On February 23, 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit denied a petition for review in Crocock v. Holder. I found it to be a sad case. Before he applied for a green card, Mr. Crocock had a job where he filled out an I-9 form and indicated that he was a United States citizen. The I-9 is the form that employers are required to make their employees fill out to make sure that they are legally permitted to work in the United States. Holding oneself out as a United States citizen is a bar to getting a green card. It is also a ground for being placed in deportation proceedings before an immigration judge. The Second Circuit held that he was barred from getting a green card and upheld his deportation order. I wish that I could criticize the decision or say that the Second Circuit was wrong. However, the Second Circuit was 100% correct. The immigration laws are very clear that falsely claiming to be a United States citizen carries very harsh penalties. Many people who are illegal in this country have false papers, in order to work illegally. This case is a wake up call to undocumented aliens about the dangers of using false papers and lying, in order to work illegally. When you lie about being a United States citizen, you are putting yourself in a position where you will never be able to get a green card. While this case involved an undocumented alien that claimed to be a citizen, lawful permanent residents that falsely claim to be a U.S. citizen also face severe immigration penalties.
The Department of Homeland Security’s (“DHS”) website has announced that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) has created a new position: Public Advocate and Senior Advisor. The position will be held by Andrew Lorenzen-Strait. According to the announcement, the Public Advocate position primarily involves assisting individuals and community organizations with their complaints and concerns. I find it both fascinating and wonderful that a law enforcement agency would create a Public Advocate position. The most incredible part of the announcement is not just that the position has been created, but the statement that:
As we work to enact significant policy changes to focus the agency’s immigration enforcement resources on sensible priorities, implement policies and processes that prioritize the health and safety of detainees in our custody while increasing federal oversight, and improve the conditions of confinement within the detention system, I will strive to expand and enhance our dialogue with the stakeholder community.
I really hope that this portion of the announcement is true. It would be wonderful if ICE focused its enforcement resources on sensible priorities and improved the conditions of confinement. I’ve yet to see any signs of improvement for any of my detained clients.
The Applied Research Center has issued a report called Shattered Families that details the impact that rigorous enforcement of America’s immigration laws have had on the children of noncitizens in the United States illegally. The report explains how thousands of children are now in foster care because their parents have either been deported or are in an immigration detention facility. Many of these children were actually born in this country and are United States citizens.
While President Obama is considered to be a “liberal” president who ran on a platform that he was pro-immigration, his administration has set records for most deportations. A lot of people who call for tough enforcement of immigration laws do not realize that when you deport someone, it does not just impact that person, but their entire family. This report shows what happens to innocent children when their parents are deported. It’s very sad.