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Obama: Greater Discretion Needed for Relief from Deportation

On December 11, 2013, Vice President Joe Biden and Cecilia Muñoz, Director of the Domestic Policy Council participated in a live event, fielding questions from the American public on immigration reform. [1] During this event, Vice President Biden repeated that the President does not have the authority to suspend deportations, a position which Obama has maintained throughout recent months. [2] Activists and political figures across the country have called on the President to halt deportations and for greater discretion to be shown in deportation orders. [3] [4] [5] [6] As a former law professor, practicing lawyer, and community activist, the President should know that deportations should be evaluated on a case by case basis. The truth is that ICE-ERO, under the Obama administration, has deported a record number of immigrants in recent years, with Ohio and Texas being some of the worst areas hit. Ohio, in particular Cleveland and the Painesville area, is losing its immigrant population due to these unfair deportations. Below are just a few examples of cases which our firm has come across in recent months. Bear in mind that these are all cases with appeals and/or stays pending. These individuals are not flight risks, yet they are still detained at tax-payers’ expense.

26 year old woman from Moldova, came to the U.S. on a J-1 Visa to work and travel. She applied for asylum based on a human trafficking claim. She provided her attorneys with medical and police records, however the judge denied her case based on a lack of corroborating evidence. Her appeal was also dismissed. Immediately after the appeal was dismissed, she was called in to ICE-ERO, and was detained at her first report date. She has a stay pending with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit. She is a tax-paying and incredibly hard-working woman.

31 year old Honduran national, entered the U.S. in 2000 and resided in this country for the past thirteen years, with no criminal record. He has a U.S. Citizen girlfriend and one year old child; his entire family is either U.S. citizens or green card holders. He is eligible to adjust status under INA § 245(i), however he needs his final order to be reopened in order to do so. A Motion to Reopen the case based on his eligibility to adjust status was filed with the BIA, after ICE-OCC refused to join in the motion. The client was picked up by ICE-ERO in September and was deported today, just days before Christmas.

26 year old young man from Mexico. He has lived in the U.S. since the age of 12, occasionally travelling back to Mexico. In 2009 he had an expedited removal, unbeknown to him. The removal bars him from all forms of relief. He graduated high school in the U.S., which would normally make him eligible for DACA, were it not for the removal order. He also would be eligible to adjust status based on an old I-130 petition filed by his brother in 2001. He has a U. S. citizen fiancé, who is pregnant with their child, due in 1 month. Unfortunately, he is detained in jail, and his deportation is imminent. There are many young immigrants in the U.S. who are eligible for relief, yet are stuck because of new laws they had no knowledge of.

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