Tag Archives: DACA

Protection from deportation revoked for former “cause célèbre”

jessica colotl

Jessica had an outstanding deportation order that neither she or her attorney addressed

From AP: Federal authorities have revoked the protection from deportation granted to a Mexican woman who became a cause celebre in the debate over illegal immigration as a college student in Georgia seven years ago.

Jessica Colotl, 29, was reluctantly thrust into the national spotlight in 2010 after she was pulled over on a traffic charge on the campus of Kennesaw State University, near Atlanta. She was arrested and turned over to federal immigration authorities who kept her in a detention center for 37 days.

Her case was widely covered by the news media after her sorority sisters held posters with her name on them during a march for immigration reform in Atlanta while she was detained. As a visible symbol of the national debate over illegal immigration, her case was regularly cited by advocates on both sides of the issue.

Colotl, who was brought to the U.S. illegally by her parents when she was 11, went on to graduate. In 2012 she applied for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program. Her application was granted in 2013 and renewed last year. (DACA must be renewed every two years, so she was a year late in her renewal process.)

The Obama administration program offered a reprieve from deportation to people in the country illegally who could prove they arrived before they were 16, had been in the U.S. for several years and had not committed a crime since arriving.

President Donald Trump took a hard line on illegal immigration as a candidate, but has since softened his stance for those brought to the country as children.

Colotl’s attorney, Charles Kuck, said the revocation of Colotl’s DACA status shows Trump has not told the truth. “Trump promised that DACA kids were fine,” Kuck said. “Nothing’s changed in Jessica’s case. … They are simply in bad faith punishing her for exercising her rights under the policies enacted by the government.”

Colotl, who had work authorization through the DACA program, had been working as a paralegal in Kuck’s office. Her parents moved back to Mexico several years ago, and after her mother fell ill last year Colotl wanted to go see her.

DACA recipients are allowed to travel internationally and her lawyers helped her get the necessary paperwork.

But her lawyers didn’t want her to travel because she still had an outstanding deportation order, Kuck said. They filed a motion to reopen and administratively close her deportation proceedings. Immigration Judge J. Dan Pelletier denied the request.

Read the rest of the story here.

Read about the DACA process and legalities here.

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Chicago’s ‘Mexico of the Midwest’ Fights Fallout From Fear of Trump

Little Village

From NBC News: It’s Friday night and time for the “marcha de cumpleaños” (birthday march) at Mi Tierra restaurant in the Chicago neighborhood of Little Village. Waiters bring cupcakes with lit, oversized sparklers, while patrons don straw hats and, paying no attention to empty tables, snake through the dining room to a Latino beat in a conga line.

“Fiesta. Happy,” is how Mi Tierra owner Ezequiel Fuentes describes the good times in culturally vibrant and economically vital Little Village — or as the community calls it, La Villita, a historic section in southwest Chicago that is billed as the Mexico of the Midwest.

But since the start of the year, fear of President Donald Trump has been spoiling the “fiesta” of Little Village, business owners and regular visitors said. Despite Chicago’s sanctuary city status, the uncertainty of when or whether immigration agents might strike is sapping the bustle from the 2½-mile stretch of quinceañera shops, restaurants, shoe and clothing stores, dental offices and other businesses that line W. 26th Street, the community’s main drive.

Locals say they see evidence that something has changed since January. Dozens of carved, brightly painted chairs and tables of Mi Tierra’s second dining room sat empty one weekend last month. Some tables in the main dining area also were unused. At lunchtime, half of the tables hid behind a partition awaiting customers.

“After the elections, everything changed,” said Fuentes, a former undocumented immigrant who now owns several restaurants in four states. “People are scared. They are scared to go out. The decrease of business (after the election) probably was 40 percent during the week, especially in the day time.”

