Saturday, June 9, 2007

More Death on the Border

First_img We have written extensively about the deaths resulting from the increased border enforcement along the U.S./Mexico border.  The latest story comes from South Texas and is in Texas Observer (here).

The photograph on the left is from www.stopgatekeeper.org, which keeps a running total of deaths resulting from Opertion Gatekeeper south of San Diego.  The pic is from 2004.  The death toll from that one operation is estimated at more than 3000 since it went into effect in the mid-1990s.

Bill Hing has published  a super article on Operation Gatekeeper -- The Dark Side of Operation Gatekeeper, 7 U.C. Davis. J. Int'l L. & Pol'y 121, 124-26, 135-44 (2001).

KJ

June 9, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

Immigration is Global

From the recent firefight over immigration in the U.S. Congress, one might incorrectly think that the United States is the only country with an immigration controversy on its hands.  Grace O'Malley of Intlawgrrls (here) reminds us that immigration is not limited to the United States but is a global phenomenon.  As Grace explains, Spain, for example, is a hotspot for migration issues similar to those that arise in the United States.

KJ

June 9, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

Barbara Boxer's Vote Against Cloture

From Ana Maria Patino:

As you know on Thursday, a motion to end debate (i.e. cloture) on the immigration bill in the U.S. Senate was defeated by a vote of 50 to 45. The motion needed 60 yes votes to pass and they were short by 15 votes.

          If passed this motion would have ended the debate in the Senate on the immigration bill. Proponents of the cloture motion wanted to cut off the opportunity of conservative anti-immigrant Republicans to introduce any more draconian amendments aimed at immigrants and their families. These Republicans included Senators Jeff Sessions (R-ALA), Senator Jon Kyl, (R-Ariz.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), John Thune of (R-SD), Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) Jim Bunning (R- Kentucky and David Vitter (R-La.). Both Sessions and Cornyn were particularly bad and ALL of them should be targeted for removal the next election.

California Senators Dianne Feinstein voted for the motion and Barbara Boxer voted against it.

         Senator Boxer has released the following statement regarding her decision to vote with the conservative Republicans on the cloture motion:

For Immediate Release                   Contact: Natalie Ravitz
June 7, 2007                                                                                 (202) 224-8120   

BOXER STATEMENT ON THE CLOTURE VOTE ON IMMIGRATION

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) today issued the following statement on the immigration bill:

“I know how hard my colleagues have worked—on both sides of the aisle—to put this immigration bill together.  But I believe that this bill, as it currently stands, is unworkable and unfair.  This bill needs to be clarified, simplified, and rectified before I can support it.

“If enacted, I believe the bill will lead to the exploitation of workers, including the 12 million undocumented immigrants we all hope to put on the path to legalization.  I also believe it will exert downward pressure on wages at a time when we are already losing our middle class.

“I have always been troubled by the inclusion of a guestworker program in the bill.  The guest worker program is designed, in my opinion, to create a permanent pool of insecure and low-paid workers whom I believe will never leave the country, even though they are supposed to, according to the rules of the program.  This will only continue the cycle of illegal immigration. 

“There are concepts in the bill I strongly support – a path to legalization for the 12 million undocumented immigrants, a secure border, AgJobs, and the DREAM Act.

“But this bill needs much more work.  I believe we can achieve an immigration bill that will be fair and just to all, and the best chance for that is to vote against cloture and continue working as long as it takes to get it right.”

bh

June 9, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

More on the Myth of Immigrant Overuse of the Health Care Stystem

Check out the Health Care BS blog today on a report on the myth of immigrant health care abuse. The entry starts like this:

It isn’t often that I agree with the Center for American Progress, but the CAP report to which the Health Affairs blog links today is absolutely right about the health care impact of immigrants. The report debunks the widely held belief that immigrants constitute a disproportionate burden on the American health care system.

Click here for more.

KJ

June 9, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Court of Appeals of New York on Driver's License Requirements

Driver's license eligibility for undocumented immigrants continues to be a political and legal issue in the states.  The Court of Apeals for the State of New York in Cubas v. Martinez (June 7, 2007) (here) rejected challenges to the requirment of the state's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) not to issue driver's licenses to applicants who lack valid social security numbers (SSNs), unless those applicants prove that they are ineligible for SSNs. As proof of ineligibility the DMV requires applicants to submit immigration documents issued by the Department of Homeland Security.

