deferred action

Feds. Visiting Illegals’ Homes To Seize Erroneously Issued Amnesty Docs

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officials will begin visiting Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) beneficiaries who received the illegal three-year work permits and have not yet returned them.

“USCIS officials will soon begin to visit the listed address of certain individuals who have not yet returned an invalid three-year employment authorization document (EAD) for the purpose of retrieving these EADs,” the agency explained in a statement. “USCIS has already attempted, or is in the process of attempting, to notify all recipients by mail and phone that the three-year EADs are no longer valid and must be immediately returned.”

According to the agency, officials will not be questioning people at the addresses they visit but rather retrieving the three-year work authorizations.

“Individuals who received these three-year EADs are not being penalized for requesting DACA, they are merely being reissued the correct two-year cards,” the agency added.

USCIS warns that those who do not return their three-year permits will find their DACA status terminated.

Judge Andrew Hanen — the judge presiding over 26 states’ legal challenge of executive amnesty, who issued the initial injunction — has said he will order top Obama immigration officials into court to explain the injunction violations if the agency has not recouped all the erroneously issued three-year work permits to the court’s satisfaction by July 31.

Hanen issued the injunction, halting Obama’s executive amnesty programs — expanded DACA and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) — in February. Prior to his injunction and after the Obama administration was issuing three-year work permits to DACA recipients, a part of the expanded executive amnesty DACA program.

...both sides have acknowledged that those post-injunction permits are illegal and must be recouped.

USCIS says about 2,100 three-year permits were issued post-injunction and another 500 were issued before the injunction but due to mail and address issues were mailed again after the injunction. All 2,600 are considered invalid. USCIS notes that the move does not apply to those three-year permits issued in advance of the injunction.

“This action does not apply to the approximately 108,000 three-year EADs that were approved and mailed by USCIS on or before the February 16, 2015, injunction date and that have never been returned or reissued by USCIS,” reads a USCIS fact sheet.

According to amnesty groups briefed on the matter, federal officials are slated to begin home visits Thursday in cities like Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas and Houston. The groups say that there are about 1,000 outstanding three-year permits. Read more about Feds. Visiting Illegals’ Homes To Seize Erroneously Issued Amnesty Docs

Lawmakers clear grants for undocumented students

SALEM — Oregon lawmakers have cleared the way for state grants for Oregon university students who were brought to the United States as children but lack immigration papers.

Gov. Kate Brown will receive Senate Bill 932 after the Senate voted 17-12 on Friday for the final version. The House approved it, 34-25, on the previous day.

With the exception of one Democrat in the Senate, the votes were along party lines ...

The House vote followed a verbal dust-up between a supporter and opponents of the bill.

According to state estimates, a maximum of 1,000 such students would be eligible for Oregon Opportunity Grants — and that 350 of them were likely to obtain them.

Rep. Joe Gallegos, D-Hillsboro, said about 75 students are enrolled at state universities under the terms of 2013 legislation allowing them to qualify for in-state tuition rates if they meet specified requirements....

The two-year budget for Oregon Opportunity Grants will be increased by 24 percent, to $141 million. According to estimates, 84,000 students will receive average grants of $1,650.

But a couple of the five Republicans who voted for the 2013 in-state tuition law said they believed it would not extend to eligibility for state financial assistance.

“We are going to do now what we said was not going to happen,” said Rep. Julie Parrish, R-West Linn.

The bill received no Republican votes, and Sen. Betsy Johnson of Scappoose was the only Democrat in opposition...

The House debate was interrupted when Rep. Chris Gorsek, D-Troutdale, criticized the opposition voiced by some of his colleagues as he spoke in favor of the bill. His remarks triggered a response by Rep. Sal Esquivel, R-Medford, who had just spoken against the bill.

A House rule says: “In speaking, the member must confine discussion to the question under debate, avoid personalities and not impugn the motives of another member's vote or argument.”

House Speaker Tina Kotek, D-Portland, spoke after a timeout lasting several minutes, during which members of both parties attempted to calm things.

“I want to point out that it is really important not to impugn or infer someone’s motives here on this floor,” Kotek said. “I want to say that the member from East Multnomah County was inappropriate in what he was saying.”

Gorsek then rose and said: “I understand that I did something extremely inappropriate“ and I am extremely embarrassed by that.”
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Rep. Mo Brooks amendment passes; keeps DREAMers out of military

U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks succeeded Thursday in his quest to keep certain immigrants from serving in the military.

His amendment to strike language from the defense spending bill that would clear the way for  individuals who have been granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to serve in the military.

Brooks vowed to fight the amendment to the spending bill once it passed out of the House Armed Services Committee last month.

