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


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Obama's Immigration Plan Hinges on Supreme Court Deadline Clash

November 24, 2015 -- 3:49 PM PST
By Greg Stohr

The U.S. Supreme Court is poised to resolve a procedural dispute that may foreshadow the fate of President Barack Obama’s stalled deferred-deportation program.

The court could act imminently on a request by Texas and 25 other states for a 30-day extension of the deadline to respond to the administration’s bid for a hearing.

While in other contexts that request would be routine, it has taken on heightened importance because of the realities of the court’s calendar and the administration’s desire to revive the program before Obama leaves office next year.

If the court grants the request, the justices would have to deviate from their normal scheduling practices to consider the case during the nine-month term that ends in June. The administration says the court should allow only an 8-day extension to ensure the case can be heard this term.

A delay would "prolong for an additional year the disruption of federal immigration policy," U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli told the court in a letter Tuesday. He said that if the court grants the full extension, he will ask for a rare May argument session so that the case can be decided in the current term.

The program would shield as many as 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation and let them obtain work and some public benefits. The plan, which was announced a year ago but hasn’t taken effect, applies to people whose children are either U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents and who meet other requirements.

A federal appeals court blocked the plan, ruling 2-1 that Obama was overstepping his authority.

In his request for more time, Texas Solicitor General Scott Keller cited workload, saying the states’ lawyers had "numerous pressing deadlines" in other cases. Keller didn’t directly address the prospect that an extension might push the case into the 2016-17 term, though he said the administration could have sought a stay of the lower court ruling.

The court typically adds the last cases of its term in January, when the justices hold three private conferences scheduled to consider bids for review. The last of those meetings takes place Jan. 22, and the nine justices aren’t scheduled to meet again until Feb. 19. The last scheduled arguments are in late April.

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

The Man Beaten And Choked At A Donald Trump Rally Tells His Story

November 23, 2015
By Alice Ollstein

When activist Mercutio Southall Jr. was curled up on the ground getting kicked, punched, and choked by Donald Trump supporters at a campaign rally in Birmingham, Alabama, he thought, “I can’t die today. I’ve got shit to do. I have little kids. Fuck these people.”

The single father of three, who was raised in the civil rights cradle of Selma, Alabama, told ThinkProgress that he decided to go to Trump’s event with two friends in order to speak out against the frontrunner candidate’s “racist” rhetoric.

“The things that he’s been saying about black people, Latino people, immigrants, refugees — we felt it was very disrespectful,” he said. “This is a city where some of the biggest battles of the civil rights movement happened, where four little girls got bombed up, so we aren’t accepting of anything like that kind of talk down here. I mean, this man came to our city a couple of weeks before Christmas, saying we should not let in Middle Eastern refugees. If I’m not mistaken, I think Jesus was a Middle Eastern refugee. So we were not going to stand idly by and see the rise of the next Hitler. We knew we had to stand for something.”They called me n*****, monkey, and they shouted ‘all lives matter’ while they were kicking and punching me.

Southall said he felt unwelcome as soon as he arrived at the event, when Trump supporters physically recoiled from him and his friends. “There was like a six feet space on either side of us,” he said. “The message was: this was not our town. This was not our place.”

The three tried to get close to the stage so they could have a chance to ask Trump a question. Before the event started, Southall’s friend began livestreaming himself, saying to his camera, “We want to show [Trump] he’s not welcome here.” Upon hearing that, a nearby man knocked the phone out of his hand, prompting Southall to come to his friend’s defense. The three started chanting, “Black lives matter.”

What happened next was captured on video by a CNN reporter: a crowd of Trump supporters converging on Southall, punching, kicking, and choking him while chanting, “All lives matter.”

“It was just a sea of white faces,” he told ThinkProgress. “A lady kicked me in the stomach. A man kicked me in the chest. They called me n*****, monkey, and they shouted ‘all lives matter’ while they were kicking and punching me. So for all the people who are still confused at this point, they proved what ‘all lives matter’ meant. It means, ‘Shut up, n*****.'”

On Sunday, the morning after the rally, Trump told the hosts of Fox & Friends that Southall deserved what he got.

“Maybe he should have been roughed up,” he said. “It was disgusting what he was doing…This was a very obnoxious guy, a troublemaker, looking to make trouble.”

Local police seemed to agree. Using language nearly identical to how Jim Crow-era Birmingham Police chief Bull Connor described Martin Luther King Jr., police spokesperson Lt. Sean Edwards told CNN: “I would be a little cautious with Mercutio Southall. He has been an agitator from day one. Mercutio is always the agitator.”

Reporters also brought up the incident with Robert Kiger, the leader of the pro-Trump super PAC “Citizens For Restoring USA.” Kiger told CNN that the Black Lives Matter movement is a “farce.”

“They don’t really have a cause they’re trying to bring to the forefront,” he said. “If they did, they’d go to Baltimore or Chicago.”

When the CNN anchor challenged him, saying, “So they don’t have the right to protest at a Trump rally?” Kiger responded: “No they don’t, really. Look, I wouldn’t go into a black church and start screaming ‘white lives matter.'”

