March 6, 2010
La Opinion on the Schumer Senate Bill
Yesterday, Kevin Johnson reported on the LA Times piece related to the President's meeting with key Senate leaders on immigration reform. Antonieta Cádiz writes this related piece in La Opinion:
WASHINGTON, D.C.- “Nothing has been written yet” stated various sources involved in the process. However, if immigration reform were to materialize today, it would include considerably minor penalties, no touchback and for those who are undocumented and do not have criminal records, legalization would be awarded.
Beginning last June, the President of the Senate’s Immigration Subcommittee, Chuck Schumer (D-NY), publicly announced his commitment to push the legislation in the Senate.
Last July, the Senator defined the proposal’s general pillars: “control of operations at the border, one year after the legislation has been promulgated; implementation of an identity verification biometric system; registration of all undocumented individuals in order to initiate the legalization process, otherwise all undocumented individuals will have to leave the country; provide incentives for family reunification within the context of legal immigration; promote the development of foreign talent within the context of legal immigration and the creation of a system that regulates the flow of future immigrants in an efficient manner.”
Schumer has worked for more than a year with Republican Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to obtain a bipartisan bill that will be able to survive in the Senate and to prevent the failure of previous legislation. Advancements in these negotiations have been strictly confidential.
So far the legislator has spoken to diverse interested parts, according to what Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) confirmed this week to La Opinion. Through the negotiation table, syndicates, businesses, religious groups, activists and congressmen, among others have passed.
Sources close to the process confirmed to La Opinion, that in the area of legalization, the proposal that has been discussed so far would have “substantially lower penalties” compared to the McCain-Kennedy bill. In this context, the undocumented will have to pay the cost of processing their application, which is expected to be $500 per immigrant.
“There is no touchback,” which was the provision required in the previous bill, where immigrants would have to leave the country to obtain their legalization.
In addition, the 600 thousand individuals who currently have orders of removal - which were not included in the McCain-Kennedy bill, “would be legalized unless they were criminals,” according to sources involved in the process.
In this scenario, the undocumented would have to register and provide their fingerprints to the government, which would be checked for criminal records. If no criminal records are found, the undocumented would obtain a biometric Social Security card, allowing them to work.
Individuals, on the other hand, will have to demonstrate that they have a job. “It would not be allowed for individuals that do not have a job to have papers, unless one of the members of the family is employed. However, if members of the entire family do not have employment, then the entire family will not be allowed to hold papers.”
Employers will have a window to declare the undocumented workers, without being penalize by ICE.
Undocumented immigrants will receive a Lawful Prospective Immigrant Status, which will result in a greencard, but this will only happen once the current individuals that have filed an immigration petition, have received it.
The implications that the legalization of 12 million people could bring to the United States, have been a major concern during these numerous months of negotiations, especially given the trends that have occurred in the past and despite how immigrants have been treated and cataloged.
In this context and parallel to negotiations in the Senate, various groups have made an effort to show with numbers, the importance of preventing past mistakes and to show the most influential tendencies for the U.S. population today.
Some senators received results of a poll, accessed by La Opinion and performed by Benenson Strategy Group, between December 19 and 20, 2009, which sampled 800 likely voters for the November 2010 elections.
The poll compared public trends and asked about two choices: plead guilty to a crime versus a tax surcharge for a period of five years, in exchange for legalization.
The results of the poll indicated by a more than 60% margin that voters support an immigration reform proposal that requires undocumented immigrants to register, meet conditions like passing a background check and studying English, and pay a 5% surcharge on their income taxes for 5 years (80% support, 19% oppose, with 52% strongly supporting it). By comparison, the same proposal containing a requirement that illegal immigrants plead guilty to a crime for being here illegally has 26% net support (62% support, 36% oppose, with 24% strongly supporting it).
Sources close to the negotiations said the option to plead guilty to a crime for legalization in an immigration reform bill, is not within the options being considered today.
March 21 Immigrant March on Washington Growing and Growing
From Ali Noorani of the National Immigration Reform (for Huffington Post):
Today, La Opinión - the largest Spanish language newspaper in the U.S. - reported on a possible framework for moving forward comprehensive immigration reform legislation in the Senate. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) has worked for more than a year with Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to create a bipartisan immigration reform bill. Advocates and immigrant communities have been waiting for many years for the government to finally fix the broken immigration system, to an immigration system that works and reflects the interests and the values of the American people.
Meanwhile, tens of thousands of Americans are mobilizing across the country to push for immigration reform.
Today, a caravan of faith leaders, day laborers and others is leaving from Phoenix, Arizona. Greeted by crowds of up to a 1,000 in places like Houston and New Orleans, this caravan will grow to dozens of vehicles and hundreds of people to arrive in DC on March 21st.
