Court-Ordered Deportations Plunge, But This Mother Is Still Caught In The Deportation Dragnet

Undocumented immigrants rally outside the White House to ask the President to stop deportations. CREDIT: ThinkProgress/ Esther Y. Lee Court-ordered deportations decreased by 43 percent between the 2009 and 2013 fiscal years, according to new Department of Justice data released Wednesday. That statistic, which includes the last four months of the former President George W. Bush’s presidency, may help to bolster the Obama administration’s argument that federal immigration officials are now focusing on detaining and deporting criminal immigrants, but other immigrants are still caught in deportation proceedings. The data found that in the 2013 fiscal year, immigration judges ordered deportations for 105,064 cases, down 56 percent from 185,426 cases ordered in 2009. Fewer … [Read more...]

Governor Will Automatically Restore Voting Rights For All Virginians With A Drug Record

CREDIT: Shutterstock The Virginia Constitution does not allow anyone with a felony conviction to vote unless their rights have been restored by the governor. But on Friday, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) announced he would immediately restore voting rights to anyone who has completed their sentence for a drug offense, and reduce the waiting period for other violent felonies from five years to three. The move comes two months after U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder called for states to roll back felon disenfranchisement laws rooted in Reconstruction-era voter suppression “too often based on exclusion, animus, and fear.” After Reconstruction, when Southern states were passing felon disenfranchisement measures just as slaves were being freed, 90 percent of the Southern prison … [Read more...]

Florida House Republican: ‘Only’ Way To Citizenship May Be Through Military

Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL) speaks at a public forum in April 2014. CREDIT: ThinkProgress/ Scott Keyes TAMPA, Florida — The U.S. House may take up immigration legislation with a very limited pathway to citizenship for some undocumented immigrants, Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL) said during a public forum event on Tuesday. Ross said that the “only” citizenship provision that House Republicans may consider this summer is for a group of undocumented immigrants who want to join the military. He also said that a House Republican version of an immigration bill would likely include measures such as border security, a guest worker program, and visa programs for students, businesses, investors, and entrepreneurs. ROSS: With regard to immigration, I think there’s an opportunity, … [Read more...]

Professor Suspended After College Deems His Daughter’s ‘Game Of Thrones’ T-Shirt A Threat

Daenerys Targaryen, terrorist CREDIT: HBO Francis Schmidt is an art and animation professor at Bergen Community College in New Jersey. He likes cats, fantasy stories and social media. And he likes to post pictures relating to cats and fantasy stories to his Google+ page. One of these pictures shows his young daughter doing yoga in a Game of Thrones T-shirt. The shirt includes a quote from the popular HBO show: “I will take what is mine with fire & blood.” Not long after he posted this picture, he received an email from Jim Miller, the school’s human resources director, instructing Schmidt to meet with him immediately due to a “threatening email.” When Schmidt arrived for the meeting, they were joined by two other administrators and a security official — … [Read more...]

Nebraska Will Now Bar Employers From Asking Job Applicants About Criminal Records

CREDIT: Shutterstock Nebraska just became the first red state in the country to bar employers from asking prospective employees about their criminal histories on job applications. Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman (R) on Wednesday signed a broad bill meant to ease overcrowding in the state’s prisons. It covers job training programs, mental health and transitional services, and fair hiring practices for ex-offenders — one specifically aimed at eliminating the so-called ‘box’ that asks about criminal history from initial job applications for public employers. The bill passed with “little fanfare,” said a spokesperson for the Governor. It was approved by the legislature on a vote of 46-0. State Senator Brad Ashford (D-Omaha), who authored the bill, said … [Read more...]