Saturday, November 17, 2012

The State of Human Trafficking in California 2012: Another Reason for Comprehensive Immigration Reform


California Attorney General Kamala Harris earlier this week announced the release of report on  human trafficking in California.

Harris has made it a point to focus on human trafficking as a serious law enforcement issue.  The Attorney General's website, which also includes informational resources on trafficking, states:

"Human trafficking is the world's fastest growing criminal enterprise and is an estimated $32 billion-a-year global industry. After drug trafficking, human trafficking is the world's second most profitable criminal enterprise, a status it shares with illegal arms trafficking. Like drug and arms trafficking, the United States is one of the top destination countries for trafficking in persons. California – a populous border state with a significant immigrant population and the world's ninth largest economy – is one of the nation's top four destination states for trafficking human beings. Transnational and domestic gangs have recently expanded from trafficking guns and drugs to trafficking human beings.

Transnational gangs use cross-border tunnels to move not only guns and drugs, but also human beings, from Mexico into California. Domestic street gangs set aside traditional rivalries to set up commercial sex rings and maximize profits from the sale of young women. The perpetrators of human trafficking have become more sophisticated and organized, requiring an equally sophisticated response from law en¬forcement and its partners to disrupt and dismantle their networks.

The Internet and new technologies have also transformed the landscape of human trafficking. Traffickers use social media and other online tools to recruit victims and, in the case of sex trafficking, find and communicate with customers. While technology is being used to perpetrate human trafficking, that same technology can provide a digital trail – a valuable investigative tool for law enforcement to monitor, collect, and analyze online data and activities. Further, there are currently efforts underway to study and develop innovative technologies to prevent and disrupt human trafficking online. The Internet, social media, and mobile devices also provide new avenues for outreach to victims and raising public awareness about this atrocious crime."


Here are some "Highlights" of the 2012 report:

--    "From mid-2010 to mid-2012, California’s nine regional human trafficking task forces identified 1,277 victims, initiated 2,552 investigations, and arrested 1,798 individuals."

--    "In the same two-year period, California’s task forces provided training to 25,591 law enforcement personnel, prosecutors, victim service providers, and other first responders. Several non-governmental organizations have also trained judicial officers, airport personnel, social service providers, pro bono attorneys, and retail businesses, among others. The variety of individuals who have been trained underscores the pervasiveness of human trafficking and the important role that governmental and non-governmental actors play in detecting trafficking and assisting victims."

--    "72% of human trafficking victims whose country of origin was identified by California’s task forces are American. The public perception is that human trafficking victims are from other countries, but data from California’s task forces indicate that the vast majority are Americans."

--    "Labor trafficking is under-reported and under-investigated as compared to sex trafficking. 56% of victims who received services through California’s task forces were sex trafficking victims. Yet, data from other sources indicate that labor trafficking is 3.5 times as prevalent as sex trafficking worldwide."

--     "Local and transnational gangs are increasingly trafficking in human beings because it is a low- risk and high, renewable profit crime. It is critical for federal, state, and local law enforcement and labor regulators to collaborate across jurisdictions to disrupt and dismantle these increasingly sophisticated, organized criminal networks."

--    "A vertical prosecution model run outside routine vice operations can help law enforcement better protect victims and improve prosecutions. Fostering expertise about human trafficking within a law enforcement agency and handling these cases outside routine vice operations can prevent erroneously viewing trafficking victims as perpetrators."

--     "Early and frequent collaboration between law enforcement and victim service providers helps victims and prosecutors. Victims who receive immediate and comprehensive assistance are more likely to help bring their traffickers to justice."

--    "Traffickers are reaching more victims and customers by recruiting and advertising online. Traffickers use online advertising and Internet-enabled cell phones to access a larger client base and create a greater sense of anonymity. Law enforcement needs the training and tools to investigate trafficking online."

--    "Technology is available to better identify, reach, and serve victims. Tools like search-term triggered messages, website widgets, and text short codes enable groups to find victims online, connect them with services, and encourage the general public to report human trafficking."

--    "Alert consumers need more tools to leverage their purchasing power to reduce the demand for trafficking."

Human trafficking is a low-risk, high-profit business – an estimated $32 billion-a-year global industry that has recently attracted the participation of increasingly sophisticated, organized criminal gangs. Domestic street gangs set aside traditional rivalries to set up commercial sex rings and maximize profits from the sale of young women. Transnational gangs use cross-border tunnels to move not only guns and drugs, but also human beings, from Mexico into California.

