deferred action

Forest Grove won't be a sanctuary city for undocumented immigrants

The mayor thought declaring Forest Grove a "sanctuary city" would be a no-brainer.

About a quarter of the Washington County city's 21,000 residents are Latino...

"They play a significant role in the culture of this community," Truax said.

But Monday night, in a tie vote that has divided the community, the council decided it wouldn't be a sanctuary city....

Councilors said they worried the term is too polarizing. President Donald Trump has vowed to withhold federal funding from sanctuary cities...

Sanctuary cities have been around since the 1980s and use a variety of tactics to shield undocumented immigrants. Some prevent local law enforcement officers from asking about the immigration status of residents. Others refuse to hold suspected undocumented immigrants past their scheduled release dates.

After Trump won the presidency in November, dozens of officials across the country voted to declare sanctuary.

Oregon is, by practice, a sanctuary state. A state law prevents local police officers from inquiring about anyone's immigration status if they have not committed a crime. Still, some Oregon cities and counties have passed symbolic resolutions...

Last year, then Mayor-elect Ted Wheeler said Portland will remain a sanctuary city under his tenure. In December, Corvallis declared itself a sanctuary city. And Beaverton's council unanimously passed a sanctuary city resolution...

Washington County activists want others to follow suit. In January, a crowd rallied outside a Hillsboro City Council meeting to demand that city declare sanctuary....

"I think it would have given all of our residents the opportunity to know Forest Grove is an open and accepting community that honors diversity," Truax said.

The mayor drafted a resolution defining "sanctuary city" as one that is safe for residents, regardless of their immigration status, one that ensures undocumented immigrants can call police or fire crews for help without fear of being deported.

About 150 people packed a Jan. 9 public hearing. Six people opposed the resolution. Thirty-four people supported the idea. Most said they wanted the city to use the word "sanctuary" in its resolution.

"When cities declare that they're sanctuaries, those people know for a fact that they are welcome there, that they won't be torn away from their families...

Since then, 53 more people have sent in supportive comments, while two people wrote to oppose the resolution.

"When I see that kind of imbalance between those in favor and those opposed, to me my vote was a no-brainer," Truax said.

Other councilors agonized.

"This is the hardest decision that I have ever had to make," said Ron Thompson, who has spent 15 years on the council.

Thompson said he wants to make the city a better place for minorities. He has worked to add low-income housing for migrant workers. But he also worried approving the resolution might cause residents to revolt and vote down a public safety levy that pays for nearly a quarter of the town's police and fire bureaus.

"I don't want the sanctuary thing to split our community so that we are not working together to make improvements," Thompson said.

Timothy Rippe, a retiree who joined the council in November, said he knows Forest Grove residents have experienced "real fear, real vulnerability" following Trump's election...

Ultimately, Rippe decided he had to vote against declaring sanctuary. The label is too polarizing, he said, and Forest Grove can't risk losing any federal money. Other vulnerable residents depend on the dollars, he said.

According to staff reports -- printed in both English and Spanish -- Forest Grove will receive about $4 million in federal aid this year. The city is expecting $325,000 for a senior center kitchen remodel, $240,000 for sewer work and $3.6 million for road improvements.

Rippe worried especially about the money earmarked for the senior center. Meals on Wheels plans to use the kitchen, he said, to deliver food to the elderly.

"I just don't see how we can morally say one group is more important than another group," Rippe said. "We all have parents and grandparents who are getting older and more vulnerable. To jeopardize their well-being is not taking care of the entire community."

Matthew Vandehey, a new councilor who voted against Truax's proposal, said he worried declaring sanctuary would have given undocumented immigrants "a false sense of security."

"Throughout history, both church and political sanctuary offered immunity to arrest," Vandehey said. "That is how it can be interpreted, but that is not what the city can provide."

If federal immigration agents want to raid Forest Grove, local officials won't be able to stop residents from being deported.

Bridget Cooke, executive director of Adelante Mujeres, said people at her Latino community nonprofit are "saddened but not disheartened.