Setting aside the implication that a Trump rally is a ‘white space’ analogous to a black church, Southall has not confined his demonstrations to political rallies. The former police academy student and Cub Scout master was arrested last year during a Black Lives Matter demonstration in a local Walmart. He was tasered and arrested this summer while protesting the death of 18-year-old Kindra Chapman in police custody in the Birmingham suburb of Homewood. A Black Panther movement admirer and firm believer in armed self-defense, Southall has also been arrested for openly carrying guns he legally owns.

Reflecting on the current state of race relations in his home state, where his family marched for voting rights a generation ago, Southall said, “It’s very scary for a black parent with black sons. It’s 50 years past the civil rights movement and in Birmingham, Alabama, just a couple of blocks away from the Civil Rights Institute, I was lynched in broad daylight in the presence of police officers. How am I supposed to feel about that? Happy and accepting and free? I definitely don’t feel free. I don’t think this is the dream Martin Luther King was talking about.”I was lynched in broad daylight in the presence of police officers. How am I supposed to feel about that?

Birmingham Police announced Monday that Southall and his two fellow protesters will not be charged, nor will any of the people seen attacking them.

Southall says he and his lawyer are “definitely talking about my legal options” but have not yet decided to sue. As he continues to grapple with both physical and emotional pain from the incident, he says he doesn’t believe the police force will take his complaint seriously because of how they behaved at the time.

“I was being choked right in front of a Birmingham Police officer and all he did was try to stop me from hitting the man who was choking me,” he said. “But I’m supposed to trust y’all now?”

Birmingham Police say they have tried unsuccessfully to reach out to Southall about filing a complaint.

Verbal and physical altercations at Trump rallies — especially directed at protesters of color — isfairly routine. Another recent rally took a dark turn when attendees shoved and spat onimmigration advocates. The following week, Trump supporters were filmed dragging and kickingan immigration activist while others yelled “U-S-A! U-S-A!”

Trump’s campaign responded to these incidents by ordering reporters to stay inside a pen at his rallies, restricting their ability to interview protesters and supporters alike.

For Southall’s part, he says he will continue to try to live by the words of Malcolm X, seeking to end racial oppression “by any means necessary.”

“For my children, my babies whose diapers I changed, who I sang to in their mom’s belly, who I read to and watched grow into beautiful young men, I’m not going to sit by and let shit keep happening like this while my sons are growing up in it,” he said. “I will learn from history, because I have no interest in repeating it.”

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

Libre, Backed by Koch Brothers, Aims to Raise G.O.P. Standing With Hispanics

The New York Times
November 25, 2015
By Ashley Parker

MIAMI — The crowd that lined up around a megachurch here last week — largely Hispanic and mostly poor — came for the Saturday services, but also for the free flu shots that were being offered in the church, and for the Thanksgiving turkeys being given away just outside.

But before they received their turkeys, those in line were asked to answer a few questions: Were they more likely to vote for a Republican or a Democrat in the 2016 presidential election? And did they feel that the government should increase or decrease federal spending in order to improve the economy?

Volunteers, holding clipboards and speaking mainly in Spanish, collected the names, telephone numbers and email addresses of everyone who showed up.

The approach — a free Thanksgiving turkey in exchange for some personal information — captures the mission of Libre, a multimillion-dollar effort financed by the conservative billionaire Koch brothers and devoted to winning over Hispanics, with the message that economic freedom and smaller-government principles will yield opportunity and prosperity.

With an increased emphasis on Hispanic outreach, the Kochs are hoping to step in where the Republican Party has, by many accounts, failed. After the 2012 presidential election — Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee, won just 27 percent of the Hispanic vote — a report by the party concluded that it would have to make significant inroads with Hispanic voters to retake the White House.

The Republican Party, however, has made a concerted effort to improve its performance, placing Hispanic outreach staff members in communities more than a year before the 2014 elections and keeping them there for 2016. But Democrats still won the Latino vote in congressional races nationally 62 percent to 36 percent, according to an analysis by the Pew Research Center.

“They’ve been just terribly disappointing,” said Daniel Garza, 47, the son of migrant farm workers who is now the executive director of the Libre Initiative, during an interview at a candidates forum with Jeb Bush last month in Las Vegas. “I wish they would ramp up their efforts and do a lot more on the policy side, but again we’re not going to wait around for them.”

The group declined to say precisely how much it would spend during this election cycle, but the sum is expected to surpass the $9 million it spent from 2013 to 2014. Representatives for the Koch brothers also declined to make them available for comment.

Such efforts could prove especially important to Republicans in a presidential election cycle in which immigration has returned as a wedge issue and the rhetoric from many Republican candidates has become increasingly vitriolic.

Libre, reflecting the Koch brothers’ views, supports a broad overhaul of the immigration system, including a path to citizenship. It waged a campaign in support of the Senate’s 2013 immigration effort, including airing in excess of $1 million in television ads. Those positions have put the group at odds with many of the party’s grass-roots conservative voters.

But the group has also drawn the ire of some Hispanic and immigration advocacy groups by raising concerns about some of President Obama’s more sweeping executive actions on immigration, and by pouring money into House races to help defeat two Hispanic lawmakers — Pete P. Gallego of Texas and Joe Garcia of Florida, both Democrats — because they supported the president’s health care plan, among other issues Libre opposes.

