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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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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Immigration Policy Up for Review: Chafee vowed to rescind R.I. order

Boston Globe: Governor-elect Lincoln Chafee repeated a pledge yesterday to rescind an executive order on illegal immigration, but his office said he is discussing with State Police whether they should ask for immigration papers when there is reasonable suspicion that a person is in the United States illegally. The order signed by Governor Don Carcieri, a Republican. sparked outrage in the immigrant and minority communities in part because it instructed State Police to check the immigration status of suspects in the course of investigations. Chafee spokesman Mike Trainor said State Police want to cooperate with immigration authorities, and Chafee will discuss with them how best to do that. When asked whether police will still ask people for their immigration papers once the order is rescinded, Trainor replied: “That’s at the heart of what we’ll be discussing with the State Police.’’ Chafee’s pledge to rescind the order had been key to winning Hispanic support, an important demographic in Providence, which Chafee, an independent, carried comfortably in this month’s election. Doris De Los Santos — head of the Rhode Island Latino PAC, which endorsed Chafee and worked for his election — said she understands that Chafee must be open to sitting down with different groups to discuss his positions. But she called for Chafee to adhere to the spirit of his promise to rescind the order.

California Court Backs Illegal Immigrant Students

New York Times: In a unanimous decision, the California Supreme Court ruled Monday that illegal immigrants can be eligible for the same reduced tuition at public colleges and universities as legal residents of the state. The ruling is the latest in a series of high-profile battles about state immigration policies. In addition to Arizona’s strict new immigration law, which the United States Department of Justice has challenged in court, nine other states have laws similar to California’s, with lawsuits pending in Nebraska and Texas. Currently, students who attend at least three years of high school in California and graduate are eligible for in-state tuition at public schools, which can save them as much as $12,000 a year compared with students who come from other states. Illegal immigrants remain ineligible for state or federal financial aid. The California court ruled that the 2001 state law does not conflict with a federal prohibition on education benefits for illegal immigrants based on residency, in part because United States citizens from other states who attend high school in California may also benefit.

Obama, Dems to Meet on DREAM Act

Politico reported that: Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Rep. Nydia Velasquez (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) will meet with President Barack Obama Tuesday afternoon to talk about the chances of getting comprehensive immigration reform or the DREAM Act passed in the lame duck session, a House Democratic source said. Immigration advocates want to know how much the White House supports a vote on either bill in the next few weeks. Menendez said on a conference call with reporters Monday that the White House is “ready and willing” to talk about immigration. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) could bring the DREAM Act to the floor as early as this week. The measure provides a path to citizenship for young illegal immigrants who attend college for two years or join the military. The Senate blocked the DREAM Act and a repeal of the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy when both measures were attached to a defense authorization measure in September, just before adjourning for campaign season.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Nebraska: State Court Demurs On Immigration Restrictions

New York Times: The State Supreme Court said Friday that it would not weigh in on whether municipalities can enact immigration-related restrictions on where people can live or work. Judge Laurie Smith Camp of Federal District Court had asked the court to consider the legality of local restrictions as she hears a lawsuit challenging a Fremont city ordinance barring illegal immigrants from renting or working there. The high court said the request did not allege a violation of state law, so it would not take up the question. The ordinance was approved in June, but has not gone into effect. The American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund challenged the ordinance, saying it was discriminatory and violated state law. Cynthia Dixon, a fund lawyer, said the high court’s consideration of the restrictions could have brought the case to a “quicker conclusion,” but now the case will play out in federal court.

Inside Arizona Politics: Will Pearce Focus On Illegal Immigration Or Economy?

ABC15 reported that: There seems to be only one topic of conversation at the Capitol right now: Is Russell Pearce already breaking the promise he made to win the contest for Senate president last week? There seem to be differing opinions on what, exactly, Pearce vowed, which in turn colors the debate on whether he is going back on his word. The biggest fear some Republican lawmakers had about a Pearce-led Senate was that he would use the powers of the office to push controversial anti-illegal-immigration measures through the Legislature in the upcoming term, rather than focus his efforts on legislation aimed at turning the state’s ailing economy around. When Pearce held a press conference only two weeks before Election Day and announced he was working on a bill that would end the practice of birthright citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants, it underscored the concerns of some senators and seemed to knock the immigration hawk out of contention for the presidency. But then, in a last-ditch effort to secure the votes he needed, Pearce capitulated to the demands of some senators and pledged that the 14th Amendment legislation would be put off until 2012, while 2011 would be centered on jump-starting the Arizona economy by working on an economic stimulus package consisting of tax cuts and incentives to create jobs. The move worked, and Pearce won over three senators and became president-elect last Wednesday. Almost immediately, however, it became clear Pearce had no intention of ignoring the illegal immigration legislation he has built his career on. He is now telling reporters that he never promised the 14th Amendment bills wouldn’t be heard, only that he wouldn’t sponsor it. Instead, Rep. John Kavanagh will take the lead on the measure when the legislative session begins in January, and Pearce says he will do everything in his power to make sure it passes.

