USCCB Migration Committee Chairman Reacts to Supreme Court Decision on Immigration
June 23, 2016
WASHINGTON—The chairman of the Committee on Migration of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops expressed disappointment in relation to the June 23 per curiam ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of United States v. Texas, in which some states are challenging immigration guidelines issued by the Secretary of Homeland Security, relating to the DAPA and expanded DACA programs.
The Court deadlocked in a 4-4 tie, which means that the programs will remain preliminarily blocked nationwide from going into effect, and the matter will return to the federal trial court for further proceedings. The original DACA program is not affected by the injunction.
Prior to the decision, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and 24 other U.S. faith-based organizations, who advocate or provide aid and resources to recent immigrants and their families, filed an amicus curiae brief with the Supreme Court. The brief stressed the public interest and humanitarian arguments for supporting the guidelines, explaining that the guidelines facilitate family stability and community participation.
The full statement from Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, auxiliary bishop of Seattle, follows:
Statement of Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, chairman of the Committee on Migration of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
For over fifty years, USCCB Migration & Refugee Services has helped create a world where immigrants, migrants, refugees, and people on the move are treated with dignity, respect, welcome, and belonging. For over fifty years, Migration & Refugee Services has welcomed the newcomer —the immigrant—to this great country and helped them get on their feet, facilitating access to education, healthcare, language assistance, employment, and much more.
The Court’s decision today does not change that.
That said, the decision is a huge disappointment; it means millions of families will continue to live in fear of deportation and without the immediate ability to improve their lives through education and good jobs. However, in the wake of this opinion, we must also focus on the bigger picture: comprehensive immigration reform is necessary to fix our broken system. We need to bring people out of the shadows. We should not separate families. While today’s decision is a setback, we must not lose hope that reform is possible. It is both necessary and possible to safeguard our immigration system in a humane manner.
People do not cease to be our brothers and sisters just because they have an irregular immigration status. No matter how they got here, we cannot lose sight of their humanity — without losing our own. Let us pray for all of our immigrant brothers and sisters today.
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, deportation, raids, Central American, humanitarian crisis, migration, Committee on Migration, DACA, DAPA, Supreme Court
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Norma Montenegro Flynn
ICE establishes hotline for detained individuals, issues new detainer form
WASHINGTON — As part of a broader effort to improve our immigration enforcement process and prioritize resources to focus on threats to public safety, repeat immigration law violators, recent border entrants, and immigration fugitives while continuing to strengthen oversight of the nation’s immigration detention system and facilitate legal immigration, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) today announced new measures to ensure that individuals being held by state or local law enforcement on immigration detainers are properly notified about their potential removal from the country and are made aware of their rights.
The new measures include a new detainer form and the launch of a toll-free hotline –(855) 448-6903 – that detained individuals can call if they believe they may be U.S. citizens or victims of a crime. The hotline will be staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week by ICE personnel at the Law Enforcement Support Center. Translation services will be available in several languages from 7 a.m. until midnight (Eastern) seven days a week. ICE personnel will collect information from the individual and refer it to the relevant ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Field Office for immediate action.
The new form also includes:
- A request that the law enforcement agency (LEA) provide the subject of the detainer a copy of the detainer form and includes a notice advising the subject that ICE intends to assume custody. The notice informs these individuals that ICE has requested the LEA maintain custody beyond the time when they would have otherwise been released by the state or local law enforcement authorities based on their criminal charges or convictions. The notice also includes Spanish, French, Portuguese, Chinese and Vietnamese translations.
- Further emphasis that LEAs may only hold an individual for a period not to exceed 48 hours (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays). It also advises individuals that if ICE does not take them into custody within the 48 hours, they should contact the LEA or entity that is holding them to inquire about their release from state or local custody.
- Directions for individuals who may have a civil rights or civil liberties complaint regarding ICE activities.
- The new form allows ICE to make the detainer operative only upon the individual’s conviction of the offense for which he or she was arrested.
- The new form makes clear that the existence of a detainer should not impact or prejudice the individual’s conditions of detention, including matters related to the individual’s custody classification, work or quarter assignments.
An immigration detainer (Form I-247) is a notice that DHS issues to federal, state and local LEAs to inform them that ICE intends to assume custody of an individual in the LEA’s custody and to request that the LEA notify ICE as soon as possible prior to the time when LEA would otherwise release the individual.
Detainers help ensure that individuals who are convicted of criminal charges or have previously been removed are not released back into the community to potentially commit more crimes. Detainers are critical tools in assisting ICE’s identification and removal of criminal aliens, immigration fugitives, illegal re-entrants, recent border crossers and others who have no legal right to remain in the United States.
Press release taken from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement website.