceedings.</p><p>An ICE statement says the operation, dubbed Project Nefarious, led to more than 600 arrrests nationwide. The statement says the operation spanned 150 U.S. cities and reached Honduras. The operation’s impetus, the agency adds, was a 2011 federal report that identified gangs tied to human smuggling and trafficking.</p><p>The victims of those crimes include foreign nationals in the United States, but some immigrant advocates are withholding praise for the operation.</p><p>“We support ICE’s efforts to target criminal enterprises rather than immigrants whose only crime is working to support their families,” said Chuck Roth, litigation director of the Chicago-based National Immigrant Justice Center. “But past ICE actions have usually turned out to involve more arrests of bystanders and family members than of individuals actively engaged in wrongdoing.”</p></p> Wed, 25 Apr 2012 09:17:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/ice-nabs-29-chicago-area-sweep-gang-members-98557