Tag Archives: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

Hollyweird is stuck on stupid: Gina Rodriguez’s “Dreamers” series hopes to rid America of the term “illegal”

gina rodriguez

Why is following the law so hard for folks to understand? I hope this series bombs.

From LA Times: By all appearances, Rafael Agustin had been the all-American high school student: he was class president, prom king and an honor roll student. But there was one hitch: he was also in the country illegally.

It was a discovery Agustin learned while applying for college in 1998 — before there was a program like the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

“I was in shock,” the Ecuador-born writer-performer recalled during a recent phone interview with The Times. “I knew I was an immigrant — I remember a time when I didn’t speak English. But I didn’t know we were undocumented illegal immigrants.”

Agustin, now a U.S. citizen who received his undergraduate and post-graduate degrees from UCLA’s School of Theater, Film & Television, has channeled that experience and created a series inspired by his life about an immigrant family, tentatively titled “Illegal.” The series is in development at the CW and is expected to be an hour-long dramedy that Agustin describes as an edgy Latino version of “The Wonder Years.”

The announcement came a day after the Trump administration’s decision to dismantle DACA, which has provided hundreds of thousands of young immigrants the ability to work legally in the U.S. and a temporary reprieve from deportation.

“Illegal” is one of two immigrant-related series that “Jane the Virgin” star Gina Rodriguez has in development under an overall deal at CBS TV Studios for her I Can & I Will Productions. (The other, “Have Mercy,” is set up at CBS.)

LA Times interviewed these two and you can read the whole interview here.

The Times asked Gina, “What emotions were you feeling last Tuesday when it was announced Trump was dismantling the DACA program?”

Her response: “For me personally I was just devastated. My heart breaks for these young kids that are just trying. America just seems real brutal these days. Everything that I’ve grown up with and thought America stood for has just been destroyed by this administration time and time again. I’m just so afraid for young kids who fear not having anywhere to go. I just wish I could change it all, but I can’t.”

Hey Gina: If the kids really wanna try, have them go here.

DCG

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DACA rescinded: Get ready for the drama…”End of life as we know it”

paul quinonez

Paul’s Twitter profile pic. From his Twitter bio, “From the best state in Mexico: Colima.”

Want to be the “best you can be,” Paul? You can start online here.

Surprisingly, there are very few sympathetic comments on the liberal Seattle Times web site.

From Seattle Times: Paúl Quiñonez Figueroa wakes up around 6 a.m. every day, anxious.

“I could literally wake up to the end of DACA,” he said of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which since 2012 has allowed young people brought to this country illegally to live and work here.

As a 22-year-old DACA recipient, the waiting has been killing him. “He should announce it already,” Quiñonez Figueroa said Friday in his Northgate apartment.

On Tuesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions did it for the president. Sessions announced an “orderly, lawful wind-down” of DACA over the next six months. The Department of Homeland Security will accept no new applications.

Current DACA recipients, however, will be allowed to work legally until their two-year permits expire. That gives Quiñonez Figueroa until February 2019.

“Having a few extra months to prepare for the end of life as we know it is not treating us with empathy or with heart,” Quiñonez Figueroa, an activist with Washington Dream Coalition, said immediately after Sessions’ remarks.

And he was infuriated that President Donald Trump, who had pledged to show heart when dealing with Dreamers, “did not have the decency to face us.”

Now, he’s looking toward the congressional debate that Trump and Sessions have set up as they left the fate of DACA recipients to the legislative branch.

Quiñonez Figueroa, who works as a legislative assistant to state Rep. Shelley Kloba D-Kirkland, said he and his peers plan to press members of Congress to vote on a new DREAM Act introduced this year. The bipartisan bill goes further than previous, failed versions; those eligible would include not just young, undocumented immigrants illegal aliens who go to college or serve in the military but also those in the workforce.

Unlike DACA, it would provide a path to citizenship.