"We were hoping for a shout out of support, instead we got a whisper," Cooke said. "But we can work with that."

Truax said he is "deeply disappointed" and unsure of what to do next.

"A 3-3 tie is almost worse than a no vote," Truax said. "It really leaves us in a quandary."

Only a few hours after the meeting, Truax said he'd already heard from many angry residents on both sides.

"Make no mistake: When I talk to people who share with me disappointment right now, I say I share their disappointment," Truax said. "We will struggle on. The arc of justice, as Dr. King says, bends. But it takes time."

Sen. Wyden and state representatives pledge to protect undocumented immigrants at Oregon capitol

Around 600 Oregon protesters rallied around the state capitol in Salem on Jan. 14, showing support for elected representatives and organizers vowing to protect undocumented immigrants and their families.

Residents from across Oregon filled the Oregon State Capitol fountain grounds at 2:00 p.m. They cheered to speeches from U.S. Senator Wyden, state and district representatives, along with immigrant’s rights advocates. The leaders expressed defiance to President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign promises, which includes to overturn Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and deport 11 million undocumented immigrants.

“[Trump]’s policies lack empathy, lack compassion. They lack the understanding that undocumented workers and their families are key components of the American economy — and that they are Americans,” U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden said to the crowd, alongside a Spanish translator. Wyden told the Emerald that he will support the Bridge Act, a bipartisan legislation introduced to U.S. Senate last month to allow those receiving DACA to remain in the United States. DACA protects young undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children from deportation, and provides them with temporary work permits.

Jeff Stone, Executive Director of Oregon Association of Nurseries, cited a report his group, along with business and civic leaders, released. According to the report, immigrants make up 10 percent of Oregon’s population and contributed $24.4 billion in taxes and earn 9 percent of state earnings.

“You are important,” Stone said. “In America, every immigrant class has come to our country and made it better. And one of our most enduring symbols — the statue of liberty — embodies the great torch of freedom that welcomes the world to our shores.”

The crowd became especially animated when newly-elected Oregon House of Representatives leader Teresa Alonso Leon was introduced. She became the first immigrant Latina to be elected to Oregon State Legislature.

The daughter of migrant workers, Leon described picking berries during summers to support her family. She eventually became the first person in her family to graduate from college, which she said was due to her hard-work, but not without the “kindness of dedicated educators.” One of Leon’s campaign goals was for increased college affordability.

“I remember years ago standing on these same steps as a young girl for the first time. When I was here then, I didn’t see anyone who looked like me,” Leon said in front of the capitol building. “Now, just days ago, my young niece Emma, was able to watch her tia be sworn in as state representative, and it brought tears to my eyes.” She said that Emma now aspires to be the first Latina president of the United States.

Fatima Preciado was the last speaker. Preciado is a DACA recipient, who was brought to America from Apatzingan, Mexico.

“As a four-year-old crossing the border, I did not understand the complexity, risk and sacrifice my parents were making by bringing me to this country,” Preciado said. “But now that I understand, I am not ashamed.”

Preciado was named 2016 Oregon Youth of the Year by Oregon’s Boys & Girls Clubs in her senior year, and then became the first in her family to attend a four-year university. But that could be taken away from her, if President-elect Trump follows through with his talk of repealing DACA.

“The threat is real and we need our state leaders to protect us from Trump’s dangerous and inhumane policies,” Preciado said.

The crowd then marched around the capitol — where two protestors held a banner with an image of the Statue of Liberty. It read “No Human Being is Illegal.”

Around 600 people from across Oregon rallied at the Oregon State Capitol, before marching around it. (Andrew Field / Emerald)

Oregon Illegal Immigrants to Protest Ahead of Trump Inauguration

Hundreds of illegal immigrants living in Oregon are expected to protest at the State Capitol against expected tighter immigration enforcement under President-Elect Donald Trump, just days before his Inaugural Address.

Over 500 Oregon residents and illegal immigrants are expected to attend the event, according to the Portland Tribune. U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) will also be in attendance at the rally.

The open borders organization One Oregon asked residents to “denounce Trump’s agenda of hate and exclusion” by joining the protest.

