Local Governments Bear Burden of Migrants Dumped by Border Patrol

By Peek & Toland on November 26, 2019

According to a USA Today article, Border Patrol officers are increasingly dumping large numbers of migrants in border towns, including many in Texas. The large influx of migrants is leaving local governments no choice but to spend their own funds to support them.

For example, Border Patrol has delivered more than 31,000 migrants seeking asylum to San Antonio. Due to its location 150 miles from the Mexican border, the city had never dealt with a large influx of migrants and thus did not have the resources to deal with them. As a result, the city has spent more than $540,000 in local funds establishing a migrant processing center. They also provide food, medical screening, cell phones for migrants to contact U.S. relatives, and overnight shelter in partnership with local churches.

Local Governments Bear Burden of Migrants Dumped by Border Patrol

San Antonio is not the only government entity having no choice but to expend local funds to feed and house migrants. Border Patrol has delivered more than 7,500 migrants to Deming, New Mexico, which has a population of only 14,000. Likewise, San Diego County has spent $2.7 million in the first eight months of 2019 on food, medical care, and transportation for over 17,000 migrants, in addition to housing them on county property. Albuquerque, New Mexico, already was struggling to deal with a homeless population of 4,000 before Border Patrol dropped off another 4,000 migrants.

The USA Today in-depth review of the situation revealed that local communities spent at least seven million dollars over the past year to handle the influx of migrants dumped on their doorsteps by Border Patrol. Communities leaders believe they have a moral duty to care for the migrants who are largely homeless, penniless, and sick from being detained in poor conditions. Nonetheless, leaders across the political spectrum have expressed frustration over the unfunded mandate that the Trump Administration’s immigration policies at the border have created.

Our goal is to assist you with your immigration concerns, whether family or business-based. We can evaluate your situation and develop a strategy that is most likely to be efficient and effective in your case. Regardless of the immigration matter that you are facing, the attorneys of Peek & Toland have the experience, knowledge, and reputation that you want and need to advocate on your behalf. When results matter most, contact us at (512) 474-4445.

Posted in Asylum, Immigration

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Federal Government Extends Definition of Harboring Statute to Prosecute Volunteers Helping Migrants at Border

By Peek & Toland on August 18, 2019

The federal government is increasingly arresting and prosecuting individuals for “harboring” migrants along the border by sheltering or leaving food or water for them. In fiscal year 2018, the federal government prosecuted more than 4,500 people for violating harboring laws, which is a 30% increase in these prosecutions since 2015. The sharpest increase in arrests and prosecutions came after former Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered federal prosecutors to place a priority on harboring cases in 2017.

One such prosecution recently has been in the news concerning the 2017 arrest of a college geography instructor who works with a group called “No More Deaths.” The group routinely leaves food and water for migrants who may be crossing the desert. Prosecutors accused the man of three felony counts, including conspiracy to harbor migrants. The man claims that he was not part of any plan to provide shelter to migrants, but participated in leaving provisions for migrants in the desert. When the case finally went to trial in June 2019, however, it ended in a mistrial, because the jurors could not agree whether the man had committed crime. As of July 2019, federal prosecutors dismissed a conspiracy charge against the man, but plan to retry him on the remaining two felony harboring charges in November 2019.

Federal Government Extends Definition of Harboring Statute to
Prosecute Volunteers Helping Migrants at Border

There have been 250 migrant deaths in the Arizona desert since 2001. Most of the deaths were from migrants who suffered from exposure and dehydration while attempting to cross the 250 miles of desert.

No matter the type of immigration issue you are facing, the skilled and knowledgeable immigration lawyers of Peek & Toland are here to assist you. We handle many different types of immigration cases every day and have the kind of strategic experience and skills that are necessary to reach the desired outcome. By calling our office as quickly as possible after your legal issue arises, we will have the best opportunity to resolve your immigration law case successfully.

Posted in Criminal Defense, Immigration

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Texas Ruling May Allow Licensing of Migrant Family Detention

By Peek & Toland on February 13, 2019

The 3rd Texas Court of Appeals recently overturned a lower court ruling that could allow the state to formally issue child-care licenses to two detention centers in the South Texas cities of Dilley and Karnes that house immigrant families. Since the centers are not licensed child-care facilities, the Flores settlement, a landmark court decision restricting the detention of immigrant children, requires the government to release immigrant children from them within 20 days of their detention, which also often resulted in the simultaneous release of their parents. These two detention facilities comprise most of the detention space available for immigrant families at the present time, or about 3,500 people.

The state of Texas had attempted to provide child-care licenses to these facilities via a special regulation shortly after they opened in 2016, but the ruling of an Austin judge halted those efforts. That ruling was based on the fact that the regulation would have allowed the facilities to function as licensed child-care facilities without them having to comply with statewide minimum facility standards with which all other licensed child-care facilities must comply. This includes standards that prohibit children from sharing bedrooms with unrelated adults.

Texas Ruling May Allow Licensing of Migrant Family Detention

The appellate court now has overturned that decision and dismiss the suit. The court based its decision on its finding that the advocacy group Grassroots Leadership and various parents who formerly were detained in the facility had no legal standing to challenge the decisions of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, which is the state agency that issues child-care licenses. Therefore, the appellate court dismissed the entire lawsuit, ensuing that the regulation cannot be challenged.