Addressing human trafficking has been identified by the American Bar Association President Laurel Bellows as a high priority.  It is important to note that increased border enforcement over the last few years have resulted in the expansion of human trafficking -- with increased enforcement contributing to higher fees charged by traffickers, with criminal elements increasingly attracted to this lucrative market.  Paying off trafficking debts in the labor, and sometimes sex, markets has increased as well.  And sadly enough, slavery has made a comeback of sorts.

Meaningful reform of the immigration laws that create lawful avenues for migration for low- and moderate-skilled workers would help reduce the market for human traffickers.  Thus, while Californiia Attorney General Harris's efforts to increase criminal prosecutions of human traffickers is one strategy for attacking this serious social problem, immigration reform is another imortant strategy as well.


November 17, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Call for Papers: Politics and the Law & Immigration and the Law

The University of Massachusetts Law Review is currently accepting manuscript abstracts to be considered for publication in an our upcoming May 2012 double issue that will feature manuscripts on Politics and the Law & Immigration and the Law. Click here for details.


November 17, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

LexisNexis Immigration Law Community Podcast: Stephen Yale-Loehr and Stanley Mailman on 125 Years of Matthew Bender


On this edition, Dan Kowalski, editor of Matthew Bender’s Immigration Bulletin, talks with Stephen Yale-Loehr and Stanley Mailman, authors of the 21-volume Immigration Law and Procedure. They reflect on their time with the treatise and how it has changed over the years.

Immigration Law and Procedure is the "Bible'' of immigration law that has been cited in over 300 federal court decisions in cases from across the U.S. circuit courts of appeals, federal district courts, and the U.S. Supreme Court. Authors Stanley Mailman and Stephen Yale-Loehr are nationally respected immigration specialists whose professional expertise has made Immigration Law & Procedure the flagship Immigration treatise. Their analysis and opinions on undecided points of law have carried considerable weight with the courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court.


November 17, 2012 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Key Provisions of South Carolina Immigration Enforcement Law Enjoined

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley

A federal court today blocked key provisions of South Carolina's immigration enforcement law and recognized that harms could take place if police check a person's immigration status, inviting additional challenges of civil rights abuses. The decision affirms a December 2011 ruling that blocked key sections of the law, including those that aimed to turn unlawful presence into a state crime, and to turn everyday activities such as giving a ride or renting an apartment to an undocumented immigrant into a crime.

 While the U.S. District Court allowed for implementation of a "show me your papers" provision, it invites future challenges involving lengthy detentions and other civil rights issues.  In addition to the ACLU and the ACLU of South Carolina, the law was contested by the U.S. government, National Immigration Law Center, the Southern Poverty Law Center, MALDEF, the South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center, LatinoJustice PRLDF, Lloyd Law Firm, and Rosen, Rosen & Hagood.


November 16, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

The New DREAM Bar Association?

New America Media reports that an organization calling itself the DREAM Bar Association has launched a national campaign on behalf of undocumented immigrants who want licenses to practice law.  Sergio Garcia, a California law school graduate who has an application for legal residency pending, traveled to Washington, D.C. to join other undocumented law school graduates and law students for a November 13 press conference. Garcia's right to a California law license is under consideration by the California Supreme Court.  For more details about the proceedings, click here.

November 16, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

NY Times Room for Debate: Crossing the Line Between "Immigrant" and "American"

The New York Times hosted a Room for Debate on the following questions: Why are some immigrants and their descendants considered simply “American,” while others are still thought of as “outsiders”? How does an immigrant group come to be thought of as native? 

I contributed to the discussion. My piece which focused primarily on the link between race, immigration and citizenship. I argued in the essay that because of the history of systemic denial of formal and equal citizenship in the United States, it should not come as a surprise to all that some immigrant groups, particularly those of color, are presumed to be not truly Americans. Thus, a discussion of the reasons why why some immigrant groups are considered Americans while some continue to be deemed outsiders would be incomplete without addressing the links between whiteness, citizenship and what it means to be an American. 

Here's the link to the full conversation.


November 16, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

State and Local Immigration Enforcement Laws and CIR

Here is an American Constitution Society Issue Brief (Download Gulasekaram_and_Ramakrishnan) released today by Deep Gulasekaram (Santa Clara) and Karthick Ramakrishnan (UC Riverside). The brief focuses on state and local immigration enforcement laws and ends with a paragraph about immigration reform in the future (and some of the political difficulties with passage by Congress).


