WBEZ | DACA http://www.wbez.org/tags/daca Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en With Asylum Out Of Reach, Some Minors Seek Out Special Visas http://www.wbez.org/news/asylum-out-reach-some-minors-seek-out-special-visas-113887 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/claudio_uac2_custom-0d97784c4aa45b208f0a6c45840378d71a653afb-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res456838582" previewtitle="Some unaccompanied minors who don't qualify for asylum can apply instead for a visa called Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, or SIJS."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Some unaccompanied minors who don't qualify for asylum can apply instead for a visa called Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, or SIJS." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/20/claudio_uac2_custom-0d97784c4aa45b208f0a6c45840378d71a653afb-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 393px; width: 620px;" title="Some unaccompanied minors who don't qualify for asylum can apply instead for a visa called Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, or SIJS. (LA Johnson/NPR)" /></div><div><div><p>When Henry Gomez was 12 years old, four gang members stormed his house in El Salvador, seeking revenge on a cousin of his who had refused to join them.</p></div></div></div><p>&quot;They came into the house,&quot; Gomez says. &quot;My cousin was sitting down and they shot him three times in the back. And then they shot my uncle twice.&quot;</p><p>Gomez survived the attack by running upstairs and hiding under his bed &mdash; but that didn&#39;t mean he was safe. &quot;I said they are going to want to shoot me, too, because I saw who they were.&quot;</p><p>His mom shared those fears. She had lived apart from her son for half of his life. As a single parent, she couldn&#39;t support them both with the money she earned selling food on the street. So, she traveled to the U.S. in search of work.</p><p>When she heard about the murders, she told her son he&#39;d have to leave, too.</p><p>&quot;My mom said that with the level of violence I couldn&#39;t be living there anymore,&quot; Gomez says.</p><p>His mother paid a smuggler $6,000 to deliver him to New York, where she lived. Immigration agents caught Gomez and eventually released him to his mother on Long Island.</p><p>She brought him to the Central American Legal Assistance Center in New York City.</p><div id="res456815827" previewtitle="Henry Gomez with his mother, Rosa."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Henry Gomez with his mother, Rosa." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/20/img_0711_vert-fa90f1949b77e77cbd8707a22bd8a89b92ac64f3-s400-c85.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 310px; float: right; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" title="Henry Gomez with his mother, Rosa. (Alexandra Starr/NPR)" /></div><div><div><p>There, attorney Heather Axford took his case. She explains that Gomez didn&#39;t have a strong claim to asylum.</p></div></div></div><p>&quot;Asylum doesn&#39;t protect all harm feared &mdash; even really bad harm,&quot; Axford says.</p><p>Under immigration law, gang threats often aren&#39;t reason enough to get refugee status. Applicants have to connect the threats of violence to their political views or membership in a particular group. That wasn&#39;t the case for Gomez.</p><p>When Axford heard about his age, though, she realized he&#39;d be eligible for a visa called Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, or SIJS.</p><p>&quot;SIJS is for kids who can&#39;t be reunified with one of their parents because of abuse, abandonment, neglect,&quot; she says.</p><p>Congress created it 25 years ago for undocumented children in the U.S. foster care system. A few years ago, lawmakers expanded the grounds for eligibility. A child who had been abused or abandoned by just one parent could get the visa. Axford says that clause made Henry Gomez eligible.</p><p>&quot;His dad abandoned him, and then was killed,&quot; she says. &quot;So there was no question he couldn&#39;t depend on the protection of his father.&quot;</p><p>The federal government has approved more than 6,000 SIJS visas so this year. Partly because of these visas, undocumented minors have more opportunities to legalize their status than their adult counterparts.</p><p>&quot;Over the last eight years the number of people applying for this has about quadrupled,&quot; says Rep. Bob Goodlatte, a Republican from Virginia. He&#39;s chairman of the House Judiciary Committee &mdash; and he wants to make it tougher to get an SIJS. &quot;It should be a requirement that both of your parents are ineligible to take care of you before you be eligible for a green card to live in the United States.&quot;</p><p>That potential change alarms immigration advocates like Axford. She says a lot of the children she represents are in Henry Gomez&#39;s position. They could be killed if they were sent back to Central America. And SIJS is often the only status they qualify for.</p><p>&quot;Other forms of protection like asylum are essentially failing them,&quot; Axford says.</p><p>Gomez, now 17, lives with his mother on Long Island. He&#39;s on track to become his family&#39;s first high school graduate.