deferred action

Undocumented youths face deportation if DACA status expires

A Catholic social advocacy group based in Southeast Portland is advising undocumented youths to take steps to renew their Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status before it expires or face the threat of deportation.

Alexandra Blodget, an advocate for Catholic Charities, who is professionally trained in immigration law, said, “It’s important for anyone who knows their DACA is expiring in the coming months to understand that renewal is essential.”

“Without it, people will no longer have authorization to work in the U.S. and will not be lawfully present, which does carry the risk of detention and/or deportation,” she said.

DACA is a set of administrative procedures initiated by the Obama administration in 2012. It offers two years of protection against the threat of deportation to undocumented young people who met certain criteria.

A DACA Renewal Screening Night will take place from 5-8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 6, at Catholic Charities, 2740 S.E. Powell Blvd. in Portland.

There will be $20 consultations provided with immigration attorneys and BIA (Board of Immigration Appeals) accredited representatives.

No appointments are necessary, and consultations will be available in English and Spanish.

Alice Lundell, a spokeswoman for Catholic Charities, said those who have been granted DACA and a work permit will see them expire after two years if they are not renewed.

People who received DACA in late 2012 or even 2013 need to be thinking now about renewal, she said.

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services is recommending that applicants should apply four to five months in advance of their status and work permit expiration, Lundell said.

In response to a demand for high-quality, low-cost legal advice about DACA renewal, a group of immigration law organizations has come together to offer help.

The screening night is a joint initiative of Immigrant Law Group, ICS, Catholic Charities, SOAR and Causa.

Renewal applicants should bring with them their work permits and copies of their original DACA applications if they have them.

Blodget said seeking advice from a qualified person is important.

“We would strongly encourage anyone planning for DACA renewal to get advice before they submit their application if they have any concerns, particularly if they’ve been arrested or convicted of an offense or had other involvement with law enforcement since first receiving DACA,” Blodget said.

“Anyone with questions can come to our event to get help,” she said.

For more information, contact Alice Lundell, Catholic Charities’ marketing and communications manager, at 503.688.2662 or

House revives, approves border crisis bill – as Obama vows to ‘act alone’

The House late Friday revived and approved a Republican-authored border crisis bill after GOP leaders hurriedly resolved an internal battle that scuttled the vote a day earlier – but with the Senate on recess and the House soon to follow, there’s little chance of any bill reaching President Obama’s desk until the fall.

The president now is vowing to act unilaterally to address the illegal immigration issue....

In the absence of any legislation that all sides can agree on, the president threatened to act on his own to address immigration challenges, potentially during the five-week recess...

The new measure's price tag is now roughly $700 million, up from $659 million -- but still one-fifth of the $3.7 billion Obama requested, and a far cry from what the Senate considered....

Senate Democrats, though, were not able to muster enough votes to pass their bill either. House Republicans insisted they were the only ones still trying to do something about the border crisis.

“When it comes to the humanitarian crisis on our southern border, President Obama has been completely AWOL,” a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner said....

Many Republicans blame the Obama administration policies for that perception, particularly a two-year-old program that has granted work permits and relief from deportation to more than 500,000 immigrants brought here illegally as kids....

Fox News' Chad Pergram and The Associated Press contributed to this report

Obama Responds To Border Crisis by Ordering Even More Incentives for Illegal Entry

Washington, D.C. - June 6, 2014) While an unprecedented number of illegal alien minors surge across the border – incentivized by lax enforcement and promises of amnesty – the Obama administration has just announced it is expanding a program that defers the deportation of illegal aliens. In June of 2012, the Obama administration bypassed Congress with an executive action that put into place Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The program, otherwise known as the DREAM Act, grants a reprieve from deportation and work authorization to broad categories of “young” illegal aliens. Yesterday, the Department of Homeland Security announced that a two-year renewal process has begun and encourages those not already enrolled to do so.

Dan Stein, president of the Federation for America Immigration Reform (FAIR) called yesterday’s action “reckless and irresponsible.” Stein observed that, “even while we’re watching the chaotic result of this administration’s non-enforcement policies at the border, the president is implementing even more incentives guaranteed to create more chaos.”

According to White House sources, the number of unaccompanied illegal alien minors entering the United States could be more than 60,000 this year, a 90 percent increase over 2013 and up to 130,000 by 2015. A recent memo from the Border Patrol estimates the numbers could be even higher. The surge is overwhelming local border officials and forcing them to transport the aliens further north for processing and release.