The Brooks amendment to strike the language added by U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego passed the full House on a 221-202 vote.

Brooks opposed the Gallego amendment because the Alabama Congressman said it would take military jobs from Americans at a time when the armed services are in a downsizing mode.

Three chairs of House committees – including U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry of the Armed Services Committee – spoke on the House floor in favor of Brooks' amendment.

"Today is a great victory for Americans and lawful immigrants who wish to serve America in our Armed Forces," Brooks said in a statement following the vote. "I asked my colleagues to consider how much American families are struggling in an anemic job and wage market and how much the Gallego amendment makes job and income prospects for Americans even worse.

"It makes no sense to me that, at the same time the Army is downsizing and issuing pink slips to American soldiers serving in Afghanistan, there are Congressmen who seek to help illegal aliens deprive American citizens and lawful immigrants of military service opportunities."

Brooks, an immigration hardliner, has emerged in recent weeks as a House leader against the amendment. In a final lobbying effort Thursday, Brooks sent letters to his 434 colleagues in the House seeking their support.

"I'm pleased the House chose to stand up for American citizens and protect the Constitutional duty of Congress to set immigration law," Brooks said. Today's vote was the fourth rejection of the President's unconstitutional DACA program, with Republicans overwhelming standing up for the will of the American people and the citizens and lawful immigrants who want to serve our country."
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Report: Obama Administration Admits Breaking Executive Amnesty Injunction

The Obama administration violated U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen’s injunction halting President Obama’s executive amnesty programs, Justice Department lawyers have admitted to the court, according to the Washington Times.

The Times reports that in a late night filing Thursday, Justice Department lawyers revealed that the Department of Homeland Security had issued some 2,000 three-year work permits...

...was in violation of Hanen’s February 16 injunction preventing the executive amnesty programs from going forward.

This occurred despite repeated statements from administration officials that they were abiding by the injunction.

“The government sincerely regrets these circumstances...

According to the Times, DHS Sec. Jeh Johnson has requested the DHS inspector general look into the snafu...

The admission comes on the heels of an earlier administration misstep, again dealing with the issuance of three-year DACA work permits.

As previously reported, DHS jumped the gun on those issuances shortly after Obama’s November 20 announcement issuing more than 100,000 of three-year permits before the injunction. The matter appeared to raise Hanen’s ire as he accused the administration lawyers of misleading him and trafficking in “half truths.”

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Immigration action back in limelight

A U.S. Court of Appeals hears arguments, April 17, on an injunction that stopped Obama's executive order to give work status to illegal aliens but the issue could take longer if it goes to the Supreme Court.

PASCO, Wash. — It may be months yet before millions of people living in the U.S. illegally can sign up for temporary legal work status under the president’s controversial executive action, a Pasco immigration attorney says.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in New Orleans, hears arguments April 17 on an injunction preventing the Obama administration from proceeding with deportation deferrals and temporary legal work status for people in the U.S. illegally.

Having just dismissed a similar case April 9, the court is likely to overturn the injunction and let the programs proceed while taking up the merits of the case, says attorney Tom Roach.

But regardless of which way the court goes on the injunction, the losing party may appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court and that could take several more months to hear, Roach said.

He estimates there are 90,000 to 100,000 people in Central Washington and northeastern Oregon, thousands more in Idaho and many thousands more in California who are eligible for the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) or an expanded 2014 version of the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, called DACA 2.0. Many of them are farmworkers.

The programs are executive actions giving temporary legal work status to illegals who have lived in the U.S. at least five years, not been convicted of disqualifying crimes and meet some other conditions.

Roach said he helped about 350 people prepare to sign up for DAPA before the program was put on hold Feb. 16 by an injunction by a U.S. District Court judge in Texas.

Roach said he’s handled 335 cases under the 2012 DACA which he’s been told is more than any other immigration attorney in the state.

How many people sign up for DAPA or DACA 2.0, if the programs are eventually upheld, is a good question, he said.

Some people may be eager for legal status and benefits that come with it while others may figure they’ve done well enough in the shadows for years and are reluctant to risk exposure since deferrals are only good for three years, he said.

Benefits include a Social Security card good only with a work permit and, in some states, drivers licenses.

The government estimates 1.2 million people were eligible under the 2012 DACA program but only 600,000 signed up, Roach said.

An estimated 4 million to 5 million people are eligible for DAPA nationwide. “It wouldn’t surprise me if only half of them sign up,” he said.

Shortly after the November 2014 elections, President Obama issued an executive action for DAPA and DACA 2.0. The administration planned to implement the programs this spring. Many Republicans said the action was unconstitutional, that Obama was writing law.

