Who says that the Department of Justice can not take a hint? Last week, Attorney General Eric Holder formally undid one of the worst legacies of the Bush administration’s immigration policy when he withdrew Attorney General Mukasey’s decision in Matter of Silva-Trevino. In Matter of Silva-Trevino, Attorney General Mukasey determined that immigration judges could take “facts” into account in determining an individual’s exportability even if those facts were never proven in a criminal proceeding.
In December, the U.S. Senate confirmed Sarah Saldaña to be the first Hispanic woman to lead Immigration & Customs Enforcement. It was an exciting moment in immigration politics. Political paralysis had doomed immigration reform by Congress. The Morton era at ICE had produced record levels of deportation. Young undocumented immigrants forced the President to acknowledge them and enact DACA, which proved wildly successful. In response to the failure of Congress to enact reform, the President announced his executive actions to shield many millions from the threat of removal.
While the junior senator from Texas dominates the news, we remain more concerned about what is happening in a court house in Texas and another in New Orleans– the U.S. District Court in Harlingen where Judge Andrews Hanen sits and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit which must hear the Department of Justice’s emergency appeal of Judge Hanen’s injunction against DAPA and expanded DACA.
Artesia. Karnes. Dilley. Before the administration decided it would be a great idea to lock up Central American women and children fleeing from persecution, these towns were unknown. Artesia was the hometown of our government’s rejuvenation of family detention. The makeshift facility, warmly referred to by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) as the Artesia Family Residential Center, was the hub of so many human rights violations that it was ultimately shut down.
The President’s executive reforms to the U.S. immigration system make a number of very positive changes that have the potential to help millions of people. Although we have written about various components of the reforms individually, we have summarized six major portions here in one place. Benach Collopy will be offering several free community meetings throughout December and will be offering reduced fee consultations for people who may benefit from these reforms.
Tomorrow night (Thursday, November 20, 2014) at 8PM, the President of the United States will address the nation to announce what steps his administration intends to take to reform U.S. immigration law and policy. This announcement represents the culmination of the President’s evolution on his authority as the nation’s chief executive. In June 2014, when it became clear that the House of Representatives would not take up the immigration reform bill passed by the Senate, the President made a statement that he would take administrative action to ameliorate the harsh effects of our immigration law.