KJ

June 9, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)

Friday, June 8, 2007

Obama on Immigration Reform

On June 6, Senator Barack Obama made a speech introducing his amendment on immigration reform.   It (here) is well worth reading.  His views seem a bit more enlightened than they were when he voted for the Secure Fence Act last year.

KJ

June 8, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

The Fallout Over the Demise of the Grand Bargain

Pundits are speculating about the fallout from the failure of the "Grand Bargain" on immigration reform.  For a sampling of commentary on the impacts, click here, here, and here.  It probably is fair to say that John McCain, the lone Republican in the pressidential debate on Tuesday to defend the bill, will not gain much from his support if the bill in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.  And the bill's defeat will not do much to help Ted Kennedy's legacy.

I feel bittersweet about the apparent defeat of the reform proposal.  in my estimation, it had some bad parts to it.  However, what will become of the 10-12 million undocumented immigrants  who now do not have any sort of legalization program to look to?  it makes me want to cry and I bet that many of them feel the same.

KJ

June 8, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

Passport Requirements Eased

The White House today (here) waived new travel restrictions this summer to ease an embarrassing passport backlog that has been disrupting vacation plans nationwide. Under a plan approved by the Bush administration late Thursday and formally announced today, a new requirement for U.S. passports will be temporarily dropped for air travel to and from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and the Caribbean.  Click here for the DHS press release.

KJ

June 8, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Immigrant of the Day: Michael J. Fox

Fox Michael J. Fox (Michael Andrew Fox) (b. June 9, 1961) is an award-winning, Canadian-born film and television actor. His best known roles include Marty McFly from the Back to the Future trilogy (1985-1990); Alex P. Keaton from Family Ties (1982-1989), for which he won three Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe Award; and Mike Flaherty from Spin City (1996-2000), for which he won an Emmy, three Golden Globes, and two Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1991, and disclosed his condition to the public in 1998. As the symptoms of his disease worsened, he retired from full-time acting in 2000.

Fox was born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. After living in Atlanta for 20 years, he naturalized in 2000 and became a U.S. citizen. He now holds dual Canadian-U.S. citizenship.

KJ

June 8, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Reform on Life Support or Dead?

As my co-blogster Kevin Johnson has reported, the Senate reform appears to be on life support. Carolyn Lochhead, of the San Francisco Chronicle, thinks its dead. She also reminds us that this may be a blow to the legacies of President Bush and Ted Kennedy:

The failure is a major defeat for Bush, who passionately supported the effort to open the country to more legal immigration, saying recently, "America must not fear diversity," and dispatching two Cabinet secretaries to the months of negotiations.

Untethered from re-election concerns, Bush attacked his Republican base for failing to support the bill, but found he had no leverage left with his own party.

The failure is also a major defeat for Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, the top Democratic negotiator, who like Bush wanted to make immigration reform his legacy -- a capstone on the four decades he has spent shaping U.S. immigration law, beginning with the 1965 immigration act that remains the foundation of today's system. Click here for the rest of the story.

bh

June 8, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)

Immigration Reform Bill on Life Support

CNN (here) reports that the the immigration reform failed a crucial test vote in the Senate on Thursday, a setback that could spell its defeat for the year. The vote was 45-50 against limiting debate on the bill, 15 short of the 60 that the bill's supporters needed to prevail. Most Republicans voted to block Democrats' efforts to bring the bill to a final vote. The legislation had been endorsed by President Bush.

KJ

June 8, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, June 7, 2007

MAPA Analysis of Senate Actions

Mexican American Political Association
June 07, 2007

IMMIGRATION DEBATE UPDATE

Introduction. We are forwarding you these updates on the immigration debate prepared by the Center for Human Rights and Consitutional Law, Attornys Peter Schey and Carlos Holguin. Our advocacy is for fair, humane, and rational immigration reform. We are totally opposed to the off-handed declarations made by compromising individual Latino television comentators or organizations that advocate - NOTHING IS WORSE. In fact, as pointed out in this and future updates, NOTHING WILL BE WORSE in terms of the millions of individuals and families that will be criminalized in perpetuity by the proposed senate legislation.
Senate Immigration Reform: Update Wednesday June 6

Supporters of the Grand Bargain invoked rules effectively requiring an amendment to win 60 votes to keep their delicate coalition from crumbling.

Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., plans to force a test vote as early as Thursday morning to end debate on the Grand Bargain and move on to other matters.

Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., got only 53 votes for his effort to delay shifting U.S. immigration policy away from keeping families together in favor of attracting more foreign workers (the new anti-family "point system"). But that was seven votes short of the 60 needed. Voting against him were 44 senators. The Menendez amendment would have allowed more than 800,000 people who had applied for permanent legal status by the beginning of 2007 to obtain green cards based purely on their family connections - a preference the bill ends for most relatives who got in line after May 2005. Family unity goes down the toilet.

Sen. Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico wanted to allow the hundreds of thousands of new "guest workers" to come for six consecutive years. The Senate voted 57- 41 to reject the amendment, retaining the bill's call for most guest workers to go home for a year between each of three two-year stints. Any hope of giving these guest workers a path to permanent resident status is slim to none. So they'll just remain, for the most part, replenishing the undocumented population.

Senator DeMint's amendment SA 1197 rejected: required as a condition of eligibility for "Z" visa status, that immigrants secure and maintain health care coverage through high deductible health plans (HDHPs) or Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). Only a small minority of employers offer health insurance that meets the HDHP and HAS requirements of SA 1197 and therefore would have created a potentially insurmountable barrier to legalization (not to mention the barriers that already exist in the Grand Bargain).

Cornyn amendment SA 1184 rejected: would have expanded the definition of an aggravated felony, created new grounds of inadmissibility based on aggravated felonies and other crimes, and expanded the definition of gang activity used in determining deportation grounds. It also expands the discretionary authority of DHS to deny naturalization and other benefits based on a finding that an applicant lacks good moral character. Allows deportations based on the unreviewable determination by the Attorney General that a person lacks "good moral character"; determinations can be made based on secret evidence that the person cannot see or effectively challenge.

Criminal penalties --

In fact, the Grand Bargain already turns hundreds of thousands of immigrants into criminals. Here's a brief summary of a few of the criminal provisions in the Grand Bargain:

Illegal entry - 6 months in prison
2nd illegal entry - 2 years in prison
3 misdemeanors plus illegal entry - 10 years in prison
Felony with 30 months in prison followed by illegal entry - 15 years in prison
Illegal reentry after deportation - 2 years in prison
Visa fraud - 15 years in prison

So, for example, a wife of someone granted Z visa status comes to live with her husband - illegal entry number 1 since she cannot get a visa to live with her Z husband for probably 15-20 years. Lets say she's lucky and does not get caught so she avoids 6 months in jail.
Her mom dies so she goes home for the funeral and a week or so later reenters illegally and is caught. Bingo - prison for 2 years..
After 2 years she is deported (and of course is now permanently barred from legalizing her status). Desperate to be with her husband (and maybe children), she again enters without inspection and is caught.
Bingo, 10 years in prison.
Halliburton and the other private prison builders pop the champagne and toast the Grand Bargain. By the way, in the federal system, there's no early release for good behavior.

How about "expedited removal" and the Z visa:

Since 1997 well over a million immigrants have been subjected to "expedited removal." Expedited removal is a provision in the Immigration and Nationality Act §235(b)(1)(A)(i) under which an immigrant who lacks proper documentation or has committed fraud or willful misrepresentation of facts to gain admission into the United States is inadmissable and may be removed from the United States without any further hearings or review, unless the immigrant indicates either an intention to apply for asylum or a fear of persecution. In August 2004, the expedited removal program was expanded to immigrants encountered by an immigration officer within 100 air miles of the U.S. international southwest land border (about 85% of the immigrants subject to this form of expedited removal are from Mexico). Since the US apprehends and deports about 1 million immigrants each year along the border, the number subjected to expedited removal could be 1-2 or more million. Of those deported how many make it back illegally? No one knows for sure but people assume a very large number try to enter a second or third time and eventually get through.

The Z visa will exclude immigrants previously deported, including those previously removed under expedite removal (deportation) orders. In summary, aside from the outrageously high application fees, penalties, and payment of back taxes, and granting immigrants no more than a "non-immigrant visa," and denying them the right to have their families join them, and forcing them to work no matter what kind of harsh and unlawful conditions they may endure, and excluding groups like day laborers who are not formally "employed," the Z visa will also exclude probably 1-2 million immigrants now living here who have previously been deported or removed under expedited removal orders. Who is this a Great Bargain for???

