One Grown-Up Immigrant Adjusts to American Life Post-Honduras -- For Now

Categories: Immigration

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Walking the Tracks
Oscar Ramirez fled Honduran gangs when he was 21, and says the United States is the only place he now feels safe.

Oscar Ramirez looks older than his 30 years. He is reserved and wears a simple blue button-down shirt and jeans. His skin is weathered, and crow's feet frame his dark brown eyes. His nails are bitten down, and his arms are sporadically etched with small, thin scars. Life has been hard for him.

He grew up in a small Honduran village, and has been slowly adjusting to life in the United States since his immigration. His stories of life in Honduras, his journey to the United States, and his life here are common anecdotes within the Honduran-American immigrant community.

See also: Rocket Dockets for Kids in Immigration Courts Raise Doubts About Fairness

Ramirez was educated through the sixth grade, but after leaving school he was almost immediately targeted for gang membership. He says that's something a lot of people don't understand about Honduran gangs -- they target young people, who are less likely to be caught performing petty thefts, robberies, even murder. Young people are more easily manipulated by veteran gang members.

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Rocket Dockets for Kids in Immigration Courts Raise Doubts About Fairness

Categories: Immigration

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Daderot
Increasingly speedy court processes for unaccompanied kids is leading some lawyers to nickname downtown Dallas' juvenile immigration cases "rocket dockets."

Last week, we told you about 13-year-old Gaby, who was given an order of deportation from immigration Judge Michael Baird. Gaby is from Honduras, and will be sent back this fall after having been in the United States for less than a year. Her court appearances will have taken place in the course of just over a month, a dramatically hastened process from juvenile cases even a year ago.

See also: In Dallas' Time-Crunched Immigration Court, a Mom Watches Her Teen Daughter Get Deported

It's an effect immigration lawyers are calling rocket dockets. And it's primarily affecting all those unaccompanied kids from Central America pouring into Dallas that you've been hearing so much about.

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Dreamers Out in Droves For 2-Year Anniversary of DACA

Categories: Immigration

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Gulbenk
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals was implemented you years ago to benefit young adult immigrants who were brought to the United States as children.

A line of people was snaking around the back of the office building by the time Catholic Charities staff rolled in at 7 on Saturday morning. Most were teenagers and young adults accompanied by their families. Several were alone, here to solve their substantial legal troubles on their own. Some clutched folders filled with birth certificates, passports, and other documents that measure a person's life. Some were empty-handed.

Friday marked the two-year anniversary of the implementation of President Obama's executive order, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, otherwise known as DACA. The move was intended to act as a quick fix for upstanding young adults who had been illegally brought to the United States as children, allowing them to access certain legal benefits: A Social Security number. Deferred deportation. A driver's license. Establish credit.

Of more than 900,000 eligible beneficiaries nationwide, around 500,000 have submitted DACA applications in the past two years. Catholic Charities held a statewide DACA counseling day on Saturday in which they offered legal services, live-chatting, video conferences, and application assistance to encourage potential DACA beneficiaries to apply, and help renewal applicants with the process.

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In Dallas' Time-Crunched Immigration Court, a Mom Watches Her Teen Daughter Get Deported

Categories: Immigration

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Ammodramus
Gaby's options were limited in Honduras, but without a legal way to stay in the US, she was out of options. She was given an order of deportation today in downtown Dallas' immigration court.
On November 21, 2013, 13-year-old Gaby entered the United States via Hidalgo, Texas. She had journeyed there, alone, from Honduras. She was apprehended by border patrol, and after a stay in one of the federal shelters, was released to her two parents, who live in Dallas.

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How Dallas' Schools Are Preparing for the Surge of Kids from Central America

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Ken Hammond
School districts across the state are scrambling to accommodate an expected 25,000 additional students this school year, many of whom arrived unaccompanied from Central America.
Exactly one year ago, Dallas ISD's Student Intake Center began taking responsibility for every immigrant student coming into the district. The Center focuses on processing the kids who have never attended American schools before, by checking immunization records and other documents, and evaluating their level of education. The Center is accommodating a quickly growing number of kids entering the school district.

"In the 2013 to 2014 school year, by around April we were serving about 639 kids at the Center," says DISD spokesman André Riley, who was careful to point out that the Center did not distinguish which kids were unaccompanied minors, only noting which students were new to the United States. "In 2012 to 2013, there were 433 kids. 2011 to 2012, 253 kids. So it's been going up."

