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The Year in Immigration

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Aura Bogado

on 20 December 2013

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Transcript of The Year in Immigration

January 2013
February 2013
March 2013
April 2013
May 2013
June 2013
July 2013
August 2013
September 2013
October 2013
November 2013
December 2013
January 21, 2013: Inauguration
The president directly addresses immigration
in his inaugural speech.
January 28, 2013: Gang of Eight emerges with a plan
The Gang of Eight is composed of four Republicans and four Democrats who promise a comprehensive immigration bill.
Jeff Flake,
Republican from Arizona
Marco Rubio,
Republican from Florida
Dick Durbin,
Democrat from Illinois
Chuck Schumer,
Democrat from New York
John McCain,
Republican from Arizona
Bob Menendez,
Democrat from New Jersey
Lindsey Graham,
Republican from South Carolina
Michael Bennet,
Democrat from Colorado
The eight senators convince the public—and perhaps each other—that bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform will happen in 2013.
January 29, 2013: Obama lays out his plan
Speaking at a high school in Las Vegas, the president makes clear his vision for comprehensive immigration reform.
Obama makes clear that legislation must be comprehensive and must move quickly.
Meanwhile, the targeting of immigrants for detention and deportation continues.
February 20, 2013: ICE Detainer report
A new report from the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) confirms that Obama's administration continues to target undocumented immigrants without criminal records.
More than 90 percent of immigration holds are issued on people who have not been convicted of a serious Level 1 offense.
March 2013: The bill, the bill, the bill
As detention and deportation continue, media
continue to focus on the bipartisan team crafting
the comprehensive immigration reform bill.
March 29, 2013: Pew Research survey
The Pew Research Centers reveals that a new national survey "finds that overall attitudes about immigrants in the United States are more positive than negative, despite the nation’s struggling economy."
71 percent of people surveyed say that undocumented immigrants should have access to some kind of legal status.
April 17, 2013: The Gang of Eight bill
The bill is long.
843 pages hold the promise to finally fix immigration.
And the bill deals more than $4.5 billion to enforce the U.S.-Mexico border.
The legislation runs the gamut.
There are new visas for families and workers.
The controversial E-verify program would be mandatory for all businesses.
The DREAM Act creates a five-year oath to citizenship—with no age limit.
There is a pathway to citizenship—albeit it takes a minimum of 13 years.
The high cost for fees and penalties also means some undocumented immigrants won’t be able to take advantage of the legislation.
The fees and penalties costs are also prohibitive for some undocumented immigrants.
February 5, 2013: House holds immigration hearing
The panels of experts do not include undocumented immigrants.
United We Dream aims to change that.
The group outlines a three-point plan.
1) Pathway to citizenship.
2) End to heightened enforcement.
3) Ensure LGBT partners are included in comprehensive immigration reform.
United We Dream demonstrators are escorted out of the hearing—but make their voices heard.
March 2013: Coming out the shadows
For the fourth year in a row, undocumented immigrants create safe spaces to come out of the shadows and share stories with one another during the entire month of March.
April 2013: Infiltrating detention
The National Immigrant Youth Alliance (NIYA) infiltrates an immigrant detention center in Michigan.
Claudia Muñoz, an undocumented immigrant, is detained for most of April, but eventually released.

While in detention, Muñoz helps organize other detainees to press for their own release.

Her experience will prove helpful for infiltrations later in the year.

May 21, 2013: Senate Judiciary approves immigration bill
The final vote is 13-5, which clears the bill to move forward.
Next stop?
Next stop?
June 11, 2013: Senate votes to debate bill
The debate is filled with contentious amendments.
Among them, the Hoeven-Corker amendment—a big border surge amendment that focuses on enforcement.
June 27, 2013: Senate passes immigration reform bill
A bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill passes the Senate, 68 to 32.
June marks the last time the bill really moves forward, and it will die a slow death through December.
The bill stops. But detention and deportation do not.
While the Senate has been busy passing a bill that will never move forward in the House, undocumented immigrants have been devising strategies for action.
July 2013: No confidence for Senate bill
By July, an increasing number of grassroots groups highlight that the Senate bill is focused on enforcement and will be a step back for undocumented immigrants.
July 22, 2013: The Dream 9 cross the border
Adriana Díaz,
living in Mexico
Ceferino Santiago,
living in Mexico
Organized by the NIYA, three undocumented youth living in the United States return to Mexico in order to join six others. The six were either deported or returned to visit a dying relative in Mexico. The nine cross back together at the Nogales port of entry in Arizona.
Lizbeth Mateo,
returned to Mexico to join the group
María Peniche,
living in Mexico
Marco Saavedra,
returned to Mexico to join the group
Claudia Amaro,
living in Mexico
Lulu Martínez,
returned to Mexico to join the group
Luís Leon,
living in Mexico
All nine are held at the notorious Eloy Detention Center in Arizona, where they help fellow detainees organize their own release.
August 7, 2013: Dream 9 released
The Dream 9 establish credible fear, a crucial step in their claims for asylum.

