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


Friday, May 29, 2015

Inside the Battle for Latino Voters

By Chris Moody
May 29, 2015

Victory for both parties in 2016 could hinge on mobilizing Latino voters -- and the battle for their support is already fierce.

The epicenter is here in the American southwest, where the Libre Initiative, a conservative group, is spending millions on outreach to Latino voters, an effort that has sparked a backlash from Democrats worried about Libre's potential.

In anticipation of the upcoming election cycle, Libre is undertaking one of the most ambitious and expensive Latino outreach programs by any conservative organization yet. It will have a $14 million operating budget in 2015, according to a source with knowledge of the group's fiances who requested anonymity to speak freely. Libre now has field staff in ten states, with plans to expand further in 2016. Most of Libre's funding comes from a network of conservative donors organized by billionaire businessmen Charles and David Koch.

Since Libre's inception four years ago, the group has built a presence in states with high Latino populations by providing classes and free social services.

In Nevada, Libre sponsored a program to help people receive driver's licenses. In Florida, they partnered with H&R Block for tax preparation. Later this year, Libre plans to launch an education initiative that will pay for GED courses. The effort aims to build goodwill within the Latino community, while allowing Libre to collect data that will be instrumental in coordinating political ad campaigns and voter targeting efforts next year.

Libre also supports granting immigrants living in the country illegally a pathway to citizenship, a position that, while controversial on the right, allows them a gateway to increasing Latino support. The group does not, however, approve of President Barack Obama's use of executive orders to implement immigration policy--a tactic currently tied up in federal courts--which separates them from Latino outreach groups on the left.

"The Libre Initiative exists primarily to advance the principles of economic freedom to the Latino community," Libre Executive Director Daniel Garza, a former aide to George W. Bush and the son of migrant workers from Mexico, told CNN. "It is about driving a narrative, a conversation within the Latino community. If we're not helping to drive that agenda, somebody else is, and it's usually the left."

Last week, Libre's non-profit armed hosted a conference for about 100 Hispanic business leaders from seven states in Albuquerque, New Mexico, as part of the group's multi-million dollar effort to promote conservative ideas within the Latino community and, they hope, convince them to vote for Republicans in 2016. Set inside the ballrooms of the Crowne Plaza hotel just off the intersection of one highway that streches coast-to-coast across the United States and another that slopes southward to the Mexico border, business leaders sat through presentations and panels on energy, over-regulation and trade. Panels included titles such as "Regulations Stranglehold on Economic Prosperity" led by Libre operatives and talks about how to increase energy production in the state. Politics made a brief appearances when New Mexico Republican Lt. Gov. John Sanchez spoke on the power of the Latino vote.

"No president will be elected ever again unless they have the right message when it comes to how do they attract Hispanic voters," Sanchez said.

Indeed, in key battleground states, securing the Latino vote has been incredibly important in recent election cycles. In 2012, Obama received 71 percent of the vote. But in the 2014 mid-term elections, when the electorate is often more conservative than during presidential years, the GOP made gains within the community in states like Colorado, Texas and Florida.

Libre operated relatively quietly until last year's mid-term election, when the group's advocacy arm—called the Libre Initiative—ran paid political ads in English and Spanish in close races around the country. Libre's campaign helped remove Pete Gallego in Texas, Joe Garcia in Florida and Ron Barber in Arizona--all Democrats.

"It's been kind of a wake-up call," said Angie Kelly, an immigration reform advocate who works with liberal groups on Latino engagement. "Their message is intentionally fuzzy, but yet it's delivered with flawlessly competent clarity. That's a pretty brilliant combination. Those who disagree with Libre and the Koch brothers are really going to need to muscle up."

Now, a massive coalition of liberal groups are planning to strike back. Representatives from several organizations on the left met in the Washington office of the Latino Victory Project in early May to discuss a plan for how to counter Libre's efforts. Attendees included represenatives from labor unions, American Bridge, Mi Familia Vota, Media Matters and People For The American Way, according to attendees.

Initial plans have been made to sound an alarm against Libre by highlighting their ties to the Koch donor network and relay a message that Libre supports policies liberals say are against Latino interests. They also plan to release a report about Koch industries that digs into the company's record on workplace safety and the environment, Latino Victory Project President Cristobal Alex told CNN.