Craig Hughes, a Democratic strategist who managed Mr. Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns in Colorado along with Senator Michael Bennet’s 2010 race there, said that while the group’s “potentially unlimited funds” from the Koch network were a source of worry for him, he thought the group would still have a tough time making its pitch to Hispanic voters.

“The question is, does an aggressive outreach and relationship-building program help them when their candidates are at such odds with the population?” Mr. Hughes said. “I am highly doubtful, but I never underestimate the impact of a massive amount of money in politics.”

Libre, which was created in June 2011, now has between 65 and 70 full-time employees in nine states — Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin. Freedom Partners, an umbrella organization for Koch network donors, has provided the group with $15.8 million in funding, according to federal tax records, and Libre now has more than 1,000 donors of its own.

The initiative is based on a model used successfully by Democratic-leaning groups in Hispanic-outreach efforts, consisting of both an education component (the Libre Institute, a nonprofit) and an advocacy arm (the Libre Initiative).

The group says that it genuinely wants to make a difference in the community, and offers its services to everyone, including undocumented immigrants. Libre has helped Hispanics get driver’s licenses in Nevada, provided English lessons in Florida and held seminars on how to start a business in Virginia.

These community services speak to what the group says is its core mission — to provide Hispanics with the tools to lift themselves toward the American dream of economic freedom and success, while also showing them that they do not need to rely on the government to succeed.

“At the end of the day, we want Hispanics to prosper, to be self-reliant, to achieve their full potential,” said Ivette Fernandez, national director of theLibre Institute, which is running a pilot program to help people study for and pass G.E.D. exams. “So we felt it was very important to be able to educate them on those principles the country is based on.”

At same time, Libre’s advocacy arm engages deeply in the political process. Since the group’s inception, Libre volunteers have made 4.7 million phone calls and knocked on 160,000 doors; their goal is to make three million calls this cycle.

Even at community-focused events, every attendee is typically asked for some bit of information — email, phone number, and perhaps an issue of concern — which is then provided to both Libre and i360, the Koch network’s voter data operation. And every event usually has some tie-in with Libre’s economic policy agenda.

“Without question, with apologies to nobody, we want to influence the policy agenda,” Mr. Garza said. “It should come with some type of messaging, everything we do, and we don’t apologize for that. We are an advocacy organization.”

Democrats are taking notice. Cristóbal Alex, the president of the Latino Victory Project, said that after being “caught by surprise in 2014,” his group is working with other Hispanic organizations across the nation to counter Libre’s influence.

“They’re a threat in the sense that their focus is very much aligned with theTea Party, and the type of work that they do, in our view, is really about advancing their donors’ prerogatives, the Koch brothers’ prerogatives,” Mr. Alex said. “That’s the threat. They’re pouring significant resources into our communities to get Latinos to vote against their own best interests.”

The challenge of turning credibility with Hispanic communities into votes was illustrated by the Saturday church event where most of the attendees — who cooled themselves with Libre-emblazoned cardboard fans and clutched blue and yellow Libre balloons — had never heard of the group before and mostly leaned Democratic or were apolitical.

Haydee Colina, 52, came to the United States from Panama, and is not yet eligible to vote. With her daughter helping to translate, Ms. Colina said she appreciated the work Libre was doing. “It’s very good,” she said.

“But,” her daughter added, “of course she would still vote Democratic.”

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

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Mr. Trump’s Applause Lies

New York Times (Editorial)
November 24, 2015

America has just lived through another presidential campaign week dominated by Donald Trump’s racist lies. Here’s a partial list of false statements: The United States is about to take in 250,000 Syrian refugees; African-Americans are responsible for most white homicides; and during the 9/11 attacks, “thousands and thousands” of people in an unnamed “Arab” community in New Jersey “were cheering as that building was coming down.”

In the Republican field, Mr. Trump has distinguished himself as fastest to dive to the bottom. If it’s a lie too vile to utter aloud, count on Mr. Trump to say it, often. It wins him airtime, and retweets through the roof.

This phenomenon is in fact nothing new. Politicians targeting minorities, foreigners or women have always existed in the culture. And every generation or so, at least one demagogue surfaces to fan those flames.

Here’s Donald Trump on Sunday: “When the Syrian refugees are going to start pouring into this country, we don’t know if they’re ISIS, we don’t know if it’s a Trojan horse. And I definitely want a database and other checks and balances. We want to go with watch lists. We want to go with databases. And we have no choice. We have no idea who’s being sent in here. This could be the — it’s probably not, but it could be the great Trojan horse of all time, where they come in.”

Here’s Joseph McCarthy in 1950: “Today we are engaged in a final, all-out battle between communistic atheism and Christianity. The modern champions of communism have selected this as the time, and ladies and gentlemen, the chips are down — they are truly down.”

Here’s Donald Trump last Tuesday: “We’re going to have to do things that we never did before. And some people are going to be upset about it, but I think that now everybody is feeling that security is going to rule. And certain things will be done that we never thought would happen in this country in terms of information and learning about the enemy. And so we’re going to have to do certain things that were frankly unthinkable a year ago.”

