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


Tuesday, March 31, 2015

U.S. Appeals Judge's Hold On President Obama's Immigration Executive Action

March 31, 2015

The Justice Department urged a federal appeals court Monday to reverse a hold a judge placed on President Barack Obama's immigration executive action.

The 69-page brief was filed with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ahead of arguments scheduled for next month.

Lawyers for the federal government are challenging a preliminary injunction issued in February by a federal judge in Brownsville, Texas. That decision placed on hold an executive action that could spare from deportation as many as 5 million people who are in the U.S. illegally.

Justice Department lawyers say in the new court filing that the federal government has unique authority to enforce the nation's immigration laws and to use its limited resources to exercise discretion during the deportation process, including by deferring removal of certain groups of immigrants, such as those who do not pose a public safety threat.

The executive action was challenged by a coalition of 26 states, led by Texas, who argued that the move was unconstitutional. The states have said they will suffer irreversible economic harm if the injunction is lifted. But the Justice Department says the states have failed to show exactly how they would be negatively affected by the executive action.

A court hearing has been set for April 17.

The other states seeking to block Obama's orders are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

'Dreamers' Despair as Obama, Democrats Abandon Immigration Activists

Washington Times
By Stephen Dinan
March 31, 2015

The heady sense of victory immigrant rights activists had last year after President Obama announced his deportation amnesty has faded in recent weeks as the advocates sense they’ve lost ground among the very Democratic leaders they were counting on to deliver at the national and state levels.

The latest blow came over the weekend in New York, where Gov. Andrew Cuomo has scrapped plans for a state-level Dream Act granting in-state tuition to illegal immigrants as part of the budget — spawning a hunger strike from young illegal immigrants who expected him to come through.

Nationally, meanwhile, Mr. Obama is taking fire after his immigration service earlier this month deported a Mennonite pastor with American citizen children who had been living without authorization for years, but who came to agents’ attention because of a drunken driving conviction from the 1990s.

Activists said that deportation broke the rules Mr. Obama himself laid out in November, when he said he wanted to kick out “felons, not families.”

“It goes to who really are our champions. That’s disillusioning a lot of the electorate,” said Cesar Vargas, co-director of the Dream Action Coalition. “Democrats would like to make people believe that Republicans have a Latino problem. Well, Democrats are definitely facing a Latino problem that many of them aren’t even aware of.”

The relationship between the president and immigrant rights advocates has always been rocky, dating back to his vote as a senator to build the border fence, and then extending to his failure to make good on his campaign promise to tackle immigration reform his first year in office.

Mr. Obama had appeared to smooth things over in November when he bypassed Congress and announced executive actions to grant a temporary deportation amnesty and work permits to millions of immigrants in the country illegally. At the same time Mr. Obama also announced new enforcement priorities that were supposed to lower the chances of deportation for millions of other illegal immigrants — though they would not be eligible for the work permits included in his broader amnesty.

Buoyed by that success, and by polls that suggest the public is increasingly accepting of legalizing illegal immigrants, activists turned to states, pressing for legislation to grant in-state tuition to illegal immigrants, known as the Dream Act.

New York was a particular target, with a Democratic governor in Mr. Cuomo vowing to use the state budget to make it happen this year.

In the span of a few weeks, however, Mr. Obama’s immigration policy was halted by a federal judge, his agents deported Pastor Max Villatoro — the Mennonite cleric who was sent to his native Honduras on March 20 — and Mr. Cuomo failed to secure passage of the Dream Act in New York.

“I would definitely agree that there’s some deep disillusionment and disappointment,” said Manuel Castro, immigration campaign coordinator for the New York Immigration Coalition.

Mr. Castro said they will have to wait for more details about the New York negotiations to come out before knowing where the agreement broke down — though early press reports said the Assembly speaker, a Democrat, squelched a deal that would have coupled the Dream Act to an education tax credit.

But the loss of the Dream Act goes to the heart of the immigration movement, where so-called Dreamers, illegal immigrants brought to the country as children, are viewed as the most sympathetic figures in the debate.

Denise Vivar, one of the students on a hunger strike to protest the governor’s retreat, said her last meal was March 24. Since then she’s been subsisting on water while working at her cashier’s job and attending classes — where she’s in the middle of midterm exams.

She said they were excited when Mr. Cuomo put the Dream Act in his budget, and realized he ran into political opposition from Republicans in the legislature. But she said activists would have liked to see him push harder to win.

“It’s always, ‘Yeah, we care about Dreamers, and we want them to be fully part of U.S. society,’ but when it comes to the real deal, they always end up abandoning us,” she said.

Even as New York was stumbling over the Dream Act, several other states are facing debates over whether to repeal their own state-level laws.

The legislature in Texas, which was the first state to adopt in-state tuition rates for illegal immigrants in a bill signed by then-Gov. Rick Perry, is poised for a committee-level debate on repeal next week, and Kansas’s legislature has also toyed with a repeal.