Quiñonez Figueroa said, however, “we’re not going to be used as bargaining chips to put down our parents, to put down our friends.”

He was referring to speculation that Trump and some Republicans might try to trade passage of the DREAM Act for items on the president’s agenda less friendly to immigrants: building a wall on the border with Mexico, hiring thousands of new Border Patrol agents and placing new restrictions on legal immigration.

If Congress tacked such addendums onto the DREAM Act, Quiñonez Figueroa said, DACA recipients like him would seek to kill the bill, he said.

His views represent something of an evolution in the Dreamer movement. It has generated tremendous momentum in part because people brought here as kids are often seen as blameless, unlike other immigrants who come to the U.S. illegally.

But some are so uneasy with being in a special category that they no longer want to be called “Dreamers” — a term they feel connotes virtue unique to them. “We’ve moved far beyond that,” Quiñonez Figueroa said.

He and others want the parents who brought them here to have the same protections they do, even while that is a much more controversial notion.

‘Best I could be’

For a long time, Quiñonez Figueroa was angry about being uprooted from his home in a small town in the Mexican state of Colima, about 500 miles due west of Mexico City. He was 7. “I remember my childhood as happy — normal,” he said. “Why did I have to grow up undocumented illegally here?”

Only last year, when he returned to Colima while studying in Mexico for the summer, did he realize the poverty of his hometown, the challenges his cousins faced in getting to college and the dangers of a country beset by drug cartels.

Then, his parents’ decision to reunite the family in the U.S. — where his father had been working construction and was finding return visits increasingly hard because of toughening border security — made more sense.

He remembers the trip in the back seat of a car, eating potato chips and trying to keep his younger brother quiet as they crossed into California, driven by a legal resident. His mother followed a week later, taking a riskier trip through the desert that she never talked about.

Eventually, they made their way to Eastern Washington, where they had extended family. Quiñonez Figueroa mostly grew up there. Tutored by his mom, who had wanted to be a teacher but couldn’t afford the necessary schooling, he was placed in a program for advanced students.

He threw himself into extracurriculars: volunteering as a bilingual interpreter, running cross-country and playing tennis, joining the debate and Spanish clubs.

“I had to be the best I could be,” he said. Otherwise, he wouldn’t get the private scholarships he needed to go to college. Even when DACA came into being right before his last year of high school, and he was deemed eligible, he couldn’t get federal financial aid due to his status.

As the Trump administration has been keen to point out, DACA recipients are still considered undocumented illegal even though the government has granted them permission to work here temporarily.

Accepted by Gonzaga University, Quiñonez Figueroa benefited from Washington’s version of the DREAM Act, approved while he was there, to allow undocumented students illegal aliens to get state financial aid.

He quickly built up his résumé. He interned for U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat, in Washington, D.C., and got a fellowship to spend a summer at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs.

After school, he worked as an Eastern Washington field director for Sen. Patty Murray’s re-election campaign, and was interested in working for the federal government. But undocumented immigrants illegal aliens are not allowed.

So he turned to local politics. In his job as Rep. Kloba’s assistant, he does everything from running the office budget to helping arrange town-hall meetings.

Not ready to give up

It was in Mexico last summer that Quiñonez Figueroa realized how American he has become. Participating in a program that brought DACA recipients to study side by side with Mexican students, he picked up on subtle but distinct cultural differences, like the way he and his peers would complain about service they found lacking.

“We were called ‘arrogant Americans,’” he recalled.

He nevertheless discovered he could get by in Mexico if he had to. His Spanish was passable. There were opportunities for college-educated professionals like him.

Staring down the possibility of a forced repatriation, he said it wouldn’t be end of the world, but added: “I’m not ready to give up.”

His game plan: go to graduate school and hope that by the time he’s done Congress will have passed a law allowing him to stay.

DCG

Trump likely to rescind Obama “Dreamer” program

illegal

Works for me.