Here’s George Wallace in 1963: “We must redefine our heritage, re-school our thoughts in the lessons our forefathers knew so well, in order to function and to grow and to prosper. We can no longer hide our head in the sand and tell ourselves that the ideology of our free fathers is not being attacked and is not being threatened by another idea ... for it is.”

Mr. Trump relies on social media to spread his views. This is convenient because there’s no need to respond to questions about his fabrications. That makes it imperative that other forms of media challenge him.

Instead, as Mr. Trump stays at the top of the Republican field, it’s become a full-time job just running down falsehoods like the phony crime statistics he tweeted, which came from a white supremacist group.

Yet Mr. Trump is regularly rewarded with free TV time, where he talks right over anyone challenging him, and doubles down when called out on his lies.

This isn’t about shutting off Mr. Trump’s bullhorn. His right to spew nonsense is protected by the Constitution, but the public doesn’t need to swallow it. History teaches that failing to hold a demagogue to account is a dangerous act. It’s no easy task for journalists to interrupt Mr. Trump with the facts, but it’s an important one.

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

Detroit, Austin welcome Syrian refugees despite governors

AP (Michigan)
By Jeff Karoub
November 23, 2015

The mayors of Detroit and Austin said Monday they are welcoming Syrian refugees despite pushback by their states’ Republican governors following the deadly attacks in Paris.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said his city can support 50 Syrian families annually for the next three years and is “moving down that road.” Mayor Steve Adler said Austin has accepted three Syrian refugees in the past two years and another is coming.

The Democrats spoke during a White House-arranged conference call, a week after numerous Republican governors spoke out against federal refugee policies.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has instructed refugee-resettling organizations to stop helping Syrians. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, who has lobbied federal officials for refugees and immigrants, urged a pause in the resettlement program until security concerns are addressed.

Duggan, who discussed refugee issues with Obama administration officials last month during a two-day Washington trip, said he remains comfortable with the refugee-vetting process. He said the city has vacant housing that could accommodate refugees, as well as support agencies and a large Syrian and Middle Eastern community in the surrounding area.

He said all mayors are “conscious of this terrorist threat,” which is “very real.” But he called accepting refugees a “very human issue.” Providing “refuge” to victims of terror, he said, “is what this country is all about.”

“We stand in Detroit prepared to do our share,” he added.

Snyder has tried to communicate his continued support for refugees and encouraged his GOP colleagues to maintain a welcoming tone. He said the pause he seeks need not be long, but enough to ensure that the appropriate reviews are being conducted.

Duggan did not say what effect Snyder’s call for a delay might have on Detroit’s plans. The Associated Press requested additional comment from a Duggan spokesman.

As for Texas, Abbott has said since last week that he’s keeping Texas safe by moving to refuse Syrians refugees and that his reading of federal law says he has the authority to do so — even though legal experts disagree.

Adler agreed with Duggan that refugees are terror victims themselves. Adler added that refugee resettlement organizations in Austin aren’t sure what effect Abbott’s order will have, but the mayor said he’s been told nothing would change immediately.

“Everyone is just waiting to see what happens,” he said.

The call also featured former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, who described refugee screening as a “comprehensive, multi-layered, exhaustive process” that typically takes up to two years but can be longer. Refugees from Syria and Iraq, he added, go through an additional security check.

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

The U.S. Is Deporting Fewer People

By Esther Yu His Lee
November 23, 2015

The number of deportations has fallen nationwide over the past year, following Obama’s announcement of a new immigration enforcement initiative that instructs the Department of Homeland Security to go after “felons, not families.”

That plan, known as the Priority Enforcement Program (PEP), allows immigration officials to exercise prosecutorial discretion to determine whether immigrants — notably felons and recent border crossers — should be made a priority for removal, as defined by guidelines set by Homeland Secretary Jeh Johnson last November.

PEP replaced a more controversial information-sharing program known as Secure Communities, which gave local authorities broader discretion to detain immigrants. The Obama administration had previously come under fire for its harsh deportation policies, with some immigrant advocates labeling the president as the “deporter in chief.”

But since last November, deportations have fallen by 25 percent nationally — a statistic that has gone hand-in-hand with a drop in the number of detainers, or “immigration holds,” allowing immigrants to be held in local jails until federal immigration authorities have a chance to pick them up for potential deportation proceedings. The government has also closed the deportation cases of thousands of immigrants who don’t fit under the new PEP guidelines, granting some of them work permits.

A July 2015 Migration Policy Institute report found that only about 13 percent of “unauthorized immigrants in the United States would be considered enforcement priorities under these policies, compared to 27 percent under the 2010-11 enforcement guidelines.” These previous memoranda were published by the Obama administration in 2010 and 2011 to target immigrants, specifically those who are national security threats and do not have family ties in the United States.