Since its implementation in 2012, more than 560,000 illegal aliens have applied for relief from deportation under the DACA program. While the program limits eligibility to those who have resided in the United States since June 2007, the message being sent to Mexico and throughout Central America is that illegal entry is rewarded, further amnesty legislation is pending and in its absence, the president will enact it by executive action.

“President Obama has responded to the border crisis by issuing a memorandum ordering a ‘unified and coordinated federal’ response," Stein continued. “It’s laughable because the problem has been created by Obama’s six-year ‘unified and coordinated federal’ campaign to dismantle enforcement. Now he’s pretending to repair the very thing he deliberately broke by expanding benefits.”

“If President Obama believes the flood of illegal alien minors at the border is a humanitarian crisis then he needs to send a strong message throughout Mexico and Central America that the United States will enforce its laws and he needs to discourage parents from sending their children on a dangerous journey north,” Stein said. Renewing a program (DACA) that indefinitely delays enforcement of our immigration laws just perpetuates the problem.”

About FAIR

Founded in 1979, FAIR is the country’s largest immigration reform group. With over 250,000 members nationwide, FAIR fights for immigration policies that serve national interests, not special interests. FAIR believes that immigration reform must enhance national security, improve the economy, protect jobs, preserve our environment, and establish a rule of law that is recognized and enforced.

Harsh immigration realities set in for many 'dreamers'

WASHINGTON — Working as a Jack in the Box cashier, Marissa Cruz Santos breathed a sigh of relief last year when she qualified for an Obama administration program that defers deportation of young immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children.

With high expectations and a freshly minted work permit, Santos, 27, hit the job market, hoping to leverage her new status and a Cal State Fullerton degree into an entry-level office position. But after applying for several jobs near her Riverside home, Santos got only two interviews and no offers...

The (deferred action) program offered a two-year deportation deferral and work permits to hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants who came to the country illegally before age 16...

Many have been unable to take advantage of new opportunities because they lack a high school diploma or college degree, Gonzales said. He noted that the program did not make participants eligible for financial aid or in-state tuition in every state.

...Some have internalized the stigma of growing up in the country illegally and lack confidence during job interviews.


Steve Duin blog: Cinthya Garcia-Cisneros denied bond in Tacoma immigration hearing

Cinthya Garcia-Cisneros has been denied bond by a federal immigration judge, meaning that she must remain in custody at the Northwest Dentention Center in Tacoma, Wash., while her immigration case is pending.

Garcia-Cisneros, 19, was convicted in January of felony hit-and-run in the October deaths of stepsisters Anna Dieter-Eckerdt and Abigail Robinson in Forest Grove.

"In her opinion the judge found Cinthya both a flight risk and a danger," ... <attorney>

Oregon immigrants, allies head to California border supporting undocumented group attempting to cross

Eight Oregon immigrants and allies left Thursday for San Diego, where they will join hundreds more from around the United States to support at least 150 undocumented deportees attempting to cross back into the country from Mexico...

The undocumented immigrants (illegal aliens), whose families live in cities across the U.S., will attempt to cross the border at the Otay Mesa point of entry on March 10. One of those immigrants was deported from Portland....

Wearing a T-shirt that read "UNDOCUMENTED; UNAFRAID; UNAPOLOGETIC," Luna explained the effort Thursday afternoon in front of a small group of supporters in the Latino center at Portland State University...

"I'm not going to wait until legislation tells me when I can reunite with my family," she said. "We're not playing around, so we're going to take justice and we're going to do what we feel is right."..

Now Bring Them Home is attempting its third and largest effort, expanded to include anyone willing to try and cross the border.


Cinthya Garcia-Cisneros, convicted in Forest Grove fatal crash, taken to Tacoma immigration detention center

...The 19-year-old woman convicted of felony hit and run in the Oct. 20 crash that killed two young stepsisters in Forest Grove will be held at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Wash., while she waits for a bond hearing in immigration court...

If she is released, a Washington County judge ordered her to return to the county and begin her sentence of three years of probation and 250 hours of community service...

At her sentencing hearing in Circuit Court last week, immigration attorney Courtney Carter said: “She is in grave danger of being deported.”


Forest Grove fatal crash: Mother of girls killed takes guilty plea from driver's boyfriend as apology

...18-year-old Cinthya Garcia-Cisneros.... had driven through a leaf pile minutes earlier, she’d struck some children....driving her boyfriend’s mother's Nissan Pathfinder that evening. Her boyfriend, Mario Echeverria, 18, and Garcia-Cisneros' younger brother were also in the vehicle.