Urge your Senators to amend the Grand Bargain by (1) making Z visas permanent instead of non- immigrant visas, (2) drop all of the fees and penalties by 75% and permit community service in the place of fees for those unable to afford the fees, (3) allow people to qualify even if they have prior deportation orders (as was the case with IRCA in 1986), (4) make Z visa applications confidential, (5) allow for prompt family unity at minimum for spouses and children, (6) do not require applicants to leave the country to obtain lawful permanent resident status, and (7) allow for judicial review of applications denied erroneously or by an officer who abused his or her discretion. This is what it would take to have anything close to a rational and humane legalization program.

Given the current make up of the Senate and occupant in the White House, you have a better chance of winning the lottery than getting these types of amendments considered or approved. But these are the types of rational and humane amendments people should be advocating for with regards to the Z visa as this debate winds down in the Senate.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Peter A. Schey
President
Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law

CONTACT:
Nativo V. Lopez, National President of MAPA (323) 269-1575

bh

June 7, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

English as Official Language Amendment to Senate Immigration Bill

The Senate yesterday approved the Imhoff Amendment 64-33 to amend title 4, United States Code, "to declare English as the national language of the Government of the United States, and for other purposes." AAJC issued this statement in response:

Asian American Justice Center Condemns Passage of Inhofe Amendment

Washington, D.C. – The Asian American Justice Center (AAJC), a national civil rights organization, condemns the Senate for passing the Inhofe Amendment to the Senate immigration bill on Wednesday. The Inhofe Amendment could be used by English-only proponents to restrict the government’s ability to transmit documents and communicate in languages other than English.

“We are deeply disappointed that the Senate passed such a divisive and harmful provision,” said Karen K. Narasaki, President and Executive Director at AAJC. “Anti-immigrant groups will seek to use this provision to undermine the government’s ability to communicate critical information and provide necessary services. It makes no sense to try to block communication that would protect all Americans against national threats to security or disasters, or ensure access to quality healthcare, education and the legal system. Allowing this amendment into our immigration bill is a mistake which could deeply harm the government’s ability to protect its citizens,” she added.

“It is our hope that the House will restore unity and reason to this debate by acknowledging that English is our common language without validating any attempts to undermine the rights of individuals to meaningfully access government programs and services,” said Tuyet G. Duong, Staff Attorney at AAJC. “The provision does nothing to help immigrants learn English. It just seeks to punish those who are still trying to learn. When it comes to helping immigrants learn English, we need more resources for adult education programs, not a law which attacks their languages and their cultures,” she added.

Call your Senators today and thank them for voting against the Inhofe Amendment. If your Senator voted for the Inhofe Amendment, tell him or her how harmful this amendment is to our communities! To see how your Senator voted, click here.

bh

June 7, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (1)

USCIS Fact Sheet On Military Naturalizations

U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (here) has released a fact sheet on military naturalizations.

KJ

June 7, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Link between White Supremacists and Restrictionists: A Terrorrism Concern?

In "Feds watching anti-immigrant extremists" by Kevin Johnson (no relation to this KJ) , USA Today reports that "Charles Frahm, FBI deputy assistant director for counterterrorism, said there is increasing concern that the most radical elements of the anti-immigration wing may be `susceptible' to recruitment by white supremacists and other groups inclined toward violence." For the full story, see here.

KJ

June 7, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

U.S. Immigration: Who Should Get In?

NPR's Talk of the Nation (here) discusses legal immigration and the point system in the immigration reform proposal.  Currently, priority for green cards goes to relatives of immigrants already in the United States. The new immigration bill switches priority from family relations to skills and facility with English. Critics say this change is evidence of elitism, while supporters argue it is simply good economic sense. Jeanne Butterfield, executive director, American Immigration Lawyers Association, and Tamar Jacoby, senior fellow, The Manhattan Institute, offer contrasting views on the subject.

KJ

June 7, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Deport Paris Hilton?

Paris Hilton was freed from jail early Thursday morning, just three days after she began serving a 23-day sentence for violating probation after a drunk driving conviction, officials said Thursday. "After extensive consultations with medical personnel it was determined that Paris Hilton will be reassigned to our community-based ... electronic monitoring programme," said Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department spokesman Steve Whitmore. "She has been fitted with an ankle bracelet and will be confined to her home for the next 40 days."