From NY Post: U.S. President Donald Trump is likely to rescind an Obama-era policy that protects nearly 600,000 immigrants who entered the country illegally as children and are known as “Dreamers,” according to media reports on Friday.

Trump’s decision on whether to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, policy could be announced as early as next week, reported ABC News, citing multiple sources.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions discussed the program with senior White House officials on Thursday, according to an administration official.

Department of Homeland Security spokesman David Lapan denied reports that the department had made any recommendations on DACA to the White House. “There have been continuing discussions about DACA but nothing has been determined,” Lapan told Reuters.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters on Friday that the program continues to be under review. A White House spokesperson told Reuters that only Congress can legislate a permanent solution for the plight of children who are currently protected from deportation by DACA.

Trump had pledged on the election campaign trail to scrap all of former President Barack Obama’s executive orders on immigration, including DACA.

Immigrant advocates reacted to the news with a flurry of statements, promising to defend the program with protest and legal action.

“Immigrant youth fought to create the DACA program and we will fight like hell to defend it,” said Greisa Martinez Rosas, Advocacy Director and DACA-beneficiary of United We Dream said in a statement.

Civil rights groups said ending the program could increase racial divisions in the country in the wake of the recent violence in Charlottesville.

Ten Republican state attorneys general in June urged the Trump administration to rescind the DACA program, while noting that the government did not have to revoke permits that had already been issued. If the federal government did not withdraw DACA by Sept. 5, the attorneys general said they would file a legal challenge to the program in a Texas federal court.

The 10 who signed the letter represent Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia.

A larger coalition of 26 Republican attorneys general had challenged the Obama-era policy covering illegal immigrant parents, known as DAPA, that had been blocked by the courts before it took effect. The Department of Homeland Security rescinded that policy earlier this year.

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.

DCG

DHS memo indicates President Trump will hit the ground running with border wall construction

According to an internal Department of Homeland Security (DHS) memo that Reuters reviewed, once he’s inaugurated on January 20, President Donald Trump will hit the ground running on constructing that US-Mexico border wall he’s promised.

obama border patrol

Julia Edwards Ainsley reports for Reuters, Jan. 3, 2017, that the DHS memo “offers a glimpse into the president-elect’s strategy for securing the U.S. borders and reversing polices put in place by the Obama administration.”

The DHS memo recounts “wide-ranging” requests for documents and analysis by Trump’s transition team in a meeting the team had with DHS officials on December 5, 2016. Trump asked for the documents in order “to assess all assets available for border wall and barrier construction.”

Trump’s transition team asked for documents and information on:

(1) Copies of every executive order and directive Obama sent to immigration agents since he took office in 2009. (Note that President Trump can undo Obama’s executive orders with a wave of his pen and without Congressional consent or approval. See “How Trump can undo what Obama did in past 8 years”)

(2) A DHS aerial surveillance program called Operation Phalanx, which authorizes 1,200 Army National Guard airmen to monitor the southern border for drug trafficking and illegal migration. The program once deployed 6,000 airmen under President George W. Bush but was considerably scaled back by Obama.

(3) Whether federal workers have altered DHS’s biographic information about migrants “out of concern” for their civil rights and civil liberties. A DHS official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the agency interpreted this Trump transition team request to mean the transition team wanted to make sure that federal workers were not tampering with information to protect DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients and other migrants from deportation.

Note: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is an Obama administration immigration policy that allows certain undocumented immigrants illegal aliens who entered the U.S. as minors (defined as before their 16th birthday) to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and eligibility for a work permit. To be eligible, they must have (illegally) entered the U.S. before June 2007; are under age 31 as of June 15, 2015; are currently in school or  a high school graduate or  honorably discharged from the military; have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor or otherwise pose a threat to national security. DACA does not provide lawful status or a path to citizenship. DACA has collected information including participants’ addresses that can theoretically be used to locate and deport them if the policy is reversed.

