HEADLINES: Immigration

Published On: Donate

button_icon_immigration_headlinesFollowing the example of Arizona, Iowa became the latest state to deny driver’s licenses to DACA recipients, under orders from the state’s Department of Transportation. Iowa DOT Director Paul Trombino said that Iowa law dictates that “a driver’s license or nonoperator ID card shall only be issued to a foreign national authorized to be present in the United States.  Therefore, the Iowa DOT does not have the legal authority” to grant DACA recipients licenses.  The announcement was made in response to an inquiry by the American Civil Liberties Union in Iowa. The ACLU and others have already filed lawsuits in Michigan and Arizona challenging state policies that deny driver’s licenses to DACA recipients. [DesMoinesRegister]

ICE announced last week that the Obama administration has surpassed its record number of deportations from 2011.  The administration has presided over 409,849 deportations in the 2012 fiscal year, though 55 percent of deportees were convicted of felonies or misdemeanors.  The agency also announced the “discontinuation of some agreements under the 287(g) program.  ICE director John Morton claimed the “2012 removals indicate that we continue to make strides in focusing resources on criminal and priority aliens.”  Ali Noorani of the National Immigration Forum countered this, however, saying, “In reality, these numbers reflect the urgency with which our government needs to create a better immigration process. Instead of spending our limited resources on deportations, we need laws that strengthen our families, our communities, and our economy.” [Huffpost]

Under a new Department of Homeland Security policy, undocumented “immigrants who can demonstrate that time apart from an American spouse, child or parent would create ‘extreme hardship’ can apply for a visa without leaving the United States.”  This move comes in the wake of a Colorlines report last month that over 200,000 parents of U.S. citizen children were deported over the past 27 months.  The new policy will greatly reduce the amount of time families will be separated, but immigration advocates are still calling for further reform. [Latimes]

The ever controversial 297(g) program will remain in place in Prince William County of Virginia and several other counties, though it will be largely discontinued nationwide.  The program, “which allows local police officers to investigate and detain undocumented immigrants serving jail time and hand them over to federal authorities, was set to expire at the end of Monday.”  Critics of the program claim that it spreads fear and encourages racial profiling. [Washpost]

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