On Feb. 16, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen, in Texas, ruled in favor of 26 states that sued to overturn the executive order and issued an injunction stopping the programs on grounds that they were implemented without following an administrative procedures act requiring a public comment period.

On April 7, Hanen denied an administration request to lift his injunction.

The government argues the executive order is prosecutorial discretion that does not require the administrative procedures act be followed, Roach said.

Prior administrations have deferred deportation of people from China, Nicaragua, Cuba and other places, just not on the same scale, he said.

On April 9, the 5th Circuit Court dismissed a lawsuit challenging the 2012 DACA, saying the state of Mississippi lacked standing to sue because it did not prove it was injured by the program.

The 26 states suing over DAPA and DACA 2.0 “allege irreparable harm, that the programs will cost them lots of money and encourage more illegal immigration,” Roach said. Read more about Immigration action back in limelight

Judge Keeps Injunction on Obama’s Immigration Plan

AUSTIN, Texas—A Texas federal judge late Tuesday night declined to lift his injunction blocking the Obama administration’s immigration action to defer deportations for more than four million people in the country illegally.

U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen declined a request by the administration to lift his Feb. 16 ruling temporarily blocking the administration from proceeding with the immigration plans, announced by President Barack Obama in November.

Texas and officials from 25 other largely Republican states sued to stop Mr. Obama’s action, arguing that it was an unconstitutional overreach of presidential power.

The Justice Department has already appealed the matter to the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which is set to hear oral arguments in the case on April 17...

Judge Hanen also issued a separate ruling Tuesday night allowing the states to conduct discovery into their separate claim that the administration, beginning late last year, improperly implemented part of its immigration program, even though it had allegedly represented to Judge Hanen that it wouldn’t do so until February.

Texas made the complaint after the federal government revealed in a court filing that it had granted some immigrants deferred deportation under the DACA program for three years, the new terms called for in the November executive action, rather than the prior two-year deferral...

Judge Hanen found that the administration has made multiple “misleading” statements about the implementation of its immigration program. He ordered the administration to produce a range of documents and information by April 21 related to its representations to the court about the rollout of the program.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who is leading the suit by the states, said in a statement that Judge Hanen’s ruling affirms that “once put into effect, President Obama’s executive amnesty program will be virtually impossible to reverse.” He added: “Any premature implementation could have serious consequences, inflicting irreparable harm on our state.”
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Centrist House Dems Don’t Sign Brief in Support of Obama Exec Amnesty

On Monday, 12 centrist House Democrats–including an Oregon Democrat who declared that amnesty for illegal immigrants is the new civil rights movement and will determine who controls the country for the next 30 years–refused to sign an amicus brief in support of President Barack Obama’s executive amnesty, revealing that voters in their districts may not be as supportive of granting amnesty to illegal immigrants as national Democrats.

According to The Hill, 181 House Democrats signed the brief, which argues that “Congress has vested the Secretary of Homeland Security with broad discretion to determine how best to implement the immigration laws, including the particular decisions embodied in the Deferred Action Memorandum.”

But 12 Democrats, including Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR), did not. Schrader’s refusal to do so is indeed curious given that he declared at a pro-amnesty rally in February that the amnesty movement is the new civil rights movement and “probably the biggest issue of the 21st century.”

“It will decide who is in charge of this country for the next 20 or 30 years,” he said.

The Hill noted that the 12 Democrats who did not sign the brief “are mostly centrists and members who will face tough reelection races next year.” They include: Reps. Brad Ashford (NE), Jim Cooper (TN), Henry Cuellar (TX), Gwen Graham (FL), Rick Larsen (WA), Dan Lipinski (IL), Stephen Lynch (MA), Collin Peterson (MN), Schrader (OR), Kyrsten Sinema (AZ), Peter Visclosky (IN), and Tim Walz (MN).

The Obama administration has appealed a federal judge’s injunction that temporarily halted its executive amnesty program. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has decided to hear oral arguments in the case later this month...

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Controversial Oregon bill would give state college aid to illegal immigrants

SALEM — Oregon lawmakers are considering expanding a controversial 2013 law dubbed “tuition equity,” which allowed certain illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition rates at Oregon’s seven public universities.

This year, Senate Bill 932 would let those students — who must be Oregon high school graduates — receive state-funded need-based college scholarships through the Oregon Opportunity Grant program. The scholarships are up to $2,000 per student per year.

Proponents of the bill argue that those eligible, who’ve often spent much of their life in this country, face an unfair disadvantage in paying for college, because they aren’t eligible for subsidized federal student loans or most public scholarship programs.

