About Me

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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


Thursday, December 23, 2010

ICE Agents May Be Sued Over Immigration Raid

Courthouse News: Illegal immigrants can sue the government for constitutional rights violations stemming from a predawn raid, a Connecticut federal judge ruled. Four teams of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents invaded homes in New Haven, Conn.,
without probable cause or arrest warrants. They detained 11 people for between 3 and 27 days before they were released. The 11 plaintiffs sued the federal government, immigration agents who conducted the raid, and the agents' supervisors for violating their Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights, as well as negligent supervision and hiring. U.S. District Judge Stefan Underhill upheld the Fifth Amendment equal protection claims and the Fourth Amendment charges against four of the supervisors. "The plaintiffs have alleged that the defendant officers targeted a primarily Latino neighborhood, arrested people who appeared Latino, detained one plaintiff solely because he spoke Spanish and appeared Latino, and taunted one plaintiff's girlfriend by saying the plaintiffs were being taken to see Mexican singer Juan Gabriel," Underhill wrote. "That is enough to plausibly allege that the defendants were motivated by a discriminatory purpose." The plaintiffs can also obtain additional discovery to support their claims for negligent training and supervision, the judge ruled.

Obama, Latino Lawmakers Take Pragmatic View On Immigration

A path to legal status for illegal residents might not happen soon, the president agrees in a meeting with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. But he says he's not giving up.

Los Angeles Times: President Obama and Latino lawmakers greed Tuesday that chances are dimming for passage of an immigration overhaul that would provide a path to legal status for millions of illegal residents, according to people familiar with the private session. Instead, the president and members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus concurred that, until after the 2012 election, a more realistic goal would be to stave off legislation targeting illegal immigrants. That said, Obama told the group, he was not giving up on an immigration overhaul, which he promised to accomplish during his 2008 presidential campaign. He said he would mention the issue in his State of the Union address next month, a move that Democrats hope might pressure Republicans into accommodating the fast-growing Latino voting bloc. "The reality is, we're no longer on the House side in charge of the agenda,'' said Rep. Charlie Gonzalez (D- Texas), who attended the meeting. "We would never have had a vote on the Dream Act if the Republicans were in charge. So we need to understand that.''

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Immigration Rights Activists to Press On

TIME: Emboldened by months of phone calls to lawmakers, hunger strikes and sit-ins, a group of college students and graduates in Los Angeles say they plan to take their fight for immigrant rights to the states and the 2012 election after Senate Republicans blocked a key piece of legislation. But it won't be easy. The Senate vote Saturday to toss the proposal that would have granted young illegal immigrants a route to legal status dealt a harsh blow to student activists who will face an even steeper uphill battle in the next Congress. Immigrants see rough times ahead in the next two years, with many Republicans vowing to push for tougher immigration enforcement, but they also say Latino voters are getting fed up with lawmakers at a time when they are accruing greater political clout. "This is a movement," said Nancy Meza, a 23-year-old illegal immigrant and college graduate who wore a University of California, Los Angeles sweatshirt as she watched the televised vote. "We don't have lobbyists and paid staff. It's a movement by students." In the hours after the vote, Meza and about 50 other student activists who had gathered at the UCLA Downtown Labor Center said they would remind Latinos who stood by them — and those who did not — in the next election cycle. They will push for access to financial aid and drivers' licenses in states more friendly to immigrants like California.

Agent's Death a Reminder of U.S. - Mexican Border Violence

U.S.A. Today: A U.S. Border Patrol agent was shot and killed along the Southwestern border last week, marking the second time in as many years that an agent was gunned down along the border with Mexico. The shooting prompted politicians from both parties, including Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, to emphasize the dangers faced by the 20,000 Border Patrol agents and thousands of other law enforcement officers who patrol the border. Records from a police memorial group and the federal government paint a clearer picture of how violent the border truly is. Fourteen Border Patrol agents have died since 2006, and records obtained by USA TODAY show that agents shot and killed 20 people in that time. CONFIRMATION: Napolitano says gang killed border agent in battle

Lt. Jeff Palmer, who founded the Pima County (Ariz.) Sheriff's Office border crime section, said they face armed smugglers, constant assaults by immigrants throwing rocks and a rugged terrain that makes apprehending people, and defending yourself, extremely hard.
"It's a violent, violent place out there, and people are utilizing whatever means they can to avoid apprehension," Palmer said. Christian Ramirez of American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker organization that tracks border violence, said the blame lies on both sides of the border. Ramirez said smuggling cartels trying to push their goods into the U.S. are clashing with an ever-expanding collection of law enforcement officers on the U.S. side, leaving illegal immigrants simply looking for work caught in the crossfire.

Congress Displeases on DREAM

Politico: As the death rattle of the 111th Congress approaches its rheumy end, we admit that there are some actions our lawmakers have taken that do not displease us. (Why we are talking like Queen Victoria, we do not know.) We are happy that a tax deal that enriched everybody from the ultra-deserving middle class to the scoundrel rich also will continue benefits to the unemployed. We are pleased with the end of “don’t ask, don’t tell” making it possible for gays and lesbians to openly risk their lives in our military adventures like everyone else. And it is also to be hoped that an arms reduction treaty with Russia will be ratified, as we think we already have a sufficiency of nuclear warheads to incinerate the globe and everything on it an ample number of times. Our displeasure was acute, however, with the failure of the Senate to pass the DREAM Act, which stands, we are assured, for the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act. To put it simply — and we prefer to put things simply so that members of Congress will understand us — if you were a small child smuggled in your mother’s arms across the border into the United States but now you have graduated from high school without seriously running afoul of the law and have attended two years of college, or if you wanted to serve your country in Afghanistan fighting the Taliban and Al Qaeda, you could get on the pathway to citizenship under this act. (Some journalists, with whom we spend company as rarely as possible and think about even less, have written that the DREAM Act would bestow citizenship. It would not. It would give recipients a green card, making them resident aliens who could apply for citizenship in five years if they maintained high moral character, something somewhat difficult to do in this country if the shows we see on our television receiver are to be believed.)


Immigration policy is complicated, but passage of the DREAM Act should have been easy. Supporters must continue to press their cause.

Los Angeles Times: Bernard Pastor of Ohio, brought to this country at age 3, is fighting an order of deportation to Guatemala. Hector Lopez of Oregon is in detention after being deported to Mexico and trying to return to his family in the United States, his home since the age of 6 weeks. What Pastor and Lopez have in common is that they grew up pledging allegiance to the United States, have never lived anywhere else and for all intents and purposes are American. They and thousands like them would have been assisted by the DREAM Act, which offered a conditional pathway to citizenship to young illegal immigrants who attend college or serve in the military. Unfortunately — worse than that, immorally and cruelly — the Senate failed to pass the bill. Although polls showed that the public supported it, and the Congressional Budget Office calculated that its passage would add $2 billion in new tax revenue annually, and a majority of senators were ready to vote "aye," as had their colleagues in the House, a Republican minority and a handful of Democrats blocked the bill from coming to a vote. This is a sad moment for young people like Pastor and Lopez, who were hoping for a reprieve. To secure a future in the United States, undocumented students outed themselves online, in news stories, on their college campuses. University graduates told of working as waitresses and dishwashers even though they hold advanced degrees. They demonstrated at senators' offices and fasted in the tradition of Cesar Chavez. Saturday morning, they cried in the corridors of Congress.

Monday, December 20, 2010

California Republicans Are Split On Possible Anti-Illegal Immigration Measure

Opponents of the measure, similar to Arizona's suspended law, fear alienating the fastest-growing voting bloc and further hampering the party's ability to win elections in the state.

Los Angeles Times: A nascent California ballot measure that seeks to replicate Arizona's controversial crackdown on illegal immigrants is dividing the state's Republicans, with a number of prominent strategists and leaders fearing that it could further harm their party's already fraught relationship with Latinos — the fastest-growing segment of the electorate. It's unclear whether the ballot's backers will have the financial resources to gather enough signatures to place the measure on the 2012 ballot. Several Republicans said that even the effort to do so has the potential to increase the chasm between the party's candidates and the voting bloc whose record-breaking turnout tilted races in November and delivered a clean Democratic statewide sweep in a year in which Republicans celebrated major victories in the rest of the nation. They equated it to 1994's Proposition 187, which would have stopped illegal immigrants from receiving any state services had it not been largely voided by the courts. "It's completely counterproductive to the future of the party as well as counterproductive to the immigration debate and coming to a real solution," said Rob Stutzman, a GOP strategist who advised failed gubernatorial nominee Meg Whitman. "It allows those who make a living off the demagoguing of immigrants to continue to do so." Supporters of the measure counter that the party's nominees suffered deep losses because the party has no clear message on immigration. "I think a greater damage to the future of the party in this state is that we have no position or message on immigration," said Mike Spence, a conservative Republican activist. "That to me is the bigger problem. I don't see how we can be damaged more than we already are."