November 15, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Baldy Fellowships in Interdisciplinary Legal Studies

The Baldy Center for Law and Social Policy is inviting Fellowship applications for 2013-2014. Baldy Fellowships in Interdisciplinary Legal Studies are available to post-doctoral, mid-career, and senior scholars. This year's application form is here.  Completed applications are due February 1, 2013.

Further information on the on the Baldy Center website.


November 15, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Report: Immigration Detention Reforms Needed

A new report calls for changes in the nation’s growing immigration detention system, where Texas provides more than a quarter of beds for those charged with violating civil immigration laws. Detention Watch Network, a coalition of advocacy groups, said changes didn’t go far enough or weren’t implemented after a critical 2009 review by President Barack Obama’s administration. The review followed publicity about poor medical care, abuse and even deaths in facilities that now serve more than 33,000 daily. “Ironically, people in criminal custody have access to more due process protections, to attorneys, and there are standards to how facilities should be run, at least on paper,” said Andrea Black, a lawyer and executive director of Detention Watch." 

Click here for access to a story by Dianne Solís in Dallas Morning News on the report.


November 15, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Federal Court Dismisses Challenge to DACA

A federal district court week dismissed on standing grounds a lawsuit brought against the U.S. government challenging the legality of the Obama administration's Deferred Action Against Childhood Arrivals program.  The lawsuit really did not have much of a chance on the merits from the outset.


November 15, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Awakened Giant: The Hispanic Electorate is Likely to Double by 2030

An Awakened Giant: The Hispanic Electorate is Likely to Double by 2030 by Paul Taylor, Ana Gonzalez-Barrera, Jeffrey Passel and Mark Hugo Lopez

The record number1 of Latinos who cast ballots for president this year are the leading edge of an ascendant ethnic voting bloc that is likely to double in size within a generation, according to a Pew Hispanic Center analysis based on U.S. Census Bureau data, Election Day exit polls and a new nationwide survey of Hispanic immigrants.


November 15, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Belgium: A Permanent Immigration Country


Belgium is often overlooked as a country of immigration because of its size and its less known history of immigration. Yet over the last three decades Belgium has become a permanent country of settlement for many different types of migrants. The Migration Information Source's Belgium profile delves into modern migration flows and policies in Belgium which are inching away from a piecemeal approach towards a well-needed, long-term strategy.

November 15, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

ACLU Files Class-Action Lawsuit on Behalf of Detainees

The ACLU and its partners filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of hundreds of immigrants in New Jersey subject to mandatory immigration detention. The lead plaintiff, Garfield Gayle, a 59-year-old green card holder from Jamaica, has lived in the United States for 30 years. Nearly eight months ago, when federal agents put him in handcuffs at his home, he learned that the government was trying to deport him based on an alleged attempted drug sale offense that happened more than 17 years ago.

“There is no reason to incarcerate people for months or even years on end when they have every incentive to show up in court, fight their cases, and win the right to stay in America with their loved ones,” said Michael Tan, lead attorney on the case.

Here's a link to the complaint:  

According to the ACLU, "the case exemplifies many of the problems with widespread, costly and inhumane detentions around the country; there is of course great hope that some of this can change now that there is a lot of talk about immigration reform. Mr. Gayle, along with a record-breaking 429,000 immigrants in the U.S. in 2011, is being held in a detention center even though he has long roots and family in the U.S. and poses no threat."

For additional information on the issue of immigrants in detention, click here.


November 15, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

What is Comprehensive Immigration Reform?

My views on CIR from Huffington Post:

For immigrants and immigrant rights advocates, the post-election news that many Republicans understand that comprehensive immigration reform has to be tackled and that key Senate leaders such as Charles Schumer and Lindsey Graham already are working on a blueprint is splendid. The challenge will be in determining just what should go into that comprehensive package?

In many quarters, the debate over immigration reform boils down to a tug-of-war between those who want more enforcement and those who want legalization (a path to citizenship) for 11 million undocumented immigrants. But comprehensive reform requires addressing far more than these two issues. Most comprehensive proposals in that past several years would have increased border enforcement, instituted verification requirements for employers to ensure they are not hiring unauthorized workers, increased visas for high-skilled workers, and provided legalization for the undocumented immigrants here now. Over the years, narrower legalization proposals have focused on the DREAM Act for undocumented students, AgJobs for farmworkers, and a massive guest worker program that was promoted by President Bush. While I am opposed to enhanced employment verification requirements for employers because the effectiveness of employer sanctions is questionable, and I question the wisdom of a guest worker program given the exploitative circumstances under which those workers would have to operate, I understand why negotiators would want those issues on the table.