“We must unite to stop Trump’s first 100 days of hate,” One Oregon officials wrote in a news release. “We call on Oregonians, community organizations, and our local elected leaders to join us.”

The group objects to Trump’s immigration plans, which includes building a border wall along the U.S.-Mexico southern border, reducing legal immigration levels, and deporting criminal illegal immigrants.

During a recent news conference, Trump said the building of the border wall would “start immediately” after he takes office on January 20, Breitbart News reported.

I could wait about a year and a half until we finish our negotiations with Mexico, which will start immediately after we get into office,” Trump said during his recent news conference. “But I don’t want to wait. Mike Pence is leading an effort to get final approvals through various agencies and through Congress for the wall to begin.”

“I don’t feel like waiting a year or year and a half,” Trump continued. “We’re going to start building,”

In California, one of Oregon’s neighboring states, open border allies like Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom have already concocted plans that attempt to halt the border wall, though the plans seem unlikely to change anything, Breitbart Texas reported.

“There are all kinds of obstructions as it relates to just getting zoning approval and getting building permits,” Newsom said of trying to stop the border wall while being interviewed on a local podcast. “All those things could be made very, very challenging for the administration.”

John Binder is a contributor for Breitbart Texas. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.

Salem Immigrant Rights Rally to denounce Trump agenda

Multiple nonprofits, including unions and immigrants rights groups, are traveling to Salem on Jan. 14 to participate in the United for Immigrants Rights Rally. Set a week prior to the Jan. 20 presidential inauguration...

Phil Carrasco with Grupo Latino de Accíon Directa is orchestrating a trip from Eugene to Salem...

“We do believe that a lot of these policies being proposed are really based in hate and funded by hate groups and xenophobic groups.” And, he says, they also believe that the right to be in this country and walk freely is an exclusive privilege.

Carrasco says there’s been a call to repeal the state’s sanctuary status, which would allow the federal government to use state resources to enforce immigration policy. He says the effort could possibly show up as a ballot measure.

This is not the first time a state law that affects immigrants would be addressed in the form of a ballot measure. In 2014, Measure 88 failed to garner enough votes to grant driver cards to all Oregon residents, though the Oregon Legislature passed Senate Bill 833, which permitted Oregonians to apply for driver cards, regardless of their immigration status.

Ultimately, SB 833 never went into effect.

Many people who do not have legal status in the U.S. pay taxes, funding roads, schools and other state resources, Carrasco says. “It’s important that it’s not just Latino-centric organizations participating,” he says.

Organizations representing health care, working families and labor unions are among the participants. Carrasco says these groups acknowledge that “an injury to one is an injury to all.”

Around 500 people are expected to attend, with 2,000 interested in the Facebook event. Carrasco invites anyone interested in attending and carpooling to contact him.

He adds that the event is “part of a national day of action to defend immigrant rights and to denounce Trump’s agenda of hate and exclusion in our state.”

The United for Immigrant Rights Rally is 11:30 am Saturday, Jan. 14, at the Capitol building in Salem. GLAD is on Facebook at latinocommunityactiongroup. And for carpool information contact Phil Carrasco at 541-337-6391.

Hundreds expected at rally against Trump's immigration proposals

SALEM — A pro-immigrant rally set for Saturday, Jan. 14, at the Oregon Capitol could draw several hundred demonstrators opposed to President-elect Donald Trump's positions on immigration.

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader and several state lawmakers are scheduled to participate in the rally from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the steps of the Capitol.

As of Wednesday, Jan. 11, more than 500 people had indicated they plan to attend and 2,000 had expressed interest on the event's Facebook page.

The rally is one of 50 "National Day of Action Events Against Trump Policies," according to a news release by the One Oregon coalition.

Trump has said that he will seek to deport millions of undocumented immigrants from the country, end executive orders by President Obama that shield certain illegal immigrants from deportation, and start a Muslim registry.

