Attorney Arnold Jeffe, a longtime Santa Barbara resident who specializes in immigration law

Paul Wellman

Attorney Arnold Jeffe, a longtime Santa Barbara resident who specializes in immigration law

The Daunting Rigmarole of Removal

Casa de la Raza and KCSB Host Neighborhood Meeting on Deportation

Tuesday, March 13, 2012
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The federal laws that dictate the deportation of undocumented immigrants are complicated and ever-changing. Authorities have even started to favor the Orwellian term “removal” when describing the judicial gauntlet illegal aliens pass through as they’re sent back to their native countries.

At a neighborhood meeting held Thursday night in Casa de la Raza, Arnold Jaffe, a prominent area lawyer who specializes in immigration law, walked listeners through the legal options available to undocumented migrants who find themselves in federal custody, and the paths they are likely to follow through the American justice system. The U.S. removes around 400,000 aliens a year.

The event was hosted by KCSB, which provided real-time Spanish translation services via transmitters and headphones to some of the 60 or so people in attendance. At the end of it, Cindy Reyna — an undocumented UCSB student who grabbed the attention of news readers and politicians when she was convicted of DUI and forced into deportation proceedings last month — addressed the crowd about her time in custody and where her case stands.

But before Jaffe and Reyna spoke, a video testimonial was played of an undocumented SBCC student who emigrated from Guatemala seven years ago. With his face blurred and his voice distorted, “Tomás” described his journey north, remembering how he saved a woman from drowning in the quick currents of the Rio Grande. He traveled without his family; his pregnant wife and young son remained in Guatemala.

Tomás said he washed dishes and worked a number of jobs to survive in the U.S.— “I started with nothing,” he said — and after three years sent for his wife, and later his children. During their trek north, however, the kids became separated, ushered along by different migrant smugglers called “coyotes.” While Tomás was reunited with his son within a week of the 10-year-old entering the U.S., his daughter proved much harder to track down. Tomás sought the help of Casa de la Raza, whose staff introduced him to Jaffe. After two months, Tomás’s 6-year-old daughter was back with her family.

Neighborhood meeting on deportation held at Casa de la Raza
Click to enlarge photo

Paul Wellman

Neighborhood meeting on deportation held at Casa de la Raza

“No one knows what it’s like to live as an undocumented alien unless you are one,” said Jaffe after the video. “Most people don’t have a clue what it’s like to live in 24-hour jeopardy, knowing you could be pulled over for a minor traffic incident and be sent back. The people braying about illegal immigration — they have no concept.”

If an undocumented immigrant is arrested by local law enforcement — for a minor infraction or serious crime — his or her identity is passed to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after they’re booked in County Jail. (All inmates’ fingerprints are sent to ICE once they enter the facility.) If ICE officials think the arrestee is an illegal alien, explained Jaffe, they can place a no-bail immigration hold on them while the matter is investigated.

Once the Santa Barbara detainee has dealt with their county court case — often with the help of a public defender familiar with immigration laws — they are transferred to ICE’s Camarillo detention center for an interview. “While there, give them as much positive information as you can,” advised Jaffe, offering strategies that might save an illegal migrant from removal. “Talk about what you have done to better yourself — school, church, work in the community.” He also said it’s important to disclose if you have a legal and permanent family member living in the U.S.

At that point, ICE has the authority to release the undocumented person without bond, keep them in custody but offer an immigration bond, or hold them without a release option. “If ICE has you, they get to make the decision,” said Jaffe, a Santa Barbara resident since 1977. “But you present your positives. And when you’re done, you beg.”

If arrestees are not granted bond, they have a couple of options. They can opt for voluntary departure — returning to their native country without a punitive deportation order against them — or ask to see a federal judge. If they choose the latter, migrants are sent to another detention facility in Lancaster where a magistrate will hear their case within 30 days.

At this point undocumented inmates can again ask for bond as they fight to stay in the country. That process is a lengthy one, oftentimes taking two to four years. If immigrants are released on bond for the proceedings, they can apply for a work permit, said Jaffe. While there are a few different paths toward potential citizenship, he explained, some are harder to navigate than others.

