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.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

House GOP Votes To Block Protections For Undocumented Immigrants (Eliminate DACA Protection)

House Republicans voted Wednesday to fund the Department of Homeland Security, but with the requirement that millions of undocumented young people, parents and others be put back at risk of deportation.

The DHS funding bill was the opening shot in what is likely to be a contentious weekslong fight over how to deal with appropriations for the agency before its funding runs out at the end of February. For now, Republicans and Democrats have drawn lines in the sand: Most GOP House members said they would not vote to fund DHS without measures to end many of President Barack Obama's immigration policies, while Democrats and the president have vowed to oppose anything that includes those amendments.

But the vote also showed a schism in the House Republicans -- this time from moderates rather than the usual revolts by immigration hardliners. Those moderates nearly derailed an amendment to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, or DACA, which helps undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. Twenty-six House Republicans joined with Democrats to oppose that amendment, which narrowly passed in a 218-209 vote.

The vote on the full bill was 236-191. Ten Republicans opposed final passage, and two Democrats split with their party to support it.

"We do not take this action lightly, but simply, there is no alternative," House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said in a floor speech just before the vote. "It's not a dispute between the parties or even the branches of our government. This executive overreach is an affront to the rule of law and to the Constitution itself."

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Court of Appeal Reversed a Criminal Conviction in One of My Recent Cases

This post is not related to any immigration matter, but I do a fair amount of criminal appellate work as a panel attorney in the First, Second, and Sixth District. I accept court appointment for indigent clients in their direct appeal. I recently received a favorable decision in one of my cases, People v. Foster a case out of Alameda County where a young black male was convicted of attempted robbery of a local convenience store.

The decision was actually written up in the San Francisco Chronicle. Here is the link.

The decision was split, 2 to 1, and was based upon the denial by the trial court of a defense motion for a short continuance in order to try and locate a previously subpoenaed defense witness. Here is the link to the full decision at the court of appeal.