The coalition is "deeply concerned about the impact this will have on immigrant and refugee communities, who are integral to Oregon's economy and future," said Diane Goodwin, a spokeswoman for Basic Rights Oregon, a member of One Oregon.

One of Obama's executive orders, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, protects from deportation undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children. Young people who are eligible must apply for the program every two years, receive a work permit and may attend college.

"There are more than 700,000 individuals nationally and about 15,000 in Oregon whose lives are at stake, whose ability to continue their education and their career is at stake based on what President-elect Trump does," said Andrea Williams, executive director of Causa. "A lot of times, they have never been to their home country, don't know the language or have not been there for a very long time."

State lawmakers who have given their RSVP for Saturday's rally include Portland Democrats Rep. Alyssa Keny-Guyer, Sen. Michael Dembrow, Rep. Diego Hernandez, and Rep. Rob Nosse. Woodburn Democrat Rep. Teresa Alonso Leon, who became a U.S. citizen just five years ago, also plans to attend.

The One Oregon coalition of 60 organizations opposes anti-immigrant policies. Immigrant rights organizations Causa, APANO and Unite Oregon lead the group.

The coalition plans to support state legislation in 2017 aimed at reducing racial profiling during police stops, expanding Medicaid to more children and increasing affordable housing funding.

There are no known counter protests to the event. Oregonians For Immigration Reform, which frequently clashes with Causa on policy proposals, had no plans for a counter demonstration Saturday, said OFIR President Cynthia Kendoll. OFIR has scheduled a meeting the same day as the demonstration to discuss the results of the election and 2017 legislation.

Trump's immigration proposals have begun to address many of the frustrations some Americans have had with immigration policy and practices, Kendoll said.

"I think the Trump administration has nailed it when he said we need to reassess what we are doing and why and how is it benefiting the United States," Kendoll said.

She said she supports Trump's plan to end the DACA program.

"Those parents made the choice for their children to pick them up and bring them to this country," Kendoll said. "I didn't make that choice for them."

OFIR attempted to advance ballot initiatives last year that would have made English the official language of Oregon, required businesses to use a federal program to verify citizenship of employees and required proof of citizenship to vote. The initiatives ultimately were tied up in court after immigrant rights organizations and the ACLU challenged the ballot titles.

OFIR plans to offer at least four pieces of legislation next session, though Kendoll declined to disclose specifics Wednesday, Jan. 11. None are expected to gain momentum in the Democratic-controlled Legislature.

Also published in the East Oregonian

OFIR meeting - this Saturday, Jan. 14 at 2:00pm

Alert date: 
2017-01-08
Alert body: 

Alot has happened since OFIR's last meeting.  We have reason to be optimistic for what the future may hold regarding enforcement of our immigration laws.

Plan to attend OFIR"s meeting this Saturday, January 14 at from 2 - 4pm. 

We will talk about the 2016 election results and how they will impact us nationally and here in Oregon.

The Oregon Legislature will open their 2017 session next month.  We'll talk about the new legislation OFIR is proposing and also the likely oppositions  legislation we will be tracking.

OFIR President, Cynthia Kendoll will share photos and experiences about her week long exploration of the northeast US / Canadian border with Center for Immigration Studies.

We have a packed agenda!  Invite a friend and learn what you can do to get involved in 2017!

Attendance is free and there is plenty of free parking!


 

Rep. Steve King holds hard line against Obama DREAMers, despite Trump’s concession

The fate of the recipients of Obama’s “Deferred Action” program, referred to as DREAMers, is still up in the air as Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King made it very clear that he is opposed to any effort to keep the program in place.

In a CNN interview Thursday, King tried to explain how some of the illegal aliens granted “deferred status” by Obama could be dangerous criminals, much to the shock of the stunned CNN host.

The question of what should be done with Obama’s DREAMers arose after Trump seemed to signal that he might be open to extending their “deferral” status in an interview posted Wednesday. King rightly interjected in the interview that many of these DREAMers are no longer children but are adults after having been in the United States illegally for decades. King seemed to try to blame children for their parents bringing them illegally into the United States before deciding on blaming the parents instead.