In Michigan, Ohio, California, Wisconsin and states across the country, communities are raising money and organizing buses to bring African American workers, small business owners, immigrant families and others to Washington DC on March 21st.
These communities on the move will meet in Washington DC to joins tens of thousands of Americans to March FOR America on Sunday, March 21, 2010, and remind our elected leaders that Change Takes Courage.
Americans pouring out of buses and metro stops on that Sunday afternoon will be greeted by the sight of a stage - whose backdrop is the U.S. Capitol - draped in American flags and banners reading, "March FOR America, Change Takes Courage."
At 1:00 PM an interfaith service of 5,000 religious leaders begins. Cardinals, Bishops, Pastors, Rabbis, Imams, and others highlight the moral urgency of immigration reform, calling for the best of America to come together and welcome the stranger.
With an honor guard and pledge of allegiance, the March FOR America program kicks off at 2:00 PM. Tens of thousands of American flags flutter in the wind, held high by the audience, flanked by signs reading "We Work FOR America," "Change Takes Faith" and "Reform Immigration FOR America."
As the crowd quiets, the event opens with an invocation. Americans pause to remember the struggle of all workers, of all families, of all people coming together to make our nation great.
Music fills the air as the energy picks up. The opening speaker begins:
Today we are at a pivotal moment in the history of this nation. We are faced with a choice. We can do nothing, and watch as new American families are torn apart by the broken immigration system; watch as profiteers continue to take advantage of people desperate for work; and watch as all American families struggle to find good jobs and make ends meet. Or we can stand up, and stand together for our families and our communities.
Every day that Washington fails to address our broken immigration system and broken economy, Americans become more angry and frustrated with their leaders. Every day that we put off reforming the immigration system more families are torn apart, workers endure more abuse, our national deficit grows as billions in tax revenue are lost, and the rule of law is undermined. Every day that Congress and the President fail to address the growing economic distress in American communities is another day in which American families struggle unnecessarily.
Leadership from churches, labor unions, business and the immigrant community speak to the inspiration of America and the urgency of the moment: Workers are being exploited, families are being separated, businesses are being undermined.
The solution is to Reform Immigration FOR America.
More on Arpaio's Abuse of Pregnant Women
Valeria Fernández writes for IPS News:
PHOENIX, Arizona, Mar 4, 2010 (IPS) - When Maricopa County sheriff's deputies raided Celia Alejandra Alvarez's workplace and discovered her hiding place, she says they lifted her off her feet and slammed her face into a wall, causing injuries to her jaw and teeth. Later, in detention for having false documents, she says she was not given medical care.
"I'm never going to forget what I went through behind bars," the 32-year-old Mexican immigrant told IPS. Last month, she filed a lawsuit against the sheriff's office.
Alvarez is not alone. Other immigrant women and mothers like her describe allegations of physical abuse and being shackled during childbirth while in the custody of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who runs five county jails, is in the national spotlight for his crusade to have local police arrest undocumented immigrants and facilitate their deportation. But he is also the subject of a probe into civil rights violations, and a federal grand jury on abuse of power.
Advocates contend the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the sheriff's office are equally to blame for the alleged violations occurring at the jails. They argue the cooperation between local police and immigration authorities has led to increased arrests of undocumented immigrants for minor offences.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the enforcement arm of DHS, has an agreement with Arapio known as 287(g) that allows jailers to place retainers on undocumented immigrants to transfer custody once their state charges are resolved. Click here for the rest of the story.
Repeat after me: Sheriff Joe has got to go!
March 5, 2010
Are You Serious About Jobs?
Angela Maria Kelley and Gebe Martinez of the Center for American Progress report that a recent show of bipartisanship on a Senate bill to spur job growth was surprising to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). As it turns out, however, "a band of anti-immigration conservatives are threatening to vote against these measures in a political move to turn this much-needed economic debate into a capricious attack on immigrant workers. This group of senators wants to pile on current restrictions banning employers from hiring undocumented immigrants by adding more burdensome and faulty employment verification systems." What they forget is that "[i]mmigrants don’t stand in the way of economic growth—they actually feed it. Numerous economic studies from across the ideological spectrum show that immigrant workers are important to economic growth."
Obama risks alienating Latinos with lack of immigration reform
Old news if you are a regular reader of this blog but another voice on the costs of no immigration reform.
