Friday, February 28, 2014
UC Hastings Center for Gender and Refugee Studies and and Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) have collaborated to produce an important report urging lawmakers to reform the U.S. immigration system for migrant children who are coming to our borders with surging frequency. They come, often unaccompanied by an adult, in search of safety, stability, and protection. These children face a system that was created for adults, does not provide them legal counsel, and is not required to consider the child’s best interests, despite the potentially enormous impact of the proceedings on the child’s life and future.
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As we mark the 65th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights this year, the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices highlight the continued pursuit of “free and equal dignity in human rights” in every corner of the world. Based on factual reporting from our embassies and posts abroad, these Congressionally mandated reports chronicle human rights conditions in almost 200 countries and territories. The reports draw attention to the growing challenges facing individuals and organizations as governments around the world fall short of their obligation to uphold universal human rights.
I have seen firsthand how these reports are used by a wide range of actors – by Congress in its decision-making processes surrounding foreign security sector assistance and economic aid; by the Department of State and other U.S. government agencies in shaping American foreign policy; and by U.S. citizens, international nongovernmental organizations, foreign governments, human rights defenders, lawyers, journalists, scholars, and others who are committed to advancing human dignity.
Governments that protect human rights and are accountable to their citizens are more secure, bolster international peace and security, and enjoy shared prosperity with stable democratic countries around the world. Countries that fail to uphold human rights can face economic deprivation and international isolation. Despite that simple truth, these reports show that too many governments continue to tighten their grasp on free expression, association, and assembly, using increasingly repressive laws, politically motivated prosecutions and even new technologies to deny citizens their universal human rights, in the public square, and in virtual space.
This is evident in our report on Syria, where the government has committed egregious human rights violations in an ongoing conflict that has claimed more than 100,000 lives, displaced millions, and created an opening for violent extremists that continues to endanger regional stability and our own national security.
As President Obama has said, “Strong nations recognize the value of active citizens. They support and empower their citizens rather than stand in their way, even when it is inconvenient – or perhaps especially when it is inconvenient – for government leaders.”
Unfortunately, these reports describe new and existing legislative restrictions, in countries such as Russia, that continue to curb civil society and political opposition and target marginalized populations, including religious and ethnic minorities, and the LGBT community. In countries such as China, a lack of judicial independence has fueled a state-directed crackdown on activists and suppression of political dissent and public advocacy. In Ukraine, the prior government increased pressure on civil society, journalists, and protesters calling for government accountability and a future with Europe, but as we all just saw Ukrainians demonstrated once again the power of people to determine how they are governed.
The reports also cover setbacks to freedom of assembly around the world, from Cuba to Egypt, where governments used excessive force to quell peaceful protests and dissent.
Governments that commit human rights abuses and fail to hold perpetrators accountable are not only acting against their best interest, but against our own. In countries where human rights are denied, violent extremism and transnational crime take root, contributing to instability, insecurity, and economic deprivation.
In South Sudan, a new democracy struggles to turn the page on decades of armed conflict and human suffering. Conflict fueled by political competition and interethnic violence threatens to derail the country’s fragile gains since independence. Gross human rights violations committed by the Sudan People’s Liberation Army as well as by anti-government forces jeopardize regional security as well as the democratic future of the world’s youngest country.
As Secretary of State, I meet with many brave individuals who risk their lives daily to advance human rights, in spite of the threat of violence and government attempts to silence their voice. These reports and the abuses they describe signal to the human rights defenders and activists under siege that the U.S. government recognizes their struggle and stands with civil society.
We at the Department of State will continue to press governments to uphold fundamental freedoms. We remain committed to advocating on behalf of civil society and speaking out for the protection of human rights for all individuals.
I hereby transmit the Department of State’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2013 to the United States Congress.
John F. Kerry Secretary of State
Thursday, February 27, 2014
From the Bookshelves: Reform Without Justice: Latino Migrant Politics and the Homeland Security State by Alfonso Gonzales
Placed within the context of the past decade's war on terror and emergent and countervailing Latino rights movement, Reform without Justice addresses the issue of state violence against migrants in the United States. It questions why it is that, despite its success in mobilizing millions, the Latino immigrant rights movement has not been able to effectively secure sustainable social justice victories for itself or more successfully defend the human rights of migrants.
