HEADLINES: Immigration

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An unprecedented increase in the deportation of undocumented immigrants has left an estimated 5,100 children languishing in U.S. foster homes — a troubling figure that could triple in the coming years, according to a November report from a New York-based advocacy group. The “Shattered Families” report from the Applied Research Center, which the activist group says is the first to analyze national data related to the separation of families involved in deportations, offers a look at the human dimension of the highly contentious immigration debate. The Obama administration deported 46,000 parents of children who are U.S. citizens in the first six months of 2011, the ARC report says. Government data shows a total of 397,000 expulsions in fiscal year 2011, with half involving people with criminal records. [Huffington Post]

New data on the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) controversial Secure Communities reveals the program’s devastating impact on immigrants, Latinos and U.S. citizens. Released by the Warren Institute at Berkeley Law School, the report, “Secure Communities by the Numbers,” examines the profile of individuals who have been apprehended through the program and funneled through the system. Many communities are questioning their level of cooperation with the government on certain aspects of this flawed enforcement program. The report finds that Secure Communities:

  • Leads to costly mistakes: Approximately 3,600 U.S. citizens have been arrested by ICE through the program.
  • Affects American families: More than 1/3 of those arrested through the program have a US citizen spouse or child.
  • Disproportionately affects Latinos:  Latinos make up 93% of those arrested through S-Comm—disproportionately more than their 77% of the unauthorized population.
  • Results in a lack of due process and violation of civil rights:  Only 24% of those arrested through Secure Communities who had an immigration hearing were represented by an attorney—far less than the 41% of all immigrants in immigration court who have lawyers. They are more likely to be placed in detention, spend more time in detention and are unlikely to get out on bond.
  • Does not result in relief: Only 2% of those arrested through S-Comm were granted some form of relief from deportation, compared to 14% of all immigrants in immigration court who are granted relief.
[Immigration Impact]

Organizers expect hundreds of green card holders to qualify for a microloan pilot program being launched Tuesday by CASA de Maryland — the state’s largest immigrant advocacy group — in partnership with Citi and other financial institutions and nonprofit groups. Nearly 300,000 people are eligible to apply for citizenship in the District, Virginia and Maryland, according to a CASA report. If the year-long microloan pilot in Maryland is successful, it could be expanded in the region and replicated in other parts of the country, said Sheldon Caplis, south Atlantic regional director for Citi Community Development. Citi is the top investor in the program, contributing about $150,000 of the $400,000 cost. The lack of money and English skills are the two main reasons permanent residents do not seek citizenship, said Gustavo Torres, executive director of CASA. [Washington Post]

House Republicans are split over an immigration bill that is backed by presidential candidate Mitt Romney as the measure is attracting escalating criticism from industry groups and rank-and-file members. The rift over House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith’s (R-Texas) E-Verify bill is jeopardizing its chances of passing the Republican-controlled House. Democrats, by and large, oppose the legislation, which would mandate that employers use the E-Verify system to check their employees’ legal work status. [The Hill]

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