At the national level, activists are eyeing Mr. Obama’s deportation statistics and questioning how he’ll carry out removals even as the court cases continue.

Mr. Vargas called the deportation of Mr. Villatoro “a promise broken,” and said advocates will be watching the rhetoric in the emerging 2016 campaign for clues to see which party is making a claim for votes within his community.

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

Monday, March 30, 2015

Dairy Farmers, in Dire Need of Workers, Feel Helpless as Immigration Reform Sours

Los Angeles Times (California)
By Tina Susman
March 30, 2015

When Mike McMahon's Latino employees need to go to the bank, the pharmacy or the grocery store, he makes sure someone drives them to town, waits while they run errands, and then brings them safely back to his dairy farm.

Even then, there is no guarantee law enforcement in their small, rural community won't spot the workers, ask for their IDs, and put them on a path toward deportation if they cannot prove they are here legally. It is a risk that dairy farmers in this agricultural region have faced for years, but it is hitting them harder as immigration reform languishes in Washington and the nation's demand for milk-heavy products like Greek yogurt soars.

"It's just crazy," said McMahon, who has several hundred cows at his farm more than 200 miles north of New York City.

"I'm a lifelong Republican," he said, shaking his head. "But I'm telling you, there are days when I think about switching."

Most people think of border and immigration issues as happening in the Southwest, but it's a real issue up here.

McMahon and other dairy farmers in central and upstate New York are in a quandary. On one hand, farms have thrived because of several factors, including the popularity of yogurt in recent years and drought in other milk-producing countries. At the same time, they are battling to find the reliable, year-round labor that 24/7 milking operations require.

Locals won't do the dirty, manual jobs, farmers say, and immigration laws limit farmers to importing only seasonal agricultural employees. That does not help dairy farmers, who need year-round workers.

"The nation's food system is at risk if we can't get this fixed," McMahon said one chilly day as scores of cows stood placidly in his farm's milking parlor, which was pungent with the smell of manure. Workers went up and down the rows, checking to see that cows' teats were attached to the metal milking machines.

Last month, Dean Norton, a dairy farmer who is president of the New York Farm Bureau, traveled to Washington to argue for reform, including a guest-worker program catering to dairy farmers. At this point, though, given the partisan divide in Washington, few people expect to see change any time soon.

"Less than 15%, and that's probably a high number," Norton said when asked the chances of dairy farmers getting help from lawmakers.

The dairy farmers have seen some relief lately because of a slowdown in milk demand. They attribute this to several things, including the stronger dollar, which makes U.S. milk more expensive to overseas buyers, and stockpiles of milk from China. But fluctuations in milk prices and demand are cyclical, and Norton said as long as things like cottage cheese and yogurt grow in popularity, so will dairy farmers' labor woes.

Without new immigration laws, he and other farmers say, the nation will lose dairy producers, because farmers will switch to growing crops whose workers are eligible for temporary guest-worker visas.

"The U.S. dairy industry absolutely cannot survive without this," said Dale, a dairy farmer who has moved toward robotic milking to avoid the labor problem. Like many dairy farmers, he did not want his full name or his farm's name used because he was concerned that immigration officials would target his business.

Robotics are too expensive for most farmers; each machine costs about $250,000. They also cannot do the tasks that farmers say humans must handle, including cleaning teats and udders, and basic farm maintenance.

The problem has simmered for years, but it became more urgent with the Greek yogurt boom since yogurt maker Chobani's arrival in upstate New York in 2005. Seven years later, New York was the nation's yogurt capital, surpassing California to become the No. 1 producer. That success was fueled in large part by the demand for Greek yogurt, which is denser and creamier than regular yogurt.

"You've got to have really, really good milk. That's the key to great yogurt," Chobani spokesman Michael Gonda said as he led a visitor through the Chobani factory in the hamlet of New Berlin.

In a 150,000-square-foot warehouse, which is kept at a steady 34 degrees, more than 1.5 million cases of yogurt in flavors ranging from the usual, like strawberry and blueberry, to the unusual, like green tea, waited to be shipped to retailers. Machines worked at dizzying speeds, slapping labels on white yogurt cups that made their way via conveyor belts into filling rooms. There, more machines squirted fruit into each cup and topped the fruit with dollops of creamy, white yogurt.

Chobani is now one of more than 40 yogurt producers in the state, and it is by far the largest. In 2000, the state had about 14 yogurt processing plants.

Dairy farmers say the yogurt boom has been a blessing. "It happened overnight," said Dale, who watched the state's dairy industry shrink through the 1980s and '90s. "All of a sudden, New York had all these great yogurt things going on."

He and McMahon said they tried to stick to local labor but succumbed to hiring migrant workers as their workloads increased.

Both men, and Norton, blame the problem more on attitudes than on economics. McMahon, for example, said his farmworkers all started at $2,000 a month and get a three-bedroom house plus utilities and other benefits. Even so, McMahon said attempts to hire locals have failed.

