WBEZ | illegal aliens http://www.wbez.org/tags/illegal-aliens Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Berwyn relaxes towing policy that hit immigrants especially hard http://www.wbez.org/news/berwyn-relaxes-towing-policy-hit-immigrants-especially-hard-106888 <p><p>A suburb west of Chicago is relaxing a tough car-towing policy because of its effects on immigrants.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/CimagliaCROP.jpg" style="float: right; height: 371px; width: 250px;" title="Michael Cimaglia, a Berwyn police commander, met with immigrant advocates to hammer out the new policy. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)" />An order signed by <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/beyond-bungalows-berwyn%E2%80%99s-creative-side-105351">Berwyn</a> Police Chief James D. Ritz says the &ldquo;towing, impounding and seizing of a vehicle&rdquo; operated by an unlicensed driver &ldquo;may be decided by the use of officer discretion unless the vehicle is uninsured.&rdquo;</p><p>Berwyn officials say the order softens enforcement of a 2007 ordinance that allows the city to charge the unlicensed motorists $500, not including towing and storage costs, to recover impounded vehicles.</p><p>Berwyn was among several heavily immigrant Chicago suburbs that enacted strict towing measures before proposals to overhaul the nation&rsquo;s immigration laws stalled in Congress in 2007. The ordinances hurt immigrants who, because of their unlawful presence in the country, didn&rsquo;t qualify for an Illinois license.</p><p>&ldquo;We still don&rsquo;t condone people [breaking] the law and driving without a license,&rdquo; said Michael Cimaglia, a Berwyn police commander who met with immigrant advocates to hammer out a policy. &ldquo;However, we&rsquo;ve modified the policy so it&rsquo;s not as hard on some of the residents.&rdquo;</p><p>Berwyn now allows unlicensed motorists to turn over the car to a licensed driver or park it.</p><p>Immigrant advocates said Berwyn officials heard a message from Latino residents. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re here to stay,&rdquo; said Julie O&rsquo;Reilly Castillo of the Interfaith Leadership Project, which pressed for the policy. &ldquo;Respect us and be a little bit flexible because there are things beyond our control that leave people vulnerable.&rdquo;</p><p>Under an agreement with the advocates, Berwyn is also putting its entire police department &mdash; nearly 200 employees &mdash; through a three-hour training session focused on ethnic sensitivity. Cimaglia says the goal is more compassion for the city&rsquo;s immigrants.</p><p>About 60 percent of Berwyn&rsquo;s 56,657 residents are Latino, according to U.S. census figures. That population includes thousands &mdash; the exact number is unknown &mdash; who lack authorization to be in the United States.</p><p>The state of Illinois, meanwhile, is planning to begin issuing <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-allow-immigrants-get-licenses-105171">temporary driver&rsquo;s licenses</a> to unauthorized immigrants this fall.</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> and <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/ChipMitchell1">LinkedIn</a>.</em></p></p> Mon, 29 Apr 2013 17:10:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/berwyn-relaxes-towing-policy-hit-immigrants-especially-hard-106888 Conservative legal group challenges Cook County immigration policy http://www.wbez.org/news/conservative-legal-group-challenges-cook-county-immigration-policy-106782 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP111129143637.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Invoking the Boston Marathon bombings, a national conservative group has filed a lawsuit aimed at a Cook County ordinance that requires jail personnel to disregard federal immigration detainers.</p><p>Washington-based Judicial Watch says the county has no legal right to ignore the detainers, which are U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement requests that local jails hold specified individuals up to two business days beyond what their criminal cases require.</p><p>President Obama&rsquo;s administration says the detainers, which help ICE put the inmates into deportation proceedings, are crucial for focusing immigration enforcement on criminals.</p><p>Cook County officials say detainers also erode community trust in local police. In 2011, the County Board approved an ordinance that halted detainer compliance by the county&rsquo;s massive jail. ICE abruptly lost convenient access to hundreds of immigration violators each year.&nbsp;Lawmakers in other parts of the country, meanwhile, approved bills modeled after the policy.</p><p>The suit, which claims federal law preempts the ordinance, asks Cook County Circuit Court to strike down the local measure and compel Sheriff Tom Dart to comply with the detainers.&nbsp;The suit accuses Dart of &ldquo;failure to carry out his legal duties under both federal and state law.