</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/11/22/456669013/with-asylum-out-of-reach-some-minors-seek-out-special-visas?ft=nprml&amp;f=456669013" target="_blank"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Mon, 23 Nov 2015 10:57:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/asylum-out-reach-some-minors-seek-out-special-visas-113887 White House Appeals Immigration Case To Supreme Court http://www.wbez.org/news/white-house-appeals-immigration-case-supreme-court-113876 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/gettyimages-462749516_wide-b43ecd1399a998f33dcfbe6e529a7fd90af7367e-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res456789951" previewtitle="President Obama speaks about immigration reform during a meeting with young immigrants in the White House on Feb. 4. The president's 2014 executive actions on immigration have been caught up in a legal dispute, which the White House has appealed to the Supreme Court."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="President Obama speaks about immigration reform during a meeting with young immigrants in the White House on Feb. 4. The president's 2014 executive actions on immigration have been caught up in a legal dispute, which the White House has appealed to the Supreme Court." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/20/gettyimages-462749516_wide-b43ecd1399a998f33dcfbe6e529a7fd90af7367e-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 348px; width: 620px;" title="President Obama speaks about immigration reform during a meeting with young immigrants in the White House on Feb. 4. The president's 2014 executive actions on immigration have been caught up in a legal dispute, which the White House has appealed to the Supreme Court. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)" /></div><div><div><p>One year after President Obama announced new executive actions on immigration, his administration is asking the Supreme Court to weigh in on the new policies.</p></div></div></div><p>The executive actions in question &mdash; the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA, as well as an expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, or DACA &mdash; would have affected millions of immigrants.</p><p>They would permit parents of American citizens, as well as immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, to apply for &quot;deferred action,&quot; which would allow them to live and work in America without fear of deportation.</p><p>But the executive actions have been caught up in a legal dispute&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/02/17/386905806/federal-judge-blocks-obama-s-executive-actions-on-immigration">since February</a>&nbsp;and have never been implemented. (The original DACA executive action, from 2012, has already granted deferred action to some immigrants and is not affected by this case.)</p><p>Most recently, a federal appeals court decided in favor of Texas and other states challenging the Nov. 20, 2014, executive actions.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/11/10/455438464/appeals-court-deals-blow-to-obamas-immigration-plan">The court ruled</a>&nbsp;that President Obama had overreached his authority in issuing the orders.</p><p>Now, the Obama administration&nbsp;<a href="http://www.scotusblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/US-v.-Texas-Petition-15-674.pdf">has appealed that decision</a>&nbsp;to the Supreme Court.</p><p>The case centers on the question of whether the administration&#39;s actions are a matter of prosecutorial discretion &mdash; the executive branch deciding which immigrants to deport, on a case-by-case basis &mdash; or an attempt to unilaterally alter the nation&#39;s immigration laws.</p><p>In the appeal to the Supreme Court, the administration argues that deferred action falls under the &quot;longstanding authority&quot; of the secretary of homeland security &mdash; and that given the impossibility of deporting every &quot;removable alien&quot; in America, the administration must have the ability to prioritize deportations.</p><p>The administration also cites &quot;the irreparable injury to the many families affected by delay&quot; in implementing the executive actions.</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/11/20/456782713/white-house-appeals-immigration-case-to-supreme-court?ft=nprml&amp;f=456782713" target="_blank"><em> via NPR</em></a></p></p> Fri, 20 Nov 2015 13:06:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/white-house-appeals-immigration-case-supreme-court-113876 Appeals court deals blow to Obama's immigration plan http://www.wbez.org/news/appeals-court-deals-blow-obamas-immigration-plan-113719 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/obama_immigration_custom-736ffe3644f565465e50f2237116dc6cad6f0c2a-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res455440370" previewtitle="It was about a year ago that President Obama announced executive actions that would shield millions of immigrants from deportation."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="It was about a year ago that President Obama announced executive actions that would shield millions of immigrants from deportation." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/10/obama_immigration_custom-736ffe3644f565465e50f2237116dc6cad6f0c2a-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 414px; width: 620px;" title="It was about a year ago that President Obama announced executive actions that would shield millions of immigrants from deportation. (Pool/Getty Images)" /></div><div><div><p>&nbsp;</p><p>(UPDATED AT 11:32 A.M. ET.)