"Nobody wants to go out there and deal with cows and get manure up their sleeves," said McMahon, who once advertised three straight weeks to find workers. Three locals applied, and only one worked out, he said. He now depends on Latino workers, most of them members of an extended family from Mexico.

Keeping them safe from immigration is a constant concern. Anyone obviously foreign-born sticks out in these largely white communities. The area is about 100 miles from the U.S.-Canada border, and there is a 360-bed immigration detention center in the region.

Mary Jo Dudley, who heads the Cornell Farmworker Program at Cornell University, said in a report in October that the state would need more than 2,200 additional farmworkers and about 100,000 more cows to ensure the steady production of sufficient milk to satisfy yogurt makers' needs.

"Most people think of border and immigration issues as happening in the Southwest, but it's a real issue up here," said Dudley, who regularly visits dairy farms and hears stories from farmers and their workers about the latest detentions and scares.

McMahon told of one trusted worker, Antonio, who got word from his wife in Mexico that their young son had a brain tumor. He was desperate to visit them, so McMahon gave him some cash, wished him luck and let him go. Antonio was caught in Brownsville, Texas. By the time he was deported, his son had died.

McMahon hasn't seen Antonio since and does not expect to, because of the cost of hiring coyotes to guide people over the southern border.

"I pray to God Jeb Bush is our next president," McMahon said, "because he's married to a Mexican woman. He gets it."

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

States Are Divided by the Lines They Draw on Immigration

New York Times
By Julia Preston
March 29, 2015

Washington has long allowed immigrants without legal status to get driver’s licenses. So Ofelia Rosas Ramos, a Mexican living illegally in Seattle, has had her license since 2008.

“That is one of the big advantages of this state,” said Ms. Rosas, 31, whose 4-year-old daughter, an American citizen, has severe allergies. “If I have to rush her to the hospital,” Ms. Rosas said, “having a license, I don’t have to worry that I will be stopped by police and reported.”

Life is very different for Camila Trujillo, a Colombian immigrant living in Katy, Tex. Since Texas requires a Social Security number for a license, Ms. Trujillo, 21, drives to college and work without one.

“You can get pulled over for the smallest thing,” she said, and a police stop could spiral into deportation. “It’s frustrating and sad. We are not criminals. We want to live the American dream.”

This is immigration geography: Some states are reluctant to accept undocumented immigrants, while others are moving to incorporate them. And the polarization is sharply crystallized in a lawsuit by Texas and 25 other states against the executive actions by President Obama to give work permits and deportation protection to millions of undocumented immigrants.

“This case has brought the differences to the surface so vividly because it caused the states to pick sides,” said Roberto Suro, a University of Southern California professor who studies immigration.

Texas and its allies — among them Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Montana and Nevada — say they would be irreparably harmed if the initiatives took effect. Texas, with 825,000 eligible residents, said in the lawsuit that it would have to issue new driver’s and law licenses, and pay unemployment benefits — “injuries” that would be hard to undo if the courts ultimately found the president’s actions unconstitutional.

But in its legal papers, Washington cited “overwhelming evidence” that the programs would bring a host of benefits, raising wages for all workers and swelling tax revenues. It is leading a coalition of 14 states and the District of Columbia that is asking the courts to allow the programs to begin.

Those conflicting views could have a significant impact at the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans, where the administration has filed a request to cancel a federal judge’s ruling in Texas that stopped the president’s actions, or to at least allow the initiatives to go forward in the states that agree with them.

The four million immigrants who would be eligible for Mr. Obama’s programs are about evenly split between the opposing coalitions. The court set a hearing for April 17.

Beyond the legal papers, though, the case has highlighted how the divisive politics of immigration have created vastly varying realities for unauthorized immigrants from one state to another.

In Washington, with its many service industries and fruit orchards, “there has long been a recognition of how important the immigrant community is to our economy,” said Jorge L. BarĂ³n, executive director of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project in Seattle. “Everybody knows that undocumented individuals are crucial to agriculture in our state.”

The driver’s license policy, in effect since the early 1990s, has had durable support among voters because licensed drivers know safety rules and have insurance, regardless of their immigration status. Since 2003, Washington has also allowed undocumented students who came to the United States as children, known as Dreamers, to attend college at state resident tuition rates.

Iowa, where Gov. Terry E. Branstad is a Republican but Attorney General Tom Miller is a Democrat, is also siding with the president and asking for the programs to start.

An influx of illegal immigrants from Mexico and Central America to fields and meatpacking plants in Iowa, which brought political turmoil, peaked during the last decade and has subsided, said Mark Grey, a University of Northern Iowa professor who runs a job-training center for immigrants.

Many of those Latino immigrants have fully assimilated children who are American citizens. And most recent newcomers to Iowa have been legal immigrants and refugees from many countries around the globe.

“We don’t have the rancor we used to have,” Professor Grey said.

