Archive for the ‘Homeland Security’ Category

Review of Secure Communities Program Delayed Indefinitely

December 5, 2012

Seventeen months ago, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it would create a statistical monitoring tool to review President Obama’s immigration enforcement program, the Secure Communities program, for civil rights violations. According to a recent article published in USA Today, Department officials are now unsure if and when this review will be completed.

As part of the booking process, local jails fingerprint new inmates. Through the Secure Communities program, the fingerprints are sent to Homeland Security where they are screened for federal immigration violations. Those who are suspected of potential immigration violations are flagged and examined by ICE.

Researchers from the University of California-Berkeley have found significant flaws with the program. Their report revealed that 93% of those arrested through the Secure Communities program were Hispanics, despite the fact that Hispanics consist of only 77% of the illegal immigrant population. Furthermore, a Homeland Security advisory counsel review resulted in half of the panel concluding that the program should be suspended because it is so flawed. According to the report, “Task force members believe that it makes little sense to expand a program that many community leaders and elected officials consider deeply flawed, especially as to its impact on community policing and civil rights.”

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New Immigration Law a Headache for Law Enforcement

September 24, 2012

For Arizona police officers, the “show me your papers” portion of Arizona’s immigration law (SB 1070) may be nothing more than a headache.

As the Los Angeles Times Reports, the new law requires officers to ask for proof of legal status when they stop people for other reasons and suspect that they are in the United States illegally. Police officers are concerned because the law adds an additional level of public scrutiny to traffic stops and other routine activities. Moreover, they fear that the law will spawn numerous lawsuits and divert police attention from more pressing duties.

Tucson Police Chief Roberto Villasenor expects lawsuits on both sides of the issue. “This will result in our officers being tied up in court rather than working on the streets to reduce crime,” said Villasenor. There is also concern that crime victims will be discouraged from contacting police out of fear of deportation.

The Obama administration has  denounced the law as unconstitutional, and has warned that it will watch for violations of federal rights. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. has stated that “we will continue to use every federal resource to protect the safety and civil rights of all Americans.”

Internal Checkpoints Limit Texas Abortions

September 10, 2012

Illegal immigrants seeking abortions after 16 weeks will find it near-impossible if they are residents of the Rio Grande Valley, according to a recent article in The New York Times.

The State of Texas requires women who seek abortions after 16 weeks to go to ambulatory surgical centers. However, there are no such centers within the Rio Grande Valley. Many immigrant women residing in this area seek late abortions because they discover their pregnancy too late, or are financially unable to obtain an abortion before the 16 week deadline. Left without options, many cross the border into Mexico to receive illegal and unsafe abortion procedures.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Rick Pauza claims that illegal immigrants seeking health services such as abortions may apply for legal entry to get past the checkpoints. According to Pauza, “C.B.P. Will review each request on a case-by-case basis and determine if it meets the criteria for a humanitarian parole or waiver of documents.”

Abortion opponents believe that there should be no waivers for elective procedures. One opponent, Shannon McGauley, stated that “as long as they’re not in labor, they should be taken into custody, and deportation procedures should begin.”

What to Expect During the Naturalization Process

August 1, 2012

Through the naturalization process, people who did not acquire/derive United States citizenship automatically at birth retain the opportunity to become a United States citizen. To ensure the process goes smoothly, applicants should develop a thorough under understanding of the naturalization process before beginning their application.

The first step in the naturalization process is to determine whether you are even eligible for naturalization. If you are a qualified spouse of a U.S. Citizen, you must show continuous residence in the United States for three years prior to filing your application. For all other applicants, the requirement is raised to five years. Additionally, if you are a spouse of a qualified U.S. citizen, you must show that you have been physically present in the U.S. for eighteen months within the three years before filing your application. For all other applicants, this requirement is raised to thirty months. The Immigration and Nationality Act offers several exceptions to these requirements, listed at Section 316, ¶ (b), (c), & (f).

The next step is for eligible applicants to complete Form N-400, “Application for Naturalization.” Along with the application, applicants will need two passport-style photographs, a fee (currently $595), and other documents required by Form N-400. For applicants residing in the U.S. Virgin Islands, the application, fee, and accompanying documents should be sent to the USCIS Lockbox Facility in Dallas, TX.

After completing the initial application, applicants will be fingerprinted and interviewed at a USCIS office. At the interview, applicants are placed under oath and asked a variety of questions about their background, residency, character, attachment to the Constitution, and other evidence concerning their case. The USCIS officers will also administer both an English and a civics test.  During the English test, applicants are asked to read one of three sentences in English, and write one of three sentences in English. For the civics test, applicants must orally answer ten questions about U.S. history and government. Applicants must answer six questions correctly to pass the civics test. All potential questions are available here.

Applicants may be told whether or not they will be granted citizenship at the conclusion of their interview. In some instances, cases will be “continued,” meaning that the case is put on hold. This likely means that the applicant failed one or both tests, or failed to provide all necessary documents Applicants with continued cases may need to return for a second interview or provide additional documents. Applicants who are denied will receive a written notice explaining why. Denial may be appealed by filing Form N-336. The appeal must be filed, along with the applicable fee, within 30 days after the applicant receives his denial letter.

For more information on the naturalization process, read the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s publication, A Guide to Naturalization.