&rdquo;</p><p>At a Monday press conference Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton pointed to last week&rsquo;s news events. &ldquo;In light of the Boston Marathon bombings, there is a national-security component to these detainers by ICE.&rdquo;</p><p>Authorities say two Chechen immigrants &mdash; one a permanent-resident visa holder, the other a naturalized U.S. citizen &mdash; are suspected of having planted the bombs that exploded April 15 in Boston.</p><p>Judicial Watch is representing the suit&rsquo;s plaintiff, Chicago&nbsp;resident&nbsp;Brian McCann, who is the brother of a pedestrian killed in a 2011 hit-and-run collision in Chicago&rsquo;s Logan Square neighborhood. The alleged driver, a Mexican immigrant named Saúl Chávez, had a DUI conviction. He&nbsp;was arrested and charged with the hit and run. A Cook County judge set the bond at $250,000.</p><p>ICE suspected Chávez was in the country illegally and slapped a detainer on him. But after the county enacted the ordinance, Chávez posted $25,000&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;the required 10 percent of the bond. He walked free and went missing.</p><p>&ldquo;Dart is thumbing his nose at the federal government and replacing federal immigration priorities with Cook County&rsquo;s own immigration policy,&rdquo; Fitton said. &ldquo;Releasing these criminal aliens before they can be taken into custody by ICE endangers the public.&rdquo;</p><p>Fitton echoed Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and ICE Director John Morton, who have said the Cook County ordinance threatens public safety.</p><p>That claim was the subject of a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/ice-detainers-public-safety-issue-99190" target="_blank">WBEZ investigation</a>&nbsp;that&nbsp;found that inmates freed as a result of the ordinance had not reoffended or jumped bail more than other former inmates had.</p><p>Dart&rsquo;s office, in a statement late Monday, pointed to the sheriff&rsquo;s support for allowing the county to honor ICE detainers for inmates charged with violent offenses and inmates with a number of prior convictions.</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> and <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/ChipMitchell1">LinkedIn</a>.</em></p></p> Mon, 22 Apr 2013 16:02:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/conservative-legal-group-challenges-cook-county-immigration-policy-106782 Attorneys steer undocumented clients away from a citizenship path http://www.wbez.org/news/attorneys-steer-undocumented-clients-away-citizenship-path-105891 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP55053942139crop.jpg" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px 0px; float: right; height: 246px; width: 350px;" title="Immigrants take the U.S. oath of citizenship during a Jan. 28 naturalization ceremony in Irving, Texas. (AP/File)" />Some immigration attorneys say they are steering most undocumented clients away from a citizenship path created in the name of &ldquo;family unity&rdquo;&nbsp;by President Barack Obama&rsquo;s administration.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m telling most folks to wait and see how the rule is implemented before applying,&rdquo; veteran Chicago immigration lawyer Royal Berg said.</p><p>&ldquo;Any information the applicant gives to the government can be used against the individual,&rdquo; Berg added, &ldquo;and could result in the applicant being deported.&rdquo;</p><p>The Department of Homeland Security laid the path in a rule that took effect Monday. The rule enables eligible undocumented immigrants to receive a &ldquo;provisional unlawful presence waiver,&rdquo; known in some quarters as a PUP waiver, before leaving the United States to attend visa interviews at an American consulate in their country of origin.</p><p>To qualify for the waiver, according to the department, an applicant must be inadmissible to the United States &ldquo;only on account of unlawful presence.&rdquo; The immigrant must also show that going abroad and getting stuck there would create &ldquo;extreme hardship&rdquo; for a U.S. citizen spouse or parent.</p><p>Since 1996, the federal government generally has required visa applicants to wait 10 years outside the United States if they have spent more than a year in the country without authorization.</p><p>The administration proposed the rule last April at the urging of immigrant advocates. After receiving some 4,000 public comments about it, the department published the final version January 3.</p><p>Some immigration lawyers see the rule as a potential boon to mixed-status families.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re cautiously optimistic that this will be one way in which families can be reunified more quickly,&rdquo; said Lisa Koop, managing attorney of the Chicago-based National Immigrant Justice Center, whose clients include many Mexican nationals. &ldquo;If you get the provisional waiver granted, you can go down to Mexico with some assurance that at least that ground of inadmissibility has been waived and you should be allowed to come back in.