Gonzales argues that the contemporary Latino rights movement faces a dynamic form of political power that he terms "anti-migrant hegemony". This anti-migrant hegemony, found in sites of power from Congress, to think tanks, talk shows and the prison system, is a force through which a rhetorically race neutral and common sense public policy discourse, consistent with the rules of post-civil rights racism, is deployed to criminalize migrants. Critically, large sectors of "pro-immigrant" groups, including the Hispanic Congressional Caucus and the National Council of La Raza, have conceded to coercive immigration enforcement measures such as a militarized border wall and the expansion of immigration policing in local communities in exchange for so-called Comprehensive Immigration Reform. Gonzales says that it is precisely when immigration reformers actively adopt the discourse and policies of the leading anti-immigrant forces that the power of anti-migrant hegemony can best be observed.
Supreme Court to Review the Constitutionality of Hazleton, Farmer's Branch Immigration Enforcement Ordinances?
The cert petitions in the Hazleton and Farmer's Branch local immigration enforcement ordinance cases are set for conference of the Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court tomorrow. This is the second conference for each petition.
Both ordinances, which were found to be preempted in large part by the lower courts (with cert granted and the lower court decision vacated and remanded in the Hazleton case remanded after the Supreme Court's decision in Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting (2011)), include controversial provisions, including bans on the rental of properties to undocumented immigrants. The Hazleton ordinance also bars the local employment of undocumented immigrants.
A Treacherous Journey: Child Migrants Navigating the U.S. Immigration System WATCH THE LIVESTREAM TODAY
A Treacherous Journey: Child Migrants Navigating the U.S. Immigration System WATCH THE LIVESTREAM TODAY, February 27, 2014 9:30 TO 10:30 A.M. ET with Elizabeth Dallam National Legal Services Director, Kids In Need of Defense (KIND) Lisa Frydman Associate Director and Managing Attorney, Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, UC Hastings College of the Law & Moderator: Kathleen Newland Director, Refugee Protection and Migrants, Migration, and Development Programs, MPI
No registration is necessary to view the livestream. THE LIVESTREAM WILL BE AVAILABLE HERE.
Children have been fleeing alone to the United States in record numbers, which have risen dramatically from fewer than 7,000 in fiscal year (FY) 2011 to as many as a projected 74,000 in FY2014. In a new report, the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies (CGRS) and Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) find that the U.S. immigration system is failing children who come to the United States in search of safety, stability, and protection. The report, A Treacherous Journey: Child Migrants Navigating the U.S. Immigration System, finds that children face a system created for adults that is not required to consider the child’s best interests. Despite the potentially enormous impact of the proceedings on their lives and futures, unaccompanied children are not provided lawyers to help them navigate the complex requirements of immigration proceedings. A Treacherous Journey strongly urges that the United States should treat these minors as children first and foremost, and create a more child-friendly system that will help ensure that migrant children in the United States—as well as those who are returned to their home countries unaccompanied--are protected. This would include providing unaccompanied children with legal counsel and child advocacy services in immigration proceedings, devising child-sensitive procedures and legal standards, and applying the “best interests of the child” standard in all decisions that affect them. The report calls for creating a new form of permanent immigration status for those children who are ineligible for other forms of relief but who should not be repatriated according to the “best interests” standard. The report includes detailed recommendations for these and many of the other reforms it champions. The report will be available on the websites www.supportkind.org and www.cgrs.uhastings.edu .
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
On Monday, twenty-six law professors from around the country urged the United States Supreme Court to grant certiorari to resolve crucial questions of how lower courts should analyze the retroactive application of immigration laws. The amicus brief was co-authored by the Immigration Law Clinic at UC Davis and Steven Hirsch at Keker & Van Nest, LLP, and joined by scholars in immigration, criminal justice, and statutory interpretation. The professors' brief explained to the Court how the current circuit split on who is eligible to receive discretionary relief from deportation has far reaching consequences in the practices of criminal and immigration law, as well as on the lives of thousands of immigrants with criminal records.
