Georgia immigration news


‘We’ve helped the country,’ says Salvadoran of losing protective status

José Fermán sat in the Atlanta offices of the El Salvadoran consulate, overwhelmed with a sense of pressure, sadness and fear. All playing out on his tear-stained face. He has been in the United States since 1999. “I’ve been living in the country all that time. We’ve worked, we’ve helped the country,” Fermán said. “We are Hispanics who come...


New Americans: Georgia State campus leader embraces Latino roots

The AJC’s New Americans series includes profiles of college students, including  German Botello, the son of Mexican immigrants who are now U.S. citizens. A senior at Georgia State University, Botello is the first in his family to attend a four-year university. The riveting AJC series focuses on the experiences of first-generation Americans...
Lawsuit: Somalis beaten, straightjacketed on failed deportation flight

Lawsuit: Somalis beaten, straightjacketed on failed deportation flight

Federal immigration authorities and their contract guards “beat, kicked, choked, pushed, straightjacketed, threatened to kill, and berated” detainees during a failed attempt to deport them to Somalia this month, a new class-action lawsuit alleges. Filed this week, the federal complaint says the Somali men and women — some residing in Georgia — were shackled for almost two days...
Report: Safety problems at immigration detention center in S. Georgia

Report: Safety problems at immigration detention center in S. Georgia

An immigration detention center in South Georgia has struggled with serious safety problems undermining the “humane treatment” of its detainees, according to a stinging new report by the U.S. Homeland Security Department’s Office of Inspector General. At Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, some detainees with high-risk criminal convictions have been misclassified and housed...
Christie Thuy Pham, a Vietnamese-American, aims to blend two cultures

Christie Thuy Pham, a Vietnamese-American, aims to blend two cultures

Christie Thuy Pham is a first-generation Vietnamese-American and senior at Georgia State University. She grew up as a first-generation American in rural Morrow, and Georgia was challenging because she was raised in an American setting, but her family life was firmly rooted in traditional Vietnamese culture.  She has struggled seeing her American friends be raised in a looser environment while...
German Botello, a Mexican-American, finds a welcoming place at GSU

German Botello, a Mexican-American, finds a welcoming place at GSU

German Botello was born at Grady Memorial Hospital to two Mexican immigrants. He was raised speaking both English and Spanish (but mostly Spanish) at home. Now a senior at Georgia State University, he is the first in his family to attend a four-year university, and he’s felt the pressure to make the case that studying in college makes sense. He has become a go-to resource for helping his younger...
ICE: Hotel power, water outages caused deportation flight to turn back

ICE: Hotel power, water outages caused deportation flight to turn back

Power and water outages at a Senegalese hotel triggered a bizarre episode last week when a U.S. deportation flight returned to America with all its 92 Somali nationals onboard, including some who resided in Georgia, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. En route to Djibouti — a country adjacent to Somalia — the plane first landed in the Senegalese capital of Dakar to pick...
U.S. deportation flight returns from Africa with all on board

U.S. deportation flight returns from Africa with all on board

The government’s efforts to deport 92 Somali nationals — including some who lived in Georgia and Minnesota — did not go as planned this week, when the flight encountered some snags in Senegal and returned to the U.S. with all on board. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement released statement Saturday, saying relief flight crew members were “unable to get sufficient rest...
Telling the story of resegregation through Marietta High School

Telling the story of resegregation through Marietta High School

Should a school district losing middle-class white families labor to lure them back or focus on the students now walking through its doors? That’s one of the big questions in a scholarly new book that chronicles the story of resegregation of Southern schools and communities through Marietta High School. Marietta High integrated 10 years after the U.S. Supreme...
ICE arrests, deportations way up in Georgia, Carolinas amid Trump era

ICE arrests, deportations way up in Georgia, Carolinas amid Trump era

Arrests and deportations have risen sharply in Georgia and the Carolinas amid the Trump administration’s clampdown on illegal immigration, according to new figures the government released Tuesday. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement made 13,551 arrests during the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30 in its Atlanta area of operations, which includes Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina...
Opinion: Broken immigration system imperils dreams, accomplishments of students

Opinion: Broken immigration system imperils dreams, accomplishments of students

Jason Esteves was elected to the Atlanta Board of Education in 2013. A former Teach for America teacher, Esteves taught middle school in the Houston Independent School District. He is now an attorney. Esteves has served on the boards of KIPP South Fulton Academy, Georgia Appleseed’s Young Professionals Council, and the Georgia Hispanic Bar Association...
Immigrant children face challenges of new school, country, language

