March’s focus – Immigration

The backlog of immigration court cases is 855,000 and growing with wait times of beyond 2 years!  If you have time, check out the American Bar Association’s recommendations on reforms, including establishing an immigration court system separate from Department of Justice (making it similar to bankruptcy court).  Living in limbo to have immigration status finalized upsets lives.

On a related note, the Supreme Court issued a decision this past week, supporting mandatory indefinite detention for non-citizens, without option for bail, or previous time served, or consideration of the severity of the crime.  This decision is appalling, and will lead to large numbers of detained immigrants with limited recourse.  In conjunction with the huge backlog in the immigration court system, people will be detained on minor charges for potentially years.

It is clear that our immigration system requires significant and massive overhaul – and it needs to be done without relegating immigrants to indefinite incarceration, or eliminating immigration to this country as an option that will improve their lives and our communities.

So what can you do?  It doesn’t appear that any of our legislators are too excited about promoting massive changes in the near future.  In the meantime, these problems will continue to get worse, and the solution that much more complex.

  • Continue to engage your representatives, both federal and state, on the topic of immigration.  Whether you are pushing for a single component of the solution to be addressed, or demanding large-scale solutions, we need to keep this discussion on the forefront for our legislators.  The lives and well-being of so many people are at stake.
  • Pay attention.  Read and share news articles on the topic of immigration.  If you haven’t already, join the Saratoga Immigration Coalition and get involved locally.
  • Support organizations on the frontlines of immigration like Immigrant Defense Project and RAICES.
  • Follow Witness: Tornillo.  Target: Homestead on Facebook.  These activists are monitoring the Homestead detention facility in Florida and raising awareness of the situation for children detained there.