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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


Monday, December 05, 2011

Luis Gutierrez to Illegals: Carry Records

Politico reported that: A prominent Hispanic congressman is encouraging illegal immigrants to carry around a “portfolio of documents” that show their ties to the United States - a move he says could help them avoid being deported.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) described his advice to a man he met recently who was picked up in South Carolina for driving without a license and detained when officers who pulled him over and he couldn’t prove his immigration status.

“My suggestion is, Mr. Sanchez, the day he was pulled over, if he had his children’s birth certificate, and his 8th grade graduation diploma to show when he arrived in the United States — all of those things would have helped,” Gutierrez told POLITICO.

The Illinois congressman has recently traveled to South Carolina and Alabama – states where restrictive immigration laws have heightened fear among the Hispanic and other minority communities – and said he has met many illegal immigrants who could have been released if they were carrying proof showing their longstanding ties to the country.

At the heart of Gutierrez’s advice is the so-called Morton Memo, issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton in June. The memo calls on ICE officers to exercise “prosecutorial discretion” when enforcing the law against people who may not be here legally but who have strong ties to the country.

For example, special consideration is to be given to people who have lived in the U.S. for a considerable length of time, were brought to the country as a young child, received higher education in the U.S., have served in the military, or have a spouse, child or parent who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

Gutierrez said it was clear that the Morton guidelines are not being followed in some of the states he’s recently visited. When he questioned ICE officials on why they weren’t using more discretion, he was told it was because some people simply didn’t have any documentation on them.

“We don’t know if they have American children, a son in the military, we don’t know that they’re caring for someone who is sick – all we can do is see if they have a criminal record, and we continue with their deportation,” the congressman said.

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano will meet with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus next week, where the impact of restrictive immigration laws and the implementation of the Morton Memo are expected to be at the center of the discussion.

Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairman Charles Gonzalez (D-Texas), one of the 11 members of the delegation that traveled to Birmingham, Ala., in November to investigate the effects of the state’s controversial immigration law, said the meeting with Napolitano is “very, very timely” because of the recent surge in the crackdown on illegal immigrants.

He said he will look for clarification from Napolitano on what the Obama administration is doing to ensure that states are practicing prosecutorial discretion.

“We want to make sure that the field personnel are aware and fully understand and are in compliance of the Morton Memorandum, [which] is not the easiest thing when you look at the entire continent of the United States,” Gonzalez told POLITICO. “We’re appreciative that the secretary is making an effort to come [next week], and we’ll have our disagreements.”

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