High Court Ruling on Arizona Act Could Shape Immigration Law

The 2007 Legal Arizona Workers Act cracks down on employers who hire illegal workers, but the Obama administration says it conflicts with the federal government's authority to enforce immigration laws.

Los Angeles Times: President Obama once favored a "crackdown on employers" who hired illegal immigrants, and as a candidate called for "much tougher enforcement standards" for companies that employed illegal workers. But this week, Obama's top courtroom lawyer will join the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in urging the Supreme Court to strike down an Arizona law that goes after employers who hire illegal workers. The administration also seeks to void a part of the state's law that tells employers they must check the federal government's E-Verify database to make sure their new hires are authorized to work in the United States. The move sets the stage for a high court ruling on the most disputed issue in immigration law: Can states and cities enforce their own laws against illegal immigrants, or must they wait for federal authorities to act? The administration found itself in an awkward spot in part because the Legal Arizona Workers Act was signed into law in 2007 by then- Gov. Janet Napolitano. She said it would impose the "business death penalty" on employers caught a second time hiring illegal workers, and blamed "the flow of illegal immigration into our state … [on] the constant demand of some employers for cheap, undocumented labor."

Friday, December 17, 2010

Governor Pardons Six Immigrants Facing Deportation Over Old Crimes

New York Times: Gov. David A. Paterson announced pardons on Monday for six immigrants facing deportation because of old criminal convictions, including a financial administrator at the City University of New York. The governor said the pardons addressed “shortcomings in our federal immigration laws relating to deportation.” Mr. Paterson began a special clemency process in the spring with the principal aim of helping permanent legal residents — green card holders — who were at risk of deportation because of long-ago or minor convictions. “Federal immigration laws,” he said, “are often inflexible, arbitrarily applied and excessively harsh, resulting in the deportation of individuals who have paid the price for their crimes and are now making positive contributions to our society. These pardons represent an attempt to achieve fairness and justice.” Mr. Paterson convened a so-called pardon panel last May. In the past several weeks, its five members have been sifting through about 1,100 petitions for clemency, referring promising cases to the governor’s Executive Clemency Committee, which has recommended cases to the governor for final determination. Officials say the governor may issue another batch of pardons before his term ends this month. The administrator who was pardoned, Mario Benitez, 58, is a Dominican immigrant and the current assistant director of finance for CUNY’s Graduate School and University Center. He pleaded guilty to selling a controlled substance in 1988 and served three years in prison, according to a statement from the governor’s office. The statement praised Mr. Benitez’s achievements since his release, particularly his rise “to jobs with higher levels of responsibility” and his community activities in the Bronx, including mentoring.

Lawsuit Filed in Prison Death of Illegal Immigrant

Washington Post: Family members of an illegal immigrant found dead in a federal prison filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the Texas facility, where inmates took hostages and set fires during a riot after the man's body was carried out. The 96-page federal lawsuit revives attention on the Reeves County Detention Center in Pecos, about 175 miles east of El Paso. The prison came under scrutiny in 2008, following the death of Jesus Manuel Galindo and two riots just six weeks apart that caused an estimated $1 million in damage. Galindo died in December 2008 after the 32-year-old had an epileptic seizure while placed in solitary confinement, his family's attorneys said. The lawsuit accuses the facility of being indifferent to prisoners' medical needs and using solitary confinement to punish inmates who complained of being sick. The defendants named in the lawsuit include Reeves County and the Geo Group Inc., which runs the prison. Geo Group is the nation's second-largest private prison contractor and operates 14 prisons in Texas. "They bear legal and moral responsibility for this preventable death," said Lisa Graybill, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, which is helping the family with the suit. Pablo Paez, a spokesman for the Geo Group, said the company couldn't comment on pending litigation. Phone calls to the county attorney's office in Reeves County went unanswered.

Benefits of ICE Program Questioned

Washington Post: Ask Sheriff Stan G. Barry (D) about Secure Communities, an initiative to identify illegal immigrants with criminal records, and he will say it is successful. Others, however, say the program's success is misleading and comes at a high price. On Nov. 30, Barry outlined the program and its effects on Fairfax County as part of "Ask Fairfax!," an online forum in which county staff members engage in discussions with constituents about key Fairfax County topics. Administered and paid for by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the program cross-checks anyone booked into the county jail with federal databases for criminal records and immigration status. If an immigration violation is matched to a suspect, ICE requests that local law enforcement detain a suspect after incarceration, or exoneration if charges are dropped, to determine whether federal action, such as deportation, is required. The decision takes into consideration the immigration status of the illegal immigrant and his or her criminal history, according to ICE. "I agree that this program is great for removing very dangerous criminals," said John Liss, director of the Virginia New Majority, an Alexandria-based political action group with ties to labor unions that takes up many immigrant causes. "But the truth is that Secure Communities is not being used exclusively for that purpose. If someone is deported, relationships and families can be torn apart for an offense potentially as innocuous as jaywalking. It is a grossly disproportional punishment that massively impacts our sense of community in Northern Virginia."

Jeb Bush Says Arizona Law Is "Wrong Approach" on Immigration

Miami Herald reported that: Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has expressed opposition to Arizona’s controversial immigration law, saying his children might look suspicious to police, according to news reports. A similar bill has been proposed here by Florida Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, but Bennett says his version is different than its Arizona counterpart. “My bill is not a racial profiling bill. I do not like the Arizona bill, and don’t think we should use racial profiling -- that we’re in agreement on,” Bennett said Tuesday when told of reports outlining the former governor’s comments last weekend before a National League of Cities convention in Denver. Bennett said he had not been contacted by Bush, the brother and son of former Republican presidents. Jeb Bush’s wife, Columba, was born in Mexico and is a naturalized U.S. citizen. His children are half-Latino. The former Florida governor quipped that it was obvious he was not running for office, noting that his views differed from most of his Republican colleagues, The Denver Post reported last weekend. While he is sympathetic to the plight of Arizona officials forced to deal with all the problems linked to a porous frontier, he believes there are solutions other than a law criminalizing illegals, The Post reported. “It’s the wrong approach,” Bush was quoted as saying. “The net result is not much has been done.”

Some Unlicensed Drivers Risk More Than a Fine

New York Times: It was just another suburban fender-bender. A car zoomed into an intersection and braked too late to stop at a red light. The Georgia woman driving it, an American citizen, left with a wrecked auto, a sore neck and a traffic fine. But for Felipa Leonor Valencia, the Mexican woman who was driving the Jeep that was hit that day in March, the damage went far beyond a battered bumper. The crash led Ms. Valencia, an illegal immigrant who did not have a valid driver’s license, to 12 days in detention and the start of deportation proceedings — after 17 years of living in Georgia. Like Ms. Valencia, an estimated 4.5 million illegal immigrants nationwide are driving regularly, most without licenses, according to an analysis by The New York Times. Only three states — New Mexico, Utah and Washington — currently issue licenses without proof of legal residence in the United States. Many states have adopted tough new laws to prevent illegal immigrants from driving, while expanding immigration enforcement by the state and local police. As a result, at least 30,000 illegal immigrants who were stopped for common traffic violations in the last three years have ended up in deportation, Department of Homeland Security figures show. The numbers are rapidly increasing, aggravating tensions in the national debate over immigration.