</p></div></div></div><p>A federal appeals court in New Orleans dealt President Obama a big blow on Monday&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ca5.uscourts.gov/opinions/pub/15/15-40238-CV0.pdf">when it ruled</a>&nbsp;that Obama had overstepped his legal authority in&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2014/11/20/365519963/obama-will-announce-relief-for-up-to-5-million-immigrants">attempting to shield</a>up to 5 million immigrants from deportation.</p><p>The Obama administration has vowed to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.</p><p>NPR&#39;s Richard Gonzales filed this report for our Newscast unit:</p><blockquote><div><p><em>&quot;The 2-to-1 ruling upholds&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/02/17/386905806/federal-judge-blocks-obama-s-executive-actions-on-immigration">an injunction by a federal judge in Texas</a>&nbsp;who blocked President Obama&#39;s executive actions on immigration.</em></p><p><em>&quot;It was just about a year ago when the president announced his plan to allow parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents to remain here and work without fear of deportation.</em></p><p><em>&quot;He also wanted to extend that protection to younger immigrants brought here as children. That plan was challenged by 26 states, led by Texas. The appellate court agreed that the president had overreached his authority.</em></p><p><em>&quot;Immigration activists argued that the president was acting within his authority.&quot;</em></p></div></blockquote><p>In a statement, Department of Justice spokesman Patrick Rodenbush said the department disagrees with the ruling.</p><p>&quot;The Department of Justice remains committed to taking steps that will resolve the immigration litigation as quickly as possible in order to allow DHS to bring greater accountability to our immigration system by prioritizing the removal of the worst offenders, not people who have long ties to the United States and who are raising American children,&quot; Rodenbush said.</p><p>At issue here is whether the executive actions fit within the powers of prosecutorial discretion granted to the executive branch.</p><p>A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Obama&#39;s executive action goes beyond merely saying that the executive would not try to deport these immigrants. Instead, the majority argues, Obama&#39;s executive action also allows those individuals to be &quot;lawfully present&quot; in the United States.</p><p>&quot;[Obama&#39;s immigration plan] is foreclosed by Congress&#39; careful plan; the program is &#39;manifestly contrary to the statute&#39; and therefore was properly enjoined,&quot; the two judges in the majority write.</p><p>In English, it means that the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1952 expressly lays out how and when an immigrant can legally remain in the country. The president, the court ruled, cannot unilaterally change that, even if Congress refuses to enact new immigration laws.</p><p>Another sticking point in this case is that the Obama administration argued that the court should not even be taking up this issue because it cannot review prosecutorial discretion action that the executive is making on a case-by-case basis.</p><p>The Obama administration argued that&#39;s how it would roll out this program, but the court dismissed that argument.</p><p>The lone dissenter in the case, Judge Carolyn Dineen King, writes that when the court dismissed that claim, it went way too far.</p><p>&quot;Although the very face of the Memorandum makes clear that it must be applied with such [case-by-case] discretion, the district court concluded on its own &mdash; prior to [the immigration program&#39;s] implementation, based on improper burden-shifting, and without seeing the need even to hold an evidentiary hearing &mdash; that the Memorandum is a sham, a mere &#39;pretext&#39; for the Executive&#39;s plan &#39;not [to] enforce the immigration laws as to over four million illegal aliens,&#39; &quot; King writes.</p><p>King concludes: &quot;I have a firm and definite conviction that a mistake has been made.&quot;</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/11/10/455438464/appeals-court-deals-blow-to-obamas-immigration-plan?ft=nprml&amp;f=455438464" target="_blank"><em> via NPR</em></a></p></p> Tue, 10 Nov 2015 11:46:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/appeals-court-deals-blow-obamas-immigration-plan-113719 U.S. mulls letting young illegal immigrants enlist http://www.wbez.org/news/us-mulls-letting-young-illegal-immigrants-enlist-110201 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/DurbinMilitaryTHUMB_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>President Barack Obama&rsquo;s administration may allow military enlistment by thousands of immigrants living in the country illegally, a top U.S. Department of Defense official said Monday.<br /><br />Jessica L. Wright, the department&rsquo;s acting undersecretary for personnel and readiness, described the immigrants, known as DREAMers, as &ldquo;some of the best and brightest in America that we could capitalize on.&rdquo;</p><p>Wright said the decision would come by summer&rsquo;s end and involved the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice and the White House.