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Hundreds Of Universities, Cities, And Businesses File Amicus Briefs Urging The Supreme Court To Defend DACA

This week the Supreme Court went back into session, kicking off what’s expected to be one of the most divisive and controversial terms in recent history. Everything from LGBTQ and abortion rights, to yes, DACA, is on the docket, and America will get to see the impact of the addition of Trump-appointee Brett Kavanaugh.

Although judges are expected to be politically impartial, Kavanaugh’s contentious confirmation hearing after being accused of sexual assault, left him charging Democrats with unfairly going after his character.

Now, some experts are bracing for a possible “conservative revolution,” after the court overturned two precedents (a highly unusual move) last term, and President Donald Trump has successfully appointed 150 judges to lifetime seats on the bench (whoever told said your vote didn’t matter, lied.)

In its newly started session, the Supreme Court isn’t shying away from hot topic issues – including a decision that will decide the outcome of DACA once and for all.

President Donald Trump’s signature issue is immigration, and in November the court will consider his administration’s decision to phase out DACA, an Obama-era initiative that protects nearly 700,000 young undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children from deportation. The eventual ruling will have a major impact on way or another in the presidential race.

At issue before the justices is not the legality of the program, but how the administration decided to phase it out.

Plaintiffs, including the University of California, a handful of states and DACA recipients argue that the phase out violated the Administrative Procedure Act, a federal law that governs how agencies can establish regulations. Lower courts agreed and issued nationwide injunctions that allowed renewals in the program to continue. The Trump administration appealed the decision to the Supreme Court, and at the time, the President predicted success: “We want to be in the Supreme Court on DACA,” he said.

Groups of all kinds are filing so-called Amicus briefs to the Suprme Court urging them to protect DACA.

More than 100 different cities from across the country, dozens of major colleges and universities, and some of the country’s largest companies all joined together to defend DACA.

The brief filed by some 165 educational institutions said: “These extraordinary young people should be cherished and celebrated, so that they can achieve their dreams and contribute to the fullest for our country. Banishing them once more to immigration limbo — a predicament they had no part in creating — is not merely cruel, but irrational.”

Even the Mexican government filed a brief with the court.

Mexico has had little legal recourse in it’s fight against Trump’s cruel and (as many consider) illegal policies targeting the migrant community. And a large part of the migrant community (including those attacked at the El Paso Massacre) are Mexican nationals. So the government has been eager to take a stand.

And with the upcoming legal battle regarding DACA, Mexico has staked its position in support of DREAMers by filing an Amicus brief with the court. The brief points out the commitment to human rights and the principles of dignity that should be afforded to all humans – regardless of their migration status.

Meanwhile, children advocates point out that eliminating the program would also harm more than a quarter million US-born children.

More than three dozen child advocacy organizations say White House officials failed to account for a quarter of a million children born in the U.S. whose parents are protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program when they repealed it in 2017.

“These children are endangered not only by the actual detention and deportation of their parents, but also the looming fear of deportation,” the groups wrote in an amicus brief filed with the Supreme Court last week. “The imminent threat of losing DACA protection places children at risk of losing parental nurturance, as well as losing income, food security, housing, access to health care, educational opportunities, and the sense of safety and security that is the foundation of healthy child development.”

Children’s health experts have been sounding the alarm on the impact of toxic stress inflicted on children impacted by the Trump administration’s immigration agenda. Studies have linked toxic stress to developmental issues with children’s brains and bodies and an increase in their risk of disorders ranging from diabetes to depression, heart disease, cancer, addiction and premature death.

DACA was created by an Obama executive order in 2012, and the Trump Administration announced in September 2017 it was officially ending the program.

When the Trump administration officially announced the end of the DACA program in September 2017, there were nearly 800,000 young immigrants around the country who benefited from it.

Three lawsuits challenging the termination of DACA filed in California, the District of Columbia and New York eventually led to courts prohibiting the government from phasing out the immigration program. Those lawsuits argued that ending the DACA program violated the rights of those covered by its benefits and ran counter to a federal law governing administrative agencies, according to SCOTUSblog. The Supreme Court consolidated those three lawsuits and will hear arguments on the DACA case on Nov. 12.

The justices will consider whether the court even has the authority to review the Trump administration’s decision to end DACA and, if so, whether the decision to end DACA is legal.

Predictably, President Trump has urged the court to strike down DACA.

As recently as Wednesday, President Trump said his predecessor had no authority to initiate the DACA program in the first place, and that if the Supreme Court overturns it, as it should, Congress would likely find a legislative solution to allowing DACA recipients to remain in the U.S.

