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Friday, June 22, 2012 2pm – 3:30pm EDT Turning Point: History and Lessons Learned from the '96 Immigration Laws.

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Presentation on theme: "Friday, June 22, 2012 2pm – 3:30pm EDT Turning Point: History and Lessons Learned from the '96 Immigration Laws."— Presentation transcript:

1 Friday, June 22, pm – 3:30pm EDT Turning Point: History and Lessons Learned from the '96 Immigration Laws

2 Introduction and Logistics Facilitated by: Andrea Black, Executive Director, Detention Watch Network Special thanks to Steering Committee members Christina Mansfield (Detention Dialogues) and Michael Tan (ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project), and Silky Shah (DWN staff) for coordinating the webinar.

3 Mandatory Detention and the 1996 laws Judy Rabinovitz ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project

4 Three Overarching Issues 1) Mandatory detention is just one reflection and contributor to the broader problem: which is the dramatic expansion of unnecessary detention 2) To address mandatory detention, and unnecessary detention more generally, we need to look also at the laws that are fueling deportation: hence our focus today on the 1996 laws, of which mandatory detention was only one small part 3) Many of these laws – and the resistance to changing them – stems from the fact that they target noncitizens with criminal convictions; in our advocacy we must be careful not to play into the view that there are “good immigrants,” and there are “criminal” immigrants

5 What are the 1996 Laws? Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act Enacted September 30, 1996 Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act Signed into law April 24, 1996

6 Features of the 1996 Laws Expanded kinds of crimes that would lead to deportation, even of longtime lawful permanent residents Eliminated main form of relief for lawful permanent residents charged with deportation based on crimes, essentially subjecting them to mandatory deportation Did this by expanding definition of “aggravated felony”: need not be “aggravated” or “felonies”– and barring discretionary relief from removal for almost anyone with an “agfel”

7 Features of the 1996 Laws Cont’d Attempted to eliminate judicial review of removal orders based on criminal convictions Required detention pending removal proceedings of virtually anyone facing removal based on a crime, even crimes that are NOT agfels Other (expedited removal at border, etc.)

8 Mandatory Detention: What is it and how did we get here? What is mandatory detention? detention without a bond hearing includes longtime lawful permanent residents with criminal convictions includes asylum seekers broader issue is unnecessary detention of people who don't need to be detained

9 Congress’ Enactment of Statute in 1996: the Political Context Not the first attempt The Political Context No Detention Policy: no risk assessments, detention decision a function of bed space Culmination of attack on “Criminal Aliens” that had begun in the mid-1980’s; the toxic politics of anything involving immigrants/crime Just one part of package of laws (“the 1996 laws”)that targeted immigrants with criminal convictions, among others

10 Congress’ Asserted Justification for Mandatory Detention Concern about removal orders that weren’t being executed Studies showed that people weren’t being removed; and that “criminal aliens” weren’t even being apprehended when they completed their sentences Conclusion: lock people up and they will be easy to remove No consideration of alternatives (such as meaningful risk assessment policy; issuing surrender letters; other ways to insure availability for removal)

11 Executive’s Attitude Towards Mandatory Detention Administration (Clinton) opposed mandatory detention Even after enacted, pushed for delay in implementation because of lack of detention beds But once took effect, aggressively implemented, and have done so since, taking broadest interpretation of statute’s reach and backing off only as a result of litigation

12 Why has Executive Chosen to So Aggressively Implement the Statute? The toxic politics of “criminal aliens.” No one wants to be for them; Everyone wants to be against them; The Willie Horton scenario…. Broader Context Administration not wanting to show that it was “soft” on enforcement, in order to win support for CIR

13 Conclusion To extent that there was ever a justification for mandatory detention, context now is completely different; ICE’s stated commitment to detention reform and launching of risk assessment tool Other mechanisms in place for identifying “criminal aliens,” (so they don’t slip through cracks) Alternatives to detention that have been shown effective and less costly Need to broaden our focus to challenge not only mandatory detention, but the laws that lead to them, i.e., the broader package of 1996 laws that make deportation mandatory for longtime legal permanent residents, even those with minor and distant offenses.

14 ‘96 Laws Impact on Immigrant Communities Donald Anthonyson Families for Freedom

15 FFF was started when some of its founders’ families got detained and unfortunately got deported. Like most people, then and now, they had no idea of the 1996 laws and their devastating impacts when applied.

16 Impact: most troubling issues The two laws, IIRAIRA and AEDPA, with their components that made misdemeanors ‘aggravated felonies’ and introduced mandatory detention and deportation, have wreaked havoc on our members and their families. For having two twelve year old convictions for marijuana possession, a father of four US children is deported, leaving behind a fractured family bewildered at the logic of him being sentenced to a year but not serving any, yet ends up spending double that time in ICE custody and then deported.

