Lawmakers in a major California city are considering a measure that would place strict limits on when city workers can notify immigration authorities about criminal suspects who are living in the United States illegally. The proposal would allow such notifications only when the suspect concerned has been charged with a violent crime and has been convicted of another violent crime during the past seven years. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors was scheduled to vote on the proposal on May 11, but the vote has been postponed.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will begin focusing on so-called sanctuary cities in California and throughout the United States that try to prevent undocumented immigrants from being deported. However, there are concerns that ICE's efforts will undermine the local law enforcement in those cities.
California residents may be aware that U.S. authorities have been widely criticized for the conditions at many immigration detention facilities and the treatment of detainees. According to a number of immigrant advocates, detainees have been routinely denied due process and separated from family members, and research conducted by groups including the American Civil Liberties Union has concluded that several detainees have died due to substandard health care.
Californian immigrants and immigrants' rights advocates may be interested to hear that a 27-year-old woman was finally freed from a controversial detention. The woman, a mother of two children, was originally detained at the beginning of the year as part of a series of high-profile immigration raids that were the subject of significant public backlash. Reports said that the 27-year-old, an asylum seeker of El Salvadorean origin, suffered no less than seven seizures during her time at Texas' Dilley family detention center.
According to multiple media outlets, the Department of Homeland Security, or DHS, announced that it will soon begin deporting thousands of undocumented families in California and nationwide who crossed the southern U.S. border illegally over the last two years. Though the plan is still being finalized, raids could start as early as January and would be conducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.
California lawful permanent residents may be subject to deportation and removal proceedings if they are convicted of certain types of criminal offenses. Other minor offenses may not trigger such proceedings, however.
Some immigrants who were deported after being detained in California, Arizona and Washington may have a chance to return to the United States. To have their cases reopened, the deported immigrants must have represented themselves during their deportation hearings and have a qualifying mental illness that was not discovered in a competency determination.
There are likely some California residents who are interested in the status of refuges who recently entered the U.S. seeking asylum. As of July 14, there were more than 2,170 of these immigrant refuges now possessing asylum claims that are valid according to officials in the federal government. Several human rights advocates have been vocal in protesting against the conditions these refugees are forced to endure inside the average federal detention center.
Changes by the Department of Homeland Security may give immigrants in California a better chance at presenting a deportation defense and obtaining asylum. The current detention policy has faced increasing criticism by activists and legislators concerned about the poor conditions at immigration detention centers and the associated costs. The change will provide asylum seekers with a better chance at quick release.
California immigrants may be interested to learn that a Supreme Court ruling on June 15 means that individuals whose attorneys mishandle their cases may have another chance on appeal. The ruling dealt with a man who was an undocumented immigrant from Mexico due to be deported after pleading guilty to an assault charge.