However, for many immigrants, their relatives, and their supporters, comprehensive reform entails much more. Consider the family immigration categories. The waitlist for many relative categories, particularly for those from Mexico and the Philippines, can be 10 to 20 years. Providing extra immigrant visas to clear the backlogs would do much to alleviate the pressure for some individuals to enter in violation of immigration laws. In fact, coming up with a different formula for family immigration categories that would alleviate backlogs altogether would be an important innovation.

The immigrant visa system itself is anachronistic. Those who advocate for more high-tech visas will attest to that fact. The country's outdated immigration policy is incapable of dealing with 21st century immigration patterns and economic realities. No doubt current family immigration and employment categories can be better honed to meet the types of demands of U.S. individuals and employers. However, many families, employers, and individuals need greater flexibility today, given residence and travel needs. That means that flexibility in terms of visa entries and residence requirements should be built into our current system to accommodate those needs. Movement circularity for visa holders is a feature that may accommodate working-class as well as wealthy individuals.

Our immigration enforcement regime is due for legislative reassessment as well. In the past few years, overzealous enforcement programs such as the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Secure Communities program that has swept up victims of crimes, minor offenders, and even crime witnesses have received some attention. Similar concern has been raised by the racial profiling of Muslims, Arabs, and South Asians under the U.S. Patriot Act. However, little attention has been paid to the fact that ever since 1996, lawful immigrants and refugees who have committed an "aggravated felony" are deported without a chance to introduce evidence of rehabilitation, remorse, or hardship to citizen relatives. Part of the tragedy of these laws is that the term aggravated felony includes selling $10 worth of marijuana, "smuggling" a kid sister across the border, and even some crimes like theft, burglary, perjury, and obstruction of justice that a state court has classified as a misdemeanor. There's a problem when spouses of citizens and parents of citizen children are deported as "aggravated felons" without giving an immigration judge the opportunity to decide whether the deportee deserves a second chance.

Immigration reform should include innovative thinking as well.

Given the demographic changes that have been brought about by immigrant and refugee resettlement across the country, why not promote civic engagement efforts that serve to welcome newcomers? It makes sense to reach out to immigrants and refugees as soon as they arrive so that they, too, might understand the responsibilities of being an American. Although federal, state, and local governments should lead the way, just think of the amazing things that could be accomplished if other vital institutions were to follow the government's lead and become involved: schools, daycare centers, local businesses, chambers of commerce, churches, recreation clubs, neighborhood groups, senior groups, and youth groups; they would bring rich possibilities to the enterprise.

The out-of-the box thinking on immigration reform may lead us to realize that the real solution to undocumented Mexican migration, for example, might be working more closely with our neighbor and consider making a greater effort to address Mexico's unemployment and economic needs. The point is that the binary analysis of immigration reform that is classically about greater enforcement versus legalization should only be a start. Cooler, more thoughtful heads can come up with more peaceful, meaningful ideas than militarizing the border.

Comprehensive immigration reform is the opportunity to think innovatively and expansively about the real needs of the country as well as the newcomers.


November 15, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Michael Maggio Immigrants' Rights Summer Fellowship Program

Michael Maggio Immigrants' Rights Summer Fellowship Program


Michael Maggio

Michael graduated from Antioch School of Law in 1978 and wasted no time before foraying into the struggle for social justice. His first office overlooked Adams Morgan, the heart of Washington DC's immigrant community.

In 1980 Michael worked on the landmark Filartiga v. Pena case, which established for the first time that the U.S. courts have jurisdiction to hear damage cases against noncitizens for grave violations of human rights committed outside the United States. Dozens of human rights cases have built upon the Filartiga precedent bringing survivors of torture a measure of justice in the U.S. courts.

Michael began teaching law at Antioch, and it was there that he met Candace Kattar, who later became his wife and law partner. In the 1980s, Michael and Candace took up the legal defense of Central Americans caught in a web of U.S. policies that sought to deny them asylum and deport them to places where their lives were clearly in danger. Maggio and Kattar quickly developed into an influential immigration law firm with a diverse and wide range of clients.

Michael's loving heart and sharp intellect combined to make him an extraordinary lawyer, one who embraced a passion for social justice and perhaps an even greater passion for life. Michael was active in the National Lawyers Guild, AILA, and served on the Board of Directors of the National Immigration Project.