"While I admire the rapid growth of this organization, I'm afraid it's for disingenuous purposes," Alex said. "It's important for us to begin having some very serious conversations with our allies to counter what Libre is doing. No one has really pushed back. So far they've had free reign."

Earlier this month, BuzzFeed News revealed that the Democratic National Committee had put together an internal presentation warning about Libre's strength that called on Democrats to increase voter engagement with Latinos.

"It has changed our calculus," Alex told CNN. "Those on the left are starting to see, because Latinos can change their mind about who to vote for, they're going to start to pay attention to that and really investing in the Latino community."

Groups on the left also point to the fact that the same donors who support Libre—which is vocally supportive of comprehensive immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship--also help bankroll Republican congressional and presidential campaigns that oppose it.

"Libre's Achilles heel is exposure," said John Loredo, the former Democratic Minority Leader in the Arizona state House. "They align themselves with people who are openly anti-Latino. Exposing them, however it may happen, that's a killer for Libre."

Efforts against Libre are already underway. Last week — on the same day of the business conference in Albuquerque — a liberal research organization called the Bridge Project released a 48-page research document that outlined Libre's priorities and some of their funding sources. The group released the paper online, along with a Spanish-language video attacking Libre.

Representatives from liberal groups The Latino Victory Project, Open Society Foundation and Mi Familia Vota plan to hold a roundtable discussion with reporters to outline their plans to counter Libre. Next Monday, People for the American Way will host its own press call to announce an offensive against the group.

"The irony here is that the Latino left had criticized the conservative movement for years that they were not doing outreach to the Latino community," Garza told CNN. "Now that the conservative movement is doing outreach and engaging in the Latino community on a national scale, they're criticizing us for that too. You can't have it both ways."

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

The Liberal Response To The Koch Brother-Funded Latino Group Is Coming

By Adrian Carrasquillo
May 28, 2015

The day after Hillary Clinton’s big May 5 immigration announcement in Nevada, a group of Democrats met in Washington to plot a way forward against a serious threat from conservatives in the fight to appeal to Latino voters in key states — the Koch-funded LIBRE Initiative.

The group included many, many top Democratic stakeholders, BuzzFeed News has learned. In attendance: representatives from labor unions SEIU and AFL-CIO, progressive research groups American Bridge and People For The American Way (PFAW), as well as Angela Kelley (a major D.C. player on immigration), Ben Monterroso of Mi Familia Vota, Frank Sharry of America’s Voice, Kristian Ramos of Media Matters, top strategists Jose Parra and Andres Ramirez, and Cristobal Alex, the president of Latino Victory Project (LVP), the Democratic fundraising group and in whose offices the meeting was held.

The meeting was the first of a few throughout May, which culminated in a presentation to Democracy Alliance-aligned liberal donors last week in New York City. The presentation, which BuzzFeed News obtained, details the challenge LIBRE poses to Democrats and the plan to fight back through a coalition of organizations to counter the conservative group.

The “coordinated LIBRE response” will focus on countering the group through: organizing and voter education, which includes on the ground work like that of Mi Familia Vota; strategic communications, which includes social media campaigns and could see the coalition bring in a group like Voto Latino; policy and research, the domain of Media Matters, American Bridge and PFAW; and a political slice, which includes earned media.

“Libre means free, but they’ve gotten a free ride so far and they’re not going to get it anymore,” said Alex of LIBRE’s work since 2011 and up to the recent midterm election. “We want to define and marginalize them.”

What has LIBRE done to earn this level of ire? Well, they’ve held food banks in Texas and helped immigrants learn how to drive in Nevada, all while espousing a message of free market and small government principles. If that was it, liberals would be less concerned. But LIBRE, which has received more than $10 million from the Koch brothers, also got involved in torpedoing two Democrats in 2014 — spending big in ad campaigns against Pete Gallego in Texas and Joe Garcia in Florida, which made it personal for LVP, which supported both candidates.

“We’re about increasing Latino political power by getting them elected and they have a bad habit of attacking our candidates,” Alex said, calling LIBRE a “clear and present danger.”

In the last month concerns and dire warnings about the group have only intensified. On May 4, Albert Morales with the DNC made a presentation to Democrats about LIBRE. Two weeks later American Bridge released a detailed report saying the group is “harmful” to the Hispanic community and PFAW, which released a similar report earlier this year, is holding a briefing June 1 about them.

