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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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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Reform Holds Huge Gains for Latinos

Politico reported that: No one has as much to gain — or to lose — in the political tug of war over health care reform as the nation’s 48 million Latinos. Latinos are the country’s most frequently uninsured group. With undocumented immigrants excluded from reform benefits, the legislation is aimed at working-class and middle-class Latinos who are U.S. citizens. Namely, it is aimed at Latinos likely to vote. Latinos would receive an outsize benefit under the new health reform law that House Republicans voted to repeal last week, but analysts say many Latinos don’t realize the benefit is available because it has not been part of the political discussion. “The Democrats put together the first meaningful health care reform in two generations, and most Latinos have no idea of what’s in it,” said Gary Segura, senior political analyst for Latino Decisions, a polling service that identifies national Latino political issues. During the original debate on the law, excluding undocumented immigrants from coverage was a flash point that obscured the health coverage gains for Latino citizens. According to the White House, Latinos will make up roughly 28 percent of the 32 million uninsured Americans projected to gain medical coverage under the law. That’s nearly double their 16 percent share of the U.S. population.

The GOP's Latino Problem

While strategists may differ on how to approach the immigration issue, the need to cultivate the Hispanic vote itself should be obvious.

Wall Street Journal: The GOP's prospective presidential candidates have been doing plenty in the past few weeks: travelling to the Middle East (Mitt Romney), releasing books (Tim Pawlenty), feuding with the press over "blood libel" (Sarah Palin) and even forming exploratory committees (talk show host and former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain). But one thing they generally have not been doing is reaching out to Hispanics, a voting bloc that's important to GOP success in the long term. One exception so far has been Newt Gingrich. The former speaker recently told business leaders in Myrtle Beach, S.C., that in order to build a sustainable and effective governing coalition, the GOP needed to spend more than a quarter of its time courting minorities. To that end, Mr. Gingrich started a bilingual website called The Americano, which presents news and opinions with a conservative bent. Likewise, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty has put in more effort than most of his peers. When asked by Politico how the GOP might close the gap with Hispanic voters, he answered, "First of all, show up." He dismissed the notion that Republicans could simply appear in the fall and expect to win votes. Mr. Pawlenty, incidentally, was the only presidential contender to appear at the recent inaugural conference of the Hispanic Leadership Network, a group affiliated with both the conservative American Action Network and Jeb Bush. At the event, Mr. Pawlenty largely sidestepped the immigration issue and instead stressed conservatives' commitment to fostering economic opportunity.

Wyoming House Committee Shoots Down Immigration Bill

Bloomberg reported that: A Wyoming House committee on Monday rejected a bill that would have cracked down on illegal immigrants and people who employ them in the state. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Pete Illoway, R-Cheyenne, died Monday after no member of the House Minerals, Business and Economic Development Committee moved to vote on it. Several witnesses testified that it would duplicate existing federal law and raise constitutional concerns about police treatment of people suspected of being in the country illegally. Illoway said after the vote he's hopeful that his bill, HB 94, helped to focus attention on the immigration issue and that the Legislature will address it in the future. "What I heard today was finally, is there is a problem here in Wyoming, and it needs to be addressed," Illoway said. "No, this bill is probably not where we wanted to go. But it's a first step because people finally say, 'Oh, there is a problem. Let's go ahead and work on this thing.'" Introducing his bill to the committee, Illoway said he had modeled it after a state immigration law enacted in Arizona that has prompted wide-ranging legal challenges. Illoway's bill would have authorized police to arrest people without a warrant if they committed offenses that made them eligible for deportation. The state needed to act because the federal government hasn't done enough to address illegal immigration, he said.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Even Bloomberg Can’t Escape Complexity of Immigration

