Sunday, November 6, 2011

Police: 36 illegal immigrants found in NW Valley house (Tucson Citizen)

Police: 36 illegal immigrants found in NW Valley house
by Philip Haldiman on Nov. 05, 2011

Thirty-six people suspected of being in the country illegally were found in a northwest Valley home on Saturday, according to Phoenix police.

Officials received an anonymous tip that the residence, in the 2100 block of West Shaw Butte, could be being used as a drop house.

The group is in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

No further information was available.

Benita Veliz, DREAM Act Poster Child, Spared Deportation By Immigration Officials (Huffington Post)

Benita Veliz, DREAM Act Poster Child, Spared Deportation By Immigration Officials
First Posted: 11/6/11 08:28 AM ET Updated: 11/6/11 11:09 AM ET

Benita Veliz, a poster child for the DREAM Act, was spared deportation earlier this week under deportation guidelines established by the Morton Memo on Prosecutorial Discretion, issued by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement this past June.

After her parents brought her to Texas from Mexico at the age eight, Veliz graduated from high school two years early as a National Merit Scholar and as her class valedictorian. She then graduated from St. Mary's University, which she attended on a full academic merit scholarship. But in 2009, she said a small driving error threatened her ability to stay in the only country she knows.

Veliz neglected to make a complete stop at a stop sign, prompting a police officer to pull her over. Deportation proceedings were then initiated when it was discovered she was undocumented.

In a video testimony on YouTube filmed in 2009, Veliz says that she has "absolutely no family in Mexico" and knows "absolutely no one" in her native country. Veliz says in the video that critics should take into account how young she was when her parents brought her to the U.S.

"A lot of people will take the argument, illegal is illegal is illegal and so if you're here illegally you did something wrong and you need to go back where you came from," she said in the video. "But put yourself in the shoes of an eight-year-old child, who has absolutely no concept of what legal is or illegal is ... who could barely write in cursive, much less understand the complexities of the immigration system."

Luckily for Veliz, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton established new guidelines earlier this year that prioritized the deportation of undocumented immigrants who are dangerous criminals over that of individuals with no criminal record. Thanks to those guidelines, immigration authorities ended deportation proceedings against Veliz on Wednesday. Nancy Shivers, Veliz's lawyer, said in an interview with the San Antonio Express-News that she believes Veliz was spared because she's eligible for the DREAM Act.

However, Veliz's trouble are still "far from over," according to the San Antonio Express-News, because in order to obtain a work permit, she would have to leave the United States and face a 10-year ban before she could return.

While cases like Veliz's are not yet commonplace, she is not the first to avoid deportation thanks to the Morton memo. Luis Enrique Hernandez and Pedro Morales, two students from Georgia who were brought to the U.S. at a young age, both successfully filed petitions to drop their cases based on the memo's guidelines.

Despite the challenges she still faces, Veliz says she is happy to be able to stay in the country she calls home.

"When this started three years ago, I thought that was it. I'd lost hope," Veliz said to the San Antonio Express-News. "I'm definitely happy to still be here."

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Frederick murder case sparks debate about illegal immigration

Frederick murder case sparks debate about illegal immigration
By Brad Bell
November 4, 2011 - 05:06 pm

The arrest of a suspect in the murder of a Frederick Burger King manager has ignited a debate in Frederick County about illegal immigration.

The suspect arrested by police, 21-year-old Jose Reyes Mejia-Varela, is an illegal immigrant who had already been deported once before.

Federal criminal charges are pending against Mejia-Varela for illegally re-entering the country after having been deported as an aggravated felon, police say. He has also been charged with first-degree murder, armed robbery, first and second-degree assault and theft.

County Commissioner Blaine Young is proposing a package of rules to drive illegal immigrants out of Frederick County.

“What happened was this hit kind of close to home. So we kind of fast-tracked some of those initiatives we want to look at,” Young said.

He wants to strengthen an existing English-language ordinance, require businesses to use a government data base to verify employees’ status, prohibit the rental of homes and apartments to illegal immigrants and prohibit day-labor gathering sites.

“We should not be offering assistance to people that aren't here legally,” Young said.