After they examined the vehicle with a flashlight, they drove it to Echeverria’s mother’s home in Cornelius. Then the three went out for ice cream.

The next day, Echeverria took the SUV to a Hillsboro car wash, where he paid for the deluxe wash that included undercarriage cleaning....

...Garcia-Cisneros faces charges of felony hit and run. Her case is scheduled for trial next month.

Read more about this hit and run tragedy.



Deportation issue clouds hit-and-run case

Deportation has become one of the main issues in the case of the 18-year-old driver of the car that allegedly struck and killed two Forest Grove sisters playing in a leaf pile.

Cinthya Garcia-Cisneros, 18, has been charged with two counts of “Failure to perform the duties of a driver,” more commonly known as hit-and-run. The Class C felony is punishable by up to five years in prison.

At a pre-trial conference last week, District Attorney Bracken McKey offered a plea deal to Garcia (who does not use the Cisneros part of her name) that would limit her prison term to 16 months if she would plead guilty to one charge instead of taking the case to trial.

“Cinthya declined this offer because she is not guilty of the crimes with which she is accused,” said Garcia’s attorney, Ethan Levi. “Although she has no desire to aggravate the grief of the families, she is not willing to be deported or go to prison when she did not commit a crime.

“A deportation stemming from a criminal conviction in this case would require her to make her home in a country she hadn’t lived in since she was a toddler, without the only family with whom she is close,” he said. “The death of these children was a tragic accident. While Cinthya’s actions after the accident were not perfect, they also were not criminal.”

McKey declined to comment on the deportation issue or anything else about the case.

Garcia was brought to the U.S. illegally at the age of 4, but is now here legally under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program created by President Barack Obama. According to Garcia’s immigration attorney, Courtney Carter, Garcia has been placed on a hold from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and if she is convicted of the felonies, her DACA status will be revoked and she will be sent to the ICE facility in Tacoma.

“The deportation proceedings would be swift and there’s nothing I can do,” Carter said.

That scenario is “probably pretty likely,” said Teresa Statler, a Portland immigration attorney who has no connection to Garcia’s case.

Cautioning that she does not know the details of the case, Statler said that not only would the government likely revoke Garcia’s legal standing under DACA, but under one part of Section 237 of the federal Immigration Act, residents without legal standing “shall, upon order of the Attorney General, be removed” if they are convicted of a crime of “moral turpitude ... for which a sentence of one year or longer may be imposed.”

A hit-and-run is classified as a crime involving “moral turpitude,” defined in legal dictionaries as “conduct that is considered contrary to community standards of justice, honesty, or good morals.”

Carter said she might be able to prevent deportation if the charges are downgraded and Garcia is convicted of something less.

But if the hit-and-run felony stands, Carter said, Garcia would not only be deported, it’s likely she would never be able to return to the U.S., even if she married her boyfriend and legal resident, Mario Echeverria, who was with her in the car at the time of the Oct. 20 accident.

“Certain criminal convictions do make you ineligible to return,” said Ellen Weintraut, another Portland immigration attorney unconnected with the case. People may have the impression that marriage to an American citizen is a quick ticket back to the U.S., she said, but “unfortunately for our clients, it’s not the case.”

Statler said there are complicated, remote routes by which Garcia might be able to return, especially if she married an American citizen. “The reality is, she may have to leave, go to Mexico, file for a green card and then apply to come back with a pardon from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officials,” she said.

Such pardons are discretionary, Statler said, and an official may decline to issue one. In deciding, a USCIS official might consider everything from the legal details of the court case to whether the victims (or their families) had any strong feelings about a pardon, Statler said.

At her pre-trial conference last week, Garcia, who appeared in chains and an orange jail jumpsuit before a packed courtroom, waived her right to a speedy trial. This allowed Washington County Circuit Court Judge Donald Letourneau to set the trial date for Jan. 7, 2014.

A trial judge will be assigned to the case Jan. 3.

ICE's Chris Crane Blasts Lobbyists Pushing Amnesty

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) National Council president Chris Crane, who represents about 7,000 ICE agents and support staff, wrote to a group of lobbyists, special interests, and political figures on Tuesday to question why they support granting amnesty to America’s at least 11 million illegal aliens.