In particular, Minnesota experienced a steep drop in deportations, which are down by about 50 percent from a high in 2010. According to the Star Tribune, which based its data on the 2015 fiscal year, “the St. Paul field office for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deported 1,740 immigrants compared with more than 2,820 the year before.” The PEP deportation initiative, which is focused on “smart, effective enforcement” has had a small, but positive effect on the number of deportees with criminal convictions, with 80 percent in the St. Paul field office regions and 60 percent nationally, the publication noted.

The PEP initiative has also made an impact in Nebraska. “In keeping with the trends reported nationally, we have observed a marked decrease in the use of ICE detainers locally,” Charles Shane Ellison, the Legal Director at the advocacy group Justice For Our Neighbors-Nebraska, told ThinkProgress. “One of our programs at Justice for Our Neighbors-Nebraska, the Pro Bono Detainee Project, has witnessed a 56 percent decrease in the number of intakes we have received from individuals detained in Nebraska this year as compared to last year.”

Although the immigration enforcement initiative appears to be working by certain measures, advocates say the recent reforms don’t go far enough. Some undocumented immigrants who otherwise would qualify for deportation relief are still finding themselves picked up. Others are finding that they aren’t released from detention.

“Recent statistics show that although fewer people have become subject to immigration detainers, only approximately 19 percent of those targeted have felony convictions,” Matthew Kolken, an immigration lawyer based in Buffalo, New York, told ThinkProgress.

Carolina Canizales, the deportation defense coordinator at the advocacy group United We Dream, cited the case of Jose Luis Sanchez, a 24-year-old undocumented immigrant who has been in immigration detention since 2014 for pot possession, a misdemeanor charge.

“We continually hear stories from our community on people being picked up for immigration and misdemeanor charges,” Canizales told ThinkProgress. “The reality is that most people who end up in the enforcement machine do so because of immigration-related reasons. The impact of the enforcement priorities is a double-edged sword. People like our current case, Jose Luis, are still facing deportation even though it is clear that the administration, the states, and Congress have identified that our criminal justice system is out of control and these are the exact cases that must be dropped.”

“Statistically speaking it does not appear that the new program is focusing our immigration enforcement resources on the apprehension of serious criminals,” Kolken said, “and families are still being destroyed by deportations.”

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

Clinton Homes in on Latinas, a Growing Part of the Electorate

NBC News
By Suzanne Gamboa
November 23, 2015

When it comes to getting out to the polls, Latinas are ahead of their male counterparts, something Hillary Clinton wants to capitalize on to get to the White House.

On Monday, New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito is launching the national group "Mujeres in Politics," an expansion of a Clinton campaign strategy to turn out las mujeres, the women of the U.S. Latino population. For the launch, Latinas in New York will contact Latinas in Colorado, the campaign said.

Mark-Viverito told NBC News Latino via e-mail that the initiative is one of the "culturally relevant and bilingual" programs Clinton's campaign has undertaken.

"Mujeres in Politics was … designed for Latinas to speak to Latinas about the fights they are waging and the importance of their civic participation," she stated. "Latinas are the CEOs of their family and community and will play a critical role in securing the nomination."

The launch follows a weekend retreat held by Hillary for America and Latino Outreach Director Lorella Praeli, at the campaign's Brooklyn headquarters on strategies for reaching Latina voters.

Dolores Huerta, labor organizer and civil rights leader, was among the participants, along with Mark-Viverito, Praeli and Clinton's political director Amanda Renteria.

Latina voters are a growing part of the electorate, along with other women of color, according to the Center for American Progress. In the 2014 elections, Latinas favored Democratic candidates over Republican candidates by a margin of 66 percent to 32 percent, compared to 57 percent to 41 percent by Hispanic men, Pew Research Center found.

In a Latino Decisions poll conducted on the eve of the 2012 presidential election, Latinas said they preferred President Barack Obama over the GOP's Mitt Romney, 77 percent to 21 percent, a 56-point difference.

Christina Bejarano, an associate professor of political science at University of Kansas who has studied the Latina electorate, said Clinton's focus on Latinas is a "much needed electoral strategy."

"Latinas are often neglected by political campaigns, even though they are pivotal and important voters in an election," Bejarano told NBC News Latino in an email. "Latinas can also help political candidates convey their message to Latino families and communities."

Clinton's campaign had already begun trying to tap into the Latina voter pool in Nevada, where the "Mujeres in Politics" program was begun by field organizers Natalie Montelongo and Vanessa Valdivia. A key feature of the program is getting Latinas call other Latinas to drum up support for Clinton, the campaign said.

The national program is focusing on states it has identified as where Latinas will be key in securing the Democratic nomination.

"The narrative out there is that Latinos don't participate in the primary, they don't caucus. Everyone is focused on the general. The goal is for Latinos to play a decisive role in the primary and the caucus," said Lorella Praeli, Clinton's Latino Outreach director, speaking to NBC Latino in a phone call Monday.

Praeli said Latinas are "talking about issues that people wouldn't assume right away they are talking about."

"They were talking about small businesses and national security and gun control," she said. "So you are seeing a sophisticated electorate because they have their heads everywhere. They are thinking about how to make sure the family has food ... they are thinking about how do we get ahead, about their kids going to school," said Praeli.