(4) DHS’s capacity for expanding “immigrant” detention.

(5) Resources available for building walls and barriers. DHS officials who attended the meeting with Trump’s transition team understood the request to include both the northern and southern borders. In response, U.S. Customs and Border Protection staffers identified:

  • Specific locations in more than 400 miles along the U.S.-Mexico border, and about the same distance along the U.S.-Canada border, where new fencing could be erected.
  • The costs of building a fence are estimated at $3.3 billion for 452 miles along the U.S.-Canada border, and $11.37 billion for 413 miles of fencing on America’s southwest border which would keep pedestrians as well as vehicles from crossing. Pedestrian fences require more staff and would cost $11.2 million per mile.

In fiscal year 2015, the latest year for which data is available, border patrol agents apprehended 331,333 illegal migrants on the U.S.-Mexico border, and 2,626 illegal migrants on the U.S.-Canada border.

H/t ZeroHedge

~Eowyn

Texas attorney general: U.S. is heading toward a constitutional crisis because of Obama flouting Congress and courts

Ken Paxton

In an interview on Fox News yesterday, Ken Paxton, the attorney general of the State of Texas, was asked whether America is heading toward “a constitutional crisis” because of Obama’s total disregard for Congress and now the courts. (The segment begins at the 2:55 mark in the Fox News video, here.)

Paxton replied:

“I think we are. If you think about what’s going on here — the President is violating federal law, the U.S. Constitution, which is going past what Congress is supposed to be doing, and now we’ve got the administration in court not being forthcoming about they’re supposed to be forthcoming about. We definitely have a huge issue here related to whether the Obama administration is going to follow the Constitution, and then once they get into court, whether they’re going to tell the truth.”

Paxton’s stunning remark was precipitated by Obama’s latest “F-you” to the court, specifically to Andrew Hanen, the federal judge who is single-handedly doing the job of the useless Congress by standing up to Obama’s reckless amnesty.

Judge Andrew Hanen

Judge Andrew Hanen

On Feb. 16, 2015, U.S. District Judge Hanen issued a preliminary injunction to temporarily block Obama’s amnesty so as to give a coalition of 26 states the time they need to pursue a lawsuit to permanently stop the amnesty orders. If the implementation of Obama’s amnesty were not blocked, Hanen reasons, the 26 states will “suffer irreparable harm in this case” because once the millions of illegals obtain amnesty, “the genie would be impossible to put back into the bottle.” (See “Federal judge stops Obama’s executive amnesty for illegals”)

At issue are two executive memoranda signed by Obama last November:

  1. The first memorandum expands eligibility for Obama’s 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which halts deportations and allows work permits for certain undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children.
  2. The second executive memo, known as DAPA, would extend similar benefits to the parents of U.S. citizens and permanent legal residents.

See also “Obama has issued more executive orders than any U.S. president in history.

Combined, DACA and DAPA could affect as many as 5 million immigrants living in the country illegally. Some estimates are as high as 10 to 12 million illegals.

4 days after Judge Hanen’s order blocking the implementation of Obama’s amnesty, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced it would seek an emergency stay of the judge‘s injunction. (See “Obama emergency order to restart amnesty in defiance of federal judge Hanen”)

Hanen responded by denying the DOJ’s request. So the federal government has asked the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans to lift Hanen’s injunction while the case is appealed.

Obama vs. Hanen

 

The latest tussle between Judge Hanen and Obama took place last Thursday, March 19, 2015.

As reported by FoxNews, at a Texas hearing on Obama’s amnesty executive actions, Judge Hanen sharply scolded a DOJ attorney — that the administration had misled Hanen on a key part of the program, for which Hanen fell “like an idiot.” Hanen said he could order sanctions against the administration if he finds the DOJ indeed had misrepresented the facts.