New York Times: On “Meet the Press,” Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg declared, “We have to go and get the immigrants here.” To a group of business leaders in Brooklyn, he extolled “the economic power” of immigration. And in his State of the City address on Wednesday, he interrupted a litany of local issues to urge Americans “to fix our broken immigration system.” Having taken on the New York City school system and the illegal gun trade, Mr. Bloomberg has now proposed overhauling the federal immigration laws, offering himself as the man to help settle one of the nation’s thorniest debates. He praises immigrants as a precious resource and speaks of current immigration policy with undisguised disgust — “the most ruinous economic policy you could ever conceive of” was his line on Wednesday. But the stark language often brushes past the complexities surrounding immigration, which has proved to be a nuanced and difficult issue, even for the mayor. Though Mr. Bloomberg, the grandson of immigrants from Russia and what is now Belarus, has set an inclusive tone in his nine years as mayor and has provided critical services for immigrants, some programs have failed to live up to expectations. And though he has adopted landmark policies to protect the privacy of illegal immigrants, he has also rankled immigrants’ advocates who say city and police officials work too closely with federal authorities, putting many noncriminals at risk of arrest and deportation.

More Bills Seek Crackdown on Immigration

USA Today reported that: At a recent meeting of conservative leaders in Miami to discuss how they must appeal to Hispanic voters for the 2012 election, former Florida governor Jeb Bush spoke of softening the tone some have used against Hispanics. He pointed to the inflamed rhetoric used throughout the immigration debate Despite that plea, most of the bills that have been filed in the new Congress are aimed at cracking down on immigrants — both legal and illegal. There's a proposal by Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas to add 1,500 federal agents, 100 helicopters and 250 power boats to patrol the Southwest border. Republican Rep. Darrell Issa of California wants to eliminate the 55,000 visas awarded through a lottery and grant them to foreigners who graduated from American colleges. GOP Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee proposed building 20 federal prisons to house illegal immigrants, and Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa wants to alter how the 14th Amendment is interpreted so the children of illegal immigrants born in the USA are no longer granted citizenship.

H-1B Visas: A Modest Proposal for Immigration Reform

The U.S. can't afford to continue its policy of screening out the best and most talented immigrants.

MSNBC: "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses " A statement of current American sentiment? Not quite! While there has yet to be a move to strike this universally recognized phrase from the Statue of Liberty, the ideals behind these noble words would find little support today among the vast majority of Americans. Efforts by both Republicans and Democrats over the past decade to address the nation's broken immigration policy have stalled and immigration remains at the epicenter of the partisan divide. A divisive topic in any economic environment, immigration reform appears to be almost impossible to discuss in a job market with unemployment hovering near 10 percent. Unfortunately, the visceral reactions preempt fulsome consideration of both the problems and the potential solutions. These reactions also obscure the long-term economic consequences of not opening our borders to the world's best and brightest. Current U.S. immigration policy limits the number of highly skilled workers who are permitted to enter the country each year. Rather than encouraging these individuals to come to the U.S., or even allowing the number of visas to float to reflect the demand for their services from U.S.-based employers, current U.S. policy caps the number of H-1B visas at 85,000 annually. That number has not been raised in years, and the demand for highly skilled immigrants far outstrips their supply.

Friday, January 21, 2011

U. S. Sees Success in Immigration Program for Haitians

New York Times: A year after the devastating earthquake in Haiti, the American government has received more than 53,000 applications from Haitians seeking temporary legal status in the United States, and it has approved the vast majority, a top immigration official said Wednesday. The official, Alejandro Mayorkas, director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, said his agency’s response to the disaster showed that it could handle a much larger immigrant legalization program like the proposal known as the Dream Act, which would provide a path to citizenship for hundreds of thousands of young illegal immigrants. Tuesday was the deadline for Haitians to apply for the designation, called temporary protected status. The program gives most Haitians who were in the United States on the day of the earthquake the right to stay and work legally for 18 months while Haiti tries to recover. “I think our performance and our execution of the T.P.S. program serves as a model of our ability to execute immigration reform programs,” Mr. Mayorkas said in an interview. “How quickly, effectively and efficiently we responded to the disaster is a standard for us to adhere to.”

