Monthly Archives: August 2008

USCIS ADDS FORMS I-800 AND I-800A TO DIRECT MAIL PROGRAM

According to a USCIS Press Release:  “U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announces publication of a Federal Register Notice that expands its Direct Mail Program to include Form I‑800, Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative, and Form I‑800A, Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country.   Applicants were previously required to file at a USCIS field office with jurisdiction over their place of residence.   The Direct Mail Program allows USCIS to process applications more efficiently by eliminating duplicative work, maximizing staff productivity, and introducing better information management tools.”

USCIS REVISES FILING INSTRUCTIONS FOR PETITIONS TO REMOVE CONDITIONS ON RESIDENCE

According to a USCIS Press Release:  “U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today it has revised the filing instructions for the Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence (Form I-751).  Effective immediately, all petitioners filing a Form I-751 must file with the California or Vermont Service Center, depending on the state in which they reside.”

ICE RAIDS MISSISSIPPI PLANT

As I wrote in this morning’s blog entry when as reported by an immigrant rights organization, ICE agents booked dozens of hotel rooms in the area and federal court staff was preparing for an increased workload, it became apparent that a raid somewhere on the gulf coast was imminent.

So here it is, according to the Associated Press:  “Federal immigration agents said they uncovered 350 suspected undocumented workers in a raid on a Mississippi electrical equipment plant Monday, hours after sealing all entrances amid reports their sweep had idled normal operations.”

WAS SELF-DEPORTATION PROGRAM SIMPLY POLITICAL COVER FOR THE ADMINISTRATION?

According to a New York Times Edtorial:  “By capturing almost nobody, the report-to-deport program has bolstered the talking points pushed by the immigration agency and the restrictionist hard-core: illegal immigrants are a vast class of criminal fugitives, and only more enforcement can solve this problem.”

This is an interesting perspective.  However, I believe that the officials at ICE actually believed this program could work.  If the agency knew this program would fail, they should also have predicted that it would be mocked for its inherent silliness and subsequent failure…not an accomplishment to be terribly proud of.

There is a lot of buzz about a raid that is expected to take place imminently in the Gulf Coast area.  According to the Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance, ICE has booked dozens of hotel rooms in the vicinity and “the federal court in Hattiesburg is being readied for a response smilar to the response that followed the raid in Postville, Iowa…” 

IS OUR GOVERNMENT PAYING AN AVERAGE $6,750 EACH TO DETAIN UNDOCUMENTED PRIOR TO SENDING THEM HOME?

According to articles about ICE’s failed “Scheduled Depature” program, Jim Hayes, the man in charge of detention and deportation at ICE, has argued that: “The eight takers saved the government the $54,000 it would have cost to detain them, more than offsetting the program’s $41,000 price tag.”

I’m not a math major, but that comes out to about $6,750 to detain each undocumented alien prior to actualy deporting them.  Wouldn’t it save taxpayers a fortune to use some other means of keeping track of these “fugitives”?  This price tag will likely escalate exponentially as lawsuits are filed complaining that many aliens are being denied their constitutional Due Process rights as they are herded through the system following workplace raids.  This will mean, under the current system, having to detain these aliens for longer periods of time at a higher cost.  Furthermore, lawsuits alleging the negligent medical care of undocumented aliens who died while in ICE or CBP detention are also likely to cost taxpayers a fortune.

We need Comprehensive Immigration Reform now more than ever.  I will be analyzing John McCain and Barack Obama’s immigration positions in future postings.  If McCain chooses Mitt Romney as his running mate, watching the two of them  explain their “united” immigration policy will be entertaining.

ICE SCRAPS FAILED SELF-DEPORTATION PROGRAM

According to the Associated Press:  “A pilot program allowing illegal immigrants to surrender to authorities and have more control over their deportation has been dubbed a failure.”

A grand total of eight undocumented aliens participated in ICE’s Scheduled Departure program.  The program allowed eligible undocumented aliens to turn themselves over to ICE and have their paperwork processed, some would have their return transportation paid for.

Given that our Congress was unable to pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform, and that the heavy-handed mass enforcement on the part of ICE has been a knee-jerk reaction to the vocal anti-immigrant minority, it is understandable why ICE would try to do something to make the removal process less burdensome for both the agency and the aliens. 

Some estimate that there are as many as 20 million undocumented persons in the U.S., aggressive enforcement combined with those who simply choose to leave because of our economy or out of fear of being detained in this environment would likely be only a small percentage of this number.  Moreover, it is unrealistic to think that more aliens are not either sneaking into the U.S. looking for work or overstaying and working without authorization while others are being deported.  At this pace, with this enforcement-only approach, it will take many, many generations before we take control of this issue if at all.  

The answer to these problems is an immigration policy that works.  One that invites those who want to work and contribute to society without taking jobs from Americans to do so and focuses on keeping terrorists and criminals out.  Arresting thousands of meat-packers, dishwashers and laborers is simply not working.  Just like the Sceduled Departure program, we tried it, and it failed.  Time to move on and do something that actually has a chance of succeeeding.  As I have written before, declaring a speed limit of 20 miles per hour on I-95 would result in many of us becoming “illegal drivers”, our immigration laws need to be updated to reflect what is in the best interest of our economy, our humanity and the country as a whole.

Hopefully this failed program will not lead to even more aggressive mass raids where Due Process rights are violated and those detained are often treated like cattle, separated from their familes and denied adequate legal representation or urgent medical care…we’re a better country than that.   

PRESS 1 TO BE DEPORTED

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement has provided additional information regarding “Scheduled Departure” on its website.  This is the program that invites non-criminal undocumented aliens to self-deport by turning themselves over to US ICE for processing.  The pilot program will run through this Friday, August 22, 2008 and so far has not had many takers, I have read accounts ranging from six to a handful of participants nationwide.  

Other than the possibility of a free return ticket to their home country, no tangible incentives are being offered for participation in the program.  It would be just as easy for undocumented aliens to leave the US without “being processed” by ICE.