After garnering international attention, all nine are released from detention.
August 2013: The House doesn't move on Senate bill
House Republicans have made clear all year long that they will not work on a comprehensive immigration reform bill in 2013.
Nevertheless, Obama urges opposition leaders to work on the bill before the August recess.

They do not.
The White House then insists that House Republicans work on the bill
the recess. Again, they will not.
And detention and deportation continue.
September 18, 2013: Undocumented protestors chain themselves to White House
Seven undocumented immigrants affiliated with the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) chain themselves to the White House, demanding a stop to deportations, and screaming the now-familiar phrase, "Not One More!"
The seven are arrested and later released—but civil disobedience will only escalate the rest of the year.
September 30, 2013: Dream 30+ cross the border
Following on the heels of the NIYA's Dream 9, more than 30 immigrants who were deported or left the U.S. under the Obama administration cross the border at the port of entry in Laredo, Tex.
Among them are a U.S.-born baby whose mother was deported to Honduras, and several teenagers who want to return to their homes in the U.S.
Some are released right away. Most are placed in detention in El Paso, Tex.
October 5, 2013: California governor signs pro-immigrant bills
California Governor Jerry Brown several pro-immigrant bills, including the Trust Act, which essentially stops Obama's Secure Communities program that targets undocumented immigrants.
“While Washington waffles on immigration, California's forging ahead,” says Brown.
And waffle it does. The House refuses to move on the bill, while Obama refuses to stop detention and deportation.
October 11, 2013: Activists stop deportation bus
NDLON and its affiliates host undocumented immigrants and their allies for a weekend training that culminates in a series of direct actions, including blocking a deportation buses leaving a courthouse.
Activists will continue to deploy direct action to stop deportations in cities throughout the U.S.
November 25, 2013: Ju Hong disrupts Obama's immigration speech
Four of the NIYA's Dream 30+ are deported—but the vast majority return to their homes in the U.S. by the middle of November.
December 5, 2013: Lawmakers ask Obama to halt deportations
December 11, 2013: White House rigs immigration chat
December 10, 2013: The NIYA reveals another detention center inflitration
The president insists he cannot stop deportations—although Obama's Department of Homeland Security did exactly that for military relatives 10 days previously.
Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Luis Gutiérrez, and 26 other members of Congress sign a letter to President Obama, urging him to stop deportations, which have reached 1,100 per day.
The letter reads, in part, "Every deportation of a father, a sister, or a neighbor tears at our social consciousness; every unnecessary raid and detention seriously threatens the fabric of civil liberties we swore to uphold."
Twenty eight lawmakers sign the letter.
Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chair Rubén Hinojosa declines.
The NIYA's Santiago García-Leco infiltrates the El Paso Detention Center to follow up on what the Dream 30+ heard about while they were held there.

The group calls for an investigation into the center, which holds people well after they've passed their credible fear interviews in their asylum process.
The detention center also holds a transgender woman in the men's section, and also holds women in late terms of pregnancy.
García-Leco is released almost immediately after authorities realize he works with the NIYA.
The White House encourages social media users to send their questions about immigration to Vice President Joe Biden and Domestic Policy Director Cecilia Muñoz.

Users notice all the questions seem filtered.

It's later revealed that they were.
Biden and Muñoz stick to the script, and blame House Republicans for not moving forward on immigration reform.

The Year
in Immigration

2013 was a long year for undocumented immigrants and for the hope of immigration reform.

A lot of energy was spent on a bill that was never viable in the House.

But activists demonstrated against continued detention and deportation in unprecedented ways.
So what can we expect next year?
2014 is an election year—so it's even less likely comprehensive immigration reform will pass.
Jeh Johnson will head the Department of Homeland Security, which includes Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

We know little about Johnson's position on immigration, although he made clear he supports the Senate's bill.

Since the House is unlike to move on it in 2014, we can expect continued detention and deportation.
Activists are already gearing up to organize against the Obama administration's immigration policies in 2014.
November 2013: Democrats radically alter messaging
For a solid ten months, Democrats and their supporters are absolutely clear that immigration reform must be comprehensive—not a series of bills that address the issue.

In early November, however, Democrats and their aides start changing their messaging, telling reporters they'd settle for a piecemeal approach to immigration reform.

In a reversal of what he's said all year long, Obama declares that he also supports a piecemeal approach if that's what it takes for immigration reform to move in the House.
Mario Félix also joins the group, right at the port of entry.
Full transcript