Crackdowns On Illegal Workers Grows

Wall Street Journal reported that: The Obama administration plans to intensify a crackdown on employers of illegal immigrants with the establishment of an audit office designed to bolster verification of company hiring records. In an interview, John Morton, chief of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a unit of the Department of Homeland Security, said the Employment Compliance Inspection Center would "address a need to conduct audits even of the largest employers with a very large number of employees." The office would be announced Thursday, he said. Mr. Morton said that the center would be staffed with specialists who will pore over the I-9 employee files collected from companies targeted for audits. In the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 2010, ICE conducted audits of more than 2,740 companies, nearly twice as many as the previous year. The agency levied a record $7 million in civil fines on businesses that employed illegal workers. Enforcement activity during the Bush administration focused on high-profile raids in which thousands of illegal immigrants were arrested and placed in deportation proceedings. Relatively few companies and their executives were prosecuted.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Illegal Immigrant Students Grapple With Dating

ASSOCIATED PRESS: On college campuses, illegal immigrant students face a social barrier anywhere photo identification like a driver's license is required: from taking a road trip with friends to bar hopping to catching a flight. That can make it difficult to deepen friendships or relationships – or to date at all. Nancy Guarneros, a 23-year-old graduate student, remembers how she was primping for a special night out with her boyfriend when he told her they were going to a club. She panicked. "It's like, oh my gosh, how can you take me somewhere that requires government ID? What were you thinking?" Guarneros recalled at a recent meeting students held in Los Angeles to talk about so-called "cross-status" dating. It isn't clear how many young couples are in similar relationships. Researchers say it would be tough to find out, but the number has likely grown since children brought here as illegal immigrants after the country's 1986 legalization program have come of age and it has become tougher to get a green card through marriage. Illegal immigration peaked during the 1990s, with 4.5 million people arriving during the decade, according to a 2010 report by the Pew Hispanic Center. Those who arrived as small children are now teenagers or in their mid-20s.

House GOP Announces Program Against Illegal Immigration

Washington Post: A group of House Republicans announced plans Tuesday to put forward a package of at least 16 bills aimed at illegal immigrants, including bills that would revoke the driving licenses of deportees, block illegal immigrants from attending public colleges and universities, and require the state to begin tracking the number of undocumented children in public schools. "America is a nation of immigrants," said Del. L. Scott Lingamfelter (R-Prince William), who is leading the task force appointed by House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford). "We are also nation founded on the rule of law, the right to possess private property and a common American identity." Lingamfelter said state action was needed because the federal government has "completely failed" to protect its borders. The package unveiled Tuesday includes similar bills - HB2332 and HB1430 -- that would require authorities to ascertain the immigration status of anyone "taken into custody" to make sure that the check would apply to those who were arrested by police but released on bail or bond before being taken to jail. Del. C. Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah) would require parents who enroll children in public school to disclose their immigration status and require the state to tally the numbers. Del. Christopher Peace (R-Hanover) would prohibit illegal aliens from enrolling in public higher education institutions. Other bills would force all public contractors, employers with more than 15 employees and all local governments to enroll in the E-Verify Program to ascertain the status of newly hired employees.

Arizona-Style Immigration Law Passes in Mississippi; Barbour May Face Decision

State Column reported that: An immigration law based on Arizona’s has passed the Mississippi State Senate. The bill, passed Tuesday, will allow state law enforcement officers check the status of people they think might be in the United States illegally. The legislation passed by a wide margin with 34 state Senators voting in favor. Fifteen rejected their support after nearly four hours of debate. The bill’s passage makes Mississippi the first state to pass a bill similar to the one passed and signed into law in Arizona. A number of states, including Colorado, are considering bills modeled off of the one in Arizona. The bill’s chief sponsor, Republican Sen. Joey Fillingane of Sumrall, said after questioning from opponents that it’s impossible to know how many undocumented immigrants are living in Mississippi. It is unclear whether the bill will pass the Mississippi House. It is expected that Republican Governor Haley Barbour will sign the legislation into law, however, the governor’s office has not released an official response. Should the bill pass, it could have national implication. Mr. Barbour continues to float the possibility of a presidential run and any action taken on the bill will likely face scrutiny.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Cuba Calls Immigration Talks with U.S. 'Fruitful'