Jose Aristimuño, a spokesman for the Martin O'Malley campaign, who also is seeking the Democratic nomination, said the campaign has an overall Latino outreach program. Also Gabriella Domenzain, the campaign's director of public engagement, helps the campaign engage Latinas through her position on the campaign and interviews she does with various media outlets, he said.

The Sanders campaign did not immediately respond to an email requesting information on its Latina outreach work.

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

First Read: Donald Trump, The Post-Truth 2016 Candidate

NBC News
By Chuck Todd, Mark Murray, and Carrie Dann
November 23, 2015

We've been around the political block long enough to know that almost all presidential candidates exaggerate, dissemble, take statements out of context and, yes, lie. But from the start of Donald Trump's presidential campaign (remember Mexican rapists?), he has taken this to a level we haven't seen before in American politics. Consider just these two examples from the weekend. First, Trump said on Saturday in Alabama: "I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down. And I watched in Jersey City New Jersey, where thousands and thousands of people were cheering." In fact, as the New York Times writes, "No news reports exist of people cheering in the streets, and both police officials and the mayor of Jersey City have said that it did not happen. An Internet rumor about people cheering in the streets, which said it was in Paterson, not Jersey City, has been denied numerous times by city and police officials." But when ABC pressed Trump on his statement, he stood his ground. "It did happen. I saw it... It was on television. I saw it." Second, Trump retweeted a graphic claiming -- falsely -- that African Americans are responsible for the killing of most blacks and whites in America. "That is not true, the Washington Post notes. "According to data from the FBI, most whites are killed by whites, as most blacks are killed by blacks. There's an obvious reason for that: Most people are killed by someone they know."

And it's on the explosive subjects of religion and race

It's hard to disagree with the assessment of our colleague Benjy Sarlin: "Let's not sugarcoat what's going on. The GOP frontrunner is spreading hateful falsehoods about blacks and Muslims."

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

Is This the Most Racist Political Race in Years?

Rolling Stone
By Tessa Stuart
November 23, 2015

This weekend felt like a low point for the 2016 race, and for Donald Trump's campaign rhetoric in particular, even in an election cycle that's seemed like an ever-accelerating race to some elusive bottom.

At a Trump rally in Birmingham, Alabama, Saturday, a Black Lives Matter protester was surrounded by a group of men, who he says punched him, kicked him and told him, "Go home n----r." Speaking about the incident the next day, Trump said, "Maybe he should have been roughed up, because it was absolutely disgusting what he was doing." (The activist, Mercutio Southall Jr., had interrupted Trump's speech to shout, "black lives matter!")

The same day, Trump tweeted a compilation of fake crime statistics that appears to have originated from an account with a stylized swastika for an avatar, and a bio that reads, "we Should have listened to the Austrian chap with the little moustache." (If you're curious, the Washington Post has the accurate statistics.) Days earlier, the leading GOP candidate suggested all U.S. Muslims be registered in a database, and falsely claimed Muslims in New Jersey cheered on 9/11.

All this, on top of Trump's comments about Mexican immigrants – not to mention other candidates' views on Syrian refugees, among other things – makes this feel like one of the most overtly racist political election cycles in recent memory.

Rolling Stone got on the phone Monday with Berkeley professor Ian Haney-López, the author of Dog Whistle Politics, to ask him about it.

"I would not call it overt racism," Haney-López says, of the broader 2016 race. "It's important to realize that you do not have a candidate who is saying, 'We have a problem with sp-cs in this country. We have a problem with sand n----rs in this country.'"

What we have instead, he explains, is "a rhetoric that is heightening racial fears, and that is seeking to communicate to people that there are black and brown 'others' from abroad, but also here at home, who are a direct threat... to white Americans."

"This is a sort of racism that is often hidden from even the intended audience — the people these politicians hope to mobilize through this discourse of fear," Haney-López says.

Take, for example, Trump's infamous stump speech in which he characterized Mexican immigrants as criminals and rapists. As Haney-López notes, Trump says in the speech, "It's coming from all over South and Latin America, and it's coming probably... from the Middle East."

"What he's saying is: Our southern border is insecure, and these threatening people are coming across," says Haney-López. "That's language that allows people to say to themselves, 'I'm not a racist — we've lost control of our border.'"

The same framework is being deployed when Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz say they want to help only Christians from Syria, and when they and other candidates talk about "Muslim extremism" or "Muslim terrorism," he says; making the issue about religion or beliefs gives candidates a cover to say their stances are not about skin color.

"This is the sort of language and rhetoric that the GOP has been using for 50 years," Haney-López says, but it's gotten more difficult to pull off as demographics have shifted out of Republicans' favor.

"They've been walking a finer and finer line, trying to use coded racial language to mobilize anxious white voters," he says. "The Republican Party draws roughly 90 percent of its support from whites, so they are working really hard, and strategically, to motivate those white voters, but at the same time they are trying to find language that is sufficiently coded and sufficiently moderate not to completely antagonize especially Latinos and Asians. The African-American vote they've largely given up on."