California is home to the largest population — about 1.2 million people — eligible to benefit from the president’s actions. And it has been the most active state in passing laws to make life easier for undocumented immigrants, with 26 new laws in 2014 alone, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

California now allows those immigrants to drive, practice law and attend college at in-state rates. The state also passed a law limiting police cooperation with federal enforcement of immigration laws.

“We acknowledge in California what we have to acknowledge as a country,” said Kamala D. Harris, the attorney general and a Democrat, who joined the legal effort by Washington. “Let’s get everyone on board with the fact that they’re here and we’re not going to deport them. Let’s figure out how to transition them in and get them to the point of assimilating.”

California turned away from policies of the 1990s that treated unauthorized immigrants as lawbreakers who burdened the public dole.

“I know what crime looks like,” said Ms. Harris, a career prosecutor who is running for the Senate in 2016. “An undocumented immigrant is not a criminal. Any discussion that perpetuates that myth is irresponsible and leads to bad public policy.”

Mr. Obama’s measures would give work permits and deportation deferrals to undocumented parents of American citizens, and expand an existing program for Dreamers.

The states opposing the administration include some, like Alabama, Arizona and South Carolina, that have passed tough laws designed to drive illegal immigrants out of the state.

But the biggest shift on the immigration map has come in Texas, which has the second-largest population of unauthorized immigrants. In 2001, Texas was one of the first states to grant in-state tuition rates for Dreamers. Now it is leading the charge against Mr. Obama.

The central point of the lawsuit is to stop what Texas and its allies regard as a lawless overreach by the president. But in Texas it also reflects a political change.

Following redistricting since 2010, Texas last fall elected its most conservative Legislature ever, said Jeronimo Cortina, a professor of political science at the University of Houston. And many Texans were alarmed by the surge of illegal migrants in the Rio Grande Valley last year, fearing the federal authorities were losing control of the border.

In the suit, Texas said the president was “rewarding unlawful behavior” by allowing immigrants without papers to stay and giving them benefits like work permits. The initiatives were “certain to trigger a new wave of illegal immigration” with “dire consequences” for the state, increasing its costs for services for migrants and additional police officers and National Guard troops at the border.

This year, lawmakers in Austin have considered bills to send 500 state troopers to reinforce the border, to require local police departments to cooperate with federal immigration agents, and to repeal the 2001 tuition law.

Ms. Trujillo, who came to the United States in 2008 with her parents, fleeing violence in Colombia, has felt the change. With no working papers, she is inching through community college, scraping by with a part-time job at the front desk in a television repair shop.

With a work permit, though, she would get her driver’s license, look for a higher-paying job and work toward a master’s degree in social work, she said.

“I have so many things I want to do with my life,” she said. “But in Texas right now, I’m just more and more limited.”

In Washington, Ms. Rosas said she came to the United States from Mexico in 2000 when she was 16. Without working papers, she settles for cleaning offices at night. She will apply for Mr. Obama’s programs if they go forward.

But, she said, “I am proud to live in this state.”

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

Jeb Bush and Scott Walker Point G.O.P. to Contrary Paths

New York Times
By Jonathan Martin
March 29, 2015

As Jeb Bush mingled with Hispanic workers on a company tour a few weeks ago on his first trip here as an all-but-declared candidate for president, he was able to guess the region in Colombia where one woman was born just from hearing her accent.

That night, he told Republicans that their party had to “go out and reach out to people of every walk of life, not with a divisive message but one that is unifying.”

A day later, Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, making his own maiden New Hampshire swing, proudly donned a hat given to him by a gun-rights group and, highlighting his frugality, bragged about the sweater he had bought at Kohl’s for a dollar.

He recounted the central lesson he had taken from his rancorous clashes with liberal protesters and public-employee union members in his state: “Instead of intimidating us, it reminded us exactly who elected us and the job they elected us to do,” he said.

The first votes of the primary season will not be cast until the Iowa caucuses next February, but Mr. Bush, the former Florida governor, and Mr. Walker are fast becoming the most prominent exponents of two dueling visions of how the Republican Party can retake the White House in 2016 — by extending its reach, or by energizing more of the sorts of people who have sided with Republicans in the past.

The two men share many policy positions, but offer strikingly divergent messages and are pursuing very different electoral strategies. And their political approaches seem inextricably linked to their biographies.

Mr. Bush, a privileged scion who married a Mexican woman and boasts of being bicultural, reflects his polyglot adopted hometown, Miami, and state. He is telling Republicans, in effect, that they must accept a changing country: that the path to the presidency will be found through appealing to voters who may not look like them, and with a standard-bearer whose state and immediate family resemble tomorrow’s America.

Mr. Walker, a small-town minister’s son who met his wife, a Milwaukee native, at a Wisconsin barbecue joint, is a product of one of the most politically and racially polarized regions of the country, metropolitan Milwaukee. He has succeeded by confronting his adversaries and by generating soaring levels of support from his fellow Republicans in a state they have failed to carry in a presidential race for more than three decades. The party’s way forward, by Mr. Walker’s lights, lies in demonstrating toughness in the face of intense opposition from the left and mobilizing those who are already inclined to support conservatism.

