Last September 18th, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) awarded a private prison company a grant to establish a new caseworker management initiative for mothers and children released from family detention.
ICE announced Thursday that it signed an $11 million-a-year contract with GEO Care LLC to operate the program in Los Angeles, New York City, Miami, Chicago and the Baltimore-Washington area for families released from detention or at the border.
GEO Care is a division of GEO Group, the for-profit private prison company that owns and operates the notorious Karnes family detention camp in South Texas. A social worker who worked at the center quit and blew the whistle on conditions inside, testifying before Congress that what she saw inside was "tantamount to torture."
Jonathan Ryan, Executive Director of RAICES stated “The administration keeps finding ways to hand over control of a vulnerable population to a private prison company. We very much fear the end result will be harm to these families and their claims to protection under our laws.”
GEO does not have the legal or social case management expertise, nor trust of the immigrant community to successfully implement this program.
Victor Nieblas Pradis, President of AILA cautioned “With this choice, the Obama Administration is only wasting more taxpayer money on wholly inappropriate punitive treatment models for families seeking protection in the United States.”
In commemoration of Citizenship and Constitution Day this past September 17, we congratulate to all our clients who have recently become U.S. citizens! This special day, was celebrated around the country, including fifty naturalization ceremonies through September.
However, despite all the ceremonies and celebrations we, at Schonberg & Timerman, P.L., know that so many more Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs) are eligible to benefit from the privilege of becoming U.S. Citizens.
The Department of Homeland Security released statistics in 2012 reflecting that more than 13 million LPRs live in the United States. However, although eligible, 8.8 million LPRs have not applied for naturalization.
So, why haven’t more eligible LPRs become citizens? In most cases, financial and language barriers are the major challenges for eligible LPRs. Although most LPRs want to naturalize, the filing fees and legal costs of the application are usually a big burden on working families. In many instances, more than one member of the family is eligible for naturalization at the same time, so putting the money aside can be very challenging. Thus, the fees coupled with language proficiency standards, are the main reason that prevent millions of immigrants from accessing the benefits of citizenship.
This is disappointing considering all the benefits of citizenship including voting rights, and family unification opportunities along with demonstrated increase in individual earnings.
Thus, if you are an eligible LPR who believe qualify for naturalization, please, contact our office at 965-843-3494 to discuss how we can help to achieve your dream of becoming a United States citizen.
About the Authors
Laura Schonberg and Andrea Timerman developed their passion for immigration law through their own experience immigrating to the United States. Laura received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Juris Doctor Degree from Florida International University. Andrea received a Bachelors in Business Administration from Pace University, NY, and her Juris Doctor Degree from Florida International University. Both attorneys obtained ample experience in the immigration field before partnering to work as immigration attorneys at Schonberg & Timerman, P.L.