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Beverly Hills, California, United States
Eli Kantor is a labor, employment and immigration law attorney. He has been practicing labor, employment and immigration law for more than 36 years. He has been featured in articles about labor, employment and immigration law in the L.A. Times, Business Week.com and Daily Variety. He is a regular columnist for the Daily Journal. Telephone (310)274-8216; eli@elikantorlaw.com. For more information, visit beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com and and beverlyhillsemploymentlaw.com

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Justice Department Poised to Challenge Arizona Immigration Law

Los Angeles Times reporting from Washington and Los Angeles:

Nine Police Chiefs Meet with Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr., to Tell Him the Measure Would Hinder Local Law Enforcement and Ask That the Obama Administration Block It.

Top Justice Department officials have drafted a legal challenge asserting that Arizona's controversial immigration law is unconstitutional because it impinges on the federal government's authority to police the nation's borders, sources said Wednesday. At the same time, the government officials said, the department's civil rights section is considering possible legal action against the law on the basis that it amounts to racial profiling of Latinos who are legally in Arizona but conceivably could be asked to provide documents proving their citizenship. U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr., met Wednesday with nine top police chiefs who object to the Arizona legislation and promised them he would act on the recommendations soon, a spokesman said. The police chiefs urged Holder and the Obama administration, which has grave reservations about the Arizona measure, to stop the law. The chiefs said it would seriously hamper local police work if officers had to serve as border patrol policemen.

Arizona Governor Creates Legal Defense Fund for Law

Associated Press: Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer is creating a legal defense fund for the state's tough new crackdown on illegal immigration. Brewer created the fund in an executive order signed Wednesday. Her office says Brewer already has received about $10,000 in unsolicited donations from more than 40 states. Opponents of Arizona's law have filed five lawsuits claiming the law is unconstitutional and could lead to racial profiling of Hispanics. The law requires police enforcing another law to investigate the immigration status of people they suspect are in the United States illegally.

Arizona Law Cuts Two Ways in GOP Races

Wall Street Journal: Tough Stances Are Likely to Resonate Beyond the Primaries in Some States, but Could Hurt the Party in California's General Election

Many candidates in Republican primaries have embraced Arizona's new immigration law, but that could hurt a few of them in November. While a majority of voters tell pollsters they support the law, and tough stances on illegal immigration are likely to resonate this fall in such states as Nevada and Florida, Republican candidates in California might face a potential backlash from the state's more liberal electorate.

SLC Police Chief Rails Against Arizona Law

Salt Lake City Tribune: Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank joined fellow law enforcement officials from across the nation in a meeting Wednesday with Attorney General Eric Holder to relay concerns over Arizona's new immigration law the cops say will dampen crime-fighting efforts. Burbank and the other police chiefs met with Holder for an hour at the Justice Department, sharing fears the Arizona law would deter witnesses or crime victims from coming forward and damage relations between officers and the Latino community. The Arizona law requires police to verify the legal status of anyone reasonably suspected of being in the country illegally. "It's important, especially for people in the federal government, in Washington, D.C., to understand the local concerns. This becomes a very local issue," Burbank said after the meeting. "How does an individual officer interact with members of the community and keep a level of trust when they are forced to engage in what is profiling or racial policing practices?"

U.S. Troops Won't Be Used to Stop Illegal Immigration: US

Associated Press: U.S. National Guard troops being sent to the Mexican border will be used to stem the flow of guns and drugs across the frontier and not to enforce US immigration laws, the State Department said Wednesday. The clarification came after the Mexican government urged Washington not to use the additional troops to go after illegal immigrants. President Barack Obama on Tuesday authorized the deployment of up to 1,200 additional troops to border areas, but State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters, "It’s not about immigration."

