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Today a Judge from the District Court for the District of Columbia order our government to stop keeping asylum-seeking families in jail as a deterrent to other potential migrants.  The lawsuit is only at the preliminary injunction stage at this point, but hopefully this is the beginning of the end of "family detention" in America.

Read the full opinion here:

Civil Action No. 15-11, Memorandum Opinion

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My first post of the New Year.  This is just an intro for the link below to an opinion piece I co-authored with Kim Hunter, Dan Thomann, and Jennifer Smith, all of us volunteers for AILA's Artesia Legal Defense Team.  With the help of many volunteers, 14 families who were jailed at Artesia have been granted asylum.  Hundreds more women and children were released to their friends and families in the United States on bond to pursue their asylum claims outside of the prison system.  When the Artesia was closed, only 15 residents remained to move to the brand new family jail at Dilley Texas.  Unfortunately, the end of the Artesia family jail did not end family imprisonment.  Hundreds of mothers and children remain jailed in facilities near the towns of Karnes and Dilley in Texas.

http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/opinion/2014/12/23/opinion-these-kids-want-their-freedom-for-christmas/

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Yesterday, November 20, 2014 was a huge day in the immigration arena, a festive Thanksgiving buffet of options for a range of potential immigrants.  First, President Obama without much fanfare designated Temporary Protected Status for up to 18 months for nationals of the nations of Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia which are struggling with an epidemic of Ebola.  Then in a highly publicized, televised event, the president announced that he is once again taking executive action which will lift the threat of deportation from a large class of people currently living in the U.S. without legal status.  This new action is similar in kind to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program of 2012, which I have written about before.

The exact parameters of who will be eligible for deferred action or prosecutorial discretion under the new programs have not been announced, but the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service has posted a basic overview of expected programs on its website.  High...

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With President Obama set to announce another executive action on immigration this week, the newly-elected Republican majority in Congress is threatening countermeasures to thwart whatever program the president wants.  Last week there was loud talk about forcing yet another government shutdown if the president takes any action on immigration. Cooler heads among the Republican base have counseled against this. 


I have to say I was bemused and amused by the "government shutdown" threat.  Setting aside the enormous problems that a shutdown causes across all areas of civic and economic life, the threatmakers must have very little understanding of how our immigration system is actually run.  As I detailed during last year's government shutdown, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service-- which is the agency responsible for processing DACA applications and probably any new executive programs--goes right on working when the government is shutdown.  It's funded by filing fees, not taxes. ...

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In August, 2014 I spent a week in Artesia, New Mexico working on asylum cases for women and children imprisoned there by our government.  Sadly, hundreds are still imprisoned there and the U.S. Government is building even more family prisons.  These are my letters to the President and First Lady, mailed in September.


President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington DC 20500-0001


Dear Mr. President,

I have been a supporter of your presidency since the beginning.  My husband and I took our then-infant daughter to celebrate in Millennium Park in Chicago on Election Day in 2008, and I remember it as one of the happiest events I have ever been at in my life.  I have had an Obama bobblehead in my office for years.

No more. The president I supported ran on a platform of Hope.  He chanted "yes we can!" and "Sí, se puede!"  That president is gone.

I have spent the past weeks working with women, children, and infants that you have imprisoned, Mr. President, in what I can on...

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In response to the masses of Central American children fleeing to the United States, public officials have been playing up the theory that the families have just been duped by coyotes into believing that the U.S. will help them, or that some sort of pan-American game of telephone ended with Guatemalans hearing that DACA meant free green cards for all kids.  Our president and vice-president have been publically lecturing Central American families on the dangers of the northward journey, as though they had neither the knowledge nor capability to consider that factor hitherto. 

Today, the American Immigration Council published a report based on a year-long study of factors driving child migration and the effect of deporting children back to Central America.  The full study can be read here:http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/perspectives/no-childhood-here-why-central-american-children-are-fleeing-their-homes .

The reasons that adolescents flee El Salvador according to researcher, Elizabeth...

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