He points to George W. Bush's courting of Latino voters to win in 2000 and 2004, and Mitt Romney's failures to attract the Hispanic vote in 2012. If Bush's success at winning Latino voters, and Romney's failure to do so, are taken as examples, the xenophobia that is polling well now doesn't bode well for Republicans' chances in the general election, says Haney-López. "Trump doesn't give a damn about the future of the GOP, so he's willing to use this extreme rhetoric that plays so well for primary voters, irrespective of the damage it does to the party's prospects in the general election or its prospects from 2016 to 2020," Haney-López says. "Now you have Jeb Bush, who had planned to successfully attract the Hispanic vote, coming out and talking about 'anchor babies.'"

When it comes down to it, Haney-López says, Trump and his cohort's guiding principle is preying on white fear — and, really, white ignorance. It's about tricking white voters into voting for candidates who don't serve their interests.

"Racism in the United States is not just about mistreating minorities. Racism is fundamentally about scaring whites," he says. "And the people who are scaring whites with racism, they are not doing it because they don't like people of color. They are doing it because this is a way to win votes for politicians who are basically serving the interests of billionaires."

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

Why Obama Is Standing by the Syrian Refugees

National Journal
By Peter Beinart
November 23, 2015

Once upon a time, lib­er­als cri­ti­cized Barack Obama for only tak­ing on fights he knew he could win. Not any­more. In 2013, Obama re­spon­ded to the Sandy Hook shoot­ing with a fer­vent, if un­suc­cess­ful, push for gun con­trol. Now, over the past week, he has met the nat­iv­ist hys­teria sparked by the at­tacks in Par­is with an im­pas­sioned, en­raged rhet­or­ic­al bar­rage on be­half of the ad­mis­sion of Syr­i­an refugees. He has done so even though polls show that a clear ma­jor­ity of Amer­ic­ans now op­pose ad­mit­ting any Syr­i­ans. And even though, last Thursday, 47 House Demo­crats broke with him to help over­whelm­ingly pass a bill that would make ad­mis­sion of Syr­i­an refugees vir­tu­ally im­possible.

Non­ethe­less, Obama has been un­yield­ing. Last Monday, from Tur­key, he went after Ted Cruz, de­clar­ing: “When I hear polit­ic­al lead­ers sug­gest­ing that there would be a re­li­gious test for which per­son who’s flee­ing from a war-torn coun­try is ad­mit­ted when some of those folks them­selves come from fam­il­ies who be­nefited from pro­tec­tion when they were flee­ing polit­ic­al per­se­cu­tion, that’s shame­ful. That’s not Amer­ic­an.” On Tues­day, in the Phil­ip­pines, Obama tar­geted Chris Christie for be­ing “wor­ried about three-year-old orphans. That doesn’t sound very tough to me.” On Wed­nes­day, he fired off six straight tweets on the sub­ject, the last of which de­clared: “Slam­ming the door in the face of refugees would be­tray our deep­est val­ues. That’s not who we are. And it’s not what we’re go­ing to do.” Then, after meet­ing refugee chil­dren on Sat­urday in Malay­sia, he de­clared: “Amer­ic­an lead­er­ship is us caring about people who have been for­got­ten or who have been dis­crim­in­ated against or who’ve been tor­tured or who’ve been sub­ject to un­speak­able vi­ol­ence or who’ve been sep­ar­ated from fam­il­ies at very young ages. That’s when we’re the shin­ing light on the hill.”

Why is Obama pick­ing a fight on an is­sue that, ac­cord­ing to The Wash­ing­ton Post’s Chris Cil­lizza, is a “polit­ic­al win­ner” for the GOP?

Every pres­id­ent tells the story of Amer­ica’s past to jus­ti­fy the policies he’s pur­su­ing in the present. For George W. Bush, the story was about Amer­ica be­ing roused from its com­pla­cency by ex­tern­al danger. In 1999, then can­did­ate Bush quotedWin­ston Churchill as de­clar­ing, in the late 1930s, “The era of pro­cras­tin­a­tion, of half meas­ures-of sooth­ing and baff­ling ex­pedi­ents, of delays, is com­ing to a close.” Then, in his second in­aug­ur­al, Bush de­scribed his own era as “years of re­l­at­ive quiet, years of re­pose, years of sab­bat­ic­al” fol­lowed by “a day of fire.” The im­plic­a­tion was that to ful­fill his role in his­tory, Bush needed to rally Amer­ic­ans against the evil that lurked bey­ond their shores.

Obama tells the story of U.S. his­tory dif­fer­ently: as Amer­ica over­com­ing the evil with­in it­self. In his 2008 Demo­crat­ic con­ven­tion speech, he talked about “a prom­ise that has led im­mig­rants to cross oceans and pi­on­eers to travel west, a prom­ise that led work­ers to pick­et lines and wo­men to reach for the bal­lot.” The first two ref­er­ences—to im­mig­rants es­cap­ing for­eign op­pres­sion and pi­on­eers over­com­ing nature’s hard­ships—are stand­ard polit­ic­al fare. But by twin­ning them with work­ers bat­tling ex­ploit­a­tion and wo­men bat­tling sex­ism, Obama sug­ges­ted that ex­tern­al and phys­ic­al forces aren’t the only bar­ri­ers to Amer­ic­an pro­gress. Some­times, the bar­ri­ers are oth­er Amer­ic­ans.

