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Posts Tagged ‘President Obama’

ICE Agents Arrest 200 in Immigration Sweep in Northern California

April 5th, 2012 No comments
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Immigration agents arrested about 200 people in Northern California and more than 3,100 nationwide in a 6-day sweep last week looking for immigrants who can be deported because they have a criminal record or ignored deportation orders.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, agents arrested 37 people in Santa Clara County, 18 in Alameda County and 16 in Contra Costa County as part of the 50-state “Operation Cross Check,” which ended on Thursday.

The arrests include legal and illegal immigrants who are deportable because of crimes they committed. Also arrested were immigration fugitives, who are people living in the country illegally who have ignored deportation orders. Agents also arrested more than 500 people who had illegally re-entered the United States after being deported.

About 90 percent of the people arrested nationwide had criminal convictions; 47 percent of all those arrested had felony convictions.

Of the 200 arrested in Northern California, half had convictions “for serious or violent crimes,” according to an ICE statement. The agency did not release the names of all those arrested or their crimes.

President Obama has repeatedly stated that he wants to focus resources on criminal aliens and fugitive aliens with outstanding deportation orders. Recently, he announced that he plans to halt deportations in several immigration courts nationwide in order to focus efforts on priority cases.

If you or a loved one is currently in immigration court proceedings in Los Angeles, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a free consultation. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will help you better understand the options available to you.

President Obama Proposes to Change Immigration Rule to Help Undocumented Immigrants Gain Lawful Status in U.S.

April 2nd, 2012 No comments
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WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is proposing to make it easier for illegal immigrants who are immediate family members of American citizens to apply for permanent residency, a move that could affect as many as 1 million of the estimated 11 million immigrants living here illegally.

The new rule, which the Department of Homeland Security will post for public comment Monday, would reduce the time illegal immigrants are separated from their American families while seeking legal status, immigration officials said. Currently, such immigrants must leave the country to apply for a legal visa, often leading to long stints away as they await resolution of their applications.

The proposal is the latest move by the administration to use its executive powers to revise immigration procedures without changing the law. It reflects an effort by President Obama to improve his standing among those Latino voters who feel he has not met his 2008 campaign promise to pursue comprehensive immigration reform.

The president’s push to pass the Dream Act, a law that would have created a path to citizenship for young illegal immigrants enrolled in college or enlisted in the military, was defeated in the Senate in December. No reform legislation has been under serious consideration since, yet the U.S. has deported a record number of illegal immigrants under Obama.

Many immigrants who might seek legal status do not pursue it out of fear they will not receive a “hardship waiver” of strict U.S. immigration laws: An illegal immigrant who has overstayed a visa for more than six months is barred from reentering the U.S. for three years; those who overstay more than a year are barred for 10 years.

The revised rule would allow illegal immigrants to claim that time apart from a spouse, child or parent who is a U.S. citizen would create “extreme hardship,” and would permit them to remain in the country as they apply for legal status. Once approved, applicants would be required to leave the U.S. briefly, simply to return to their native country and pick up their visa.

The change could reduce a family’s time apart to one week in some cases, officials said. The White House hopes to have the new procedures in place by the end of the year.

Keep checking ocimmigrationlawyer.com for updates on the numerous recent rule changes President Obama has proposed. If you or a loved one is considering the visa petition process, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a free consultation.

Republican Candidates Losing Ground to Obama Among Latino Voters

March 12th, 2012 No comments
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Despite growing disappointment in his handling of immigration issues, Latino voters favor President Barack Obama by six-to-one over any of the Republican presidential hopefuls, showed a Fox News Latino poll conducted under the direction of Latin Insights and released Monday.

The national poll of likely Latino voters indicated that 73 percent of them approved of Obama’s performance in office, with over half those questioned looking favorably upon his handling of the healthcare debate and the economy, at 66 percent and 58 percent respectively.

Released on the eve of the Super Tuesday primaries in the race for the GOP nomination, the Fox News Latino poll shows former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney with 35 percent of Latino voter support, to Texas Rep. Ron Paul’s 13 percent, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich’s 12 percent, and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum’s 9 percent.

But the poll shows that the overwhelming choice among likely Latino voters is President Obama. In head-to-head match-ups none of the GOP candidates would garner more than 14 percent of the Latino vote come November, the poll said.

It is widely known that the Latino Vote is becoming more crucial with every year that passes.