DREAM Act Merits McCain, Kyl Help

Arizona Republic: Those who want to make children responsible for their parents' actions might also consider bringing back debtors prison. Both concepts are anachronistic, unfair and colossally counterproductive. This kind of thinking keeps the Dream Act from becoming law. That and politics. In the ugly world of immigration politics, turning kids into collateral damage is all in a day's work. But in the real world, rejecting the Dream Act is a betrayal of the future. It is unjust to innocent children. It robs the nation of the talents of eager, young people. It perpetuates the folly that all those who are in the U.S. illegally can be deported or made to disappear. Arizona's senators should reject such narrow, limited thinking, and provide leadership to get the Dream Act through the Senate. Doing so means bucking their party. Republicans pledge a hard line against a bill that Democrats are pushing for their own political purposes. The Dream Act should pass for practical, not political, reasons.

Graham, Who Helped Immigrant, Sees No Conflict with Current Stand

Miami Herald: Six years ago, Sen. Lindsey Graham introduced a rare type of bill that blocked the U.S. government from punishing an South Carolina high school girl for a crime her mother had committed long ago by smuggling her across the Mexico border. Seven months ago, Griselda Lopez Negrete graduated from the University of South Carolina with an honors degree in business administration - and as a permanent legal resident of the United States on a path toward citizenship. Graham, though, has trod a different path. Three years after promoting a landmark immigration reform bill, Graham, a South Carolina Republican, is now joining hard-liners in opposing a measure that would grant the same protections to children of illegal immigrants that he provided Negrete in 2004. Graham sees no contradiction between his past support for immigration overhauls - branded as "amnesty" by his fellow South Carolina Republican, Sen. Jim DeMint - and his current stance against a measure to create a conditional route to citizenship for as many as 500,000 children of illegal immigrants. The House of Representatives passed the DREAM Act - Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors - late Wednesday, and the Senate is expected to vote on it next week. "I'm not saying the DREAM Act is bad," Graham told McClatchy Thursday. "I'm saying that the DREAM Act done by itself is a formula for disaster because you're inviting people to come here illegally."

Poll: Slim Majority Supports DREAM Act

Politico reported that: As the DREAM Act remains stalled in the Senate, a small majority of Americans say they support the path to legal status for people brought illegally to the United States as children. In a Gallup Poll released Friday, 54 percent of Americans said they would vote for a law that would create a route to citizenship for immigrants who go to college or serve in the military. Forty-two percent said they would vote against the bill. Support broke down along partisan lines. Among Democrats, 66 percent said they would vote for the DREAM Act, while 31 percent said they would vote against it. Thirty-four percent of Republicans said they support the bill, while 63 percent said they were opposed to it. Nearly 60 percent of independents said they would vote for the law. Gallup surveyed 1,003 adults by phone between Dec. 3 and Dec. 6. The error margin is plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Rare Immigration Bills Pass Congress

Associated Press: Congress has taken the unusual step of waiving immigration restrictions for two Japanese citizens fighting to live in the United States.The private immigration bills passed by the House on Wednesday - they had already been passed by the Senate - are the first to be approved in more than five years. The measures now go to President Barack Obama for his signature. One bill would clear the way for the granting of legal status to the widow of a Tennessee Marine who gave birth to their son after he was killed in Iraq in 2008. Another would provide relief to a Japanese man living in California whose mother was killed in a car crash when he was a teenager and who was never legally adopted. "I have always seen myself as part of this whole American society, and I am American, just like my friends but without the status or papers," said the man, Shigeru Yamada, now 28. "For me to finally become, or have the potential to become a permanent resident, it means a great deal to me, it really does. I can't really express how happy I am." Congress can vote to let individual immigrants in exceptional cases live in the country legally but hasn't done so since the 108th Congress, in 2003-04. Immigrant advocates see such bills as a last resort when other efforts to obtain a green card have failed.

Immigration to U.S., After Dip, Is Back Up

New York Times: The flow of immigrants to the United States has resumed, after falling to the lowest level in decades during the recession, a new study finds. The number of immigrants in the United States was estimated to have risen by about half a million in the year that ended in 2009, a jump from the previous year, when immigration stopped almost completely during the recession, according the study, which was conducted by the Brookings Institution and is being released on Thursday. The rise pointed to an increase in demand for immigrant labor in the economy, said Audrey Singer, a demographer and co-author of the report. However, the number is still far below the increases of more than a million a year that took place earlier in the decade. The flow reached a peak in 2006, with a 1.8 million increase in the foreign born population. "It’s an uptick in opportunity," Ms. Singer said. "Immigrants are very mobile in responding to economic changes." In 1980, the foreign-born population in the United States was about 4.5 million. By 2000, it had reached 11.3 million, bringing the foreign-born population to about 13 percent of the total. In the early 20th century, after the last big wave of immigration to the United States, immigrants had reached 15 percent of the population.

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.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Green-Card Blues

A Backlash Against Foreign Workers Dims Business Hopes for Immigration Reform

The Economist: Bad as relations are between business and the Democrats, immigration was supposed to be an exception. On that topic the two have long had a marriage of convenience, with business backing comprehensive reform in order to obtain more skilled foreign workers. That, at least, was what was meant to happen. In March Chuck Schumer, a Democratic senator, and Lindsey Graham, a Republican, proposed a multi-faceted reform that would toughen border controls and create a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants while granting two longstanding goals of business: automatic green cards (that is, permanent residence) for students who earned advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering or maths in America, and an elimination of country quotas on green cards. The quotas bear no relationship to demand, leaving backlogs of eight to ten years for applicants from China and India. Barack Obama immediately announced his support.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Federal Court Overturns Part of Arizona Voting ID Law

CNN: A federal appeals court has ruled against an Arizona law that requires residents to prove their U.S. citizenship to register to vote, but upheld a part of the same law that mandates residents to show identification before voting. The decision made by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco on Tuesday was part of an ongoing court battle surrounding Arizona's Proposition 200. Arizona passed the law in 2004, prompting legal challenges. Arizona's Gov. Jan Brewer and Secretary of State Ken Bennett blasted the court's decision Tuesday in a joint statement. "The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has struck down a simple, common sense protection approved by Arizona voters requiring that all individuals provide evidence of U.S. citizenship prior to registering to vote. This decision is an outrage and a slap in the face to all Arizonans who care about the integrity of their elections," the statement said. A federal appeals court has ruled against an Arizona law that requires residents to prove their U.S. citizenship to register to vote, but upheld a part of the same law that mandates residents to show identification before voting. The decision made by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco on Tuesday was part of an ongoing court battle surrounding Arizona's Proposition 200.
Arizona passed the law in 2004, prompting legal challenges. Arizona's Gov. Jan Brewer and Secretary of State Ken Bennett blasted the court's decision Tuesday in a joint statement. "The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has struck down a simple, common sense protection approved by Arizona voters requiring that all individuals provide evidence of U.S. citizenship prior to registering to vote. This decision is an outrage and a slap in the face to all Arizonans who care about the integrity of their elections," the statement said.

Californians Open to Letting Some Illegal Immigrants Stay

Wall Street Journal reported that: In California, home to the country’s largest population of illegal immigrants, voters appear open to accommodating them. A Los Angeles Times/USC poll found that 59% of voters likely to cast a ballot next Tuesday believe an illegal immigrant who has lived and worked in the U.S. for at least two years should be allowed to stay if discovered. More than two out of every five voters said they felt strongly that this alternative should be available. By contrast, 30% of the likely voters said illegal immigrants should be deported, with 19% supporting that option strongly, according to the poll, released over the weekend. Illegal immigration has taken center stage in the California gubernatorial race since it was discovered that Republican candidate Meg Whitman employed an illegal immigrant as a housekeeper and then fired her. In Arizona, a law cracking down on illegal immigration has attracted more than $3.6 million of donations in its defense from across the country and has propelled the issue to the forefront of the midterm election campaign.

Donors Send Millions to Defend Arizona Law

Wall Street Journal: Arizona has attracted more than $3.6 million of donations to help defend its law to crack down on illegal immigration, with one whopping contribution—and thousands of smaller ones—from out of state. Timothy Mellon, an heir to a Pittsburgh steel and banking dynasty, has donated $1.5 million to a legal-defense fund established by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, according to the governor's office. Mr. Mellon, who is identified on a donor list as a Wyoming resident, is among more than 42,000 people who have contributed to the border state's legal battle for the right to enforce the law, which Arizona's legislature passed earlier this year. The law makes illegal immigration a state crime and requires police to check the immigration status of anyone they stop if they suspect they are in the state unlawfully. Mr. Mellon's contribution is an anomaly. Through Sept. 9, the latest date for which information is available, most of the donations have been small, many between $20 and $100. Sympathizers from all 50 states and the District of Columbia have contributed to the fund. Most of the individual online contributions have come from Arizona, followed by California, Texas, Florida and New York. Since Ms. Brewer signed Arizona Senate Bill 1070 in April, her popularity has soared, bolstering the Republican's chances in next Tuesday's gubernatorial election. Polls show her with a lead of more than 10 percentage points over state Attorney General Terry Goddard.