In an invitation to the event forwarded to BuzzFeed News, LIBRE was described as reaching “out to Latino communities under the guise of economic empowerment to push a radical agenda designed to deceive a critical section of the electorate.”

Daniel Garza, executive director of LIBRE and a former official in the George W. Bush administration, thoroughly enjoyed the news that a coalition of liberal organizations is coming together to take on the group, which will soon field 70 employees across nine states.

He said the reason LIBRE was formed was to counter the existing narrative of Latino left organizations. He argued the groups have been advancing a “progressive agenda like minimum wage, more and more public assistance and pro-union activity” for a long time.
He said he welcomes the debate on the merits of policy and doesn’t look to stifle or censor them, but said there is one thing he will not accept.

“I would condemn any efforts by them to bully, demagogue, or demonize our activities — that’s where I draw the line and I won’t have any of that,” he said. “That would be a disservice to the community.”

There actually has been talk by people who attended the meetings over how to deal with this very issue. Some believe the coalition should steer clear of directly taking on LIBRE and should just work to spread its own message, while others say the group has very clearly come after and helped defeat Democrats and should be dealt with head on.

“They’re not behaving like some sort of conservative think tank, it would be different, they’re behaving like a political operation with electoral goals in mind,” said Parra, a former senior advisor to Harry Reid. He pointed to LIBRE’s actions in Nevada in 2014 and argued the group was telling Latinos that both parties were the same “clearly to depress the vote in Nevada.”

Ramirez, a 20-year strategist in the state, has watched LIBRE’s rise and was one of multiple sources who said the group must be countered by an effort led by and including Latinos, who understand the community.
He argued the group is intentionally spreading false information, and the more effective strategy — one employed by groups like Media Matters and the research organizations — is to discredit them where they are wrong.
“Latinos are used to seeing predatory tactics in our community, people who take advantage and mislead, and when those efforts are exposed Latinos respond pretty rapidly,” he said.

Bradley Beychok, the president of Media Matters, told BuzzFeed News that the reason MMFA will be part of this effort is LIBRE’s “misinformation” that undermines “pro-Hispanic” policies like the health care law, raising the minimum wage, and Obama’s immigration actions. “We are fighting back by exposing their agenda within the media and ensuring our allies have the tools and information necessary to hold this organization accountable.”

This messaging and research will be complemented by field work to counter LIBRE, an area of experience for Arizona political consultant John Loredo, which is why he was brought into the fold on these meetings as well.

Loredo said that Arizona’s tough immigration law SB1070 “was like fertilizer for the community,” growing a generation of activists and DREAMers. Those activists, he said, are now successfully countering LIBRE at community events they attend as well.

“Where they are, we’re there too,” he said. “We tell people what their positions are on DACA, DAPA, and health care.”

But there will be difficulties, too.

The presentation to donors in New York City featured a slide titled “our challenges” which identified “a relatively scattered and siloed infrastructure and focus, no permanent touch, limited expertise on the issues other than immigration, an incomplete narrative, and a short bench of culturally competent messengers.”

The groups believe they’ll succeed in countering LIBRE because they understand what is at stake and because Latinos are their constituents, but acknowledged that the ongoing conversations they’re having with donors are what will help the effort take off.

“I believe the conversations will be fruitful,” said Loredo, who was at the event with donors, along with Alex.

Earlier this spring, the Democracy Alliance came under fire from Latino organizations after the alliance announced funding recommendations for 35 groups, a set that did not include Hispanic groups. Ramirez said it’s time for that to change.

“Historically donors that fund liberal and progressive organizations have not allocated or dedicated funding for these types of efforts, that hasn’t happened,” he said. “That’s something for them to do, to determine if engaging the Latino community is important.”

Asked if he’s worried liberals will make it rain on LIBRE, and whether he should go back to his funders to ask for more money, Garza summoned a long, deep laugh, and changed the subject.

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

Where They Stand: George Pataki on Issues of 2016 Campaign

By George M. Walsh
May 28, 2015

Former New York Gov. George Pataki has entered the contest for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016. Here's a look at where the three-term governor stands on various issues that will be debated in the GOP primaries:


Pataki has criticized President Barack Obama's decision to use an executive order to offer protections against deportation to millions of immigrants living in the country illegally and said he backs efforts to reverse it. He supports making it easier for contract workers to remain in the U.S. for longer periods and a process for immigrants already in the country illegally to get legal status through a system of fines and community service. "I believe it's totally unrealistic if we think we're going to take 11 million people and send them back where they came from," he said at an Iowa forum. "We do have to find a way for the vast majority of them to legalize their status here."


