Friday, November 27, 2015

Interesting Newspaper Article from Utah - "Activist makes app to help ‘dreamer’ undocumented immigrants"

Utah immigration activist, Deyvid Morales, 24, is using his often-in-Utah-headlines immigration battles to write free smartphone apps to help fellow undocumented immigrants.

His latest one seeks to help "dreamers" — immigrants who, like himself, were brought to the United States without papers as children by their parents — to find college scholarships.

It was inspired by a translating job he had at West Valley City's Granger High School, where he saw too many immigrants drop out "because they figure what's the point if college is not an option." But he knows college is possible because he managed to attend despite his own high-profile deportation fights.

It is his second smartphone app.

The first was designed to help undocumented immigrants who face detention and deportation. He developed it after he was pulled off a bus and detained by the Border Patrol in New Mexico — after he had received permission to remain in the country — and shouted out instructions to others about their rights.

"I can't be in every bus telling them their rights, but I could make something that would be like if I was in the bus and telling them what their rights were," Morales previously told The Salt Lake Tribune.

Now, he says, after developing his second app, "I'm not a writer. I'm not an artist. But there's a couple things that I can do, which is to organize information and make an app — and make it available for everybody. ... I'm looking for how I can help as many people as possible with what I have."

Morales' parents brought him to the U.S. from Mexico at age 9 without papers. His struggles and victories since then fuel his desire to help other undocumented immigrants.

He first landed in Utah headlines in 2011, when he had been traveling to start Bible school in Louisiana hoping to become a pastor. But immigration officials boarded his bus to seek people who were not U.S. citizens, and he was arrested.
He soon became a sort-of poster child for the plight of "dreamers," and was featured in several news conferences and news stories.

He tried to file a complaint against a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent for allegedly violating his civil rights by telling him not to speak publicly about his case or he would have his bond revoked and would land back in jail pending his deportation hearing.

Just before he expected to be deported, President Barack Obama issued an order to defer deportation of "dreamers" like him with clean criminal records — called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.

Morales's new app is called DACA Scholars.

In 2012, after receiving official deferral from deportation, Morales was pulled off a bus and detained by immigration agents again in New Mexico — an incident that provided inspiration for his first app.

Meanwhile, Morales has been attending Salt Lake Community College. His experiences changed the focus of his studies from becoming a pastor to hopes of eventually becoming a civil-rights lawyer.

He is also working full time at the Mexican Consulate in Salt Lake City — doing such things as working with the U.S. Border Patrol to help find missing Mexican nationals. "With my history, it's a little bizarre that I'm now often working with the Border Patrol."

He had worked as a para-educator for a couple of years at Granger High, which included translating for families of troubled immigrant students. He said he was disappointed that students and parents alike "just felt like college was not an option for them because of their status," so "it didn't matter if they dropped out."

But he believes "education is essential for Latinos. It is the way to a better life."

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Governor Brown Sign Bill Designed to Help Immigrant Crime Victims By Mandating U-Visa Certification Standardization

Governor Jerry Brown recently signed a bill designed to help undocumented aliens who are victims of violent crime. The new legislation introduces time limits on law enforcement's response to their U.S. visa applications in an attempt to standardize police forces' uneven treatment of applicants.
The federal government grants visas to undocumented immigrants who help law enforcement try to catch criminals. The so-called U visa allows the recipient to live and work in the United States for four years, but to apply, a victim must first ask local law enforcement to verify their cooperation.
California now becomes the first state to mandate that law enforcement sign U visa certifications in a particular time frame.
The new law requires California law enforcement to verify a victim's cooperation within 90 days, unless the agency can demonstrate that the victim was uncooperative. If the victim is in the process of being deported, the time frame shrinks to 14 days.
A Reuters investigation last year found vast geographic disparities in law enforcement approaches to this visa, with some agencies readily verifying cooperation and others stonewalling.

The report showed, for example, that law enforcement in Oakland, California had verified 2,992 immigrants between January 2009 and May 2014 compared to just 300 in Sacramento, California, which has a slightly higher population.
Congress has limited the number of U visas to 10,000 a year, and the program is heavily oversubscribed. In fiscal 2012, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services received 24,768 applications from crime victims certified by local law enforcement.

If the agency determines an immigrant is eligible for the visa but the yearly cap has been reached, that person can still obtain protection against deportation and work authorization while joining the U visa queue.

California legislators unanimously passed the bill this year, and Brown announced on Friday that he had signed it.

Crimes covered by the new law include sexual assault, domestic violence, murder, prostitution, perjury, blackmail, kidnapping, obstruction of justice and fraud in foreign labor contracting.

The bill, created by Senate leader Kevin de León and Speaker of the Assembly Toni G. Atkins, is an attempt to boost immigrant trust in and cooperation with law enforcement. “Every time a criminal goes free because the victim fears deportation and the police, we are all a little less safe,” said de León in a published statement.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Senate GOP plans contentious immigration vote - bill set to be taken up targets so-called sanctuary cities

Senate Republicans are planning a vote on a controversial immigration bill this month punishing sanctuary cities like San Francisco that give safe harbor to immigrants in the U.S. illegally — months after authorities say an undocumented immigrant shot and killed a young woman on a San Francisco pier.

The legislation from Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) would target sanctuary cities — localities where local law enforcement officials decline to cooperate with federal immigration authorities — by withholding key federal grants and increasing prison sentences for those who try to re-enter the United States after being deported.

“That will be the comeback vote, in all likelihood, for after the next break,” Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas, the second-ranking Senate Republican, said Wednesday. He was referring to the week of Oct. 19, after next week’s Senate recess. The vote would come days before Louisiana’s gubernatorial election on Oct. 24; Vitter, a candidate in that race, has been struggling in the campaign.