“I think Jeb is counting on the party’s hunger to win, and Walker is counting on their urge to fight,” said Representative Tom Cole, an Oklahoma Republican and longtime party strategist.

Neither may ultimately become the nominee in what is shaping up as an unusually crowded and volatile campaign. But their opposing political identities offer a distillation of a wider debate roiling Republicans, the conclusion of which could shape the party for years to come.

“One of them wants to re-energize the party from within, and the other one wants to re-energize the party from without,” said Alex Castellanos, a veteran Republican consultant.

Applied to the electoral map, the inside route would most likely mean that Mr. Walker would try to capture a band of Midwestern and Great Lakes states filled with the sort of working-class white voters he reflects. He frequently notes that Republicans have not carried Wisconsin since 1984, a not-so-subtle suggestion that he could. He also would surely eye four other Rust Belt states President Obama carried both times: Iowa, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Mr. Bush would almost certainly set his sights on the increasingly diverse states Mr. Obama carried at least once in his two elections: Colorado, Florida, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina and Virginia. The voting-age population in each of those states is at least 25 percent nonwhite, and in some of them substantially higher.

Mr. Bush’s calculus is based in part on the 2012 election: Mitt Romney received 17 percent of the nonwhite vote, meaning that if the next Republican nominee does no better, he or she will have to receive 65 percent of the white vote to win, said Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster.

Mr. Bush’s message is to challenge and persuade his own party. He sticks to his support for an immigration overhaul and backs the Common Core education standards, unpopular stances with many conservatives. Facing criticism and trying to convert skeptics rather than bending to the will of the party base, Mr. Bush has said, are a sign of “backbone.”

Mr. Walker, by contrast, aims to reinforce what Republicans believe and reassure them that they are right. He has changed his views on both immigration and the Common Core, realigning himself with the party base and suggesting that this shows he is responsive to voters.

Their language differs noticeably, too, on racially charged issues.

Mr. Bush proudly tells of having ended racial preferences at Florida’s universities, but in the next breath adds, as he said in February, that the state wound up with “more African-American and Hispanic kids attending our university system” than before.

Mr. Walker wins applause by noting his efforts to require drug tests of people receiving public assistance, and uses language reminiscent of old, loaded appeals about indolent welfare recipients. Answering a question in Iowa about food stamps, he turned to a metaphor about his sons’ high school football days.

“In all the years I watched them play football,” he said, “there never once was a guy that got called in the game who was sitting on the bench with his helmet off, with his feet up.”

Whether trying to restrain the influence of public-sector unions or to hold those on welfare accountable, Mr. Walker is practicing the politics of scarcity, said Matt K. Lewis, a conservative writer.

“This approach lends itself to tribalism,” said Mr. Lewis, who is working on a book about how conservatives can adapt to the future. “It’s ‘If those other people take what we have, we can’t have it.’ ”

But if some on the right view Mr. Walker’s approach as dispiritingly dark, many conservatives see Mr. Bush’s inclusive tone and willingness to offer illegal immigrants a pathway to legal status as more Pollyanna than panacea — especially given polls showing Hispanics are more liberal on other issues.

“His argument is essentially that these groups that have moved away from Republicans are going to care more about immigration than health care,” said David Frum, an author and speechwriter in President George W. Bush’s White House. “His electability stands or falls on the truth of that claim.”

Mr. Bush and Mr. Walker differ even on political polarization itself — in ways that make it sometimes sound as though they are speaking past the voters to each other.

Mr. Walker explains how his standoff with protesters was a way of reminding him who had voted for him and what he was elected to do; he named his book on the affair “Unintimidated.” Mr. Bush suggests that his own ambition is to tame political polarization to address the country’s thorniest issues.

“I’m tired of the partisan divide where nothing happens because we’re just in this massive food fight,” Mr. Bush said this month in South Carolina. He added, “People that want to consider running for office have to stop preying on people’s fears and stop dividing us and start forging consensus so that we can move forward.”

Kevin Madden, a Republican strategist, said Mr. Bush “is running a general election right from the beginning because he doesn’t want to get to a place where the nomination is not worth having.”

“And Walker wants to appeal to the base voter who is looking for an alternative to the establishment candidate,” Mr. Madden said.

The contrast plays out in ways small and large. Mr. Bush, in the early going, has had to fire an aide to his political action committee who made insensitive comments about women and blacks; an aide to Mr. Walker was forced to quit after she criticized the conservative-dominated Iowa caucuses.

More significant, their approaches to the primary campaign could also be instructive about how each would attempt to win a general election, and the risks they choose to take.