Michael died in February 2008 after a courageous battle with cancer

Host Sites

Fellowship host sites must be recognized non-profit organizations. These include: Nonprofit organizations serving low-income and underserved immigrant communities. Legal services organizations that serve immigrants. Civil rights organizations that advocate on behalf of immigrants. Community-based organizations that engage in pro-immigrant advocacy. The host organization must be willing to host the student for 10 weeks and provide a $1,500 stipend. The $1,500 amount may be paid from the host organization's funds or may be provided by the law student through other means, e.g., law school public interest funding, independent fundraising, etc. The host organization must commit to supervise and provide all logistical needs of the Fellow including office space and supplies. Fellowship Projects

Selection criteria include:

Projects which provide direct legal services to low-income and underserved individuals, including intake, client and witness interviews, courtroom advocacy and legal research and writing.

Projects which provide community education and outreach. Projects which advocate for more just and humane immigration laws and policies.


Fellowship recipients must meet the following criteria: Law students enrolled in law school program. Demonstrated commitment to social justice and/or immigrants' rights issues.

Application Requirements

A complete application will include the following items: cover letter; completed application form (parts I & II); letter of support from the host organization, including information about the organization, the work the Fellow will be doing and the name of the person responsible for supervising the Fellow); and applicant's resume.

THE 2013 APPLICATION PERIOD IS NOW OPEN.  Click the link above for further information about the application process.


November 15, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Black Migration: Film and Internet Video Clip Recommendations

From Trica Danielle Keaton:

Dear Friends and Colleagues:
I’m teaching an undergraduate course on contemporary international and transnational “Black im/migration” (“Black,” broadly understood) this Spring semester, 2013. Visual material—in particular film (commercial feature and documentary)—on people’s lived experiences will be integral to the course in addition to short stories, art, and music. I would be grateful for any film and internet clip recommendations in English and/or subtitled in English that focus on questions of incorporation, identity politics, “Black” diversity, race and racism, and especially tensions between “Black natives” and “Black im/migrants" in Africa, the Americas, the Caribbean, and Europe. This material is also of interest for an upcoming, collaborative research project on “Black im/migration.” Once complied, I would be happy to share this list and circulate it. Please feel free to contact me directly at [].
Very best,
Trica Danielle Keaton, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
African American and Diaspora Studies
Vanderbilt University


November 14, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Yale Critical Race Theory Conference

Students at Yale Law School will be host a conference entitled "Critical Race Theory: From the Academy to the Community” on February 8-9, 2013. 

Confirmed conference participants include Kimberlé Crenshaw, UCLA/Columbia; Devon Carbado, UCLA; Lani Guinier, Harvard; Cheryl Harris, UCLA; Charles Lawrence, Hawaii/Georgetown; Gary Peller, Georgetown; Gerald Torres,Texas; and Tanya Hernandez, Fordham.

The conference will examine the ways in which critical race theory can be applied to scholarly work, legal practice, social justice advocacy and community based movements.

The event will continue a tradition of such gatherings at Yale Law School, which hosted a highly successful 2009 conference that explored the insights of critical race theory as applied to immigration law.

Click here for further information about the conference.


November 13, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

U.S. Citizen of the Day: NY Yankees Slugger Robinson Canó


Good news from the Big Apple!  NY Yankee second baseman Robinson Cano, a native of the Dominican Republic, has had a big week.  After winning the American League Silver Slugger award last week for being the top offensive player at his position for the third straight year, Cano also became a U.S. citizen.


November 13, 2012 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Post-Election Look at Immigration Reform

From the Center for American Progress: Angela Maria Kelley and Ann Garcia

In the wake of Tuesday’s election, the airwaves and headlines are exploding with talk of the Latino vote, which is correctly credited with having swung the election for incumbent President Barack Obama. Conservative radio host Sean Hannity and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) both spoke out this week on the need to provide a pathway to legal status for the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in our nation. Conservatives at last seem to be catching up to both Latino and non-Latino voters alike, who overwhelmingly support dealing with our undocumented immigrants in a smart and sensible manner.

Before the post-election spin cycle is over, here’s what elected officials need to keep in mind about voters and immigration reform:

It’s already feeling like old news, but it’s worth repeating and remembering—exit polling found that a record-breaking 71 percent of Latinos voted for President Obama in this election. One should note that Latinos were a larger share of the electorate this electoral season, going from 9.5 percent of the electorate in 2008 to 11 percent in 2012.