Associated Press: Senior U.S. and Cuban diplomats met Wednesday to discuss immigration issues in an encounter described by the Cuban side as fruitful and carried out in a spirit of mutual respect. The two sides discussed ways to combat people-smuggling across the treacherous Straits of Florida, according to a statement released by the Cuban government. "It was a fruitful exchange aimed at ... the establishment of more effective mechanisms of cooperation to combat illegal migrant smuggling," said Deputy Cuban/ Foreign Minister Dagoberto Rodriguez, who led the Cuban delegation. The statement said both sides recognized that the number of Cubans attempting to get to the United States illegally, often in rickety rafts or inner tubes, had dropped significantly. There was no immediate comment from the American side, which was led by Roberta Jacobsen, the United States' principal deputy assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs. The gathering focused on a 17-year-old agreement under which the United States issues 20,000 visas to Cubans a year. But diplomats from both countries also use the twice-yearly meetings to detail a long-standing list of complaints. Chief among them, as far as Washington is concerned, is the detention of Alan Gross, an American subcontractor jailed by Cuba for more than a year without charge on suspicion of spying.\

Tampering With Citizenship

Efforts to deny citizenship to children born in the U.S. to illegal immigrants fly in the face of the 14th Amendment and a century of legal precedent.

Los Angeles Times: Legislators from five states have unveiled model legislation with complicated provisions but a simple and pernicious premise: that children born in this country aren't citizens if their parents are illegal immigrants. That assertion, however, is no match for more than 100 years of Supreme Court precedent holding that anyone born in the United States is an American citizen. If the states enact laws disregarding that principle, the court should resoundingly reaffirm its interpretation of the 14th Amendment. The amendment, ratified after the Civil War, says: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside." The natural reading of that language is that it covers any person born in the United States, who by definition is subject to American law. But the legislators opposed to so-called birthright citizenship offer a different interpretation of "subject to the jurisdiction thereof." They argue that a child is not subject to the jurisdiction of the United States unless he or she has "at least one parent who owes no allegiance to any foreign sovereignty, or [is] a child without citizenship or nationality in any foreign country." The legislators lack the authority to change the definition of citizenship, something they hope Congress will do. But they hope to lay the groundwork for a two-tiered system with two proposals based on the idea that birthright citizenship is invalid.

UC Berkeley Chancellor's E-mail Linking Tucson Rampage to Issue of Immigration Draws Criticism

Campus-wide e-mail ties Tucson rampage to Arizona's crackdown on illegal immigrants and the failure of the DREAM Act.

Los Angeles Times: The chancellor of UC Berkeley is drawing criticism for sending a campuswide e-mail that linked a Tucson shooting rampage with Arizona's crackdown on illegal immigrants and the failure of the DREAM Act. In the e-mail, sent Monday, Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau condemned a "climate in which demonization of others goes unchallenged and hateful speech is tolerated." He continued, postulating on factors that may have motivated Jared Lee Loughner, the alleged gunman in Saturday's shootings, in which six people died, including a 9-year-old girl, and 13 were injured, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.): "I believe that it is not a coincidence that this calamity has occurred in a state which has legislated discrimination against undocumented persons." Birgeneau was referring to the new Arizona law that empowers local police to demand proof of citizenship or legal residency when they suspect that a person is in the country illegally. His comments, unusually political for a prominent college leader, were quickly picked up by Fox News and drew a largely critical response. "From the 'CAPITOL' of liberal dolts," one commenter wrote on the Fox website.