Arizona Draws Difficult Panel for Immigration Appeal

Politico reports: It looks like the state of Arizona and Governor Jan Brewer could be facing an uphill battle in their effort to overturn a judge's ruling that the state's law cracking down on illegal immigration, SB 1070, is unconstitutional. On Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit announced the three judges assigned to the state's appeal, which is to be argued on Monday. They are: John Noonan, Richard Paez and Carlos Bea. Courtwatchers say the panel, which will convene at the court's headquarters in San Francisco, could be a tough one for Arizona. The state's law has been blasted as anti-Latino and likely to lead to racial profiling. Two of the three judges are of Hispanic descent: Paez was born in Utah of Mexican immigrant parents; Bea was born in Spain but grew up in Cuba before coming to the U.S. with his family. Paez, an appointee of President Bill Clinton, is considered part of the 9th Circuit's liberal wing. Paez is a former legal aid lawyer and district court judge who spent a record four years awaiting confirmation to the appeals court. Bea, an appointee of President George W. Bush, is viewed as a conservative on the appeals court. Bush's father also tried to nominate Bea to a district court judgeship in 1991, but he never came to a vote. Bea represented business and sometimes immigration clients in private practice before becoming a state court judge. "To my knowledge, I am the only circuit judge to have been ordered deported by the Immigration and Naturalization Service," Bea declared during a 2006 Senate hearing. The judge said he got the INS's order overturned on appeal.

Immigration Hard-Liners To Lead Judiciary?

Politico: Immigration reform would not only be dead in a Republican House; the policy debate would take a decidedly rightward turn in the House Judiciary Committee, which could become a hotbed of conservative activism on one of the most volatile issues in U.S. politics. Chairman-in-waiting Lamar Smith (R-Texas) has been an advocate of national Arizona-type immigration laws, implementing a mandatory verification program and revisiting the birthright citizenship guaranteed by the 14th Amendment. Smith’s wingman on the Judiciary Committee would be Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), one of the fiercest critics of illegal immigration, who would chair the immigration subcommittee. Smith has been on the leading edge of conservative immigration policy since the mid-1990s, but he would have a much larger megaphone as chairman of Judiciary, even if his ideas never get a vote on the floor, because GOP leaders might hesitate to open the chamber to a full-blown immigration debate. Reform advocates, frustrated by the inability of a Democratic Congress to push serious immigration reform, worry that the debate in the House may swing the opposite way.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Senators Say Napolitano Has ‘Lax Approach’ to Immigration Enforcement

CQ reported that: Senate Republicans accused Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on Thursday of adopting a “lax approach” to immigration enforcement, citing media reports indicating that dismissals of deportation cases in Texas have surged in recent months. “It appears that your Department is enforcing the law based on criteria it arbitrarily chose, with complete disregard for the enforcement laws created by Congress,” read a letter from Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., John Cornyn, R-Texas, and five other GOP members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The letter illustrates the ongoing feud between Republicans and the Obama administration over enforcement of immigration laws. Republicans alleged that DHS has eased off enforcement, citing a Houston Chronicle article earlier this month that said Houston immigration courts dismissed 217 cases in August and 174 in September, up from 27 in July. That reported increase in dismissals came after Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton issued a directive in August that the agency would drop removal cases against illegal immigrants who had pending applications to remain in the United States, did not have criminal convictions and did not pose public safety or national security threats, but would move ahead to deport suspects in more serious cases. The administration touts figures showing it has deported a record number of illegal immigrants. Earlier this month, Napolitano and Morton said that more than 392,000 illegal immigrants had been removed in fiscal year 2010. About half of them were convicted criminals. DHS spokesman Matthew Chandler said the charge that DHS is selectively enforcing immigration laws “couldn’t be further from the truth.”

Friday, October 22, 2010

Immigration Dismissals Draw Senate Scrutiny

7 Republicans On Judicial Panel Demand Inquiry

Houston Chronicle: The seven Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday called for an investigation into the dismissal of hundreds of immigration cases in Houston, accusing Homeland Security officials of selectively enforcing the law. Texas Sen. John Cornyn and six GOP colleagues on the powerful panel wrote to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano demanding a full report on the dismissals by Nov. 15. In early August, Homeland Security trial attorneys started filing unsolicited motions to dismiss hundreds of cases on Houston's immigration court docket involving suspected illegal immigrants who have lived in the U.S. for more than two years without committing serious crimes. News of the dismissals, first reported in the Houston Chronicle in late August, caused a national controversy amid allegations that the Obama administration was implementing a kind of "backdoor amnesty" — a charge officials strongly denied.
"It appears that your department is enforcing the law based on criteria it arbitrarily chose, with complete disregard for the enforcement laws created by Congress," the senators wrote. "The repercussions of this decision extend beyond removal proceedings, because it discourages officers from even initiating new removal proceedings if they believe the case ultimately will be dismissed." According to data from the Executive Office for Immigration Review, which administers the nation's immigration court system, the number of dismissals in Houston courts shot up from 27 in July to 271 in August, an increase of more than 700 percent. In September, judges dismissed 174 pending cases.

Panel Is Facing Deadline on Immigrants' Pardons

New York Times: In May, as the federal government increased deportations and some states sought to tighten immigration enforcement, Gov. David A. Paterson caused a national stir by announcing a push in the opposite direction: a state effort to speed the granting of pardons to immigrants facing deportation for old or minor criminal convictions. Nearly six months later, that initiative is finally coming to fruition — with little time to spare. Hundreds of petitions from legal permanent residents for pardons have swamped the New York governor’s office, and a special clemency panel is rushing to sift through them and make recommendations to Mr. Paterson before his term and the program end on Dec. 31. The vast majority of the requests were mailed just before an Oct. 1 deadline, compelling the panel to double the frequency of its meetings. “The expectation is that when all is said and done, there will be well over 1,000” petitions, said Morgan Hook, a spokesman for Mr. Paterson. “We literally have boxes of them sitting in the hallway.” Some of the petitions are elaborate, bound documents numbering scores of pages, with color photographs and affidavits from relatives, employers and others testifying to the petitioners’ worthiness for clemency. “To some extent this is a competition,” said Manoj Viswanathon, a lawyer who filed a petition on behalf of a Frenchman who holds a green card and served three years in prison in the early 1990s for narcotics and firearm convictions. “It’s like applying to college: there’s so much competition, you want to make your packet stand out.” But unlike many college applicants, these petitioners are almost completely in the dark about their chances for success. The Paterson administration will say little about the decision-making process or how many pardons the governor expects to issue.

Coming Out Illegal

New York Times: Leslie, a history major at the University of California at Los Angeles and an aspiring marathon runner with three part-time jobs and plans for grad school, keeps a neatly folded dark blue T-shirt in her closet among her jeans and her U.C.L.A. Bruins sweatshirt. Like an intimate detail, she reveals it cautiously, wearing it to campus events but not on the streets of Orange County; to a rally with a group of friends, but not alone on a crosstown bus. A senior at U.C.L.A. and the only child of a single working mother, Leslie is brave but not reckless: in the wrong place under the wrong circumstances, the T-shirt’s two words across the chest — “I’m Undocumented” — are provocative enough to upend her life. Some 825,000 immigrants are likely to become legal residents if the Dream Act passes, according to the Migration Policy Institute, a research group. But Steven A. Camarota, research director at the Center for Immigration Studies, which favors strict enforcement of immigration laws and opposes the Dream Act, argues that the legislation would create another avenue for immigration fraud and added incentive for immigrants to come to the United States. He noted that it rewards illegal behavior and takes college spots and financial aid from students who are legal residents. Nonetheless, the Dream Act has some bipartisan support, and in this political climate, it’s one of the only immigration bills with any shot of passing.