Other business owners echo this sentiment. Vendors on the street corners complain that they no longer see the crowds walking up and down the neighborhood’s main street and lining up at their carts to buy their “elote” (Mexican grilled corn) and raspados (shaved ice sweetened with natural syrups). The usual buzz amid the selling of mariachi suits, clothing, jewelry, curios, accordions and many other goods at the Discount Mall outside Little Village’s welcoming arch is dampened.

Business leaders have been trying to tamp down the fear they think is driving the slowdown, reminding the community of Chicago’s historic sanctuary city status, and enlisting the mayor and police chief to dispel anxieties. They tell them there are no arrests going on in the neighborhood, that the Chicago police and local agencies don’t cooperate with the feds or question the immigration or citizenship status of residents because Chicago is a sanctuary city.

Exuding confidence in the city’s sanctuary status has taken on an urgency as news stories of arrests of immigrants with DACA – a type of protection from deportation – and people with immigration violations but not criminal histories fill the national news. The administration has threatened to punish cities that don’t cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

“I would tell people here in La Villita to not be afraid, to get well informed, find [out] for each other if ICE is coming. Get communication through police. Come out and support our families, our businesses,” said Ezequiel Fuentes Jr., who works with his father in running their restaurants. “La Villita is a great place. We can make it even greater.”

Two days after the Mi Tierra celebration, residents came together at La Villita for a community meeting where some of the topics discussed included how to prepare for possible deportation, what rights people have if arrested and shopping local. The meeting’s title: “La Villita Se Defiende.” (“Little Village Defends Itself.”)

Read the rest of the story here.

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Father of detained Dreamer – with previous felony drug conviction and deportations – pleads guilty to immigration crime

maga

Adios muchacho…

From Seattle Times: The father of a so-called Dreamer — the young man whose arrest in Des Moines by immigration officials sparked fears of an immigration roundup and drew a national outcry — pleaded guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court to entering the country illegally.

Court documents indicate that Antonio Ramirez-Poledo, 43, could face up to 20 years in prison because he has a prior drug felony in King County. However, federal prosecutors are recommending in a plea agreement filed with the court that he be released for time served when he is sentenced by U.S. District Judge Ricardo Martinez. Martinez is not bound by the prosecutor’s recommendation.

Ramirez-Poledo will likely face immediate deportation back to Mexico after the sentence is served.

He was deported from the U.S. at Paso del Norte, Texas, in 2004, after he was convicted in King County for possessing heroin and cocaine for distribution. He then returned to King County.

According to the criminal complaint, Ramirez-Poledo spent a year and a day in jail after his drug arrest and was then ordered deported. The complaint states that, in addition to the deportation, Ramirez-Poledo had been granted seven “voluntary departures,” including five in 2000, one in 2001 and another in 2006.

Ramirez-Poledo was arrested Feb. 10 outside a home in Des Moines after he was located by an agent from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Criminal Alien Program. Agents also took his 23-year-old son, Daniel Ramirez Medina, into custody.

The younger man had been brought to the country as a child and had been legally allowed to stay under the Obama administration’s 2012 “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” (DACA) program, which deferred deportation or other adverse immigration actions against individuals who entered the U.S. illegally as children. Proponents call its participants “Dreamers,” alluding to their desire to become U.S. citizens.

The arrest was the first involving a DACA-eligible immigrant under the Trump administration, and immigration and civil-rights officials reacted by suing ICE over his detention.

However, ICE insisted that the son was a gang member, and he remains in custody. His lawyers have disputed that claim and alleged government misconduct.

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Illegal alien teenager in North Carolina decapitates his mother and walks in the street with her head

oliver funes machada illegal alien

Oliver Funes Machada: Just a DREAMER…

From Daily Mail: A federal official says an 18-year-old man accused of decapitating his mother in Zebulon, North Carolina, on Monday was in the country illegally. The suspect, Oliver Funes Machada, was charged with first-degree murder Monday after authorities say he called 911 to say he had killed his mother.