The sanctuary cities issue, which exploded in the public sphere after the July 1 death of Kate Steinle in San Francisco, had been kicked to the Senate Judiciary Committee, where Republicans struggled to come to a consensus on legislation. The suspect in the slaying, Juan Francisco Lopez Sanchez, had been deported from the United States five times before he returned and allegedly killed Steinle.

That month, Vitter repeatedly called for attaching sanctuary cities legislation to a sweeping rewrite of No Child Left Behind, a move that could have threatened the prospects of the largely bipartisan education reform bill. Vitter ultimately struck a deal with Senate GOP leaders to take up the immigration measure in the Judiciary Committee instead — a move that saved the education bill but became an unresolved headache for Judiciary Committee Republicans that has persisted for nearly three months because of intraparty rifts on the issue.
Many Republicans — including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who is running for the GOP presidential nomination — lobbied for a bill that would implement a mandatory minimum prison sentence of five years for an illegal reentry offense as a key part of the party’s response on sanctuary cities. Cruz had been highlighting his efforts to pass that provision on the campaign trail, which Republicans named “Kate’s Law” after Steinle.

But other GOP senators, including Mike Lee of Utah and Jeff Flake of Arizona, opposed that idea. The split increased the likelihood that a tough-on-illegal-immigration proposal would not be able to pass a Republican-led panel. The committee’s chairman, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, had to delay marking up the bill multiple times.

And some Republicans could also defect during the Senate floor battle. In an interview Wednesday, Flake — a longtime GOP advocate of comprehensive immigration reform — said he would oppose the sanctuary cities legislation on the floor if the mandatory minimum provisions weren’t “fixed.”

“I won’t vote for it unless there is some adjustment on the mandatory minimums,” Flake said.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Oral Arguments at the Ninth Circuit Yesterday

I had oral arguments at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday in an immigration appeal. Narrajo-Portal v. Lynch, Case No. 13-73985. The argument was streamed live over the Internet.

The issue was whether the Immigration Judge properly denied Mr. Portal the protection under the Convention Against Torture based primarily on his adverse credibility determination. The Board of Immigration Appeals initially remanded the case back to the IJ for further consideration after finding that he had committed "clear error" in his initial determination.

The video is here:

Saturday, August 29, 2015

El Salvador Supreme Court declares MS-13 to be a "Terrorist Group"

El Salvador's supreme court declared the nation's street gangs as well their financial backers to be terrorist groups last Monday, August 24, 2015.

The court said that the Mara Salvatrucha or MS-13 gang and any other gang that seeks to claim powers that belong to the state would be deemed terrorists. It defined terrorism as the organized, systematic use of violence.

The declaration came on the same day that El Salvador's attorney general said an order to kill gang members in a prison this past weekend came from inside another prison. Luis Martinez announced Monday that the recent slaughter of 14 gang members inside the Quezaltepeque prison in western El Salvador came from the San Francisco Gotera prison in the country's east.

The gang members, who were part of the Barrio 18 gang, were all strangled or stabbed to death as part of an internal purge, according to authorities. Martinez said that authorities had advance information that a mass killing was coming, but did not knew where or when.

El Salvador has one of the highest murder rates in the world and the level of violence has increased in the country over the past year with the breakdown of a truce between the Barrio 18 gang and its rival, MS-13. The gangs came to prominence in the 1980s in Los Angeles' Latino neighborhoods.

At least 125 people were murdered in the country in just three days last week, according to police. Government statistics show at least 3,840 people have been killed so far this year in the country of 6.4 million people. President Sanchez Ceren has tried to crack down on criminal gangs since coming to power last year.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Federal Judge blasts ICE, Says Immigrant Children, Parents in Detention Centers Should be Released.

A federal judge has ruled that hundreds of immigrant women and children held in holding facilities should be released, finding their detention “deplorable” and in grave violation of an earlier court settlement.

U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee said federal authorities had violated key provisions of an 18-year-old court settlement that put restrictions on the detention of migrant children.

The ruling, released late Friday, is another blow to President Obama’s immigration policies and leaves questions about what the U.S. will do with the large number of children and parents who crossed the border from Latin America last year.

The Obama administration is detaining an estimated 1,700 parents and children at three detention facilities, two in Texas and one in Pennsylvania.

In her 25-page ruling, Gee blasted federal officials, saying that children had been held in substandard conditions at the two Texas detention centers. She found “widespread and deplorable conditions in the holding cells of Border Patrol stations.” In addition, she wrote that federal officials “failed to meet even the minimal standard” of “safe and sanitary” conditions at temporary holding cells.

“It is astonishing that defendants have enacted a policy requiring such expensive infrastructure without more evidence to show that it would be compliant with an agreement that has been in effect for nearly 20 years,” Gee wrote. Gee gave the government until Aug. 3 to explain why an order she plans to issue should not be implemented within 90 days.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Press Release



Stanley Radtke, of the Law Office of Stanley Dale Radtke, has been selected to the 2015 list as a member of the Nation’s Top One Percent by the National Association of Distinguished Counsel. NADC is an organization dedicated to promoting the highest standards of legal excellence. Its mission is to objectively recognize the attorneys who elevate the standards of the Bar and provide a benchmark for other lawyers to emulate.

Members are thoroughly vetted by a research team, selected by a blue ribbon panel of attorneys with podium status from independently neutral organizations, and approved by a judicial review board as exhibiting virtue in the practice of law. Due to the incredible selectivity of the appointment process, only the top one percent of attorneys in the United States are awarded membership in NADC. This elite class of advocates consists of the finest leaders of the legal profession from across the nation.