It's a common theme in school districts across the state.

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Dallas' Immigration Court Is Pushing Through Juvenile Migrant Cases Faster Than Ever

Categories: Immigration

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Gulbenk
The federal government is putting increasing pressure on immigration courts to get through cases as quickly as possible. But many are saying that with that rush comes a lack of due process.
Ixar, a slight, gangling teenager, nervously fidgeted in his chair as Judge Michael Baird stared him down. Babies' cries could be heard echoing through the halls, but it did not break the formal tension within the courtroom. Ixar's eyes flashed between the translator and Baird.

He had come a long way to get to this cramped courtroom in downtown Dallas' Earle Cabell Federal Building and Courthouse: On May 20, he entered the United States through the small town of Hidalgo. He had made his way there alone from El Salvador.

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Dallas County Will Not Shelter Thousands of Central American Kids After All

Categories: Immigration

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Emily Mathis
Local faith leaders stood by Jenkins as he announced that Dallas would not be sheltering unaccompanied kids.
For the last month, Dallas has been buzzing with plans to temporarily shelter thousands of unaccompanied immigrant children. Some 60,000 kids are expected to flow into the United States this year, and Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins' hotly debated plan would have provided temporary relief for stressed border resources, in the form of three federally funded shelters.

But because border crossings have dramatically decreased in the past month, the federal Department of Health and Human Services has elected not to create any temporary shelters for the kids, in Dallas or elsewhere, Jenkins announced today.

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Way More Than 2,000 Migrant Kids Are Coming to Dallas, and Way More Are Already Here

Categories: Immigration

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Office of Rep. Henry Cuellar
Some Dallasites are protesting the arrival of 2,000 unaccompanied Central American kids. They're about to get much angrier.
Local protests have increased in recent weeks against the expected influx of thousands of unaccompanied Central American children, part of an unprecedented surge of kids fleeing poverty and violence in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. As resources are stretched at the border, at Lackland Air Force base and other shelters, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins has proposed, to both criticism and acclaim, that the county house some kids at Hulcy Middle School, Lamar Alternative Education Center, and a Parkland Hospital warehouse.

Not all Dallasites are taking the news well. "We are being invaded. And we cannot afford to take care of these children," said one woman at a recent protest. "For Clay Jenkins to make a decision to invite the illegal immigrants to come to Dallas is completely unacceptable," said another.

Just how many has he invited? According to basically every media report, it's 2,000. But if some North Texans are alarmed at the idea of 2,000 kids, they should probably know: It will likely be many more.

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When Kids Go to Dallas' Immigration Court

Categories: Immigration

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Ammodramus
You're ten years old, you've just made your way across two countries, and you're here to explain your story to a guy you don't know in a language you don't speak. Go.
On any given day, the 10th floor of the Earle Cabell Federal Building in downtown Dallas is filled with men, women and children waiting to appear before an immigration judge. On certain days, like yesterday, many of them are Central American children, having arrived at the United States border, alone, during the recent so-called "surge" that's sent officials across the country, including in Dallas County, scrambling for a place to temporarily house them.

For a room filled with kids, teenagers, and their families, most were withdrawn and silent. The overhead lights bored into the crowd, as the bilingual secretary addressed them exclusively in Spanish. She arranged the kids and their families in order of age and home country, but just this first step in the court process was complicated and long-winded. Much of that has to do with miscommunication: Some kids didn't know they had to bring their parent or guardian with them to court. Some kids didn't bring the right documents. Some didn't know they could, or should, have brought a lawyer.

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Rep. Michael Burgess Has a Horrible Plan for Dealing With Child Immigrants

Categories: Immigration

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House.gov
Representative Michael Burgess

Governor Rick Perry's sending the National Guard to the border may not be the best idea. Sending soldiers to perform law enforcement functions usually doesn't end well. That being said, at least there's a certain logic to it. Perry perceives the influx of undocumented kids crossing the border as a security issue, so he's throwing a thousand well-armed guardsmen into the mix.

Lewisville U.S. Repreprentative Michael Burgess' ideas about how to handle the same issue involve fewer guns and apparent ignorance of potential consequences. And math.

Burgess has introduced legislation that would slash $15,000 from U.S. aid to El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala or Mexico each time an undocumented child from one of the countries was found to have entered the U.S.

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