“The Republicans and Democrats will have a DEAL to let them stay in our Country, in very short order,” he tweeted Wednesday. “It would actually benefit DACA, and be done the right way!”

ICE Is Threatening To Reopen Deportation Proceedings Against All DACA Recipients Regardless Of DACA Status

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ICE Is Threatening To Reopen Deportation Proceedings Against All DACA Recipients Regardless Of DACA Status

ImmigrationEquality / Instagram

DACA is supposed to protect those who qualify for the protected status from deportation proceedings. This is how the program has worked (or was intended to) since 2012, when President Obama enacted it via executive order. However, many DACA recipients are now facing the uncertain futures they had hoped to avoid by signing up for DACA in the first place as ICE has moved to reopen their deportation cases.

This has thrown people’s futures into doubt and cast a dark shadow over their status and the lives of their families.

ICE has moved to reopen long closed deportation cases against DREAMers.

In an escalation of its pursuit of undocumented immigrants, the Trump administration is moving to deport members of the very group that seemed until a few years ago the most protected: DACA recipients.

ICE has begun asking immigration courts to reopen administratively closed deportation cases against DACA recipients who continue to have no criminal record, or only a minor record. Immigration attorneys in Arizona confirmed at least 14 such cases being reopened since October, and according to a report by CNN, there are also cases which were recently reopened in Nevada, Missouri, California, and New York.

And that is just the beginning. ICE confirmed that all DACA recipients whose deportation cases have been administratively closed can expect to see them reopened. In an email, the agency stated that “re-calendaring of administratively closed cases is occurring nationwide and not isolated to a particular state or region.”Administratively closing a case removes it from the court calendar, in effect putting it on hold indefinitely. Immigration courts are part of the Department of Justice, unlike civil or criminal courts.

The move to reopen deportation cases against Dreamers comes as the US Supreme Court considers whether to let the Trump administration end the program.

During oral arguments in November, the U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative majority signaled Tuesday that it may let the Trump administration shut down the Obama-era program that granted temporary protection from deportation to roughly 700,000. Some justices made it clear that they were accepting the president’s assurances that ending DACA would not mean deporting Dreamers.

But immigration attorneys say the cases they are now seeing reopened show how ICE is preparing to deport DACA recipients if the Supreme Court ruling terminates the program.

It has long been the case that Dreamers who are charged with or convicted of a serious crime risk losing DACA status and being deported, since applicants had to have no felonies, significant misdemeanors, or three or more other misdemeanors to qualify for deferred action in the first place.

According to CNN, cases against DACA recipients began being reopened in October.

“It wasn’t until October that DHS (Department of Homeland Security) started to reopen the DACA cases,” Tucson attorney Jesse Evans-Schroeder wrote in an email to CNN. She said five of her DACA clients saw their cases reopened in October or November.

Before May 2018, when then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions barred the practice of administratively closing cases, immigration judges as a matter of routine administratively closed deportation cases against people who received DACA, since that status protected them from deportation.

In a statement provided by spokeswoman Paige Hughes, ICE said that it is required under Session’s May 2018 decision “to reopen approximately 350,000 administratively closed cases so they are litigated to completion,” and the applicant is ordered removed or obtains relief. ICE did not break down how many of the 350,000 administratively closed cases involve DACA recipients versus other people who are simply a low priority for deportation, but Hughes said there is no stipulation that would exempt DACA recipients.

Just this week, a DACA recipient in California was arrested by ICE while at her job at a Marriott Hotel.

According to her family and friends, ICE agents took Daniella Ramirez, 23, into custody at 5:30 a.m. Friday. 

According to NBC 4, Ramirez worked full time in the kitchen and as a receptionist at the hotel for the past two years. Ramirez came to the U.S. from Mexico with her sister when she was 10-years-old. She graduated from Azusa High School, and her DACA status expired. She told NBC 4 she neglected to renew it out of fear. She says she’d heard she’d be sent to jail if she did.

And a mother driving her 5-year-old to school was stopped, arrested, and held in jail despite having an active DACA status.

Paula Hincapie-Rendon was on her way to drop off her kid at school when an unmarked car started following her. Hours later, her parents were in an ICE detention center and her house had been burglarized.

But on the morning of May 8, agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested her a block away from her house in Englewood. 

Hincapie-Rendon said she was taking her 5-year-old daughter to school when an unmarked car pulled her over. Two agents approached her car and told her to get out. She asked them to identify themselves three times, but they refused. On the fourth try, they answered.

