HEADLINES: Immigration

Published On: Donate

button_icon_immigration_headlinesA new report from the Center for American Progress shows that the United States government spent 18 billion dollars on immigration enforcement last year, more than all other federal agencies, including $3.6 billion more than the combined budgets of the FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Drug Enforcement Administration, and the U.S Secret Service.  This enormous budget, which includes ICE and the Border Patrol, has led to the deportation of more than 400,000 immigrants last year. [Washington Post]

Responding to the call of Congregations Organized for a New Connecticut, a group of diverse clergy, the state has announced that it will issue driver’s licenses to DACA recipients.  The group is happy with the change in policy, but will continue pushing for “access to driver’s licenses to all residents, regardless of immigration status.”  Around 2,000 Connecticut residents could benefit from the new policy, but over 50,000 could benefit from a broader ruling.  [NHRegister]

Illinois Rep. Luis Guttierez, a key congressman in the immigration reform debate, will leave his post on the financial services panel to join the House Judiciary Committee, in hopes that he can spur reform in the new Congress.  “All of the road signs are pointed in the right direction,” said Guttierez, “and I felt I must be on the Judiciary Committee during this Congress to help the others on the Committee get immigration reform to the finish line.”  It is expected that immigration reform will be a major issue in the upcoming year. [The Hill]

A little-known jail in Florida, Broward Transitional Center,  has come under fire recently for conducting lengthy detention sentences for immigrants “who have committed minor offenses, such as diving without a license, or no apparent crime at all.”  The conditions and practices of the detention center have come under controversy after last July when “a detainee went on a hunger strike and activists staged protests demanding a halt to the confinement and deportation of foreigners with no serious criminal histories.”  Furthermore, 26 members of Congress wrote a letter to the chief national immigration official demanding a review of the facilities detainees.  ICE has yet to respond to the letter.  GEO group, the company that owns BTC, has a federal contract worth more than $20 million annually. [SunSentinel]

The Illinois General Assembly passed legislation this week that will grant undocumented immigrants access to temporary driver’s licenses.  When the bill becomes law, up to 250,000 undocumented Illinoisans would be eligible for the 3-year renewable license.  Illinois became only the third state to do so, after New Mexico and Washington, though more and more states are debating the issue. [Univision]

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