Pataki doesn't have a foreign policy background and has been out of government for more than eight years. But he has invoked the 9/11 attacks to call for a limited commitment of U.S. ground forces to combat the Islamic State group, saying the U.S. is more vulnerable to a domestic attack than at any time since then. He has said any deployment should be confined to destroying the threat, then pulling out. He says a U.S. force should have been left in Iraq when the U.S. ended its combat operations there. Pataki opposes the decision to normalize relations with Cuba.


Less government spending and limiting government power have been consistent themes in his appearances and on the website of his super PAC, We the People, Not Washington. He has been campaigning against President Barack Obama's health care law for several years, arguing it is government overreach into what should be a private sector market. Pataki also favors overhauling the federal tax system by eliminating most deductions and reducing tax rates. "My advice would be to start all over," Pataki said in Iowa. "It would put lobbyists out of business and believe me, I think that would be a very good thing for America."


On social issues, Pataki falls to the left of many in the GOP field. He supports abortion rights and pushed through legislation as governor supporting civil rights and prohibiting discrimination against gays and lesbians. That included ensuring benefits for same-sex couples. Pataki said the question whether to permit gay marriage should be left to the states. New York legalized same-sex marriage in 2011. He signed tougher gun laws in 2000 after a mass shooting, but said that is also an issue for each state to settle. He considers Common Core standards a federal takeover of education.


As governor, Pataki built a strong record on the environment. He promoted programs that conserved farmland and purchased large tracts of former timberlands to be set aside for recreation. He ordered New York power plants to cut emissions that cause acid rain and smog and backed the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which capped carbon emissions in a 10-state region. Pataki says now that he believes private and market-based initiatives are the best way to attack climate change and he is against new federal limits. "I think it's wrong to ignore environmental and conservation issues, I think it's an important part of the federal government's role," Pataki said. "But I think it's even worse if the federal government uses that as an excuse to raise revenue, shut down businesses, cut off innovation and pick winners and losers."

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

How U.S. Court Ruling on Immigration Reforms Affects H1-B Holders

Wall Street Journal
By Dhanya Ann Thoppil
May 29, 2015

Does this week’s federal court ruling upholding a stay on some of President Barrack Obama’s immigration reform plans affect changes for those on high-skilled worker visas in the United States?
The short answer is no.
The court’s decision stops the Obama administration from proceeding with its plan to allow more than four million people residing in the country illegally to apply for deferred deportation and work authorizations, among other benefits. The administration says it will continue to pursue a separate legal appeal to try to move forward with the plans.
Tuesday’s ruling though will not affect initiatives for skilled workers, because the lawsuit only pertained to the program that shielded millions from deportation, said Scott J. FitzGerald, a partner at U.S.-based international law firm Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy LLP.
The president in November bypassed Congress to unveil the immigration reforms.
The changes included allowing the spouses of certain H1-B visa holders to work in the U.S., reducing the time taken to issue green cards and issuing guidelines on how to successfully apply for an L-1 visa used by employers for intra-company employee transfers.
The president’s basket of executive actions was welcomed by India’s outsourcing technology industry, which earns billions of dollars sending Indian engineers and programmers to the U.S. and has been demanding America raise the ceiling on the number of skilled-worker visas it issues every year.
Some of the measures announced under the reforms have already been rolled out. A rule that allows people with H-4, dependent-spouse visas with partners seeking employment-based, permanent residence status, to work in the U.S., came into effect earlier this week.
In April, a group of technology workers under the banner Save Jobs, USA, filed a preliminary injunction in a federal court in Columbia seeking to block the new rule that allows H-4 spouses to work in the U.S. The lawsuit alleged that the U.S. department of labor has no statutory authority to allow foreigners to work on H-4 visas and has circumvented the rules.
The court denied the motion earlier this week.

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

Court sets July hearing on Obama's immigration actions

The Hill
By Jordan Fabian
May 28, 2015

A federal appeals court said Wednesday it has set a date to hear an expedited appeal of a lower court order that put President Obama’s deportation relief programs on hold.