17 Most troubling issues The high cost of fighting cases Lack of access to legal counsel ‘Aggravated Felon’ logic of Mandatory Detention

18 Results: An increase in fractured families

19 Questions and Answers To ask a question please click the hand with the green arrow. The facilitator will call on you when it is your turn. Due to time constraints we may not be able to get to everyone’s questions. * In order to speak you must enter your audio pin

20 Fix-96: Advocacy to Fix the Unfair 1996 Deportation and Detention Laws Nancy Morawetz NYU Immigrant Rights Clinic

21 Background – How Did AEDPA and IIRIRA Happen? Large comprehensive bills moving through in both Houses AEDPA enacted in April 1996 to mark the anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing Worse provisions on relief than the bills in both houses Worse provisions on detention than the bills in both houses Split the bill strategy pitting “enforcement” and “criminal aliens” against an effort to cut annual immigration numbers September 1996 conference committee on major bills Conference Committee more punitive than bills in both houses. No debate – part of an omnibus bill to stop a government shut down

22 Examples of How the Final Bill Was Worse than the House and Senate Bills: No relief for agg fels instead of no relief if sentenced to five years for an agg fel Clock stop at commission of crime instead of clock stop only when proceedings started Broad grounds of mandatory detention instead of only for agg fels s.a.m. as an agg fel instead of as a deportability ground LPRs subject to inadmissibility rules for any trip if there is any ground of criminal inadmissibility instead of only for agg fels

23 Initial efforts to Fix Alliance for Justice video highlighting Jesus Collado; long time LPR with old conviction detained after visiting his mother. Story premiered on Capitol Hill and shown at 50 subsequent events; featured on Dateline and NYTimes. Proponents of 1996 laws said that INS was applying law too broadly – should exercise prosecutorial discretion articles by numerous journalists including Anthony Lewis of the NY Times profiling unfairness retroactive deportation laws.

24 Fix ‘96 Legislation 1999 –Bills introduced: Family Reunification Act of 1999 – introduced by Barney Frank; restored waiver for those with sentence of less than five years or for urgent humanitarian reasons. HR 2999: Fairness for Permanent Residents Act of 1999 – introduced by Rep. Bill McCollum after he had sought a private bill for Republican official’s son. Would have limited retroactive repeal of 212(c) relief.

25 Fix ‘96 Legislation cont’d – Extensive legislative visits by families affected by deportation laws July 1999: Fix 96 Campaign launched by national advocates 2000 – Bill Passes the House. HR 5062 limiting the retroactive application of AF definition for cancellation and providing a process for those who had been deported. Introduced by Bill McCollum with bipartisan support. Passed the House. HR 5062 killed in the Senate due to opposition by a single Senator: Phil Gramm of Texas.

26 Related Legislation 2000 Child Citizenship Act (automatic citizenship to some minor LPR children) LIFE Act – extension of 245(i) to allow for adjustment based on family and employment visas.

27 Post 2001 Even after 9/11 there was progress on fix 96 legislation. Mobilization of advocacy communities in the wake of Cambodian deportations. November 2002 HR 1452 Family Reunification Act clears Judiciary Committee chaired by Republicans. (Hyde, Chair of Judiciary Committee; Sensenbrenner, Chair of Immigration Subcommittee. Would have provided greater access to relief (depending on age of admission and with some exceptions based on crimes and history of incarceration); clock stop limited to date of proceedings; limiting travel (101(a)(13) to trips longer than 30 or 60 days; cut back on mandatory detention if eligible for cancellation. No further action.

28 Important lessons from past legislative efforts Possible to find bi-partisan support where legislators felt the direct impact – e.g. McCullom’s private bill Possible to garner support on “technical” provisions that make no sense and are problematic for our clients – such as the clock stop rule. Possible to gain support on limiting mandatory deportation and mandatory detention. A real champion (as we had in Barney Frank) makes a difference Mobilization of affected families makes a difference. Veto power of powerful legislators remains a problem.

29 Questions and Answers To ask a question please click the hand with the green arrow. The facilitator will call on you when it is your turn. Due to time constraints we may not be able to get to everyone’s questions. * In order to speak you must enter your audio pin

30 Current advocacy & the Dignity Not Detention campaign Emily Tucker Detention Watch Network

31 Preventing the Expansion of Mandatory Detention

32 Member and Community Education Getting Mandatory Detention Back Into The National Conversation Affirmative Legislative Advocacy Possibilities for Administrative Action Challenging the Criminality Excuse

33 Local organizing against Mandatory Detention Geoff Valdés – Texans United For Families

34 Texans United for Families TUFF formed in 2006 initially in response to T. Don Hutto Detention Center and is an all volunteer organization.

35 TUFF organizing against Mandatory Detention TUFF has a three prong approach to detention: Cut corporate support: divestment campaign Highlight worst of worst: Expose and Close as well as other site fights such as Karnes Work with DWN to repeal 1996 MD laws Mandatory Detention Mandatory Detention Workshop Next Steps for TUFF

36 Join Detention Watch Network Why join? DWN is the only national coalition whose main focus is immigration detention and deportation issues. DWN focuses on its members: it is member led, member driven, and member inclusive. DWN consistently creates useful and timely resources for members and the community, such as this webinar! To join go to: or contact Ana Carrión at

37 Questions and Answers To ask a question please click the hand with the green arrow. The facilitator will call on you when it is your turn. Due to time constraints we may not be able to get to everyone’s questions. * In order to speak you must enter your audio pin

38 Friday, June 22, pm – 3:30pm EDT Turning Point: History and Lessons Learned from the '96 Immigration Laws Thank you for joining us!


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