<br /><br />Her comments came at a Chicago hearing held by U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois), chair of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, who wants the Obama administration to open the military to immigrants eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and provide them a path to citizenship. DACA, a program set up by the administration in 2012, has provided work papers and deportation reprieves to hundreds of thousands of youths.<br /><br />Federal law limits military enlistment to U.S. nationals and legal permanent residents but allows exceptions if &ldquo;vital to the national interest.&rdquo; In 2008, President George W. Bush&rsquo;s administration made exceptions for immigrant enlistees with certain language and health-care skills.</p><p>Durbin held the hearing at Phoenix Military Academy, a public high school on Chicago&rsquo;s West Side and the site of a large Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program. The witnesses included uniformed Phoenix students living in the country illegally.</p><p>One of them, Jessica Calderón, a junior at the school, said her mother sent her to the United States from Mexico at age 3. &ldquo;I was raised in America and really consider myself to be a citizen even though some numbers and papers do not say so,&rdquo; Calderón said.<br /><br />Calderón said her dream is to attend the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and, from there, become an Army officer. &ldquo;The only thing that holds me back from accomplishing my goals is my status as an undocumented immigrant,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Durbin said it was time for the United States to open the military to Calderón and other young unauthorized immigrants who would benefit from stalled legislation known as the DREAM Act.</p><p>&ldquo;The question is this,&rdquo; Durbin said. &ldquo;Will America be a stronger country if we deport our DREAMers to countries they barely remember or if we allow them to contribute more fully to the country whose flag they&rsquo;ve pledged allegiance to every day they&rsquo;ve been in school?&rdquo;<br /><br />Durbin pointed to the military&rsquo;s history. &ldquo;Back in World War II, when the nation was divided by race, even much worse than it is today, President Roosevelt decided to end racial discrimination in the recruitment of men and women into the military,&rdquo; the senator said. &ldquo;So, in a way, the military has been a leader in America as we&rsquo;ve evolved on issues like race.&rdquo;</p><p>But the idea of opening the armed services to these unauthorized immigrants &mdash; and providing them a path to citizenship &mdash; is drawing fire from two directions.</p><p>Outside the hearing, a dozen peace activists chanted through a megaphone and spoke to reporters. &ldquo;We oppose strongly this idea of Durbin&rsquo;s that undocumented young people should be cannon fodder for the U.S. military in these endless wars,&rdquo; Laura Guerra of Chicago said.</p><p>Durbin&rsquo;s push is also stirring up some conservatives. Last week a House Republican leader <a href="http://bigstory.ap.org/article/fight-looming-military-immigration-measure" target="_blank">indicated he would block</a> a similar proposal.</p><p>Daniel Horowitz, policy director of a Tea Party campaign-funding group called the Madison Project, said allowing illegal immigrants to enlist would send the wrong message. &ldquo;Join the military and you get legal status,&rdquo; he said.<br /><br />Horowitz also warned of what he called a military security threat. &ldquo;We certainly don&rsquo;t want to invite in bad actors who have very shady backgrounds, no documentation,&rdquo; he said.<br /><br />But Calderón, the high-school student born in Mexico, assured the audience at the hearing that she has only one loyalty. &ldquo;I pledge allegiance to this nation every day and I wouldn&rsquo;t feel comfortable defending any other nation but America,&rdquo; she testified. &ldquo;I will never stop working as hard as I can until I get to serve this nation.&rdquo;</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/cmitchell-0">Chip Mitchell</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s West Side bureau reporter. Follow him on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/ChipMitchell1">@ChipMitchell1</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>, and connect with him through <a href="https://www.facebook.com/chipmitchell1">Facebook</a>, <a href="https://plus.google.com/111079509307132701769" rel="me">Google+</a> and <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/ChipMitchell1">LinkedIn</a>.</em></p></p> Mon, 19 May 2014 18:08:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/us-mulls-letting-young-illegal-immigrants-enlist-110201 Driver licenses for undocumented youths? http://www.wbez.org/news/driver-licenses-undocumented-youths-101986 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/immigrant%20map.jpg" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px 0px; float: left; height: 369px; width: 600px; " title="WBEZ asked eight states whether they are planning to provide driver’s licenses to immigrants who receive Social Security and employment-authorization cards as a result of President Barack Obama’s “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” policy. (WBEZ map by Elliott Ramos)" /></p><p>Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio are planning to provide driver&rsquo;s licenses to undocumented immigrants who get work papers under a new federal policy.