If aliens can prove they have been in the country for 10 years, don’t have a criminal record, but do have a family member who’s a legal, full-time U.S. resident, they may be granted permanent residency. Establishing that their removal would mean significant hardship for their U.S. family member(s) is a key argument, said Jaffe. Lobbying for political asylum is another option, the lawyer explained, or invoking medical problems that may be exacerbated by deportation.

Jaffe noted that in the last few months, federal authorities have started to use more “prosecutorial discretion” to determine who is placed in removal proceedings. Pilot programs exist in Baltimore and Denver that devote more time and resources to specific cases involving serious criminals, and data from those programs will help inform other jurisdictions how to better prioritize their caseloads, he said. But while the days of random arrests and deportations are over, Jeffe went on, the controversial Secure Communities program still oftentimes casts too wide a net that snags minor offenders or noncriminals, clogging an already overtaxed judicial mechanism.

Once Jaffe wrapped up, an undocumented UCSB student named Neyra Pacheco addressed the crowd. The San Marcos High School graduate, who moved from Oaxaca, Mexico, when she was 5 years old, said the university doesn’t quite know how to deal with undocumented students. It’s a confusing gray area for administrators, she said, and the enrolled are often left feeling befuddled and stressed themselves. Every year, around 25,000 undocumented high school students graduate in California, Pacheco said.

Certain undocumented California college students are now able to apply for in-state tuition — thanks to AB540, upheld in the Supreme Court last year — and the recently enacted state DREAM Act will allow some undocumented students to access financial aid beginning in 2013. The federal version of the DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) Act, which offers qualifying young migrants a path to citizenship, was rejected by the Senate last year and likely won’t be revisited until after the November presidential election, Pacheco said.

Pacheco then introduced her peer and friend, Cindy Reyna. Recently released from the aforementioned Camarillo detention center, Reyna is weaving through the legal system to remain in the United States. The part-time model and UCSB senior majoring in communications and linguistics said that when she was handed to ICE officials, she thought she’d never see her family. “I’m really happy I’m out,” she said. “Everybody makes mistakes in life, but the people who know me know I’m a dedicated student.”

Reyna, who wants to work eventually work as a newscaster, continued, “The detention center is not pretty. There, you’re not treated with respect.” Vowing to fight her possible deportation and continue her life in the U.S. on the straight and narrow, Reyna summed up, “This is my home now.”


Independent Discussion Guidelines

Why not either A: Enforce the laws, or B: eliminate them?

Politicians have been kissing up to both sides for too long.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
March 13, 2012 at 2:55 a.m. (Suggest removal)

My goodness, Cindy Reyna, criminal and illegal alien felt like she was not treated with respect? What a terrible, terrible country all of these illegals are breaking into...If only we offered economic prosperity and social services unequaled in their home countries we could get millions of more people breaking and entering into this unjust society...What? There's already 10's of millions of illegals here? Never mind...

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
March 13, 2012 at 6:13 a.m. (Suggest removal)

How much respect are convicted drunk drivers supposed to get?

The pretty Cindy Reyna should seek the help of Joe Armendariz.

John_Adams (anonymous profile)
March 13, 2012 at 8:11 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Perhaps Joe will be sentenced to preaching about the negative side of drinking and driving to illegal alien drunk drivers under the guise of the new "Dream, Drink, and Drive Act"...

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
March 13, 2012 at 8:29 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Wah, wah! I have NO remorse for supporting a Closed Border Policy for both the North or South borders of America. My great grand-parents were immigrant's who had served in WWI against the Germans and entered under the Freedom Act of 1922. They came after recieving their acceptance letter from the then Department of Interior and Citizenship from Finland and Poland, by way of Canada. They never snuck-in, under cover of darkiness, didn't live as Illegals, making money and sending it back to Finland or Poland. They came with their families with full privilege of a Legal Immigrant, citizen-in-training, and for my Great Grand-father, a Full American Citizen becuase he proved his loyality to the US through blood and guts, in the trenches of France.
I have no respect for the Illegals coming here to leach off of the rest of us and reap the rewards of higher income to send back home. This article is just crying into the wind!

dou4now (anonymous profile)
March 13, 2012 at 9:05 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I am pretty sick of paying for these immigrants that just suck our system dry and send it all back to their country. There goal is to get here illegally have a child so that the child can get a SS card, then buy a car, house and have health insurance while getting medical coverage off the real citizens of this country. They claim our laws are flawed then I dare anyone of them to find a country that will do the same...

miked442 (anonymous profile)
March 13, 2012 at 9:58 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I just KNEW that Cindy Reyna would be out of ICE detention and getting legal help for her immigration issues...let's hope she doesn't drink and drive again...

