The web page was set up in November, soon after Obama announced his executive actions on immigration. An email was sent out to stakeholders last week to remind them about the web page, which provides links to the three DHS agencies thatll be responsible for implementing many of the immigration policies that Obama announced last November. Those three agencies are Customs and Border Protection (CBP); Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Following the announcement on Nov. 20, DHS pulled together existing contact information from each of these three components on a new website page, DHS spokeswoman Ginette Magaña said in an email to VOXXI. This provides one place for all stakeholders to find out more about the new DHS guidelines, deferred action, eligibility for new initiatives, or to register comment or complaint.
As part of his recent executive actions on immigration, Obama announced a new deferred action program that grants temporary deportation reprieve and work authorization to parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. The DHS web page states USCIS will begin accepting applications in May for this new program, dubbed Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA).
The president also announced as part of his executive actions that he would expand the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that allows undocumented youth who came to the U.S. as children to stay and work. The president also said he would extend the period of deportation reprieve and work authorization granted to individuals under the DACA program from two years to three years. USCIS is set to begin accepting applications for the expanded DACA program on Nov. 18.
The National Border Patrol Council, which represents Border Patrol agents, reacted to the news about the web page, saying it was dismayed and disappointed that the Obama administration continues to focus on supporting the agendas of extreme pro-illegal immigration groups instead of advocating for the needs of immigration agents.
The primary responsibility of Border Patrol agents is to enforce our immigration laws and protect our borders from those that intend to do our nation harm, the group said. Unfortunately, instead of supporting our agents, this administration has decided it is more important to find new ways to solicit complaints and invite ridicule against them.
In addition, the group said it would like DHS to create a mechanism where agents can file complaints on the administrations failure to implement laws involving the pay of Border Patrol agents, fully enforce immigration laws and adequately equip agents.
Meanwhile, immigrant rights advocates have for years expressed concerns about whether complaints filed against immigration agents actually lead to adequate disciplinary action.
A report released last May by the American Immigration Council revealed that of 809 abuse complaints filed against Border Patrol agents between January 2009 and January 2012, only 13 resulted in disciplinary action. Many of the cases where disciplinary action was taken resulted in counseling, and only one case resulted in suspension of the Border Patrol agent who perpetrated the abuse.
In one case highlighted in the report, a pregnant woman reported that a Border Patrol agent kicked her during apprehension, causing her to have a miscarriage. She filed a formal complaint against the agent but records show no disciplinary action was taken.