&rdquo;</p><p>A statement by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the DHS agency receiving the applications,&nbsp;says it &ldquo;does not envision&rdquo; placing PUP waiver applicants in removal proceedings. But&nbsp;the Obama administration has made no promise that information gleaned from applications&nbsp;will not lead to any deportations.</p><p>Chicago immigration attorney Kevin Dixler sees other risks. He said PUP waivers would not ensure that immigrants could return to the United States&nbsp;if they had committed certain crimes in this country or &ldquo;falsely represented themselves to get a job.&rdquo;</p><p>Berg says he is advising clients to explore other options, including applying for work papers and a deportation reprieve under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a policy the Obama administration initiated last year. &ldquo;DACA is safer, quicker and less expensive, and leads to work papers without leaving the country,&rdquo; Berg said.</p><p>DACA has its own downsides for applicants, Koop pointed out. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s not permanent,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a quasi-legal status that they&rsquo;re in for two years. Whereas, if they go through consular processing, when they come back into the United States they&rsquo;re lawful permanent residents, which means they have their green card and, in [a few] years, will be eligible to apply for citizenship.&rdquo;</p><p>Among other qualifications for the PUP waiver, an immigrant must be at least 17 years old, must be physically present in the United States, and must not be in deportation proceedings.</p><p><em>Follow <a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/cmitchell-0">Chip Mitchell</a> on <a href="https://twitter.com/ChipMitchell1">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/chipmitchell1">Facebook</a> and <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/ChipMitchell1">LinkedIn</a>.</em></p></p> Mon, 04 Mar 2013 18:26:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/attorneys-steer-undocumented-clients-away-citizenship-path-105891 U.S. rule to help thousands of Illinois immigrants http://www.wbez.org/news/immigration/us-rule-help-thousands-illinois-immigrants-104663 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Janet_Napolitano_cropscale.jpg" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px 0px; float: left; height: 212px; width: 300px;" title="Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced the change, which will shorten the path to lawful status for some foreign nationals who lack documents to be in the United States. (AP/file)" />In the name of family unity, the path to lawful status is about to get shorter for some immigrants who are in the United States illegally &mdash; including thousands of Illinois residents.</p><p>A rule that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced Wednesday helps those who can show that separation from an immediate relative who is a U.S. citizen would create &ldquo;extreme hardship.&rdquo; Starting March 4, the immigrants can apply for a U.S. visa without risking a long wait outside the country.</p><p>Since 1996, the federal government generally has required visa applicants to wait 10 years outside the United States if they have spent more than a year in the country without authorization.</p><p>President Obama&rsquo;s administration says it received more than 4,000 public comments about the rule after proposing it last April.</p><p>&ldquo;This final rule facilitates the legal immigration process and reduces the amount of time that U.S. citizens are separated from their immediate relatives who are in the process of obtaining an immigrant visa,&rdquo; Napolitano said in a statement.</p><p>Immigrant advocates applauded the change.</p><p>Fred Tsao, policy director of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, pointed out that the applicants would still need to leave the country to get the visa. &ldquo;But they could [return] to the United States in a matter of weeks as opposed to years,&rdquo; said Tsao, who helped gather comments supporting the rule.</p><p>Asked whether the rule would amount to a pardon for living in the United States without authorization, Tsao pointed to existing law: &ldquo;People who are married to &mdash; or parents of, or children of &mdash; U.S. citizens already qualify for lawful status.&rdquo;</p><p>To qualify under the rule, according to a Department of Homeland Security statement, an applicant must be inadmissible to the United States &ldquo;only on account of unlawful presence&rdquo; and must demonstrate that getting stuck outside the country would lead to &ldquo;extreme hardship to his or her U.S. citizen spouse or parent.&rdquo;</p><p>The Obama administration, without Congress, has recently helped other immigrants who are in the United States illegally. Under a program initiated last year, thousands who were brought to the country as children have received work papers and a deportation reprieve.