Whitman Accuses Brown of Lying to Latinos About Her

The GOP Candidate Says Her Democratic Foe and Unions Have Spread falsehoods About Her View on Illegal Immigration

Los Angeles Times: Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman lashed out at rival Jerry Brown on Thursday, accusing the Democrat and his labor allies of spreading lies among Latinos about her position on immigration as her poll numbers have plummeted among that key sector of the electorate. "It makes me mad that he's just out there telling lies," Whitman said after touring a small Latino-owned Los Angeles business that imports and manufactures decorative metal pieces for homes. "He accuses me of not being truthful. He is the one just not telling the truth on this, and it makes me mad and I'm not going to let it stand." She accused Brown and unions of running inaccurate ads and distributing mailers that say that she supported Arizona's recent crackdown on illegal immigrants and Proposition 187, the 1994 California ballot measure intended to deny undocumented residents taxpayer-funded services. Whitman has consistently said she was against both measures, a stance that cost her support in the GOP primary campaign. But the arguments advanced in ads and mailers are grounded in shards of truth: While she said she opposed a law such as Arizona's for California, she said states have the right to make such decisions. And although she has consistently said she opposed Proposition 187, she has said undocumented students should be barred from attending publicly funded universities, one of the initiative's planks. The Brown campaign responded that Whitman has consistently lied during this race.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Cut Deportation Business Ties, Protesters Tell Mayor Bloomberg

New York Daily News: New York - few would dispute - is a city of immigrants. That's what makes it so difficult to understand the city's collaboration with federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement to deport thousands of innocent people and cruelly divide families. More than 1,000 Latino immigrant workers and students joined Tuesday with clergy and City Council members for a massive march over the Brooklyn Bridge to a rally at City Hall Park. The demonstrators had a strong message for Mayor Bloomberg: We want the city out of the deportation business. "The mayor has spoken forcefully about how broken our immigration system is and we wanted to ask him to live up to his words," said Andrew Friedman, executive director of Make the Road NY, the organizer of the event.

Merkel Walks a Tightrope on German Immigration

TIME reported that: Chancellor Angela Merkel's pronouncement last weekend that attempts to build a "multicultural" Germany had "failed, absolutely failed" was hardly the first such tirade against immigrants. In August, Thilo Sarrazin, a former board member of Germany's central bank, caused a stir by writing in his bestselling book, Germany Does Away With Itself, that Muslim immigrants are "dumbing down" Germany and the rapid growth of the immigrant population was contributing to the country's decline. But while Merkel's comments during an address to the youth wing of her conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) on October 16 came as an unusually emotional outburst, she may nonetheless have had a political motive for weighing in on the fraught topic of immigration. The Chancellor's comments appear directed at Germany's 3 million Turkish immigrants, who began to arrive as "guest workers" ("Gastarbeiter") to fill labor shortages during the 1960s and '70s. And they were received with a standing ovation, clearly pleasing her party's hardline conservatives, who have long argued that Muslim immigrants are poorly integrated. With her conservative bloc trailing in the polls ahead of a key state election next March, commentators seized on Merkel's speech as evidence of a rightward populist shift designed to tap into German fears about the economy and immigration.

Don't 'Don't Vote'

Many Latinos Are Angry That Immigration Reform Has Not Materialized. But A 'Don't Vote' Ad In Nevada Is A Cynical Ploy To Help Republican Candidates.

Los Angeles Times: Latinos who are frustrated with Congress' failure to adopt comprehensive immigration reform are being targeted with a lie: that the best strategy to achieve their goal is to stop participating in the democratic process. Don't vote. Be silent. Go uncounted to teach the politicians a lesson. But that approach cannot and will not work. No group in the United States has ever forwarded its political agenda by auto-disenfranchisement. Last year there was a don't-fill-out-the-census campaign. This latest effort to marginalize Latinos has taken the form of a "Don't Vote" ad drive in Nevada, sponsored by an organization cynically misnamed Latinos for Reform. The group, led by conservative pundit and former Republican Party official Robert de Posada, is asking Latinos to punish Democrats for failing to pass immigration reform by staying home Nov. 2. If Latinos follow that advice, they will harm the reelection chances of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who is locked in a tight race in Nevada. But the ads cleverly do not encourage Latinos to vote for Reid's Republican rival, Sharron Angle — a request that might backfire given that Angle has run ads demonizing illegal immigrants and supports SB 1070, Arizona's draconian anti-immigrant law.

Dems: Missouri GOP Senate Pick Illegally Employed Woman

Associated Press: The Missouri Democratic Party on Tuesday accused Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Blunt of illegally employing an immigrant 20 years ago who was applying for political asylum. Blunt's campaign denied the assertion and said Democrats were distorting a kind gesture. Democrats based their claim on Aug. 21, 1990, letter from then-Secretary of State Blunt to an immigration commissioner requesting assistance for a Nicaraguan immigrant who was seeking political asylum in the U.S. In the letter, Blunt says the woman "has done some work for Roseann," who was his wife at the time. The Democratic Party said the letter suggests the Blunts employed the woman before she got official approval to work in the U.S. Democrats said they obtained the letter through an open-records request to the secretary of state's office, which now is led by Blunt's Senate rival, Democrat Robin Carnahan. "Congressman Blunt hired an illegal worker and used his official office and Washington connections" to try to assist her immigration process, Corey Platt, a senior adviser at the Missouri Democratic Party said in a conference call with reporters. Blunt spokesman Rich Chrismer called the assertion "just plain crazy."
"This person never worked for the Blunts," Chrismer said. "She simply helped out at a couple of church events.

GOP Group Challenges Outright Citizenship Birthright

USA Today: Republican lawmakers in 15 states Tuesday announced a nationwide effort to change the way the 14th Amendment is interpreted and stop granting citizenship to babies born in the USA to illegal immigrants. A national coalition called State Legislators for Legal Immigration is coordinating the effort. Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce said Kansas lawyer Kris Kobach, who helped draft Arizona's tough immigration law now on appeal in the federal courts, is working with him and Republican state Rep. John Kavanagh to draft a bill that all the states could use as a model on the citizenship issue. Pearce said a bill draft is written and will be ready for consideration when the Arizona legislative session starts in January. He would not say exactly how they will propose denying citizenship but said the legislation would not be retroactive. Previous attempts in Arizona have focused on tinkering with state-issued birth certificates. When asked how the state would prove citizenship in a delivery room, Pearce said delayed birth certificates could be given to allow parents time to gather proof of citizenship. States issue birth certificates but citizenship is a federal issue.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sharron Angle Tells Hispanic Students They Look Asian; Argues Immigration Ad Not About Southern Border

CBS News: In a meeting with Hispanic high school students on Friday, Nevada Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle downplayed her campaign's use of generic pictures of Latinos to present a negative image of illegal immigrants. Angle has run a series of ads slamming her opponent, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, for being soft on illegal immigration. Questioned about the ads, which feature somber-looking, dark-skinned men and phrases like "illegal aliens," Angle told a Hispanic group from Rancho High School that the ads do not necessarily portray Latinos. Furthermore, she told the students confronting her that they themselves do not necessarily look Latino. In the meeting, first reported on by the Associated Press, a student asked Angle, "Why is it that in all of your commercials you have the image of Latinos? What do you see when you hear, and I quote, 'illegal aliens?'" Angle responds: "I think that you're misinterpreting those commercials. I'm not sure that those are Latinos in that commercial. What it is, is a fence and there are people coming across that fence. What we know is that our northern border is where the terrorists came through. That's the most porous border that we have. We cannot allow terrorists; we cannot allow anyone to come across our border if we don't know why they're coming. So we have to secure all of our borders and that's what that was about, is border security. Not just our southern border, but our coastal border and our northern border."