Immigrant children face challenges of new school, country, language

An educator with the Gwinnett County Public Schools, Nury Castillo Crawford was born in Peru but migrated to the United States as a child. In a new children’s book, Crawford finds inspiration in her own journey from immigrant to American, a trek that led to an undergraduate and master’s degree, marriage and three sons. Her book is called  &ldquo...
Sweet Sweet Syria: How a cookie can save a family

Sweet Sweet Syria: How a cookie can save a family

The young Syrian woman’s fingers (even wrapped in plastic gloves) move like those of a concert violinist as she produces a symphony of sweet tastes. She pinches, rolls, squashes and stretches a ball of sweet, orange blossom-scented dough, forming it into a pocket, ready for filling. Into the recess goes a marble-sized nugget of ground pistachios, or smooth dates, or coconut, before she reseals...
Georgia schools seek, enjoy international students

Georgia schools seek, enjoy international students

Oglethorpe University president Larry Schall is like a college basketball coach when it comes to recruiting students. He looks for them throughout metro Atlanta and increasingly abroad, in countries such as Dubai and Jordan. Oglethorpe and many metro Atlanta colleges and universities are seeing a higher percentage of their students come from other nations, and they want more international students...
Torpy at Large: Too bad Atlanta’s immigration hypocrisy isn’t illegal

Torpy at Large: Too bad Atlanta’s immigration hypocrisy isn’t illegal

Earlier this month, Mayor Kasim Reed boasted on his very active Twitter account that his town is immigrant friendly. “Atlanta is proud to be a welcoming city,” he wrote. “Pleased to be a part of the Safe Cities Network offering legal representation for those individuals facing deportation.” Fighting for the rights of immigrants is now an important battleground for Dems and...
Atlanta mayor under fire amid debate over illegal immigration

Atlanta mayor under fire amid debate over illegal immigration

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed is drawing fire from multiple sides in the hot-button debate over illegal immigration after recently announcing the city had joined a nationwide effort in finding legal help for immigrants facing deportation. When Reed announced the city’s new policy this month, he called Atlanta a “welcoming city that stands up for the civil and human rights of every person.&rdquo...
Georgia immigration enforcement board weighs hiring outside help

Georgia immigration enforcement board weighs hiring outside help

Georgia’s Immigration Enforcement Review Board is considering hiring a private investigator or a paralegal to help it get through a backlog of complaints, most of them filed by longtime anti-illegal immigration activist D.A. King. Appointed by the governor, lieutenant governor and House speaker, the seven-member board — which has a $20,000 annual budget — is now tracking 14 pending...
Visa lottery draws scrutiny in Georgia following N.Y. terror attack

Visa lottery draws scrutiny in Georgia following N.Y. terror attack

Banji Oyebisi felt a heavy weight lift off his shoulders when he learned he had won America’s diversity visa lottery. His native Nigeria beset with political upheaval and violence, Oyebisi immigrated to Georgia in 1996 and worked his way up from washing dishes to employing four people at his own technology consulting business in Sandy Springs. The program that brought Oyebisi to America is now...
Immigration stories from Atlanta slated for new book

Immigration stories from Atlanta slated for new book

The teen’s story was too compelling to be left on the cutting room floor. She’d come to the United States from Guatemala earlier this year as a 15-year-old, her 4-month-old child in tow. She traveled to the U.S. border for months, mostly on foot, leaving behind a village with no electricity and little running water. When it came time for the interview, she couldn’t get through it...
ICE moves to close South Georgia detention center, then re-evaluates

ICE moves to close South Georgia detention center, then re-evaluates

The Trump administration moved this week to close a federal immigration detention center in South Georgia just months after it opened, and then said it was re-evaluating that decision, leaving 170 jobs, $4 million in private investments, and a big chunk of local tax revenue up in the air. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s change of direction Friday came after Republican U.S. Rep. Buddy...
Torpy at Large: The real reason Casey Cagle is on Decatur’s case

Torpy at Large: The real reason Casey Cagle is on Decatur’s case

Lt. Governor Casey Cagle this week again tore into Decatur, alleging that the liberal bastion is a hideaway — no, more like a sanctuary — for immigrants who have entered this country without legal permission. Cagle filed a complaint with something called the Immigration Enforcement Review Board, a kangaroo court created by the state to give anti-immigration activist D.A...
Georgia could see expansion in immigration enforcement program