The underlying case, Acebo-Leyva v. Holder, 537 Fed. Appx. 875 (11th Cir. 2013), is on appeal from the Eleventh Circuit, where it was held that the petitioner failed to show “reliance” on the law at the time of his conviction because he chose to go to trial rather than accept a guilty plea. This rule contrasts sharply with precedents in the Third, Fifth, Eighth, and Ninth Circuits, which do not require any such showing of reliance. As a consequence, Mr. Acebo-Leyva was found to be ineligible for § 212(c) discretionary relief because the court found that the laws limiting this form of relief—and eventually eliminating it in 1996—could be retroactively applied to his 1980 conviction.
The brief illustrates how hinging antiretroactivity principles upon accepting guilty pleas undermines the critical right to jury trial and creates unsettled expectations for criminal-defense attorneys trying to meet their Sixth Amendment obligation to advise clients of potential immigration consequences. The professors urged the Court to establish uniformity and reaffirm a retroactivity analysis in which “the essential inquiry . . . is whether the new provision attaches new legal consequences to events completed before its enactment.” Vartelas v. Holder, 132 S. Ct. 1479, 1491 (quoting Landgraf v. USI Film Products, 511 U.S. 244, 269–70 (1994)).
On the same day, and with analogous reasoning, former officials from the U.S. Departments of Justice and Homeland Security also filed an amicus brief petitioning for certiorari. The broad support for a uniform test to govern statutory retroactivity analysis make Acebo-Leyva v. Holder a case to watch.
Here is the amicus brief of the immigration law professors and an amicus brief of former DOJ and DHS officials.
David J. Jefferson, James Newman, Sarah Chi, and Zainab Shakoor
In the midst of the nationwide debate over immigration reform, our immigration system is about to undergo a significant that will affect a diversifying America.
On February 4, after a review process that lasted more than a year, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released its long-awaited revision of the Form N-400 — the application form for naturalization that all green card holders must fill out when they apply for citizenship. The new form will be required starting in early May.
Why is this change important? Because immigration and citizenship have an important socioeconomic impact on American society, and this change affects the nation’s 8.8 million legal permanent residents and the hundreds of local service providers working to help them naturalize.
At 21 pages, the new form is more than twice as long as the old one, which was only 10 pages. The reason is several additions, including about 40 new questions in Part 11 relating to good moral character, military service, group membership and past involvement with terrorism, persecution, torture or genocide.
USCIS announced that while the eligibility requirements for naturalization have not changed, the additional questions relating to terrorism, persecution, torture or genocide are necessitated by the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 and Child Soldier Prevention Act of 2008. The new form also includes additional questions about the applicant’s parents, current spouse and prior spouse(s), and it requires additional documentation from applicants who failed to register for the Selective Service before age 26.
But the new N-400 also includes several changes that will make the form more user-friendly. It has clearer instructions for completing the sections on employment history, education history and children, plus a new question relating to the age/residency exemptions for the English language test. An old question asking applicants to list all trips outside the U.S. of 24 hours or more since they became a lawful permanent resident has been changed to request only those trips taken during the last five years.
The longer form has many implications for applicants, legal service providers and USCIS adjudicators. Potential applicants may be intimidated by the new form and may find it less accessible, and this can result in more people who need application assistance. Legal service providers may need more time to complete and review the form, and thus may need to raise their fee for N-400 processing. The additional security-related questions make it more important than ever for representatives to obtain a copy of the applicant's immigration file in certain cases before they are able to complete the N-400. USCIS adjudicators may also need more time to review the form and conduct naturalization interviews. All in all this change could increase N-400 processing times.
The old N-400 form will continue to be accepted through May 2, 2014, which makes the next couple of months critical for local service providers and national organizations working on naturalization issues. The New Americans Campaign (NAC), a nationwide collaborative pushing for immigrant integration, has uploaded the old form to its website to assist people who want to complete the process before the change is implemented. Organizations affiliated with the NAC, such as the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), will hold webinars to provide training on the new form for the hundreds of service providers looking for help. Service providers will in turn intensify naturalization efforts over the next couple of months, all the while preparing to work with the new form.
But more important, the transition from old form to new presents a golden opportunity for legal permanent residents to take that final step toward integrating fully into American society. They can do it in the next couple of months and take advantage of a simpler form, or they can do it after the change takes effect. Either way, service providers stand ready to assist.
