News Round Up In-Brief
- Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced on December 21 that in fiscal year 2012, it deported 409,849 individuals, an all-time record high. In the same period, ICE audited a record number of companies for undocumented immigrants on their payrolls.
- Also in its year-end press release, ICE announced new “immigration hold” guidelines that aim to focus mainly on targeting serious criminals for detention. However, the memo states that mere “illegal entry” to the U.S. can justify a detainer.
- Colorlines.com reported that between July 1, 2010 and September 30, 2012, ICE deported nearly 205,000 parents of U.S. citizen children, comprising 23 percent of all deportations.
- The New York Times expressed optimism about the Obama Administration and ICE’s new detainer policies. Though ICE was already operating under a policy of “prosecutorial discretion,” it had outsourced much of its “discretion” to local police outfits through the Secure Communities program, which the new policy could remedy.
- An amnesty program for undocumented immigrants seems more politically favored now than in previous reform efforts.
- Representative Trey Gowdy (R-SC), described as “hawkish” on immigration issues and an opponent of the Obama administration’s deferred action decisions, was recently selected to chair the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security.
- In Alabama, four cousins from Honduras have pled guilty to “immigration fraud” but plan to seek asylum in the U.S., on grounds that their lives will be threatened by a criminal gang in Honduras.
- At the end of this year, ICE plans to scale back the 287(g) program, which authorized local police to act as immigration authorities. However, the Secure Communities program that began in 2009 may take its place. There are rumors that cities whose 287(g) agreements concern “jails” rather than task forces, such as Farmers Branch, Texas, will not be affected by the scale-back, and ICE continues to receive occasional applications to instate new 287(g) programs.
- In a Los Angeles Times op-ed, Peter Skerry suggested that the U.S. should offer undocumented immigrant workers “mere legalization” without citizenship. Readers responded with concerns about a plan that denies full citizenship, including that such a plan could create a permanent underclass.
- Eighteen men who were attempting to migrate from Turkey to Greece without documents died when their boat capsized in the Aegean Sea, as this frequented route into Europe continues to claim lives.
- Asylum claimants in Italy face extremely long waiting lists, restricted travel, and scarce refugee assistance, leaving many recognized refugees to fend for their own health and survival in shantytowns.
- The December part special issue of Social Science and Medicine is devoted to studies of place, migration, and health.
In December, the ACLU reported on the U.S.’s compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, before the United Nations Human Rights Committee. It recommended the end of both the 287(g) program and the Secure Communities program, the passage of the End Racial Profiling Act, and federal opposition to local and state anti-immigrant laws. The full report can be downloaded here.
Prepared by Rachel Stonecipher