Immigrant Convictions Are Upheld

Washington Post: Judges in Virginia may not use an obscure writ to reopen the cases of immigrants who say they weren't told that a criminal conviction could lead to their deportation, the Virginia Supreme Court ruled Thursday. The high court's ruling came in an Alexandria case in which a Circuit Court judge revisited a 12-year-old case involving a permanent legal resident from Liberia. The defendant had pleaded guilty to embezzling $15,000, and was sentenced to one year in jail. Even immigrants with legal status, or "green cards," are subject to deportation for crimes involving sentences of a year or more, and when the man applied for citizenship years later, he was ordered deported. The man, Emmanuel Morris, said his attorney told him in 1997 that his plea would not affect his permanent residency. Revisiting the case in 2009, Alexandria Circuit Court Judge Donald M. Haddock reduced Morris's sentence to 364 days, making him ineligible for deportation. Similarly, a Norfolk Circuit Court judge in 2009 retroactively reduced permanent resident Wellyn Chan's 2005 sentence for misdemeanor assault from a year to 360 days.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Commentary: Congress Still Needs to Focus on Immigration Reform

McClatchy reported that: The 112th Congress has begun and we've already heard much rhetoric about the problems of illegal immigration. This should be the opportunity to seize the issue and develop a comprehensive immigration reform package. But it appears that this Congress, like the previous one, will use the contentious immigration issue to make political points, and not find a solution that's good for the nation. With Democrats controlling the Senate and Republicans controlling the House, it will take compromises -- not speeches that inflame Americans -- to pass reform legislation. So far, we've seen little common ground, with Republicans going after birthright citizenship and Democrats playing up to the nation's growing Latino voting bloc. There is room for compromise if leaders of both parties would look for areas of agreement as the basis of a comprehensive reform bill. Immigration reform should include enhanced border security to limit the growth of illegal immigration, as well as making our nation safer from terrorists intent on doing damage in this country.

Georgia State Legislature to Tackle Illegal Immigration Laws in 2011

But They Will Likely Dance Around a Measure Hold Employers Accountable for Hiring Illegal Immigrants

Associated Press: A new session of the Georgia state legislature begins Monday, Jan. 10. Along with the new session, though, comes dealing with many of the same old problems that plagued the legislature during the last session -- the budget, taxes, education, immigration, and health care, among other pertinent topics. Of them all, it is doubtful that one will be as politically charged as the illegal immigration issue. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Georgia is one of the state's grown weary of waiting on the federal government to crack down on illegal immigration, and the state just might become one that enacts laws to combat the growing illegal population. Two bills await the incoming session, having been filed in the previous session. They are bills that would not only ban illegal immigrants from attending state colleges but also make it illegal for government contractors to hire illegal immigrants as labor. The former seems to be a slap at the federal DREAM Act (which failed passage in the recent lame-duck session of the U. S. Congress), which provided, in part, a path to citizenship via a four year college degree for those in the United States illegally, and would no doubt be obviated should such a federal law be instituted. The latter is a response to the various reports of numerous government agencies, both federal and state, that have employed illegal immigrants.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Rep. Giffords a Leading Voice in Immigration Debate

Reuters: Representative Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, who was shot point blank in the head while meeting with constituents on Saturday, was expected to be a leading voice on immigration in the new Congress. Sworn in to a third term in Congress just this week, Giffords, 40, was one of the few Democrats in swing districts to survive a Republican sweep in the November elections, narrowly defeating a conservative Republican opponent. She represents a district in southeast Arizona stretching from Tucson to the Mexican border that is at the center of the debate on U.S. immigration. She has described the U.S. immigration system as "broken" and advocated a comprehensive reform compromise combining tough border security with a long-term path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. Giffords criticized Arizona's tough anti-immigration law passed last year, saying it would do nothing to secure the border or stop drug smuggling and gun running spilling over into her district. "Arizona is now known around the world for enacting an extreme immigration law in response to the federal government's failure to act," she said in a statement after its passage.

