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Posts tagged ‘Janet Napolitano’

Cowardly Chief Counsel Refuses to Meet With Severely Disabled Daughter of Man Facing Deportation

Danna, a 5-year-old U.S. citizen with cerebral palsy, with the most important person in her life, her dad, Miguel.

Danna, a 5-year-old U.S. citizen with cerebral palsy, with the most important person in her life, her dad, Miguel.

NOTE: What follows is an excerpt of notes taken by Danna’s Neurologist while her dad was detained by ICE in 2011:

 “Here b/c Danna’s father has been detained for > week b/c here illegally and mom states that Danna calls for her father, and cries at night and wants to be held all the time. Mom is afraid that Danna will start to regress and lose all that she has gained. Danna refuses to do her therapy…”


Danna, who is the daughter of our client, Miguel, may well lose her father to deportation come his hearing on August 16, 2013.

Danna is 5 years old and has cerebral palsy. She was born extremely premature at 25 weeks. In those dark weeks following her birth, when Danna drifted from life to death, the voice of her father always brought her back. He was at her side, telling her she would make it. Danna and her Dad have been inseparable ever since.

If Miguel is deported, Danna’s life will be put at risk. When her father was detained by immigration in 2011, she was so upset that she stopped her daily physical and occupational therapy. Without her therapy, Danna will succumb to paralysis.

The Chief Counsel of ICE in New York, Wen-Ting Cheng, has denied several requests for the exercise of prosecutorial discretion for Miguel.  Why? Because the hypothetical danger that Miguel poses to the general public in the future because of two convictions for DUI is more important than the certain harm that Danna will suffer if her father is deported.

Recently Danna requested a meeting with Wen-Ting Cheng so that she could ask her in person to keep her father with her in the United States. I wrote on her behalf:

Given that Danna is the person who stands to lose most from her father’s removal, I think it is a good idea for you to see the full picture in terms of consequences of the decision to deny or grant prosecutorial discretion.

On June 17,  Ms. Cheng responded, making it clear that she did not want to see the consequences:

“I decline your request for an in person meeting with Danna Quiche.  I am well aware of her condition.  An in person meeting with this child is not likely to change my decision which I arrived at after careful consideration of all the factors at issue.  As you know, my office has  reviewed this matter several times.  Thank you.”

Ms. Cheng’s refusal to meet with Danna in person is cowardly. Lest one believe I am being unnecessarily antagonistic, let me explain.

Too often, ICE does not have to see the profound devastation its actions cause to humans, particularly the most vulnerable in our society.

Ms. Cheng did not have to see the tears in Danna’s eyes when she thought she would never see her Dad again.

Ms. Cheng did not have to see Danna howl through the night, unable to sleep, tortured that her father was gone. She did not have to watch Danna waste away, day by day, because her severe depression caused her to refuse therapy.

Similarly, Ms. Cheng does not have to see what will happen to Danna if her father is deported. She can forget about it. She can act like it never happened.

But if she meets Danna, this angelic little girl will be forever ingrained in her memory, like it is in mine. She will not be able to make this decision without a concrete cost to her conscience. And that is how it should be. Government officials should be required to witness the human cost of their actions. Step up, Ms. Cheng, and meet with Danna.

Wen-Ting Cheng refuses to meet with Danna, the 5-year-old U.S. citizen with cerebral palsy and daughter of Miguel, who is at risk of deportation.

NY ICE Chief Counsel, Wen-Ting Cheng, refuses to meet with Danna, the 5-year-old U.S. citizen with cerebral palsy and daughter of Miguel, who is at risk of deportation.

More video on ICE’s willingness to sentence severely disabled 4-year-old to total paralysis or death for father’s crime

This footage was taken by our office and has subtitles in English:


The Executive version of the Dream Act was just announced, today, June 15, 2012

Update: 4:23 p.m. As one of the requirements of proof for the policy change is that the person applying was present in the United States today, June 15, 2012, we strongly encourage all individuals who are or will be eligible to obtain a sworn, notarized affidavit today as definite proof of their physical presence here in the U.S.

Update: 1:18pm. Reading closely, DHS has stated that USCIS has 60 days to begin implementing the new policy. This means that applications may not be accepted until August 15, 2012. It is crucial that all eligible individuals apply the moment the window opens. There is a limited time to apply before the Presidential elections on November 6, 2012. If President Obama loses the elections, the whole process could be cancelled.

This is breaking news! It is also great news! Today, June 15, 2012,  the Department of Homeland Security announced that it will be granting deferred action for youth who qualify.

Those who are granted deferred action will be eligible to apply for work authorization. This status is good for two years and is renewable at the expiration of the two year period. Here are the specific requirements for a dreamer to be eligible for this new benefit: 

Pursuant to the Secretary’s June 15, 2012 memorandum, in order to be eligible for deferred action, individuals must:

  1. Have come to the United States under the age of sixteen;
  2. Have continuously resided in the United States for at least five years preceding the date of this memorandum and are present in the United States on the date of this memorandum;
  3. Currently be in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general education development certificate, or are honorably discharged veterans of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;
  4. Have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety;
  5. Not be above the age of thirty

It is important to note how expansive this new policy is. Virtually everyone who fulfills the above 5 requirements will be eligible for a work authorization for increments of two years.

Individuals in removal proceedings can apply. Individuals with deportation orders can also apply. Lastly, anyone not in the last two categories can also affirmatively apply. The specific procedures to apply for deferred action have not yet been implemented, but expect them to be released soon. DHS has provided us with a useful chart:

I… Who to submit a request to review my case: Where can I get more information:
…am subject to a final order of removal. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) when the application period opens USCIS website at June 18: USCIS hotline at 1-800-375-5283 (8 am-8 pm; English & Spanish)
…have a case pending before the Executive Office for Immigration Review or a federal court. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) when the process for accepting requests is announced ICE website at: June 18: ICE hotline at 1-888-351-4024 (9am – 5pm; English and Spanish)
…have never been apprehended or placed into removal proceedings. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) when the application period opens USCIS website at June 18: USCIS hotline at 1-800-375-5283 (8 am-8 pm; English & Spanish)

It is highly recommended you consult with an attorney before applying for deferred action. Remember, if your application is denied, you could be placed into removal proceedings, or immediately removed, if you are a person with a final order of removal.

This is not the dream act, but still provides a huge benefit for so many young people who are being held back solely on account of their status as undocumented.

Also, do not wait to apply. This form of relief may very well disappear after the November presidential elections, so it is important to apply as soon as the procedures have been implemented. Good luck!