At issue is whether the DOJ had misled the judge into believing that a plank of the Obama amnesty program would not go forward before he made the Feb. 16 ruling to temporarily halt it. The program is the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) that gives deportation reprieves (i.e., effective amnesty) to thousands of young illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as “minors.” The problem is that even before Hanen’s ruling on Feb. 16 to block DACA’s implementation, federal officials had already given 3-year reprieves and work permits to more than 108,000 illegal aliens.

Kathleen Hartnett Associate White House Counsel Kathleen Hartnett, a Harvard Law grad like Obama, successfully worked on repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

At the Thursday hearing, Hanen chided DOJ attorney Kathleen Hartnett for telling him at a January hearing before the Feb. 16 injunction was issued that nothing would be happening with regard to DACA until Feb. 18.

“Like an idiot I believed that,” Hanen said.

A flustered Hartnett repeatedly apologized to Hanen for any confusion related to how the reprieves and work permits were granted. “We strive to be as candid as possible. It truly became clear to us there was confusion on this point,” she said.

“Can I trust what the president says? That’s a yes or no question,” Hanen asked.

“Yes your honor,” Hartnett replied.

The coalition of 26 states have asked that Hanen consider issuing sanctions against the Obama administration because, in the words of the coalition’s lead attorney Angela Colmenero (who is also a lawyer with the Texas Attorney General’s Office), DOJ attorneys had made “representations (that) proved not to be true or at a minimum less than forthcoming.”

Obama’s DOJ lawyer Hartnett insists “There is absolutely no basis for sanctions here. The government is absolutely trying to do the right thing.”

Hanen said he would issue a ruling “promptly” on what action, if any, he will take against the Justice Department.

See also:

~Éowyn

House passes bill defunding Obama’s amnesty for illegals

Conn Carroll reports for Townhall that yesterday, Jan. 14, 2015, the GOP-dominated House of Representatives passed a Department of Homeland Security spending bill that effectively defunds Obama’s November 2014 executive amnesty program.

Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho)

Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho)

Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-ID) said after the vote, “The House defended its constitutional authority to make the law of the land in today’s vote to oppose President Obama’s unconstitutional executive actions on immigration. I am hopeful the Senate will do its job and reassert the duty of Congress to make immigration law.”

Rep. Rob Aderholt (R-Alabama)

Rep. Rob Aderholt (R-Alabama)

An amendment offered by Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL) forbidding DHS from spending any money implementing Obama’s Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) program passed 237 to 190. The amendment specified that the spending restrictions applied to fees collected by the agency and applied to four other memos written prior to November 20.

The Aderholt amendment did not, however, touch Obama’s June 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. A group of conservative members, led by Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC), struck a deal with Aderholt not to include the DACA program in his amendment. These conservatives felt that including DACA would be a distraction from DAPA and would make it easier for Democrats to attack Republicans for wanting to deport children.

Note: What the Obama administration and the MSM call “children” include strapping teens who are criminals and gang members. Please see Trail Dust’s post “We need to re-define the term ‘minors’”.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)

A separate amendment, offered by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), did defund Obama’s DACA program. It too passed, but by a substantial smaller 218 to 209 margin.

Neither of these amendments would actually lead to any new deportations, but they would stop the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services office from giving work permits to illegal immigrants.

Pew Research Center estimates that DAPA would legalize 3.9 million illegal immigrants while 1.5 million are eligible for DACA, which means if Obama has his way, amnesty would be given 5.5 million illegal aliens.

Now the funding measure will move to the Senate where it faces an uncertain future. Republicans do have a 54-46 majority in the Senate, but Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Jon Tester (D-MT), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Angus King (I-ME), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) have all come out against the Aderholt amendment. It is not clear how Republicans can get to the 60 votes necessary to overcome a Democratic filibuster.

If they don’t Senate Republican leaders may try to narrow the defunding provisions to win over Democratic votes.

But even if they do, the POS in the White House has already said he will veto any bill that defunds his amnesty.

king

See also:

~Eowyn