It’s a theme that re­curs in Obama’s speeches. In his first in­aug­ur­al, he said Amer­ica’s “great­ness” resided in those Amer­ic­ans who “traveled across oceans in search of a new life … settled the West … and plowed the hard earth” but also those who “toiled in sweat­shops and en­dured the lash of the whip.” In oth­er words, the United States achieved great­ness be­cause Amer­ic­ans seek­ing dig­nity and free­dom tri­umphed over Amer­ic­ans who sought to deny them those things. In Obama’s second in­aug­ur­al, he talked about the “star that guides us” to­ward full equal­ity, “just as it guided our fore­bears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stone­wall.” This March, on the 50th an­niversary of the march from Selma to Mont­gomery, he said what oc­curred there was “a clash of wills; a con­test to de­term­ine the true mean­ing of Amer­ica.”

Ob­vi­ously, Obama knows the United States faces en­emies abroad. But un­like Bush, who took World War II and the Cold War as his pre­ced­ents for the “war on ter­ror” and thus cast Amer­ica as a vir­tu­ous na­tion men­aced by for­eign malevol­ence, Obama refers fre­quently to Amer­ica’s malevol­ence with­in. He sees U.S. his­tory as a series of mor­al struggles pit­ting Amer­ic­ans seek­ing equal op­por­tun­ity and full cit­izen­ship against Amer­ic­ans who de­fend an un­just or big­oted status quo.

Obama clearly sees the cur­rent nat­iv­ist, bigotry-laden, hys­teria as such a struggle. He knows he may not win. But he wants fu­ture his­tor­i­ans to know ex­actly where he stood. They will. And as a res­ult, I sus­pect, they’ll re­cord the Syr­i­an refugee battle among his finest hours.

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

How Keeping Migrants Out Will Cost America Billions

By Rana Foroohar
November 23, 2015

The economic case for welcoming refugees

Terror is all about fear. That’s why it’s important to keep a factual perspective on the benefits of open borders and immigration, even in the midst of concerns over whether both the U.S. refugee resettlement and U.S. Visa waiver programs should be scrapped or amended. Governors in 31 states are trying to block Syrian refugees from coming in via the resettlement program, which has resettled 785,000 migrants from war torn countries since Sept. 11, 2001. Thirty-two states have already taken these refugees in, and only a tiny percent–around a dozen, less than a small fraction of one percent–have been removed from the country and/or arrested because of concerns over terrorism which existed prior to their resettlement, according to the State Department.

That’s still scary to a lot of people–one recent Fox news poll found that 77 percent of voters believe it’s likely that at least one refugee, entering America through this program, will carry out a terror attack in the United States. But it’s also important to look at the overwhelming benefit that migrants have historically provided in the U.S. and elsewhere. That’s one of the reason that the U.S. travel industry is up in arms about bill proposed by Senators Diane Feinstein and Jeff Flake to restrict certain aspect of the Visa Waiver Program that lets visitors come into the US for short trips without a visa. Those visits represent about 60 percent of the tourism flow to the country, as well as $190 billion in economic impact and nearly 1 million U.S. jobs. Countries that are part of the program, like Ireland, South Korea and Singapore, subsequently put more in direct investment into the U.S. economy.

But beyond that it’s really important to remember that the vast majority of people taking advantage of programs like the refugee resettlement program are simply trying to create a safe and secure life for their families. As Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton pointed out in a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations last week, it would be a “cruel irony” if the conflicts that we are a part of in the Middle East made it impossible for them to live in their own countries and we closed the borders to our own (on that note, it’s worth saying that although President Obama has said he wants to accept 10,000 refugees in the next year, only about 2000 have come in, because of the really tight screening progress in place).

Historically, migrants have huge economic benefits. Innovative and entrepreneurial, they create a higher-than-average number of patents in many countries, start businesses more frequently than natives and founded 40% of the Fortune 500 firms.

Beyond that most serious scholars believe that the bravery of immigrants has its own sort of economic value. Ian Goldin, the director of Oxford University’s Martin School and the author of Exceptional People: How Migration Shaped Our World and Will Define Our Future, estimates that if rich nations around the world were to admit enough migrants to expand their labor force by a mere 3%, the world would be $356 billion richer–not only because of the productivity gains in the rich countries but because migrants send so much money back home. “Migrants are a disproportionately dynamic part of the labor force globally,” he argues, “In the 19th century, a third of the population of Sweden, Ireland and Italy emigrated to America and other countries,” he notes. “The U.S. is the very best example of how dynamic a country of immigrants can be.”

Of course, immigration from Nordic and European nations to the U.S. didn’t come with the cultural and political differences that migration from the Middle East does. Given the current climate of fear, proper vetting and extra attention should be given to make sure legitimate refugees are processed and settled in a way that allows them to integrate quickly and well into local communities (as countries like France and Germany have learned, leaving migrants on their own to cope or putting them in isolated housing on the outskirts of cities is a recipe for disaster). But migrants are already here, in 138 cities in the U.S., and the vast majority of them are contributing and making our country a better place. Let’s not forget that in the fog of fear.

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