Their votes were especially felt in key swing states such as Florida, Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico. In Colorado—an important swing state this election cycle—87 percent of Latinos voted for President Obama, and the number of Latino votes for President Obama (261,037) was more than twice as large as the president’s margin of victory in that state (113,099).

90 percent of Latinos in the United States have an immigrant parent or grandparent

That means 9 out of 10 Latinos are within two generations of their immigrant roots. It’s no surprise, then, that they are listening closely to both the tone and content of candidates’ message when they talk about immigration.

Our nation’s 11 million undocumented immigrants are not an abstract concept to Latino voters

It might be stating the obvious, but undocumented immigrants don’t all live together in one apartment building. In fact, 60 percent of Latino voters know an undocumented immigrant, and one-quarter know someone who is either facing deportation or has been deported.

So when Republicans take aim at the undocumented with proposals such as “self-deportation” and ending President Obama’s popular Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to not deport “DREAMers”—immigrant youth who were brought to the United States at a young age and who are not documented but who would be eligible for the DREAM Act—Latino voters see a target on the back of a family member, a friend, or a co-worker. This rhetoric is real for Latino voters.

Americans support a pathway to citizenship for our undocumented immigrants

When Americans went to the polls on Tuesday, they were divided on many issues. Exit polls showed, however, that Americans were not divided on the issue of finding a common-sense solution for the 11 million immigrants here without proper papers. Sixty-five percent of those polled thought that undocumented immigrants should be “offered a chance to apply for legal status,” including 37 percent of voters who supported Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

The exit polling reflects a trend that has been building for months. In June Gallup reported that Americans would choose “dealing with illegal immigrants already in the United States” over “halting flow of illegal immigrants” by a margin of 55 percent to 41 percent, respectively—a near flip from the numbers when Gallup asked this same question in 2011. A similar poll conducted by CNN and ORC International in October shows that 56 percent of registered voters interviewed believe the main focus of the U.S. government in dealing with undocumented immigrants should be to “plan to help them become legal residents.”

The program protecting DREAMers is the model for broader reforms

In June President Obama lifted the shadow of deportation from 1.76 million aspiring Americans by allowing them to request discretionary relief from removal and work authorization through the Deferred Action program. To date, the program, which officially began in August, has been a success, with 180,000 applications having been accepted for consideration. That’s nearly one-fifth of potential applicants applying within the first two months of the program’s existence.

Still, the program is only a band-aid on a much bigger wound, and the economic benefit to going the full nine yards and legalizing this youth is substantial. Fortunately, Deferred Action and the DREAM Act are popular with Latinos and non-Latinos alike. An October poll showed that 64 percent of registered voters, when asked if they thought President Obama’s policy toward DREAMers had gone too far, thought the policy was “about right.” The same can be said of 71 percent of Latinos polled.


As is often the case, the public’s thinking is ahead of lawmakers’ actions. Lawmakers can’t afford to sit on the sidelines and avoid working for common-sense immigration policies. Both the politics and policy point toward giving the 11 million people who aspire to be citizens a chance to come forward and contribute as full Americans.


November 13, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Evangelical Leaders Call for Immigration Reform in First 92 Days

Leaders from across the evangelical community came together today to release open letters to President Obama and to the House and Senate leadership, seeking action on immigration policy. On a press call this morning, leaders discussed the implications of the 2012 election and their plans for harnessing the growing consensus in the evangelical community around reform.

The letters highlight why evangelical leaders are concerned about the current immigration system, lay out moral principles for reform and explain why leaders have called for reform in the first 92 days of President Obama’s second term. The letters state:

We are driven by a moral obligation rooted deeply in our faith to address the needs of immigrants in our country. Compassionate and just treatment of immigrants is a frequent topic in scripture. The Hebrew word for immigrant, “ger,” occurs 92 times throughout the Bible.

The letters call for balanced immigration reform that respects the God-given dignity of every person, guarantees secure national borders, protects the unity of the immediate family, ensures fairness to taxpayers and respects the rule of law, but also establishes a path toward legal status and/or citizenship for those who qualify and who wish to become permanent residents.

The Evangelical Immigration Table, which launched in June 2012, represents diverse evangelical leaders from across the political spectrum, including The National Association of Evangelicals, Sojourners, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention and the National Latino Evangelical Coalition. A full list of partner organizations is available at, along with a list of more than 150 prominent evangelical leaders who have endorsed the Table’s principles for reform.


November 13, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)