How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

ICE deportation reviews by the numbers, updated

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A post last month broke down the Obama administration's deportation case reviews by the numbers though mid-April, looking at how many cases had been reviewed and how many had been shelved, which wasn't many.

With the bulk of the roughly 300,000 initial reviews of pending cases completed by now, much the same holds true. Of these, a little more than 4,000 deportation cases have been administratively closed or dismissed since the reviews began in November, although immigration officials say there will be more.

Meanwhile, about 111,000 newly filed cases are also being reviewed as they are added to the immigration court caseload. The idea behind the reviews, announced last summer, is to weed out "low priority" immigrants who could be eligible to stay under new prosecutorial discretion guidelines established by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

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In California, an attempt to keep some deportees' children out of foster care

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A post last month described some of the scenarios that can befall the U.S.-born children of immigrants who land in deportation proceedings, some better than others. Sometimes, deported parents opt to take their children with them when they leave. Other children remain here with relatives.

But when relatives can’t be located, or the parents are shuffled off quickly into the immigrant detention system, sometimes there's nowhere for the kids to go. In these cases, it's surprisingly easy for these immigrants to lose their parental rights. Parents in detention are hard pressed to meet the requirements established by child welfare agencies, such as attending case meetings or court proceedings related to the children, and often fail to meet the strict timelines set. If they don't meet the terms, their parental rights can be terminated.

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Is prosecutorial discretion leading to fewer deportation cases?

Are the prosecutorial discretion guidelines issued by the Obama administration last year having an effect on the number of deportation cases that the administration is pursuing?

A new Syracuse University report suggests yes, federal immigration officials say no, and some lawmakers are calling "amnesty" nonetheless.

First, the report: Issued in recent days by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University, the number of deportation proceedings begun in the nation's immigration courts between October and December of last year (the first quarter of federal fiscal year 2012) "fell sharply to only 39,331 — down 33 percent from 58,639 filings recorded the previous quarter," a drop of more than 10,000 cases filed. The report notes that since filings are typically lower at that time of year, the numbers were adjusted for seasonal drop-off. It continues:

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Obama administration's new deportation policy being applied unevenly

Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

A man is prepared for a deportation flight bound for San Salvador in Mesa, Arizona, December 2010

A series of recent posts on Multi-American highlighted how a new deportation policy announced in August by the Obama administration, which promised to potentially spare thousands from deportation, was being applied unevenly.

Homeland Security officials announced that they would review the deportation cases of some 300,000 immigrants deemed a low priority for removal, among them young people who arrived here as minors and had no criminal record. But people who meet the criteria for leniency have continued moving through the deportation pipeline. One prominent recent example was Matias Ramos, a UCLA graduate and student activist who in September suddenly found himself wearing an electronic shackle and informed that he was to be deported to Argentina, where he was born.

Ramos was granted a last-minute temporary reprieve, as have other potential young deportees who have been the focus of social media campaigns by student activists and advocacy groups. But while some like these have been spared, others who meet the criteria and have similar backgrounds and similarly clean records continue to be deported.

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Who is a 'low priority' under DHS deportation guidelines?

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After yesterday's announcement from the Department of Homeland Security that it will review some 300,000 cases of immigrants in the deportation pipeline, potentially sparing many from removal, a Obama administration official posting on the White House Blog linked to "common sense guidelines" that will be applied in deciding who goes and who stays.

An excerpt from what was posted by Cecilia Muñoz, White House intergovernmental affairs director:

So DHS, along with the Department of Justice, will be reviewing the current deportation caseload to clear out low-priority cases on a case-by-case basis and make more room to deport people who have been convicted of crimes or pose a security risk. And they will take steps to keep low-priority cases out of the deportation pipeline in the first place. They will be applying common sense guidelines to make these decisions, like a person’s ties and contributions to the community, their family relationships and military service record.

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