Laura Burdick is a Field Support Coordinator at CLINIC, Inc., a national network of Catholic and community legal immigration programs working to promote and protect the dignity of immigrants. CLINIC, Inc. is one of the national partners in the New Americans Campaign, a nationwide collaborative emphasizing citizen integration.
Ruben Salazar: Man in the Middle, an investigative look at the life and mysterious death of pioneering journalist Ruben Salazar premieres on PBS on Tuesday, April 29, 2014 at 9:00 PM ET. It examines the life and mysterious death of pioneering journalist Ruben Salazar. At the heart of the story is Salazar's transformation from a mainstream, establishment reporter to primary chronicler and supporter of the radical Chicano movement of the late 1960s. Killed under mysterious circumstances by a law enforcement officer in 1970, Salazar became an instant martyr to Latinos - many of whom had criticized his reporting during his lifetime. Adding to the Salazar mystique is that the details of how he was killed have been obscured in the ensuing four decades since his death.
Featuring material from recently released files obtained by the filmmaker, Ruben Salazar: Man in the Middle removes Salazar from the glare of myth and martyrdom and offers a clear-eyed look at the man and his times. The film, produced and directed by Phillip Rodriguez, includes interviews with Salazar's friends, colleagues and family members, and Salazar's own words culled from personal writings.
Ruben Salazar: Man in the Middle reveals the truth about the pioneering journalist's life and death, removing him from the shadows of legend and restoring him to his rightful place in history. The Salazar story had long been considered to be an ethnic story, a regional story," says filmmaker Rodriguez. "But it is much bigger than that. This is a story about a regular guy who, motivated by principle, challenges an abusive authority at great risk to himself - it's a classic American story."
WINNER BEST DOCUMENTARY 2014 San Antonio CineFestival
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Abstract: Women fleeing severe domestic violence have been seeking asylum in the United States for at least 20 years. Yet the legal system has been reluctant to understand domestic violence as occurring “on account of” gender or to see domestic violence victims as deserving asylum-seekers. This Note critiques the weak legal framework that now exists for domestic violence asylum claims and proposes a novel regulatory reform to put such claims on firmer footing. The Note’s proposed reform would not only provide meaningful relief to many asylum-seekers but also be a significant symbolic statement of U.S. commitment to women’s human rights.
Monday, February 24, 2014
To mark the 60th anniversary of the landmark civil rights decision, Brown v. Board of Education, the 2014 La Verne Law Review symposium will explore many of the dimensions of cause lawyering in a variety of contexts. The symposium is titled “Brown v. Board of Education at 60: Cause Lawyering for a New Generation“ and will be held on February 28, 2014.
The panels will explore many of the issues that cause lawyering has always raised, as well as many of the new questions that have arisen over time: What does it mean to be a “cause lawyer“? What are some of the most effective advocacy techniques that cause lawyers deploy outside of the context of litigation? How do cause lawyers affiliated with formal advocacy groups account for individual attorneys who – without regard for the organizations‘ strategic preferences – file claims on behalf of their clients who possess common legal interests?
The symposium proposes to examine these and other questions by investigating cause lawyering in four specific settings: voting rights, immigration, reproductive rights, and LGBT equality.
The first panel is "Cause Lawyering in the Immigration" and the panelists will discuss many of the issues that have arisen in the context of advocating on behalf of immigrants who are attempting to legalize their status in the United States, or who are attempting to avoid discrimination. Some of the issues under consideration will include the strategies and tactics that have been employed in the effort to achieve comprehensive immigration reform; the obstacles that prevent its achievement (e.g., Arizona’s S.B.1070 law); the identification of priorities when crafting legal campaigns on behalf of immigrants, as well as a discussion of the manner in which cause lawyers advance their claims through interaction with political activists; the role that cause lawyers can play in encouraging a proper understanding of the relationship between immigration reform and national security; and other issues, as well.