Funes was found walking down the street with her severed head in one hand and a bloody butcher’s knife in the other. He is being transferred to Central Prison in Raleigh, and his next court appearance is scheduled for March 14.

Bryan Cox, a spokesman for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said in a news release that the suspect was from Honduras and was in the country illegally. Cox said that federal records list his name as Oliver Funes Machado. His public defender, C. Boyd Sturges III, said his second last name is listed as Machada in local court records. Sturges also said that his client has ‘some substantial mental health issues.’ (Well, that’s a given.)

Sturges said while he’s not a doctor, he could see that Funes Machada was ‘a pretty profoundly disturbed young man.’

Funes Machada called 911 around 12.45pm on Monday to tell police he had just killed his mother at their home in Franklin County, North Carolina.

A deputy responding to the call then saw the teen walking out of the house holding the woman’s head in one hand and what appeared to be a butcher’s knife in the other. Inside the home, deputies found the body of 35-year-old Yesenia Funez Beatriz Machada.

Franklin County Sheriff Kent Winstead said the 18-year-old is charged with first-degree murder in the wake of the incident. He has made his first appearance in court and was held without bond.

Winstead said Funes Machada’s two young sisters were at home but were unharmed, and a fourth child was at school. Authorities did not elaborate on what led to the death.

The killer’s father and the victim’s husband arrived home at 5pm to find the scene and had to be led away by cops – overcome with grief.  Other older relatives were pictured being comforted at the scene of the crime.

Neighbor Ryan Reader told WBTW: ‘Complete and utter shock. This whole area is a quiet area and I didn’t know what to expect when I got home and saw police cars and everything around.’ Winstead added: ‘It’s a terrible situation for the family, a terrible situation for the neighborhood and this county. I’m just glad things worked out the way they did and no one else was hurt in taking the suspect into custody. ‘I can’t tell you how many stab wounds or cuts. We just haven’t gotten that far in the investigation.’

Terry Wright, chief of staff of Franklin Sheriff’s department told ABC News: ‘We’ll be here as long as it takes to do a thorough search. We owe it to the victims to make sure it’s done in a proper manner – to make sure once it gets to the courthouse, justice can be served.’

President Donald Trump has made deporting illegal immigrants from the United States a central goal of his administration. Trump’s administration has issued directives to agents to more aggressively enforce immigration laws and more immigrants are coming under scrutiny by the authorities.

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Cornell protesters demand funding, housing for illegals

cornell-university-logo

From Campus Reform: Students and faculty members at Cornell University demanded funding, housing, and sanctuary for illegal immigrant students and scholars during a demonstration Thursday.

Students and faculty gathered on the Arts Quad for “Sanctuary Now Cornell: Solidarity against Tyranny,” a public protest in support of illegal immigrants and hosted by the Cornell Coalition for Inclusive Democracy (CCID).

According to The Cornell Daily Sun, roughly 250 to 300 people attended the event, during which they asked the university to provide an “alternative funding source” for illegal immigrant students regardless of whether those students are protected by Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

In addition, CCID said the university must provide shelter in the form of “housing and basic resources to stay on campus” for illegal and international students who are being advised not to travel, as well as provide temporary research positions to international scholars “fleeing dangerous situations abroad.”

“CCID demands the immediate implementation of these measures, which draw on the best aspects of Cornell and Ithaca’s abolitionist and sanctuary traditions,” CCID wrote on the Facebook event page for the protest. “Cornell has a duty to create an atmosphere of dignity, human rights, and academic freedom.”

The protesters asked for traditional sanctuary campus measures as well, such as noncompliance with immigration detainer requests and refusal to seek immigration status information during police work.

History professor Russell Rickford, an organizer of the protest, led a number of chants, including “No ban. No wall. Sanctuary for all.”

“Our endangered community members still lack explicit assurance that the institution that took them in will protect them,” Rickford said to the crowd. “That’s shameful.”