“One is a populist strategy that doubles down on turning out disaffected white men,” Mr. Lewis said. (An adviser to Mr. Walker did not directly dispute this assessment, suggesting that Mr. Walker would perform well with middle-class voters, whose support for Democratic candidates has dwindled in the last few presidential campaigns and who have strongly supported Mr. Walker in his gubernatorial races.)

“The other is a gamble that conservatism can win in the free market of ideas amongst a diverse and changing 21st-century America,” Mr. Lewis said of Mr. Bush’s approach.

Of course, Republicans may not be strictly bound to an either-or proposition.

Winning back the Great Lakes states could prove as decisive as reclaiming the increasingly diverse states that Mr. Bush is focused on, said Mr. Ayres, the pollster. He said that was an argument for a hybrid candidate who could do both — like Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, whom Mr. Ayres expects to work for if he runs for president.

Republicans may ultimately choose such a third way. But if it comes down to Mr. Bush and Mr. Walker, the choice will prove revealing.

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

Walker Denies Remarks Indicating Change in Immigration Stance

New York Times
By Jason Horowitz and Patrick Healy
March 26, 2015

Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, a possible candidate for president in 2016, told a private gathering of New Hampshire Republicans this month that he supported a pathway to legal status — but not citizenship — for undocumented immigrants in the United States, according to the chairwoman of the state’s Republican Party.

The chairwoman, Jennifer Horn, described Mr. Walker’s statements on Thursday after The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post reported that Mr. Walker had endorsed eventual citizenship for those immigrants, which many Republicans oppose.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Walker, Kirsten Kukowski, disputed those reports about Mr. Walker embracing a pathway to citizenship.

“Governor Walker has been very clear that he does not support amnesty and believes that border security must be established and the rule of law must be followed,” she said in a statement. “He does not support citizenship for illegal immigrants.” She did not respond to requests to provide any audio recording of Mr. Walker’s remarks at the Copper Door.

Mr. Walker tends to avoid phrases like “legal status” and “citizenship” in public, but has said emphatically that he opposes any amnesty for undocumented immigrants. Mr. Walker did once support a pathway to citizenship, but said he changed his mind after talking to governors of border states, among others. Any perceived reversal on the immigration issue would complicate Mr. Walker’s efforts to appeal to many conservative Republican primary voters and leave him open to criticism for changing positions.

Mr. Walker’s remarks came during a gathering with Republican activists after a dinner at the Copper Door restaurant in Bedford, N.H., where he ate with Ms. Horn and a few other guests.

After the dinner, a few Republican activists joined Mr. Walker for coffee and cake, and to ask him questions. One of the questions, according to Ms. Horn, was about Mr. Walker’s position on immigration.

Mr. Walker spoke for roughly three minutes about a process in which undocumented immigrants would be required to start the process anew and pay back taxes.

But Mr. Walker’s answer was apparently vague enough to prompt Ms. Horn to follow-up.

“To clarify, what you are saying is that you are advocating that the people who are already here, the 11-12 million people who are here illegally in our country, should have a path to legal status, not citizenship?” she asked.

“Yes,” Mr. Walker responded, according to Ms. Horn.

Another New Hampshire Republican who was there, Mark Vincent, chairman of the Hillsborough County Republican Committee, said he did not remember Mr. Walker ever using the word “citizenship” in his remarks.

“I remember him saying he supported a path to legal status,” said Mr. Vincent, who plans to remain neutral in the state’s 2016 Republican presidential primary.

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

Harry Reid Says He Won’t Seek Re-Election

New York Times
By Carl Hulse
March 27, 2015

Senator Harry Reid, the tough tactician who has led Senate Democrats since 2005, will not seek re-election next year, bringing an end to a three-decade congressional career that culminated with his push of President Obama’s ambitious agenda against fierce Republican resistance.

Mr. Reid, 75, who suffered serious eye and facial injuries in a Jan. 1 exercise accident at his Las Vegas home, said he had been contemplating retiring from the Senate for months. He said his decision was not attributable either to the accident or to his demotion to minority leader after Democrats lost the majority in November’s midterm elections.

“I understand this place,” Mr. Reid said. “I have quite a bit of power as minority leader.”

He has already confounded the new Republican majority this year by holding Democrats united against a proposal to gut the Obama administration’s immigration policies as well as a human-trafficking measure Democrats objected to over an anti-abortion provision.

“I want to be able to go out at the top of my game,” said Mr. Reid, who used a sports metaphor about athletes who try to hang on too long. “I don’t want to be a 42-year-old trying to become a designated hitter.”

Mr. Reid’s tenure has become increasingly combative in recent years and included a procedural change on nominations that infuriated Republicans. He also came under fire for blocking floor debate, and even some of his Democratic colleagues suggested that he was stifling the Senate. Just this week, he alienated House Democrats who thought he was sabotaging a compromise on Medicare.

His departure at the end of 2016 will create an opening both at the top of the Senate Democratic hierarchy and in a Senate contest that would have been a megaspending slugfest in the presidential battleground of Nevada. Conservatives such as Charles G. and David H. Koch, the billionaire brothers who were a favorite target of Reid criticism in 2014, would have spared no expense in trying to oust him.

Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, who helped Democrats capture the Senate in 2006 and has led their political messaging operation, is considered the favorite to succeed Mr. Reid as party leader. Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the Senate’s No. 2 Democrat, could also be a contender for the job, but it is unclear how strongly he would pursue it.

In Nevada, Catherine Cortez Masto, the state’s former attorney general, is considered a strong Democratic candidate with Mr. Reid out; the Republican field will be fluid and is likely to include Michael Roberson, a State Senate leader.

Mr. Reid had previously insisted he was running and said he was confident that he could have triumphed next year had he decided to seek a sixth term. The onetime amateur boxer noted he might not have even run in 2010 if Republicans had not made such a point of trying to unseat him.

He also said he was worried his race would consume campaign money that would be needed in other competitive states as Democrats try to regain control of the Senate.

“I think it is unfair for me to be soaking up all the money to be re-elected with what we are doing in Maryland, in Pennsylvania, in Missouri, in Florida,” he said. “These are big, expensive states.”

First elected to the House in 1982, the former trial lawyer and head of the Nevada gaming commission won his Senate seat in 1986 and joined the leadership about a decade later. Mr. Reid took over the top job in 2005 after Tom Daschle, then the leader, lost his re-election bid.

After a tough election night in 2004, some other top Democrats suggested they might want to consider a leadership bid, but Mr. Reid had the election sewn up by the next day. He is the longest-serving member of Congress from Nevada, and the second-longest-serving Democratic leader after Mike Mansfield of Montana.

Like his chief adversary, Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, Mr. Reid learned the workings of the Senate in the trenches as the vote-counting whip and takes pride in his floor expertise.

Unhappy with the slow pace of judicial and executive branch confirmations, Mr. Reid engineered a change in Senate procedure in 2013 that allowed Democrats to overcome filibusters against nominees with a simple majority. The change led to a flurry of new judges being named to important appeals courts, though Republicans accused him of changing the nature of the Senate and running roughshod over the minority.

After the election of Mr. Obama and Democratic gains in 2008, Mr. Reid did the deal-making and vote counting required to push through the new health care law with no Republican votes and the economic stimulus with just a handful.

“I am so happy that we were able to get the health care bill passed,” he said, acknowledging that there were times he wondered why he did not give up. “Like a fool, I kept coming back.”

After opposing a more forgiving immigration policy earlier in his career, Mr. Reid became a champion of granting legal status to immigrants living in the country illegally, an evolution he attributes to his relationship with his state’s growing Hispanic population. He was crucial to Senate passage of bipartisan, comprehensive immigration legislation in 2013 — a bill the House did not take up — and said the advocates for the immigrants would ultimately prevail.

“We have won that debate,” said Mr. Reid, who has also made pushing for expanded use of alternative energy a legislative priority.

His strict management of the Senate the past few years became an issue in the 2014 elections as Republicans accused him of stifling debate and denying even Democrats an opportunity to push their priorities on the Senate floor. He blamed Republicans for the legislative gridlock, citing their deep opposition to Mr. Obama and their determination to deny him any victories.

Mr. Reid said he believed the Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case that allowed a flood of money from superrich Americans into politics had been a disaster for Congress, even as he acknowledged that he had to adopt some of the same tactics himself to keep Democrats competitive. His push for reining in unlimited spending is likely to be a priority for him in his remaining months.

Mr. Reid said he had seen one important change for the better in the Senate: an influx of female senators.

“This place is so much better because of women,” he said. “Men and women are different, and they have changed the dynamic of the Senate.”

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How Immigration Reform Would Affect Small Business

The Week
By Laura Colarusso
March 26, 2015

Immigration reform has long been a divisive issue, as politicians, advocacy groups, and pundits fight over whether Congress should grant legal status to the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States. But there's at least one group that has for the most part reliably remained in favor of taking action: the business community.

Most — though not all — experts agree that comprehensive immigration reform, if it ever passes, and the president's executive action, if it's ever implemented, would have a beneficial effect on the economy. Either one could add billions to the gross domestic product over the next two decades while increasing the tax base and reducing the federal deficit. At the same time, bringing more legal workers into the system could help improve the Social Security Trust Fund's fiscal solvency.

"It's hard to see how either comprehensive immigration reform or the president's executive action can be anything other than positive," said David Kallick, a senior fellow with Fiscal Policy Institute (FPI), a nonpartisan and nonprofit research organization. "You'd be allowing people to find better jobs that match their talents and capacities better and be in compliance with the law."

As more unauthorized people come out of the shadows and find legitimate employment, we may even begin to see some of these previously undocumented immigrants open up mom and pop stores of their own. "Maybe they go from being street vendors to opening a restaurant," Kallick said. "It would help to take a lot of very marginal small businesses and turn them into stronger small businesses. It's a good thing for them and a good thing for the local economies."