Cancellation of Removal Toolkit
As part of its mission to promote a modernized immigration system through representation of immigrant advocacy organizations, Penn State Law's Center for Immigrants' Rights
Ninth Circuit Rules USCIS Unlawfully Imposed Arbitrary Requirements on Employment Visas
In a decision issued today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in an opinion by Judge D.W. Nelson (with a concurring opinion by Judge Harry Pregerson) ruled that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) unlawfully imposed extra-regulatory requirements on a petition for a worker of "extraordinary ability" (EB-1). The case in question, Kazarian v. USCIS, involved a theoretical physicist whose employment-based visa was denied because he did not demonstrate "the research community's reactions to his [scholarly] publications" - an arbitrary requirement with no justification in the law. In today's decision, the Ninth Circuit amended its previous ruling and reversed the agency's interpretation. The court held that "neither USCIS nor an [Administrative Appeals Office] may unilaterally impose novel substantive or evidentiary requirements beyond those set forth [in the regulations]."
Obama Administration to Push for Immigration Reform?
Peter Nicholas of the L.A. Times reports that the White House is discussing prospects for reviving efforts at immigration refoirm. Obama reportedly took up the issue privately with his staff on Monday: "In the session, Obama and members of his Domestic Policy Council outlined ways to resuscitate the effort in a White House meeting with two senators -- Democrat Charles E. Schumer of New York and Republican Lindsey Graham of South Carolina -- who have spent months trying to craft a bill. According to a person familiar with the meeting, the White House may ask Schumer and Graham to at least produce a blueprint that could be turned into legislative language."
March 4, 2010
Immigration Reform: Change Takes Courage and Faith
Jim Wallis on the Huffington Post complains -- correctly, I think -- about how the nay-sayers are saying the opportunity for immigration reform is quickly evaporating without much attention to the human costs of failing to do something to reform the U.S. immigration laws. For years, supporters have been told to wait and wait for true immigration reform while enforcement measure after enforecement measure -- what I have called the "enforcement now, enforcement forever" policy -- has been put into place since September 11, 2001. Just when will we see reform?
The Deportation of U.S. Veterans
A group of veterans and supporters has established a network to advocate on behalf of all members of the U. S. Military who serve or have served the U.S., yet face deportation or have been deported.
The seek noncitizen national status for "A person who, by conscription or enlistment, entered any branch of the United States armed forces."
Case of Hector Barajas US Army, 82nd Airborn Spc.
A legal permanent resident. Served during Nov 95 thru Nov 2001. Received 2 honorable discharges. During his military career he received and 2 AAM´s , Army Achievement Medal, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense, Army Service Medal and Humanitarian Medal, He also served proudly with the 407th Golden Griffins C Co, ·307th FSB Renegades C Co., WBAMC, Shortly after his disharge from the millitary he got in trouble with the law, paid his debt to society, during his encarceration he received multiple diplomas and rehabilitation. Upon his release he had an immigration hold. He could not beleive his country would turn his back on him. He was chained and flown to Arizona by the US Marshalls. With no legal help and nobody to turn to. He represented himself and was eventually deported. in 2003, He fought his case for over 6 months, He used the argument that he was a US National and that he could not be deported because of his military oath and permanent allegiance to the United States. The judge told him he had to deport him, thanked him for his service. The judge also said if he was a combat veteran or served during war time he could not be deported, If Mr. Barajas had only known that after 9-11 the President put all the military in conflict status, he might have not been deported. Even still there have been many Combat veterans who keep getting deported.. The goverment sais he wasnt a National or an American...Eventhough he wore the patch during his military career the double AA, All Americans 82nd Airborne, there was never a distinction of where he was born and where his heart was at...He still beleives in this country and proudly states he is a US Veteran ...No matter where he goes as Fernando Cervantes put it.. I will always be a United States Veteran.
During my unjust and unfair treatment in Mira Loma Detention Center there were over 5 veterans just in a 3 week period, before I got there, they announced over the intercom for all veterans to report to the recreation room, its obvious they are deporting veterans at an alarming rate.. as this is 1 facility of 350 in the US... please...help me and many veterans who are struggling with this issue...
US Army 82nd Abn
Click here for more information.
Undocumented Head to Accountants to Pay Taxes
Yes, millions of undocumented immigrants do pay taxes. See a story, which quotes Professor Francine Lipman (Chapman), about how they also worry about April 15 here.
NEW AMERICANS IN THE SHOW ME STATE: Immigrants, Latinos, and Asians are Growing Economic and Political Force in Missouri
The Immigration Policy Center has compiled research which shows that immigrants, Latinos, and Asians are an important part of Missouri's economy, labor force, and tax base. Immigrants and their children are a growing economic and political force as consumers, taxpayers, and entrepreneurs. With the nation working towards economic recovery, Latinos, Asians and immigrants will continue to play a key role in shaping the economic and political future of the Show Me State.