Shooting Casts a Harsh Spotlight on Arizona’s Unique Politics

New York Times: Arizona is not a world apart, but its political culture has often resided at a distance from much of the nation. But after the fatal shooting of six that left Representative Gabrielle Giffords critically injured, Arizona has shifted from a place on the political fringe to symbol of a nation whose political discourse has lost its way. The moment was crystallized by Clarence W. Dupnik, the Pima County sheriff, who, in a remarkable news conference on Saturday after the shooting, called his state “the mecca for prejudice and bigotry.” On Sunday, the state found itself increasingly on the defensive against notions that it is a hothouse of hateful language and violent proclivities. It was as if Arizona somehow created the setting for the shocking episode, even though there was no evidence to support the claim. The shooting comes soon after the passage of a strict anti-immigration measure that is being challenged by the federal government, the killing of a rancher that led to the law and the revelation that the state has stopped paying for some transplants for critically ill patients. There is also the state’s role as an early promoter of the effort during the 2010 Senate campaign to write the children of illegal immigrants out of the 14th Amendment provision that grants citizenship to anyone born in the United States. “Just when we were starting to emerge from the P.R. trauma of the immigration law, and with the eyes of the nation upon us for the college football national championship all week for Monday night’s game, we offer up our state as the land of Oswalds,” said Jason Rose, a native Arizonan and a well-known political adviser in Phoenix. “This tragedy can’t help but curtail, at least for some time, Arizona’s role as a Wild West incubator.” Talk radio, which has a long tradition in Arizona, has been particularly heated as the state has struggled with immigration.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Part of California Takes On Illegal Hiring

New York Times reports that: Protests erupted across Southern California last year when Arizona adopted its tough immigration law: immigrant rights advocates staged rallies in cities like San Diego and Santa Barbara; Los Angeles severed economic ties with Arizona. But just 50 miles east of Los Angeles, a handful of cities have started crackdowns similar to those in Arizona on businesses that hire illegal immigrants. In what may be the single most Democratic state in the country, with a huge, fast-growing Latino population, the area known as the Inland Empire — a sprawl of suburbs, old and new — has emerged as a pocket of ideological resistance in a state that has grown increasingly averse to crackdowns on immigration. Late last month, Murrieta became the fifth Inland Empire city to require all businesses to check the legal status of new employees with E-Verify, an online federal government system designed to confirm employment eligibility. Businesses that do not comply could lose their licenses.

States Plan Crackdown on Immigration but Risk Latino Ire

Reuters: Republican state legislatures are ramping up a crackdown on illegal immigrants this year, in a concerted drive that risks alienating potential business allies and Latino voters. At least seven states are tipped to follow Arizona's controversial push last year to curb illegal immigration, and more than a dozen are harmonizing efforts to cancel birthright citizenship for the U.S. born children of illegal immigrants. Lawmakers say the cooperation is unprecedented, and responds to a failure by Washington to secure the Mexico border and address the status of nearly 11 million illegal immigrants living in the shadows. "The federal government has absolutely, totally and completely fallen down on its responsibility of protecting our nation's borders," said Randy Terrill, an Oklahoma Republican who is pushing immigration-related laws in the coming year. The state push follows sweeping gains for Republicans in the November elections which gave them control of the U.S. House of Representatives and a stronger hand in the Senate, as well as their broadest showing at the state level in decades. Seven states including Georgia, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Tennessee say they will push measures similar to Arizona's immigration clampdown. Arizona would have required state and local police to investigate the immigration status of anyone they suspected was in the country illegally, but a federal judge voided parts of the law before it went into effect in July.

Birthright Citizenship and the 14th Amendment

Opponents of illegal immigration cannot claim to champion the rule of law and then propose policies that violate our Constitution.