Georgia could see expansion in immigration enforcement program

Georgia’s Corrections Department and authorities in Bartow and Floyd counties have applied to team up with federal deportation officers through an immigration enforcement program promoted by President Donald Trump, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has learned. At issue is the federal 287(g) program — named after the section of the 1996 federal law that authorizes it — which deputizes...
Immigration enforcement program could be expanded in Georgia

Immigration enforcement program could be expanded in Georgia

Georgia’s Corrections Department and authorities in Bartow and Floyd counties have applied to team up with federal deportation officers through an immigration enforcement program promoted by President Donald Trump, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has learned.  At issue is the federal 287(g) program – named after the section of the 1996 federal law that authorizes it – which...
National teacher survey: ‘Overworked, underpaid, underappreciated, questioned and blamed’

National teacher survey: ‘Overworked, underpaid, underappreciated, questioned and blamed’

A teacher survey released today by the American Federation of Teachers and the Badass Teachers Association shows high levels of stress in the profession, which is unlikely to surprise anyone who has been in a classroom in the last year. One source of that stress is the federal government, which has an education leader at the helm who has made school choice ...
Judge: Keep Jessica Colotl’s DACA status in place

Judge: Keep Jessica Colotl’s DACA status in place

A federal judge in Atlanta has for a second time ordered the Trump administration to keep in place a temporary reprieve from deportation for Jessica Colotl, the Norcross woman who has become a flashpoint in the national debate over illegal immigration.  In his ruling issued Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge Mark Cohen said the Mexican native’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status...
Opinion: Separate DACA from DREAM Act – and put immigration enforcement first

Opinion: Separate DACA from DREAM Act – and put immigration enforcement first

D.A. King is president of the Georgia-based Dustin Inman Society, which advocates for enforcement of immigration laws. In this piece, King responds to a blog last week about a letter to Congress from national educational leaders beseeching Congress to provide permanent stability for young people with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA status....
Georgia Appeals Court denies in-state tuition for DACA recipients

Georgia Appeals Court denies in-state tuition for DACA recipients

Georgia’s Court of Appeals has reversed a lower court’s decision that said the state must permit residents who have been granted a special reprieve from deportation to pay in-state tuition at state colleges and universities. At issue is the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, or DACA, which grants two-year work permits and deportation deferrals...
Georgia Appeals Court rules against DACA recipients seeking in-state tuition

Georgia Appeals Court rules against DACA recipients seeking in-state tuition

Georgia’s Court of Appeals has reversed a lower court’s decision that said the state must permit residents who have been granted a special reprieve from deportation to pay in-state tuition at state colleges and universities.  At issue is the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, or DACA, which grants two-year work permits and deportation deferrals...
K-12 leaders urge Congress to protect young immigrants from deportation risks

K-12 leaders urge Congress to protect young immigrants from deportation risks

There is only one Georgia signatory on a letter from 55 school leaders across the nation beseeching Congressional leaders to preserve a path to citizenship for young immigrants who came to the United States as children. Alisha T. Morgan, executive director of Ivy Preparatory Academies, signed the letter written on behalf of students with Deferred Action for Childhood...
Georgia’s immigration enforcement panel draws scrutiny

Georgia’s immigration enforcement panel draws scrutiny

When Georgia lawmakers passed a sweeping law cracking down on illegal immigration in 2011, they created a board to hold state and local government officials accountable. Over the next six years the Immigration Enforcement Review Board received 20 complaints to investigate, according to documents obtained through Georgia’s Open Records Act. And all but one came from the same person: D.A. King...
Warden of ICE detention center in South Georgia retires

Warden of ICE detention center in South Georgia retires

The head of a privately operated immigration detention center in South Georgia has retired. Warden Bill Spivey left his post at Stewart Detention Center last month, according to CoreCivic, the Nashville-based corrections company that operates the facility through agreements with Stewart County and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.  Spivey’s retirement followed the suicide of a detainee...
Exclusive: ICE’s top official in Atlanta details enforcement priorities

Exclusive: ICE’s top official in Atlanta details enforcement priorities

The man in charge of immigration enforcement for Georgia and the Carolinas has a message for immigrants living here without proper papers: Stay out of trouble, be careful about who you hang out with and get ready to return to your homeland. “They know that at any point while they are in the country illegally that they could be subject to enforcement,” said Sean Gallagher, the Atlanta field...
Born in the Philippines, but Georgia is home to this immigrant fighting for DACA

Born in the Philippines, but Georgia is home to this immigrant fighting for DACA

Raymond Partolan lifted his denim pant leg a few inches to reveal more of his brown boots. He offered an apology for his casual attire; it’s Friday — the one weekday where he can wear what makes him feel most comfortable to work at the Atlanta-area law office. He loves country music. The background picture on his cell phone depicts Georgia’s state flag. The state motto — &ldquo...
Georgia’s DACA immigrants fight for their lives in U.S.