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments on July 10 in New Orleans in the Obama administration’s attempt to lift a preliminary injunction from U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen of Texas, which blocked several executive actions from taking effect.

It's not clear if the same judges who denied the administration's stay request will hear the broader appeal.

The court's clerk said the judges will be announced one week before the hearing.

The hearing will present a major test for the administration, which is seeking to end the legal limbo surrounding its immigration programs.

A three-judge panel from the 5th Circuit handed Obama a defeat this week, when it denied an emergency request from the administration to lift the hold on the president’s executive actions.

The Department of Justice announced it would not bring that request to the Supreme Court, and instead would focus on its appeal of Hanen’s injunction, which will be considered at the July hearing.

The Texas judge’s injunction stemmed from a lawsuit brought by 26 states against Obama's programs, arguing he overstepped his constitutional authority. The appeal to be heard in July centers on the merits of the case.

The Obama administration argues the president acted within the law and that the states do not have standing to bring the suit, because the federal government has sole power to enforce immigration law.

Judges Jennifer Elrod and Jerry Smith ruled the injunction should remain in effect because the states had made a compelling case that the programs would cause them to suffer harm and that the federal government is unlikely to succeed on appeal.

But the administration believes focusing on the merits of the case gives the government its greatest chance of success.

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

High Court Could Have Final Say on Immigration Order

Wall Street Journal
By Jacob Gershman
May 28, 2015

In the wake of the latest court ruling against President Barack Obama‘s immigration order, the president’s top domestic policy adviser said Thursday that she suspects the Supreme Court would have the final say on the fate of the administration’s plan to defer deportations for millions of undocumented immigrants.

In an interview with MSNBC, White House domestic policy director Cecilia Muñoz was asked about the legal uncertainty surrounding Mr. Obama’s immigration action. Said Ms. Muñoz:

We think that the case that we’re arguing in July may ultimately get to the Supreme Court. The challenge is that if we were to appeal this stay, the decision that happened this week, one way or the other, whether the government won or lost, we would still have this other argument to make and people would not have the certainty they need in order to benefit from this program. So this is about making sure that we are fighting vigorously, winning the case on the merits, so that when the time comes that we’re implementing this program, people can be sure that it’s not going to get further entangled in litigation.

The Obama administration, as WSJ’s Nathan Koppel reports, has already decided it won’t contest Tuesday’s ruling by a Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel declining to stay an earlier injunction that left the president’s executive action in limbo with just over a year and a half before he leaves office.

A spokesman for the Justice Department said Wednesday that the agency will focus on a separate appeal of the February injunction that is scheduled to be heard by the Fifth Circuit in July.

The president’s plan, announced last year, would allow more than four million people in the country illegally to apply for deferred deportation and work authorizations, among other benefits.

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

Border patrol union says government can do better job on southern frontier

Washington Post
By Jerry Markon
May 29, 2015

Even as evidence mounts that illegal immigration flows have fallen to their lowest level in years, the union that represents border patrol officers is saying the government could be doing much better at stopping people who still try to cross the U.S. southwest border.

In a series of recent interviews, union officials described a difficult, often perilous job in which they are struggling at times to keep up with migrants seeking to outwit the government’s heightened security measures. They said morale among agents has plunged, partly because of the executive actions shielding millions of illegal immigrants from deportation that President Obama announced last year.

“We know there is a lot of traffic still getting through the border,” said Shawn Moran, vice president of the National Border Patrol Council, which represents more than 16,000 agents. Moran, a 17-year agent based in San Diego, and other union officials criticized U.S. Customs and Border Protection — which includes the border patrol — as inefficient and top-heavy with supervisors.

R. Gil Kerlikowske, commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, praised the dedication of border patrol agents and said “in many ways, I get their issues and frustrations.” But after the Department of Homeland Security’s more than decade-long crackdown on southwest border security, he said, the agents have plenty of staff and technology to do their jobs.

“If some of these folks are so unhappy, they really need to reassess what they do and where they are,” Kerlikowske said. Customs and border protection is part of DHS.

The debate comes as a number of indicators show that immigration flows are falling, especially from Mexico. Researchers say far fewer Mexicans are planning to cross the border than in years past, and the overall U.S. illegal immigrant population — which more than tripled, to 12.2 million, between 1990 and 2007 — has dropped by about 1 million, according to demographers at the Pew Research Center.