LegendaryYeti (anonymous profile)
March 13, 2012 at 11:52 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"Dream, Drink and Drive Act" hahaha
Seriously tho, maybe she should get the same photo opp as Armendariz is getting with teens. At least she's photogenic, and let's hope Joe keeps his shirt on.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
March 13, 2012 at 12:01 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"The people braying about illegal immigration — they have no concept.”

And You as an ILLEGAL have NO concept What an American Taxpayer goes thru to Support YOUR Worthless, Lawbreaking Self....!!!--Do YOU Know/Care how Much WE pay in taxes....????---Do YOU realize that Our property taxes support OUR schools but due to the Invasion of ILLEGALS We can NO longer send OUR kids to those same schools but instead Must Shell-Out for Private Schools, since the ONLY thing Our schools now teach Is ESL..!!!--Also Do YOU realize that WE pay for our own healthcare, WE Don't drop Anchors, then BILK the taxpayer for CHIPS, WIC, medicaid etc.---Do YOU realize OR care that YOU Are a Lawbreaking, Scum-Sucking Moocher...?????-----Sheeesh!!!!

rked (anonymous profile)
March 13, 2012 at 12:20 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I actually feel a little worse for Reyna than Armendariz, even though she should be deported yesterday, as she's just a pawn of the pro illegal alien lobby.
Big Joe knows better on every level and he's still not been man enough to get out of the public's eye and straighten his life out.

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
March 13, 2012 at 1:37 p.m. (Suggest removal)

AY CARAMBA! Cuando estos sapingos (Casa de la Raza) van a parar de defender a los ilegales?

Article: "The U.S. removes around 400,000 aliens a year."

No, not "removes", it is called "deportation." Other countries do it too.

Arnold Jaffe's advice to ICE detainees: “While there, give them as much positive information as you can. Talk about what you have done to better yourself — school, church, work in the community.”

Does this include a mention of drunk driving?

Cindy Reyna: "“Everybody makes mistakes in life, but the people who know me know I’m a dedicated student.”

So what is the point of this point? Weren't you a "dedicated student" BEFORE you decided to pound a few & go for a spin? Pretty meaningless point for a comm major, then again, comm... Yeah :) enrique

hank (anonymous profile)
March 13, 2012 at 4:08 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Question for La Casa de La Raza and it's supporters: Why don't we end all immigration laws and let everyone (including Russians, Germans, Japanese, and all those other people) into the U.S. with no restrictions *and* provide services in all their languages?

Does anybody want to answer this?

billclausen (anonymous profile)
March 13, 2012 at 6:33 p.m. (Suggest removal)

BillC: "Question for La Casa de La Raza and it's supporters: Why don't we end all immigration laws and let everyone (including Russians, Germans, Japanese, and all those other people) into the U.S. with no restrictions *and* provide services in all their languages? Does anybody want to answer this?"

The answer to your question is right there in the beginning of your question: Casa de La RAZA.
If they were inclusivist of ALL races then it would be Casa de LAS RAZAS.
But to them there's only 1 raza & Russians, Germans, Japanese, and all those other people aren't privy to la causa :) henry

hank (anonymous profile)
March 13, 2012 at 11:03 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Wow - some angry people out there today.....I've got mine....forget about getting yours. Are you ready to go pick strawberries for ten hours a day, six days a wekk? And yes, it sounds like the laws ARE being enforced - with 400,000 deportations per year! My friend lives near San Diego and has light blonde hair. She used to ride the bus to work and the border patrol would come on and randomly pick brown skinned people to check for "illegal aliens". She would stand up and say "Why aren't you picking me - I could be here illegally from Holland!". She is my hero.