Would we deport Paris Hilton for this offense? Of course not. In fact, for her conviction, Hilton will now be under house arrest. No restitution, no community service, and no more jail time. Yet, every day, the United States deports lawful immigrants and refugees who have been convicted of minor offenses such as shoplifting and writing bad checks. Yes, some have committed more serious crimes involving violence or narcotics, but all have been incarcerated, then deported on top of that. They come from all over the world: Mexico, Asia, Canada, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.  The U.S. Supreme Court even endorsed the deportation of a Somalian refugee, convicted of assault, back to Somalia, where no formal government exists. In 2002, the United States began deporting Cambodian refugees convicted of crimes back to communist-dominated Cambodia.  So recent announcements of ICE rounding up and removing hundreds of so-called "illegal immigrants" who have committed crimes, clouds the fact that the agency is also engaged in deporting lawful permanent resident aliens (those with "green cards") and refugees convicted of crimes.  And these deportees have served their sentences in the criminal justice system before being deported.

In years past, deportation relief might have been afforded to many of these people if certain hardships or rehabilitation could be established, but an overhaul of the immigration laws in 1996 closed this avenue for a second chance to most "alien criminals." And what about fixing the 1996 laws as part of the current immigration debate going on in Congress today? Not even on the radar screen.

As a sovereign nation, we certainly have the technical authority to punish and remove these people from our country. But even though we have this power, how, when and on what basis should we exercise it? Are we really proud of deporting people who entered the country as infants to a land where they have no real ties? People who have served their criminal sentences? People who may have convincing evidence of rehabilitation? People who have stable families and communities ready to help get them back on their feet? Many of these deportees deserved a second chance, but our system provided them with no opportunity to present their cases. Ridding the country of criminal elements attributable to foreign sources is an admirable goal, but there are several arguments against using deportation as the means to achieving this goal.  The first is the impact that deportation has on citizen family members and employers.  Second, many deportable foreign nationals have resided in the United States since infancy.  Third, deportation implies a failure on the part of the criminal justice system to rehabilitate incarcerated persons, forcing them to serve sentences imposed by U.S. courts and leave the country immediately afterwards in order to protect the public. 

Rethinking removal and developing reasonable alternatives is a challenge that requires our immediate attention.  Our current deportation policy destroys the lives of those who fall prey to it, and it destroys U.S. families and communities in the process.  Nothing is gained, and ultimately, we all lose. It's time to rethink deportation as the only option for longtime immigrant and refugee residents of the United States. It's time to think about a other options like probation, community service, counseling, or a restorative justice approach to these challenges.

The world of corporate fraud prosecutions also suggests an interesting tool that could be useful in developing alternatives to deportation for criminal aliens.  In response to the extent of corporate scandals, federal prosecutors have adopted strategies to manage the complexity of prosecutions and to foster better behavior on the part of corporations.  For example, by using prosecution guidelines, prosecutors can elect to defer prosecution in cases where the corporation cooperates with investigatory agents and takes remedial actions to remedy its illegal behaviors. This culminates in a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) between the government and the corporation, which is essentially a form of probation, or "pretrial diversion," where the government suspends charges against the company if all the details of the agreement are fulfilled.

DPAs provide tremendous rehabilitative incentives to the corporations that are party to them.  This innovation in the world of corporate scandal where billions of dollars may be involved and the lives of officers, board members, employees, and shareholders are at stake?is adaptable to the criminal immigrant deportation setting.  Why not monitor and impose conditions on such individuals for a reasonable period of time to see if rehabilitation is possible?  Why not provide government attorneys or immigration judges with the authority to implement such conditions?

Paris Hilton is lucky she did not enter the country as a toddler from a Thai refugee camp. If she had, she might be faced with an armed escort to Phnom Penh. bh

June 7, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

MALDEF Status Report on Senate Debate

Pro and Anti-Immigrant Senate Amendments Defeated
MALDEF supports cloture and House action

JUNE 7, 2007 -- The Senate worked until early Thursday morning to complete action on the immigration bill.  The efforts we and others supported to protect family reunification failed to pass.  Notably, however, Senator Menendez's amendment to keep over 800,000 relatives of U.S. citizens and permanent residents from being kicked out of the legal immigration line had majority support in the Senate (53 votes to 44 against) but, because of a legislative maneuver by Senator Kyl that required a super-majority to pass his amendment. 