</p><p>The Obama administration policy, called &ldquo;Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals,&rdquo; will allow as many as 1.7 million illegal immigrants brought to the United States as children to get Social Security and employment-authorization cards, along with a deportation reprieve. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services began accepting applications Aug. 15.</p><p>&ldquo;As long as the Social Security Administration issues an individual with a Social Security number, and they have the other documents that are required under Illinois law, then they can apply for a driver&rsquo;s license,&rdquo; said Henry Haupt, spokesman for Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, who oversees that state&rsquo;s driver licensing.</p><p>WBEZ surveyed eight Midwestern states about their response to the policy change. Along with the four states planning to provide licenses, Wisconsin and Iowa officials said they had not decided yet, while Minnesota and Missouri officials did not respond to numerous WBEZ inquiries.</p><p>The states planning to issue the driver&rsquo;s licenses differ from Arizona, Nebraska and Texas, where governors have vowed to block illegal immigrants from getting licenses.</p><p>The immigrants must meet several requirements to get the Social Security and work-authorization cards, including having been younger than 31 on June 15; having arrived in the U.S. before turning 16; having lived in the country continuously since June 2007; being a student or graduate, or having served in the military; and having no serious criminal record nor posing any public safety threat. The work authorization will last up to two years and, if the federal policy stays in place, be renewable. The policy does not provide a path to citizenship.</p><p>Assuming some of the immigrants have been driving illegally, states that enable them to get a license could make roads safer. &ldquo;They have to pass the road exam, they have to pass the written exam, and they pass the vision test,&rdquo; Haupt said about Illinois. &ldquo;We require so many different things of our young drivers and &mdash; by doing so &mdash; they, of course, become better drivers.&rdquo;</p><p>Illinois also requires proof of liability insurance on the car the driver uses for the road test. So it&rsquo;s possible that allowing undocumented immigrants to drive legally could reduce the number of uninsured vehicles.</p><p>The immigrants themselves have more at stake. Karen Siciliano Lucas, an advocacy attorney of the Washington-based Catholic Legal Immigration Network Inc., points out that driver&rsquo;s licenses are vital for working and attending school in most regions of the country. &ldquo;Not only that, it is a state-issued identification that shows who you are,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>The issue is complicated because most states require driver&rsquo;s&nbsp;license applicants to prove &ldquo;lawful status&rdquo; or &ldquo;legal presence&rdquo; in the United States. Officials in some states say the work authorization under the Obama policy will be sufficient proof. But a USCIS statement says the policy &ldquo;does not confer lawful status upon an individual.&rdquo; It&rsquo;s unclear whether courts will enable states to define lawful status differently than the federal government does.</p><p>States expecting Obama administration guidance about the driver&rsquo;s licenses could be waiting awhile. In response to WBEZ questions, the Department of Homeland Security sent a statement saying the department does not comment on state-specific matters.</p><p>Until federal courts weigh in, states are likely to face lawsuits no matter their course. &ldquo;We will see battles on this,&rdquo; Lucas predicted.</p><p>Making matters more complicated is the federal Real ID Act, a 2005 law aimed at fighting identity theft and keeping terrorists out of federal buildings and airplanes. Among other things, the act requires states to verify that driver&rsquo;s license applicants have lawful status in the United States.</p><p>The law is set to take effect in January, but it&rsquo;s not clear how the Obama administration will enforce it. DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano has fought for the measure&rsquo;s repeal, calling it unworkable.</p><p>That irks advocates for tougher immigration enforcement: &ldquo;If you want to protect against identify theft, you&rsquo;ve got to eliminate the fraud,&rdquo; said Janice Kephart, who focuses on national security policies for the Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies. &ldquo;That means you have to eliminate the illegal-alien community out of that scheme. It doesn&rsquo;t mean that states cannot give driver&rsquo;s licenses to illegal aliens. It just means that they have to do it outside the Real ID Act.&rdquo;</p><p>Kephart praised Utah, which has created a &ldquo;driving privilege card&rdquo; specifically for undocumented immigrants.</p><p>At the moment the only other states that let undocumented immigrants drive legally are New Mexico and Washington, which provide them the same licenses that U.S. citizens can get.</p></p> Mon, 27 Aug 2012 13:19:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/driver-licenses-undocumented-youths-101986