</p></p> Thu, 03 Jan 2013 00:51:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/immigration/us-rule-help-thousands-illinois-immigrants-104663 Joliet detention-center talks include private prison firm http://www.wbez.org/news/joliet-detention-center-talks-include-private-prison-firm-103436 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/CCA_hall.jpg" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px 0px; float: left; height: 200px; width: 300px; " title="CCA owns and operates Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Ga. The facility is one of many in which the company holds detainees for ICE. (AP File/Kate Brumback)" />A top Joliet official says his talks exploring possibilities for an immigrant detention center in the city have included the nation&rsquo;s largest private prison operator.</p><p>City Manager Thomas Thanas told WBEZ he had engaged in a &ldquo;preliminary conversation&rdquo; with officials of Nashville-based Corrections Corporation of America to see &ldquo;whether Joliet might be a suitable site&rdquo; for a facility that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement wants in the Chicago area.</p><p>Thanas declined to say when and where the conversation took place or what details were discussed. &ldquo;We have not reviewed plans,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Nothing has been filed on a formal basis.&rdquo;</p><p>Joliet officials are &ldquo;not talking about any specific sites at this point,&rdquo; Thanas said. He added that &ldquo;a facility like this could not be located near a residential area, schools or a commercial district.&rdquo;</p><p>Thanas referred questions about site possibilities to CCA, whose spokesman referred inquiries to ICE, which declined to discuss the Joliet project.</p><p>The federal agency sent a statement that said building a Chicago-area detention center would help improve immigrant confinement conditions and enable &ldquo;locating detainees closer to where they are apprehended so that they can be near their families, community resources and the ICE field office.&rdquo;</p><p>What would Joliet get? &ldquo;Hundreds of construction jobs and hundreds of permanent jobs,&rdquo; Thanas said. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m always interested in projects that have an opportunity to create jobs and revenues for our school district.&rdquo;</p><p>Federal officials met with Thanas about the project October 17 in Washington, he said. &ldquo;It was a fact-gathering opportunity for both them and me.&rdquo;</p><p>Thanas also briefed some City Council members about the detention-center possibility.</p><p>But officials managed to keep the project out of public view until the Chicago Tribune revealed it late Wednesday. Within hours, some Joliet activists and the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights began organizing opposition.</p><p>&ldquo;We don&rsquo;t believe you should be making a profit off of tearing families apart because they&rsquo;re undocumented,&rdquo; said Richard Rodríguez, a Joliet resident who chairs the Mexican American Coalition of Will County. &ldquo;There should be comprehensive immigration reform. Address the issue properly.&rdquo;</p><p>Thanas replied that national immigration policy was not Joliet&rsquo;s business. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s a matter of federal concern,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Joliet&rsquo;s nine City Council members on Thursday declined to comment or did not return messages about the project.<br /><br />The Joliet talks follow a highly publicized setback for ICE and CCA in south suburban Crete, where the agency wanted the company to build and run a 788-bed detention center. Village trustees rejected the plan June 11 after months of protests by residents, human-rights advocates and public-sector unions.</p><p>CCA had greater success in Springfield. The company lobbied against Illinois legislation that would have banned government agencies at the local and state levels from contracting with private firms to build or run civil detention centers. The bill passed the Senate in March but stalled after a series of close House floor votes May 31.</p></p> Fri, 26 Oct 2012 05:02:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/joliet-detention-center-talks-include-private-prison-firm-103436 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 Durbin: Youth deportation reprieve to hold up http://www.wbez.org/news/durbin-youth-deportation-reprieve-hold-101722 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Dreamers3scaled.jpg" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px; float: left; height: 225px; width: 300px; " title="Undocumented students protest in 2010 at a GOP office in Chicago. U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, says any attempt to reverse President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy would spark a public outcry. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)" />President Barack Obama&rsquo;s administration says it will start accepting applications Wednesday from some immigrants to get a temporary reprieve from deportation. That&rsquo;s under a controversial policy the administration is calling Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The immigrants won&rsquo;t get a path to citizenship &mdash; distinguishing the policy from stalled legislation, known as the Dream Act, that U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, (D-Ill.) has been pushing for more than a decade. But an estimated 1.7 million young people will have their first shot at valid papers to live and work in the country. Durbin is planning to attend a Wednesday event at Chicago&rsquo;s Navy Pier to help about 1,500 of these youths with the application. He told WBEZ&rsquo;s Chip Mitchell that this is an important moment for them.</p><p>DURBIN: It is a leap of faith on their part. Many of them have lived in the shadows for years and now they&rsquo;re stepping up to say to this government, &ldquo;We&rsquo;re here and we&rsquo;re ready to follow your law.&rdquo; I think it&rsquo;s going to be a day that they&rsquo;re going to remember for a long, long time.</p><p>MITCHELL: Yet, Senator Durbin, some immigrant advocates are calling the &ldquo;deferred action&rdquo; policy risky for the undocumented youths because they&rsquo;d be revealing details about their immigration status &mdash; [and] biometrics for the first time, in many cases &mdash; to the same government department that could one day deport them. The next president could throw out President Obama&rsquo;s policy as quickly as January. But you&rsquo;re recommending that the youths apply anyway. Could you be putting them in danger?</p><p>DURBIN: I believe the fact that two out of three Americans believe President Obama did the right thing &mdash; that most everyone agrees that children should not be held responsible for the wrongdoing of their parents &mdash; argues that ultimately that, once they come forward, once they comply with the law and become part of the system, it won&rsquo;t be reversed. And, if someone tries it, in either political party, if someone should try that in the future, I think there will be a strong public reaction in support of these young people and against efforts to rescind it.</p><p>MITCHELL: Some Republicans in Congress are criticizing the program&rsquo;s cost. And at least one &mdash; Steve King, not too far away, in Iowa &mdash; is vowing to file a suit to try to force the administration to, in his words, &ldquo;enforce the law.&rdquo; What&rsquo;s your response to him?</p><p>DURBIN: Congressman King of Iowa is notorious. He&rsquo;s kept alive a tradition, which has been in America for a long time, of hating immigrants, resisting immigration, denying what America is today &mdash; a nation of immigrants. That&rsquo;s his right. He can continue to. But let&rsquo;s get to the bottom line. Let&rsquo;s answer the question directly. These students are going to pay fees to cover all the costs to the federal government. So to argue that this is adding to our debt or deficit is just wrong.</p><p>MITCHELL: . . . Senator, how about the principle of enforcing the law as it stands &mdash; the rules enacted by Congress about who gets to stay in the U.S. and who doesn&rsquo;t? The law says these young people are not supposed to be in the country.</p><p>DURBIN: Every day, at every level of government, prosecutorial discretion is used. In other words, the government, with the power to continue a lawsuit or to start a lawsuit, decides, &ldquo;No, there are more important things to do with our resources to keep America safe.&rdquo; President Obama has made a decision. These young people who are here, being brought here as children, who have no significant criminal record of any kind and are ready to come forward and be part of the system, should not be a high priority for taking people out of our country. I think he&rsquo;s right. He&rsquo;s using prosecutorial discretion &mdash; the enforcement decision &mdash; which every government has used and has been recognized by the Supreme Court.</p><p>MITCHELL: Some immigrant advocates are criticizing the timing of President Obama&rsquo;s &ldquo;deferred action&rdquo; policy. He could have taken this step, after all, as soon as he took office in 2009. So these advocates are calling it a play for Latino support just months before he&rsquo;s up for reelection. What do you think?</p><p>DURBIN: The president is in a terrible situation now. Anything he does this year will be viewed in this context of the political campaign. I know where Barack Obama stands. He was a cosponsor of the Dream Act. He worked for its passage. He voted for it. And he&rsquo;s told me from the start that he will sign it as president of the United States, unlike Mitt Romney, who has promised to veto it. Two years ago, I said to the president, &ldquo;If we can&rsquo;t pass it in the Senate, because of the Republican filibuster, will you at least protect these young people from deportation until we can pass it?