Marriott, Hilton Seek Permission to Hire More Legal Immigrants

USA Today: As the economy rebounds and hotel giants expect to hire more employees, Marriott and Hilton Worldwide are among the large companies seeking to boost the number of legal immigrant workers they're allowed to hire, according to a Bloomberg News piece that also looks at campaign contribution patterns. The hotel companies want increases in worker visas and more employment-based "green cards" - proof of permanent residency in the U.S. that can allow for a lifetime career, the story says. Jonas Neihardt, a lobbyist for McLean, Virginia-based Hilton, tells Bloomberg News that Hilton hopes to see changes - including a simpler system to verify a worker's legal status - before the economy improves and travel further rebounds. "We're anticipating when things get better, we'll need more of those types of workers," Neihardt told Bloomberg News. By more than a 5-to-1 margin, campaign contributions from Marriott International CEO J.W. "Bill" Marriott Jr. are flowing toward Republicans this year, Bloomberg news says. Marriott's donations include $53,100 to Republican Party committees and candidates, vs. $9,600 to Democrats, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Nazi Accusations Roil Arizona

Politico reported that: Democrats are accusing Arizona GOP congressional candidate Jesse Kelly of “Nazi ties” because he accepted an endorsement from a controversial anti-immigration group — and Kelly’s campaign is responding with equal fury, saying there is a “special place in hell” for people who make allegations of anti-Semitism. “The media is now attempting to portray Jesse Kelly as an anti-Semite. These lies are being joined by a rumor mill all too quick to spread in the political world we live in. As a practicing Jew, I am absolutely disgusted,” Kelly campaign manager Adam Kwasman told POLITICO. Kelly is running against two-term Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona’s 8th District. “There is a special place in hell for those who propagate terrible lies in order to clench to power and subject this nation to ever-growing governmental control over our lives and liberties. There is a special place in hell for those who would slander combat veterans who would have gladly been mutilated, subjected to chemical weapons and killed in defense of our freedom,” Kwasman said. Kwasman posted his full statement to his Facebook page shortly after speaking with POLITICO. At issue is an endorsement from the Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, or ALIPAC, an anti-immigration group that Arizona Sen. John McCain’s spokesman condemned as “backed by white supremacists, neo-Nazis and anti-Semites” after it endorsed McCain’s primary opponent, former Rep. J.D. Hayworth. A Monday story in The Hill newspaper pointed out the ties.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Immigration Reform in U.S. Caught in Political Quagmire

As reported by Arizona Republic: There has been no shortage of talk about comprehensive immigration reform on Capitol Hill. But years of promises, good intentions and even all-out efforts to pass legislation so far have led nowhere. And with Congress in recess, time has run out - again - to tackle reform before the midterm elections, which could change the balance of power in Washington. It's enough for frustrated advocates to wonder if Congress' continued lack of action is deliberate. So far it hasn't mattered whether a Democrat or a Republican is in the White House or which party is controlling Congress. President George W. Bush failed to get reform through in 2006 when his party was in charge and failed again in 2007 after the Democrats took over. President Barack Obama campaigned on immigration reform in 2008 but even with his vocal support and commanding Democratic majorities, a long-anticipated bill has yet to be introduced in the Senate. Partisan divisions are so steep that compromises have been impossible on any issue, let alone one as complicated and bulky as comprehensive immigration reform.

Deportation Program Grows


Wall Street Journal: A federal program that scans local jails for illegal immigrants is being expanded across the state, the latest front in the nation's battle over immigration policy. In the past two weeks, Texas became the first border state to fully deploy the Department of Homeland Security program, which is scheduled to be rolled out to all U.S. counties by 2013. The program automatically routes prisoners' fingerprints to the department, which tries to determine whether they are allowed to be in the U.S. Known as Secure Communities, the program is designed to intercept and remove illegal immigrants who have committed serious crimes such as homicide, rape and kidnapping, immigration officials say. But immigrant groups and lawyers argue it is also singling out immigrants with no serious criminal record, clogging up the courts. Political analysts say Secure Communities and related programs are alienating Democratic-leaning Hispanic voters from the Obama administration. "Why are we wasting funds to deport people who aren't even supposed to be targets of the program?" said Jim Harrington, director of the Texas Civil Rights Project, which provides legal assistance to low-income people. Proponents of stricter immigration controls contend Secure Communities is a step in the right direction to protect the nation from dangerous illegal immigrants

Arizona City Joins Immigration Challenge

UPI reported that: A small city in Arizona has joined the U.S. Justice Department's suit against the state's immigration law. Tolleson, outside Phoenix, has filed an amicus brief in the Justice lawsuit, which will go to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Nov. 1, The Arizona Republic reported Sunday. The city made the move after a federal judge in August dismissed a lawsuit by a Tucson police officer who charged Senate Bill 1070 was unconstitutional. Tolleson joined that suit. Phoenix attorney Jose de Jesus Rivera told the city council last week that Tucson, Tolleson and the other cities he represents are not sanctuary cities but that SB 1070 seeks to make cities an arm of immigration enforcement. "In fact, it takes your resources away from other crimes," Rivera told the council, adding that under SB 1070, anyone who believes the city isn't following the law can sue the city.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Arizona Ads Target Hispanic Vote

Politico: A liberal group’s new radio ads are betting that a mention of Gov. Jan Brewer and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is all it takes to convince Arizona Hispanics to vote. The Spanish-language ads that NDN, formerly the New Democrat Network, is airing in the Phoenix media market play on the Hispanic community’s anger at the two politicians, both of whom have made tough tactics against illegal immigrants their political trademark. NDN also plans to air ads urging Hispanics to vote in the Las Vegas and Denver markets, standard-issue get-out-the-vote spots that don’t mention the two controversial pols. “Since Arpaio started with his raids, and since Brewer took over the governorship, each morning I look in the mirror and see myself as their Mr. Scapegoat,” a man says in one of the Arizona ads. “That’s what they have done for you and me. Even though we are Americans!”

CBP Chief: Immigration Overhaul a Critical Next Step for Security, Trade

CQ reported that: Congress will need to get serious about a post-election immigration overhaul if the nation is to deal with the duality of enforcing border security while facilitating trade, Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Alan D. Bersin says. “We know the debate about immigration reform in recent years has been contentious,” Bersin said. “But heated debates aren’t an excuse for inaction.” Republicans and Democrats can agree on the need to mend the unsustainably broken immigration system, Bersin said during a speech Thursday at the Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan immigration think tank. Legislation such as the proposed overhaul in 2006, which would have created a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants and a new guest-worker permit, can happen again if lawmakers can move past false debates, Bersin said. In truth, neither mass amnesty nor mass deportations will solve a problem that’s rooted in labor markets, which is why President Obama has shown a “fierce determination to stop kicking the can down the road” and supported a bipartisan proposal presented by Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., last spring, as well as legislation (S 3932) Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., introduced shortly before the pre-election recess. These legislative proposals would take immigration to a place it failed to go after the 1986 overhaul (PL 99-603), which provided a path to citizenship but failed to confront illegal immigration, Bersin said. Since then, the immigration debate has centered on control and enforcement — a focus that magnified exponentially after Sept. 11, Bersin said. But, he added, enforcement and normalization cannot succeed without appropriate coordination with other policy.

Sharron Angle -- Harry Reid Debate: Even More Immigration

Los Angeles Times: Sharon Angle took on Harry Reid’s record on immigration. Reid has said he supports a path to legalization for illegal immigrants. She said the solution to immigration is to secure the border. She also touted the Arizona sheriff who has developed a reputation for a hard-line stand on immigration. "I think every state should have a sheriff life Joe Arpaio," she said. Angle denounced Reid and the Obama administration for speaking out again Arizona’s controversial immigration law, S.B. 1070. The administration sued to block the law from taking effect. Later in the debate, Reid was asked if he supported a law that would make English the official language of the nation. "English already is the offical language," he said.

Cities, Counties Can't Stop Federal Immigration Checks

MSNBC reported that: Cities and counties can't stop federal officials from sifting through local police records to root out illegal immigrants, even though U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has characterized the program in place as voluntary since it started up two years ago, federal documents show. When a local law authority arrests someone, it submits his or her fingerprints to the FBI to confirm identity and check for a previous criminal record. That's been a standard part of the booking process in every police agency in America for decades. But under the disputed program, called Secure Communities, the FBI automatically shares those fingerprints with ICE, which checks to see whether the person is in its database for any reason. If not, ICE steps out of the picture. But if so, ICE then looks more closely to determine whether the person is "eligible for deportation" — either by being in the country illegally or by holding a green card that's been invalidated by a previous conviction. If that's the case, ICE can begin proceedings to take the person into federal custody for possible deportation. While the Secure Communities standard operating procedures (PDF) say ICE "normally" won't remove a "criminal alien" until the local case is resolved, they specify that the agency can begin the process to do so "at the time of booking" so it can move quickly once the case is concluded.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Jerry Brown - Meg Whitman Debate: Immigration

Los Angeles Times: Meg Whitman was asked again about her employment of an undocumented immigrant for more than nine years. "If you couldn't find someone in your home was undocumented or illegal, how do you expect businesses to do it?" asked moderator Tom Brokaw. Whitman called for an "e-verify system" to make sure the documents presented by immigrants are valid. She said she wants to give more resources to secure the nation's border and restart a guest-worker program. She also talked about her opposition to Arizona's controversial immigration law. Jerry Brown said it was a federal responsibility and that asking local police officers to raid businesses was a waste of time. "The biggest problem here is we have millions of people who are here illegally. They're in the shadows," Brown said, calling for comprehensive federal immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship for workers who are in the country illegally but otherwise play by the rules. Brown said Whitman's firing of Niccandra Diaz Santillan was "kind of a sorry tale," noting that "after nine years, she didn't even get her a lawyer."