Joe Margulies, a government and law professor, compared the deportation of illegal immigrants to the Palmer Raids, which were conducted by the U.S. Justice Department in 1919 and 1920 to expel foreign radical leftists and considered by many to be the peak of the Red Scare.

“The truth is most people will never stand with you; you will always be in a minority,” Margulies explained. “But, the truth is, we look back on those periods now as periods of grave injustice, where time has turned against what was done. And you don’t need the majority; what you need is a very dedicated, involved minority.

Notably, interim president Hunter Rawlings has already outlined steps the college has taken to address the concerns of the protesting group. On January 29, he released a statement promising to “honor [Cornell’s] commitments” to DACA students, provide legal assistance to international scholars detained while traveling and illegal immigrant students, and “continue to protect the privacy of our student information and records from unauthorized or unlawful intrusion.”

In December, Rawlings assured students he would continue to give funding to students who lost DACA status under the new Trump administration.

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General strike, rally called for this weekend in Seattle

trump-triggeredFrom MyNorthwest.com: Better stock up on essentials before the weekend — just in case. A National General Strike, a Seattle area strike, and a rally have been called for. And as with any event in Seattle, whether it be a Seahawks game or a protest march, locals should plan for traffic and other interruptions.

A general strike means no working, no school, and no shopping. For many people, this should be easy. According to the Facebook event for the general strike, it will run from Feb. 17-20 (Friday through Monday). It covers the weekend and Presidents Day, which some workers have off as a holiday.

The event is organized by General Strike USA. It’s a bit wordy, but according to the event page:

WE DEMAND RECONSTITUTION. Disrupt the economy until we have a government, instead of being had by one. This is how we stop Trump and the entire corrupt political establishment before they destroy us and the planet we call home.

At this dangerous point in our history, we must confront a bitter truth: any political system that can allow Donald Trump to come to power is not a system worth keeping. Indeed, our elections, as controlled by the major political parties, offer us merely a contest of personalities rather than a choice between real alternatives. These contests mask the major parties’ underlying unity in a neoliberal economic establishment that serves the wealthy few at the expense of the impoverished many.

The general strike promotes a change of the system, not a change within the system, and encourages dismantling the establishment.

So far, the Facebook event has more than 2,000 people signed up, nationally, to participate, with 3,000 more interested in taking part. And 22,000 more have been invited to strike.

General strike in Seattle: A separate, unrelated general strike is organized in Seattle amid the national event. The Solidarity Strike is slated to take place between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., Feb. 17 at Volunteer Park in Seattle. It is organized by Solidarity for Justice in Education.

As the organization’s name implies, the strike is more focused on Washington’s education system as lawmakers are in session, attempting to fully fund it. The State of Washington has been ordered by its own Supreme Court to fully fund education. But there has been a tug-of-war between Democrats and Republicans on just how to do that.

The event notice states: Solidarity Demonstration to #Resist the WA Senate Republican proposal to fund education by undermining collective bargaining rights of Education Workers. All Labor Unions are welcome and encouraged to stand in support of this Legislative attack on Unions. No Right to Work in Washington.

The Seattle event has 1,300 people interested in taking part, and 324 confirmed to go. There are 1,600 more invited to come. Comments on the event’s page seem to have a theme — it would have a better turnout if organizers planned it on the weekend, instead of during the workday.

Free Daniel rally: Before Seattle’s strike in Volunteer Park, another event has been put together at the last minute by a range of organizers, including Seattle Councilmember Kshama Sawant.

The “Free Daniel Rally Against Deportations Fight Trump!” is scheduled for 9 a.m. at the Seattle Federal Courthouse in downtown Seattle. At least 1,000 people are interested in attending, and more than 200 have committed to going. Another 1,400 have been invited.

The event is partially motivated by a series of immigration roundups and detainments. Then, locally, Daniel Ramirez Medina was detained after he had an encounter with the law. He is covered under regulations passed under the Obama administration that allows immigrants who entered the country as minors to stay in renewable two-year periods. That regulation is known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.