On the same side of the aisle but on the opposite side of the issue stands South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who is preparing a bill to keep Obama’s DACA program in place and settle the issue. Trump himself has vacillated wildly between saying he would deport all illegal aliens beginning on the first day of his presidency and the far more moderate position of deporting “criminal” illegal aliens and possibly granting a form of amnesty after securing the border.

 

Obama halts amnesty push in court, bows to incoming Trump administration

The administration has already taken the first step to accommodate President-elect Trump’s positions...

Judge Hanen had halted Mr. Obama’s expanded amnesty in February 2015.....ruling that the administration broke administrative law.   An appeals court twice upheld his injunction, as did the Supreme Court, in a 4-4 deadlock decision this summer....

“Given the change in Administration, the parties jointly submit that a brief stay of any further litigation in this Court ...

Judge Hanen would still have to consent to staying the proceedings.

The amnesty would apply to more than 4 million illegal immigrants who were either brought to the U.S. as children, or who were parents of American citizens or legal immigrants....

The amnesty was declared not be executive order, but rather by a series of memos from the Homeland Security secretary.

Judge Hanen ruled the amnesty violated the Administrative Procedure Act ...  The appeals court went further, ruling Mr. Obama broke immigration law, which never envisioned so broad a use of “deferred action” powers.

Read the full article.

MPI Estimates 93% of DACA Enrollees Eligible for Renewal Have Re-Applied; New Brief Offers Latest U.S., State & County Estimates

WASHINGTON - Ninety-three percent of the unauthorized immigrants participating in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program who are eligible to apply for renewal have done so, the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) reports in a new issue brief that examines the deferred action program as its fourth anniversary nears.

Since its launch on August 15, 2012, the DACA program has provided temporary relief from deportation and eligibility for work authorization to more than 728,000 young unauthorized immigrants, representing around half-if not more-of the he population MPI estimates is eligible to participate.

Drawing upon a unique methodology that assigns legal status to the foreign born in U.S. Census Bureau population surveys and permits analysis of key sociodemographic characteristics, DACA at Four: Participation in the Deferred Action Program and Impacts on Recipients offers the latest MPI estimates of populations potentially eligible for DACA; presents trends in application rates nationwide and by state, as well as by top countries of origin; and examines the impacts that DACA has had on its recipients.

Using the most current, 2014 Census Bureau American Community Survey (ACS) data and aging forward those who since have reached the minimum age required to apply for DACA, MPI estimates that 1.3 million young adults ages 15 and older were immediately eligible for DACA as of 2016. This number includes about 250,000 youth who have aged into eligibility since the program’s launch. Comparing these estimates against application data from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), MPI estimates that 63 percent of the immediately eligible population (those meeting all the criteria that could be modeled in the data) had applied for DACA as of March 31.

MPI estimates that an additional 398,000 unauthorized youth meet all DACA criteria except for high school completion or school enrollment. These youth can qualify if they enroll in an adult education program (a development that cannot be modeled using Census data). Adding that group to the 1.3 million immediately eligible raises the potentially eligible population to 1.7 million- and as a result lowers the initial application rate to 48 percent. MPI estimates that 228,000 children ages 7 - 14 could become eligible for DACA in the future.

The vast majority of DACA recipients are applying for renewal. MPI estimates 581,000 of the 728,000 recipients of an initial two-year DACA grant have been in the program long enough to apply for renewal, with 539,000 of them doing so to date-a 93 percent renewal rate.

“At its four-year mark, DACA is a large-scale program that has succeeded in attracting broad participation and providing life-altering benefits to many unauthorized youth-as evidenced by the fact that 93 percent of those eligible to apply for renewal have done so,” said brief co-author Faye Hipsman, an MPI policy analyst.

“Still, almost half a million DACA-eligible individuals had not applied as of March 31, 2016, and several hundred thousand more could qualify if they enroll in an adult education program, suggesting that further outreach by service providers could broaden DACA’s reach,” said Randy Capps, who is director of research for U.S. programs.