Highlights from Missouri include:
• Immigrants made up 3.5% (or 208,121 people) of Missouri's population in 2007.
• 40.7% of immigrants in 2007 (or 84,745 people) in Missouri were naturalized U.S. citizens who are eligible to vote.
• Latinos accounted for 3.0% (176,352) and Asians 1.4% (or 82,298) of Missourians in 2007.
• The purchasing power of Latinos totaled $4.3 billion and Asian buying power totaled $3.2 billion in Missouri in 2009.
• If all unauthorized immigrants were removed from Missouri, the state could lose $2.3 billion in economic activity, $1.0 billion in gross state product, and approximately 13,859 jobs.
There is no denying the contributions immigrants, Latinos, and Asians make in Missouri and the important role they will play in the state's political and economic future.
Report on Trends in Health Care Spending for Immigrants in the United States
Report on Immigration Detention Federal Lawsuits
The Obama administration is arguing that the federal government bears no liability for the gross mistreatment of the two immigration plaintiffs in the lawsuits in the hands of private immigration detention centers. The government's position in the lawsuit is inconsistent with Obama's pledge to make immigration detention more humane, accountable, and transparent. For the full story, click here.
March 3, 2010
New Article: The Measure of a Society: The Treatment of Unaccompanied Refugee and Immigrant Children in the United States
Here is a new article on a hot topic: The Measure of a Society: The Treatment of Unaccompanied Refugee and Immigrant Children in the United States Wendy Young and Megan McKenna, Kids In Need of Defense (“KIND”), 45 Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review 247 (2010). Download 247-260
Suspend ICE Enforcement For Census
From the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights:
The National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights asks that you please join us in requesting a suspension of immigration enforcement activities in order to maximize immigrant community participation in the upcoming Census. During the middle of March, households will receive in their mail the census form to complete, with April 1 the target date for returning forms.
Numerous organizations have also requested such a suspension, but the Administration and DHS have thus far not indicated that they will take any steps. In the past two census periods, during 1990 and 2000, many operations were suspended for specific periods.
While we will also be working to address community concerns about the confidentiality of the census process and to generally raise awareness of its importance for our communities, we believe a suspension of enforcement activities will be important to encourage immigrant households to return their census forms.
Individuals can endorse this letter by going to: http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/5702/p/dia/action/public/
However, if your organization can sign onto this letter, please email firstname.lastname@example.org by the end of the day on Friday, March 5 with:
· The organization's name, as it should be listed, and city/state
· Name of contact person
· Email address for contact person
We will only be listing the organization and city/state.
We plan to release this letter on Mar. 9 with the organizational endorsements.
Thank you for your support.
An Immigration Response to the Haiti Earthquake
Yale law students Jeff Kahn and Aaron Zelinsky have a Huffington Post story arguing that Congress should temporarily relax the annual cap on lawful immigration from Haiti by permitting greater numbers of Haitians with permanent resident and U.S. citizen family members in the U.S. to immigrate here.
Why weren't anti-immigration folks making a big deal about the Bush Administration?
Yahoo Immigration Question of the Day.
Immigration Relief for Crime Victims: The U Visa Manual
The New York Anti-Trafficking Network (NYATN) has released a “Immigration Relief for Crime Victims: The U Visa Manual” in time for Women’s History Month. Visit here for additional NYATN resources and publications.
Immigrant of the Day: Annabel Park (South Korea)
Annabel Park is our Immigrant of the Day. Annabel was born in Seoul, South Korea and immigrated to America with her family when she was nine years old. She studied philosophy at Boston University and political theory at Oxford University as a Marshall Scholar. Annabel’s life experiences include working with inner city children, management consulting, writing and directing theater, and combining new media and political activism. She won The Cameron MacIntosh Award for her playwriting at Oxford University and was selected as a fellow for Film Independent’s Filmmaker Lab in 2005.She was the Director/Producer of 9500 Liberty, a documentary film on the impact of local immigration policies in Priince William County, Virginia.
In 2007, Annabel was the national coordinator for the 121 Coalition, organizing a historic grassroots effort to successfully pass U.S. House Resolution 121, also known as the “comfort women” resolution, which will be the subject of her upcoming film Journey Into the Divide.
The N.Y. Times recently reported on a new organization "[f]ed up with government gridlock, but put off by the flavor of the Tea Party." The alternative is the Coffee Party, which is rapidly growing through a Facebook page, where it pledges to “support leaders who work toward positive solutions, and hold accountable those who obstruct them.” The founder? Annabel Park.