[Fewer immigrants are entering the U.S. illegally, and that’s changed the border security debate]

Homeland security officials point to measures they have taken since the George W. Bush administration, including more than doubling the border patrol’s size and spending billions on new technology, as driving the trends. “Put simply, it’s now much harder to cross our border and evade capture than it used to be — and people know that,” said DHS secretary Jeh Johnson said in an October speech. He has repeatedly spoken publicly about the importance of border security.

Some experts agree, while others instead point to changes in Latin America, such as the improving Mexican economy. Border security is critical to the debate over immigration reform in Washington, with congressional Republicans saying the southwest frontier must be more secure before they will consider legalizing illegal immigrants already in the United States.

Among the key indicators cited by DHS is the rapid decline in apprehensions at the border. Since 2000, when more than 1.6 million border crossers were stopped, those numbers have plunged to around 400,000 per year, and they are down 28 percent in the first part of fiscal 2015 compared with last year.

But union officials say those figures don’t mean much because they don’t chart people who successfully make it into the United States.”This notion that DHS is saying the border is more secure than ever — they don’t have any evidence of that,” said Brandon Judd, the union’s president and a 17-year agent based in Maine.“It’s just smoke and mirrors.”

Chris Cabrera, a 13-year agent based in Texas and a union official, said Obama’s executive actions have sent mixed messages to the agents in the field. Those actions have faced resistance in the courts, including the decision Tuesday by a federal appeals court to keep one of the president’s signature immigration efforts from moving ahead.

“Border crossings are usually tied with perceived amnesty,” Cabrera said. “If people believe they will get some type of relief or a free ride, the floodgates open.”

Kerlikowske suggested that his agents focus on law enforcement, rather than politics. “You don’t get to control certain things’’ he said. “I’m not the judge, jury and executioner and commissioner, and certainly at their level in the border patrol, they’re not either.”

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

Nebraska lifts ban on driver’s licenses for young illegal immigrants

The Hill
By Mark Hensch
May 28, 2015

The Nebraska Legislature voted on Thursday to end its ban on issuing driver’s licenses to the children of illegal immigrants.

Lawmakers in the unicameral state legislature voted 34-10 to approve the motion, according to The Lincoln Journal Star.

Thursday’s vote ended Nebraska’s stance as the only state forbidding driver’s licenses for young illegal immigrants, whom immigration advocates call "dreamers." It also marked a stunning defeat for Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R), a fierce critic of the measure.

Ricketts vetoed the legislation on Wednesday, before it was overridden a day later. Senators had four votes over the 30 required to overturn the veto.

Omaha Sen. Jeremy Nordquist (D) initially proposed the measure and spearheaded the effort to pass it.

He hailed its passage on Thursday as a contributor to “the success of these kids, the economy and the community.”

Thursday’s motion affects young adults covered by President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which delays deportations for young people who were brought to the country illegally by their parents, Nordquist said.

He estimated the law would impact 2,700 “dreamers” in the Cornhusker State.

Ricketts’s failed veto is isn't the first time the freshman governor has struggled with his state’s legislature.

Cornhusker lawmakers also banned Nebraska’s death penalty in a vote on Wednesday. They overcame Ricketts’s veto in a 30-19 vote.

Wednesday’s moratorium on the death punishment made Nebraska the first red state to eliminate the practice since 1973.

Nebraska joined 18 other states and Washington, D.C., in halting executions of criminals.

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

Dems target House Republicans over immigration vote

The Hill
By Scott Wong
May 28, 2015

House Democrats’ campaign arm hit vulnerable Republicans who voted to block the Pentagon from considering allowing people who were brought to the country illegally as children to enlist in the military.

Robocalls, starting Thursday, will target Spanish-speaking households in five congressional districts that have large Latino populations, according to a news release first shared with The Hill.

Those districts are represented by GOP freshmen Reps. Barbara Comstock of Virginia, Will Hurd of Texas, Cresent Hardy of Nevada and Steve Knight of California, as well as fellow Republican Rep. Joe Heck of Nevada, who was elected in 2010.

Earlier this month, House Republicans voted to scrap a provision in a major defense policy bill that urged the Pentagon to review allowing so-called “DREAMers” — most of them immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children — to join the military.

The vote to kill the provision was 221-202. But 20 Republicans sided with all Democrats to keep the pro-immigrant measure in the National Defense Authorization Act.