“The lack of access to any kind of financial aid is a real barrier for these students,” said Sen. Michael Dembrow, a Portland Democrat who spearheaded the initial “tuition equity” policy and is a chief sponsor on SB 932.

“The Opportunity Grant program was designed for precisely this type of student: low-income, first-generation college attendee,” he said. “These students are Oregonians like everyone else.”

But the proposal comes at a tricky time for majority Democrats. Last November, Oregon voters thrashed, by a 2-to-1 ratio, a proposal to grant short-term driving licenses to illegal immigrants. Lawmakers had passed that measure in 2013 with bipartisan support.

Advocates at Oregonians for Immigration Reform, a group that fought that measure, have been caught off guard by SB 932.

“When legislators passed (the “tuition equity” bill) they said repeatedly that it wouldn’t allow these students to receive government financial aid,” said Jim Ludwick, a spokesman for the group. “Two years later, we’re going right back on it.”

The new proposal is also controversial because the Oregon Opportunity Grant program, the state’s primary college aid spending, has been woefully underfunded recently. Only around 20 percent of eligible students received the grants this year, essentially on a “first-come-first-served” basis.

To address that, lawmakers are proposing to bolster state funding for the grant program by around $30 million in the next two-year budget cycle, about a 25 percent increase.

But regardless, Ludwick said, passage of SB 932 would mean that “citizens will be competing against illegal aliens for these scholarships.”

“When you have such a resounding vote (on the driving license measure), with 35 out of 36 counties opposing it, it means that the vast majority of citizens don’t want special benefits for illegal immigrants,” he said. “I don’t think you could see it any other way.”

Dembrow countered that SB 932 and the drivers’ card vote as two “separate issues.”

“People understand who these students are,” he said. “They’ve grown up here, they’ve gone to our high schools ... Students from out-of-state can live in Oregon for one year and be eligible (for an opportunity grant). These students aren’t.”

The Oregon Opportunity Grant program doled out $58 million this school year to 35,000 students at eligible private and public Oregon community college and universities. Students’ families must have a gross income under $70,000 annually to be eligible. Students received a maximum of $2,000 this year.

Maria Saldana, a high school senior from Salem who has received federal deferred immigration status, was one of several students who urged lawmakers to approve SB 932 at a public hearing last month.

“I panicked when I realized that all my plans of paying for college with need-based financial aid, scholarships and even student loans would automatically be eliminated” because of her status, she said. “It is stressful knowing that I do not qualify for a lot of the help that my peers do.”
The number of students who have received in-state tuition rates in Oregon because the initial “tuition equity” bill, is “overwhelmingly small,” said Rep. Jessica Vega-Pederson, a Portland Democrat, at the hearing.

Thirty-two students used the program in the 2013-14 school year. An estimated 76 students used it in the 2014-15 fall term. Legislative analysts expect the number to grow.

Vega-Pederson also noted that six other states, including Washington State and California, allow illegal-immigrant “tuition equity” students to access state financial aid.

SB 932 also would make a couple of minor changes to the 2013 “tuition equity” law. It would remove the requirement that an illegal-immigrant student would have to start college within three years of high school graduation be eligible for in-state tuition. A requirement that they complete a college degree in five years would also be eliminated.

The bill appears to have some traction.

The Senate Education and Workforce Development Committee approved it on a party-line vote this week, sending it to the Legislature’s budget committee.

The bill also has one powerful sponsor: Senate President Peter Courtney, a Salem Democrat. Courtney was unavailable to comment on the bill this week.

Sen. Tim Knopp, a Bend Republican who voted “no” on SB 932 in committee, said he believes that the federal government needs “to act on immigration and secure our border.”

“Having states provide additional benefits to undocumented immigrants sends the wrong message to others that might wish to come to the U.S.,” he said.

“This bill has been portrayed as not being very costly,” Knopp added. “But if it costs a citizen the opportunity to receive their grant, that should be concerning to everyone.”

If SB 932 passed in its current form, the measure couldn’t be referred to voters, like the drivers’ license measure was. That’s because lawmakers have included an “emergency clause” in the bill, which means it would go into effect immediately on passage. Without an emergency clause, opponents would have the normal 90 days to collect the necessary signatures to refer the policy to voters at the next general election.

Dembrow said the emergency clause was included in SB 932 because he wants “tuition equity” students to be able to access opportunity grants in the coming school year.

But Ludwick said the bill clearly doesn’t address an actual emergency. The clause is being used to block a referral to voters, he said, as lawmakers often do with controversial bills.