L.A. County Extends Project To Identify Illegal Immigrants In Its Jails

Sheriff's custody assistants will continue to interview suspected undocumented inmates and pass their findings on to federal immigration officials for possible deportation under a program that began in 2006.

Los Angeles Times: Despite protests from immigrant rights advocates, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors extended a collaboration Tuesday with federal officials to identify illegal immigrants who wind up in county jails. Several dozen protesters attended the meeting to oppose a program in which non-sworn Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department employees interview suspected undocumented inmates and pass on their findings to immigration officials for possible deportation. Many said the Sheriff's Department risks isolating the county's immigrant communities by continuing the 4-year-old program. But sheriff's officials touted the collaboration as a way to remove criminals from immigrant communities. The department resisted an initial proposal from federal officials that would have forced sheriff's employees to take on even more responsibility in processing illegal immigrants for possible deportation, including interviewing inmates before they were convicted. That practice, sheriff's officials and activists alike agreed, could have resulted in the deportation of undocumented inmates who had been jailed for crimes they did not commit. "The sheriff does not want local law enforcement to enforce federal law," department spokesman Steve Whitmore said.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Housekeeper Issue Casts Whitman as Hypocrite

Los Angeles Times: Turns out I was wrong about last week's gubernatorial debate. I gave the edge to Jerry Brown but wrote that Meg Whitman didn't make any mistakes. I was only half right. Whitman really goofed, adhering to a campaign script that now has cast her in the role of hypocrite. Words do matter. What's indisputable is that Whitman knew at least 15 months ago that she had employed an illegal immigrant for nine years, yet publicly continued to bash the employment of illegal immigrants. Her strategists explain that Whitman has only castigated those who knowingly hire the undocumented. But that's not the way the rhetoric has sounded. During the primary, the campaign ran a TV ad featuring former Gov. Pete Wilson, the champion of Proposition 187, assuring Republicans that Whitman would be "tough as nails on illegal immigration."

Obama Likely to Scale Back Legislative Plans

In New Political Landscape, Incremental Approach Is in Works to Get Support for Some Proposals on Energy, Immigration

Washington Post reported that: President Barack Obama, facing at best narrower Democratic majorities in Congress next year, is likely to break up his remaining legislative priorities into smaller bites in hope of securing at least some piecemeal proposals on energy, climate change, immigration and terrorism policy, White House officials say. White House officials have begun revamping their legislative strategies. They are talking about a new, more incremental approach, championed by former Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, to fulfilling campaign promises on energy, immigration and on closing the military prison at Guantanamo Bay. The new White House chief of staff, Pete Rouse, is far more steeped than Mr. Emanuel in the culture of the Senate, where comprehensive approaches to some of these issues have fared poorly. White House officials hope Mr. Rouse's expertise will help navigate smaller measures through the chamber. A senior Democratic Senate aide said White House officials have indicated a willingness to push through piecemeal changes to immigration law, instead of a comprehensive bill that combines border controls and immigration law enforcement with a path to citizenship for many of the 11 million illegal immigrants already in the country. Under the incremental scenario, the White House would embrace Republican proposals to step up immigration law enforcement and border and port security in exchange for measures such as the DREAM Act, which would give illegal immigrant children a path to citizenship through military or public service. White House officials could add an agricultural-workers program to that bill but put off dealing with the bulk of illegal immigrants until later.

Feds Fine Abercrombie $1M Over Immigration Issue

Associated Press: A federal agency is issuing a $1 million fine against Abercrombie & Fitch over the way the clothing retailer kept track of the employment eligibility of its workers. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office said Tuesday that the fine stems from an inspection of Abercrombie's stores in Michigan. The agency says it found nothing to indicate that the New Albany, Ohio-based company knowingly hired any illegal immigrants. Investigators say Abercrombie has taken steps to correct its immigration compliance program. Both sides agreed to the amount of the fine. An Abercrombie spokesman declined to comment.

France Weighs Immigration Bill

Washington Post: The French government introduced tough new immigration legislation Tuesday that would make it easier to expel illegal residents and strip recently naturalized citizens of their French passports. The bill would translate into law a July 30 announcement by President Nicolas Sarkozy that in a bid to curb crime, he had authorized a crackdown on illegal immigrants, in particular Roma from Eastern Europe, who officials say commit up to 20 percent of the robberies in the Paris region. Since then, about 1,000 Roma, or Gypsy, immigrants have been shipped back to Bulgaria and Romania, and about half of their estimated 150 unauthorized camps across the country have been dismantled. Sarkozy's campaign, denounced as demagoguery by his opponents, reflects swelling concern in West European countries over large numbers of immigrants pouring in to seek work, political freedom and generous social services. Several governments have taken new steps to limit the flow, and anti-immigrant political parties scored electoral gains this year even in such normally liberal bastions as Sweden and the Netherlands.

UPDATED: Arlington Opts Out of Federal Immigration Enforcement Program

Washington Post: The Arlington County Board has unanimously passed a resolution to opt out of the federal Secure Communities program, which uses the fingerprints of people in custody for other reasons to identify illegal immigrants. "It is not the role of Arlington County law enforcement to enforce federal immigration laws," the resolution states. Last spring, Virginia officials signed up for the program, which shares any arrested individuals' fingerprints with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, without asking Arlington law enforcement's opinion, said board member Walter Tejada, the resolution's sponsor. "We are not defending criminals," Tejada said at Tuesday's board meeting. However, he continued, "People who have not committed serious crimes...are finding themselves in this web" leading to deportation. The resolution states that Arlington strives to be a diverse and inclusive community, with more than one-third of the population belonging to a minority group and one-quarter being born outside of the country.

Obama: Immigration Issue is Being 'Demagogued'

USA Today reported that: President Obama is holding a backyard discussion with residents in Albuquerque -- including a discussion of the tricky political issue of immigration. Some play-by-play: Question time: The first comes from a woman who asks about changes in the immigration system, a big issue in New Mexico. Obama again endorses "comprehensive immigration reform," which tightens the borders and creates a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants in the USA. He expresses skepticism about legislation any time soon because "unfortunately, right now, this is getting demagogued." But he says a new immigration policy remains a priority.

Despite Economy, Americans Don't Want Farm Work

Associated Press: As the economy tanked during the past two years, a debate has raged over whether immigrants are taking jobs that Americans want. Here, amid the sweltering vineyards of the largest farm state, the answer is no. Most Americans simply don't apply for jobs harvesting fruits and vegetables in California, where one of every eight people is out of work, according to government data for a federal seasonal farmworker program analyzed by The Associated Press. And the few unemployed Americans who apply through official channels usually don't stay on in the fields, a point comedian Stephen Colbert — dressed as a field hand — has alluded to in recent broadcasts on Comedy Central. "It's just not something that most Americans are going to pack up their bags and move here to do," said farmer Steve Fortin, who pays $10.25 an hour to foreign workers to trim strawberry plants for six weeks each summer at his nursery near the Nevada border. He has spent $3,000 this year ensuring domestic workers have first dibs on his jobs in the sparsely populated stretch of the state, advertising in newspapers and on an electronic job registry.
But he hasn't had any takers, and only one farmer in the state hired anyone using a little-known, little-used program to hire foreign farmworkers the legal way — by applying for guest worker visas. Since January, California farmers have posted ads for 1,160 farmworker positions open to U.S. citizens and legal residents seeking work.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Border Governors Call for U.S. Immigration Reform

Associated Press reported that: U.S. and Mexican border governors called Monday for reform of U.S. immigration policies, but New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson said it's unrealistic to expect Congress to act on the hot-button political issue before the November general election. Richardson made his comments at the close of a border governors meeting, which was held in New Mexico after Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer canceled the event in Phoenix because of a planned boycott by Mexican governors over Arizona's new immigration law. Richardson was the only U.S. governor to participate along with the governors of six Mexican states. California Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado filled in for ailing Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. The governors of Texas and Arizona did not attend. A joint statement by the governors said they "recognize the need for comprehensive immigration reform" in the United States and for a deportation process "based on the fundamental premise of respecting the human dignity and human rights of individuals being repatriated." Richardson said he hoped that immigration reform would become a major priority for Congress next year and that the groundwork could be laid for legislation after the general election.

