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Important Information for DREAM Act Youth

Posted by Jossie Flor Sapunar on 07/26/2012 @ 01:08 PM

LULAC advises eligible individuals NOT to submit a deferred action request under the Deferred Action Process for Young People memorandum issued by Secretary Napolitano on June 15. If you submit now, your application will be rejected. The Secretary’s directive gives USCIS 60 days to create a process to accept these requests and USCIS is unable to accept requests at this time. Please continue to check their website for updates.

Over the past three years, this Administration has undertaken an unprecedented effort to transform the immigration enforcement system into one that focuses on public safety, border security and the integrity of the immigration system. As DHS continues to focus its limited enforcement resources on the removal of individuals who pose a danger to national security or a risk to public safety, including aliens convicted of crimes, with particular emphasis on violent criminals, felons, and repeat offenders, DHS will move to exercise prosecutorial discretion to ensure that enforcement resources are not expended on low priority cases, such as individuals who were brought to this country through no fault of their own as children, have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, or multiple misdemeanor offenses, and meet other key criteria.

Effective immediately, certain young people who were brought to the United States through no fault of their own as young children and meet several key criteria will be considered for relief from removal from the country or entered into removal proceedings. Those who demonstrate that they meet the criteria will be eligible to receive deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal.

Only those individuals who can prove through verifiable documentation that they meet these criteria will be eligible for deferred action. Individuals will not be eligible if they are not currently in the United States and cannot prove that they have been physically present in the United States for a continuous period of not less than 5 years immediately preceding today’s date. The use of prosecutorial discretion confers no substantive right or pathway to citizenship. Only the Congress, acting through its legislative authority, can confer these rights.

While this guidance takes effect immediately, USCIS and ICE expect to begin implementation of the application processes within sixty days. Do not apply - this application process is not yet available. If you apply early, your application will be rejected. Beginning June18, 2012 and available now, individuals can call USCIS’ hotline at 1-800-375-5283 or ICE’s hotline at 1-888-351-4024 during business hours with questions or to request more information on the forthcoming process.

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President Moran on the Huffington Post: Voter Purges in Florida

Posted by Jossie Flor Sapunar on 07/25/2012 @ 06:30 PM

LULAC National President Margaret Moran and Civic Engagement Manager Ulises Gonzalez register a newly sworn-in citizen at the special naturalization ceremony at the 2012 LULAC Convention.

Yesterday, LULAC National President Margaret Moran was featured on the Huffington Post. Discussing voter purges in Florida, she speaks about Governor Rick Scott and his newest attempt to disenfranchise voters, including the Latino community. The gravity of the situation in the Sunshine State is not to be understated since Latino voters are being threatened as we speak.

Read on to discover her post.

Voter Purging in Florida Targets Latinos and New Citizens


Posted by Margaret Moran 07/24/2012 3:41 pm

Today in Florida, there is a new obstacle designed to deter our community from voting. In the hunt to locate non-citizens on the voter rolls, Florida's Governor Rick Scott is now accessing a federal database of immigrants. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will now allow Florida to use a law enforcement database called the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) to verify the citizenship of voters.

The SAVE Database was created to determine eligibility for government benefits and now be adopted to determine voting eligibility. Short of a state-run voter purging campaign, which had stopped because of its reliance on faulty information, the voter purges will now be allowed to continue to the detriment of U.S citizens whose names were mistakenly on a list. DHS officials had previously denied access to the database, claiming that the information on SAVE is not current and does not provide comprehensive data on all eligible voters, including the native-born.

To use the SAVE database, the state must provide a "unique identifier," such as an "alien number" for each challenged voter, not just names and birthdates. A Florida voter whose citizenship is challenged will get a certified letter; if they fail to provide proof of citizenship within 30 days, they are to be removed from the rolls. Voters who do not respond by mail will have their names posted in a newspaper ad and be given another 30 days to respond.

With less than four months until the Presidential election, a 30 day response hardly seems sufficient time to correct government mistakes. For low income communities, taking time from their employment to answer a letter or meet with an official regarding their mistaken ineligibility to vote may be an unaffordable luxury.

This aggressive and expensive attempt to rectify what is being identified as a systemic problem of non-citizens on the rolls, begs the question: What is the problem? According to the Brennan Center for Justice, voter fraud is rare. The non-partisan public policy and law institute released a publication that found, "Usually, only a tiny portion of the claimed illegality is substantiated-- and most of the remainder is either nothing more than speculation or has been conclusively debunked" (p 3). The failure rate of Governor Scott's previous attempt at voter purge upholds the findings of the study. The vast majority of voters on the purge list are citizens, many of whom are new citizens.

When urged by elected officials, the unrelenting drive to purge voters translates into efforts to suppress people in lower socioeconomic echelons of society from voting. Florida has one of the largest immigrant populations of any state, and more than half of the people on the first purge list had Hispanic surnames, states the Tampa Bay Times. Latinos are considered a crucial voting bloc in the presidential race; their suppression would decide the victor in November.

Additionally, since the SAVE Database is updated so infrequently, we fear that many new citizens' names may not make it to the SAVE list. New citizens may fear troubling their newly-obtained citizenship and be deterred from voting. What motivation would they then have to visit the polling booth this fall?

Despite the documented evidence that proves the faulty criteria that could prevent thousands of eligible voters from exercising their rights, Governor Scott is proud of what he considers a "step in the right direction," even stating it as a "significant victory for Florida and for the integrity of our election system."

In a country with 38% voter turnout, the federal government should be working with state governments, enabling people to vote --not preventing eligible voters--of any race--from voting at all.

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