“It is clear that today’s Republican Party is controlled by immigration hardliners who have no appreciation for the contributions DREAMers make to our nation and want to make to our armed forces,” said Meredith Kelly, a spokeswoman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

“Anti-immigration extremists are calling the shots and House Republicans are all too happy to comply,” she added. “This week, we are calling voters in key districts to make sure they know that their Member of Congress lacks the courage to do the right thing.”

Here is an English translation of one of the Spanish-language robocalls:

    This is XX calling from the DCCC. Recently, Republicans in Congress and Joe Heck voted to deny children brought to the U.S. through no fault of their own or “DREAMers” a chance to serve in our nation’s military.

    Honorable young men and women that want to volunteer to risk their lives for our country’s safety and security deserve the chance to serve.

    Instead, Republicans in Congress continue to unfairly discriminate against DREAMers.

    Call Congressman Heck at 702-387-4941 and tell him that DREAMers who want to serve deserve our thanks, not more discrimination.

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

Jersey City pols endorse measure allowing driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants

Jersey Journal (New Jersey)
By Patrick McGovern
May 28, 2015

The Jersey City City Council last night voted overwhelmingly in support of a resolution urging the state legislators to enact a bill allowing the Motor Vehicle Commission to issue driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants.

The council voted 8-0 in favor of the resolution, which was introduced by City Council President Rolando Lavarro.

"This opens the doors for people to come out of the shadows," said Lavarro before casting his vote.

The resolution expresses support for bills S2925 and A4425, introduced respectively by state Sen. Joseph Vitale and Assemblywoman Annette Quijano, to extend access to driver's licenses to all New Jersey residents, including immigrants regardless of immigration status.

Under the bill, the state would be required to issue "driving privilege" cards to residents who show they live in New Jersey, even if they can't prove they are in the country legally.

A large group of supporters attended the City Council meeting to express their support of the resolution.

"Jersey City has the largest immigrant population in the state," said Johanna Calle, program coordinator at New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice. "A lot of people are living in the shadows. Once they get a license, they have less fear of being separated from their family."

"Jersey City is a city of immigrants," said Michael McLean, a teacher at Don Bosco Prep in Ramsey, who was at City Hall in support of undocumented immigrants. "We should be a leader of mid-size cities that support vulnerable populations – immigrants and the homeless.

"This would allow undocumented people to contribute to our community and economy more freely," he added.

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

Where the GOP's tough talk on immigration hits a wall

The Week (Opinion)
By Paul Waldman
May 29, 2015

If there's one thing the Republicans running for president can agree on when it comes to immigration, it's that we need to "secure the border." After all, we just let people stream across our undefended frontiers, driving the population of undocumented immigrants ever higher! As it happens, that's completely at odds with reality — but you wouldn't know it from listening to the candidates.

Here's the truth.

First, spending on border security has exploded in the last decade and a half. In 2000, we spent just over a billion dollars on the Border Patrol; by last year the figure had more than tripled. In 2000 there were fewer than 10,000 Border Patrol agents; today there are more than twice as many. We spend billions more on other aspects of border security, and though it's true that in theory we could erect a fence across every inch of the border with Mexico, it's much harder to walk across it today than it used to be.

Second, if you're worried about the number of undocumented immigrants in the United States, you should take heart that it's dropping. As The Washington Post reported on Wednesday:

[E]vidence is emerging that illegal immigration flows have fallen to their lowest level in at least two decades. The nation’s population of illegal immigrants, which more than tripled, to 12.2 million, between 1990 and 2007, has dropped by about one million, according to demographers at the Pew Research Center. [The Washington Post]

That's still a lot of people, of course. But you probably won't hear much about those facts from Republicans who are trying to appeal to their party's base with tough talk about border security. And this week Rick Santorum upped the ante by coming out in his announcement speech not only for a crackdown on undocumented immigration, but placing limits on legal immigration as well.

At his speech announcing his presidential bid, Santorum said, "Over the last 20 years, we have brought into this country, legally and illegally, 35 million mostly unskilled workers. And the result, over that same period of time, workers' wages and family incomes have flatlined." Though the stagnation of wages and wealth is real, this is the first time I've heard someone put all the blame for it on immigration.