Why California Will Stay Blue

San Francisco Chronicle: While the rest of the nation went red in Tuesday's midterm elections, California emerged even bluer. What's going on? The standard answer is that registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans, and that many decline-to-state voters lean Democratic. But there's a more telling reason, one that promises to keep California blue for years. The state's rising numbers of new voters - newly minted immigrant voters, minorities and voters between the ages of 18 and 29 - are overwhelmingly Democratic in their preferences. While California has not been majority white for more than a decade, its voting population has been slower to change, reflecting the time lag needed for immigrants to become citizens and register to vote, and for their children to grow to adulthood. Today, one-third of registered voters are minorities, 19 percent of whom are Latinos. Asian Americans represent 7 percent, with African Americans at 6 percent. These voters supported Democrats in statewide races by double-digit margins, according to exit polls. Voters under 30 years old favored Jerry Brown over Meg Whitman by a whopping 27 points. If any Republican statewide candidate had a good chance of making inroads with these new voters, it was Whitman - a political moderate with tens of millions of dollars to burn on advertising. But the state's immigration politics tripped her up, in large part because her opposition to providing a citizenship pathway for illegal immigrants was out of sync with voters' attitudes toward immigration.

Friday, November 05, 2010

What An Immigrant Would Say To Boehner

Washington Post (Opinion):

Dear Rep. John Boehner: Please accept congratulations from an immigrant on your victory this week. I think I speak on behalf of all immigrants when I say I was moved by your tears Tuesday night as you realized that a barkeeper's son is likely to become speaker of the House. It was a great American moment - the sort that brought so many of us here, too, through the force of our own efforts, to try to better ourselves, our families and, we hope, our country - this country, the United States of America. But there is something that worries me and most immigrants, judging from the election results. It has to do with your party. Why do Republicans make us feel like the enemy, the non-Americans, the people you want to take the country back from? Many Republicans see immigration as a Democratic plot to register new voters. And, yes, most immigrant groups today - like the Irish and Italians and others before us - tend to vote Democrat, but that is because the Democrats reach out more to us.

A Big Win for Immigration Control and Hispanic Outreach

National Review: The president of the League of United Latin American Citizens issued a statement in the wake of Tuesday’s elections: “The elections of 2010 are further proof of the power of the Latino vote.” In fact, though, the elections are further proof that Hispanic Americans are Americans, and that amnesty isn’t a winning political issue even among them. Ordinary Hispanic voters didn’t seem any more wedded to the immigration issue, reflecting the recent Pew Hispanic Center finding that immigration ranked fifth in importance out of seven issues among Hispanic registered voters. Exit polling shows that in House races nationwide, Hispanic support for Republicans increased to 34 percent of the vote, up from 29 percent in 2008 and 30 percent in 2006. Between one-quarter and one-third of the Hispanic vote is the normal range for Republicans, and this election followed the same pattern, with Meg Whitman getting 30 percent, Carly Fiorina getting 28 percent, and Sharron Angle getting 30 percent. Even Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona, a hate figure for the open-borders crowd, got 28 percent of the Hispanic vote — which is actually two points more than Janet Napolitano’s Republican opponent got in 2006. In fact, for all of Harry Reid’s demagoguery, he got almost exactly the same percentage of the Hispanic vote this time (68 percent) as he did in 2004 (67 percent). And Barbara Boxer got only 65 percent of the Hispanic vote this time, compared with 73 percent in 2004.

GOP State Government Faces Budget, Immigration Issues

KTAR reported: Tuesday's election gives Republicans their most lopsided advantage ever over Democrats in the Arizona Legislature. The GOP will control the Senate 21-9 and, if current numbers hold up, will control the House 40-20. "You'll have a supermajority in the state Senate and you'll have a supermajority in the state House of Representatives, along with an all-Republican executive branch from the governor's seat on down," said political strategist Marcus Dell'Artino. With Republicans vowing no tax increases and the state facing a $1.4 billion deficit over the next two years, there will be more budget cuts, he said.
"Now, we've got an issue over the 14th Amendment and the birthright status, which Sen. (Russell) Pearce and Rep. (John Kavanagh), I think, are in the process of drafting a bill to deal with that situation." Pearce, the new Senate president, has suggested overturning the 14th Amendment which automatically grants citizenship to anyone born in the United States. Dell'Artino said he believes a "large portion" of the 90 state lawmakers are interested in immigration-related matters, especially those who represent areas near the Arizona-Mexico border.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Republican Election Gains May Stall Business’s Immigration Push