&rdquo; And he said he would. I think he&rsquo;s kept his word and he&rsquo;s been consistent.</p><p>MITCHELL: The Obama administration, nevertheless, is deporting people at a record pace &mdash; about 400,000 a year. Has this president done all he could for undocumented immigrants &mdash; the roughly 10 million people living and working in the shadows in this country &mdash; and for their families?</p><p>DURBIN: Well, of course, there are deportations and there must be. In some cases there are people who are dangerous to America, living here illegally with a criminal record or some major problem that brings them to the attention of our government. And, in those circumstances, every president has a responsibility to keep America safe. I&rsquo;ve never heard anyone argue that these Dream Act students are a danger to America. The president has made this decision. I think it is the right decision. And, ultimately, he has to depend on Congress to pass immigration reform. There&rsquo;s only so much the president can do on his own. I think we should and I hope we can do it on a bipartisan basis.</p></p> Tue, 14 Aug 2012 16:32:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/durbin-youth-deportation-reprieve-hold-101722 Durbin to undocumented youths: Watch out for unscrupulous lawyers http://www.wbez.org/news/durbin-undocumented-youths-watch-out-unscrupulous-lawyers-101546 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Durbin4cropscaled.jpg" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px 0px; float: left; height: 401px; width: 250px; " title="‘Don’t let them exploit you,’ the senator tells immigrants in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood Tuesday afternoon. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)" />Two U.S. congressmen from Illinois are warning undocumented youths not to pay steep fees to get help applying for a deportation reprieve under a new immigration policy.</p><p>Sen. Dick Durbin and Rep. Luis Gutiérrez, both Democrats, say most eligible youths can take advantage of the policy, known as &ldquo;deferred action,&rdquo; without a lawyer or any payment beyond a $465 fee to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the agency accepting the applications.</p><p>&ldquo;There are <em>notarios </em>as well as attorneys out there who are trying to take money away from these young people and their families,&rdquo; Durbin said Tuesday afternoon at a meeting with immigrants in Chicago&rsquo;s Pilsen neighborhood. &ldquo;They say, &lsquo;Oh, give me $1,000, give me $2,000, and I will help you.&rsquo; &rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Don&rsquo;t let them exploit you,&rdquo; Durbin said.</p><p>Under the policy, announced by President Barack Obama&rsquo;s administration in June, undocumented immigrants can request permission to stay and work in the country by submitting a document starting August 15. The administration, which has not released that document yet, is expecting more than 1 million requests, according to an Associated Press report.</p><p>To qualify, immigrants must be 30 or younger, have arrived in the United States before turning 16, have lived in the country at least five years, and be in school or graduated or served in the military. They also must have no criminal record and pose no safety threat. The permission to live and work in the country lasts two years and is renewable.</p><p>The policy does not provide a path to citizenship &mdash; a key difference from stalled legislation, known as the DREAM Act, that Durbin has pushed for more than a decade.</p><p>Durbin and Gutiérrez urged immigrants who may be eligible for relief under the policy to attend an August 15 workshop at Chicago&rsquo;s Navy Pier, where the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights is organizing hundreds of volunteers to provide information and help fill out the applications.</p><p>Gutiérrez added that the policy could lead to an overhaul that stretches far beyond the youths. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s incumbent upon us, now that we&rsquo;ve got this, to move on to their moms and their dads,&rdquo; the representative said. &ldquo;Comprehensive immigration reform is what is necessary and that&rsquo;s what we&rsquo;re going to work on next.&rdquo;</p><p>Conservative critics call the Obama policy a backdoor amnesty plan aimed at increasing the president&rsquo;s Latino support before November&rsquo;s election.