Some Frederick residents share Young’s sentiment, but others argue the rules go too far.

“Bottom line, if you're an illegal immigrant, you're here illegally. You got to enforce the law,” said John Hardin.

“There’s absolutely a middle ground for finding a way to accept all who come to this country and adhere to our laws,” counters Chris Garcia.

Young predicts the proposals will become law.

“People have said Frederick is the (…) unfriendliest county in the state of Maryland when it comes to illegal aliens. We wear that as a badge of honor,” he said.

US Citizen Caught With Drugs Avoids Prison by Posing as Illegal Immigrant (The Christian Post)

US Citizen Caught With Drugs Avoids Prison by Posing as Illegal Immigrant
Scenario 'not unusual,' says immigration official

By Ray Downs | Christian Post Reporter

Fri, Nov. 04 2011 11:21 PM EDT

An American citizen who thought deportation would be preferable to incarceration told police that he was an illegal immigrant in order to be sent to Mexico instead of prison – and it worked.

Jaime Alvarado, 27, from Salt Lake City, was arrested in Feb. 2010 for possession of "cocaine and heroin with an intent to distribute," reported ABC News, and told police that he was Saul Quiroz, an illegal immigrant from Mexico.

After pleading guilty, police handed him over to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and instead of the 15-year sentence he would have been given had he been honest about his identity, Alvarado, aka Saul Quiroz, was given a one-way ticket to Mexico.

According to the Daily Mail, Alvarado "exploited" the fact that officials are allegedly more willing to send foreign offenders back to their country instead of trying to fit them into already overcrowded prisons.

Eventually, Alvarado came back to the U.S. under his real name using his American passport. Everything seemed fine until he was re-arrested in April of this year and was about to be sent to the ICE again before he confessed his true, American identity.

Alvarado was then released from prison in June, with everything seeming to be over. However, authorities eventually figured out the ruse and on Oct. 31, issued a warrant for the arrest of the man previously known to Utah authorities as "Saul Quiroz."

This time, however, Alvarado is pleading instead of fleeing in order to avoid hard time.

"I know I made a poor choice by lying to you guys a year ago. I was afraid to go to prison," he wrote in a letter to the judge presiding over his case.

"I have a good job right now, a lot of little girls waiting for me and a family that will support me," he added. "It's my first offense and my last. I want to spend the rest of my life with my kids."

In a separate letter from Alvarado's fiance, Anelia Carballo, said her future husband has made "a 360-degree turnaround" and was a good father to their daughter together as well as her other four girls, ABC News reported.

According to The Associated Press, ICE spokeswoman Lori Haley said it is not rare for American citizens to claim being an illegal immigrant and face deportation in order to avoid going to prison.

Vermont enforce new immigration policy (WNEM-VT)

Vermont enforce new immigration policy

Posted: Nov 05, 2011 5:36 AM EDT

BURLINGTON, VT (WPTZ/CNN) - Vermont's governor has released a new immigration policy for state police, which is being dubbed the "look the other way" policy.

Gov. Peter Shumlin says state troopers should not try to arrest people just for being in the U.S. illegally.

Back in September, a state trooper made a routine traffic stop and asked one of the passengers his immigration status. He suspected that person of being an illegal immigrant and called Customs and Borders Patrol, who arrested the man.

The arrest sparked protests from the migrant worker community, who says the trooper should never have asked about the man's immigration status.

The governor's office says the trooper did nothing wrong, but Gov. Shumlin said the state's policy was in a gray area that needed clearing up.

"Vermont farmers can't survive without workers from outside America," Shumlin said. "That's just the way it is. We've got to keep our dairy farms strong, so we've always had a policy in Vermont where we kind of "look the other way" as much as we can.

The governor says that immigration is to be enforced by federal agents. State police can choose to help by detaining people they suspect of being illegal immigrants.

"The new policy states that Vermont State Police troopers should not try to identify people whose only suspected violation is that they are present in the United States without proper documentation, but also makes it clear that officers should continue to investigate suspected criminal activity," Shumlin said in a released statement.

In the new policy, Shumlin also recommends federal authorities be called in to help with Canadian border cases.