| NEWS of the Day - August 15, 2012
|on some issues of interest to the community policing and neighborhood activist across the country
EDITOR'S NOTE: The following group of articles from local newspapers and other sources constitutes but a small percentage of the information available to the community policing and neighborhood activist public. It is by no means meant to cover every possible issue of interest, nor is it meant to convey any particular point of view ...
We present this simply as a convenience to our readership ...
From Google News
Program providing protection for young immigrants launched
by the CNN Wire Staff
Hundreds of thousands of people who entered the United States as children but without documentation can apply -- beginning Wednesday -- to remain in and work in the country without fear of deportation for at least two years.
"I've found the form!" screamed Maria, a young Chilean at a Latino community center in New York, as she leaped from her seat.
She was with a number of other undocumented immigrants meeting here to get legal advice in anticipation of the release of the form, which authorities surprisingly posted a day before they had said they would.
The form, titled "Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals," was dated August 15, 2012 and bore the expiration date of February 28, 2013.
Maria started filling it out immediately, telling a reporter she was too afraid to divulge her last name or details of her childhood trek to the United States, but would feel differently once the form had been processed and her status ensured.
The director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said Tuesday that applicants who have not committed major crimes can apply without fear of deportation.
"This afternoon, USCIS makes available online the forms and instructions for individuals who will request deferred action for childhood arrivals," Director Alejandro Mayorkas said in a conference call.
The announcement comes two months after Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said that people who arrived in the United States as children may request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years subject to renewal, and would then be eligible for work authorization.
The program, dubbed Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, was created in June under an executive order signed by President Barack Obama.
When he signed the order, Obama said the changes will make immigration policy "more fair, more efficient and more just."
The shift on the politically volatile issue of immigration policy elicited praise from Latino leaders, while Republicans reacted with outrage, saying the move amounts to amnesty -- a negative buzzword among conservatives -- and usurps congressional authority.
"This is not amnesty," Obama said. "This is not immunity. This is not a path to citizenship. It's not a permanent fix. This is a temporary stopgap measure."
Mayorkas reiterated Tuesday that deferred action does not provide lawful status or a shortcut to permanent residency or citizenship.
The $465 application fee will fund the administrative costs of the program, including a biometric check and the issuance of a secure work-authorization document, he said.
Each request will be examined for possible fraud, he added.
The forms and instructions are posted at www.uscis.gov/childhoodarrivals.
In a suburb north of Atlanta, David and Daniel Hernandez listened carefully as their lawyer detailed the program.
They arrived in the United States on tourist visas some 15 years ago, when David was 3 years old and Daniel was 1.
Their mother, Salima Hernandez, said they wanted a better future and education for her kids. She said she didn't worry about their legal status until she learned that they would not be able to continue their education without a government ID or Social Security number.
David, now a senior in high school, and Daniel, a freshman, say they were not aware of their status until a couple of years ago, when they began to make plans for college.
"I felt that after high school I didn't have anywhere to go," Davis told CNN. "I felt that if it was not something coming up soon I would end up back in Mexico."
He said he remains concerned about revealing his status to federal authorities by filling out the application, but says it's worth any risk. "Whatever comes in the future is better than three months ago," he said.
"None of these kids are cutting in the line," said their lawyer, Charles Kuck. "They are getting two things out of this program: one, a promise they wont be deported for two years and, two, a work permit. In exchange, the federal government is getting a million or more kids coming forward, give their biographical information and that of their whole family and give their pictures."
He urged anyone applying to do so with the help of a lawyer. "The government has said quite clearly: there will be no appeals, there will be no motions to re-open. You get one bite at this apple."
As many as 1.7 million youths may qualify for the program, according to the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center.
In announcing the program, Obama noted that children of illegal immigrants "study in our schools, play in our neighborhoods, befriend our kids, pledge allegiance to our flag. It makes no sense to expel talented young people who are, for all intents and purposes, Americans."
The president declared that the policy change is "the right thing to do."
Under the new policy, people younger than 30 who arrived in the United States before the age of 16, pose no criminal or security threat, and were successful students or served in the military, can get a two-year deferral from deportation and apply for work permits.
Participants must prove they have been living in the country continuously for at least five years.
The change is part of a department effort to target resources at illegal immigrants who pose a greater threat, such as criminals and those trying to enter the country now, Napolitano said.
The move addresses a concern of the Latino community and includes some of the provisions of a Democratic proposal called the DREAM Act that failed to win enough Republican support to gain congressional approval.
Obama has been criticized by Latino leaders for an overall increase in deportations of undocumented immigrants in recent years. Last year, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement removed 396,906 illegal immigrants, the largest number in the agency's history.