President Obama Pursuing New Measures to Retain Highly Skilled Foreign Workers

February 3rd, 2012 No comments
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The President is deeply committed to fixing our broken immigration system so that it meets our 21st century national security and
economic needs. As a part of comprehensive immigration reform, the President supports legislative measures that would attract and
retain immigrants who create jobs and boost competitiveness here in the U.S., including creating a “Startup Visa,” strengthening the
H-1B program, and “stapling” green cards to the diplomas of certain foreign-born graduates in science, technology, engineering,
and math (STEM) fields. Together these actions would help attract new businesses and new investment to the U.S. and ensure that
the U.S. has the most skilled workforce in the world. In the meantime, the Obama Administration is working to make
improvements in the areas where we can make a difference.

As part of these ongoing efforts and in recognition of the one-year anniversary of the White House Startup America Initiative, the
Department of Homeland Security today announced a series of administrative reforms which will be completed in the future. These
reforms reflect the Administration’s continuing commitment to attracting and retaining highly-skilled immigrants. These efforts are
critical to continuing our economic recovery and encouraging job creation.

In last week’s State of the Union, President Obama noted that “Innovation is what America has always been about. Most new jobs
are created in start-ups and small businesses.” He also stated in his remarks in El Paso last May, “In recent years, a full 25 percent
of high-tech startups in the United States were founded by immigrants, leading to more than 200,000 jobs in America.” Echoing
this, the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness stated in its recent report, “Highly skilled immigrants create jobs, they
don’t take jobs.”

For more detailed information on the proposals.

Poll Finds that Latinos Are Unhappy with President Obama’s Deportation Policy; Still Favor Obama Over Romney

January 1st, 2012 No comments
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Latinos by a 2-1 margin disapprove of how President Obama is handling deportations of illegal residents, but by an even larger margin, Latino voters favor him over Mitt Romney, according to a new survey by the Pew Hispanic Center.

The Obama administration has presided over a record number of deportations of illegal residents, a policy that has drawn extensive criticism from Latino leaders. By 59% to 27%, Latinos — citizens and noncitizens — say they disapprove of how the administration is handling the issue, according to the poll, released Wednesday.

Obama’s overall approval rating among all Latinos in the survey was 49% — a figure consistent with findings of other recent surveys and a sharp decline from his standing earlier in his administration.

In order for Obama to win in November, he will need Latinos to get out and vote as they did in 2008. I predict that President Obama will make some type of push for immigration reform between now and the election; however, I doubt Congress will support any comprehensive immigration reform bill.

Are Latino Voters Losing Patience with President Obama’s Progress on Immigration Reform?

July 25th, 2011 No comments
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On Monday, President Barack Obama will make a luncheon speech at the National Conference of La Raza’s (NCLR) annual conference in Washington, DC.  While most of the political class is mesmerized by the debt ceiling negotiations, millions of Latinos will be focused on what the president says — or doesn’t say — about comprehensive immigration reform.

The fact that he’s speaking at the NCLR conference has special meaning for Latinos and their allies.  In July of 2008, at the NCLR annual conference in San Diego, candidate Obama famously promised to make immigration reform a priority during the first year of his presidency.

In the 2008 election, Latino voters came out in record numbers to support Candidate Obama, and many Latino voters are impatiently waiting to see if President Obama will follow through on the promises he made to Latinos in 2008.

Recent polling by Latino Decisions shows that immigration is the number one issue for Latinos, topping the economy and jobs by 51 percent to 35 percent (education came in third at 18 percent).   In recent Gallup polling, Obama’s approval ratings hover at around 50 percent from a community that previously had him at  high 70s approval rating early in his presidency.  Moreover, three successive 2011 tracking polls by Latino Decisions shows that less than 50 percent of Latino voters are certain to vote for Obama in 2012 (he won 67 percent in 2008).

President Obama Plans to Unveil Immigration Reform Blueprint in El Paso, Texas

May 11th, 2011 No comments
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President Obama plans to unveil a “blueprint” on Tuesday regarding what he wants Congress to include in a comprehensive immigration reform bill, according to senior administration officials.

Obama is scheduled to visit El Paso, Texas, with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano as part of the White House’s increased efforts to return immigration reform to the national spotlight.

A senior administration official told reporters in a conference call Monday evening that Obama’s renewed push for an immigration bill was not merely a political move attempting to paint Congress as the inhibitor and the White House as the doer in the eyes of Latino voters ahead of the 2012 elections.

“While it may be true that there are significant obstacles in Congress, we believe the American people expect the policymakers to do their job,” said an official. “So we do not accept the argument that because there are some in Congress who are unwilling to act that we ought to just wash our hands of trying to get this done.”