Brown Critical of Democratic Plans for Immigration Bill

Boston Globe: Senator Scott Brown this afternoon criticized Democrats for bringing up a proposal that would allow illegal immigrants with a quicker pathway to citizenship through college or military service, calling the plan “amnesty” and politically motivated. “I am opposed to illegal immigration, and I am deeply disappointed that Washington politicians are playing politics with military funding in order to extend a form of amnesty to certain illegal immigrants,” the Massachusetts Republican said in a statement. The Senate could vote as early as tomorrow on whether to add the so-called Dream Act to a defense appropriations bill. Brown’s statement came as a group of undocumented immigrants started an around-the-clock vigil outside of Brown’s Boston office to try and press him to support the proposal. The legislation would create a path to legal residency for youths who arrived before they turned 16; have lived in the United States for five consecutive years; and have no criminal record. In order to become citizens, they would have to graduate from high school or obtain a GED, complete two years in college or the military, and be under 35 years old. Critics say that it would reward immigrant families who came to the country illegally, and say it lacks the comprehensive provisions to crack down on illegal immigration.

Senate to Look at Dream Act for Illegal Immigrants

Washington Post: The Senate will consider Tuesday whether hundreds of thousands of immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally as children should be placed on a path to citizenship. The prospects for the legislation to pass are considered slim, particularly given the public's embrace of tough immigration laws in Arizona and other states. Several versions of the Dream Act have been debated in Congress over the past decade, but none of the measures has succeeded.The controversial measure is being pushed by Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), who bypassed usual Senate procedures by including it in a defense reauthorization bill. The maneuvering in the Senate comes as Reid is locked in a tight reelection battle against Republican Sharron Angle, a favorite of the "tea party" movement. Polls show that Reid is in a dead heat with Angle or narrowly ahead. Hispanic voters, who constitute as much as a quarter of voters in the state, are expected to strongly back passage of the Dream Act. For the moment, both the Reid and Angle campaigns are betting the issue will help them.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Birthright Citizenship Is Settled Law

Repealing Part of the 14th Amendment Won't Fix Our Immigration Problem; Giving the Undocumented a Pathway to Citizenship Will.

Los Angeles Times (Opinion): As an attorney and supporter of immigrant rights, I tried to read with an open mind Charlotte Allen's Sept. 20 Times Op-Ed article, "A birthright that shouldn't be." Allen argued against the 14th Amendment's provision of birthright citizenship, warned of the costs associated with U.S.-born children of undocumented workers and castigated the Obama administration for failing to secure our borders. The most meaningful part of her essay was what she did not say. Out of more than 1,000 words, she devoted exactly two sentences to offering a solution to our immigration problems. Allen began by noting that if we ended birthright citizenship, "it would bring America's citizenship policies into line with those of most of the rest of the world." Sorry, but my mother never bought the "all the other kids are doing it" argument, and neither do I. The U.S. is the gold standard for the rest of the world, not the other way around. I'd prefer to keep things that way.

Senators Say DHS Allows Backdoor Amnesty

Washington Times reported that: A series of new internal rules has effectively created a possible backdoor amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants, Senate Republicans charged on Tuesday in a letter demanding that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano explain the new policies. Ms. Napolitano has said her department is trying to focus resources on illegal immigrants with long criminal records, but the letter, signed by all seven Republicans on the committee that oversees immigration, said it appears the administration instead is trying to carve out categories of illegal immigrants that won't be deported at all. Indeed, the latest statistics show deportations are, in fact, down slightly compared with the similar period last year. The administration has dramatically stepped up removals of convicted criminal immigrants, deporting 51,981 more than last year, an increase of 42 percent. But deportation of other immigrants is down even more, dropping by 53,934 through August. "It is increasingly clear that this administration is following the spirit of these proposals by dramatically narrowing its efforts to remove whole classes of illegal immigrants," the senators said.

Senate Republicans Hold Up Dream Act for Children of Immigrants

Washington Post: Republican lawmakers on Tuesday stalled a Senate measure to allow children of undocumented immigrants to get on a path to citizenship, and accused the Obama administration of seeking amnesty for illegal immigrants through administrative changes within the Department of Homeland Security. The Dream Act, which would grant permanent residency to immigrants who were brought to the United States as children and who have completed some time in college or in the armed forces has been a sought-after goal for Democrats, who attached the measure to an important defense spending bill. Republicans used a procedural vote to block the bill. Immigration advocates accused Republicans of sacrificing the well-being of thousands of young people to cater to nativist sentiment. Brent Wilkes, national executive director of the League of United Latin American Citizens, said the vote showed that the Republican party had "once again proven that when Latinos need support, they support a different constituency even when the constituency they are supporting does not have a dog in the fight. If my kids are legal and they are going to college, why would I want to stick it to my neighbor's kids?"

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


New York Times: Congress may soon have a chance to repair, in a powerful way, the shambles it has made of immigration. It can pass an amendment to the defense authorization bill due to come before the Senate on Tuesday. The amendment is the Dream Act, an inspired bit of carving from the hugely ambitious, chronically unsuccessful comprehensive immigration reform. The Dream Act opens the door to military service and higher education for young people whose parents brought them to this country as children without proper documentation. If they finish high school, show good moral character and serve at least two years in the military or earn a college degree, they can earn citizenship. In a poisoned climate for legislation of any kind, and with the immigration debate more wretched than ever, the Dream Act’s chances are uncertain. That is a shame, because the act was written for exactly the kind of people America should be embracing: young soldiers, scholars, strivers, future leaders.

Giving Immigrant Laborers An Online Voice

A New Program Teaches Workers To Use Cellphones To Tell Their Own Stories And To Document Their Lives and Work.
Los Angeles Times reported that: The idea is to give immigrants, mainly day laborers, an online space to speak their minds and share their stories. They are also encouraged to document their work as a form of self-protection. Organizers rolled out the program last month with a mix of grants from various foundations, including $40,000 worth of cellphones to train laborers. They fanned out to local job centers to teach workers how to upload text, photos and videos. So far about half a dozen laborers have launched their own blogs. Others are experimenting, transferring bits of broken audio and blurry images onto the Web. The contributions to vozmob.net are varied. In one post, a worker named Adolfo features a video clip of day laborers at a Hollywood center singing with an accordion player and guitarist as they wait for work. In another, a Long Beach laborer named Ranferi displays a photo of a cream-colored snake he found on the sidewalk and warns others to be cautious. A man named Marcos likes to upload samples of his handiwork: light fixtures he has installed, bathtubs he has tiled and water-thrifty gardens he has planted. Politics often takes center stage, with posts featuring photos of immigrants rights marches and short, heated paragraphs blasting Arizona's new immigration law.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Grounding Foreign Drivers in Virginia, by Gubernatorial Order

Washington Post: With the stroke of a pen, Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) has thrown up a roadblock in the path of thousands of law-abiding foreign nationals who seek to obtain a driver's license in the state. He did so despite the fact that they are legally authorized to live and work in Virginia, and in many cases have been for years. Mr. McDonnell's order disallows federal work permit cards as a basis for securing driver's licenses or ID cards in Virginia, even though they are accepted for that purpose in a majority of states. One group likely to be particularly hurt are the many thousands of Salvadorans in Virginia who have been authorized to work here since the federal government granted them legal status in 2001, following two devastating earthquakes in their native country. The Salvadorans frequently rely on the federal work permits to get driver's licenses; in many cases, they have no other proof of legal presence.