Reflecting on the fact that many immigration detentions are civil, rather than criminal, actions, more than 100 jurisdictions across the United States have stopped enforcing “holds” issued by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, or ICE. The policy changes follow a federal court ruling in Oregon declaring such practices unconstitutional.
More than a dozen of the counties changing the practice are in California, including Los Angeles and San Diego, where authorities have stopped complying with the ICE detainer requests, reports the Orange County Register. The newspaper quotes Julia Harumi Mass, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU of Northern California: “Detaining people based on suspected civil immigration violations without probable cause not only wastes scarce local public safety resources and contradicts our sense of fairness – it undeniably violates the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”
Read the Register report by Roxana Kopetman here
On the Huffington Post’s national political page today, Sara Warner, publisher of the California Courts Monitor, argues that Democrats are being tone deaf when it comes to the role that veterans play in asbestos bankruptcy trust issues.
New York moved closer to civil penalties for owners of abandoned properties, especially targeting large financial institutions that have been less than responsible for how they handle homes subject to foreclosure. This week, a group of 16 mayors endorsed Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman’s Abandoned Property Neighborhood Relief Act, calling on state lawmakers to vote on the proposal.
In a press release, backers of the proposal said it “… would provide critical support to communities that have been plagued by vacant and abandoned properties. Among other measures, the bill would make lenders and banks responsible for delinquent properties soon after they are abandoned – not at the end of a lengthy foreclosure process – and to pay for their upkeep. Banks or their servicers would be required to notify delinquent homeowners of their right to stay in their homes until ordered by a judge.
See the press announcement here: Mayors from 16 Cities Endorse Schneiderman Bill to Address Zombie Properties Across New York State | LongIsland.com
Even if you think a huge federal agency is breaking state laws, who has the money and experience to sue them? Maybe a state? The Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley is suing the Federal Housing Finance Agency and the mortgage behemoths Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae for violating a 2012 state law aimed at stopping some foreclosures.
In effect, Massachusetts passed a law that allows for the sale of homes in foreclosure to non-profit groups that might restructure the loan and sell the property back to the homeowner. Coakley said Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have continued to block buybacks even though they lose money in the process – the companies are under the supervision of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, or FHFA.
With nearly 30,000 families evicted from their homes in 2013, the nation’s largest city is considering providing free lawyers for resident who can’t afford legal representation. PIX11 TV is reporting that New York City Council members Mark Levine and Vanessa Gibson are pushing for the law with Levine arguing that “.. only 10 percent of tenants who head to housing court have attorneys.”
Residential evictions have become a key issue, along with family law and other “social good” classifications, for advocates of what’s called the “civil Gideon” movement, named after the landmark case that guaranteed representation in criminal cases.