Moderator: Marisa Cianciarulo, Professor of Law – Chapman University Dale E. Fowler School of Law
Sameer Ashar, Clinical Professor of Law – University of California, Irvine School of Law
Jorge Castillo, Staff Attorney – Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund
Robin Goldfaden, Senior Attorney – Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area
Hiroshi Motomura, Professor of Law – University of California, Los Angeles School of Law
Immigration Article of the Day: Estimating the Effects of Immigration Enforcement on Local Policing and Crime: Evidence from the Secure Communities Program By Elina Treyger, Aaron Chalfin, and Charles Loeffler
Estimating the Effects of Immigration Enforcement on Local Policing and Crime: Evidence from the Secure Communities Program By Elina Treyger (George Mason University School of Law), Aaron Chalfin (University of Cincinnati - Division of Criminal Justice), and Charles Loeffler (University of Pennsylvania).
Abstract: Recent changes in U.S. immigration enforcement have sought to complement strong border enforcement with a renewed emphasis on enforcement in the country’s interior. In 2008, the federal government introduced “Secure Communities,” a program that requires local law enforcement agencies to share arrestee information with federal immigration officials at the time of booking. Supporters of the program have argued that it will enhance public safety by facilitating the efficient removal of criminal aliens. Critics of the program have expressed concern that it will encourage local law enforcement agencies to engage in discriminatory or arbitrary policing practices, making arrests for the sole purpose of checking an individual’s immigration status. Since its introduction in 2008, the program has expanded to include all U.S. jurisdictions. We employ the staggered activation dates of Secure Communities across counties to examine whether the program has a detectable effect on the crime rates or the arrest behavior of municipal law enforcement agencies across U.S. cities. We do not observe any clear effect of the program on either crime or arrest patterns, suggesting that at least across the nation’s biggest cities, there is little evidence either for the most ambitious promises of the program or the greatest fears behind involving local law enforcement agencies in immigration enforcement.
Sunday, February 23, 2014
CNN reports that Maria von Trapp, the last of the singing children immortalized in the movie musical "The Sound of Music," died last week at her Vermont home of natural causes. The native of Austria was 99.
The von Trapp family fled Austria after the German annexation and came to the United States in 1938 and settled in Vermont in 1942
Maria became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1948 and lived at her family's lodge in Stowe, Vermont. She was the last survivor of the seven original von Trapp children.
Glimmer of Hope on Immigration Reform? Possible Path to Legalization -- Not Citizenship -- a Possible Compromise for House Republicans
Julia Preston of the New York Times reports on one conservative Republican who seems open to some kind to path to legalization in immigration reform. Representative Mick Mulvaney represents one of the most conservative in South Carolina. In a town-hall meeting on the troublesome issue of immigration, with an audience of Latinos, he discussed policy and answered questions about the prospects for immigration legislation in the House — entirely in Spanish. Mulvaney said he and other conservative House Republicans were open to some kind of legal status, although not a path to citizenship, for many immigrants living in the country illegally.
The New York Times yesterday published an article ("Asylum Fraud in Chinatown: Industry of Lies") about alleged asylum abuse in the Chinese immigrant community in New York. Take caution in reading too much into the story. While there unquestionably is some abuse of the system (which no doubt is not limited to the Chinese immigrant community), it is unclear how widespread such abuse is and far from clear that reforms would not result in the denial of many bona fide asylum claims. Recall that previous concerns with so-called asylum abuse led to controversial measures such as expedited removal, limitations on work authorization, and other restrictions on asylum claims (such as in the REAL ID Act of 2005).
The article also relied on the high rate of denials of Chinese asylum claims in New York as supporting the claim that abuse is rampant there:
"Though the prevalence of fraud is unknown, federal officials appear to regard the applicant pool in New York with considerable suspicion. In fiscal year 2013, asylum officers around the country granted 40 percent of all Chinese asylum requests, according to government data. In New York City, asylum officers approved only 15 percent."
However, Refugee Roulette: Disparities in Asylum Adjudication and Proposals for Reform by Jaya Ramji-Nogales, Andrew I. Schoenholtz, and Philip G. Schrag offers a plausible alternative explanation for the differential rate of denials. In order to be granted asylum, an applicant must prove to an asylum officer or immigration judge that she has a well-founded fear of persecution in her homeland. The chance of winning asylum should have little if anything to do with the personality of the official to whom a case is randomly assigned, but Refugee Roulette in its study shows that life-or-death asylum decisions are too frequently influenced by random factors relating to the decision makers. In many cases, the most important moment in an asylum case is the instant in which a clerk randomly assigns the application to an adjudicator. The system, in its current state, is like a game of chance.