“It’s clear that the framers of our Constitution wanted citizens to have a right to refer laws” to a public vote, he said. “The Legislature wants to deny citizens that right to the referral process.”
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15 immigrants protected from deportation arrested in sweep

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal agents in a sweep targeting the most dangerous criminal immigrants arrested 15 people who have been allowed to remain in the U.S. under President Barack Obama's executive action intended to protect children who came to the U.S. years ago with their parents, The Associated Press has learned.

Fourteen of the 15 had been convicted of a crime...

One of the eligibility requirements for the program is that immigrants not have a criminal history...

...eligibility is reserved for ambitious, young immigrants enrolled in school or who graduated and who would benefit American society...

Under the program, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, more than 675,000 young immigrants since August 2012 have been granted a work permit and reprieve from deportation.

"With few fraud detection measures and effective background checks in place, it's no surprise that ICE arrested over a dozen DACA recipients last week, most of whom had already been convicted of a crime," said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte. "I and other members of the House Judiciary Committee have expressed concern about this for years."...

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said the case "sheds light on what appears to be a haphazard and risky vetting process by an administration that is very interested in finding creative and possibly unconstitutional ways for people to stay in the country."...

"This was a targeted enforcement operation, aimed specifically at enhancing public safety," Saldana said. "It exemplifies our core mission, by taking dangerous criminals off the streets and removing them from the country we are addressing a very significant security and public safety vulnerability."

ICE agents arrested 2,059 convicted immigrants, including more than 1,000 people who had multiple convictions. More than 98 percent of those arrested in the week long operation were a top priority, Saldana said.

In November, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson announced new deportation priorities as part of Obama's planned expansion of programs to shield millions of immigrants from deportation.

The top priority includes immigrants suspected of being terrorists, gang members, convicted felons and those caught crossing the border illegally. The second priority includes immigrants convicted of three or more misdemeanors or a single serious misdemeanor, such as drunken driving or domestic violence.

Homeland Security Department documents say participation in the program can be revoked at any time. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which approves applications, reported to the House Judiciary Committee last year the government stripped that protection from 113 people as of August. The revocations included one case of gang membership, one aggravated assault, 11 driving-under-the-influence cases and 11 errors by USCIS, according to the committee.

Obama's planned expansion of the protection programs has been put on hold by a federal judge in Texas presiding over a lawsuit filed by 26 states to stop the effort. In February Judge Andrew Hanen temporarily blocked the expansion plans, which included granting protections and work permits to parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents. On Thursday the U.S. government asked an appeals court to lift the temporary hold on the expansion Read more about 15 immigrants protected from deportation arrested in sweep

Judge delays ruling on unblocking Obama immigration executive actions

A federal judge signaled Monday that he has no plans to act soon on the Obama Administration's request to stay an order blocking President Barack Obama's latest round of executive actions on immigration.

U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen said in an order issued Monday afternoon that he views as serious claims that federal government lawyers may have misled the court about the implementation of new immigration policies the president ordered in November.

Last week, the Justice Department advised Hanen that the federal government issued new 3-year "deferred action" grants and work permits to 100,000 people between November 24 and when Hanen blocked the Obama moves on February 16.

The group of 26 states whose lawsuit persuaded Hanen to block the Obama immigration actions recently filed a motion calling the federal disclosure "surprising" and asserting that Justice Department lawyers had assured the court that no action would be taken to implement Obama's new policies until mid-February.

Obama's moves announced in November expanded eligibility for the "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals" program and initiated a new program for illegal immigrants who are parents of U.S. citizens or permanent residents. However, there was a third part to Obama's new actions: he extended the "deferred action" period protecting certain immigrants from deportation from two years to three, and authorized the issuance of three-year work permits as well.

Hanen, who sits in Brownsville, Texas, said Monday that he wants a more complete explanation of what happened.

"Due to the seriousness of the matters discussed therein, the Court will not rule on any other pending motions until it is clear that these matters, if true, do not impact the pending matters or any rulings previously made by this Court," Hanen wrote. He set a hearing on the matter for March 19 and ordered that Justice Department lawyers "be prepared to fully explain to this Court all of the matters addressed in and circumstances surrounding" the notice the feds sent the judge last week.

A Justice official who asked not to be named said Hanen's ruling was being reviewed.

Hanen's decision appears to indicate that he won't be meeting a deadline of sorts the Justice Department set last week, warning it could move to an appeals court to block Hanen's original injunction if he didn't act on a stay request by the close of business Monday.

A few weeks ago, federal government lawyers set a similar timing target for Hanen, but did not move to the 5th Circuit after he failed to rule by that time Read more about Judge delays ruling on unblocking Obama immigration executive actions


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