Monday, May 24, 2010

N.Y. Laborers Sue Over Town Anti-Solicitation Law

Business Week reported that: Several groups representing Hispanic day laborers filed a lawsuit in federal court on Tuesday, challenging the constitutionality of a town ordinance that prohibits pedestrians from soliciting employment, and bars drivers from stopping to hire workers. The ban is similar to ordinances enacted in communities in California and elsewhere, and is aimed at preventing suspected undocumented aliens from congregating on public streets to seek employment. Samantha Fredrickson, director of the New York Civil Liberties Union’s Nassau County chapter, called Oyster Bay’s ordinance "misguided." "It is a symptom of the anti-immigrant hostility that has swept across Long Island and the country in recent years," Fredrickson said in a statement. Attorneys for the day laborers plan to ask a federal judge in Central Islip on Wednesday for a temporary restraining order halting enforcement of the law, which was enacted in September.

SF Sheriff Seeks to Opt Out of Immigration Program

Associated Press: San Francisco’s sheriff is seeking to opt out of a federal program that uses the fingerprints of arrestees to check their immigration status. Sheriff Michael Hennessey sent a letter Tuesday to the California attorney general asking that the state Department of Justice not share the city’s fingerprint data with federal immigration authorities. San Francisco is scheduled to begin participating in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s so-called Secure Communities program on June 1. Under the program, anyone arrested will have their fingerprints checked against a database used by ICE.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Courage in Arizona

New York Times: Four young immigrant students risked everything on Monday when they sat down in Senator John McCain’s office in Tucson and refused to leave. They were urging passage of the Dream Act, a bill offering a citizenship path to illegal immigrants who, like them, were brought to the United States as children, too young to have willfully broken the law. For the undocumented, any encounter with law enforcement is perilous – especially in Arizona, where a new law pushes the hunt for illegal immigrants beyond the limits of reason, proportion and the Constitution. Three of the student protesters were arrested for misdemeanor trespassing. Though later freed, they faced the risk of prison and deportation to press for a bill.

Mexican President Under Pressure on U.S. Visit

Associated Press: Mexican President Felipe Calderon travels to Washington Tuesday under pressure to defend Mexican immigrants after the passage of a controversial Arizona law, and to show results in his war against drug gangs. Calderon faces domestic pressure to seek immigration reform in the United States, particularly in the wake of a new Arizona law that allows the detention of people suspected of being in the country illegally. He will also have to try to convince lawmakers that drug violence in Mexico is not spiraling out of control, despite gruesome beheadings, daily gun battles and the suspected abduction of Diego Fernandez de Cevallos, a former presidential candidate and senior member of Calderon’s own National Action Party (PAN).

Arizona’s Anti-Latino Movement: First it was an anti-immigration law. Then it was an anti-ethnic studies law.

Los Angeles Times: When Arizona passed a law requiring immigrants to keep their papers with them at all times or risk arrest, we believed the state’s hysteria was the unfortunate byproduct of the dysfunctional federal immigration policy. After all, who isn’t fed up with illegal immigration? People may disagree about the solution to the problem, but no one denies that what the United States is doing now isn’t working. But it is now clear that Arizona’s problem isn’t only immigration – legal or otherwise. Its problem is Latinos.

Untangling Immigration's Double Helix

Wall Street Journal: Arizona’s new immigration law is only the latest in our nation’s long history of conflicted feelings about the undocumented among us.

In 1751, Benjamin Franklin described the influx of German immigrants who were moving into Pennsylvania as "a Colony of Aliens, who will shortly be so numerous as to Germanize us instead of our Anglifying them and will never adopt our Language or Customs any more than they can acquire our Complexion." The effect, he warned, was that "even our Government will become precarious." Those words could have been written yesterday about Hispanics. The issue of immigration has long troubled Americans. Arizona’s new law, which gives police the power to detain those they suspect of being illegal aliens, is only the latest chapter in centuries of intermittent efforts to slow immigration, or stop it altogether. Yet mixed with those doubts has been endemic ambivalence: the tension between the need of a huge unsettled continent for people to clear land, work factories, fields and mines, and build canals and railroads, and the fear of what those workers would bring.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Farmers: Immigration Reform Needed for Ag Workers

Associated Press: Even during the recession, foreign workers harvested vegetables, milked cows and picked apples on many U.S. farms, doing work that farmers say Americans don’t want to do. Most Americans shy away from jobs such as hand-picking tomatoes or cutting cabbage because the work is seasonal, physically tough, out in the elements and often in remote areas, farmers say. To get the jobs done, many farmers hire foreign workers, including some who are illegal, and they say a crackdown on illegal immigration combined with changes to a visa program for temporary workers could make it even harder for them to find reliable employees. Farmers want Congress to pass an "AgJobs" bill that would enable those who have worked in U.S. agriculture for at least 150 days in the previous two years to get some kind of legal status. They also say the visa program for temporary workers needs to be simplified. Without those changes, some farmers say they may have to cut back production because of a shortage of reliable labor.