Reform, whether through legislation or executive order, would also provide a boost in wages to undocumented immigrants. The FPI estimates that the workers eligible for legal status would see a 5 to 10 percent increase in their earnings. That bump, in turn, means greater buying power, which means consumers will have more money to spend at businesses big and small.

There are other benefits to small businesses, many of which struggle to pay the fines that come along with employing undocumented immigrants. And for those who have been following the law, immigration reform would level the playing field. They would no longer be competing with businesses that take advantage of vulnerable workers by paying them below minimum wage or don't spend the money to take care of dangerous working conditions because their employees have no legal recourse.

"The president's executive action is good for those businesses who play by the rules," said Daniel Costa, the director of immigration law and policy research at the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, D.C. "It will help the employers that are not using undocumented workers."

Though a comprehensive immigration reform bill passed by Congress and signed by the president would be a permanent fix for many of these problems, the business community — along with the millions of undocumented immigrants in this country — will have to wait. Instead, they are hoping that the president's executive action, which gives roughly five million people relief from deportation, will make it through a lawsuit brought by 26 states that are claiming Obama doesn't have the authority to make such sweeping changes to the immigration system.

If the executive order survives the legal challenge, Costa cautions there may be one area that businesses will have to navigate.

"There is a murky gray area in terms of compliance with existing law," he said. "Let's say a worker shows up and says, "Hey, I am now legally authorized, and I would like to update my paperwork.' Does that mean the employer has to fire someone who has been working illegally? There is a lack of clarity there."

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Latinos Say Deportation a Top Concern

Washington Times
By Stephen Dinan
March 25, 2015

More than a third of Hispanics in the U.S. say they personally know someone who’s been put through deportation proceedings here, underscoring the personal nature of the immigration debate for one of the fastest-growing voter demographics.

Most Latinos know someone who is in the country illegally, and 36 percent of Latinos say they know of someone who has faced deportation, according to a new survey of more than 1,000 Hispanics taken this year and designed to suss out their attitudes on health care, immigration and discrimination.

Nearly half of respondents said they worry about a friend or family member being deported, and President Obama’s recent immigration actions have done little to quell the fear. Just 2 percent say they don’t worry about being detained or deported anymore — and another 2 percent said they worry even more now, after Mr. Obama’s Nov. 20 announcement designed to rejigger deportation priorities and carve most illegal immigrants out of danger of being kicked out of the U.S.

The vast majority also said they believe the U.S. in general harbors anti-immigrant and anti-Hispanic attitudes, which organizers of the survey said suggests the barricade mentality many Latinos have developed as the immigration debate is increasingly linked to the Hispanic community.

“One of the most concerning narratives about the state of life in Latino America is the extent to which some are ‘living in the shadows,’” said Francisco Pedraza, assistant professor of political science at Texas A&M University, who said the survey suggested one in three Hispanics avoids some aspects of public life for fear of being questioned about his or her citizenship status.

That included 13 percent who said they avoid talking to the police because they don’t want to be hassled over their status, and 10 percent each who said they are reluctant to get a driver’s license or go to an airport. Another 9 percent said they avoid doctor’s visits, and 7 percent said they avoid meeting with school officials.

The survey of 1,005 Hispanic adults, conducted by polling firm Latino Decisions in English or Spanish depending on the preference of the respondent, was taken between Jan. 29 and March 12, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

Hispanics are more likely to have insurance now, the survey said, with just 17 percent saying they lack coverage now. Two years ago, a similar poll by Latino Decisions found 28 percent were without insurance.

Among U.S.-born Hispanics, the coverage rate was 87 percent, while only 78 percent of foreign-born Hispanics said they were covered. That could be due to the terms of Obamacare, since some of the foreign-born are likely to be illegal immigrants, who are prohibited from taking advantage of much of the Affordable Care Act.

The survey found Hispanics fairly disengaged with the political process, with just 27 percent saying they are following what’s going on “most of the time,” and another 30 percent saying they pay attention “some of the time.” The rest said they pay attention now and then or hardly at all.

The illegal immigration and deportation numbers suggest one reason why immigration may cut through Hispanics’ general disengagement. With a majority saying they know illegal immigrants, and more than a third reporting someone they know has been put through deportation, the politics of immigration are personal to many.

In half of the cases, the respondents said the immigrant who was deported had been the chief breadwinner in his or her family.

Mr. Obama last year took steps he said would prevent most families from being separated by deportation.

One part of his plan included a proactive amnesty, known as “deferred action,” which granted tentative legal status and work permits to as many as 4 million illegal immigrants. Another part of his plan ordered immigration agents to focus on serious criminals and repeat immigration law violators, leaving most rank-and-file illegal immigrants with little fear of being kicked out.

While hotly debated in Washington political circles, the policies haven’t made much of an impression on Hispanic voters, according to the poll. Just 4 percent said Mr. Obama’s policy changed how they feel about their legal status — and half of those even said they are now more worried about being deported than before.

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