Claims of asylum abuse frequently grab the attention of the media and policymakers. Last December, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee held a hearing entitled “Asylum Abuse: Is It Overwhelming Our Borders?” The Committee Chair, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), was concerned that rising numbers of claims of persecution at the U.S.-Mexico border indicated rising fraud and abuse. Yet testimony by U.S. government and independent witnesses did not support an epidemic of fraud and abuse. Rather, it indicated an increase in “credible fear” of persecution claims from countries experiencing heavy violence. Click here to read more about the hearings.
Friday, February 21, 2014
Koumd grew up in a village outside Kiev in Ukraine. In 1992, he moved to California with his mother and grandmother. His rags to riches story is now complete.
The Bickel & Brewer Latino Institute for Human Rights at NYU Law School, with LatinoJustice PRLDEF, is releasing a report today calling for access to law licenses for undocumented law graduates. A symposium at NYU Law School is being held today on the topic of the report, with an appearance this afternoon by Sergio Garcia, the new lawyer in California who was able to convince the California Supreme Court that he should be eligible for licensing.
More than 87,000 people were resettled as refugees in the United States or were granted asylum status during 2012, with grants of asylum up 19 percent and refugee admissions up 3 percent from 2011. For many people in repressive, autocratic, or conflict-embroiled nations, migration is a means of survival. Refugees and asylees seek protection in another country—whether neighboring or distant, familiar or foreign—in order to escape persecution based on their beliefs, personal attributes, or membership in a certain group.
The United States grants humanitarian protection on a limited basis to refugees and asylees from diverse countries throughout the world. This Migration Information Source Spotlight examines the data on persons admitted to the United States as refugees and those granted asylum in 2012. It also provides the number of refugees and asylees who received lawful permanent resident (LPR) status in 2012.
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Harvard Law School trained Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has been in the national news quite a bit lately, for, among other things, killing immigration reform and as a possible Republican Presidential candidate.
For those of you who are interested, here is On the Issues summary of Senator Cruz's views on immigration:
No path to citizenship for 1.65 million illegals in Texas
When discussing what to do about the 1.65 million illegal immigrants living in Texas, Cruz weaved into the Second Amendment, alleging his opponent didn't support gun rights. "What does this have to do with the question?" Sadler asked before fiercely denying his opponent's allegation. Cruz again said he didn't support a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants living in America, while Sadler said the opposite, as expected. Source: WFAA-TV Dallas-Fort Worth on 2012 Texas Senate debate, Oct 2, 2012
Give police more power to ask about immigration status
Cruz accused Dewhurst of using his position as head of the Texas Senate to kill a bill last year that would have given police more power to ask anyone they detain about their citizenship status--a charge Dewhurst denied. Both agreed that the US has failed to secure its border with Mexico, and said they oppose amnesty for illegal immigrants and the Obama administration's new directive allowing many young illegal immigrants brought to the US as children to be exempted from deportation. Source: San Francisco Chronicle on 2012 Texas Senate debates, Jun 22, 2012
Boots on the ground, plus a wall
Border wall: James and Leppert oppose a wall, Dewhurst and Cruz tout "boots on the ground" and a wall in some places. Source: BurntOrangeReport.com on 2012 Texas Senate Debate , Apr 18, 2012
Triple the size of the Border Patrol
Cruz on immigration: Wants to triple size of Border Patrol. Says Dewhurst supported in-state tuition for kids of illegal immigrants. Dewhurst: I have always been against an amnesty program. "If they want to be a citizen, they ought to go home and reapply." Dewhurst says he was against tuition for children of illegal immigrants. Source: KVUE coverage of 2012 Texas Senate debate , Mar 29, 2012
Strengthen border security and increase enforcement
Ted Cruz has worked to strengthen border security and help ensure that America remains a nation of laws. Among other efforts, he has worked on efforts to increase penalties for felons who enter the country illegally. Ted authored a U.S. Supreme Court amicus brief on behalf of 10 states in Lopez v. Gonzales, urging the strictest enforcement of laws punishing those with prior felony convictions who entered the country illegally. Source: Campaign website, www.tedcruz.org, "Issues" , Jul 17, 2011
Cruz's father has stated that President Obama should be "returned" to Kenya.