onthecoast (anonymous profile)
March 14, 2012 at 10:03 a.m. (Suggest removal)

On the coast, you got it all mixed up, not anger, I think what a lot of people are is fed up.
However, that 40,000 deportees per year from the US is NOTHING compared to other countries w/ less land mass.
We can fudge the stats & figures to suit ANY cause, that figure (40,000 deportees) IS fudged in many ways for the cause/sake of sympathy.
Are they considering land mass? Per capita? What's the standard to go by here?
Per capita, which is a more reliable measure of effect of an action, is the measure to "judge" the deportations against.
Given the population of CA alone, the deportees per capita is much less than say Mexico who deports Guatemalans, Hondurans, Panamanians, El Salvadorans, Peruvians, Uruguayans, Paraguayans, Nicaraguans & Bolivians @ a much higher number per capita than just CA alone does.
By the way, they also treat these "illegal immigrants" w/ a hell of a lot LESS respect than our USCIS/ICE/DHS does or ever could.
In fact, our immigration enforcement services actually GRANT rights to these illegal immigrants.
Try that in good old Mejico. "Rights? You don't need no stinkin' rights! (followed by cynical, mocking laughter)"
Dirty jail cells to share w/ violent criminals, very little food or health care, forced internment into drug gangs or prostitution rings, yeah, a reall hootenanny.
There, I hope this response doesn't sound angry for the sake of your sensitivity :) henry

hank (anonymous profile)
March 14, 2012 at 11:10 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Ummm... removal is not "orwellian", it's the a rational response to enforcing immigration law when it's being actively broken by law breakers (illegal immigrants).

This article is filled with politically correct double-speak. Now THAT's Orwellian!

By the way, Casa De La Raza
"House of the Race"
What race? There is only one scientific race for our our Genus and it's Homo Sapien (Human). Ethnic differences are not "Race", but that doesn't stop the "La Raza" crowd from using Race to be racist.

Legal Immigration = Good (we are a nation of LEGAL immigration).
Illegal Immigration = Bad (stop making excuses for lawbreakers and for the businesses that exploit them!)

willy88 (anonymous profile)
March 14, 2012 at 10:48 p.m. (Suggest removal)

onthecoast-Because some of us, mostly moderates as far as I can tell, believe in enforcing our borders and deporting/removing/catapulting illegal aliens the hell out of the country they broke into does not make us de facto angry. That implication is kind of typical coming from the left on these issues, as if everyone that disagrees with abandoning our laws is somehow mentally out of control. I for one am tired of the left and illegal alien lobby continually redefining the vernacular to suit their social point of view and then making the issue about something other than interlopers breaking in to reap the benefits of the longest running Democracy in the world because their own countries are pieces of crap and going backwards because of their own mismanagement.
When I immigrated to the U.S. there was only a hint of this stupidity and it took me a very long time to attain legal status. Now we are continually absorbing the lowest common denominator from Latin America, i.e. the uneducated and unskilled, and because of proximity too many of these illegals have no intention of getting vested in being 100% Americans because it is too easy to go back "home".
I don't blame any of them as individuals for breaking in to this country, it's what I would do in their circumstance but I sure as hell would not blame the U.S. if I got busted for criminal activity.

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
March 15, 2012 at 6:48 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Off topic but I'm curious: How old were you when you left Italy?

billclausen (anonymous profile)
March 17, 2012 at 2:19 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I first came here in my late teens and then returned in my early twenties and began the immigration process while in school.

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
March 17, 2012 at 8:13 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Im Native American,but do not recieve the gracious treatment of an undocumented alien...

PeterPeli (anonymous profile)
March 18, 2012 at 10:09 a.m. (Suggest removal)

@italiansurg: "Because some of us, mostly moderates as far as I can tell, believe in enforcing our borders and deporting/removing/catapulting illegal aliens the hell out of the country they broke into does not make us de facto angry. That implication is kind of typical coming from the left on these issues, as if everyone that disagrees with abandoning our laws is somehow mentally out of control."