Hincapie-Rendon asked if she could take her daughter back to the house and leave her with her parents. The agents obliged, with one caveat — they would be driving her car while she sat in their van, handcuffed.

Once at the house, agents found Hincapie-Rendon’s dad, Carlos Hincapie, leaving for work. They arrested him on the spot. Agents then went into the house and arrested Hincapie-Rendon’s mom, Betty Rendon, a Lutheran minister who was set to start her doctorate at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago in June. Agents also arrested Hincapie’s cousin, who was staying with the family.

The agents drove the family to ICE’s field office in the Loop. The agency released Hincapie-Rendon that same afternoon under an order of supervision.

Young Man Is Suing Federal Government Because Being Detained Is Stopping Him From Renewing DACA Status

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Young Man Is Suing Federal Government Because Being Detained Is Stopping Him From Renewing DACA Status

Mijente

In November, the Supreme Court finally heard from the attorney’s representing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) community. It was a moment that was a long time coming. For the past three years, or we should say since Donald Trump was elected as president, the DACA community has lived a life of limbo and uncertainty as DACA has been attacked. So, while we wait for the decision from the Supreme Court, which should be at some point early next year, some DACA beneficiaries are still fighting for their lives. 

Twenty-four-year-old Jesus Alberto Lopez Gutierrez is suing the government because he continues to be in ICE detention.

Credit: @immigrationlaw / Twitter

In May 2019, Lopez Gutierrez was on his way home to Chicago from a camping trip with friends when they were pulled over. An Iowa police officer found that Lopez Gutierrez was in possession of marijuana. He was arrested on the spot. What made the issue more complicated was that Lopez Gutierrez was undocumented. 

While the drug charges were dropped, Lopez Gutierrez was still taken to ICE detention. You may be wondering if this 24-year-old man had DACA protection. Well, he did.

Credit: OCADIL / Facebook

Lopez Gutierrez had DACA in 2013, but when it expired in 2015, he had not renewed his application. Then Trump became president, and no one was safe. Soon after his election, people with DACA were being detained. Now, attorney’s for Lopez Gutierrez say he must be released in order to reapply for DACA. 

“Jesus has spent more than seven months in immigration detention. Under ICE’s policies, they should have released him. If they only released him, he would be able to get DACA again to apply for renewal and avoid deportation. Instead, they are keeping him in jail, violating the U.S. Constitution,” his attorney Wally Hilke said this week at a press conference, a local Chicago radio station reports. 

The lawsuit filed is against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and two agencies within that department. Lopez Gutierrez’s attorney says he must be released because he qualifies for temporary protection from deportation.

Credit: @DetentionWatch / Twitter

A couple of pro-immigration organizations are assisting Lopez Gutierrez in his fight to get released, including Organized Communities Against Deportations (OCAD) and Mijente

“We are asking that Beto be released from detention,” Xanat Sobrevilla of OCAD told the radio station. “His immediate freedom is necessary. Beto is missed by his family and community. We will pursue and continue fighting until Beto is back home in Chicago.”

They also instructed supporters how they can assist by calling to get him released.

“Just a reminder that we’re still pushing for Jesus Alberto to be transferred to Chicago as this is the next immediate step in his Fight for Freedom. In order to make that happen, we need to pressure Eric Ouellette to transfer Jesus to Chicago, and we know they won’t act in our favor unless the community is constantly pressuring them.”

Mijente has also started a petition to show their support for Lopez Gutierrez.

Credit: Mijente

“As the youngest member of his nuclear family, Jesus contributes the majority of his wages to ensure his family’s financial stability,” Mijente stated on their website. “He is in charge of providing care and physical support for his aging parents, both diagnosed with diabetes and his elderly grandmother, who requires constant care and assistance. Jesus would spend most of his days working but, in his free time, he likes to go running in the neighborhood park and enjoys camping trips with his friends. Since his detention in May, Beto’s family and community launched a campaign to stop his deportation, but by September, the immigration judge overseeing his case ordered his removal. But Beto is not giving up, with the support of his legal team he decided to sue the agencies that are keeping him locked up and away from his family.”

Mijente adds that the ICE detention in Minnesota, which is where Lopez Gutierrez is being detained, has the jurisdiction to release him.

Credit: Mijente

“ICE’s top officials in Minnesota have the authority to release Jesus from detention so that he has the opportunity to apply for DACA. Sign the petition to demand Minnesota ICE Field Director Peter Berg to release Jesus Lopez immediately from Freeborn County Jail in Minnesota on his own recognizance and allow him to proceed with his DACA renewal process.”

READ: This Deported Veteran Has Returned To The US And Is Now An American Citizen