Posts Tagged ‘Obama administration’

Time Will Prove the President’s Action to Be True

Friday, December 26th, 2014

Catholic Charities Director of Immigrant and Refugee Services C. Mario Russell writes a regular column in El Diario to update readers on the latest news on immigration reform.  Read his latest article below.

Critics of President Obama’s plan to designate some 5 million undocumented parents and children as temporarily non-deportable say that it is illegal, without precedent, and unwise. They are wrong.

To begin, a coalition of 17 U.S. states, led by the Texas Attorney General, sued the Obama administration in Federal Court last Wednesday saying the President’s plan is illegal. They allege it violates constitutional limits on executive law enforcement powers. But they say this while at the same time criticizing Mr. Obama for failing to use his executive powers to expel even more than the 2 million immigrants he already has deported. Strange, but when not penning the lawsuit over executive power, the administration’s critics beg him to use more of his power to deport people.

So the critics answer that this kind of exercise of power is unprecedented; it has not been used before. Again, they ignore that two presidents before him, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, used their constitutional law enforcement power to protect from deportation families that had been left out of a Congressional legalization plan.  By some estimates, this protected from deportation 1.5 million undocumented mothers, fathers, and spouses.

The critics’ rebuttal then turns into complaint about scale. Well, they say, what Reagan and Bush did before was on a much smaller scale than Mr. Obama’s plan. 1.5 million is a few people; 5 million is just too many!

This gets us to the heart of the problem. Yes, 5 million mothers, fathers, and youngsters who each day live with the threat of separation from their children or parents is just too many. In fact, I would suggest that 11 million people who live—for almost a generation now—in fear, anxiety, and with no opportunity to become full members of our human community is just too many. So critics themselves point to the humanitarian problem, and a humanitarian problem must be answered by law.

Time makes a difference in law.  Time allows for property rights, intellectual rights, and even rights in equity to grow. When people have been allowed to settle in a place for a long time they should be given a chance to get right with the law if they are not a threat to society. Those who argue the opposite force themselves to ignore what it means to lose the human goods they enjoy and build each day: love of family, community, church, work.

And the passage of time makes a difference in how we understand history: as the writer Robert Caro notes, “Time equals truth.” Over time America has overcome its fears of ethnic and national minorities. The nation’s inclusion of immigrants over time has proven to be the deepest truth of its identity: open, changing, new, hopeful.

This is a good and it is wise for us to pursue.

Read the full El Diario post in Spanish now.

In Court, Immigrant Children Moved to Head of the Line

Monday, August 18th, 2014

Yovany’s first opportunity to face the United States justice system came late on Thursday morning, more than a month after his journey from Guatemala ended in an American detention center near the Southwest border, reports Kirk Semple in The New York Times on August 14, 2014…

Yovany was among 55 children who have come before the judge this week as part of a new accelerated court process, a cornerstone of the Obama administration’s strategy to deal with the surge of unaccompanied minors from Central America…

Before the surge of unaccompanied minors became a crisis for the Obama administration, the immigration courts in New York, among the nation’s busiest, held four special juvenile dockets every month for children facing deportation. In coordination with court officials, a coalition of groups — including the American Immigration Lawyers Association, Catholic Charities Community Services, Legal Aid, Safe Passage Project and the Door — provided screening and free legal representation to the children…

Immigrants’ advocates in New York learned only at the end of July that the Justice Department had scheduled the new juvenile dockets starting this week. The groups, already overstretched, rushed to develop a plan of action…

The special dockets unfolded this week on the 12th floor of 26 Federal Plaza, a hulking federal office building near City Hall. The children, most accompanied by relatives, began to gather in the hallway outside Courtroom 31 by 8 a.m., an hour before the hearings were to begin…

On both days, Elvis Garcia Callejas, a representative from Catholic Charities, used a white board to present the families with a primer, in Spanish, on how the court works and on possible avenues of relief they might pursue to avoid a deportation order.

Most of the defendants appeared to be teenagers, although there were children as young as 4. Two young sisters wore matching striped dresses.

“The judge is not going to rule today,” Mr. Garcia Callejas clarified…

Justice Department officials said they had a mandate to ensure that children went before an immigration judge within 21 days of being placed in deportation proceedings. They plan to hold the special dockets as often as necessary to reach that goal.

Read the full story in The New York Times.

Catholic Charities Convenes at the White House with Fellow New York Leaders; Explores Immigrant Integration

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

Members of the NYS Unaccompanied Minors Working Group, (L-R) Dr. Alan Shapiro, co-founder, Terra Firma (immigrant youth clinic), Steven Choi, executive director , New York Immigration Coalition, Commissioner Nisha Agarwal, Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, and Mario Russell, director and senior attorney Refugee Services at Catholic Charities, NY (Photo : Rebecca S. Myles)

Catholic Charities NY joined fellow key members of the New York Immigration Coalition along with nearly 200 immigrants, immigrant integration experts and leaders of state and local governments from across the country to meet with officials from the Obama Administration last week for a White House Convening on Immigrant and Refugee Integration. The White House assembled this group to explore how the federal government can engage with communities on immigrant integration.

“This State and this nation have profited from the great contributions that immigrants have made throughout our history,” said Mario Russell, director and senior attorney in the Division of Immigrant and Refugee Services at Catholic Charities, NY. “We celebrate these contributions by finding how best to receive newcomers into the family of New York so that they can feel welcomed and experience success.”

Read more on the Latin Post



Drone warfare: Is this a road we want to go down?

Monday, March 4th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Karen J. Greenberg, a published author and Director of the Center on National Security at Fordham Law School, dissects controversial legal theories behind drone warfare on JustLove, the Catholic Channel, aired on Saturday, March 2, 2013.

Part of the Obama administration’s campaign against terror, drone warfare is a targeted killing program that relies on unmanned aircraft operated by remote control from a network of secret bases around the world.

Efficiency – the ability to save American lives by not putting troops in harms’ way and, in theory, reducing civilian casualties – are positive aspects of this relatively new military method, Ms. Greenberg says.

But drones’ ability to create “a reign of terror,” to heighten anti-Americanism and to promote the probable use of predator drones by other countries on American targets, she adds, makes us question “is this a road we want to go down?”

Listen to her conversation with Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, Executive Director of Catholic Charities New York, broadcasted on March 2, 2013 on  JustLove, The Catholic Channel 129, SIRIUS XM Satellite Radio.

JustLove, aired weekly on Saturday at 10 am EST, features conversations about the church in the world to promote a more just and compassionate society.