Among the other findings:

  • The DACA-eligible are concentrated in a small number of states, with California, Texas, New York, Florida and Illinois accounting for 59 percent of the 1.7 million who are currently potentially eligible to apply.
  • Unauthorized youth from Mexico and Central America, along with Peru, have the highest application rates by country of origin. Mexicans, for example, account for 63 percent of the immediately eligible population but 78 percent of applications as of March. Application rates are generally very low for youth born in Asia, with China not even among the top 25 countries for which USCIS reported application data.
  • The states with the highest application rates, exceeding 75 percent for the immediately eligible-Utah, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, Oregon and Texas-are all Western states with a predominantly Mexican-born DACA-eligible population. By contrast states with the lowest application rates (below 50 percent) for the immediately eligible- Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Virginia, Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey and Florida-have more diverse unauthorized populations, with Mexicans and Central Americans in the minority.

Read the brief here.

For updated DACA data at U.S., state and county levels, as well as application rates by top countries of origin, check out these updated MPI DACA tools:

The Miscarriage of Justice Department

The constitutional challenge to President Obama’s executive action on immigration keeps getting more remarkable. A federal judge has now exposed how the Justice Department systematically deceived lower courts about the Administration’s conduct, and he has imposed unprecedented legal measures to attempt to sterilize this ethics rot.

On Thursday District Judge Andrew Hanen of Texas found that Obama Administration lawyers committed misconduct that he called “intentional, serious and material.” In 2015 he issued an injunction—now in front of the Supreme Court—blocking Mr. Obama’s 2014 order that rewrote immigration law to award legal status and federal and state benefits to nearly five million aliens.

When 26 states sued to block the order in December 2014, Justice repeatedly assured Judge Hanen that the Department of Homeland Security would not start processing applications until February 2015 at the earliest. Two weeks after the injunction came down, in March, Justice was forced to admit that DHS had already granted or renewed more than 100,000 permits.

Justice has also conceded in legal filings that all its lawyers knew all along that the DHS program was underway, despite what they said in briefs and hearings. One DOJ lawyer told Judge Hanen that “I really would not expect anything between now and the date of the hearing.” As the judge notes, “How the government can categorize the granting of over 100,000 applications as not being ‘anything’ is beyond comprehension.”

Justice’s only explanation is that its lawyers either “lost focus on the fact” or “the fact receded in memory or awareness”—the fact here being realities that the DOJ was required to disclose to the court. The states weren’t able to make certain arguments or seek certain legal remedies because the program supposedly hadn’t been implemented, leaving them in a weaker legal position.

More to the point, an attorney’s first and most basic judicial obligation is to tell the truth. Judge Hanen concludes that the misrepresentations “were made in bad faith” and “it is hard to imagine a more serious, more calculated plan of unethical conduct.” Many a lawyer has been disbarred for less.

As a result, Judge Hanen ordered that any Washington-based Justice lawyer who “appears or seeks to appear” in any state or federal court in the 26 states must first attend a remedial ethics seminar on “candor to the court.” He also ordered Attorney General Loretta Lynch to prepare a “comprehensive plan” to prevent such falsification. Such extraordinary judicial oversight is usually reserved for companies with a pattern of corruption or racially biased police departments. Justice is sure to appeal, and whether Judge Hanen has the jurisdiction to impose his plan is uncharted legal territory.

Yet the misconduct he has unmasked should trouble Americans of all political persuasions. Prosecutors often abuse their powers in run-of-the-mill cases. But this is a constitutional challenge with major consequences for the separation of powers, and the deceit must have required the participation and coordination of dozens of political appointees and career lawyers. That suggests a serious institutional failure, not mere rogue actors.

Main Justice may have figured that the state challenge would be tossed for lack of standing, and thus its dissembling wouldn’t matter. This would mean that President Obama’s refusal to recognize the legal limits of his executive power has spread a culture of lawlessness among his lawyers too.

AG Lynch could salvage the credibility of the Justice Department by explaining how this breakdown happened. Whether you worry about how Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump would wield government powers, everyone has an interest in an honest accounting of the facts that were denied to Judge Hanen.

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