President Obama’s Immigration Announcement
Changes to Immigration Enforcement
On November 20, 2014, the president announced executive actions that his administration will be taking to help fix our dysfunctional immigration system. Some of these changes affect border, detention, and deportation policies.
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Changes to Secure Communities (S-Comm), to be replaced by PEP
Priority Enforcement Program (PEP)
|S-Comm began as a pilot program in 2008, with nationwide coverage as of January 22, 2013.||The exact timing is not clear, but PEP will replace S-Comm in the near future.|
|Begins with fingerprint information obtained when a person is booked into a state or local jail. The fingerprints are sent to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for checks against immigration databases.||No change (fingerprints taken at booking will continue to be shared with DHS).|
|ICE Request to State or Local Agency|
|If the submitted fingerprints match a record in the DHS databases, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) may issue an immigration detainer. The detainer requests that the state or local law enforcement agency continue todetain (hold) the person for a period not to exceed 48 hours after he/she would otherwise be released.|
|Generally, ICE will replace detainers (requests for detention) with requests for notification — a request that the local agency notify ICE of a pending release during the time the person is in custody under state or local authority. In “special circumstances” (not defined in the memo), ICE may issue a request for detention if the person has a final order of removal or “there is other sufficient probable cause to find that the person is a removable alien.”|
|Enforcement Priorities||ICE was instructed to prioritize enforcement according to a2011 prosecutorial discretion memo. The memo laid out various factors to consider in deciding whether to pursue deportation and suggested ICE focus resources on certain categories of people, including “known gang members” and individuals with a record of “illegal re-entry.”||According to the new November 20, 2014, memo, ICE should seek the transfer only of people who have been convicted of certain offenses or those whom ICE has found present a “demonstrable risk to national security.”|
T & U visas
- The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) will be able to provide certification for three additional qualifying crimes if they arise in the workplace and are related to a violation of a law that the DOL enforces: extortion, forced labor, and fraud in foreign labor contracting.
- The DOL will issue T-visa certifications for survivors of human trafficking if trafficking activity is found in the course of DOL’s workplace investigations.
- The November 20, 2014, memo creates new “priority” levels. DHS will prioritize the detention and deportation of people who are priority levels 1, 2, and 3.
- Priority level 1 includes people apprehended at the border while attempting to unlawfully enter the U.S., people who have felony convictions, and people who “pose a danger to national security.”
- Priority level 2 includes people convicted of a “significant misdemeanor” and people convicted of three or more misdemeanors.
- Priority level 3 includes people with deportation or removal orders issued on or after January 1, 2014.
- Funds will be redirected for border enforcement even though the Border Patrol has massive problems with corruption, excessive use of force, and lack of accountability. DHS will commission three joint task forces that will be responsible for the southern border and West Coast. The task forces will further several goals, which include stopping people attempting to enter the U.S. unlawfully between ports of entry.
What you can do
- Do not take advice about your immigration case from a notary public or an immigration consultant. Contact only a qualified immigration lawyer or an accredited representative for legal advice about your case. If you encounter notario fraud, report it!
- Stay informed and sign up at www.nilc.org/relief to receive updates. We’ll share materials and information about new developments. To receive these updates by email, subscribe to ourImmigration Issues email list (http://tinyurl.com/mxbmyse).
For more information, contact
Shiu-Ming Cheer, 213-674-2833 or [email protected]; or
Kamal Essaheb, 202-621-1030 or [email protected]