Obama and Napolitano have called for Congress to pass the DREAM Act, which would put into law similar steps for children of illegal immigrants to continue living and working in the country.
Republicans who blocked Democratic efforts to change immigration laws have condemned the move, with some calling it an improper maneuver to skirt congressional opposition.
Rep. Steve King of Iowa, a GOP foe of Democratic proposals on immigration, threatened in June to sue to stop Obama "from implementing his unconstitutional and unlawful policy."
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina has called the decision "a classic Barack Obama move of choosing politics over leadership," while House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, has called the change a "decision to grant amnesty to potentially millions of illegal immigrants."
Others predicted the move will tighten an already poor job market for young Americans.
However, Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, who sponsored the DREAM Act, said it "will give these young immigrants their chance to come out of the shadows and be part of the only country they've ever called home."
Presumed GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney said in June that the issue needs more substantive action than an executive order, which can be replaced by a subsequent president.
As president, Romney said, he would seek to provide "certainty and clarity for people who come into this country through no fault of their own by virtue of the actions of their parents."
Latinos make up the fastest-growing immigrant population in the country, and the Latino vote is considered a crucial bloc for the November presidential election.
A spokeswoman for a major Latino group, the National Council of La Raza, hailed the administration's move.
"In light of the congressional inaction on immigration reform, this is the right step for the administration to take at this time," NCLR spokeswoman Laura Vazquez said in June.
From the Department of Justice
Acting Associate Attorney General Tony West Speaks at the Visit to the San Jose, Calif., National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention Site
San Jose, Calif. ~ Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Thank you, Mary Lou, for that kind introduction. I also want to thank my friend and colleague, U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag, for being here today and for all the work that her office is doing to reduce youth violence in the Northern District of California. Attorney General Holder often says our U.S. Attorneys are community problem solvers, not case processors, and that could not be truer of Melinda and her dedicated staff.
Let me also thank your great mayor, Chuck Reed. I've known Mayor Reed for most of my life and there is no one who cares more about this city, about its future and its people, than Chuck Reed. And it's an honor to be with him today.
I think Mary Lou really summed it up well so I'll be brief. By emphasizing collaborative partnerships, evidence-based and data-driven strategies and a balanced, holistic approach, we know we can help communities to curb violence and promote the health, safety and development of our young people.
San Jose is doing just this, which is why it's one of six cities that are part of the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention. The San Jose team has been working hard over the last 20 months to implement concrete strategies to coordinate their youth violence prevention activities.
And what San Jose is doing aligns well with the work we're doing at the Department of Justice. Attorney General Eric Holder's comprehensive Anti-Violence Strategy, led by our Nation's U.S. Attorneys, focuses on a "three-legged stool" approach to reducing and preventing crime through enforcement, prevention, and reentry. San Jose's anti-violence plan involves not just law enforcement, but schools, the Faith community, the business community and public health experts.
And because we want more cities to do what San Jose is doing, we're expanding this violence prevention conversation to other cities across the nation. This fall, we will be announcing four additional cities to participate in the National Forum, bringing the total number to ten. And San Jose will have a lot to share with those new National Forum cities when they join the conversation.
Now, all of us are here because we're deeply committed to tackling the challenge of preventing youth and gang violence in our communities.
We're here because, according to the CDC, homicide is the second leading cause of death among young people -- the first if you're an African-American or Latino youth -- and because before this day is out, 14 more kids will lose their lives to violence.
We're here because a majority of kids – over 60 percent – regardless of race – are exposed to some form of violence, crime, or abuse, ranging from brief encounters as witnesses to being direct victims themselves.
And we're here because San Jose is part of the solution.
I have to say that it was no surprise to me when I learned that San Jose was selected as a National Forum city. This city's commitment to reducing violence is long-standing and real. There's a reason why San Jose is rightfully known as one of the safest big cities in America. You were doing collaboration before it was fashionable. You were investing in evidence-based strategies before it was commonplace. San Jose has been exploring innovative and effective violence prevention strategies for decades.
And I know this because this is the city where I grew up. It's where I went to school and where my parents live still. It's where I learned to be a lawyer as a young prosecutor up the street in the U.S. Attorney's Office. San Jose taught me that you can bring people together with very different perspectives to solve common problems. So I'm not surprised this is a National Forum city that can serve as a model to others.
Now, the San Jose team will be the first to admit that the City is not perfect; we still have challenges here, as yesterday's events demonstrate. We still have work to do. But one of the great things about this City is that it is continually in a state of becoming, of trying new strategies and new approaches; of never being afraid to tackle old challenges such as youth violence with new ideas.
So I'm delighted to be back home in San Jose, proud to be a son of San Jose, and I'm please to be a part of today's site visit.