</p></p> Tue, 07 Aug 2012 16:07:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/durbin-undocumented-youths-watch-out-unscrupulous-lawyers-101546 Cook County’s disregard of ICE detainers catches on http://www.wbez.org/news/cook-county%E2%80%99s-disregard-ice-detainers-catches-100818 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/SecureCommunitiesRallyNYCscale.jpg" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px 0px; float: left; height: 375px; width: 250px; " title="Diana Mejia of Madison, N.J., prays during a 2011 rally in New York City to condemn Secure Communities, a U.S. Immigration Customs Enforcement program that relies on jail compliance with agency requests known as detainers. (AP file/Mary Altaffer)" />A Cook County policy of disregarding immigration detainers is catching on. Lawmakers in other parts of the country, most recently the District of Columbia on Tuesday, have approved bills modeled after the policy.</p><p>Some Republicans are pressing President Barack Obama&rsquo;s administration to take reprisals against those jurisdictions. In a hearing Tuesday, the chairwoman of a U.S. House homeland security panel urged Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton to punish Cook County for its stand.</p><p>The detainers &mdash; ICE requests that local jails hold specified individuals up to two business days beyond what their criminal cases require &mdash; help put the inmates into deportation proceedings. Jail compliance with detainers is a key part of Secure Communities, a program that has helped the Obama administration shift immigration enforcement toward criminals.</p><p>Cook County officials say detainers also erode community trust in local police. Last September, the County Board approved an ordinance that halted detainer compliance by the county&rsquo;s massive jail. ICE abruptly lost convenient access to hundreds of immigration violators each year.</p><p>&ldquo;The Cook County legislation was very critical and a part of the development for the legislation in the District of Columbia,&rdquo; said Ron Hampton, a retired Metropolitan Police officer in the nation&rsquo;s capital who has pushed the D.C. bill.</p><p>Hampton pointed to a legal opinion that supporters of the Cook County measure obtained from State&rsquo;s Attorney Anita Alvarez&rsquo;s office last year. That opinion, citing a federal court ruling in Indiana, called detainer compliance voluntary and helped convince the Cook County Board to approve the ordinance. Hampton said the opinion added weight to what he called &ldquo;a model piece of legislation.&rdquo;</p><p>Since the Cook County ordinance passed, New York City, the state of Connecticut and the California county of Santa Clara have also curtailed their compliance with immigration detainers.</p><p>On July 5, the California Senate approved similar legislation that would affect the entire state. That bill is expected to pass the state Assembly. Gov. Jerry Brown has not indicated whether he would sign it into law.</p><p>At the U.S. House hearing, Rep. Candice Miller (R-Michigan) said Secure Communities had &ldquo;excellent buy-in&rdquo; from jurisdictions across the nation. Miller, chairwoman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security, called Cook County &ldquo;the big holdout&rdquo; and asked Morton about it.</p><p>Morton repeated an administration claim that Cook County&rsquo;s disregard of ICE detainers compromised public safety. That claim was the subject of a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/ice-detainers-public-safety-issue-99190">WBEZ investigation</a> completed in May. Inmates freed as a result of the ordinance, the investigation found, have not reoffended or jumped bail more than other former inmates have.</p><p>Morton also told the subcommittee about letters he had written to Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle to spell out his concerns. &ldquo;We have been working with the county to see if there isn&rsquo;t some solution,&rdquo; Morton said. &ldquo;I won&rsquo;t sugarcoat it. I don&rsquo;t think that that approach is going to work in full. We&rsquo;re going to need the help of others. We have been exploring our options under federal law with the Department of Justice.&rdquo;</p><p>Morton said he would also push for a cutoff of some federal funds for the county&rsquo;s jail.</p><p>That vow won praise from Miller. &ldquo;I can&rsquo;t tell you how delighted I am,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;If they&rsquo;re not going to assist us in removing not only criminal aliens but those that might go on to commit a terrorist attack or what-have-you, because they want to have their city become a sanctuary, the federal government cannot stand by idly and allow that to happen.&rdquo;</p><p>As other jurisdictions adopt the Cook County approach, some enforcement advocates are calling for a tougher federal response.</p><p>Ira Mehlman, spokesman of the Washington-based Federation for American Immigration Reform, points out that the Obama administration has sued states such as Arizona and Alabama for taking immigration enforcement into their own hands</p><p>&ldquo;Yet, when it comes to jurisdictions that have openly defied federal enforcement, then the Justice Department seems to have enormous patience and is extremely lenient,&rdquo; Mehlman said.</p></p> Wed, 11 Jul 2012 16:39:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/cook-county%E2%80%99s-disregard-ice-detainers-catches-100818