You're not moderate. You're so off the conservative bend you can't turn left unless it involves making three right turns.

What's mentally out of control is how you come to this absolutely asinine point of view in the face of all evidence - even from such "liberal" think tanks as the Cato Institute - that the "deporting/removing/catapulting illegal aliens the hell out of the country " would be a economic disaster, and that perhaps a more nuanced and reasonable approach to the situation might yield both a more humane and economically beneficial results to all involved.

But hey, why be reasonable when idiotic political rhetoric will suffice....

@italiansurg: "...the uneducated and unskilled, and because of proximity too many of these illegals have no intention of getting vested in being 100% Americans because it is too easy to go back "home"."

So unskilled and uneducated that immigration laws like to one passed in Alabama last year could potentially cost the state of AL between $56.7 million to $264.5 million in tax revenue EVERY YEAR.

But hey, it's good to know where you far-far-far right wingers end your fiscal conservatism... (Hint: it has to do with race.)

EatTheRich (anonymous profile)
March 20, 2012 at 7:59 p.m. (Suggest removal)

EatTheRich: What you fail to see is that the U.S. is being transformed--with approval from Democrats and Republicans as well as elements of other parties--from a nation of skilled educated people to one of low-skilled semi-literate people. What *no* politicians either A: Realizes, or B: Has the guts to talk about, is how--with the fastest growing demographic in the U.S. consisting of low-skilled expendable workers--there will be adequate medical care for all of us.

Think of a high school class fifty years ago and think of one today. Out of 1000 kids, how many fifty years ago were likely to become doctors and nurses, verses today?

Toeing the old party-line mantra of "our economy would collapse without them" doesn't reconcile to the truth Italiansurg has mentioned, nor to the idea of safe work conditions and fair wages for all workers. Also, while you may feel (based on your screen name) that simply plundering the wealthy is the answer, a country cannot get by without skilled and educated people. (Think of the Khmer Rouge nightmare in Cambodia back in 1975-79 as an historical footnate with the twisted "Year Zero" dogma)

There are other factors which contribute to the increasing disparity of doctor-to-patient ratio (such as malpractice suits and crushing medical school debts--which gives credence to government-subsidized medical schools) but if you do the math, there is no getting around this issue.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
March 20, 2012 at 9:18 p.m. (Suggest removal)

One more thing: Would it be nice if conditions weren't so terrible in Mexico that the "push" factor didn't exist that creates this de facto exploitation of these workers? Do you really think the rich Republicans are pro-open borders for the benefit of those coming up here?

billclausen (anonymous profile)
March 20, 2012 at 9:22 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The Cato Institute is libertarian.
The projections from Alabama are fantastic even for you-ranging from 56.7-264.5 billion? Maybe a gazillion?
As usual you do not let the facts get in the way of your comedy.
The collective hourly rates for construction have fallen through the floor due to an oversupply of illegals. This is a fact. Fine the crap out of their employers and catapult the illegals out of the country
Are you still using KV's old crack pipe? I guess since he quit you decided to pick up the slack...

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
March 20, 2012 at 9:22 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Better watch it boys, EatTheRichard will get this thread shut down PRONTO w/ all that leftie hatred he/she/it spews on a consistent basis.
Last time it was because he/she/it couldn't admit the fact that he/she/it got ripped off on the soundtrack for a movie. Best part of it was that it had nothing to do w/ the topic @ hand. How pathetic.
This thread is toast now, the fascio-commie will soon get it shut down due to hurt feelings :) henry

hank (anonymous profile)
March 21, 2012 at 12:35 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"Hitler". Now, according to Godwin's Law, because I mentioned Hitler, this thread is no longer valid.

fivedolphins (anonymous profile)
March 21, 2012 at 1:50 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Darn you fivedolphins, now I don't get to mention that ETR is obviously not a real human; no one able to remember to routinely breath is that nuts; perhaps he/she/it is a wacky creation from the folks at the College of Engineering at UCSB?

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
March 21, 2012 at 6:49 a.m. (Suggest removal)

ETR/"Communist Cannibal".

fivedolphins (anonymous profile)
March 22, 2012 at 1:54 a.m. (Suggest removal)

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