We are extremely disappointed with the results of the amendments (for details, see below).  Today, the Senate will vote to cut off additional debate and move to final passage.  The "cloture" vote is an important strategic move that will move Senate action forward and we support it.   Based on our conversations with key House members, we believe there are additional opportunities to shape immigration reform.  Having the Senate on record in support of the DREAM Act, AgJobs and legalizing individuals who arrived in the United States as late as December 31, 2006 are important steps forward.  We do not believe that Senate votes on many additional amendments will improve it. 

This morning's cloture vote requires 60 Senate votes.  You can reach your senator at 202-224-3121. 

Our partners in the office of New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez have provided the following summary of yesterday's amendments:

Kennedy #1333 - An alternative to Cornyn Amendment #1184, this amendment creates inadmissibility and deportability grounds for various categories of offenders, including gang members, sex offenders and drunk drivers, so they will not qualify for the legalization program.  Agreed to 66-32.

Cornyn #1250 (Mandatory Disclosure) - This amendment eliminates important confidentiality protections for legalization applicants, thus rendering the legalization program ineffective by discouraging eligible undocumented immigrants from coming forward and taking advantage of the program. Agreed to 57-39.

Reid #1331 (EITC) - This is a side by side to Sessions Amendment #1234.  It makes clear that nothing in the bill would change the prohibition on illegal aliens gaining access to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Agreed to 57-40.

Sessions #1234 (EITC) - This amendment prohibits the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for undocumented individuals applying for Z visa status and Y visa holders until they become permanent resident. Agreed to 56-41.

Kyl #1460 (Family Backlog) - This is Republican side by side to the Menendez backlog amendment. Under the amendment, there is no significant decrease in the number of people who played by the rules, filed petitions, and will arbitrarily be excluded. Instead, it merely shifts who gets excluded from the backlog. Agreed to 51-45.

Salazar/Domenici #1384 - This is a bipartisan side by side to Inhofe Amendment #1151.  It reaffirms that English is the common language of our country, but does not undermine important existing law that is critical to our nation's safety, health care, education, and other services. It also ensures we are promoting law enforcement activities that protect our communities and keeps them safe.  Agreed to 58-39.

Inhofe #1151 - This amendment declares English as the national language of the Government of the United States.  It conflicts with several provisions of federal law that guarantee the right of non-English speaking students to learn English in our public schools. Agreed to 64-33.

Dorgan #1316 - This amendment ends the Y-1 nonimmigrant visa program after a 5 year period.  It clarifies that the H-2a visa program would not be subject to this termination, only the Y-1 guest worker visa program. Agreed to 49-48.

Cornyn #1184 - This amendment guts the legalization program by categorizing large numbers of non-criminal undocumented immigrants as criminals subject to deportation instead of legalization. Rejected 46-57.

DeMint Amendment #1197 - By tying participation in a health plan to access to legal  status, this amendment would limit the number of people who would qualify for legalization.  Rejected 43-55.

Bingaman Amendment #1267 - This amendment removes the requirement that Y-1 nonimmigrant visa holders leave the U.S. before they are able to renew their visa.  Rejected 41-57.

Budget Point of Order was raised against Menendez #1194 (Family Backlog) - Unfortunately, a motion to waive the budget act with respect to Menendez amendment was not waived and failed 53-41.  (A 2/3 majority was needed.)

Clinton/Hagel/Menendez #1183, as further modified - A Budget Point of Order was raised against this one. It reclassifies the spouses and minor children of LPRs as 'immediate relatives' thus exempting them from visa caps. The provision builds off of Senator Clinton's V Visa amendment from last year, which offered a temporary solution to this same problem.  The motion to waive the Budget Act was rejected 44-53.

Ensign #1374 - This amendment ups the weight placed on education and skills but eliminates the family credits and the supplemental points for Z visas schedule, including the points for agricultural workers.  It keeps homeownership (sole) and medical insurance categories that were previously in the supplemental schedule for Z visas.  Rejected 42-55.

Vitter #1339 - This amendment requires that the U.S. VISIT system - the biometric border check-in/check-out system first required by Congress in 1996 that is already well past its already postponed 2005 implementation due date - be finished as part of the enforcement trigger.  Rejected 48-49.

Obama #1202, as modified - This amendment would end the new point system in the immigration bill in five years. It was modified to ensure that allocation of visas for backlog reduction purposes was not rewritten and to ensure that there were the same number of visas left for backlog reduction.  Rejected 42-55.