Wall Street Journal reported that: A coalition of state legislators, motivated by concerns about illegal immigration, is expected to endorse state-level legislation today at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., to deny the privileges of U.S citizenship to the U.S.-born children of undocumented persons. This effort to rewrite U.S. citizenship law from state to state is unconstitutional—and curious. Opponents of illegal immigration cannot claim to champion the rule of law and then, in the same breath, propose policies that violate our Constitution. In the aftermath of the Civil War, members of the 39th Congress proposed amending the Constitution to reverse the Supreme Court's notorious 1857 Dred Scott v. Sandford ruling denying citizenship to slaves. The result is the first sentence of the 14th Amendment: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States." The plain meaning of this language is clear. A foreign national living in the United States is "subject to the jurisdiction thereof" because he is legally required to obey U.S. law. (By contrast, a foreign diplomat who travels here on behalf of a foreign sovereign enjoys diplomatic immunity from—and thus is not subject to the jurisdiction of—U.S. law.)

Birthright Citizenship Looms as Next Immigration Battle

New York Times: Of the 50 or so women bused to this border town on a recent morning to be deported back to Mexico, Inez Vasquez stood out. Eight months pregnant, she had tried to trudge north in her fragile state, even carrying scissors with her in case she gave birth in the desert and had to cut the umbilical cord. “All I want is a better life,” she said after the Border Patrol found her hiding in bushes on the Arizona side of the border with her husband, her young son and her very pronounced abdomen. The next big immigration battle centers on illegal immigrants’ offspring, who are granted automatic citizenship like all other babies born on American soil. Arguing for an end to the policy, which is rooted in the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, immigration hard-liners describe a wave of migrants like Ms. Vasquez stepping across the border in the advanced stages of pregnancy to have what are dismissively called “anchor babies.” The reality at this stretch of the border is more complex, with hospitals reporting some immigrants arriving to give birth in the United States but many of them frequent border crossers with valid visas who have crossed the border legally to take advantage of better medical care. Some are even attracted by an electronic billboard on the Mexican side that advertises the services of an American doctor and says bluntly, “Do you want to have your baby in the U.S.?”

Monday, January 03, 2011

Marine's Immigrant Father Faces Deportation

Associated Press reported that: As a Marine's father awaits deportation for being an illegal immigrant, U.S. immigration officials are giving him a chance to prove he should be granted permanent residency in the United States. Ron Russell, a lawyer for illegal immigrant Juan Andres, tells The Courier–Journal of Louisville, Ky., his client faced a Thursday deadline to file evidence with immigration officials. Russell says the evidence will include letters from the man's five children, all of whom are U.S. citizens. One of them is Lance Cpl. Aspar Andres, who is scheduled to leave Sunday for his Marine camp, where he will await deployment to Afghanistan. The 41–year–old Juan Andres is from Guatemala. He came to the United States illegally as a teenager.

Political Battle on Illegal Immigration Shifts to States

New York Times: Legislative leaders in at least half a dozen states say they will propose bills similar to a controversial law to fight illegal immigration that was adopted by Arizona last spring, even though a federal court has suspended central provisions of that statute. The efforts, led by Republicans, are part of a wave of state measures coming this year aimed at cracking down on illegal immigration. Legislators have also announced measures to limit access to public colleges and other benefits for illegal immigrants and to punish employers who hire them. Next week, at least five states plan to begin an unusual coordinated effort to cancel automatic United States citizenship for children born in this country to illegal immigrant parents. Opponents say that effort would be unconstitutional, arguing that the power to grant citizenship resides with the federal government, not with the states. Still, the chances of passing many of these measures appear better than at any time since 2006, when many states, frustrated with inaction in Washington, began proposing initiatives to curb illegal immigration. Republicans gained more than 690 seats in state legislatures nationwide in the November midterms, winning their strongest representation at the state level in more than 80 years. Few people expect movement on immigration issues when Congress reconvenes next week in a divided Washington. Republicans, who will control the House of Representatives, do not support an overhaul of immigration laws that President Obama has promised to continue to push. State lawmakers say it has fallen to them to act.