The Facebook event states: Over the last week, Trump’s administration has detained and deported 600+ immigrants. Here in Seattle, on Tuesday 2/14, Daniel Ramirez Medina, a 23-year-old father who has received repeated approval to stay and work under the DACA program, was taken by ICE.  Medina has a court appearance on Friday during the rally.

The Department of Homeland Security argues another perspective. It says that those protected under DACA can be deported if they are perceived as threats to public safety.

According to a press release from DHS:

On February 10, Daniel Ramirez-Medina, a gang member, was encountered at a residence in Des Moines, Washington, during an operation targeting a prior-deported felon. He was arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and was transferred to the Northwest Detention Center to await the outcome of removal proceedings before an immigration judge.

This case illustrates the work ICE fugitive operations teams perform every day across the country to remove public safety threats from our communities when they encounter them. ICE officers, along with their law enforcement partners, have and will continue to enforce our nation’s laws to protect public safety, national security, and to preserve the integrity of our immigration system.”

DCG

 

Undocumented student sues Wells Fargo for denying her student loan

Wells Fargo Immigrant Loans

Mitzie Perez/Photo from WCB TV

Aside from this student’s immigration status, I’d be more concerned she won’t find a real job to pay back her loan, given the focus of her studies

From Fox Business:  A federal lawsuit on Monday accused banking giant Wells Fargo of illegally denying student loans to young immigrants who are protected from deportation and allowed to work and study in the U.S. under a program created by former President Barack Obama.

Wells Fargo said it was disappointed the plaintiffs sued instead of working with the bank on a solution.

The young immigrants in the country illegally have Social Security numbers and documents that meet bank requirements for identification, but Wells Fargo refuses to give them loans based on their citizenship status, according to the lawsuit from the Los Angeles-based Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

The loans, meanwhile, are available to U.S. citizens and permanent residents, the suit says.

It seeks a court order declaring the policy discriminatory and forcing Wells Fargo to grant the loans to those participating in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. It also seeks unspecified monetary damages.

“Wells Fargo understands the dream of pursuing higher education and we remain focused on our responsible lending practices to assist temporary and permanent residents and U.S. citizens in obtaining student financing,” the bank said in a statement.

Banking experts say financial institutions can face unique challenges getting repaid by borrowers who are not in the country permanently, including potential difficulty in accepting payments from foreign banks.

A spokesman for Chase Bank said it does not offer student loans. An email to representatives for Bank of America was not immediately returned.

The lawsuit comes amid concern among immigrant groups that President Donald Trump will cancel the DACA program as part of a broader effort to control immigration. Trump has signed executive actions over the past week to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, temporarily ban immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries and suspend the United States’ entire refugee program.

“It’s very important in our view to establish that there are clear rules against this kind of discrimination, particularly in a time like this,” said Tom Saenz, president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, referring to the new administration.

Obama created DACA by executive order in 2012, providing temporary protection for immigrants brought to the United States by their parents before the age of 16 and who live in the country illegally.

Under the program, recipients receive a Social Security number, allowing them to work, pay taxes, study and travel for a two-year period. More than 750,000 immigrants had been approved for DACA as of December 2016, federal officials say.

Mitzie Perez, one of those immigrants and a plaintiff in the lawsuit, came to the U.S. illegally in 1997 from Guatemala at age 5. Now 25, Perez is a junior at the University of California, Riverside, where she is focusing on gender and sexuality studies.

She applied for a student loan from Wells Fargo last year to help cover the costs of her education but was not able to proceed with the online loan application after she disclosed she was not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, according to the lawsuit. She said she works and has used credit cards to cover her tuition. “Every day I consider not completing my education because I don’t have the means,” she said.

The lawsuit seeks class-action status on behalf of other DACA recipients who have been denied loans by Wells Fargo. Saenz said it was too early to know how many people might qualify.

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