What Santorum may not realize is that if you cut back on the number of legal immigrants who are allowed into the U.S., it would only increase illegal immigration, as people who would otherwise want to immigrate legally decide that sneaking over the border is their only alternative. As a congressional staffer who works on immigration told me, "People go around our system because they cannot go through it." This relationship between the legal system and the number of undocumented immigrants is rarely mentioned in these discussions.

I'm not sure whether any candidates will follow Santorum to attack legal immigration, but it's certainly possible, because a lot of the strong feelings on the issue are about culture, not economics in particular or policy in general.

Even though the current wave of immigration from Mexico and other points south is well past its peak (net migration from Mexico fell to zero in 2012, meaning as many people moved from the U.S. to Mexico as the other way around), it remains a potent issue in Republican primaries because of the unease many Americans feel about having immigrants who look and sound different in their midst. That's a story as old as the nation itself, and whether they came here legally is not really the point when you're trying to win the vote of a retiree in Dubuque who doesn't like the fact that he hears Spanish being spoken by his fellow customers when he's in line at the supermarket.

So Santorum is certainly tapping into real resentments and fears when he lumps both kinds of immigration together. But all the Republican candidates ought to say a lot more about what they plan to do on the issue, particularly because they'd have a Congress ready to pass laws for a president of their party.

What does a "secure" border entail for them? How do they explain the drop in the number of undocumented immigrants? If they can secure the border to their satisfaction, what exactly do they want to do with the 11 million undocumented who are here, many of whom have been here for years or even decades? Do they have a plan to fix the technical problems that have plagued the E-Verify system, which allows employers to check the legal status of workers? What kinds of reforms do they envision for the legal immigration system? Would they support allowing more legal immigrants in every year?

Those are the kinds of questions they ought to be asked.

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

Border reality should change GOP talking points

MSNBC (Opinion)
By Steve Benen
May 28, 2015

Among Republicans, certain basic truths are so widely understood, they’re not even questioned. They know Obama increased the deficit. They know “Obamacare” is government-run healthcare. And they know the Obama administration has been woefully indifferent to securing the border.

Of course, all of these truths are plainly wrong – in fact, they’re the opposite of reality – including that last one. The Washington Post has a great piece this morning on the changing nature of the debate about border security.

    As the Department of Homeland Security continues to pour money into border security, evidence is emerging that illegal immigration flows have fallen to their lowest level in at least two decades. The nation’s population of illegal immigrants, which more than tripled, to 12.2 million, between 1990 and 2007, has dropped by about 1 million, according to demographers at the Pew Research Center. […]
    Homeland security officials in the Obama and George W. Bush administrations – who have more than doubled the Border Patrol’s size and spent billions on drones, sensors and other technology at the border – say enhanced security is driving the new trends.

R. Gil Kerlikowske, commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, told the Post, “We have seen tremendous progress. The border is much more secure than in times past.”

To be sure, it’s a complex picture, and the shifts in immigration trends are probably the result of several overlapping changes, some of which relate to security measures, some of which don’t.

That said, when Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) argues that the Obama administration and its allies are “refusing to secure our border,” we know for certain that’s the opposite of what’s actually happened.

And when Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) insists that the U.S. border is “porous,” and officials must “secure our own borders” to prevent “ISIS infiltration,” I’m sure it’s a successful applause line among partisan activists who don’t know any better, but it’s also the sort of thing a politician says if he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

Greg Sargent added this morning, “Apprehensions at the border are down, too. Some experts think changes in Latin America, at least as much as increased security, explain the drop. Either way, this should shift a debate in which Republicans insist on ‘securing the border’ as a condition for reform.”

Agreed. For months, congressional Republicans have blocked bipartisan, comprehensive solutions by sticking to knee-jerk rhetoric: Congress can’t even think about working constructively on reform until the White House starts taking border security seriously.

But the argument has long been based on ignorance – the Obama administration has taken border security to levels the Bush/Cheney administration never even considered. The results, for those who choose to care, are undeniable.

So where’s the accompanying shift in Republican rhetoric? Where’s the acknowledgement from far-right ideologues that their demands have, for all intents and purposes, already been met? Where are the new talking points, revised to reflect some semblance of reality?

At a campaign event in New Hampshire last week, Jeb Bush was willing to acknowledge, albeit indirectly, that border security is better under President Obama than it was during his brother’s tenure. Are other Republicans prepared to concede the same thing?

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