U.S. Immigration Policy Critical for Tech Firms

Washington Post: The technology sector, a little-publicized but key player in the coalition that is pushing for an overhaul of immigration laws, is giving mixed reviews to the proposal that Senate Democrats recently unveiled. Although public dialogue on immigration has focused on a path to legalization for the millions of illegal immigrants living in the United States, technology companies have lobbied for years on a different but related issue: streamlining and easing the employment of skilled legal immigrant workers.

U.S. Not Cracking Down on Immigrants with Expired Visas

Arizona Republic reported that: Not every illegal immigrant in the United States snuck across the border. A very large number, perhaps as many as 5.5 million, entered legally with visas and then never left. But unlike the hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants apprehended at the border every year, very few visa violators are ever caught. Visa violators represent nearly half of the 11 million illegal immigrants in the country. But they have been largely ignored amid a national clamor to secure the border, fueled in part by Arizona’s tough new immigration law, the killing of a southern Arizona rancher and worries that cartel violence in Mexico could spill into this country, analysts and experts say.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Immigration Officials Unveil Redesigned Green Card

KPCC News: It’s back to the future for the green card. "When I came to work in ’96, the green card was pink. Later on it turned into a creamy, white color and that’s the green card people are carrying today. Now it’s going to go back to being green," said Immigration Services Spokeswoman Sharon Rummery. The most important changes, she said, are the ones the agency imposed to thwart counterfeiters. Holograms, laser-engraved fingerprints, and high-resolution micro images make the card nearly impossible to copy or alter, Rummery said.

L. A. Has $56 Million in Arizona-Related Investments

Los Angeles Times: Responding to calls for an economic boycott of Arizona, the top policy analyst for Los Angeles on Tuesday identified a total of $56 million in Arizona-related investments and recommended that the City Council suspend travel to the state, refrain from entering new contracts and review current ones for possible termination. L.A. officials joined with other cities across the country in calling for an economic boycott of Arizona after that state's lawmakers recently passed a tough immigration law that critics say will lead to racial profiling. The law, which will take effect July 23, makes it a state crime for unauthorized migrants to be in Arizona and requires police to check the immigration papers of those they suspect lack legal status.

Side by Side, but Divided Over Immigration

New York Times: As the Arizona Legislature steamed ahead with the most stringent immigration enforcement bill in the country this year, this state’s House of Representatives was unanimously passing a resolution recognizing the economic benefits of illegal immigrants. While the Arizona police will check driver’s licenses and other documents to root out illegal immigrants, New Mexico allows illegal residents to obtain driver’s licenses as a public safety measure. And if Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona, a Republican, has become, for now, the public face of tough immigration enforcement, Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico, a Democrat, has told any interviewer who will listen about his effort to "to integrate immigrants that are here and make them part of society and protect the values of our Hispanic and multiethnic communities."

Lack of Leadership in the Immigration Debate

CBS News: A little-known federal law has escaped the headlines. With the debate focused on Arizona’s controversial new immigration law, our elected leaders in Washington have turned a blind eye to the federal laws over which they exercise control. Long before Arizona passed its law that will soon authorize law enforcement to demand immigration papers from anyone upon "reasonable suspicion" of being an illegal alien, the federal government passed a similar law. Indeed, tucked away in Title 8 of the U.S. Code is a provision that expressly authorizes federal immigration officers, without a warrant, "to interrogate any alien or person believed to be an alien as to his right to be or to remain in the United States." (See 8 U.S.C. 1357). This is eerily similar to the Arizona law.