Colin Powell Calls For Passage of The Dream Act and A Path for Legalization

September 24th, 2010 No comments
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Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, a moderate Republican, urged his party Sunday to support immigration generally because illegal immigrants do essential work in the U.S. In an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press,” he said a path to legal status should be offered to illegal immigrants because they “are doing things we need done in this country.”

According to Powell, illegal immigrants are all over his house whenever he calls for repairs. However, Powell did not say whether he’s hired illegal immigrants directly or they showed up with contractors. In lamenting the party’s rightward drift Sunday, he said Republicans must not become anti-immigration and spoke in support of legislation that would give certain children of illegal immigrants a way to become citizens if they pursue a college education or military service – The Dream Act.

Powell also said “fringe” elements on the right are taking a low road when they label Obama a foreign-born Muslim and peddle other false theories about non-American influences on the president’s character. Obama was born in the U.S. and is Christian. “Let’s attack him on policy, not nonsense,” he said.

Detained Immigrants and Their Right to Legal Representation

September 17th, 2010 No comments
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As the Obama administration seeks to create a more humane system of detention for illegal immigrants, most continue to be held in rural jails without ready access to legal representation.

According to a survey of immigration detention facilities nationwide, more than half did not offer detainees information about their rights. Furthermore, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detains about 400,000 immigrants annually at a cost of $1.7 billion this fiscal year.

Executive director of the National Immigrant Justice Center claimed that while access to legal counsel is a foundation of the U.S. Justice System, their survey found that the government continues to detain thousands of men and women in remote facilities where access to counsel is limited or nonexistent.

Federal officials said they were making progress in helping provide legal help for detained immigrants. Additionally, ICE spokesman stated that they are working with their stakeholders, including the U.S. Department of Justice and nongovernmental organizations, to expand and support legal pro bono representation for those in custody.

The issue of lawyers for immigrant detainees is not new. Last year, the Constitution Project, a bipartisan legal group that promotes the right to legal counsel, argued in a report that the government should consider public funding for legal aid to detained immigrants.

Illegal immigrants ordered held are placed in a patchwork of about 350 mostly private facilities, many of them in less populated parts of the country. Detainees often find themselves transferred to facilities far from their homes, families, friends, and access to legal representation. Some California detainees are transferred to Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, which makes it very difficult for their families to coordinate and organize a meaningful defense to deportation.

A 2005 Migration Policy Institute study found that 41% of detainees applying to become lawful permanent residents who had legal counsel won their cases, compared with 21% of those without representation. In asylum cases, 18% of detainees with lawyers were granted asylum, compared with 3% for those without.

Granting immigrants better access to counsel could even save taxpayer money because detainees often would be released sooner, saving the $122-a-day cost of detention.

If you or a loved one is currently in immigration court or being held in detention, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a free consultation.

Obama Administration Dismisses Low Priority Deportation and Removal Cases

September 2nd, 2010 No comments
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The Department of Homeland Security is reviewing thousands of pending immigration cases and moving to dismiss those filed against suspected illegal immigrants who have no serious criminal records.

According to Richard Rocha, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman, the review is part of the agency’s broader, nationwide strategy to prioritize the deportations of illegal immigrants who pose a threat to national security and public safety. Rocha declined to provide further details.

Critics assailed the plan as another sign that the Obama administration is trying to create a kind of backdoor “amnesty” program. An immigration attorney who was briefed on the effort by Homeland Security’s deputy chief counsel in Houston, said DHS confirmed that it’s reviewing cases nationwide, though not yet to the pace of the local office. However, they are following general guidelines that allow for the dismissal of cases for defendants who have been in the country for two or more years and have no felony convictions. In some instances, defendants can have one misdemeanor conviction, but it cannot involve a DWI, family violence or sexual crime.

Opponents of illegal immigration were critical of the dismissals. However, immigrants who have had their cases terminated are frequently left in limbo, and are not granted any form of legal status. These illegal immigrants still have no work permits and Social Security Numbers. ICE is not going to proceed with their removal from the United States. However, they are still here illegally.

In a June 30 memo, ICE Assistant Secretary John Morton outlined the agency’s priorities, saying it had the capacity to remove about 400,000 illegal immigrants annually. The memo outlines priorities for the detention and removal system, putting criminals and threats to national security at the top of the list. Recently, ICE officials provided a copy of a new policy memo from Morton dated Aug. 20 that instructs government attorneys to review the court cases of people with pending applications to adjust status based on their relation to a U.S. citizen. Morton estimates in the memo that the effort could affect up to 17,000 cases.

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