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A letter to President Obama from an 11 year old girl detained at Artesia

Read this heartbreaking letter to President Obama from an 11 year old girl detained at Artesiahttp://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/08/read-letter-11-year-old-migrant-detention-wrote-president-obama.  In her letter, she notes that she has already lost more than 15 pounds since being detained, that she and the other children are not eating, that they are becoming emotionally sick, and are suffering from not being able to go to school.

Board of Immigration Appeals *finally* issues precedent decision recognizing domestic violence as a basis for asylum.

The Board of Immigration Appeals issued a long awaited decision recognizing the validity of domestic violence as a basis for asylum.  On August 26, 2014, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) issued its landmark decision in Matter of A-R-C-G, which held that “married women in Guatemala who are unable to leave their relationship” can constitute a particular social group which forms the basis for a claim of asylum or withholding of removal under the Immigration and Nationality Act.  This is phenomenal news for women who have been courageously fighting for recognition of their claims for asylum after suffering years of horrific domestic violence in their home countries.  This is also extremely important to the many women and children detained at Artesia who fled to the U.S. to seek protection from serious domestic violence and abuse when their own governments were not willing or able to protect them.  Read the full decision here:  http://www.justice.gov/eoir/vll/intdec/vol26/3811.pdf

Volunteering at the Artesia, New Mexico detention center for mothers and children

Volunteering at the Artesia, New Mexico detention center for mothers and children.   From August 3rd through August 9th, I served as a volunteer attorney with a group of attorneys and legal advocates from Oregon and around the country to help the mothers and children detained by the government at the new Immigration Detention Center in Artesia, New Mexico. Both I and my colleagues were deeply disturbed by the flagrant violations of basic human rights and Due Process we witnessed at Artesia. Read a guest blog I wrote for the national American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA):  http://ailaleadershipblog.org/2014/08/13/leaving-artesia/

Operation Streamline

The New York Times take a closer look at Operation Streamline – the federal program which allows for the mass prosecution of undocumented migrants caught crossing the southern border of the US.  Migrants are subjected to hearings before a Federal District Court Judge in groups of seven or eight at one time, before receiving sentences from 30 days to six months in federal prison or contract facilities for the federal crime of unlawful re-entry.  As Ricardo Pineda Albarrán, the Mexican consul in Tucson, notes, “compressing a decision about someone’s future in a minutes, seconds, when the circumstances of each case are so different, has a devastating social and human impact.”  Read the full article here: “Detainees Sentenced in Seconds in ‘Streamline’ Justice on Border,” from the New York Times, February 11, 2014.

Notario Fraud

Notario fraud is not being prosecuted as a crime in Oregon.  Many individuals have been harmed by seeking help with immigration petitions from notarios who are not licensed or qualified to practice law.  The victims of notarios have lost thousands of dollars, and many are permanently barred from qualifying for immigration status because of incorrectly filed immigration applications.  Read the full story in the November 27, 2013 Willamette Week – “Greed Card.”

Congressional Mandate

Congressional mandate keeps 34,000 people in immigration detention every day, at a cost of $2 Billion dollars per year.  As many people anxiously await for immigration reform news, President Obama continues to detain and deport record numbers of immigrants.  You can read or listen to the story here: NPR report, November 9, 2013.