Thursday, August 18, 2011

President Obama Announces New Priorities for DHS and Deportation

In a Press Release, the White House announced that they would be changing the priorities of DHS to no longer actively seek the deportation of noncriminal aliens, with the announcement that it would halt potentially thousands of cases in federal immigration court if they do not involve criminals or people with flagrant immigration violations.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said today that the agency will launch a case-by-case review of 300,000 cases pending in immigration courts across the nation to focus on the federal government’s top priority, detaining and deporting criminals and serious violators of immigration law.

Immigrants classified as low-priority cases could receive a stay of deportation and the chance to apply for a work permit.

The following is the full text of the Press Release of today.

"President Obama is deeply committed to fixing our immigration laws and has been aggressively searching for partners in Congress who are willing to work with him to pass a new law. As he focuses on building a new 21st century immigration system that meets our nation’s economic and security needs, the President has a responsibility to enforce the existing laws in a smart and effective manner. This means making decisions that best focus the resources that Congress gives the Executive Branch to do this work. There are more than 10 million people who are in the U.S. illegally; it’s clear that we can’t deport such a large number. So the Administration has developed a strategy to make sure we use those resources in a way that puts public safety and national security first. If you were running a law enforcement agency anywhere in the world, you would target those who pose the greatest harm before those who do not. Our immigration enforcement work is focused the same way.

Under the President’s direction, for the first time ever the Department of Homeland Security has prioritized the removal of people who have been convicted of crimes in the United States. And they have succeeded; in 2010 DHS removed 79,000 more people who had been convicted of a crime compared to 2008. Today, they announced that they are strengthening their ability to target criminals even further by making sure they are not focusing our resources on deporting people who are low priorities for deportation. This includes individuals such as young people who were brought to this country as small children, and who know no other home. It also includes individuals such as military veterans and the spouses of active-duty military personnel. It makes no sense to spend our enforcement resources on these low-priority cases when they could be used with more impact on others, including individuals who have been convicted of serious crimes.

So DHS, along with the Department of Justice, will be reviewing the current deportation caseload to clear out low-priority cases on a case-by-case basis and make more room to deport people who have been convicted of crimes or pose a security risk. And they will take steps to keep low-priority cases out of the deportation pipeline in the first place. They will be applying common sense guidelines to make these decisions, like a person’s ties and contributions to the community, their family relationships and military service record. In the end, this means more immigration enforcement pressure where it counts the most, and less where it doesn’t – that’s the smartest way to follow the law while we stay focused on working with the Congress to fix it."

Here is the Link to the Press Release

Friday, August 12, 2011

General Zapata's Grandson is an Undocumented Alien Working as a Busboy in Texas

Amazing story on the wire today about the heroic Mexican Martyr, General Emiliano Zapata's grandson who has been working for the last 10-years as an undocumented illegal alien busboy in Dallas, Texas.

General Zapta is still revered to this day around the world for the ideals and principles he brought to the Mexican revolution, and for his passionate defense for the land and liberty of dispossessed peasants everywhere.

His cause was joined by millions of poor Mexicans, driven by their common belief that “la tierra es de quien la trabaja” -- the land is for the person who works it. They represented a fundamental challenge to the wealthy and powerful -- and ultimately led to President Venustiano Carranza’s order to assassinate Zapata in 1919.

The son of the revolutionary leader, Diego’s father did not see much of General Zapata during his childhood, as the patriarch was always participating in peasant organizations and campaigns. “I remember the day he took my three brothers and I to register, as an aunt kept insisting, since we did not have birth certificates and were only accepted in schools as observers,” recalled Diego, who is now 46 years old.

His brothers and mother now all live in the U.S. Two of them are also undocumented; Jorge Gabriel, who lives in North Carolina and works as a gardener, and Diego Emiliano, who makes sandwiches at a deli in New York City.

The third brother, Alex Eufemio, is a naturalized U.S. citizen and a chef at a French restaurant in Brooklyn. He was the only family member able to travel to Mexico for their father’s funeral in 2008. Through Eufemio, their mother, Gloria Cordero, acquired permanent U.S. residence and works in a chicken processing plant in North Carolina.

Like his grandfather Emiliano Zapata, Diego was born in Anenecuilco, in the state of Morelos in Mexico, where he lived until he was 13 and his parents separated.

The full story is here.