Lieberman #1191 (Asylum Procedures) - This amendment implements the recommendations of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom regarding the treatment of asylum-seekers in the United States.  The USCIRF recommended common-sense policies that would enhance asylum-seekers' access to counsel and other legal rights.  Agreed to by voice vote.

Thomas #1182 - This amendment establishes new units of Customs Patrol Officers (commonly known as "Shadow Wolves") during the 5-year period beginning on date of enactment. The units would operate on Indian reservation or borders with Canada and Mexico and investigate, prevent the entry of terrorists, other unlawful, instruments of terrorism, narcotics and other contraband. Agreed to by voice vote.

Schumer #1272 - This amendment improves security by providing for the establishment of B-1 visitor visa decision making guidelines and a tracking system. Agreed to by voice vote.

Hutchison #1415 - This amendment prohibits obtaining social security benefits based on earnings obtained during any period without work authorization. Agreed to by voice vote. 

Founded in 1968, MALDEF, the nation's leading Latino legal organization, promotes and protects the rights of Latinos through litigation, advocacy, community education and outreach, leadership development, and higher education scholarships.

bh

June 7, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Immigrant of the Day: Henry Kissinger

Henry_kissinger_150 Henry Alfred Kissinger (born Heinz Alfred Kissinger on May 27, 1923) is a German-born American diplomat, and 1973 Nobel Peace Prize laureate. He served as National Security Advisor and later concurrently as Secretary of State in the Nixon administration. He continued in the latter position after Gerald Ford became President in the aftermath of the Watergate scandal. A proponent of Realpolitik, Kissinger played a dominant role in United States foreign policy between 1969 and 1977. During this time, he pioneered the policy of détente that led to a significant relaxation in U.S.–Soviet tensions and played a crucial role in 1971 talks with Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai that concluded with a rapprochement between the two countries and the formation of a new strategic anti-Soviet Sino–American alliance.

During his time in the Nixon and Ford administrations, Kissinger cut a flamboyant figure, appearing at social occasions with many celebrities. His foreign policy record made him enemies amongst the anti-war left and strong anti-Communist hawks alike on the right.

Kissinger was born in Fürth in Franconia (Bavaria), as Heinz Alfred Kissinger In 1938, fleeing Nazi persecution, his family moved to New York. Kissinger was naturalized a U.S. citizen on June 19, 1943, while in military training at Camp Croft in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

Kissinger received his A.B. degree summa cum laude at Harvard College in 1950. Kissinger has been rumored to be the only person to receive a perfect grade point average from Harvard, but in fact he received one B in his senior year. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees at Harvard University in 1952 and 1954, respectively. Kissinger remained at Harvard as a member of the faculty at the university's Department of Government and at its Center for International Affairs. He became Associate Director of the Center for International Affairs in 1957. During 1955 and 1956, he was also Study Director in Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy at the Council of Foreign Relations. He released his Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy the following year. From 1956 to 1958 he worked for the Rockefeller Brothers Fund as director of their Special Studies Project. He was Director of the Harvard Defense Studies Program between 1958 and 1971.

Kissinger was also Director of the Harvard International Seminar between 1951 and 1971. Outside of academia, he served as a consultant to several government agencies, including the Operations Research Office, the Rand Corporation, the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, and the Department of State.

Kissinger became a supporter of, and advisor to, Nelson Rockefeller, Governor of New York, who sought the Republican nomination for President in 1960, 1964 and 1968. After Richard Nixon won the presidency in 1968, he offered Kissinger the job of National Security Advisor.

Kissinger currently lives with his second wife, Nancy Maginnes, in Kent, Connecticut. He is the head of Kissinger Associates, a consulting firm.

KJ

June 7, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Negative Commentary on the Reform Proposal

The negative commentary on the Senate reform proposal keeps coming.  MARTIN J. LAWLER for the Wall Street Journal (here) criticizes the proposed point system.  He contends that actor Michael J. Fox, the late news anchor Peter Jennings and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, all immigrants who found a path to a successful career, probably would not have made the cut in the point system.  (No surprise that the Governator opposes the point system, as Bill Hing has reported. :)  ).

Migra Matters (here) thinks that we all should be ashamed about what has happened with immigration reform.

With Senator Menendez's family-friendly visa amendment having failed last night, it looks like the chances for improving the proposal are dwindling.  What is to become of immigration reform in 2007?

KJ

June 7, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)