Georgia’s DACA immigrants fight for their lives in U.S.

The freshly painted mural on a Buford Highway liquor store may seem an unlikely spot for a political statement. But to its creator, Roberto Hernandez, the many-hued hands that reach upward along the once-drab exterior of Atlanta Package tell his chapter in a story that a gutsy immigrant generation wants the nation to hear. Hernandez, 31, was born in Mexico and lived there until 1999, when he and his...
Georgia cities limiting cooperation with ICE amid Trump’s crackdown

Georgia cities limiting cooperation with ICE amid Trump’s crackdown

Civil rights activists are pushing communities across the nation to limit their cooperation with federal deportation officers. They are keeping their phone lines ringing. They are packing their City Council meetings. And they are drafting model rules for them to adopt. Those efforts are catching fire in the Atlanta area now that President Donald Trump is carrying out a broad crackdown on illegal immigration...
Decatur: ICE policy does not violate Georgia ‘sanctuary’ law

Decatur: ICE policy does not violate Georgia ‘sanctuary’ law

Decatur is violating a state law prohibiting “sanctuary policies” through its newly written policy limiting cooperation with federal immigration authorities, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle charged in a recent letter. City officials are adamantly denying the Republican gubernatorial candidate’s allegation.  In a letter Friday to State Auditor Greg Griffin, Cagle pointed out state law bars...
Georgia has head start when it comes to Trump’s immigration wish list

Georgia has head start when it comes to Trump’s immigration wish list

President Donald Trump set his sights on the nation’s employers this week when he outlined his wish list for any deal with Congress that would extend protections for young immigrants who could face deportation. Among other things, Trump said he wants to require businesses to use E-Verify, a federal workforce authorization program. The program works by checking information employees provide on...
Opinion: Immigration divides Ivy League America and ordinary working folks

Opinion: Immigration divides Ivy League America and ordinary working folks

Peter Morici is an economist and business professor at the University of Maryland, and a national columnist. In this essay, he examines the nation’s divergent views on immigrants, saying, “What works for Ivy League and elite state university graduates does not rhyme well for ordinary working folks in America’s interior.” He also suggests U.S. immigration...
Report: 15,700 DACA recipients in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell area

Report: 15,700 DACA recipients in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell area

President Donald Trump’s decision to phase out an Obama administration program that is temporarily shielding young immigrants from deportation would affect 15,700 people in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell area, federal records show. That represents a little more than 2 percent of the 689,800 people who were participating in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, as of...
ICE detainee wasn’t observed as required before he hanged himself

ICE detainee wasn’t observed as required before he hanged himself

Immigration authorities in South Georgia failed to check on a detainee they had deemed a “suicide risk” as often as they are required before he hanged himself in his solitary confinement cell in May, according to records obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s standards say detainees kept in isolation must be observed “at least...
Decatur approves policy limiting cooperation with ICE

Decatur approves policy limiting cooperation with ICE

Decatur has adopted a policy limiting cooperation with federal immigration authorities amid the Trump administration’s crackdown on illegal immigration.  Approved Friday by City Manager Peggy Merriss, the one-page policy prohibits Decatur police from arresting, detaining or transporting anyone solely on the basis of detainers issued by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. ...
Supreme Court cancels oral arguments concerning Trump’s travel ban

Supreme Court cancels oral arguments concerning Trump’s travel ban

The U.S. Supreme Court has canceled next month’s oral arguments concerning President Donald Trump’s travel ban, citing the new travel restrictions he issued by proclamation Sunday. The high court isn’t disposing of the case. Rather, it is asking both sides to file briefs by Oct. 5, showing whether the case is now moot, given the new proclamation. Meanwhile, Chad, Iran and Venezuela...
President Trump issues new travel ban affecting eight nations

President Trump issues new travel ban affecting eight nations

The Trump administration late Sunday announced it is replacing its travel ban with a new proclamation barring visitors from eight countries, saying those nations are not doing enough to block criminals and terrorists from reaching the United States. The result of a review of vetting procedures in nearly 200 countries, the new directive continues existing restrictions against Iran, Libya, Somalia,...
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