“Each of you receiving this letter today has played a major role in pushing so-called ‘comprehensive immigration reform,’ the Rubio-Schumer immigration bill or is pressing the House to advance similar legislation,” Crane wrote to the group of special interests. “During recent years, ICE officers have documented extraordinary political abuses at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and ICE that have threatened public safety and undermined the ability of ICE agents and officers to enforce the laws enacted by Congress."

"I cannot recall any of you speaking out publicly against these abuses or requesting a meeting with ICE Officers to address our concerns,” Crane stated bluntly.

Recipients of the letter included Karl Rove; Chamber of Commerce president Tom Donohue; National Council of La Raza president Janet Murguia; Casa de Maryland executive director Gustavo Torres; National Council of Chain Restaurants executive director Rob Green; American Action Forum president Doug Holtz-Eakin; casino mogul and major GOP donor Sheldon Adelson; Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg; and corporate executives from companies like:

  • General Electric
  • Disney
  • McDonald’s
  • Marriott Hotels
  • Coca-Cola
  • The Cheesecake Factory
  • Hilton Hotels
  • Hyatt Hotels
  • General Mills
  • Wendy’s
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Darden Restaurants (Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Longhorn Steakhouse, Seasons 52, the Capital Grille, Bahama Breeze, Eddie V’s, and Yard House)
  • Hewlett Packard
  • Verizon

Also included on the letter were executive of lobbyist associations like the National Association of Home Builders and the American Hotel and Lodging Association.

“ICE officers arguably know more about our nation’s broken immigration system than any group in the United States,” Crane wrote. “Yet President Barack Obama and the Gang of Eight actively prohibited them from having input. Only influential and affluent groups and wealthy individuals like you were given an opportunity to provide real input on our nation’s new immigration laws."

"As ICE officers fought a very public battle seeking to add measures that would provide for public safety and national security, you did nothing to assist or support us, but in fact—through your advocacy – put officers and the public at risk,” he claimed.

“As a result, the Senate passed an immigration bill that will fail America,” Crane wrote. “While this legislation may satisfy your personal financial or political objectives, it undermines immigration enforcement and worsens the immigration problems currently experienced in the United States.”

Crane added that the letter recipients are using their lobbyist influence to “fight for special protections and legalization for violent criminal offenders and gang members illegally in the United States” but they “must realize that in doing so you sacrifice the safety of every man, woman and child residing in the United States, regardless of citizenship.”

“Certainly you must know that when you fight for legislation that protects criminal aliens who assault law enforcement officers, you increase the risk to every police officer, sheriff’s deputy, and federal agent across our nation; officers whose lives and welfare should hold some value to you and the organizations you represent,” Crane wrote.

Crane said it is up the House of Representatives to protect the safety of Americans from lobbyists.

“Only the U.S. House of Representatives now stands between the American people and the potential destruction of federal immigration enforcement,” Crane wrote. “Yet the groups represented on this letter are spending enormous sums of money or wielding enormous amounts of influence in an attempt to intimidate the House into passing a plan similar to that adopted by the Senate – a bill that not one member of the Senate had the time to read before voting on.”

Crane said that America’s future depends on these lobbyists being stopped.

“It is a sad day in America when the political class in Washington, and groups that can deliver votes and money, have more influence in writing our immigration laws than everyday American citizens and the law enforcement officers sworn to protect them,” Crane wrote. “I hope you stand with law enforcement and stand for the rule of law -- if for no other reason than out of compassion for the lives that we can protect if we finally begin to enforce our nation’s immigration laws.”

Crane then turned his attention to directly questioning the intent of these lobbyists’ and special interests’ push for amnesty.

“Are you really willing to support an immigration plan that will put officers and the public in danger simply because it includes special items that advance the financial or political interests of your group or company?” Crane asked. “Are we in law enforcement not worthy of your respect? Do you believe that our experience and advice is without value in creating new immigration legislation?"

"I am requesting a meeting with each of you to discuss the answers to these questions, as well as to speak to you about the field experience of immigration officers and agents who daily witness a side of our nation’s immigration crisis that many in the media and indeed our government actively work to conceal from the American public,” he said.

Many of these special interests actually met with President Barack Obama on Tuesday at the White House to plot out an immigration push on Capitol Hill. Obama met with McDonald’s, Marriott, and other CEOs and executives on Tuesday at the White House to plan an amnesty strategy.

“What's been encouraging is, is that there are a number of House Republicans who have said, we think this is the right thing to do, as well,” Obama said about the meeting, according to USA Today. “And it's my estimation that we actually have votes to get comprehensive immigration reform done in the House right now.”


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