At Peek & Toland, we care about helping you obtain through your immigration problems. We will focus our efforts on advocating on your behalf and representing your interests throughout the immigration process. Our knowledgeable immigration lawyers know the best strategies for gathering documentation to support your goals. Allow us to handle your immigration law case by sitting down with us today and discussing your situation.

Posted in Immigration

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Immigrant Crime – Study Finds Immigrants Don’t Commit More Offenses

By Peek & Toland on December 12, 2016

The perception that immigrant crime is rife in the United States is a powerful one. It was raised by Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for the White House, who highlighted the victims of crimes committed by immigrants in his successful campaign.

However, official figures on immigrant crime, suggest newcomers do not push up offending rates and do not commit more crimes that the indigenous population. In fact, studies suggest foreign-born arrivals commit fewer crimes than the native population.

The issue is tackled by two academics writing in the Los Angeles Times.

Immigrant crime is not higher than other crime

The academics are Alex R. Piquero, Ashbel Smith, professor of criminology at the University of Texas at Dallas, and Bianca E. Bersani of the University of Massachusetts Boston.

They point out the present wave of fear about immigrants from Mexico or Central America is not new. In the early 20th Century, a mass influx of immigrants from Ireland, Poland, and Italy sparked a similar panic.

Immigrant Crime Studies Suggest New Arrivals Make Areas Safer

Academics highlight research from sociologists, criminologists, and economists that points to lower levels of crime in neighborhoods with immigrants. The studies also suggest the influx brings in new prosperity to these areas.

However, the academics address the argument that immigrants may have more reasons to fail to report offenses. There’s the fear of deportation in the case of undocumented immigrants and some people come from countries where the police are associated with torture and false imprisonment.

Their research into under-reporting over a seven-year period found little evidence to suggest immigrants were hiding criminal behavior.

The studies of Piquero and Bersani are consistent with previous research. A study by Jörg Spenkuch of Northwestern University in 2014 found no correlation between violent crime and immigration. It did suggest a slight correlation between immigration and property crime

Donald Trump highlighted immigrant crime when he launched his bid for the White House. He said.

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”

The new president described the immigrant crime figures as “mind-boggling.”

Notwithstanding the research, there are high-profile instances of undocumented migrants being linked to serious crimes.

In Dallas in September, Silvestre Franco Luviano, an undocumented immigrant who was deported three times to Mexico, shot two people dead in a shooting spree, according to police.

If you are an immigrant who has been charged with a crime in a justice system you don’t understand it’s vital to hire an experienced Texas family immigration lawyer. At Peek & Toland , we are fluent in Spanish. Call us at (512) 474-4445.

Posted in Criminal Defense, Immigration

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Undocumented Youth from Central America Face Deportation

By Peek & Toland on August 11, 2016

Some of the saddest stories of deportation we see as Texas immigration attorneys concern those young people who arrive from Central America in the hope of a better life in the US only to be subsequently deported.

The wave of young people from Central America is a relatively new phenomenon. In 2014, violence and an upsurge of gang activity in countries like El Salvador and Honduras led to a migration of thousands of young people.

Young people from Central America face deportation

In a report, Center for American Progress noted how by July 2014, more than 57,000 children had arrived in the United States. It was a figure that was twice as high as the number of kids who reached the border in 2013. Many of them were alone.

The report noted that most of the unaccompanied children and families had started their long and dangerous journeys in part of Central America dubbed the “Northern Triangle,” where a combination of soaring levels of violence, gang activity, and poor economic conditions prevail.

Recently, the Citizen-Times described the plight of Elmer Reynoso-Reynoso, a former student from Asheville in North Carolina who was held in the Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Georgia

The report said he arrived in the United States two years ago as an unaccompanied minor. As many as 2,000 young people from Central America arrived in North Carolina alone around the same time.

Although the authorities said there is no reason to think Reynoso-Reynoso is a threat to public safety, and he recently became a father, he was picked up for missing a court hearing and hit with an order for removal.

Like many other migrants, he is in limbo. The backlog that’s faced by the immigration courts means it can take years to process the young people. Minors who have relatives in the United States are reunited with family while they wait for a hearing. Others are placed in detention centers and other temporary accommodations.

In 2015, along as many as 33,700 unaccompanied young people from Central America were placed in the custody of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement.

Thousands of young people pay large sums of money and face many dangers to come to the U.S. However, they believe the risks are worth taking. The Citizen-Times interviewed Fatima Aguilar, Reynoso-Reynoso’s girlfriend, who is the mother of his child.

She made the hazardous journey from El Salvador as an unaccompanied minor at the age of 14 in 2014, facing severe heat under a car seat.

She said there are many more opportunities for Central American migrants in the United States.

Our Texas immigration attorneys have recorded a number of successes in cancellation of removal cases for immigrants from Latin America. In many cases, these migrants have few resources and can’t speak English.

Our bilingual attorneys can help you through every stage of fighting deportation. We realize it seems daunting at first, but we take over the burden of fighting your case. Call us today for a consultation at (512) 474-4445.

Posted in Cancellation of Removal, Immigration

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