Businessweek: Intel Corp., Hilton Worldwide Inc. and other companies seeking a larger number of legal foreign workers through changes to immigration law likely will find their push thwarted by the Republicans’ sweeping election gains. Lawmakers who will lead the debate in the new Republican- controlled U.S. House say they want to focus on securing the border and cracking down on illegal immigration, rather than other matters. Only after it is shown that fewer illegal immigrants are coming across the U.S.-Mexico border will they consider the revisions to immigration law sought by businesses, they say. Representative Steve King, an Iowa Republican slated to head the House Judiciary Committee’s immigration policy subcommittee, said in an interview that he opposes lifting visa caps for lower-skilled foreign workers because doing so would depress U.S. workers’ wages. He said he would support increasing the number of visas for higher-skilled workers only if the potential employees meet criteria to boost the U.S. economy. That means they should be young, well-educated and be able to speak English, King said. “That’s the indicator of whether they can assimilate into the broader society,” he said. Corporate officials and lobbyists must deal with midterm election results, in which the Republicans have won a majority of seats in the House, according to network projections. “We’re as anxious as anyone else to see how it shakes out and whether this will be on the agenda next year,” said Peter Muller, director of government relations at Intel Corp.

How Jerry Brown Beat Meg Whitman in California

CBS News: This is a very good night for Jerry Brown. In spite of Republican Meg Whitman spending more than $140 million of her own money to try and become the first female governor in California, the voters decided that experience was more important than touting being an outsider. It was a brutal campaign on both sides and when both candidates were asked if they would forego negative advertising, Whitman declined, which turned voters off. In addition, her campaign hit a road bump when her housekeeper was discovered to be an illegal immigrant. Whitman denied that she knew she was undocumented, but when she found out, she let her go immediately. However, it was shown that Whitman did know years before about her housekeeper's status, but only let her go when she began running for governor. This rankled the Latino community -while she was feverishly courting them with Spanish language billboards and ads on Spanish TV. Whitman said she would need to get at least 35 to 36 percent of the Latino vote in order to win the election. But this incident did not help. About 22 percent of the electorate is Latino and she almost reached her goal. In preliminary results, the CBS News exit poll shows that she got roughly three out of 10 Latino votes. Whites, as in the Senate race, support the Republican candidate, giving Whitman a 52 percent to Brown's 45 percent lead. Blacks make up about one in 10 voters and they overwhelmingly support Brown by 77 percent. Almost two-thirds of Latinos backed Brown.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Warnings About in Enforcing Immigration Job Rules

Associated Press: They cost clothing chain Abercrombie & Fitch $1 million in fines, tripped up Meg Whitman's campaign for California governor, prompted mass layoffs across the country and have been at the center of countless other workplace immigration disputes. An obscure federal document called the I-9 form has emerged as a contentious element in the national immigration debate since the Obama administration vowed to go after employers who hire undocumented workers. Employers must fill out and sign the form, which requires them to acknowledge, under penalty of perjury, that they examined documents that allow an employee to work. The Obama administration a year ago announced plans to ramp up I-9 audits — a shift from the notorious work site raids common under the Bush administration. But most employers with questionable record-keeping aren't being punished for failing to prove their employees have legal status, an analysis of documents obtained by The Associated Press show. Most receive only warnings if the I-9s turn out to be based on fraudulent documents. Some are fined. Few face arrest. And the AP analysis also shows that many of the employers the government has targeted had no violations. "The I-9 system is deeply flawed," said Daniel Costas, an immigration policy analyst at Economic Policy Institute, a Washington, D.C., think tank. It "relies on employer eyesight for the verification of government identification and documents ... If this is how the system is going to work, then it's a big waste of time and money."

Reid Promises Immigration Vote After Election

New York Times: Senator Harry Reid, the Democratic majority leader fighting to hold his seat in Nevada, said on a taped television appearance on Sunday he planned to bring legislation that would create a path for some illegal immigrants to gain legal status to a vote in the post-election session of Congress. The move may thrust the issue of immigration into the heart of the political debate in the hours leading to Tuesday’s midterm elections. Mr. Reid announced his intentions on Univision’s “Al Punto,” a Spanish-language political talk show. His appearance was a pitch to Nevada’s Hispanic voters as he fights for re-election against Sharron Angle, a Tea Party-backed Republican with whom he is essentially tied in polls. Immigration is a dominant issue in the Nevada Senate race. And Hispanics, who turned out in droves to help elect President Obama in 2008, could give an edge to Mr. Reid. The legislation, called the Dream Act, would grant conditional permanent residency to illegal immigrant students and illegal immigrants who agree to serve in the military.